Leadership Foundation Program for Newer Leaders

We are excited to extend a call for Expressions of Interest for the next Leadership Foundation Cohort, starting in Fall 2020.  The deadline for applications is July 30th. 

About the Program
The Leadership Foundation Program was launched in 2018, given strong feedback that this has been a critical gap at SFU. 

The Leadership Foundation Program is a comprehensive cohort-based management/leadership development program intended to equip newer leaders with the capacity, confidence and connections to succeed in their roles. The program is intended to help managers gain foundational knowledge, skills and tools to enhance leadership success, to create a strong peer network, and to contribute to a learning and leadership culture at SFU.

Read more about the Leadership Foundation Program in SFU News.


This is a cohort-based program, bringing together leaders from across the university, to learn together through interactive workshops. At this time, in the COVID-19 context, all sessions will be held online. If/when we’re able to, some sessions will be held in-person.

Modules were carefully selected based on best practice, core competencies and input from SFU leaders, and cover topics relating to leading self, leading teams and leading in the organization, including the following, among others:

  • Understanding Yourself as a Leader
  • Coaching & Communication Skills
  • Leading through Conflict
  • Understanding the University Environment
  • People Practices
  • Performance Development
  • Coaching Skills
  • Leader’s Role in Mental Health
  • Critical Thinking & Decision Making
  • Presentation Skills
  • Leading Teams
  • Inclusive Leadership
  • Leading Change

In the program, participants will:

  • Gain foundational knowledge, skills and tools that will enhance their leadership success.
  • Connect with and learn from colleagues from across the organization.
  • Set and work towards personal leadership development goals and plans.
  • Contribute to a learning and leadership culture at SFU.

Time Commitment
The Leadership Foundation Program will require the equivalent of approximately 2 hours weekly over 10 months (September 2020 - June 2021). Some weeks will have back-to-back 2 hour sessions. As well, time will be required for additional program elements and assignments (e.g., self-reflections, pre-readings).

It is mandatory for participants to attend all sessions and complete all program components (with the exception of time booked for vacation, or illness). As much notice as possible will be given for scheduling purposes.

We welcome expressions of interest from candidates who meet the following criteria:

  • Has been in any management role less than 5 years (at or outside of SFU)
  • Is a continuing SFU employee (APSA or APEX)
  • Is currently in a management/leadership role, with direct staff reports
  • Has leadership development or a related goal articulated in their Performance Development Plan
  • Can commit to engage fully in program elements and activities
  • Demonstrates willingness and commitment to one’s own learning and development
  • Has support from their manager for full participation in the program

Fees and Funding
The program is being funded through Human Resources at this time.

Registration Process
We invite interested individuals to submit an Expression of Interest by July 30 through the following:

  1. Expression of Interest – to be completed by the candidate 
  2. Confirmation of Support – to be completed by the candidate’s supervisor

Cohort Selection Process
Human Resources will review Expressions of Interest and create a cohort of approximately 25 individuals that represent a diverse cross-section of departments and roles from all VP portfolios.

If you have questions, please contact Tara Black, Director People Development (tblack@sfu.ca).

“I'm loving the program. It's the synergy of connections amongst the cohort that happen in parallel with the sessions that is providing a real value-add on top of the content. Hearing common problems and discussing them is something we haven't had a forum to do anywhere else.”

 – Mike Stanger, Leadership Foundation Program Pilot Participant