Leadership Foundation Program 

We are currently running cohort 7. Check back for updates. 

About the Program

The Leadership Foundation Program is a comprehensive cohort-based management/leadership development program intended to equip early career 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 their leadership success, to create a strong peer network, and to contribute to a learning and leadership culture at SFU.

The program will invite leaders to reflect about their own leadership approach and the ways they contribute to healthy and inclusive settings, and will foster skills to help leaders support individuals and teams to thrive and work together to advance team and organizational objectives.


This is a cohort-based program, bringing together leaders from across the university, to learn together through interactive workshops and other program elements.  The program will be primarily in-person, with some virtual learning sessions.  All participants will be required to be physically present for scheduled in-person sessions.

Key Program Elements

  • Establishment of a safe and supportive learning environment
  • Series of synchronous sessions over 10 months (primarily in-person)
  • DiSC Assessment
  • Personal leadership development goal-setting
  • Journaling and self-reflection
  • Triad groups (meet monthly)
  • Capstone Self-Reflection and Presentation

Learning Topics 

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:

  • Understanding Yourself as a Leader
  • Inclusive Leadership Practices
  • Leader-as-Coach
  • Leading through Conflict: Building Capacity & Confidence
  • Understanding the University Environment
  • People Practices
  • Performance Development
  • Critical Thinking and Decision Making
  • Creativity, Design and Innovation in the Workplace
  • Cultivating Psychologically Safe Work Environments
  • Presentation Skills for Leaders
  • Leading Teams for Success
  • 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 1-2 days per month over 10 months (September - June). Some sessions will be full days, and others will be shorter but spread over a number of days. Sessions will be primarily in-person.  As well, time will be required for additional program elements and assignments (e.g., self-reflections, pre-readings, small group meetings).

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


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

  • Is a continuing SFU employee (APSA or Excluded)
  • Is currently in a management/leadership role, with direct staff reports (supervisory responsibilities)
  • Has been in any management role for 10 years or less (at or outside of SFU)
  • 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

  • For Candidates
    • We invite leaders to submit an Expression of Interest so we can learn a bit about you and why you're interested in the program.
  • For Candidates' Supervisors
    • The program requires full support from your supervisor. 
    • To finalize your application, please ensure your supervisor has provided their confirmation


Cohort Selection Process

The People and Organization Development team 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.

What Participants Have Said About the Program

“This program has been transformative in my career. It has instilled confidence in myself as a leader and equipped me with skills that have helped me leading teams.”

“The greatest benefits of the program were the connections to colleagues across the University, and the many practical tools I’m certain I will reference for years to come.”

“I am different as a leader now than at the start of the program because of my increased self-awareness and acceptance.  The DiSC assessment and Understanding Yourself as a Leader session were invaluable in helping me recognize that there is more than one type/style of a successful leader.  This knowledge has helped to increase my confidence, and approach challenging situations in a more proactive manner.”

“Connecting with other leaders across the university!  This is the best gift of the program.  I found connection with others, even if their work is radically different from mine, we still share some similar challenges.”

“Through this program I learned early on that I didn’t need to be the one to have all the answers and that I needed to coach my team to get to the answers themselves or to work with others to find the answers. Once I realized that was a way to lead, I felt liberated and felt more capable to lead.”

“My most significant takeaways from the program are the importance of having the hard conversations, being a coach rather than a knowledge holder for my team, and effective leadership is intentional and requires ongoing commitment and work.”