Leadership U for Humanity: Developing leaders from underserved communities
“Diverse leaders often don’t see a path to advance. They have few role models to turn to — only 9% of current Fortune 500 leaders are people of color,” said Jean-Marc Laouchez, Program Director of Leadership U for Humanity and President of the Korn Ferry Institute.
This gap is why the Korn Ferry Charitable Foundation began Leadership U for Humanity, a six-month leadership development program designed by Korn Ferry for the Foundation to develop the leaders of tomorrow. The program, offered at no cost to participants selected by the Foundation, works to accelerate professional development for mid-level professionals of color and other underserved populations in the workforce.
Leadership U for Humanity was launched in November 2020.
The program partners with community organizations to identify professionals from underrepresented backgrounds who have 4 to 15 years of work experience and/or 2 to 7 years of managerial experience. The Korn Ferry Charitable Foundation’s community partners include the Air Force Sergeants Association, the African American Leadership Academy, the American Medical Women’s Association, Ascend, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Communities in Schools, the Executive Leadership Council, the Institute for Responsible Citizenship, the National African American Insurance Association, the National Association of Health Services Executives, the National Naval Officers Association, Out & Equal, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and Women in America.
The future leaders spend 1 to 3 hours per week over six months learning the skills and competencies they need to progress in their careers. They get exclusive access to Korn Ferry’s leadership training, intellectual property, and solutions, along with a personality trait assessment that identifies their learning opportunities. They also receive one-to-one career coaching through Korn Ferry Advance.
The program recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. At the end of calendar year 2021, over 300 individuals from a variety of industries were enrolled in or completed the program.
The program is already making an impact. An assistant vice president and client account officer for a financial services company in New York who graduated from the program in 2021, said, “Leadership U for Humanity has given me the opportunity to learn how a leader should be, how a leader should act. My participation has made me much more self-aware about my career path and what I want to achieve. I now know that I should speak up more and not settle when it comes to my career ascension.”
Another 2021 program graduate who is a client service associate working in the legal industry in Florida, commented, “Leadership U for Humanity has been very impactful because it has allowed me to identify things that I can do myself, in real time, to impact the trajectory of my career. This program has taught me how to ensure that my own professional goals are aligned with my company's goals. It gave me the confidence to acknowledge and value my contributions and proactively plan for my future within my current organization.”
“The Korn Ferry Charitable Foundation intends Leadership U for Humanity to be a catalyst that will empower underrepresented talent to become tomorrow’s leaders,” said Heather Axe, President of the Foundation.
To learn more about joining Leadership U for Humanity as a community partner or sponsor, contact the Korn Ferry Charitable Foundation.