Training Programs

I create custom training programs that blend skills-building, coaching, and facilitated peer-learning. I create a warm and welcoming atmosphere where participants feel safe to bring their whole selves and discuss the real challenges most impacting their leadership and their work. I understand organizational dynamics around power, privilege and cultural difference. The content, frameworks and tools I use are immediately actionable, inspiring participants to gain new perspectives as they grow more confident in their roles. I lead sessions in the following areas: 


  • Nonprofit governance, board development

  • Adaptive leadership and change management

  • Strengths-based leadership

  • Staff/talent development, supervision, and people management

  • Theory of change development

  • Personal sustainability; managing time and energy 

Organizational Development Consulting
I bring to my work with clients a powerful combination of deep consulting expertise and years of relevant, lived experience as a nonprofit staff and board leader. I meet leaders and teams where they are, but also help them to stretch to new and better practices in their work with one another and their communities.
Boards of Directors and Governance Consulting
My approach to governance is highly focused on answering the questions of an organization’s desired impact and community needs, board leadership potential, and optimal structures to support the work of the board and its interdependent relationship with the Executive Director and staff leaders.   
Leadership Development Program Design and Delivery
In collaboration with other nonprofit practitioners and funders, I design and deliver multi-year leadership development cohort programs for social justice leaders. Cohort programs integrate leadership principles, management practices, and organizational strategy all through the lens of personal transformation and organizational impact. A few of the programs I’ve recently led include:
  • Governance Series for Leaders in New Orleans
  • Executive Director Intensive Cohort Program
  • Next Generation Leaders of Color
  • Organizational Sustainability Cohort Program
  • Leadership Succession Program


Training and Education
Leadership Programs

Marla is a recognized thought leader in organizational leadership and governance. Through an extensive body of written work—including research reports referenced across the sector and her widely-read CompassPoint blogs—Marla has meaningfully influenced the thinking and practices of many thousands of staff and board leaders as well as fellow practitioners and funders.

Jeanne Bell, CEO, CompassPoint

I can't say enough positive things about Marla. She was invaluable to our organization as we developed a new Theory of Change. She helped us clarify the outcome we wanted and created the process we needed to get us there. She crafted agendas that kept us on track, but were flexible enough to provide space for other important issues that emerged. Her deep knowledge of nonprofits and her intuition about others make her an excellent facilitator.

Alexis Wielunski, Senior Manager of Organizational Learning & Sustainability, Health Outreach Partners

Your sessions were clear, focused and built upon each other. I learned more about what motivates me as a director and where I need to be concentrating my own and my organization’s resources. Your exercises made all the participants think about what we do and how to be more effective. Everything I learned has had an actual, immediate impact on how I do my job. I have referred to my materials each day since the program.

Participant in Executive Director Program