November 2011 —

American Express, Center for Creative Leadership Research Study Explores Keys to Healthy Leadership Pipelines

Greensboro, NC – Faced with complex socio-economic challenges and limited funds, the nonprofit sector needs a strong pipeline of emerging leaders to deliver innovative services well into the future. A new report by American Express and the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) offers new insights and step-by-step guidance on what it will take to develop leadership for nonprofit organizations.

Among the key recommendations in Emerging Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations: Myths, Meaning and Motivations, released today:

  • Boards and funders often frown on spending precious dollars on learning and development, but nonprofits need to make building talent at all organizational levels a top priority. Those learning opportunities may also help retain emerging leaders.
  • Because many employees of nonprofits are more committed to causes than individual organizations, they are likely to change jobs many times; so it is crucial for nonprofits to think collectively about nurturing talent throughout the entire sector.
  • People want to know they are making a difference; motivating emerging leaders requires measuring and communicating impact in meaningful terms.

“Nonprofit organizations serve an indispensable role in our country, fostering community engagement and delivering critical services — and they are only as strong as their leadership,” CCL President and CEO John Ryan said. “We believe this new report offers practical advice that nonprofits can put to use immediately in building their leadership pipelines.”

The 38-page report is based on responses from 3,874 leaders from the U.S. surveyed by CCL, through its World Leadership Survey, from 2008 to 2011. It also draws on small group interviews involving more than 50 nonprofit leaders and graduate students with experience in the sector.

The report grew out of an ongoing partnership between American Express and CCL, which have provided training for more than 300 emerging nonprofit leaders nationally since 2008 through the American Express Leadership Academy. The report was developed by a team of experts at CCL, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan and Praxis Consulting Group.

The full report can be accessed here.

About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at and connect with us on,, and

American Express: Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow

One of American Express’ three platforms for its philanthropy is Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow. Under this giving initiative, which recognizes the significance of strong leadership in the nonprofit sector, American Express is making grants focused on training high potential emerging leaders to tackle important issues in the 21st century. The American Express Leadership Academy is the signature program of the Leadership giving theme that develops the finest emerging leaders who are dedicated and poised to be at the helm of the nonprofit sector. Since its inception, the program has expanded to include three additional partners and is now international in reach.

About the Center for Creative Leadership

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) is a top-ranked, global provider of leadership development. By leveraging the power of leadership to drive results that matter most to clients, CCL transforms individual leaders, teams, organizations, and society. Our array of cutting-edge solutions is steeped in extensive research and experience gained from working with hundreds of thousands of leaders at all levels. Ranked among the world’s top providers of executive education, CCL has locations in countries worldwide.

Stephen Martin
Center for Creative Leadership
+1 336 286 4038

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