Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders for NCDA: Leadership Academy Celebrates 10 Years

By Maggie McCormick


Darrell Luzzo, NCDA President 2007-08, realized a vision and the NCDA Leadership Academy was born. Since beginning at the 2006 Chicago NCDA Career Development Conference with the Class of 2007, the Leadership Academy has provided leadership training and experiences for over 100 participants. Defined as a hands-on, highly experiential leadership development opportunity designed specifically for promising national and state career development association leaders, this unique program is the ultimate professional development activity.


Coordination of the Experience

A member of the inaugural class of Leadership Academy (LA), Ron Cathey served as a “one-man committee,” coordinating the program for several years. Then in 2014, the NCDA Board appointed a committee of three Leadership Academy alumni: Laura Lane, Maggie McCormick, and Imants Jaunarajs; a representative of the Brain Trust, Niel Carey, NCDA staff liaison, Alicia Cheek, and Ron as the Board liaison. Together, they have reviewed applications and selected participants for the incoming class each year, coordinated all conference L.A. events, established policies and procedures, and maintained communication with the current classes. Ron’s Board term expired in 2015, and Wendy LaBenne, Trustee for State Divisions, is now serving as Board liaison.


When the coordinating committee, which has become known as the Leadership Academy Development Committee or LADC, was formed, it was with the intent that 1) the members would serve 2-year terms, that LA alumni members would be replaced by other LA alumni through an application process and 2) that the LADC would have the authority to establish or revise procedures as they saw fit.


With that in mind, the LADC established an application process to add to their committee, and revised the application process for LA participants. As of July 2016, both processes were opened and for the first time included online applications.


Success of the Leadership Academy

Every area of NCDA has been touched by the Leadership Academy. NCDA Presidents (e.g., Debra Osborn, Lisa Severy), Board Members (e.g., Ray Davis, Brian Montalvo, Wendy LaBenne), Committee Chairs (e.g Melissa Venable, Rebecca Dedmond), as well as Committee Chairs and State Career Development Association leaders (too numerous to list!) have all graduated from the NCDA leadership Academy over the past ten years. Projects that resulted from the work of the over 100 participants include the NCDA Speaker's Bureau, State CDA Board Orientation, Professional Development of Career Development Facilitators, the Conference Poster Sessions and much more.


The Future of the LADC and the LA

The LADC will add three new LA alumni members this year, and the current alumni members will continue until October 1, 2017. Applications were due August 15, with the requirement that applicants must have completed LA by at least one year prior to applying. The committee will include 6 LA alumni, serving 2-year staggered terms beginning October 1, with 3 members added each year and 3 members rotating off. Applications for the next LADC members will open in July 2017, with closure August 15, 2017.


Applicants for the LA Class of 2018 should apply by November 1, 2016. Those selected for the Class of 2018 will begin their Leadership Academy experience at the 2017 NCDA Career Development Conference in Orlando. The application process starts online and still includes the submission of a resume and two letters of reference. When applying online, all applicants will be prompted to enter their log-in credentials for the NCDA Members Only website to access the application. For complete information and application instructions, go to the Leadership Academy section of the NCDA website.


Participants for Leadership Academy are selected by the LADC on the basis of their leadership potential and prior service to the profession. LA participants receive the following benefits:

  • Attending a series of leadership workshops and training sessions during NCDA’s annual conference.

  • A $500 travel stipend (each year for two consecutive years) to support attendance at two NCDA annual conferences.

  • Waived NCDA annual conference registration fees for two consecutive conferences.

  • The opportunity to expand leadership potential and explore leadership opportunities through NCDA and state career development associations.

  • Focused work on one select area of association needs for a year-long project

  • Ongoing support and mentorship by a member of the NCDA Board of Directors.


All members of NCDA are encouraged to apply for Leadership Academy! Questions should be directed to any member of the Leadership Academy Development Committee, emails linked above. For more on leadership, read the following Career Convergence articles or search on Leadership Academy in the Career Convergence archives:

Developing Diverse Leadership Experiences: An Interview With Michelle Beese - By Nancy Miller and Michelle Beese

Leadership Comes in All Shapes and Sizes - By Danielle Gruen

Report of Leadership Academy III Project: Creating an NCDA Speakers' Bureau - By Gemma A. Williams



Maggie McCormickMaggie McCormick, M.A., NCC, LPC, is the owner of Career Seasons, providing workshop facilitation and career coaching in planning for career transitions and retirement lifestyles. Maggie has a passion for helping others find their best fit at every stage of their careers, and believes in the importance of lifelong career development. She has a B.A. degree in Education and an M.A. degree in Counseling, both from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA. Her work experience also includes corporate leadership and employee development, university career and academic counseling, inpatient and outpatient mental health, juvenile corrections, and education. She can be reached at maggie@career-seasons.com. Learn more about Career Seasons at career-seasons.com



Printer-Friendly Version


Rich Feller   on Thursday 09/01/2016 at 09:13 PM

Wonderful report Maggie... NCDA has a great future ahead with talent from the LA offering its creativity, energy, and spirit. Lots to look forward to

Brian Montalvo   on Friday 09/02/2016 at 08:18 AM

Maggie- Great profile of the LA Academy program. Truly a transformation experience.

Ellen Weaver Paquette   on Friday 09/02/2016 at 09:08 AM

Love the article, Maggie. More to come from this great group.

Wendy LaBenne   on Friday 09/02/2016 at 09:42 AM

Great article, Maggie! Thanks to you and others for all your fantastic work on behalf of NCDA and the Leadership Academy!!

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.