Recruiting and retaining talent have continued to be cited by our grantee partners as one of their major challenges in cultivating the next generation of leadership and ensure smooth organizational transitions. We identified an opportunity to address this issue by supporting the growth and development of the “middle layer” of leadership of organizations to strengthen more robust pipelines of leadership within.
What We Did:
In the spring, we launched the KACF Leadership Cohort, a new capacity-building initiative supporting the leadership development of mid-level managers at our grantee partner organizations. We formed an intimate cohort of six nonprofit leaders who met in person for four interactive sessions facilitated in both Korean and English by our capacity-building team to reflect on their different leadership styles, discuss the challenges of leadership in Korean American organizations, and build the skills to more effectively navigate them.
What We Learned:
While many leadership development programs are available to nonprofit professionals through the philanthropic sector, KACF is able to fulfill a distinct need for one that not only addresses leadership skills and strategies, but also centers the unique challenges and opportunities posed by working in bicultural and multigenerational environments.
Cohort participants unanimously acknowledged cultural differences between the diverse generations ㅡ first-, 1.5-, second-, and now third-generation ㅡ that make up their teams often show up as conflicts in working and communication styles, which require more patience and understanding to resolve, especially when there are language barriers.
“When you have 60-70% of the workforce being born outside of the U.S. in Korea […] it’s difficult for everyone to buy in equally at the same pace with the same mindset, so you have to work with a little bit more patience and definitely more of a cultural understanding.” – A second-generation nonprofit leader
“I’ve never had a chance to contemplate what kind of leader I am. This cohort gave me that opportunity.”
“Sometimes, you have to step up into a bigger leaadership role without opportunities for training…I look forward to sharing what I learned here with my colleagues.”