Top Talent Institute

Pierce Family Foundation began the Top Talent Institute in 2012. Designed especially for Foundation grantee staff in middle management or departmental leadership positions, the Top Talent Institute is part professional development workshop, part learning circle, and part organizational capacity building.

The Foundation has noticed that much of the professional development and leadership support groups available to nonprofits tend to be geared toward Executive Directors. And, although Executive Directors need all the love and support they can get, Program Supervisors, Operations Managers, Development Managers, and Finance Directors also need opportunities to stretch their skills and understand the needs of their developing roles. After all, they may be Executive Directors one day!

Top Talent Institute was created, and is facilitated, by PFF Support Specialist Kris Torkelson, and addresses issues that are important to the class participants, who decide the final curriculum. Each Top Talent Institute cohort explores a wide range of topics, including:

  • Managing staff transition

  • Improving communication of expectations of staff

  • Applying an understanding of leadership style to build teams

  • Coaching around negative behaviors

  • Improving supervisory techniques

Participants in the 10-month Top Talent Institute have experienced the remarkable results of coming together in a supportive room of nonprofit peers. As a past participant states, “The workshops presented valuable information that would have been hard to find elsewhere in one setting. The focus of the workshops was specifically designed to make participants more thoughtful and knowledgeable leaders, managers, and professionals.”

Top Talent Institute participants have included staff members of Foundation core grantees past and present.

“I left yesterday as I left every Top Talent session – stimulated, refreshed, and with a sense of camaraderie with a group of motivated peers.  What a gift this has been!” –Top Talent graduate

"Sitting here at my desk I began to reflect on all the wonderful people I met last year...Being a part of the Top Talent program was an experience that I really enjoyed. The conversations we had that challenged my standards and ideas of what I thought leadership should look like. I learned from each of you, your best practices and things I should avoid. It is because of input from each of you, I continue to excel in my own leadership." –Top Talent graduate



In response to Top Talent Institute alumni requests for more programming to support their learning in the program, Pierce Family Foundation offered "coaching" exclusively for alumni.