March 31, 2023 @ 4:00 pm – April 16, 2023 @ 8:00 pm


Group Leadership Coaching Program


At the Arts & Business Council (A&BC), we understand the difficulties faced by arts leaders who have recently taken on a senior position in a nonprofit organization. With the added pressure of the pandemic, these leaders are expected to manage their staff, engage with their boards, and envision new models for transforming work culture to support equity.

That’s why we’re thrilled to introduce our latest offering, the “Group Leadership Coaching Program.” This six-month pilot program is designed to empower 10 arts leaders from 5 organizations to solve complex issues and lead their organizations with confidence.

As a participant in this program, you’ll be one member of a cohort of ten arts leaders from five nonprofit organizations. Through group and individual coaching sessions, you’ll build meaningful relationships, receive ongoing support, and solve complex problems together.

The Group Leadership Coaching Program is specifically designed for arts leaders who are new to senior roles and are grappling with the pandemic’s impact. Our goal is to provide a supportive space for you to navigate complex issues and develop your leadership skills.

We’re accepting applications from two senior leaders within the same nonprofit, the “lead applicant” being the new arts leader and the “second applicant” being a staff or board member. This approach is designed to help the new leader work with an internal colleague to create shared understanding, team alignment, and collective action toward the priorities affecting the organization’s mission, operations, and management.

We’re proud to collaborate with Emmanuel Neal, a Management Consultant, Executive Coach, and Ph.D. candidate at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, to bring you this program.

If you’re a new arts leader looking to develop your skills and build a supportive network of peers, we encourage you to apply for the Group Leadership Coaching Program. This is your chance to work with a colleague to create team alignment and navigate this time of transformation together.


Scroll down to read about:

  • The Coaching Program
  • Eligibility Criteria
  • Application Process
  • Coaches and Facilitators
  • Q&A


About the Coaching Program

The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity, and leadership.

The Group Leadership Coaching Program will be co-facilitated by four executive coaches, including Emmanuel Neal, who has been coaching arts leaders for 10 years and has been a volunteer for 3 years with A&BC’s Business Volunteer for the Arts® program.

While Emmanuel and his colleagues are consultants, this program’s nature is to offer 1:1 coaching and encourage group dynamics to solve problems together. To that end, this program is not a consulting service; we won’t be reviewing grants, business plans, or any other consultative tasks. Instead, you will share your current challenges with your cohort and collectively get actionable insights and tools to solve them together. Read about the coaching topics below.


  • Group coaching sessions with all organizations
  • 1:1 coaching with (only) new arts leaders (lead applicant)

Duration: July – December 2023

Time commitment: 3 hours per month

  • Group sessions last 2 hours, and meet once per month in person.
  • Individual sessions last 1 hour, and meet once per month online.

The group sessions (2 hours long) will be held on Tuesday evenings between 4 pm to 8 pm. The exact times will be determined with participants after acceptance:

  • July 11th – 1st session
  • August 8th – 2nd session
  • Sept 12th – 3rd session
  • Oct 10th – 4th session
  • Nov 14th – 5th session
  • Dec 12th – 6th session

Location: Hybrid. Group sessions will meet in person (TBD cohort member locations) and individual coaching will be conducted through Zoom.

Topics: The group session topics will be collectively decided based on the general areas shared below

  • Leadership Development
  • Team Building and Collaboration
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Career Development
  • Stress Management and Resilience
  • Financial Management
  • Marketing and Audience Development
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Legal and Compliance
  • Board and Governance
  • Strategic Planning

Coaches (bios below):

  • Emmanuel Neal, Management Consultant and Executive Coach, Ph.D. Candidate at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • Laticia (Dr. Tish) Thompson, Ph.D., Founder & Chief Business Psychologist at Legacy Blueprint, LLC
  • Chandra McPherson, Ph.D., Founder CLM Executive Coaching & Consulting
  • Lawrence James, Ph.D., Managing Partner at Lawrence James Jr & Associates

Cost: Participation in the program is free.


Eligibility Criteria

For this pilot program, we are seeking new leaders (executive, administrative, or artistic staff) to apply with a another/ second leader (staff or board) from their organization. We define “new leaders” as having been in their current role for less than 18 months.

To qualify for this opportunity, your answers to the following statement must be “yes”:

  • The lead applicant is a senior staff leader who has been in their role for less than 18- months
  • The applicant is representing a Chicago-based arts organization that has been in existence for at least 7 years
  • The organization has a board of at least 5 members, not including staff
  • Another leader (staff or board) within the organization has agreed to participate in this program. (It is not necessary for the second applicant to be new to their role.)

The coaches with A&BC staff will evaluate applications based on:

  • Organization’s commitment to racial equity
  • Alignment of motivations and needs with the program’s coaching topics
  • Availability to attend group coaching sessions.


Application Process

Please follow this link to submit your application before April 16th, 2023, 5:00 pm CST.

We recommend having the following documents handy before applying:

  • IRS letter designating 501c3 status
  • Bios of applicants if no LinkedIn or website link

All applicants will be notified by A&BC no later than May 5, 2023. Five organizations, with two leaders from each, will be invited to join the cohort.

If your organization is invited to be a cohort member, the Lead Applicant will be required to reply by May 12, 2023, agreeing to:

  • Officially join the cohort and engage in 1:1 and group coaching between July and December 2023
  • Complete the survey to indicate topics for group coaching sessions
  • Read and accept the standards of conduct
  • Attend 4 of the 6 group coaching sessions
  • Complete a post-engagement survey

In the meantime, please save the dates of the 6 group coaching sessions to be held on Tuesdays evenings between 4 pm – 8 pm:

  • July 11th – 1st session
  • August 8th – 2nd session
  • Sept 12th – 3rd session
  • Oct 10th – 4th session
  • Nov 14th – 5th session
  • Dec 12th – 6th session

If you have any questions, please contact Kristin Larsen, A&BC’s Executive Director, at klarsen@artsbiz-chicago.org, and Emmanuel Neal at emmanuel.neal@hotmail.com.



Emmanuel Neal is a coach, consultant, and creative individual currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Business Psychology (Consulting) at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

He takes an inquiry-based, facilitative, and experiential approach to coaching, recognizing each client as a whole person and subject matter expert. Emmanuel aims to serve as an accountability partner and accessible resource to help clients grow both personally and professionally. His coaching style is empathetic, patient, direct, and aligns with organizational goals.

Emmanuel holds a Master’s in Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago and is a member of the Society of Consulting Psychologists and the Institute of Coaching through Harvard/McLean Hospital. He volunteers as a consultant with the Arts & Business Council of Chicago and serves on the board of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project.

Dr. Laticia (Tish) Thompson, Ph.D., is a renowned business psychologist, Founder, and Chief of Legacy Blueprint, LLC, a management consulting firm that helps people develop respectful and productive relationships in the workplace. With a Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior, Dr. Tish recently completed her Ph.D. in Business Psychology from the Chicago School for Professional Psychology, emphasizing consulting.

Dr. Tish’s ability to bring about sustainable change in organizations and create fun and thought-provoking learning experiences is widely recognized. She has received the title of best-selling author for her personal story titled “I Am Not My Hair,” and her TEDx talk “I Am… Bold, Bald and Beautiful” showcases her expertise in leadership, change, organizational culture, and self-discovery.

Dr. Tish is passionate about working with organizations across various industries that value people as their most valuable asset and strive to build the best possible organizational culture. Her approach to driving change is engaging, empathetic, and insightful.

Dr. Chandra L. McPherson, Ph.D., is the Founder and Principal Business Psychologist of CLM Executive Coaching, LLC, a management consulting firm that specializes in empowering Sales Managers and their teams to effectively manage rejection and stress in the workplace, enabling them to excel in their sales roles. Dr. McPherson is a leading authority in teaching women how to use positive psychology and transformational tools to enhance their happiness, improve communication skills, and eliminate overwhelm and self-sabotage in the workplace.

With over 10 years of experience in sales, starting with Xerox Corporation, Dr. McPherson inspires other women in sales to love their jobs and lives by avoiding burnout. Her areas of expertise include sales, leadership development, transformational thinking, organizational culture, and executive presence. She has shared her knowledge and upcoming book, “The BOUNCE Method, 15-Proven Techniques to Help Professional Women BOUNCE from Misery to Excellence!” as a frequent guest on various podcasts.

Dr. McPherson holds a Ph.D. in Business Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles, with an emphasis in Coaching and Consulting. She completed an ICF-Certified Coaching program from The CaPP© Institute to improve her coaching techniques. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree in communications from National Louis University. Dr. McPherson finds inspiration in working with family-owned businesses and women in sales to help them develop a refreshed and inspired mindset, empowering them to achieve their goals.

Lawrence James, Ph.D., is a thought leader in the areas of diversity, inclusion, & belonging, executive development, and executive assessment. Showing a powerful mix of inquisitiveness, insight, and drive, he is an innovator known for his willingness to challenge existing paradigms and create new ones. He has developed a holistic, integrated, and systemic model for growing diverse talent which has been detailed in his seminal white paper “Journey to the Top: developing African-American Executives,” as well as numerous blogs.

With his forward-thinking and innovative whole-organization approach to talent development, he has been an invited keynote speaker at a variety of conferences, symposia, and corporate roundtables. Recently, he was selected to be co-editor of a special issue in the Consulting Psychology Journal entitled “The State of Black Leadership: What Can be Done to Create Sustainable Change,” which will go to press in March 2023.

After 12 years as a partner with RHR International, a premier boutique leadership development consultancy, he started his own consultancy focusing on the systemic development of diverse talent from assessment to coaching, inclusive leadership training and development, diversity strategy and advisory services, and organizational transformation. He is an expert in helping corporations develop cultures of belonging, inclusion, and diversity—so that all employees thrive. During his tenure at RHR, he co-created the firm’s diversity, inclusion, and belonging practice area and co-led the service. Internally, he coauthored the design, strategy, and intervention plan for the companies’ own internal journey which led to an over 40% increase in the hiring of diverse talent coupled with improved employee engagement scores firmwide.

Lawrence received his BA in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a master of education in counseling psychology at Howard University, and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He is a licensed psychologist in the state of Illinois and is a member of several professional organizations.


How are you approaching “coaching”?
We agree with The International Coaching Federation’s definition of coaching, which is “coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity, and leadership.”

Does this program also offer consulting?
No. This program encourages group dynamics to solve problems together and provides guidance around common challenges. To that end, this program is not a consulting service; we won’t be reviewing grants, business plans, or any other consultative tasks.

Where are the in-person coaching sessions taking place?
Although not a requirement, we encourage applicants to host group sessions in their buildings or facilities to advance the collaborative component of the program.

How do you define an “arts leader”?
Arts leaders are individuals who serve in nonprofit arts organizations in senior or executive leadership roles. Even though leadership positions vary from organization to organization, arts leaders usually are decision-makers within their organizations and team leads.

I still have questions. Who can I reach out to?
Please contact Kristin Larsen, A&BC’s Executive Director, at klarsen@artsbiz-chicago.org, and Emmanuel Neal at emmanuel.neal@hotmail.com.