Topic: Leadership Development

  • Winning Recipes for Dealing with Uncertainty in Our Sector

Professionals in the nonprofit sector often possess specialized knowledge and skills aligned with their zone of expertise, but they may not have received formal training in leadership and management. Emerging leaders are in the unique position of overseeing others, while also responding to their organizational leadership. Further, human services organizations are facing complex organizational challenges that require the accelerated development of transformative leaders. More than ever before, emerging leaders must quickly learn and deploy core management skills, develop a broad strategic perspective, take their leadership skills to the next level, and expand their professional and personal networks.

In addition to the Senior Leadership Conference, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities provides many opportunities for leaders at varying points in their careers to grow and excel in their professional capacity. For emerging leaders, there is no deeper learning experience than the Alliance’s Executive Leadership Institute (ELI). ELI, which his offered in partnership with the University of Michigan School of Social Work and Ross School of Business, equips senior-level managers and executives with the knowledge and skills to enhance their management expertise, while preparing them for higher level executive leadership. Many alumni have used their ELI experience to propel them to the seat of the CEO. ELI assembles expert faculty from the nonprofit and for-profit sectors as well as academia.

Executives Julius Mullen and ChaTanya Lankford will share why they attribute ELI as being the “X factor” in expediting their leadership development.   To expose emerging executives to the lessons learned at ELI during 64 hours of intensive high-level content, the presenters will share the “ATE” Ingredients of Leadership for Emerging Nonprofit Leaders. These ingredients highlight the artistic elements of leadership for aspiring leaders. Through a variety of interactive instructional modalities, presenters will share their experiences, resources, and practical strategies to develop managers, directors and executives.   Mullen says, “ELI has caused me to think, articulate, analyze, decide, and LEAD much differently than before. My leadership lens was expanded to an executive perspective I wasn’t able to see prior to graduating from ELI.”    

Learning Objectives

  • Practical strategies to enhance leadership development for emerging managers, directors and executives
  • Self-analysis to determine professional career commitments
  • Increase knowledge and awareness about the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities Executive Leadership Institute  


ChaTanya Lankford
Program Director
Pressley Ridge

ChaTanya Lankford has served as the program director for Pressley Ridge’s treatment foster care program since 2005. In this role, she is responsible for the administrative, programming, and clinical development of the organization as well as financial management of state contracts. Lankford manages the development of new programs, monitors the quality and validity of individual case records according to Medicaid, Council on Accreditation, state and agency protocols, and quality assurance of clinical programs located in Delaware and Maryland.

Lankford received her bachelor’s in sociology with a concentration in corrections from Towson University. She later obtained her master’s in social work from Delaware State University. Lankford has practiced as a licensed clinical social worker since 2001. She currently holds clinical licensure in Delaware, the District of Columbia, and Maryland. Lankford is a 2011 graduate of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities Executive Leadership Institute (ELI). Lankford has served over 20 years in the human services field and has worked in various program settings including corrections, mental health, substance abuse, education, child welfare, and geriatric care. Prior to joining Pressley Ridge, Lankford worked for Psychiatric Center Chartered Inc. in Washington, D.C., as the program director of a partial hospitalization program for the chronically mentally ill and the dual diagnosed. Lankford was recognized for her leadership within Pressley Ridge in 2008 with the Entrepreneurial Leadership Award, which is given to individuals who produce significant entrepreneurial growth for the organization and again in 2011 when she was awarded with the organization’s Distinguished Service Award.

Lankford is active with the Public Policy Committee with the Foster Family-based Treatment Association (FFTA) and is a current member for the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities ELI Alumni Board and Zoe Ministries Board of Directors.

Julius Mullen
Chief Clinical Officer
Children & Families First

Julius Mullen Sr. is the chief clinical officer for Children & Families First in Wilmington, Delaware, where he serves as an integral member of the executive management team. He oversees many departments related to mental health, child welfare, and education. He also has a passion for inspiring professionals to develop their leadership and management competencies.

Mullen is a graduate of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities Executive Leadership Institute, which is offered through a partnership with the University of Michigan. He also earned a bachelor’s in behavioral science, a master’s in educational counseling, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Wilmington University.

Mullen is an expert in trauma-informed care and brain science. He is a phenomenal leader, clinician, and trainer. He has spent over 10 years on the campuses of Wilmington University as an adjunct professor teaching in the master’s of clinical mental health, school counseling and bachelor’s of psychology and social sciences program. Mullen is a national certified counselor which he is also licensed to practice mental health in Delaware. He loves to mentor doctoral students as they pursue their educational dreams at the highest level.

In his spare time, Mullen and his wife Tasha spend countless hours embracing the spirit of volunteerism where they have mentored youth for the last 15 years. So much so, they developed a program called IMPACT which encompasses two gender-based programs, MAN UP and UNIQUE! Although they have been recognized by ESSENCE magazine, The Washington Post, the Jefferson Award presented by the Delaware News Journal, Delaware Superstars in Education, local TV/newspapers, and numerous community advocacy awards, their most prized accomplishment comes from the fruits of their labor. 100 percent of youth graduated from their program and 96 percent of their youth are college graduates, college attendees, military enlistees, or gainfully employed. Whether it be a first-generation college student, a budding professional or a traumatized child, Julius believes that each person is just one caring adult away from living out their dreams regardless of any adverse event.