The Leadership Initiative

The Ford School's Leadership Initiative develops and offers a growing suite of graduate and undergraduate student leadership courses, coaching, and extracurricular programs that build on and complement the school's excellent, rigorous curriculum. Led by Professor Morela Hernandez and a team of leadership and career development professionals, our program is the only of its kind among policy schools.

We know that leadership doesn't "just happen." All of us have the capacity to lead—to make a positive impact on our organizations, communities, and the people around us. We believe that leadership is a behavioral process, and that learning it is a critical part of the preparation we offer to policy professionals.

We help our students focus on self-awareness, mindfulness, observation, resilience, understanding difference, and navigating conflict to cultivate skills to lead projects and people. We help them be intentional about their own growth and development. Read our mission statement.

Photo of cellphone with newsletter on screen

Fall 2023 Newsletter

Our inaugural newsletter touches on our work in programs, classes, coaching, and assessments.
Read the latest edition

Leadership coaching

"My coach helped me identify the most effective tools to problem solve different workplace challenges. I felt empowered to advocate for myself with ease and confidence." -Fanta Condé (MPP '22)
More about our nationally recognized leadership coaching


of MPP students chose to participate in coaching during summer 2023


students received professional coaching since 2019


CliftonStrengths assessments completed since 2019