Opportunity Fellows Program

  • An innovative leadership program for the CDFI Industry


Program Description

The Opportunity Fellows Program, an innovative leadership program for the CDFI Industry, will challenge a diverse cohort of CDFI leaders to learn about facilitating and leading systemic change (i.e., change in practices, norms and values) within their own organizations with the goal of ensuring equitable investment in underserved and disenfranchised communities.

Through the program, participants will develop the knowledge and skills to:

  • Create opportunities for critical but constructive dialogue that challenges people’s values, beliefs and behaviors related to diversity, inclusion and equity;
  • Evaluate organizational structures, policies and practices that either enable or discourage inclusion and equitable investment;
  • Develop actionable frameworks and processes for facilitating systemic change within their organizations and the CDFI industry to promote equitable investment.

The Opportunity Fellows Program is offered by Opportunity Finance Network with generous support from BBVA Compass. The program includes experiential leadership development from world-class trainers and robust interactions with industry and community leaders.

Program Structure

The program works with three levels of CDFI leaders—Emerging, Mid-Career, and Executive. The program will intentionally focus on building leadership skills at each level and across levels. 

  • Executive Leaders—Executive Directors and CEOs of CDFIs are eligible.
  • Mid-Career Leaders—CDFI department heads, team leaders, program managers, and line of business leaders. Mid-career leaders will have accountability for day-to-day operations, as well as, strategic goals. They will have a minimum of three years of supervisory experience and will currently be supervising others.
  • Emerging Leaders—Early-career CDFI professionals recognized by their organization’s leadership as highly capable and having the potential to contribute meaningfully to the mission of the organization. Emerging leaders will have at least three years of professional experience, of which at least one year is in the opportunity finance industry.

Over a period of six months (May 2018 – October 2018), the Fellows will:

  • Attend two three-day training sessions in Birmingham, AL with fellow CDFI leaders and leadership development professionals. The tentative dates are May 8-10, 2018 and September 12-14, 2018.
  • Attend a half-day gathering for the Opportunity Fellows during the OFN Conference in Chicago, October 8-11, 2018.
  • Engage in pre-meeting assignments, assessments, and online, collaborative learning between sessions.

High-level Curriculum Topics

Session One (May 2018): Understanding Systemic Change and the Connection to Equitable Investment

  • What systemic change means and what it looks like
  • Understanding the differences and the relationship between diversity, inclusion and equity
  • Envisioning leadership that promotes equity

Session Two (September 2018): Implementing Change for Impact

  • Understanding how to plan and build towards change
  • Role of emotional intelligence and cultural competency in leading successful change
  • Extracting models and lessons learned from existing case studies of equitable impact

Fellowship Project: Participants will choose a project to complete over the course of the program designed to help them develop a leadership vision and action plan that achieves greater equity in CDFI investments.

OFN Conference Gathering (October 2018): Leaders will gather to present on their fellowship projects and celebrate completion of the program.

Congratulations to the 2018 Class of Opportunity Fellows!

Executive Leaders

  • Tina Campbell (Lancaster, Pa.), ASSETS Lancaster
  • Monica Edwards (San Francisco), BRIDGE Impact Capital
  • Larry Holman (Beaufort, S.C.), Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Everett Sands (Brea, Calif.), Lendistry
  • Tunua Thrash-Ntuk (Los Angeles), LA LISC
  • Brett Traver (Somerset, Ky.), Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED)
  • Paul Turney (Bryan, Texas), Brazos Valley CDC, Inc.
  • Jon Welty (Columbus, Ohio), Ohio Capital Finance Corporation

Mid-Career Leaders

  • Robin Brule (Albuquerque, N.M.), Nusenda Credit Union
  • Cynthia Garcia (Weslaco, Texas), Affordable Homes of South Texas, Inc.
  • Joe Huber (Cincinnati, Ohio), Cincinnati Development Fund
  • Amber Kani (Austin, Texas), PeopleFund
  • Purvi Patel (San Francisco), Self-Help Federal Credit Union
  • Adria Quinones-Masur (San Jose, Calif.), Housing Trust Silicon Valley
  • Joanna Ramirez Barrett (Minneapolis, Minn.), Meda
  • Ebonie Reed (St. Louis, Mo.), Justine Petersen
  • Namoch Sokhom (Los Angeles), PACE Finance Corporation
  • Anthony Young (Memphis, Tenn.), River City Capital

Emerging Leaders

  • Ashlee Barker (Lansing, Mich.), Cinnaire
  • David Dinoff (Austin, Texas), BCL of Texas
  • Brandon Dorman (Port Angeles, Wash.), Craft3
  • Agnetha Jaime Gloshay (Albuquerque, N.M.), Accion
  • Davin Gordon (Kansas City, Mo.), AltCap
  • Priscilla Jang (San Francisco), Working Solutions
  • Katrin Kark (Washington, D.C.), Rural LISC
  • Ebony Perkins (Durham, N.C.), Self-Help
  • Katie Vail (Jersey City, N.J.), New Jersey Community Capital

Thank you to our 2018 Selection Committee:

  • Bob Dickerson, Executive Director, Birmingham Business Resource Center
  • Donna Fabiani, Executive Vice President of Knowledge Sharing, Opportunity Finance Network
  • David Fleming, CEO, Rev Birmingham
  • Tiena Johnson-Hall, Community Development Finance Manager, BBVA Compass
  • Lauren Stebbins, Vice President of Knowledge Sharing, Opportunity Finance Network
Print Friendly, PDF & Email