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Peer Learning in a Fun-Sized Cohort

main.jpgThe cohort model of learning is based on the importance of community in education.[1] Human behavior suggests that people learn better when they are learning in a collective of peers. EPIP-YNPN’s Leadership Institute takes this idea a step further and tests the assumption that rather than learning mainly from a consumption- or lecture-based style, that co-creating a learning experience with peers encourages mutual creativity, networking, and encourages progress.

The Leadership Institute started as a project by young professionals across the Twin Cities who saw the need to organize a self-created platform for bringing young leaders together from philanthropic and nonprofit organizations to address leadership issues of our time. Since the idea emerged, planning began and the inaugural cohort launched in 2014.

Fast-forward to the present, and YNPN Twin Cities and EPIP are proud to introduce the second cohort of members that will be taking the helm. This year’s cohort is comprised of strong candidates from various sectors in the field ranging from education to arts to social justice and all in between. They are participating to build stronger connections, to learn from each other, and to explore burning career questions. 

As a member of the inaugural year of the Institute, I had the pleasure of experiencing the peer-led cohort of learning myself. One of the most beneficial aspects was getting to problem-solve with others about tough situations that I was facing and questions that I was asking regarding my career. And while the experience wasn’t perfect (as pilots go), the group that I was a part of shared wisdom, discussed topics impacting our professional lives, and formed a strong network. We were able to support one another in our journeys.

This year, we are hoping to create a more focused journey for cohort members by providing a more structured co-creation experience with more front-end planning around topics that Institute participants will take a deeper dive into. We are also focusing on enhancing the cohort experience by bolstering small group connections within the Institute as a more intimate way for people to connect.

We would like to heartily welcome the 2015-2016 EYLI cohort:

  • Alaina DeSalvo, Greater Twin Cities United Way
  • Amalia Centurion, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
  • Amy Highness, Hearth Connection
  • Andrea Davila, Echoing Green
  • Andrew Mueller, Serve Minnesota Action Network
  • Angelina Momanyi, Fred Wells Tennis and Education Center
  • Anna Bosak, Pillsbury United Communities
  • Ashley Fairbanks, Native American Community Development Institute
  • Brian Garshelis, New Sector Alliance
  • Cecelia Caspram, CornerHouse
  • Colleen Powers, Jabber Logic/Spring Board for the Arts
  • Grace Grinager, Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES)
  • Kathleen Smith, YouthLink
  • Kaying Vang, The McKnight Foundation
  • Kelly Harding, CommonBond Communities
  • Kristi Ward, Bush Foundation
  • LaCora Bradford Kesti, Public Allies
  • Lindsay Paskewitz, Real Resources
  • Mariah Mousel, Minnesota Philanthropy Partners
  • Michael Malone, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
  • Molly Sullivan, Minneapolis Public Schools
  • Paul Vliem, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
  • Rebekah Swanson, Summit Academy

We are excited about strengthening both the nonprofit and funding sectors in the Twin Cities!


[1] Colorado Christian University. “What is a Cohort Program?” August 22, 2011


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