Apply for the NGO Leadership Workshop and lead with impact!


The University of Michigan and the William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan, in partnership with Hekima, are excited to announce a unique opportunity for young NGO leaders in Kosovo, Moldova, Northern Macedonia and Serbia. We are offering a one-week virtual NGO Leadership Workshop for emerging civil society activists and leaders. The workshop empowers selected civil society representatives to strengthen their leadership skills, managerial capacities, and personal branding to advance the impact of their organizations.

The interactive virtual training schedule will span five business days, presented in half-day sessions, and will be supplemented by self-paced e-learning modules. In addition to the in-depth lectures, program trainers will facilitate group exercises designed to create meaningful connections between participants and will also host dedicated office hours allowing valuable one-on-one time for participants to seek guidance specific to their organization.

5 days

3-hour interactive online sessions

Exclusive tailor-made content

Distinguished trainers

Certificate upon completion

Access to additional learning material & an alumni network

By attending this workshop, you will:


Develop your leadership behaviours and skills to manage leadership challenges, such as uncertainty, risk tolerance, and motivation.


Learn how to position yourself as an expert in your field through personal branding techniques that will elevate your credibility as well as that of your organization.


Gain access to other education and fundraising opportunities and our robust alumni network of 169 leaders, spanning 18 countries across Europe and Eurasia.


Acquire tools to conduct your own strategic organizational assessment with actionable outcomes and how to introduce change into your organization.


Gain three month access to an exclusive online learning portal with additional learning tools and materials.


Earn a certification issued by the program organizers, upon successful completion of all training requirements.

Who can apply

    • Leaders of NGOs, projects and initiatives up to 35 years of age.
    • Your organization should focus on upholding and/or reviving democratic values in your home country or abroad through work in the following areas:
      • Human rights (including issues such as inclusion, equality, migration, etc.)
      • Strengthening democracy and rule of law (including watchdog activities)
      • Global citizenship education
      • International development
    • Advanced English language skills are required.


All participants will receive the training at no charge. All costs will be covered by the organisers.

Application process

The deadline for applying is Thursday, August 26, 2021, CEST 23:59. Complete and submit your application here. The link does not allow for saving your information, so you may prefer to fill in the offline Word document linked to in the application form, and then copy and paste your answers. Any questions should be sent to with the subject ‘NGO Workshop Application’. The applications will be evaluated and participants will be selected by the University of Michigan, the William Davidson Institute and Hekima. All applicants will receive a response by September 10.

Program outline

The Workshop is structured around presentations by distinguished experts and follow-up interactive small group discussions and Q&A sessions. The organizers will conduct a survey of participants’ needs to guarantee tailor-made content.

Day 1: October 11, 14.00 - 17.15 CEST

What It Means to Be a Leader: Expectations, Reality, Boundaries

Trainer: Linda Gasser, Cornell University

Effective leadership requires self-awareness, awareness of others, and the behavioral flexibility to build trust, set vision, establish effective collaborations, and engage others. We will explore perspectives on leadership, what it entails, how it differs from management, and what are key leader behaviors and characteristics. You will explore how your personal approach may differ from and impact your work with others. You will acquire techniques to enhance your behavioral flexibility, strengthen inclusivity, understand boundaries, and expand engagement to be more effective in strengthening personal and group development and productivity.

Day 2: October 12, 14.00 - 17.15 CEST

Change Leadership: How to Introduce Change into an Organization

Trainer: Michael Hathorn, Faculty Affiliate, William Davidson Institute & Partner, Optimis

Today’s leaders are constantly challenged to lead change in their organizations. In this session, we will cover a core set of principles and techniques for leading change that can be readily adapted to any organization and are calibrated for today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) operating environment. You will identify your current change challenges and develop one or more strategies that can be applied immediately.

Day 3: October 13, 14.00 - 17.15 CEST

Design and Use of Organizational Assessment Tools and Processes

Trainer: Michael Hathorn,  Faculty Affiliate, William Davidson Institute & Partner, Optimis

In this session, we will turn the focus from day-to-day operational issues and consider your organization from a strategic perspective. We will begin with understanding the nature of a strategic organizational assessment and then delve into the use of processes and tools that can provide meaningful and actionable outcomes. At the end of this session, you will have clear guidelines on how to conduct an organizational assessment and to use the results for further optimizing your organizations. Several case studies of non-profit organizations will be highlighted to illustrate practical applications that you might make in your organization.

Day 4: October 14, 14.00 - 17.15 CEST

Personal Branding: Advance Your Mission Through Promoting Your Face

Trainer: Peter Šebo, PS:Digital

Personal branding is critical to your career, your networking success and your impact. Building a personal brand also helps your organization grow faster, strengthen its credibility and oftentimes, it is a key to more successful fundraising. At this session, you will learn how to build your personal branding, position yourself as an authority in your field and differentiate yourself and your organization from the competition. You will learn how to effectively communicate your values and expertise to advance your mission as well as your career.

Day 5: October 15, 14.00 - 17.30 CEST

Developing As A Leader: Challenges, Pitfalls and Growth

Trainer: Linda Gasser, Cornell University

Growing into an effective leader requires motivation and a commitment to personal change. When resources are scarce, jobs unsure, and nothing is certain, how do we make good decisions, motivate people, or involve others? What problems are inherent to leading? This session explores common pitfalls and difficulties leaders face, including some of the complexities of ambiguity, uncertainty, risk tolerance, and motivating. You will explore your leadership mindset and personal challenges, and learn concepts, techniques, and “do’s and don’ts” to ease your own and others’ struggles. You will receive personal development resources and strategies to help on your path to successful and resilient leadership.

Our speakers

Linda Gasser (Cornell University, US)

Linda Gasser is a professor at Cornell University and has extensive working experience from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and elsewhere. She helped found and served as an Executive Director of the Central Europe Human Resource Education Initiative – an academic partnership with Slovak and Czech universities – to enhance professional business training and development in the CEE region. Her particular interests include organizational development and change, leadership and management skills training, diversity and cross-cultural awareness, strategic planning, executive coaching, interpersonal dynamics, as well as conflict management. She holds a PhD in Organizational Behavior from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR), a double Master’s degree in College administration and Career counseling from Indiana University, and a BA degree from Grinnell College with a double major in Russian language and literature and the Political science of Eastern Europe.

Michael Hathorn (University of St. Gallen, US)

Michael Hathorn is a professor and practitioner of leadership, innovation, and change and a faculty affiliate with the William Davidson Institute. He is also a partner of Optimis – a human resources consulting firm that specializes in organizational assessment, development and learning. In addition to his senior management experience in both industry and the public sector, Michael has in-depth experience in leading enterprise transformation and change management in organizations in North America, Europe, and Asia. He is a contributor to the World Business Council on Sustainable Development and donates his time to a variety of professional organizations. He currently works on the executive program at the University of St. Gallen and Arizona State University. Michael earned a BA degree in Political Science and an MS degree in Marketing from Louisiana State University and a PhD in International Business (with honors) at the University of St. Gallen.

Peter Šebo (PS:Digital)

Peter Šebo is a digital marketer and marketing enthusiast, as well as the founder of the marketing agency PS: Digital, which very quickly became one of the best digital agencies in Slovakia. He has devoted his entire professional life to digital marketing, about which he writes in professional journals, lectures at several universities, as well as in the commercial and non-profit spheres. He is a co-organizer of the largest conference on digital marketing in the region entitled Digital RULEZZ. Together with colleagues, he holds 35 awards for creativity, effectiveness and „craft“ in digital marketing. In the past, he has lectured at the Science and Technology Week and at the Marketing Identity expert conference, where he became the best speaker. He has helped multiple non-profit organizations through expert consultancy and other high-impact activities.