The Kendal Leadership Fellows Program

‘Igniting the Light Within’

Modeled after a LeadingAge Leadership Academy program, Kendal’s program develops leaders who will cultivate sustained, long-term change in the organization in alignment with Kendal values. One class per year has completed the program since 2012.

The program focuses on three aspects of leadership—“Learning More Deeply About the Self,” “A Culture of Feedback and Innovation” and “Sustaining a Learning Organization.” Judy Sorum Brown, a former White House Fellow who developed the LeadingAge Leadership Academy program, collaborates with the Senior Vice President, Human Resources, for The Kendal Corporation, and several other Kendal leaders who serve on the Design Team.

Those who have been part of the program report that it makes an immediate, important difference in their work lives and their personal lives; that it is engaging, interesting, even fun at times; and that it is, in many cases, “life-changing.”

Fellows may be leaders new to the Kendal System; long-term managers who want to re-invigorate their work practices; high-potential staff who are being groomed for promotion; and others supported by their Executive Directors to take this professional development step. Diversity in age, experience and world view is a vital component of the class.

Graduates of the 2019 Kendal Leadership Program were: Colleen Brewer, Kendal at Hanover; Keith Fossett, Kendal at Hanover; Erica Hostetler, Kendal at Ithaca; Shannon Khalifa, Kendal at Lexington; Cori Leary, Barclay Friends; Tajuana Smith, Collington; Antonio Sofia, Kendal-Crosslands Communities; and Stephanie Tolson, Collington.

The Design Team Members for 2019 were: Audrey Super, Director of Human Resources, Kendal-Crosslands Communities; consultant Judy Sorum Brown; Wanda Whitted-Smith, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, The Kendal Corporation; David Watts, Director of Human Resources, Kendal at Hanover; and Dan Churchill, Chief Financial Officer, The Admiral at the Lake.

Schedule and Locations

The program consists of three face-to-face learning experiences including a site visit to a Kendal Affiliate. Below is the schedule for the 2020 program:

  • May 12–14:  Judy Brown’s living room in Maryland (just outside Washington D.C.).
  • August 18–20:  Kendal Affiliate (Host TBD).
  • November 18–20:  Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat center, 338 Plush Mill Rd., Wallingford, Pennsylvania.

What Fellows Say About the Program

I found this experience the most powerful of my professional life.

From the group discussions about vulnerability, diversity and highly sensitive people, I gained more insight about myself.

I appreciated being taken away from the daily routines of managing children at home and staff at work, and supported to unplug from technology, in order to absorb all this program is offering.

The honest and open sharing, as well as each Fellow’s commitment to each other, formed bonds that will continue to contribute to individual and system successes.

I would say that this program rewards ten-fold. If you give 100%, you get 1,000% in return.


  • Heightened self-awareness that improves interactions with staff, colleagues, residents, and others and enhances decision-making.
  • Improved capacity to offer useful feedback and to make good use of feedback from others.
  • Ability to consider any situation from multiple perspectives and engage others in decision-making with better long-term results.
  • Skills for handling difficult conversations using Quaker-based techniques and organizational learning processes.
  • Ability to sustain a learning organization, fostering the Quaker process of “continuous revelation”—realizing that if we want to improve, we must always be learning.
  • Strategies for building reflection into action-packed workdays.
  • A network of relationships across departments and among Kendal Affiliates that increases trust, strengthens teamwork and allows for System-wide innovation.
  • Action Learning Projects that benefit individual Affiliates and/or the entire Kendal System.
  • Greater alignment of Kendal values with our day-to-day business practices and ways of working together, increasing System capacity and enhancing Kendal’s competitive advantage.


A Significant Commitment

Participants in the Kendal Leadership Fellows Program make a major commitment extending over eight months. You commit to:

  • Traveling to a different location for each of the three retreats, each lasting three days.
  • Stay overnight at the hotel during each of the three retreats, even if you live nearby.
  • Complete reading and assignments outside of the sessions.
  • Attendance and active participation in each of the three retreats—without the distraction of electronic devices.

Other Requirements

  • Commitment to learning about one’s self as a leader.
  • Commitment to reflection, an action learning project, and communication between meetings.
  • Willingness to grow and change.
  • No current performance concerns, or disciplinary actions within the past 12 months.
  • Application, and a Commitment Letter from the applicant’s Executive Director.

How to Apply

  • Please draft your application responses offline before you begin filling out the online application. Your work will not be saved automatically if you are interrupted while filling out the online application form.
  • This application is not complete without a letter of support from your Executive Director. Upon sending your application, your Executive Director will be notified and provided a link to submit the letter.
  • All applications must be completed by March 20, 2020.

Start Application