Frequently Asked Questions

What does The Partnership do?

The Partnership Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded in 1987, out of the Boston busing crisis and subsequent “brain drain” of talent of color from a city they found unfriendly and inhospitable. Uniting at the intersection of business and community, The Partnership set out to challenge and change that reality for professionals on color in the region and beyond.

Today, we offer a series of world-class leadership development programs that meet individuals of color at every point in their career, consistently fast-tracking professional growth and advancement. Our Executive Council, BoardLink and Job Board services complement our programs by engaging, connecting, and convening hundreds of leading experts in Human Resources, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Talent Management with our exceptional alumni network.

There are endless options out there when it comes to investing in and strengthening leadership skills. The Partnership’s focus on driving upward career mobility for professionals of color is maybe the most obvious distinctions. One of the most notable results of this focus is that participants come from all different industries and regions but share personal and professional lived experiences rooted in difference and identity. Furthermore, our programs are for people of color and taught by people of color, enabling a remarkably open and supported experience for participants and faculty alike.

Another feature professionals find both rare and invaluable is The Partnership network. Our programs are designed to develop alumni and partners who are deeply committed to and effective at building, maintaining, and leveraging relationships. We repeatedly hear that the richness and breadth of the community, and the collective generosity of spirit in sharing best practices, resources, and connections is unmatched.

Lastly, the reputation of The Partnership brand and quality is unrivaled in the region and lends credibility and status to program alumni. This is most evident in the caliber of faculty and executive coaches who opt to be associated with The Partnership over hundreds of competing leadership programs.

The Partnership’s program participant and partners instantly become part of a life-long, national community of talented and motivated professionals of color who realize and reciprocate the rewards of peer support, mentoring and coaching. These are professionals who are committed not only to their own continuous professional development but also to helping others to reach the highest levels of advancement.

Program cohort groups often become enduring professional, social, and supportive associations. Alumni engagement efforts are deliberately designed to nurture, build, and leverage these relationships over the course of lives and careers. We take pleasure in regularly circulating opportunities such as nonprofit and private board openings for graduates of our higher tier programs, as well as extending invitations to events such an annual Summer Alumni Reception, Annual Meeting and Anniversary Retreats.

Which program is right for me?

Each of these programs are designed for different stages in a professional’s career. Both curriculums examine organizational influence and awareness, leveraging cultural competency, executive presence, and network building, but are adapted for the experience level of participants.

Our Associates program is geared toward ambitious, early-career professionals of color who have been identified as high performers and future leaders. Participants often have 3-5 years of professional experience as independent contributors. The Fellows program is designed to incorporate topics at a deeper level with an added emphasis on management and real-world application.

Our BioDiversity Fellows employ industry leaders, renowned executive coaches, and cohort driven peer-learning to build tools to anticipate, navigate, and succeed when faced with industry-specific obstacles. The curriculum addresses challenges that are unique to life sciences’ distinct organizational hierarchy, academic overlap, and prolonged path to executive leadership. Furthermore, the program validates and improves the isolated experience of many professionals of color in these highly specialized fields.

This exciting new remote program was just piloted in 2021! The core purpose is to develop underrepresented leaders in the industries driving the economy of the Research Triangle and Charlotte, NC Region. The NC MCLA Program engages professionals who fall between the Associates and Fellows level and serves to elevate and expand their leadership capacity through skill development, executive coaching, and national networking experiences. Participants work with high-level executive coaches in intensive cohort groups to define individual, team, and organizational goals on which to focus during the program year. We do ask that participants have the support from senior management to participate in the 9-month training program.

NGE is a state-of-the-art, remote leadership development program designed to serve as a launching pad for established and emerging executives. While we do not require participants to be serving on a senior leadership team at present, it is key that you have a minimum of 10 years of professional experience and feel you have been recognized as having executive potential.

Promotions to strategic roles, expanding responsibilities or teams, or newly elevated visibility are all great indicators that NGE might be for you. The NGE curriculum focuses on topics core to these roles include leading strategic innovation and digital transformation, operating in a global market, and leveraging difference and cultural competency as a leader of color.

How are programs run?

We receive and accept registrations year-round, with a new class of participants launching annually for each program. Associates, Fellows, NC MCLA and BioDiversity Fellows programs all run February-December with a registration deadline for that year’s class in early February. The NGE program runs October-April with an annual deadline in late September. Please see registration deadlines for this year’s programming here.

In typical Associates and Fellows programs, The Partnership accepts 200 participants for each class. Our NC Mid-Career Leadership Accelerator welcomed a class of 30 for this year’s pilot program, and we look forward to expanding it. The BioDiversity Fellows program currently targets a class size of 100. For Next Generation Executives, the class is capped at 100 participants to preserve the intimacy of the experience. Admission is first come-first served; when the programs are full, we are sadly unable to accept additional registrations for that year.

Leadership Development Programs will be offered remotely through 2022, with live, interactive sessions held over Zoom. Participants will not be watching pre-recorded videos or lectures; this what sets us apart from programs teaching material through automated sessions, with little live support. The Partnership’s faculty and facilitators are always live and offer direct coaching and engagement in real time.

Faculty and coaches have adapted material, exercises, and sessions to be effective and impactful in a remote setting, while retaining the standards and content of the pre-pandemic curriculum. We have found the remote delivery better prepares professionals to succeed and flourish in remote and hybrid work environments alike. Lastly, the remote programs have enabled participants from a broader geography and therefore offer greatly increased diversity of background and perspective. We are proud to share that the remote format has received strong feedback regarding consistent value, learning, and connections from participants at every level.

With input directly from participants and experts in remote-learning best practices, our faculty utilize interactive tools including Slack channels, email groups, breakout rooms, discussion prompts, polling, Zoom Chat dialogue, and Zoom Whiteboard to drive and deepen engagement with material. Participants also benefit from meetings in smaller cohort groups with coaches accustomed to the remote structure, where intentional space is created for participants to debrief and strategize. Additionally, frequent breaks have been incorporated into sessions to mitigate burnout and support a comfortable and engaging rhythm.

The Partnership retains a racially and ethnically diverse team of distinguished faculty including accomplished business leaders and leading academic experts from an impressive range of industries.

To be retained as an executive coach in The Partnership programs, faculty and coaches must consistently meet or exceed our standards for performance and user experience. Coaches must have a combination of real-world industry leadership experience as well as adhere to standards of ICF coach certification. The Partnership relies on best practice tools including post-program participant surveys and peer evaluation to determine future contracts with faculty & coaches.

Absolutely! We have assembled a list of alumni spanning programs, years, and industries, all of whom have offered to connect with prospective clients and participants to provide first-hand insight and answer questions. If you are interested in speaking with an alumni, please reach out to Maya Grevatt at

How do I join The Partnership network?

You might check in with your supervisor or head of human resources or D&I to open a discussion of your professional development and training. Feel free to read or circulate this link as well If your company worked with The Partnership before, there may be an internal nomination protocol for Leadership Development Programs for you to follow. Please reach out or direct your company’s head of human resources or D&I to reach out to Maya Grevatt at with any questions.

If you would like to nominate or connect a high potential professional of color with The Partnership programs, you may visit this link to learn more and please direct your company’s head of human resources or D&I to reach out to Maya Grevatt at with any questions.

The Partnership’s Executive Council is made up of almost 80 leading experts in Human Resources, Employee Relations, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion from across every industry and region. Meeting every other Friday for remote, organic, and relevance-driven conversations, the Council is well known as a non-competitive space for experts to exchange best practices, resources, and common struggles. Our Executive Council members frequently turn to our shared communication channels (including email and Slack) to ask for advice, language, resources, implementation advice, etc.

Take our personalized quiz to find the best program for you!