The 2023-2024 program cohort will include 25 postdoctoral scholars and advanced graduate students. Participants will:
See Program Timeline for more information.
*The last module will be held the first friday of the month.
In Module 1 program participants will undergo a process of self-analysis through utilization of a comprehensive personal assessment. As the assessment will serve as a foundation for understanding the unique value each individual brings to their leadership roles, participants will spend Module 1 exploring their personal leadership styles, motivations, and preferences, as well as considering what type of leader they want to be.Close
In Module 2 program participants will continue their self-analysis towards a deeper understanding of their inherent priorities and preferences. As a first step in defining their personal leadership goals, participants will create an individual “Unique Value Statement” that illustrates what they offer as a leader.Close
In Module 3 participants will explore the professional and leadership strengths they already possess and want to refine, and what additional leadership strengths they want to develop. Additionally, participants will further develop their “Unique Value Statement” that will serve as a guide as they continue to explore how and where they can best contribute what they desire to offer as leaders.Close
In Module 4 participants will shift their focus externally to gain a better understanding of the priorities and preferences of others. While an understanding of others will be explored to some degree in Modules 1 and 2, in Module 4 participants will specifically focus on developing their awareness of others’ styles. Through the activities and case studies explored in Module 4, participants will explore how to more effectively work with individuals who have different priorities and preferences than they do.Close
In Module 5 participants will be introduced to an organized framework to investigate the nature of conflict. Through self-assessment and analysis, participants will have the opportunity to explore how they most often respond to conflict and whether this serves them well.Close
In Module 6 participants will explore the underlying sources of conflict, reflecting on the internal factors that may cause conflict within them outside the original issue at hand. Participants will consider where and why conflict often arises in the context of individual preferences and styles, and learn various ways to analyze a situation towards understanding the root cause of the perceived conflict so that one can better choose how to approach the situation, if at all. Additionally, participants will discuss how best to communicate with individuals with different styles/preferences during times of conflict.Close
In Module 7 participants will learn a process through which they can identify if a difficult conversation needs to be had, and how they can approach challenging conversations while preserving and even strengthening relationships. Additionally, participants will discuss how best to communicate with individuals with different styles/preferences during times of conflict. Through case studies and small group activities they will practice what they have learned.Close
In Module 8 participants will present and analyze case studies that highlight relevant challenges that they and others may encounter. By applying the knowledge they have gained in the first seven program modules, participants will work with each other to suggest approaches to dealing with the challenges discussed. In addition to discussing best approaches to the conflicts highlighted in the case studies, participants will practice different ways to give feedback and consider which approaches work best for different individuals, including themselves.Close
In Module 9 9 program participants will explore how to influence without title or authority through first assessing their current style of influencing others and subsequently examining their level of influencing success.Close
In Module 10 participants build on what they learned about their influencing style through exploring the importance and role of stakeholders in achieving long-term goals. They will practice a framework for assessing whom and how they need to influence in any give situation so they can enter any discussion fully prepared to speak to the interests of the various stakeholders and to listen to what their stakeholders have to say, with the ultimate goal of successfully influencing their stakeholders and further strengthening relationships at the same time.Close
Since 2020, the Foundations of Leadership Program has been held virtually to expand its reach and encourage early career PhDs from around the world to participate. Thus far, the program has incliuded:
Dr. Diane Klotz is Director of the Office of Education, Training, & International Services, and Associate Dean of Administration and Professional Development in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, CA. In this position Diane oversees a team responsible for creating and delivering innovative programs to support the professional growth and complement the scientific education and training of Sanford Burnham Prebys graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. She also participates in institute-wide efforts in strategic planning with respect to education and training initiatives, and serves as an advisor to faculty on education and training best practices and to executive leadership on education and training policy. Most recently, Diane was selected to lead a new Sanford Burnham Prebys initiative to develop a leadership competencies model and new leadership development program for all employees.
Diane received her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Tulane University, and pursued her postdoctoral research training at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS, NIH). Diane’s research focused on cross-talk between steroid hormone receptor and growth factor signaling pathways in the female reproductive tract. Outside the lab, Diane served as a member and chair of the NIEHS postdoctoral association and was a member and chair of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) Board of Directors, where she remains active as chair of the NPA Advisory Council. Diane has served on the NIH study sections for the NIH Broadening Experience in Scientific Training (BEST) Award program and served as a member of the NIH BEST External Scientific Panel of advisors.
Diane’s career path has been shaped by her observations of and experiences with how scientific organizations function and how scientific leaders strive to effect change and make progress. Her focus in the education and training of scientists at all levels and in all career paths is on helping scientists find their voices as high impact leaders who are able to guide their teams with compassion, clarity, vision, and intent. Toward this end, Diane worked with academic labs, professional associations, and biotech companies towards developing high-performing teams and cultures that support them. Diane is a certified DiSC® facilitator, Influence Style Indicator™ facilitator, Leadership Process: Motivating Achievement facilitator, and MBTI® practitioner, and has achieved comprehensive certification in Conflict Management and Change Management from Kilmann Diagnostics, along with a certificate for Negotiation and Leadership from the Harvard Program on Negotiation.
Dr. Nisha Cavanaugh is the Associate Director of Career Development & Postdoctoral Programs within Sanford Burnham Prebys' OETIS. In this role, Nisha oversees the portfolio of career and professional development programming for Sanford Burnham Prebys postdoctoral scholars and the co-curricular activities for graduate students. Additionally, she collaborates with OETIS faculty and with the Sanford Burnham Prebys Science Network to design new professional development workshops, programs and opportunities to enhance the postdoctoral experience. Nisha is a certified Influence Style Indicator™ facilitator and MBTI® practitioner, and she has completed certification in Conflict Management from Kilmann Diagnostics and the Gallup Successful Strengths Coaching course.
Nisha received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado at Boulder where she elucidated the primase-polymerase enzyme mechanism in Herpes Simplex Virus-1 DNA replication initiation. As a postdoc at the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), she analyzed the structure-function relationship of DNA polymerase beta and the misincorporation of ribonucleotides during DNA repair. Nisha is passionate about creating and developing innovative programs for early career PhDs that complement the education and research training they receive to provide them with the necessary tools to successfully achieve their research and career goals. This desire stems from her own graduate education and postdoctoral training experience as well as her time spent as Chair of the NIEHS Trainees Assembly, the NIEHS postdoctoral association.
Heather Dillon is the Career and Professional Development Program Manager in the Office of Postdoctoral and Research Scholar Affairs at the University of California, San Diego. In this position, Heather develops, coordinates, and presents programs to meet the training and professional development needs of the UCSD postdoctoral community. Heather serves as an ex-officio member and advisor to the UC San Diego Postdoctoral Association Board and collaborates with partners across UC San Diego to facilitate high-impact career development programs for PhDs and Postdocs.
Heather graduated with Highest Honors from the University of California, Davis with a degree in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and has a Master’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience from Dartmouth College. She is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and MBTI® Certified Practitioner. With over a decade of experience in recruitment and advising, Heather has assisted hundreds of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with their job searches and application materials. She is devoted to helping trainees succeed in their chosen professions by providing career guidance and advice through seminars, workshops, and individual meetings.
B. Bea Rajsombath, Director of Graduate & Postdoctoral Services, oversees the Pre & Postdoctoral Office (PDO) at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She has been employed at the Salk since 2010 and has successfully served in various instrumental roles during her tenure. She earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Carlson School of Management with an emphasis on strategic management and international business. As part of Salk’s PDO, B. Bea and her team assist trainees in identifying funding, deliver career development programs, develop strategies and tools to aid postdocs in finding independent positions. B. Bea serves on a number of committees, including those focused on diversity initiatives for Salk. She is also a certified MBTI® Practitioner and CIMER facilitator for mentor training.
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The program's cohort of peer emerging leaders will be committed to fully engage in all program activities and support their fellow participants.
To apply to the program, complete the application form in full, including: