The Citi Leadership Program for Opportunity Finance, offered by OFN with generous support from the Citi Foundation, was a unique and innovative leadership program for CDFIs. Developed by CDFIs for CDFIs, the program supported talent that could lead transformational change, ensure strong leadership at all levels of the industry, and promote leaders that represented the diverse communities that CDFIs serve.

The opportunity finance industry emerged from the Great Recession stronger and fielding more opportunities than ever. But the industry needed more leaders to leverage these and future opportunities. The Citi Leadership Program for Opportunity Finance was an industry-wide talent development program designed to help new leaders, capitalize on the experience of current leaders, and build a leadership that reflected the diverse communities that CDFIs serve.

How It Worked

Over a period of 11 months, a select group of executive, mid-career, and emerging leaders experienced the program’s unique curriculum. Developed and delivered by OFN and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the curriculum offered a powerful combination of leadership development experiences built around four key elements:

  • Transformational leadership frameworks and tools
  • Applying transformational leadership to the opportunity finance industry
  • Understanding leadership and management
  • Building effective teams to lead transformational change

Through four in-person gatherings (in January, April, and June in Philadelphia, and November at the 2015 OFN Conference in Detroit) and regular conference calls, participants learned from program instructors, their fellow Citi leaders, and their own self-reflection.

Leadership Resources

  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain
  • Built to Last, Jim Collins
  • Good to Great, Jim Collins
  • Great by Choice, Jim Collins
  • How The Mighty Fall, Jim Collins
  • Finding Your True North: A Personal Guide, Bill George and Andrew McLean
  • True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, Bill George and Peter Sims
  • Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell
  • What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful, Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter
  • Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, Daniel Goleman
  • Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, Adam M. Grant
  • HBR Guide to Getting the Right Work Done, Harvard Business Review
  • Leadership without Easy Answers, Ronald A. Heifetz
  • Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading, Martin Linsky and Ronald A. Heifetz
  • When Leaders Leave: A New Perspective on Leadership Change, Priscilla Rosenwald and Lesley Mallow Wendell
  • The Cathedral Within: Transforming Your Life by Giving Something Back, Bill Shore
  • Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matter Most, Douglas Stone and Bruce Patton
  • The Leadership Moment: Nine True Stories of Triumph and Disaster and Their Lessons for All of Us, Michael Useem and Warren Bennis
  • Powers to Lead, Joseph Nye
  • Power of Followership, Robert E. Kelley
  • Followership: How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders, Barbara Kellerman
  • Achieving Success Through Social Capital: Tapping the Hidden Resources in Your Personal and Business Networks Paperback, Wayne E. Baker


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