BVU’s Nonprofit Leadership Advancement Program is a five-part professional development course providing relevant, evidence-based training for local nonprofit executives. We caught up with 2024 NLAP participant Tyler Adams to learn more about his experience. “No exaggeration, almost every tool I picked up during this program was implemented nearly immediately,” he shared.
Check out our full conversation below!
Tyler presents to the cohort.
What do you do, and what brought you to NLAP?
I serve as the Director of External Affairs and Strategy for Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland – a nonprofit organization empowering K-12 students to own their economic success by focusing on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work/career readiness. I recently started in a new role after two years at the organization, and I saw NLAP as the perfect opportunity to boost my leadership toolbelt ahead of starting with my new team.
Have you implemented anything you’ve learned in the program? How is it going?
I utilized the framework shared in the session on strategic planning and thinking to refresh my team’s strategy and construct a plan proposal. Without NLAP, I wouldn’t have even known where to begin. My favorite session, though, involved taking an EQ assessment that provided a fully loaded report on our emotional intelligence. Many of us were surprised to see where we had room for growth. For example, I have a high competency with interpersonal relationships but struggle with decision making. This makes sense – I lean so heavily on being a “team player” that I often neglect to take ownership of a situation. The report has become a blueprint for how to better myself as a leader, and I’m already taking steps to improve my scores. 
How did learning alongside a cohort of local nonprofit leaders affect your experience in the program?
The nonprofit world is so special and unique. We constantly look out for everyone around us. This feeling only gets amplified in a learning environment. Every person in that room wanted to be there, to improve themselves as leaders, to uplift their team and ultimately their mission. This deeply rooted passion leads to thoughtful questions, better dialogue, and an overall boost to the energy in the room in other words, a robust program filled with fun, inspirational learning. 
A glimpse into the Leaders Studio at Ratliff & Taylor.
How does NLAP compare to other leadership development programs you’ve experienced?
Most development programs give you ingredients for a “recipe for success,” but they don’t often explore beyond that. NLAP gave our group amazing ingredients, plus the instructions on how to put it all together. We often had time at the end of sessions to collaborate and make actionable plans to implement what we learned, as well as time at the beginning of the following sessions to reflect on our efforts since we last met. The amount of progress each of us made from the first session to the last was incredible to see.
What did NLAP teach you about yourself?
It’s tough to articulate, but I think it boils down to this: I have a lot of work to do (and that’s a good thing). NLAP afforded me the opportunity to look inward and develop a clear picture not only of who I am as a leader today, but the kind of leader I can be tomorrow. Simply put: If my desire to be the best leader I can be is the destination, NLAP gave me a compass – a way to get there.

The Nonprofit Leadership Advancement Program is hosted annually by BVU with expert content and facilitation from Ratliff & Taylor, Ohio’s largest full-service talent management consultancy. To express interest in joining the 2025 cohort, please reach out to Tricia Stevenson, BVU’s Director of Leadership Development. For professional development opportunities throughout the year, check out upcoming events with BVU and Ratliff & Taylor.