Introducing the NYC Leadership and Professional Development Directory

By Zach Litif

Editor’s Note: Today on the blog we welcome guest contributor Zach Litif, a consultant to the foundation who designed our new leadership and professional development directory. Zach shares his personal experience in the leadership development space, and how that influenced his support for seeing a need for the directory—a directory which we hope readers will use often!

I’m happy to announce that there’s a new New York City Leadership and Professional Development Directory. When I began writing this blog post to share the news, I wasn’t sure where I would begin—but ultimately decided to tell my story first. 

After working for several years, I was on track to continue my education by pursuing a degree in urban planning. After getting accepted to a program, I began seeking ways to offset the cost of being a full-time graduate student. It began as a simple Google search, “NYC Fellowships.” The Coro New York Leadership Center appeared in the top group of results. After a single conversation, I decided to apply to the Fellows Program. I received an invitation to Coro’s selection day and was mesmerized by the experience. It became clear the fellowship was not an academic program, and I came to find Coro did not support one. Nonetheless, when I received an offer to be a Fellow, I accepted immediately.

Since completing that transformative year, I have discovered that “leadership development” might be the only term in the city more ambiguous than “New Yorker.” My fellowship year was a life-changing experience that brought some clarity to both of those terms and gave me the tools to continue to challenge the way I define them. However, while I better understand the need for leadership development outside of conventional academia, the term itself is still quite vague, something with which even Google seems to be unhelpful.

So now you see how my personal story fits in: my experience made me realize that a program like Coro shouldn’t have been something upon which I was lucky to stumble. Access to and information about professional development programs should not be dependent on a search engine—they should be housed in an organized and well-maintained directory for easy access and understanding. 

During my fellowship year I was connected with the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, which believes investing in people can create a vibrant and equitable New York, and began working on the resource that has become the Leadership and Professional Development Directory. The goal was to build a catalogue of the diverse and area-specific programs that are available to nurture, convene, and empower New Yorkers in their respective communities. 

The directory is a dynamic resource that can be updated through a form on the webpage. We hope you’ll utilize it frequently.Foundation staff will manage and approve new additions and program updates periodically throughout each year to keep the directory fresh and continuously expanding. This is a work in progress, so feel free to send suggestions and feedback to and sign up for the Leadership and Professional Development newsletter to get updates of newly added programs and featured updates. 

I’m proud to have had this opportunity to create a resource for a community that has been so impactful and inspirational in my life. I’m even more proud to be able to say: this is a leadership development resource designed and created by New Yorkers for New Yorkers...whatever that means! I hope you find value in this new resource. I sure enjoyed working on it!