Developing Our Future (And Present) Minority Leaders

As we learned from our Better Together training, it's up to all of us to be leaders. It is everyone's responsibility to lead the changes that need to be made so all employees, patients and families feel respected and heard. Additionally, we want to be a magnet for extraordinary people who live their values, advance our mission and fulfill their dreams.

But how do we get there? What resources are available for developing leaders in our organization? While we have programs in place to support all leaders, we are committed to the development of leaders among underrepresented groups at Cincinnati Children's.

“For us to grow as an organization and better represent the communities we serve, we need to do some things differently to ensure that we are providing the full opportunity for everyone to be developed and to advance,” said Nerissa Morris, senior vice president, Chief Human Resources and Diversity Officer.

One way we are addressing this need is by working with McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm and partner to Cincinnati Children’s in the development of Pursuing Our Potential Together (our long-range aspirations).

We are working with their Connected Leaders Academy (CLA) that equips future leaders with a peer network to help them develop new capabilities and behaviors. In 2019 specific programs launched geared toward development of Black employees:

  • Executive Leadership Program: Designed for senior executives looking to advance to C-suite roles, this program focuses on building the executive leadership capabilities and enhancing the network of resources to help them achieve the next step in their careers.
  • Management Accelerator: Designed for high-performing, early- to mid-career managers or aspiring managers. This program focuses on building core management and leadership capabilities as well as the cross-functional knowledge needed to lead successful businesses and teams.

A total of 28 employees from across the system participated in the 2021 Black Executive Leadership and Management Accelerator Programs.

Morris explains that we joined the McKinsey programs beginning in early 2020 because, while there are many leadership development programs that we offer or participate in, many are not targeted to specific demographics. The McKinsey programs are. One of the features of both programs is connecting participants with a local and national network of professionals with shared cultural backgrounds and experiences.

“It was a unique opportunity, given the partnership that we have with McKinsey on strategic work and work relative to our culture,” said Morris. “Given the way that they (McKinsey) were leaning in, particularly in the space of diversity and inclusion, really cultivating more diverse leadership, it was a very natural place for us to partner.”

What’s next?

“We need to continue to expand the diversity of our leaders so that we are increasingly more representative of our community, and the patients and families that we serve,” said Morris. “Also, we want to continue to grow and expand our mission as an organization, and I think it has to start with our leaders. We need leaders who are culturally competent and curious.”

Nerissa Morris, senior vice president, Chief Human Resources and Diversity Officer

Here's What Two Participants Have to Say

Management Accelerator Program

Angela White, Esq., Assistant Counsel

Executive Leadership Program

Emmanuel Chandler, MD, associate division director-clinical and medical director, Adolescent and Transition Medicine; medical director, Hamilton County Youth Court Center; assistant professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Connected Leaders Academy – Now offering programs for Black, Asian, and Hispanic and Latinx Professionals

McKinsey started with the Black Leadership Academy, but now offers programs for Asian, Hispanic and Latinx professionals. For more information about the Black, Hispanic and Latinx or Asian Management Accelerator Programs, contact Elisha Hill, director of Leadership Development at

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