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Experienced Leaders Initiative

Welcome to What's Next

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After a successful decades-long career, you’re now in the unfamiliar position of exploring what’s next.

It’s thrilling. It’s challenging. It’s daunting. And it’s a moment of possibility that you want to make the most of—but you’re not sure how.

In January 2025, the Yale School of Management launches the Experienced Leaders Initiative (ELI) to guide you through this transition.

ELI connects you with a cohort of exceptional leaders for six months of blended learning led by Yale University faculty and global experts in next-era transitions. Dynamic and revelatory, this experience creates the space and support to help you uncover your motivations and envision the possibilities ahead. You’ll reflect on who you are, explore who you want to be, and clarify where you want to go.

Align your vast experience with purpose, gain an enduring network of ELI Fellows, and map your way forward to what comes next.

Woman smiling alongside peers
Marc Freedman and Zoe Chance talking outside
View of the front of Evans Hall

About the Program

  • Emerge ready for a new chapter with clear direction and an effective, actionable plan for how to move from aspiration to action.
  • Deepen your understanding of your purpose, motivations, and long-term goals—especially as related to this stage of life. 
  • Gain exposure to a range of possible future paths.
  • Develop connections to a vibrant, exceptional ELI Fellows community who share your values and questions.

You should apply to be an ELI Fellow if you are:

  • Transitioning out of your primary career and committed to using your wisdom, curiosity, expertise, and skills toward a meaningful next chapter.
  • Seeking a thoughtful exploration of this new stage of life.
  • Hungry for a community of like-minded, intellectually curious peers who share similar challenges and aspirations.
     

ELI’s unique blended learning model strikes an ideal balance between the flexibility of online learning and the richness of the on-campus Yale experience. This dynamic program begins and ends with three-day immersions on campus, with a combination of live online, asynchronous, and self-directed learning during the six months in between. You’ll attend live sessions with faculty, participate in interviews with experts, and engage in peer group work.

Agenda

This is a remarkable stage of life, presenting you with the thrilling opportunity to re-examine life’s profound questions: who am I? Who do I want to be? What does my family, community, or world need? And a new question that only you are uniquely capable of answering: how can I best leverage my considerable experience to contribute going forward?

Over six months, you’ll answer these questions of identity, purpose, and action through a dynamic curriculum led by celebrated Yale University faculty and esteemed experts. Your learning journey begins on campus, setting the foundation for self-analysis and innovative future thinking. The following 20 weeks blend live online sessions with self-directed learning. You’ll examine the challenges and opportunities facing you and your community and explore potential solutions that align with your interests and values. When you return to campus, you’ll translate your learnings into an actionable plan to guide your path forward.

Curriculum Pillars

ELI will cultivate your growth mindset so you can reimagine what’s possible for your future. As you reflect on your motivations, values, and aspirations, you’ll embrace this new stage of life as an opportunity for continued exploration and personal evolution.

Program topics may include:

  • Creating a Life Map
  • Cultivating Your Growth Mindset
  • Exploring Identity
  • Generativity: Learning from and Guiding the Next Generation
  • Memory Dividends
  • Reflected Best Self
  • Rethinking Longevity
  • The Nature of Wisdom
  • The Power of Connection for Health and Wellbeing

It’s time to redefine what it means to be a changemaker. You’ll connect with innovators across generations, learn practical tools for effecting change, and explore various avenues for impact.

Program topics may include:

  • A Framework for Changemaking
  • Beyond the Heroic Founder
  • Changemakers Innovation Workshop
  • Defining the Right Problem
  • Intergenerational Problem-solving

After clarifying your vision for the future, you will build an action plan for channeling your renewed purpose into tangible next steps. Your new tools, insights, and inspiration will provide the direction and momentum to confidently navigate this transition.

Program topics may include:

  • Anatomy of a Transition
  • Creating Your Personal Board of Advisors
  • Honing Your Story
  • Opportunities for Purpose, Impact, and Connection
  • Portraits of Successful Transitions

Select Projects

Imagine the world two decades from now—how might society evolve? What innovations will reshape our lives? What challenges may we face? Collaborating as a team, you’ll explore a selected topic by synthesizing insights from leading experts to construct potential scenarios for the future. This is an opportunity to connect meaningfully with your cohort, expand your perspective, and think boldly about the world we’re shaping.

Envision what impact looks like to you in this next stage of life. Through a series of powerful conversations with changemakers, you’ll refine and enhance that idea into an actionable plan. In the culminating weeks of the program, you'll take tangible steps to pilot your initiative. One-on-one consultations with the faculty directors provide expert coaching to ensure you emerge with a clear roadmap for turning aspiration into reality.

Activate your vision for impact by taking steps outlined in your Changemaker Plan. This experience is tailored to your specific goals and what you deem manageable yet motivating to propel you forward with pragmatic, sustainable momentum. As you navigate this project, you’ll receive support from your cohort and faculty directors. 

Deepen self-discovery through reflective writing exercises woven throughout the program. Weekly guided prompts encourage you to question perspectives, explore new depths of thinking, and actively engage with program material. You’ll receive regular feedback to spark breakthrough moments of self-realization and further your personal growth. 

Who were you before this program? What pivotal realizations and perspective shifts have occurred? You’ll craft an authentic narrative capturing the essence of your personal growth and self-discovery that you can continue writing as you move forward.

Faculty Directors

Zoe Chance

Zoe Chance

Senior Lecturer in Management

Zoe Chance is our resident expert on interpersonal influence. She's a member of the marketing faculty at Yale SOM, teaching the school's most popular elective, "Mastering Influence and Persuasion," as well as workshops for executives around the world. Her recent book, Influence Is Your Superpower, is an international bestseller being published in 28 languages. Zoe earned her MBA from USC and her doctorate from Harvard. Her framework for behavior change is the foundation for Google’s global food policy. Before joining academia, Zoe managed a $200 million segment of the Barbie brand. Now, she uses her influence to help out with the climate crisis and donates half her book profits to that cause. She wants to help you make great things happen too.

Learn more

Marc Freedman

Marc Freedman

Lecturer in the Practice of Management

Marc Freedman is Co-CEO and Founder of CoGenerate (formerly Encore.org), and the author of five books. The Wall Street Journal named his most recent book—How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations—one of the year’s best books on aging well. An accomplished social entrepreneur, he was selected as a Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation/World Economic Forum; is a winner of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship; and is an Ashoka Senior Fellow. He was previously a visiting scholar at the Stanford Center on Longevity. Originator of the encore career idea linking second acts to the greater good, Freedman co-founded Experience Corps, the Purpose Prize, and Encore Fellowships.

Learn more

Application Information

Program Details

Priority Deadline: August 2, 2024 
Application Closes: November 8, 2024  

Module 1: January 27–29, 2025 (on campus)  
Module 2: Live online, asynchronous, and self-directed learning  
Module 3: June 23–25, 2025 (on campus)

Location: Live online and on campus  
Program Fee: $25,000 – Fee includes lodging and most meals for on-campus modules.
Contact: Joanne Legler, Senior Director of Learning Partnerships

The application requires participants to submit a current CV/resume and complete three short-answer questions:

  • What is your motivation for applying to the Experienced Leaders Initiative? What are your goals for participating?
  • How do you envision the program playing a part in your future direction?
  • Tell us something unique about yourself. What will you contribute to your cohort?

All application materials must be submitted through the application form. Please do not mail any materials to Executive Education.

If admitted, you will be required to submit the program fee within 30 days of admission to secure your seat.

  • Maximum consideration will be given to complete applications received by the priority deadline of August 2, 2024. Applications may be submitted at any time up until November 8, 2024. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling and space-available basis after the priority deadline. We suggest you apply as soon as possible to ensure that if admitted, you have sufficient time to prepare for your participation in the program.
  • Before you apply, please review the information on this page related to program dates, fees, and on-campus and live online attendance requirements to ensure you are able to attend the required modules and complete the program.
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English is essential for the completion of course assignments and active engagement.

Yale SOM Executive Education offers a 15% reduction in program fee for:

  • Those who work in the nonprofit sector. (Apply NONPROFIT code at time of registration.)
  • Those who work in government. (Apply GOV code at time of registration.)
  • Yale University alumni. (Apply YALEGRAD code at time of registration.)
  • Groups of 3-6 participants. Groups can be from an organization or be self-formed.
  • Those who have previously participated in a Yale Executive Education program with Yale SOM or 2U/GetSmarter.

Discounts cannot be combined.

Refunds are allowed for live online and in-person programs if requested in writing to the Yale Executive Education Registrar.  The Yale Executive Education Cancellation Terms are as follows:

Request for change in registration/cancellationRefund provided
30 days, or more, prior to Program start date100% Program Fee Refund Provided
15-29 days prior to Program start date50% Program Fee Refund Provided
14 days, or less, prior to Program start dateNo Refund Provided

Yale reserves the right to cancel or reschedule programs if enrollment is deemed insufficient or health and safety would otherwise be jeopardized. Yale School of Management is not responsible for any travel or incidental costs incurred by a registrant if a program becomes canceled. If a program is canceled by Yale, a full refund of fees paid will be processed within 30 days.

While it is our goal to deliver our programs as scheduled, we may postpone programs, deliver them online, or cancel them. If one of our programs has a scheduling change, we will notify those affected as soon as possible.   

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