photos by Mel Ponder and Chantel Baker


Legacy of Leadership Cohort

Preparing Our Next Generation of Community Leaders

The Legacy of Leadership Cohort is designed for emerging professionals to nurture the next generation of community leaders and advocates that serve the Native population of King County, Washington. This unique Native leadership program brings together a group of Native women to complete a 10 month leadership journey addressing issues and topics relevant to the urban Native population. The Legacy of Leadership Cohort pays tribute to the American Indian Women’s Service League, and the Gang of Four with a focus on the history of the Seattle urban Indian community as well as the collaboration between Bernie Whitebear, Bob Santos, Roberto Maestas and Larry Gossett. Participants engage in activities intended to strengthen their leadership skills while expanding knowledge and networks, within our community, communities of color, and with elected officials. 


Cohort members work within an assigned group to create a project intended to benefit the Native community, and are paired with a mentor to assist them with their project development and outcomes. The monthly engagement sessions focus on key elements of working in teams, project development, budgeting, marketing, community collaboration, and project completion. At the end of the program, cohort participants attend a public graduation ceremony with families and friends and share their completed project with the community at large.


The Legacy of Leadership cohort program was developed in response to the community needs assessment in United Way of King County's 2014 report - A Vision for the Urban Indian Community. The report recommended that Native organizations develop leadership training and leadership mentoring opportunities to allow for the next generation of leaders. Read the full report online at www.liftupthesky.org.

Curriculum Topics

  • History of Native activism, particularly the Gang of Four and American Indian Women's Service League

  • Project planning and team development

  • Nonprofit management as a leader, fundraiser, and manager

  • Visits to El Centro de la Raza, the Wing Luke Museum, and other cultural sites

  • Finance 101 and managing personal finances

  • Community building and community engagement

  • Development and what it entails

  • Meetings with City of Seattle and state elected officials

  • Native health and education systems

  • Self care and personal development

  • Branding and presentation skills

Goals and Learning Outcomes

  • Participants will be part of a cohort with common values and goals to serve their community.

  • The cohort will become a family that evolves together, supports one another, leads with love, and holds up community.

  • Mentors will support teams to complete their projects and address challenges.

  • Teams will become unified to create and support a vision moving forward; members will respectfully engage and acknowledge each other's personal strengths to support the collective and ensure a successful community project.

  • NAN will support participant goals and objectives through ongoing highlights, addressing challenges, working through issues, and achieving collective goals.

  • Participation should result in life changing goals and positive outcomes.

  • The monthly engagement sessions will include a combination of professional development and cultural connection combined with cohort support.

  • Participants will have an understanding of how history has impacted our communities, the current state of our communities as a result of historic trauma, how we utilize our leadership skills to address these dynamics, and work to build strong, healthy communities.  

  • Participants will share stories of community leadership and have an understanding of the contributions of Native people throughout the past century. 

  • Participants will have time to reflect by addressing challenges and acknowledging accomplishments.

  • Participants will leave with a greater understanding of how communities of color have united and worked toward common goals with an emphasis on the Gang of Four and their accomplishments.

2017-2018 Cohort

Inaugural cohort members include Misha Averill, Alicia Durkin, Tleena Ives, Chelsea Jones, Gail Morris, Shanoa Pinkham, Elizabeth Rideau, Maggie McCarty Sanders, Adriel Searcy, and Asia Tail.

2019-2020 Cohort

Cohort members include Sarah Anderson, Breanna Foulkes, Chelsea Hendrickson, Kateri Joe, Zizi Johnson, Britany Lindley, Karen Lizzy, Tanya Marceau, Francesca Murnan, Candi Ruckman, Julia Wilson, and Edna Wyena.

asia@enduringspirit.org  |  206-451-7298  |  815 1st AVE #113, Seattle, Washington, 98104

© 2020