FCCF Hosting the Susan M. Ross
Leadership Institute in June 2023

May 18, 2023

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation will be hosting the Susan M. Ross Leadership Institute in June 2023. This year’s Institute will bring together Executive Directors and other Senior leadership from organizations across Fairfield County and will include six sessions from subject matter experts including Rob Fried, Diane Winston, Debra Hertz, Marci Sternheim and more.

The goal of the program, which will be held in person for two mornings (dates and times below), is to energize, activate, and inspire brave and equitable leadership. The small group of select leaders will have the opportunity to share in open discussion, peer-to-peer learning, connection, reflection and hopefully return to their organizations with new ideas and a fresh mindset on which to continue their work.

Follow Up Funding Available!
Leaders who complete this year’s institute will have the opportunity to apply for a small grant of up to $2000 to fund projects inspired by this year’s program. A short application will be made available after the program and funding will be prioritized based on mission alignment, population served, and geographic representation.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Separating the Essential from the Noise
  • The Executive Director’s Role in Board Governance
  • Setting Small Goals to Achieve Success
  • The Power of Our Words

Program Dates & Times:
Tuesday, June 27, 2023: 9 am – 12 pm, UCONN Stamford
Wednesday, June 28, 2023: 9 am – 12 pm, UCONN Stamford

Register Now


Rob Fried

Rob Fried is one of the founding partners at Bridgewater Associates, where as Head Of Sales And Marketing he helped grow the firm to become the largest hedge fund in the world. Rob is also a singer songwriter, bassist, producer, philanthropist, radio talk show host and architect/founder of the successful live themed concerts series Band Central.  Founded in 2005, Band Central is a private philanthropic organization whose mission is to help local nonprofits in the Connecticut area maximize their revenue potential. Band Central effectively accomplishes this in a multifaceted collaborative approach fueled by Rob’s extensive investment background, robust local network, passion for music and personal desire to “do good.” Band Central’s mission to combine philanthropy and music is reflected in its mantra to ‘show up, get down and do good’


Debra Hertz

Debra Hertz is a nonprofit strategy expert and is The Strategy Group’s founder and Managing Director. She has created a powerful DNA within her team/organization leveraging her innate sense of “courageous conversations” and pioneering business strategy excellence. In addition to leading The Strategy Group, Debra has taught management and leadership courses for over twenty years at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service where she received her PH.D. and Master of Social Work.



Marci B. Sternheim, Ph.D., Principal

Marci Sternheim is a broadly experienced and deeply knowledgeable coach, educator, and facilitator dedicated to strengthening mission-driven organizations and helping them to thrive. She works closely with boards of trustees and high-level staff in customized engagements to develop their leadership in governance and management, and to build organizational capacity for long-term sustainability. She also specializes in the complex dynamics of family philanthropy, working with foundation leadership to align values, vision and best practices in the fulfillment of mission. As a trained scholar, teacher and former university professional, she brings a nuanced understanding of academic culture to the organizational, governance and philanthropic needs of colleges and universities.


Diane Winston

A Prosci-certified change management practitioner and communications strategist, Diane has over 30 years of experience supporting clients across various industries. She supports organizational change, leadership development objectives, and diversity and inclusion programs.

Empathy is at the forefront of Diane’s approach to change management. Whether coaching leaders, defining communication strategies, facilitating training workshops, or supporting DEI+B program objectives, she incorporates “big picture” goals with stakeholders in mind. Her direct approach inspires engagement, promotes organizational change, and draws audiences into thought-provoking conversations.


Click here to apply now for the 2023 Susan M. Ross Leadership Institute.