Nollau Leadership Institute


The late activist and philosopher Grace Lee Boggs taught that we must transform ourselves to transform the world. As a program guided by CHHSM’s vision, Nollau’s curriculum reflects this call for leaders to develop a wide range of skills that includes deep self-awareness alongside organizational understanding. Such skills not only better equip today’s leaders for the complex challenges they face but offer them a way to live more fully into their mission and values as well.

In-Person Retreats:

The first retreat delves into the personal realm of leadership. Participants are invited to reflect on their own leadership experiences and understanding, on what influences shaped them thus far and why, and what other ways of thinking and being can expand their leadership now. Small groups are an integral part of the experience, and the group as a whole spends time developing who, and how, they are as a cohort together. A sample of workshop topics include:

  • Faith-based Leadership Theories
  • Race, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (RDEI) and Leadership Identity
  • Embodiment and Leadership
  • The Enneagram: A Tool for Self-Aware Leadership
  • Purpose: Grounding for Self and Work
  • Social Justice: The Spirit of Leadership
  • Resilience: Practices of Care and Community

A special part of the first retreat is the tour of Bellwether Farm. It is a wonderful opportunity to be outside, explore the beautiful 137 acres, and to learn about how the organization lives into its faith-based values. Participants are invited to try vegetables straight from garden, feed the goats, visit the honeybee hives, and listen from the comfort of the tractor trailer how Bellwether makes decisions as both an active farm and a retreat center.

The second retreat focuses on organizational awareness and the ecosystem in which leadership exists. Participants learn and practice skills that support their ability to lead through connection, courage, and change. They examine what it means to lead as different roles, needs, and power dynamics come into play and in ways to cultivate trust, accountability, and collaboration.

A sample of workshop topics include:

  • Appreciative Inquiry and Conversations Worth Having
  • Emergent Strategy: Getting in Right-Relationship with Change
  • Group Coaching Strategies
  • Ethics for Leadership
  • Organizational Change Theories
  • Conflict and Repair
  • Equity Competent Leadership
  • An Undivided Life: Spirituality for Leadership

The second retreat includes a field trip to the national offices of the United Church of Christ in downtown Cleveland. Participants will get to tour the new location of the national setting and attend a workshop facilitated by Rev. Roberto Ochoa, UCC Minister for Ethnic Inclusion, & Congregational Support for Rural and Small Churches.

Further, as part of its commitment to anti-racism, CHHSM completed a Race, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (RDEI) Assessment in 2021, and the curriculum has been updated with the learnings and suggestions from this process. Throughout both retreats, participants will explore RDEI work from personal, relational, organizational, and structural perspectives and how this understanding is vital for all levels leadership.

Online Interactions:

During the months in between the retreats, small and large group sessions take place online over Zoom. These hour-long meetings offer time to reconnect, reflect, question, and process all that participants are learning.

Additionally, all of the program’s content is kept in an online platform through the CHHSM Learning Center. Here participants will have access to every presentation, handout, ritual material, logistical information, and additional resources in one place. They also maintain access to the platform even after they complete the program.

Annual Gathering:

The program culminates at the CHHSM Annual Gathering and includes an extra retreat day before the conference begins. This additional time offers the cohort an important opportunity to come together before their year comes to an end. They will spend the day engaging in workshops on new material as well as reflecting on their journey through the program.

A sample of workshop topics include:

  • Facilitation and Mediation for Leaders
  • The Enneagram and Work: Building Self-Aware Teams
  • The Journey Inward and Outward

The Annual Gathering itself includes three days of workshops, keynote speakers, site visits, worships, and networking opportunities. The cohort will also present their capstone projects and will have their graduation commemorated during closing worship.


Most of the work done for this program occurs during the in-person retreats. However, there are a few reading assignments spread throughout the year.

The books for the 2022-23 cohort include:


Although the Nollau Leadership Institute does not currently offer CEU’s, participants receive a Certificate of Completion noting 115 contact hours.