NM Women of Color Nonprofit Leadership Initiative

What is this Initiative?

In a region as diverse as northern New Mexico, women of color are under-represented in nonprofit leadership. We are working to change that. Developed with an advisory committee of current nonprofit leaders, the Initiative is designed for established and emergent women of color looking to broaden their skills and create community, while deepening their leadership in a peer-based, supportive environment.

The long-term goals of the Initiative are to build the leadership capacity and practical skills of participants and, ultimately, to see a sustainable increase in nonprofit leadership roles filled by women of color.  Participation is by application and women are encouraged to apply on their own behalf as well as to encourage colleagues. With a maximum of 20 participants, the cohort will be focused and intimate. The format includes seven, biweekly two-hour sessions and a monthly two-hour Black Woman & Femme Leader gathering. All fall 2021 sessions are offered on a virtual platform.

The series includes guest speakers from the community and content addressing: 

  • Narrative Development
  • Community-Based, Culturally Responsive Leadership
  • Women of Color Leaders as Conveners
  • Mentorship Ecosystems
  • Money and Negotiation
  • Team Building

The Individual Leadership Plan (ILP) is a tool that each participant will develop over the course of the program. Facilitators and fellow participants will help you assess your current skills and needs, and you will create a long-term actionable plan to support your leadership vision and goals. 

Who leads this Initiative?

Dr. Mi’Jan Celie Tho-Biaz, Ed.D. leads this Initiative. 

Mi'Jan, Gabrielle Uballez and designated alumni co-facilitate cohort sessions.

Click here to read their bios and the cohort testimonials. 

Who should apply?

The ideal candidate is a New Mexico-based, self-identified woman of color in a leadership role in the nonprofit sector who is seeking mentorship, peer connection, hard and soft skills, and the time and space to focus on her own specific leadership path. This includes emergent leaders who are actively working on growing their career and looking for opportunities to deepen their practices.

The Application Review Committee will work thoughtfully and intentionally to create a cohesive cohort with the goal of striving to support deep connections and ongoing relationships. Our intention is that program participants will continue to champion one another as they advance in their leadership careers.  Applicants do not need to be nominated, however those referred by alumnae will be prioritized. We do invite you to encourage those peers and colleagues who you think may be a fit for this work. 

Click here to view sample application. 

The application for the 2021 program has closed. Please stay in touch to hear about program updates.


Application Form

Cohort members will

  • Be currently employed in the nonprofit sector in New Mexico.
  • Have a demonstrated history of commitment to community work and the New Mexico nonprofit sector.
  • Have the support of their employer and be available to participate in all program sessions. Be able to commit to follow up assignments between sessions.
  • Be ready to work on clarifying their own skill and leadership development needs.
  • Be committed to drafting and implementing an Individual Leadership Plan (ILP)


What is the time commitment?

Participants should expect to spend 2-3 hours on prep work between bi-weekly sessions and additional time with their mentor, identified from the community. Sessions for the cohort include a seven bi-weekly virtual sessions, beginning September 2021. Cohort members commit to attending all sessions.  

Dates and application process for 2021: 


What is the cost?

Program registration fees are set on a sliding scale, based on your organization’s annual budget. Limited scholarships are available when an organization is not able to financially sponsor an applicant: 

  • Tier 1, Organization Budget Under $150,000/year:   $155
  • Tier 2, Organization Budget $150-500,000/year:       $265
  • Tier 3, Organization Budget Over $500,000/year:     $395


See here for the 2019 inaugural cohort and guest speakers. See here for the 2020 cohort and here for the 2021 cohort.


Please join our mailing list for updates and contact Philanthropy HUB Coordinator, Yolanda Cruz, with questions about this Initiative. Thank you!


Your Contacts for the
Philanthropy HUB


Yolanda Cruz

Philanthropy HUB Coordinator
(505) 988-9715 x 7003


“When I applied, I honestly did not think I deserved it...who was I to think of myself as a "leader?" But the opportunity was too enticing to resist. What I had intended to learn were basic leadership skills--how to write a grant, public speaking skills, team management. What I learned was how to stand in my own melanin and power! During the last session, I had this overwhelming feeling of belonging, not just with the cohort, but in my skin, as a Woman of Color leader. I know that moving forward, I now own my power, my voice and this path of servant leadership.”

-Attiana Virella-Fuentes, NM SFPS Adelante Program

“I was seeking a connection to other Women of Color in the nonprofit sector, a mentor, and knowledge about how to authentically lead. I am now connected to Women of Color who I love and respect, I have a fabulous mentor, and I know exactly how I want my voice and skills to ripple through the nonprofit sector. Most notably, I embraced a deeply meaningful life shift that probably wouldn’t have happened if it were not for this program. I now know and feel the beauty and strength of doing things together with others, versus doing them by myself.”

-Kira Luna, NMCAN, Director of Engagement

“I think one of the most influential experiences an emerging Woman of Color leader can have is being part of a group that supports their vision. Oftentimes, young, emerging Women of Color leaders in the nonprofit sector have to deal with people questioning their intelligence and it can be extremely exhausting. I would tell an emerging leader to apply to the cohort in order to meet supportive, like-minds while also learning how to redesign definitions and practices in leadership. In order to lead, we do not need to emulate toxic models. In addition, I would share that the Initiative takes a positively unique approach to planning and building a leadership and mentorship path.”

-Hanna Negusie, Academy for the Love of Learning

Photos Courtesy of Daniel Hyde


Nicolle Gonzales, Changing Woman Initiative
LuzMarina Serrano (with her daughter, Paloma Yachay Luna), GSA Network.
Desiree Loggins

Classroom N

Hanna Negusie, Academy for the Love of Learning
Kira Luna, NMCAN
Alexandria Taylor, NM Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs

Jaime Gloshay, Roanhorse Consulting
Gabrielle Uballez, Co-Facilitator

Maria Gallegos
Inez Jiron Leibman, Mesa to Mesa