Leadership Development

The Center for Leadership Development provides trainings and technical assistance to non-profits to develop skilled and talented staff, and strengthen their overall ability to effectively impact the growing and changing needs of the low income communities they serve.

Current Offerings:

To sign up for our current offerings, visit our Events page.


Keynote Speaker

Alan van Capelle

Alan van Capelle is a nationally recognized leader in the field of civil rights and social justice. As CEO of Educational Alliance, he leads a network of community centers offering social, educational, cultural and recreational services, programs, and events to the diverse population of downtown Manhattan.

Mr. van Capelle began his career as an organizer and contract negotiator in the labor movement, eventually running the day-to-day political operations of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ, the largest and most powerful building service union in the country. He served as Deputy Comptroller for the City of New York, where he advised the agency on all matters involving public policy, media, and community relations.  He has also served as a member of the New York City Banking Commission.

Mr. van Capelle has been named to the National Leadership Council’s “40 under 40” list, and has been quoted by The New York Times, CNN, New York 1, Newsweek and New York Magazine.  Mr. van Capelle has served on the transition committees for Governor Eliot Spitzer and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.  He was also selected as an elector of the 2008 New York Electoral College.

Mr. van Capelle earned his MPA from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, where he currently serves as an Adjunct Professor and teaches on organizational culture. He holds Bachelor of Science degree from the City University of New York.

Gabby Cudjoe Wilkes

Gabby Cudjoe Wilkes is a brand strategist, event planner & pastor. Her work is situated at the intersection of faith, culture, leadership and strategy. Gabby spent over ten years in media and entertainment working on the events planning teams for companies such as BET, and working as a publicist for record labels such as Mathew Knowles’ Music World Entertainment as well as gospel music record labels eOne Music, RCA Inspiration and New York City based boutique PR firm, Plan A Media LLC.

Gabby worked most recently as a Senior Brand Strategist for the Yale University Dwight Hall Center for Public Service & Social Justice where she worked to train undergraduate student leaders to strategize, promote and differentiate their work amongst competing organizations both within the university and beyond.

Gabby is a national public speaker and one of the founding lead senior pastors of the new church start, The Double Love Experience in Brooklyn, New York. Prior to that, Pastor Gabby served from 2013-2018 as the Co-Pastor to the young adults of the 20,000 member congregation, The Greater Allen Cathedral of New York, under the leadership of the Reverends Drs. Floyd & Elaine Flake.

Mayra Lopez, LMSW

Mayra Lopez, LMSW is the Senior Director of Trauma-Informed Programming at Good Shepherd Services in NYC, working primarily with residential programs, including adolescent group residences, juvenile justice, supportive housing programs, and Bronx Rises Against Guns, or B.R.A.G.  Mayra has been an integral part of the creation and development of trauma-informed practice at Good Shepherd Services. She co-created and hosted numerous trauma-informed workshops and provides consultation and coaching to programs and multi-disciplinary staff on developing a culture of trauma-informed care. In 2012, she received the Sanctuary Leadership Award for her unwavering commitment to Trauma-Informed Practice.

Mayra is a practitioner of the Art of Hosting and the Circle Way, which she weaves into her facilitation of trainings, workshops, and meetings that deepen the conversation around trauma, recovery, and resiliency. Through Art of Hosting practices such as World Café and Appreciative Inquiry, Mayra invites people to come together to share wisdom and co-create change via the art of participatory leadership.

Stanley Richards

Stanley Richards is the Executive Vice President of The Fortune Society (Fortune), a 52-year-old service and advocacy non-profit organization based in New York City whose mission is to support successful reentry from prison and promote alternatives to incarceration. Stanley is a formerly incarcerated man of color with decades of experience in the criminal justice field.

His professional experience began in 1991 at Fortune, where he initially worked as a Counselor. Between 1997 and 2001, he served as the Deputy Director of Client Intervention at Hunter College Center on AIDS, Drugs and Community Health. Today, Stanley is the second-highest executive at Fortune and has responsibilities in the overall management and oversight of all direct service programs. He also represents Fortune’s fundraising and advocacy work, having taken on a leadership role in its David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy. In 2014, Stanley was recognized by the Obama administration as a Champion of Change for his commitment to helping individuals impacted by the justice system. He also became the first formerly incarcerated person to be appointed by the City Council Speaker and serves as Vice Chair to the NYC Board of Correction.

Dr. Shari K. Brink

Dr. Shari K. Brink is President and CEO of Blanton-Peale Institute and Counseling Center.  She brings strengths as a strategic and visionary leader, significant fundraising experience, and a passionate commitment to individual transformation and the creation of healthier communities.  Dr. Brink has her B.A. from Northwestern College, a Master’s of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from McCormick Theological Seminary.

Dr. Brink’s academic focus has been on mental health and spirituality, especially on partnering with and empowering faith communities to address today’s mental health crisis.  Prior to joining Blanton-Peale, Rev. Brink served at Marble Collegiate Church as Minister for Strategic Advancement, leading the Marble community in discerning its future for a new era of ministry.  Shari has also served at Auburn Seminary, an institute for religious leaders in today’s complex, multifaith, media-saturated world, on the national staff of the Reformed Church in America as Director of Strategic Planning, and as a minister both in Los Angeles, California and Colts Neck, New Jersey.

If you have any questions, please contact Program Manager Nakia Johnson.

You may view a list of CLD’s past opportunities by clicking here.