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What is the Institute for Pastoral Leaders?

The Institute for Pastoral Leaders is a professional development opportunity funded by a grant from  the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to Siena College. These workshops differ from the traditional leadership development workshops in that there is a focus on a trauma-informed perspective.


Dr. Chuck Seifert, Dean of the School of Business at Siena College, and Dr. Erik Eddy, Professor of Management and Director of the Institute for Leadership Development (ILD) at Siena College, are the principal award recipients. Chuck and Erik worked closely with Bishop Scharfenberger and Father David LeFort, V.G. to develop the original grant proposal, the goal of which is to:

(a) provide a forum for participants across the Albany Diocese to grow and develop their leadership skills within a trauma-informed framework and,

(b) build a community of mentoring and ongoing support as participants grow together and apply learnings in the broader community. 

The Siena College Institute for Leadership Development has been providing development opportunities to members of the Capital Region and beyond for over a decade. We have worked with a wide range of organizations including nonprofits, boards of trustees, small businesses, and large corporations. We are excited to work with the Albany Diocese. 

Who is able to attend?

Priests, Deacons, Pastoral Associates, and Principals  — all who may be involved in leading pastoral ministry — are welcome to apply to attend the Institute for Pastoral Leaders. The impact of this Leadership Series is enhanced greatly when ‘teams’ of participants attend from the same parish, network, and/or region. This allows participants to explore new leadership concepts together and then, to support each other in applying those concepts in the community. Therefore, priority will be given to people who apply to the program as a ‘team’ which can be any combination of Priests, Deacons, Pastoral Associates or Principals. 

What topics will the program cover?

A wide range of personal and professional development opportunities will be part of this offering. While we have not finalized the specific topics to be covered, we will do so once the program participants are chosen and will conduct a survey of them to choose the specific topics that will be most valuable to that group. However, the program will begin with a trauma-informed focus - that is, acknowledging that others have experienced a variety of trauma and bring that trauma with them to the workplace and to the community. Leaders who understand this trauma enhance their ability to effectively lead others.

Our goal is to help participants learn about themselves as leaders, to enhance their interactions with others, and to lead an organization. The sessions will include topics in the following areas:


  1. Personality of a leader - you cannot lead others without first understanding yourself. Some example topics to be covered include: exploring your leadership style, identifying the positive and negative impact of your personality in leading others, building your emotional intelligence and empathy, understanding how the trauma experienced by members of your community will impact behaviors in the workplace

  2. Interactions with others - once you have learned about yourself as a leader, you can then build skills in leading others. Some example topics to be covered include: communicating effectively, building a high performing team, building and maintaining trust, and motivating volunteers

  3. Organizational leadership skills - once you have learned about leading others, you can then extend your impact across your organization. Some example topics to be covered include: enhancing organizational effectiveness through strategic planning, leading through a time of change, and building financial literacy.

When will the sessions be held?

We will hold a kickoff session in May and then six (6) day-long sessions throughout the course of the calendar year. Specific session dates are:

  • Kickoff (5:30pm-7:30pm) May 25, 2022

  • Session 1 (8am - 5pm) June 8, 2022 

  • Session 2 (8am - 5pm) July 20, 2022

  • Session 3 (8am - 5pm) August 24, 2022

  • Session 4 (8am - 5pm) September 28, 2022

  • Session 5 (8am - 5pm) October 26, 2022

  • Session 6 (8am - 5pm) November 9, 2022

Where will the sessions be held?

Sessions will be held at the Century House, Latham, NY. 

Will the sessions be held in person?

Yes. We plan to hold these sessions in person as we think that the mentoring and community building function of the Leadership Series is best developed in person. However, we understand the challenges of the current pandemic and will modify our plans as necessary. 

Who will be leading the sessions?

Each topic will be led by an expert in their field. Session leaders will come from Siena College and beyond. Mr. David Liebschutz, a visiting assistant professor of management at Siena and an experienced board certified leadership and executive coach will be facilitating the sessions along with Professor Eddy and Dean Seifert.

How much does it cost to attend?

There is no cost to attend. The Leadership Series is funded by a grant from the Cabrini Foundation. 

What is the time commitment?

The more time you put into the Leadership Series, the more you will get out of it. At a minimum, session participants will be asked to: 

  • Complete some survey work prior to the first session which will guide the development of the Leadership Series.

  • Prepare for each of the full day sessions by reading a book, reviewing articles, watching videos, or other opportunities to provide a foundation in the topic prior to the session.

  • Complete ‘homework’ assigned at the end of each session that is designed to apply the session learnings in your workplace and community.

  • Attend the half-day kickoff event and each of the six (6) full day leadership development sessions.

  • Respond to surveys about the quality of the Leadership Series.


How can I learn more?

We will hold two information sessions on March 23rd, 2022 to provide additional information and answer questions about this opportunity. The first will be an in-person session for Catholic School principals and others who may wish to join them in person. The second will be a Zoom session for all others who are interested. Details are forthcoming. 

How do I apply the program?

Although we can not accommodate everyone who is interested in this first year of programming. Interested individuals and teams (priority will be given to people who apply to the program as a ‘team’ which can be any combination of Priests, Deacons, Pastoral Associates or Principals). Our sincere hope is that future funding will allow us to provide these developmental opportunities over the next several years so that anyone interested in attending can do so. 

How and when will?

Bishop Scharfenberger will make the final selections. Applicants will be informed of the decision as soon as possible following the March 23 informational sessions.

Who can I contact with further questions?

Please contact Chuck Seifert, Dean of the School of Business, Siena College at or 518-783-2321

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