"What I am most proud of is the impact that we made on the lives of the people going through the programs: their mindset, their self-esteem, their awareness and their ability to lead people. Leadership is about the development of self and understanding what kind of person you want to be, how you want to show up and what kind of contribution you want to make in this world."

- Lutricia Jackson, Senior Fellow, & NRCS SLDP Faculty Director 

The Natural Resources Conservation Service

Strategic Leadership Development Program (SLDP)


GW-CEPL is a proud partner of the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to offer the Strategic Leadership Development Program, providing unmatched expertise in leadership training and coaching to the organization's high potential leaders, -- for breakthrough results. Over the course of the last 9 years we have supported the development of 141 NRCS leaders at levels GS-11 and higher, preparing them to move into positions of increasing strategic responsibilities within the agency.

At GW-CEPL we believe each person has their own leadership path to follow, which is why we commit ourselves to meeting every leader where they are, and helping them take their vision and potential to the next level. Our custom-designed curriculum, one-on-one executive coaching, team assignments and strategic organizational projects, serve to empower, encourage and stretch individuals to become the best version of themselves, while achieving the strategic goals of their Agency  (USDA NRCS) and their agency's constituencies.

Tailored Curriculum:

We invite you to review our NRCS SLDP custom designed 12-module program curriculum focused on four content clusters: Leading Organization Change, Organizational Leadership, Managing Resources Strategically, and Being a Strategic Leader and get to know our "transformation team" of faculty members.

The purpose of the NRCS Strategic Leadership Development Program (SLDP) is to build a leadership pool ensuring retention and productivity, especially among those leaders that fall into the strategic cluster. This program aims to support the development of a network of leaders at the GS-13 level and higher who are moving into positions with increasing strategic responsibilities within the agency over the next five years.  

Program Objectives

  • Utilize leadership and management capacities to lead in a complex, ever-changing public sector environment with a broader understanding of the agency and the internal and external forces affecting it
  • Address organizational leadership challenges over which they have control through the process of Asking Powerful Questions in Peer Learning Circles
  • Design strategic improvement initiatives that move forward the goals of the agency, and challenges participants to apply the knowledge they are learning in a real-world setting
  • Build a network of relationships that will enable leaders to lead successfully across boundaries within and outside the agency
  • Utilize the knowledge gained in the OPM Executive Core Qualifications at the Expert level of proficiency, and the NRCS Strategic Leadership Competency Cluster to lead more effectively.

Program Design
The program weaves its content clusters across twelve months through a combination of::

  • Instructor-led learning
  • Experiential activities
  • Developmental relationships  
  • Small groups with peer-to-peer interaction and coaching
  • Assessments and feedback
  • Self-development
  • Lectures and discussions with leading faculty and subject matter experts
  • Cutting-edge content in a dedicated online learning environment
  • Leadership readings & Harvard Business Review subscription

Executive Coaching:

Participants also benefit from one-to-one executive coaching throughout the length of the 12-month program to ensure that new skills continue to be developed and implemented in light of change and challenge.  

Professional Development Units:

Upon successful completion of the program, the USDA NRCS SLDP participants receive 20 CEUs. The program does not offer academic credits from GWU.  Visit the NRCS website to learn more about the NRCS Strategic Leadership Development Program

NRCS SLDP Program Structure

8-8:30am  Welcome & Registration
Lutricia Jackson, GWU CEPL Senior Fellow/SLDP Faculty Director
8:45-9:45am NRCS Agency Focus
Melissa Drummond, Chief HRO

Academic Focus
Dr. Natalie Houghtby-Haddon, Associate Director, GW CEPL
10-12pm Leadership Theory Part 1
Getting the Most Out of Executive Education
Dr. Natalie Houghtby-Haddon, Associate Director, GW CEPL
12-1:30pm  Lunch with the NRCS Chief
(Date Tentative)
2-5pm Leadership Theory Part II
Becoming A Strategic Leader Debrief “Strategic Leader Self-Assessment"
Dr. Natalie Houghtby-Haddon, Associate Director, GW CEPL
6:30-8:30pm Leadership @ the Movies Five (5) Perspectives
Philosophy: Leadership as (Scientific) Management; Leadership as Excellence Management; Values Leadership; Trust Cultural Leadership; Whole Soul (Spiritual)x Leadership
Dr. Natalie Houghtby-Haddon, Associate Director
Module Evaluation
Samantha Henry, GWU CEPL Training Specialist


8-8:45am  Lessons Learned Discussion
Lutricia Jackson, Faculty Dir, GW CEPL
9-12pm Promise of Leadership & The Culture Survey Debrief
Ina Gjikondi, GWU CEPL Dir Executive Education & Leadership Coaching
Lutricia Jackson, GWU CEPL Senior Fellow
10-12pm Leadership Theory Part 1
Getting the Most Out of Executive Education
Dr. Natalie Houghtby-Haddon, Associate Director, GW CEPL
12-1pm  Lunch
1-2:30pm TLCP 360 Debrief and Introduction to Leadership Coaching 
Ina Gjikondi/Lutricia Jackson, GWU CEPL TLCP Facilitators
2:30-5:30pm Peer Learning Circles – Theory U
(Luann Barndt, Saryu Dalai, Lisa Mack, GWU CEPL Peer Circle Coaches)

Module Evaluation
Samantha Henry, GWU CEPL Training Specialist

5:30-6:30pm Dinner

8-10am  Strategic Projects Introduction
Tom Christensen, Associate Chief for Administration
Dr. Darrell Harvey, Strategic Projects Coach, GWU CEPL
10:15am-12pm Strategic Leadership
NRCS Senior Leader Panel
12-1pm Lunch
1-5pm  Organizational Leadership
James Robinson, Executive Director, GWU CEPL
5-5:15pm Module Evaluation
Samantha Henry, GWU CEPL Training Specialist
6:30-8:30pm Becoming A Strategic Leader: NRCS Projects Conversation with Champions
NRCS Champion/Sponsors & Dr. Darrell Harvey, Strategic Projects Coach, GWU CEPL


8-11am  Strategic Projects Way Ahead
Dr. Darrell Harvey, Strategic Projects Coach, GWU CEPL  
11am-12pm SLDP 4: Introduction to Online Classroom & Assignments
Samantha Henry, GWU CEPL Training Specialist

Leadership Reflections/Way Ahead 
Lutricia Jackson/Mark Bushman 


Program Contact

Natalie K. Houghtby-Haddon, Ph.D.
Associate Director
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 202-994-5304