Collective Leadership Institute

The Collective Leadership Institute is inspired by our radical hope to strengthen the leadership of formerly incarcerated and directly impacted women, and expand their capacity to contribute to the women’s justice movement to end mass incarceration.

The Women Transcending Collective Leadership Institute (CLI) offers leadership development that includes: capacity building, legislative and advocacy tools, community organizing, and communication skills. We also include workshops on the history of different women’s movement, healing practices, and Participatory Action Research throughout the year.

One year commitment includes:

  • 3 four-day, in-person learning sessions (Thursday evening through Sunday noon – dates TBD)
  • Two Beyond the Bars Conferences
  • Two webinars

The learning sessions and Beyond the Bars Conferences will take place in New York City.  The CLI is open to people from across the country.  All travel to New York City is paid for.

Check back for the next application cycle.

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Meet Our Collective Leadership Institute 2021-2022 Cohort

Location: Seattle, Washington

Executive Director of Sacred Community Connections

"I was brought to this work through a program to write trans women who were incarcerated. I had several pen pals all trans folks who wrote about the lack of understanding around the nuances of subcultures inside the jail system. Those letters changed my life. Now my org SCC helps to make sure trans folks have access to safe housing upon release as well as case management."

Learn more about Ahkia

Location: Ashland, Oregon

Founder of The Freedom Exchange

"Incarceration should not disqualify anyone from the opportunity to do better and be better in life. There's always more to the story so I encourage people to get curious and explore someone's experience because compassion and connection will often be the result."

Learn more about Allison

Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Organizer with VOTE

"Being apart of this cohort means that I have now joined forces with women across the world who has the same passion, and their will to fight is EPIC. I wanted to join to enhance my leadership skills and get groomed for the many battles up ahead."

Learn more about Ivy

Location: Tacoma, WA

Co-director of New Connections

"I wish people knew how unnecessary, unsafe, traumatic and damaging incarceration is/can be for women. Punishment that never truly ends is not the best solution our society can come up with in order to stop someone from the destruction they may be doing, or accused of doing, to themselves, their families and their communities."

Learn more about Jessica

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Founder and Executive Director of All Things Art, Inc.

"My work is a labor of love for our youth. They are our future leaders."

Learn more about Latanya

Location: Huntington, NY

New Hour for Women and Children

"I am a beautiful woman who made some mistakes in my life, but you will never know who I am if you don't time to find out. Give people a chance, give what you would want to receive."

Learn more about Pamela

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Founder of RestoreHER

"I served a 78 month federal sentence while pregnant, and was shackled which caused me to fall and miscarriage. I was then placed in solitary confinement. This experience motivated me to become the Founder of RestoreHER US"

Learn more about Pamela

Location: Portsmouth, VA

CEO of ECE Firm, LLC

"After losing my mom to her addiction less than 24 hours of her release from federal prison, I vow to help restore mother daughter relationships that are broken and help mothers who are incarcerated heal/recognize the tie in their childhood traumas and their incarceration and supply them resources to help aid their choices."

Learn more about Quniana 

Location: Winter Haven, Florida

National Organizer with Fight to End incarceration of Women and Girls

"Because we as Women and Girls don't belong in prison, we can't heal in prison. We belong with our children, families and communities."

Learn more about Sharon

Location: Bridgeport, CT

Executive Director of Women's Community Justice Association (WCJA)

"We are not our worst moments."

Learn more about Sharon

Location: Cincinnati, OH

Coach, Facilitator, Consultant with New Direction Coaching & Consulting, LLC

"Women hold an important role in their families as well as their communities. It is important to listen to the voices of the women impacted as well as their families. They should be in a place of leadership and providing guidance in moving things forward."

Learn more about Zaria

Meet Our Collective Leadership Institute Cohort 2020-2021

Director of Advocacy for the Northwest Community Bail Fund 

"I joined CLI because I wanted to connect with other women who have shared similar experiences as mine, learn how to effectively heal myself and my community from the generational trauma caused by the criminal punishment system, and dismantle it."

Learn more about Chanel

Social Justice Organizer

"I'll retire doing the work of liberation and freeing black and brown people."

Learn more about Robin

Co-founder, Reaching and Educating for Community Hope (RECH) Foundation

"Women incarcerated/formerly incarcerated women are no different than any other woman...We have the same emotions and feelings, family issues like other families. We deserve respect and treatment as other women"

Learn more about Pauline

Doctoral Student 

"What I've valued most about CLI is having had the opportunity to meet so many amazing women doing such important criminal justice reform work."

Learn more about Olivia here

Community Advocate and Reentry Coordinator

"As a woman and mother with similar experiences of lost children in the system, dealing with homelessness and substance use disorder, I understand firsthand the need to bring those experiences to the forefront and to the tables of government officials in order to enact policy change and support."

Learn more about Russelle here

Communication and Community Engagement Coordinator, Alliance for Higher Education in Prison 

"I wanted to join CLI because let's face it, there is very little to help for formerly incarcerated people who are seeking leadership positions, even less specifically for women by women. Programs like this run by directly impacted leaders in the higher ed in prison community are a necessity to elevate members of our community."

Learn more about Lauren here

Director of Policy, Advocacy and Outreach for Prison Cells to PhD

"I am committed to the concept that those closest to the problem are also those that are closest to the solution - yet we are routinely denied a seat at the table - much less provided with the opportunity to direct the work and shape the narrative that is truly reflective of our experiences and that is authentically driven by us.  Laws and policies are directed at us - not with us. I am committed to working to create and support models that elevate our voices and that creates new narratives."

Learn more about Kimberly here