Advanced Leadership Academy

The roles of a leader are many, and the challenges they face are more complex than ever before. COVID-19 has disrupted business continuity in a profound way, requiring leaders to solve a variety of unprecedented challenges. Identifying and effectively navigating competing priorities now is no easy task. How do leaders cultivate exceptional teams, increase personal and organizational productivity, minimize employee turnover, mitigate risk, build trust and transparency within an organization and nurture a culture of innovation?

The University of Nevada, Reno’s Advanced Leadership Academy is a five-month training and coaching program designed to develop and support senior leaders and key team members. The program also offers the next level of advanced leadership training for those who have completed the 10-course Supervisory Management Certificate through Extended Studies (although completion of this program is not a prerequisite).

Those responsible for setting strategy, spearheading competitive initiatives, leading change, driving innovation, coaching team members and inspiring positive culture within their organizations will learn tools and techniques to enhance their influence and successfully lead their teams.

Academy Objectives:

The Advanced Leadership Academy is built upon seven pillars that support the influence and effectiveness of those leading within an organization. Classroom learning and individual coaching sessions are designed to meet the following objectives.

Pillar I:
Leading Self

Develop a deeper understanding of human behavior and the ability to manage emotions more effectively to avoid unintended outcomes and build resilience in the face of challenges.

Pillar II:
Leading Transformation

Learn to gather and analyze data to support high-quality decision-making to avoid biases, reduce negative consequences and maximize benefits.

Pillar III:
Leading People through Change

Learn methods to engage people in small and large change initiatives to increase innovation, improve agility and enhance employee experiences.

Pillar IV:
Leading the Enterprise through Turbulent Times

Cultivate the skills necessary to successfully design, build and manage organizational strategy in times of uncertainty and tumult.

Pillar V:
Leading with Diversity

Learn how to reduce prejudice and discrimination within an organization, and to foster a positive organizational culture that leads to greater problem solving and increased accountability.

Pillar VI:
Leading Communications

Learn effective approaches, frameworks and tools for communicating effectively, transparently and authentically to build stronger internal and external networks.

Pillar VII:
Leading Individuals and Teams

Learn coaching techniques to empower your team(s) to more effective performance, creating synergies, and gaining loyalty and commitment to organizational objectives.

Academy Components:

The Advanced Leadership Academy includes seven content blocks outlined below. The program also includes an EQ-i 2.0 Leadership Assessment. Two individual coaching sessions with Certified Professional Coach Kevin Ciccotti may be added for an additional cost.

Classroom Sessions

The program consists of seven content blocks in person at the University of Nevada, Reno Redfield Campus in south Reno.

Participants proceed through the program as a cohort and can expect a mixture of lecture, case studies, simulations and class participation to learn and apply the principles in each session. Participants will be encouraged to discuss examples from their professional lives, and active student participation in class is a key component of the learning experience.

EQ-i 2.0 Leadership Profile

Emotional intelligence is a key factor in the long-term success of leaders in today’s complex business environment. The EQ-i 2.0 Assessment measures emotional intelligence (EI) and how it affects people and the workplace, by asking questions related to self-perception, self-expression, interpersonal relationships, decision-making and stress management. EQ-i 2.0 is one of only two commercially available assessments validated by the American Psychological Association for its reliability in measuring emotional intelligence.

Students will complete an EQ-i 2.0 assessment at the start of the program. Each student will receive their results as part of an EQ-i 2.0 Leadership profile, which compares individual assessment results to those of more than 200 leaders in positions from mid-management to senior leadership roles from a variety of industries across the United States. This EQ-i 2.0 Leadership Profile measures the main composite and subscales used in the standard assessment against four key dimensions of leadership — Authenticity, Coaching, Insight and Innovation — to provide insight into specific leadership strengths and areas for improvement. Along with this individual report, participants will receive a one-hour personal debrief from Certified Professional Coach Kevin Ciccotti.

Optional Individual Coaching

Two 50-minute, one-on-one coaching sessions with Certified Professional Coach Kevin Ciccotti may be added for an additional cost. These sessions are incorporated to support leaders in implementing the tools and strategies learned in the program. Participants will be guided to examine successes and challenges with fresh perspectives, while working through obstacles they may be experiencing.

The coaching sessions are provided via teleconference, and students will be given a recording of each. Students will be provided with scheduling information during the first class, and the sessions may be scheduled at mutually agreed upon times between the instructor and the student during the course of the program.

Classroom Sessions Overview

click to expand/collapse Session I: February 28, 2024

The Neuroscience of Leadership: Leading Self
Kevin Ciccotti, CPCC, PCC

In the first session, participants will develop a deeper understanding of human behavior (specifically, their own) and the impact they have on their team(s). This includes how to avoid unintended outcomes during stressful or difficult conversations. How do you react when problems occur? What are the skills and competencies required to respond more effectively to difficult circumstances? There is no doubt that in today’s Covid world, leaders are expected to do more with less and respond to unprecedented challenges. Participants will learn proven methods for building resilience in the face of challenges, and practice the skills necessary to become more resourceful and respected leaders.


  • Neuroscience basics
  • Impact of behavior on brain; solving the stimulus/response problem
  • Basic human needs/motivators
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Tools for managing emotions more effectively
  • The mindfulness — leadership connection

click to expand/collapse Session II: March 6, 2024

Making High-Quality & Data-Driven Decisions: Leading Transformation
Kandis Porter, MBA, MSPM, PMP

In our rapidly changing world, making high-quality decisions is more crucial than ever to ensure the success of the organization and people that work within it. Successful leaders must make important decisions that allow them to seize opportunities and swiftly address challenges. Decisions relating to cutting costs and increasing efficiencies are common. To maximize benefits, and minimize negative consequences, decisions that are complex or have a high impact should be made using a systematic approach. This session explores decision-making concepts, techniques and processes. Participants will better understand how to properly define a required decision, frame the decision, communicate and implement the decision, and monitor results. Leaders also will learn how to avoid biases, which are common in decision-making.


  • Aligning strategic decisions to organizational goals and objectives
  • Using data to support decision-making
  • Following a decision-making process with clearly defined roles
  • Implementing decision-making techniques
  • Avoiding common biases

click to expand/collapse Session III: March 13, 2024

Organizational Agility and Innovation: Leading People through Change
Morgan Massie, M.A., ACC

We are living in a time that requires us to embrace great change and flexibility in order to succeed. If you’ve ever tried to change one of your own behaviors and habits, you know how difficult change is for just one person. Trying to affect change for a small or large group of people has its own difficulties. Sometimes change is inspired by internal pressures while other times it's forced upon people via external pressure (i.e. global pandemics). During this session, leaders will assess how they personally navigate change by completing the ChangeRHYTHMⓒ self-assessment. Leaders will then discover best practices for developing personal resilience through change as well as how to effectively lead others through change by addressing personal and practical needs. The result of leading change well is increased innovation, improved agility and better employee experiences.


  • Things that get in the way of successful change (no matter how it came about)
  • The role of vulnerability in change and innovation
  • People’s needs during change initiatives
  • Best practices for personally navigating change
  • Tools and resources for leading change

click to expand/collapse Session IV: April 4, 2024

Building a Stronger Organizational Culture: Leading Communications
Todd Felts, Ed.D. APR

How can you position yourself more effectively as a leader through inclusive communication? How do you know the message you are intending to send is what is being received? What will it take to help rebuild and respond from COVID-19? In this session, participants will learn communication techniques and best practices necessary to inspire others and leverage ideas with attention on organizations in crisis. The session will explore tactfully bridging difficult conversations (whether one-on-one or with thousands), situations faced by leaders, and share how to build stronger communication cultures internally and externally so leaders may share their vision effectively.


  • Discover personal communication strengths to build more effective personal and professional relationships in a post-COVID world
  • Approaches, frameworks and tools for communicating effectively in day-to-day and difficult situations
  • Techniques to create space for transparent and authentic communication, where people from different areas and backgrounds feel safe to speak up and share ideas.
  • How to develop key messages and deliver them to the media and beyond.

click to expand/collapse Session V: April 17, 2024

Agile Strategic Planning: Leading the Enterprise through Turbulent Times
Erica J. Olsen, MBA

This session covers the concepts and tools of designing, building and managing organization-wide strategy in times of uncertainty and tumult. Leading an enterprise-wide, dynamic strategic planning process requires inspiring strategic thinking, and adopting best-practice strategic planning processes that are agile and matching the market dynamics with the organization’s competitive advantages. Students will gain tools and practices to assess market opportunities and threats, determine organizational strengths and weaknesses, and formulate strategic alternatives with the agility needed today.


  • Agile strategic planning best practices, framework and process
  • External and internal analysis, to include SWOT development and competitive positioning
  • Visioning and roadmapping that allows for adaptations
  • Corporate strategy design and organizational alignment
  • Strategic thinking exercises
  • Understanding the intersection of strategy, culture and employee engagement

click to expand/collapse Session VI: April 24, 2024

Fostering Awareness in an Uncomfortable Environment: Leading with Diversity
Horacio Leyva

Studies have shown that diversity drives collaboration and innovation in the workplace, allowing greater opportunities for problem solving, reducing bias, and increasing accountability. Diversity within a workplace encompasses race, gender, ethnic groups, age, religion, sexual orientation, citizenship status, military service and mental and physical conditions, as well as other distinct differences between people. It includes not only how individuals identify themselves, but also how others perceive them. This session will explore the formation and ownership of personal thoughts and feelings and how they impact the workplace. Leaders will learn how to reduce prejudice and discrimination within their organizations, and to foster a positive organizational culture that encourages employees to work together effectively.


  • Discover biases and how they hamper or strengthen personal relationships
  • Strategies to strengthen workplace relationships for effective outcomes
  • Walk through uncomfortable conversations that are essential for growth

click to expand/collapse Session VII: May 22, 2024

Coaching for Higher Performance: Leading Individuals and Teams
Kevin Ciccotti, CPCC, PCC

Leaders understand they also must be coaches for their teams. But how do you actually coach individuals and teams to higher performance? What are the steps to creating a powerful coaching conversation? This session provides participants with a solid understanding of basic coaching tools and techniques, provides the opportunity to put those skills into practice and teaches them how to use coaching as a method for driving stronger performance within an organization. The tools and techniques learned can be utilized immediately to more effectively lead teams, create synergies, and gain loyalty and commitment to organizational objectives.


  • What exactly is coaching?
  • Core competencies of coaching
  • The structure of the coaching process
  • Skills required to coach effectively
  • Gaining agreement, setting accountability
  • Getting the most from individuals and teams