Collective Leadership Supervisor Training

Welcome to the information page for the Collective Leadership Supervisor Training!

If you’d like to receive information about future cohorts, please complete the Expression of Interest form.


The Collective Leadership Supervisor Training is a 21-hour course to deepen the supervisory practices that support job performance and growth for employees impacted by the criminal justice system. Supervisors will strengthen their own capacity to convey workplace expectations and performance feedback and enhance the employees’ capacity for initiative and leadership. The course is offered over several weeks to allow time for practice and reflection between modules.

The Institute developed this training in partnership with advisors, including employers and people with lived experience in the criminal justice system currently working in human services.

The Institute gratefully acknowledges support for the Collective Leadership Supervisor Training from the NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

Skills development for supervisors:

  • Strengthen supervisory coaching and feedback skills
  • Foster your staff’s initiative, accountability, and leadership
  • Use supervision practices to assess your own effectiveness and close the gap between intention and real impact on those you supervise
  • Deepen fundamental supervisory practices to work with all employees, including those impacted by trauma

Attendees who complete the full 21-hour course, field practice, and other required assignments will receive the Collective Leadership Supervisor Training Certificate from John Jay College’s Professional Studies.

Course Schedule & Logistics

The Collective Leadership Supervisor Training is typically held on the John Jay College campus (524 West 59th Street) over the course of three days. However, due to COVID-19, the 21-hour training will now be facilitated remotely.


Supervisors at nonprofit and government agencies who supervise employees directly impacted by the criminal justice system may apply for this course. Supervisors of workplace volunteers who are impacted by the criminal justice system may also apply. Agencies are encouraged to send teams of 2-3 supervisors to this training to build a community of practice and broaden impact across the organization. Agencies are also encouraged to send two supervisory levels (i.e., the supervisor and the supervisor’s manager).

Applications are also encouraged from supervisors at agencies that employ graduates of or currently enrolled students in the Institute’s Navigator Certificate in Human Services & Community Justice. It is very beneficial for organizations to have supervisors and staff trained in the same feedback tools and practices of collective leadership.


  • Be 18+ to apply
  • Be employed by a nonprofit organization or government agency in New York City.
  • Have current supervisory responsibility for staff directly impacted by the criminal justice system (supervisors of peer mentors, navigators, and other credible messenger roles). We will also accept applications from supervisors of volunteers who are directly impacted by the criminal justice system and working in peer roles.
  • Commit to completing the entire 21-hour training
  • Commit to reading selected articles ahead of sessions
  • Commit to practicing skills between sessions and writing two brief journal assignments (these are one-page reflections about your supervision skill practice at work)
  • Have the technological skills and equipment required to participate in a remote training


Training for supervisors is often the best way to invest in the development of all employees and produce mission-consistent outcomes. The supervisory practices taught in this course are foundational for supervisors of all staff, not only staff impacted by the criminal justice system. However, targeted training to this group of supervisors can shift the organizational culture at a crucial time, as more nonprofit and government agencies recognize the value of life experience and seek to hire and retain employees impacted by the criminal justice system.  These employees have powerful skills and a deep passion for the work. Yet, supervisors may also need to develop new skills to meet job requirements and complement the rapport-building and participant-engagement elements of their jobs. Tailored training for supervisors builds an organizational culture in which employees in peer mentor, navigator, and credible messenger roles can thrive and advance.

Supervisors must complete all 21 hours of the training, read assigned articles, practice skills in their workplace, and prepare two brief journal assignments reflecting on their experience practicing skills at work.


David Mensah is a lead instructor for the Institute’s Navigator Certificate in Human Services & Community Justice, a semester-long, college-level course for people with lived experience in the criminal justice system seeking careers in human services, and the Institute’s Collective Leadership Supervisor Training. He was previously the lead instructor for JLUSA’s Leading with Conviction (LwC) and has trained volunteer parent leaders for the NYC Department of Education’s Parent Leadership Institute. In a career spanning 21 years, Mr. Mensah has spent 13 years in Executive Director positions, as well as 10 years as a youth and family counselor. Mr. Mensah has two BS degrees from Oregon State University, a Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Bridgeport, and a M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. He has held faculty positions in leadership studies at Sacred Heart University, in Trauma Counseling at the University of Bridgeport, and an adjunct faculty position at Baruch College, in the School of Public Affairs.

Elena Sigman is the Director of Collaborative Learning at the Institute and a coach with thirty years of experience in social justice program design, startup, and operations management. Ms. Sigman has developed certificate training programs in partnership with John Jay College Professional Studies, academic faculty, nonprofit employers, and people with lived experience in the criminal legal system: the Navigator Certificate in Human Services & Community Justice and the Collective Leadership Supervisor Training (CLST). She also partners with the NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity and CUNY School of Professional Studies to create training for City-contracted workforce development providers. A Results Trained Coach with certification from the NeuroLeadership Institute, Ms. Sigman has a BA from Yale University and MFA from Columbia University. Ms. Sigman has previously served as Director of Food Programs at Hazon and as Director of Operations at the Women’s Prison Association, among other roles.

For more information, contact Elena Sigman, Director of Collaborative Learning,


Module 1: Supervision & Leadership

An introduction to Collective Leadership as a foundation for supervision.  Supervisors will explore the principles of Responsibility, Self-Reflection, and Feedback. Supervisors will model collective leadership for direct reports and other staff by strengthening their own practice of asking for feedback. Fundamentals of supervision covered in Module 1 include:

  • Establishing and sustaining supervisory relationships
  • Fostering independence and initiative
  • Communicating effectively (with a focus on how the communication lands rather than the intention)
  • Offering acknowledgment and recognition

Key learning objectives: supervisors will build their capacity to incorporate feedback tools into their supervisory practice. Feedback tools taught in this session equip supervisors to have direct and non-judgmental conversations with staff on their team to give supervisory feedback and receive feedback from their employees. At the end of Module 1, supervisors will receive their first field practice assignment (workplace practice of tools taught in the training and a one-page written journal about the practice).

Module 2: Supervision & Communication

Report back/discussion of field practice assignment followed by instruction and group practice in three areas:

  1. Supervision Coaching. Supervisors will learn the core coaching skill of supporting staff on their team to identify the barriers and solutions to the challenges they face.
  2. Giving Feedback. After practicing asking for feedback, supervisors will deepen their skills of giving feedback to direct reports and explore building relationships that create openness to feedback.
  3. Trauma-Aware Supervision. This module will focus on team-building skills to support the transformation of employees impacted by trauma through their own agency and their contributions to the workplace team.

Key learning objectives: Supervisors will build their capacity to support employees in moving past being stuck and into action with solutions they have envisioned and own. Supervisors will also understand how trauma shows up in workplace behaviors and how to select an appropriate supervisory approach. The goal here is not to turn supervisors into mental health providers but to equip them to manage boundaries in supporting staff who are struggling. Supervisors will receive their second field practice assignment.

Module 3: Supervision & Organizational Culture 

Report back/ discussion of field practice assignment followed by instruction and group practice in two areas:

  1. Organizational culture. Supervisors will explore how culture impacts workplace expectations and norms and the role of supervisors in supporting employees’ successful integration of workplace expectations. Supervisors will learn to lean into the expected challenges when workplace cultures conflict with employees’ prior experience of criminal justice system cultures.
  2. Professional boundaries. Supervisors will explore the supervisory practices that support staff by identifying workplace boundaries and negotiating the inevitable boundary challenges.

Key learning objectives: Supervisors will learn to recognize the organizational culture and workplace norms in their own organizations and build skills to convey them to supervisees. Throughout Module 3, supervisors will be asked to contribute “boundary challenges” from their own supervisory experience. Through large and small group practice, supervisors will increase their capacity to support direct reports in identifying and managing workplace boundaries.


Please complete the fields below if you are interested in learning more about future Supervisor Training opportunities.  For more information, please contact us at