Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

The Inclusive Leadership Model (ILM) represents the foundation of National Urban Fellows’ commitment to inclusive leadership development that we believe is a hallmark of successful individual leaders and organizations. The model describes the essential elements of effective leadership and how those elements produce both Inclusive Leaders and Inclusive Organizations.[1]

Best practices for inclusive leadership development show that it is an ongoing effort incorporating learning, action and feedback as each organization discovers new ways to support the development of board, staff and program participants to become Inclusive Leaders actively participating in an Inclusive Organization.

We also know that inclusive leadership is effective leadership. Effective inclusive leadership development becomes indistinguishable from the culture of an organization. It is not separate from the activities that successful organizations undertake to translate an inspiring vision into successful results. The ILM is designed to deepen the understanding of this dynamic process and to highlight the best research practices that have influenced its development.

For National Urban Fellows, the Inclusive Leadership Model (ILM) is at the core of our mission, programs and organizational excellence and it serves as an example of our practice of social justice and equity for all people. We have integrated the ILM in every aspect of the organization including its leadership, management, operations, and program offerings.

Inclusive Leadership

Inclusive leadership is the practice of leadership that carefully includes the contributions of all stakeholders in the community or organization. Inclusion means being at the table at all levels of the organization, being a valued contributor and being fully responsible for your contribution to the ultimate result. Inclusive leadership creates an organizational culture that consistently produces results that benefit all of those stakeholders.

We further define leadership as a functional practice required of all stakeholders, where individuals are fully responsible for their contribution, internally committed to assessment and growth and outwardly committed to a culture that invests in this same growth for everyone.

While there is a clear difference in the scope of responsible accountability held by a CEO versus a frontline staffer, we assert that the practice of approaching one’s work with a clear awareness of the responsibility to contribute to the end result is a key practice of leadership. Therefore, we believe our model is applicable at all levels of participation and able to be employed in both organizations and communities. We further assert that organizational leadership is a similar practice of being responsible to both the organization and the community in which it operates. When organizations are responsible, they are consistent in both internal assessment and their commitment to the development of their key stakeholders (staff, board and/or community members).

Individual Model

Organization Model



[1]The Inclusive Leadership Model has been informed by the report, Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion: Insights from Scholarship,by Sonia Ospina, Waad El Hadidy and Grisel Caicedo with Amanda Jones, Research Center for Leadership in Action, NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, April 2011.