Leading with Influence

People sitting around board room table discussing

Accepting applications until January 7, 2024!


Leading with Influence helps employees to exercise informal leadership and co-elevate* with colleagues to improve their work and place of work. Participants will learn to effectively move in and out of informal leadership roles to mobilize others towards a common goal and influence colleagues while maintaining collegial relationships.  *co-elevate: rising together by helping one another


This program recognizes the critical work done by informal leaders all over campus and provides support for faculty and staff engaged in this form of leadership. An informal leader may be leading interdisciplinary or cross-functional teams; they may be animating or coordinating the efforts of a network of people; they may be seen by their colleagues as someone who can bring together people to achieve a common goal – and they do this without any formal, managerial authority over the people they are leading. Faculty and staff with supervisory responsibilities may also lead colleagues informally.

Leading with Influence includes a variety of components and activities, including:

  1. Connection and contribution: A full day exploration of what calls us to leadership, the need for diverse thought, and the value of community based on traditional Cree teachings of leadership.
  2. Core leadership training: Foundational leadership training that develops skills in curiosity, facilitation, feedback and more. Try a wide variety of tools and techniques in class before testing them in your own context.
  3. Passion project: A self-defined project that you aspire to lead. 
  4. Diversity, equity, and inclusion:  Explore allyship and learn how to integrate it into your leadership practice.
  5. Ideation fair: Experience different strategies that challenge your (and others’) thinking and generate a variety of possibilities. 
  6. Choose-your-own-adventure opportunities: Concurrent sessions where you “deep dive” on a selected decision-making approach. A morning where the group defines the agenda and topics of discussion. 
  7. World cafe and celebration: The final afternoon, where the group reflects on its learnings and celebrates with one another, its supervisors and special guests.

Review Program Syllabus Program FAQ


In spring/summer 2023, we conducted cross-campus consultations to better understand what effective informal leadership at UofA looks like and what the professional development needs of (aspiring) informal leaders are.
Read more about the consultations that informed the design.


Leading with Influence is open to all faculty and staff. It is specifically designed to assist faculty and staff members who seek to be a force for positive change and build leadership skills in their current role. It does not explicitly prepare faculty or staff to transition into formal supervisory roles, although the mindset and skill set developed in the program (and practiced overtime) would be beneficial for those seeking advancement opportunities.


Jess Robinson Lychak (Lead facilitator)

Jess is a thought partner for leaders who are hungry to learn. She has years of expertise coaching and training executives and teams in the skills of developing trust and accountability, resolving conflict, and enhancing performance. Jess has held leadership roles in not-for-profit arts organizations and the health care sector. She has a Master’s degree in Leadership Development from Royal Roads University and is a Professional Certified Coach. A former actor and director, Jess brings creativity and fun to the design and facilitation of leadership programs.

Kerri Robinson (Lead facilitator)

Kerri has always been fascinated by the process of change and how systems can be transformed through precision and critical thinking. Kerri has studied change, as part of her Master's of Business Administration (leadership specialization), and she has led change in her previous role steering high-stakes capital projects with Alberta Health Services. Kerri currently co-facilitates leadership development sessions with her partner and is a research associate with Royal Roads University on a project related to the intersections between climate change and the health care system. She has a diploma in solution-focused coaching from Erickson International and is working towards her Associate Certified Coach designation.

Karen MacKenzie (Facilitator, Indigenous approaches to leadership)

Karen is a proud Cree-Métis woman. She is the Co-Founder and President of MacKintosh Canada and serves as an Elder with Edmonton Catholic Schools and Indigenous Services Canada. She is also a Mentor with the Indigenous Women in Community Leadership program at St. Francis Xavier University. Karen has a Master’s of Business Administration and held academic leadership posts at the University of Lethbridge and Grant MacEwan College. She brings her traditional knowledge into the contemporary workplace and is committed to the co-creation of a healthy and safe workplace that is inclusive, engaging, and respectful of the land, culture, and aspirations of all but particularly Indigenous peoples.

Candace Yung (Facilitator, Inclusion)

Candace is a passionate consultant, coach and educator. She believes in the power of storytelling to deepen connections and help others find meaning in their experiences. Candace is a second-generation Chinese-Canadian and has spent her lifetime being an advocate for leadership and equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). Her goal is to help create inclusive environments so that everyone can feel safe, valued, and inspired to be and do their best. Candace holds numerous degrees, designations, and certifications in psychology, EDI, leadership, diversity and leadership coaching, change management, emotional intelligence, communication, mental health and various psychometrics.



Leading with Influence is a seven-day, cohort-based program. The program will be piloted in the Winter term 2024. Dates for the Winter cohort include:
  • January 31, 2024: Virtual welcome/introductory session (10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)
  • February 14 & 15, 2024 (9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
  • February 28, 2024 (9 a.m.– 4:30 p.m.)
  • March 13* & 14, 2024 (9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
  • March 27, 2024 (9 a.m.– 4:30 p.m.)
  • April 10, 2024* (9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

*Participants’ supervisors and guests will be invited to join the morning of March 13 and the afternoon of April 10, 2024 (times TBC).

For successful completion, participants are expected to:

  • Attend all the sessions.
  • Complete pre-work prior to the first class (approximately 2 hours).
  • Complete homework between sessions (approximately 2-3 hours per week).


The training costs $650. This fee helps to cover the costs associated with:
  • Expert facilitation
  • Reference materials
  • Meal on the first day of training; refreshments throughout

Applicants are encouraged to apply for funding through the Human Resources Development Fund (support staff) or the Professional Expense Reimbursement Program (academic staff).

If a spot in Leading with Influence is offered, payment is required to secure the spot. Payment can be made via credit card, indent or, where applicable, direct withdrawal from the Human Resources Development Fund. Payment options and instructions will be given at the time of offer.


There are 30 spaces available.


  1. Fill out the online learner application form.
  2. Forward the supervisor endorsement form to your supervisor for completion. There will also be a link to the endorsement form in the confirmation email that you will receive when you submit your application. 
We are accepting applications until January 7, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. Please ensure that BOTH parts of the application are submitted by the deadline.