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The Anna Faith Jones and Frieda Garcia Women of Color Leadership Circle is a six-month cohort program that supports women and gender-expansive leaders of color and advances their leadership journeys. Through the program, up to 15 leaders participate in monthly facilitated sessions that are curated to be a safe space for belonging, fellowship, learning, unlearning, self-care, and restoration—a place where participants can share their challenges and frustrations and learn and grow from each other’s experiences. 

The 2024 session is underway! Visit this link to meet last year's members.



The Women of Color Leadership Circle is less focused on what the members of the cohort produce or their leadership strategies; we are instead concerned with their core. We know the trauma of operating within systems of white supremacy culture and the lack of mentorship and isolation many women of color experience in the workplace. 

This program is about the hearts and souls of women of color in leadership positions. It's about building a sisterhood among women with shared experiences and challenges. It is about working together to restore what white supremacy has stripped away — the truth that we are enough.  For these reasons and more, we call this a human-centered leadership development program. 


The Women of Color Leadership Circle Aims to:


  • ​Deepen connections, nurture leaders and communities, and foster collaboration

  • Provide leadership support and coaching that is responsive to the experiences of women of color leaders in the nonprofit sector

  • Raise visibility of women of color leaders who are often overlooked

  • Support women of color leaders to further develop their leadership and professional goals

  • Create a safe space for fellowship, belonging, learning, and self-care


Program Offerings

  • Monthly day-long sessions for women of color leaders to unleash their potential, learn new approaches through peer learning, and build strong relationships with one another.

  • Executive coaching for each participant by women of color coaches.

    *Click here to view past curriculum


Participant Criteria

  • Must identify as a woman or gender-expansive person of color* in a leadership position of any level**

  • Priority will be given to applicants working at a nonprofit organization, coalition, or network; in the public sector; or at a social enterprise within Greater Boston. However, we encourage all interested parties to apply.

  • Priority will be given to applicants from organizations with budgets below $2 million; Priority will also be given to applicants in organizations without a professional development budget.

  • Must be able to attend six day-long sessions (dates TBA)***Sessions will be held on Thursdays from 9-5 pm in the Boston area. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. 


Application Process

We use a non-traditional application process to build our cohort. Our applicants were contacted for a group interview to discuss their leadership journey. During the group interview, the applicant and 4-6 members of their inner circle were interviewed together by the selection committee. This was an opportunity for the selection committee to meet the people who can speak to the different experiences of the candidate and how they have impacted the lives of others. This format is our way of bringing letters of recommendation to life and creating a more personal and human-centered experience.

The members of the candidate’s inner circle could include colleagues, community members, mentors, mentees, and others who could speak to their reputation of civic engagement in the community. All applicant responses were held confidential and only reviewed by the Cohort Selection Committee. We then notified all applicants of decisions by email. 

*Gender-expansive is inclusive of gender-nonconforming, genderfluid, nonbinary, genderqueer, transfeminine, agender and all trans-identified individuals.

We are committed to supporting communities and individuals historically excluded from institutional philanthropy – including, but not limited to LGBTQIA people, immigrants and refugees, and people with disabilities. As such, we strongly encourage applications from individuals who identify with these groups and/or other marginalized communities.

**We define “leadership position” as a role where an individual makes leadership decisions within their organization or is leading a team or department.

Parallel Lines

Browse past 

View past program participants


Today, the Women of Color Leadership Circle (WOCLC) is run exclusively by the Boston Women's Fund with facilitation support from the Interaction Institute for Social Change, though it was originally conceived by Natanja Craig Oquendo, Executive Director of Boston Women’s Fund, and Andrea Madu and Stephanie Guidry of the Boston Foundation, with support from the Boston Foundation and the Angell Foundation. 

The program was designed by a team of brilliant women of color leaders who enjoy laughing, dancing, singing, and dreaming big: Andrea Madu, Kelly Bates, Aba Taylor, Talissa Lahaliyed, Fernanda Oliveira Costa, Evelyn Barahona, Trina Jackson, Suzanne Lee, Sheena Collier, Renata Teodoro, and Karla Nicholson. Sessions are facilitated by Aba Taylor and Kelly Bates from Interaction Institute for Social Change (IISC) and include both individual and team work, peer knowledge sharing, skills-building, and opportunities for joy and self-care. 


It was inspired by two groundbreaking women of color leaders: Anna Faith Jones and Frieda Garcia. In the 1990s, Jones and Garcia led the Boston Foundation as CEO and Board Chair respectively and were the first women of color to occupy those roles in the foundation’s history. The Women of Color Leadership Circle is inspired by the close partnership, vision, friendship, and legacy of these two incredible leaders.


We stand on the shoulders of giants, and these trailblazing women have paved the way for women of color within our sector. 

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