Being a CEO/Executive Director can be a rewarding and isolating experience.

The Executive Peer Circle Program (EPCP) is a 12-month program that helps combat executive isolation by centering the needs of organizational leaders and their specific experience in a community of their peers.

Participants will learn how to combat personal and organizational mission creep, vicarious trauma, and the burnout that successful nonprofit leaders often face. The program is grounded in the Circle Process, which makes it different from traditional skill development or networking programs.



Joy Johnson-Carruthers

Joy Johnson-Carruthers

Circle Facilitator, Coach, Trainer & Consultant


Tracy Roberts

Tracy Roberts

MSW, President, Circle Center Consulting, LLC (The Circle Center)


2023 Program Details


Eligibility: Applicants must be the Executive Director/CEO of an agency that has received an Operating Grant or Rapid Response funds in the last year.

Application and selection process: The class of 2023 has already been selected (see below). Applications are typically available in early October.

Time Commitment and Expectations: There are 12 participants in each EPCP cohort. The program begins with a half-day retreat, followed by 11 monthly gatherings (2.5 hours each). The Circle Process is used during each meeting.

Unless otherwise indicated, monthly circle meetings are held from 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in The Healing Trust’s Retreat Center on the following dates:

    • 1/17 Opening Retreat 9:30am -3:30 p.m.
    • 2/21
    • 3/21
    • 4/18
    • 5/16
    • 6/20 Conflict Retreat 9:30am – 3:30 p.m.
    • 7/18
    • 8/22
    • 9/19
    • 10/17
    • 11/15 (Wednesday)
    • 12/19 Closing Retreat 9:30am – 12:30 p.m.

While there is no cost to attend this program, a full commitment to attend each gathering is expected.

Current and Recent Participants

2023 Cohort

  • Ahmed Hassan – Somali Community of Middle TN
  • Brian Zralek – Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH)
  • Cintoria Franklin –Pass the Beauty Inc.
  • Courtney Hatfield –Mental Health America of the MidSouth
  • Ella Clay – Healing Minds and Souls
  • Emilie Martin- Partners for Healing
  • Karynthia Phillips –Echoes of Hope Inc.
  • Kristin Mejia –Homeland Heart Birth & Wellness Collective
  • Laura Ferguson Mimms – Tennessee Higher Education Initiative
  • Libby Thurman –Tennessee Primary Care Association
  • Matt Robertson –Nurses for Newborns
  • Quintina Waller – The Hope Station
  • Tara Lentz – Conexión Américas
  • Tessa Lemos Del Pino – Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors

2020 Cohort

  • Cindy Sims – Center of Hope
  • Jeff Fladen – NAMI TN
  • Juliana Ospina Cano – Conexion Americas
  • Kathryn Norbeck – Child Advocacy Center of the 23rd Judicial District
  • Margie Quin – End Slavery TN
  • Maridel Williams – Doors of Hope
  • Megan Schwalm – Tennessee Respite Coalition
  • Rachel Freeman – Sexual Assault Center
  • Terri Sabella –Tennessee Primary Care Association
  • Trina Frierson – Mending Hearts
  • Yvette Hanshaw – AWAKE TN
  • Lynn Blumfield – Partners for Healing