About Masters Series for Distinguished Leaders

MASTERS SERIES FOR DISTINGUISHED LEADERS (MSDL) is a unique program of Skinner Leadership Institute (SLI). It is a one-of-a-kind culturally sensitive, global leadership excellence experience, producing high character, difference makers, social innovators, quality decision makers and community builders.  

MSDL is built on a philosophy of PROMISE DRIVEN LEADERSHIP. MSDL Fellows move from PURPOSE, or the work a leader is called to do, to PROMISE, or the difference a leader is called to make to improve the human condition. Promise Driven Leaders are always “other-centered,” making others around them better. They model seven (7) character traits. They are Committed to something bigger than themselves; Considerate of others; Connected to others; Compassionate toward others; Confident in their cause; Conscientious with excellence as their brand, and Complementary in always showing kindness toward others.

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in high character, difference-making leadership traits with the goal of internal fortification for the pressures and temptations of high performance leadership that distinguishes Promise Driven Leaders

History of MSDL


 African American Leadership Family; founded 1985 by Tom    

 and Barbara Williams-Skinner (2nd & 3rd row, far right).

MASTERS SERIES FOR DISTINGUISHED LEADERS (MSDL) was founded in 2008 by the African American Leadership Family, a cadre of accomplished veteran leaders, committed to nurturing and developing a new generation of difference making executive leaders. MSDL is a culturally sensitive, global leadership excellence and community service program for people of color in middle management, ages 25-45. It assists high performing business, government, and nonprofit leaders to impact their organizations, communities, and the underserved. MSDL has graduated nearly 200 gifted and talented executives since 2008.

Uniqueness of MSDL

MSDL focuses on the internal qualities and skills of high performing leaders such as strength of character, integrity, resiliency, team building, win-win relationships, emotional intelligence, and the proper uses of power. 



  • Outstanding Faculty.

  • Exposure to high level leaders & decision makers.

  • Renowned veteran leaders as Master Coaches. 

  • Mastery of effective communications. 

  • Life-work balance; executive wellness lectures.

  • Public Policy making skills development.

  • Active MSDL Alumni network. 


The Masters Series for Distinguished Leader’s success is first rooted in a bipartisan, intergenerational Faculty of expert leadership developers, with access to top leaders across the globe, and a proven track record of equipping young leaders for exceptional performance.


"The MSDL program is different from other leadership programs in that it isn’t focused on a specific industry or institution, but rather on encouraging and cultivating leaders of integrity and high character. Alumni of MSDL will not just influence the marketplace, but they’ll stand as servant leaders in their community — for the benefit of us all.” – Ms. Lori George Billingsley, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, The Coca-Cola Company

in high character, difference-making leadership traits.


in public policy and public advocacy.


to high level leaders and decision makers; and teamed with Master Coaches.


to an active MSDL Alumni network of young leaders. 


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