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Masters Series

for Distinguished Leaders

MSDL Class of 2024 Highlights


PatMcDougal_0802202305_Official.7-14-2023 2Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner Portrait -  Pmcdou


MSDL Co-Founder and Dean



MSDL Faculty

The Honorable Constance B. Newman.jpg


MSDL Faculty



MSDL Faculty

Camille Glover


MSDL Faculty



MSDL Faculty

The MASTERS SERIES FOR DISTINGUISHED LEADERS (MSDL) 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 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 | 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.

STELLAR  FACULTY | MSDL’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.

PHILOSOPHY | 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. MSDL’s goal is to equip high-performing executives with the character and mindset of Promise Driven Leadership.

HOW IT WORKS | MSDL operates two days a month; January to June, in Washington, DC.

  • Day One: Interactive leadership skills building seminar - using the case study method; simulating real life leadership challenges and scenarios. Effective communication drills are done in each session.

  • Day Two: Public Policy Shaping Segment - meetings with top policy experts, thought leaders; and impacted community representatives, on systemic changes needed on key policy issues, (e.g. criminal justice reform, voting rights and economic stability). Data analysis is used to shape decision making in  public policy recommendations.

  • FINAL PRESENTATIONS: Fellows make a final presentation of their policy recommendations before an expert panel as a graduation requirement.


  • JANUARY - Session I: Leadership’s Intangible Qualities: Moving from Purpose to Promise Driven Leadership

  • FEBRUARY - Session II: Foundations of Effective Leadership: Character Strength, Integrity, and Resiliency

  • MARCH - Session III: Successful Leaders: Building Empowering, Win-Win Relationships

  • APRIL - Session IV: Effective Leaders: Mastering Equity and Inclusion in a Diverse World

  • MAY -Session V: Empowered Leaders: Understanding The Proper Uses of Power

  • JUNE - Session VI: Community Service Project Final Presentations and Graduation Ceremony

2024 MSDL Brochure

For more information on the Masters Series for Distinguished Leaders program, including program dates and fees download the 2025 MSDL Brochure.

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MSDL Application Process

The following steps outline the Masters Series for Distinguished Leaders (MSDL) program Application Process:


  • STEP 1 - Download and review the 2025 MSDL Brochure that outlines the program and 2025 session schedule. 

  • STEP 2 - Complete and submit the 2025 Application, which includes uploading your resume or CV (with your complete work experience) and professional color headshot (high-resolution jpeg only).

  • STEP 3 - You will be contacted to schedule a date to engage in a 30-minute video conference interview with faculty;

  • STEP 4 - Receive a letter of acceptance;

  • STEP 5 - Submit the "Confirmation of Enrollment" form for the 2025 program and a $1,000 tuition deposit no later than December 1, 2024 (except if you are fully sponsored by your employer). Enrollment confirmation will be emailed to admitted candidates upon acceptance into the program.

  • STEP 6 - Pay the tuition balance in full by April 1, 2025 (except if you are fully sponsored by your employer). Payment plans are available. Deposit and tuition are nonrefundable.


The application deadline is September 6, 2024. Candidates are encouraged to apply early to receive priority consideration. We are now accepting applications and scheduling interviews until November 15, 2024.

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