Network Leadership Training Academy2020-01-14T17:37:03-07:00

Visible Network Labs and the University of Colorado’s Center on Network Center are pleased co-host the 8th Annual NLTA!

May 19-20, 2020 - Registration is now open!

New this year: The NLTA will be preceded by the 1-day Network Innovation Summit on May 18th! The NIS will explore big questions about the Future of Networks. Attend both events and receive a discount. Register today and save with our Early Bird Registration Special!

For the second year in a row, the NLTA will be co-hosted by VNL and UCD’s Center on Network Science. Join us as we build bridge across academic, nonprofit, government, and private sector communities to develop the skills to build, manage, and evaluate effective networks.


Meet other network managers, funders, members and evaluators from across the United States and learn from their experiences.

Research to Practice

Gain the latest insights network science, communication studies, and other research brings to bear on network leadership practices.

Action Oriented

Our training ensure that you leave the Academy with action steps to implement real change in your work and make the most of your learning.

Join a community

By attending the NLTA you join our national community of 500+ network leaders, forming relationships you can carry on in our online forum.

2019 NLTA Photos


The annual Network Leadership Training Academy (NLTA) is a 3-day interactive workshop for network leaders, funders, evaluators, and members to engage in skill building and shared learning that reflectsthe adaptive, complex, and ever-changing needs of building, managing, and evaluating effective networks of diverse stakeholders.

Drawing on the latest in network theory, research, and practice on network leadership, the objective of this training is to enhance the skills of network leaders/members so they can be highly effective both in managing their individual organization in a network context and in managing and leading networks themselves. The NLTA training is packed full of opportunities for attendees to share their own experiences and skills in small and large group activities and interact with leading thinkers in networks leadership during sessions. 

The large-group sessions will be led by experts in the area of collaborative leadership, partnership development, network effectiveness, and evaluation of interorganizational collaboration. Specific breakout sessions are led by experienced practitioners as an opportunity for small group conversations, interactive activities, and skill building with others with similar interests and challenges. Together, the NLTA trainers compose a team of experts that are well-versed in network leadership topics, have years of experience translating research to inform evidence-based practice, and are committed to improving the way people can utilize networks to reach outcomes.

The NLTA is co-hosted in partnership by The CU-Denver School of Public Affairs’ Center on Network Science, and Visible Network Labs, a data science start-up working to make network data visible through training, tools and resources.


Full session descriptions and speakers bios can be found in speaker section.

Full breakfast and lunch is served all three days. 

This year’s line up of trainers and speakers is the most exciting we had yet, with expertise from across sectors and will equip you with the tools and skills you need to address your network challenges.

Opportunities in learning this year include:

Day 1: Getting perspective on different types of network building lenses, and how to bring people together who all come to the table with their own missions and “lenses”. You will experience sessions that highlight structured tools for network building (like design thinking), to more heart centered approaches that leverage the value we share.

Day 2: We all face challenges in managing networks. Come equipped to put your biggest challenges on the table to work through the skills and tools you can use to address them. Featured trainers will guide you through examples, and peer-learning will be strong on this day!

Day 3: Telling your network story, to different audiences and stakeholders is no small task. This day will focus on how to build an evidence-based, data-driven framework into the art of storytelling, so you can leave the event with the tools you need to communication your outcomes, goals, and brand.

The entire event will focus on translating your learnings to practice, so be prepared to leave with a “Translation to Practice” plan ready to implement when you get back to your community.

Mon, April 15 Building Networks

Checkin for the NLTA and full breakfast buffet will be served.

Explore how your own leadership style has an impact on effective network management, engaging others, and your network’s relationship outcomes

Network Science is a way of thinking that can help anyone think about their work from a network lens. Get ready to kick off the NLTA with an energizing opening from Dr. Varda, who will convince you that you’re already intuitively “thinking like a network scientist.” 

Presenter: Curtis Ogden

Networks seem to be all the rage these days, as more and more people come to understand that we live in a vastly interconnected world. This is great news, and it can be challenging in many ways, as we grapple with complexity to build new muscles and mindsets to deliver on the promise of so-called “network effects.” These effects have a breadth dimension to them (i.e. small world reach, rapid dissemination). They also have a depth dimension, which can sometimes be overlooked and minimized. Networks are not just about the quantity of connections and flows, but also quality. The experiences of “netweavers” in various fields and social change efforts suggest that the extent to which people are able to connect deeply and authentically with one another increases trust, possibility, commitment, and impact. They are learning that especially in a world that can feel like it is fracturing and unraveling, love really matters! Through the sharing of story, science, and experience, this interactive session will explore how love can bolster our “net work” for more just, healthy, and sustainable communities.

A full lunch will be served.

Presenters: Kyla Hoskin & Ruthie Isoz

Design is no longer about just making objects. Organizations want to learn how to think like designers, and apply design principles to how they work. This session will build a shared understanding of the key principles of design thinking and how you can design the way you create, lead, and manage networks. Through interactive exercises you will leave with a better understanding of how you can apply this way of thinking to your networks and organizations to create a culture of collaboration and creativity.

Presenter: Tyrone Beverly

Session description coming soon

Tues, April 16 Managing Networks

A full breakfast will be served.

Moderators: Danielle Varda & Paige Backlund Jarquín

Presenters: Charlene Barrientos Ortiz, Stephanie Salazar-Rodriguez, Nathan Pai Schmitt

As more people find themselves collaborating with diverse stakeholders to address pressing social issues, many struggle with how to lead and govern within more fluid structures that range from participatory/grassroots to a backbone model. This session will highlight three different community stories, and the amazing people behind them, of adapting to challenging situations while staying true to your values and the human connections necessary to foster effective networks.

Presenter: Dr. Paige Backlund Jarquín

Is your network feeling stuck? Wanting to increase engagement? Wanting to find ways to grow new leadership in your network? Wanting to manage up and expand your leadership potential in your network? You can achieve all of this by asking the right questions! During this session we will channel learnings from Michael Bungay Stainer and James E. Ryan about leading through asking the right questions. Participants will learn some key questions to get their network leadership moving in the right direction and put them directly into practice through a peer consulting activity.

A full lunch will be served. 

Choice a small-group breakout session of your choice. Session descriptions can be found in the speaker section below.

  • Understanding the Dynamics of Network Synergy: Evidence-based Practices for Creating & Sustaining High-Performing Networks (Dylan Mroszczyk-McDonald)
  • Facilitation Skills for Network Leadership (Lisa VanRaemdonck)
  • Sparking Action through Agile Implementation (Kyla Hoskins)
  • The PARTNER Platform: Tools for Evaluating your Network (Danielle Varda)

Choose a small-group session of your choice. Session descriptions can be found in the speaker section below.

  • Increasing and Sustaining Engagement within your Network (Rick Winter)
  • Navigating Network Conflicts (Robyn Mobbs)
  • Digital Marketing for Networks: Tools & Tactics to Share your Story Online (Alex Derr)
  • Moving the Needle on Community Issues: Demonstrating your Contributions towards Network Outcomes (Paige Backlund Jarquín)

Wed, APRIL 17 Evaluating Networks

A full breakfast will be served.

Presenters: Blythe Butler & Danielle Varda

A challenge of evaluating networks is collecting and digesting data to inform your practice, share success with stakeholders and funders, and tell your network story. In this session, attendees will have the opportunity to build skills for using data in multiple ways to highlight the strengths of your network and identify gaps for next steps.

Research demonstrates that a high-quality collaborative process is a key component for creating and sustaining the commitment of network actors to achieve system-level goals. We begin by setting out the communicative features of high-quality collaborative processes that have been proven to impact the outcome of network projects. We’ll turn our attention to best practices for designing collaborative climates that can engender and maintain high levels of commitment to network goals. We’ll introduce a diagnostic instrument (the Process Quality Scale) that network leaders can use to assess the quality of their collaborative processes. We will conclude by exploring an example of how the Process Quality Scale has been used to guide a network’s culture and strategy.

Whether you’re talking about your network, your organization, or yourself as an individual, your story can be a powerful tool for creating connections with others. In professional relationships where credibility is key, and the outcomes of your work are often on the line, it can be difficult to know what aspects of your story to focus on. In this session we will explore strategies to ground your sense of value in who you are, not just what you do, so you can use your story to build relationships on what matters most.

A full lunch will be served

Using ideas that have been sparked and skills you’ve developed, you will have the opportunity to outline next steps to implement in your network when you return home.

We’ll collect feedback on your experience here along with a self-assessment, hand out certificates of completions, and have a final closing activity to end the 2019 NLTA!



Executive director & Founder,


Network weaver,
First 2000 days network

Jenna Bannon

Bird's Eye View Consulting

Dr. Darrin

Professor of communications, University of denver


Program director,


Training Manager,


Program Analyst,
park servic


CEO and
Door 4

Dr. Robyn

CU denver center on network science


interaction institute for social change

Nathan Pai

Executive director,
the hadanou

Stephanie Salazar-Rodriguez

Director of Community EngagemenT, Mile High Health Alliance


Developmental evaluator,
curious compass

Charlene Photo
Charlene Barrientos Ortiz

Colorado School of Public Health

Rick Winter

Director of Data and Evaluation, Early Childhood Council Leadership Alliance


Executive director,
cu denver school of public affairs inst.

Dr. Danielle

CEO and
Visible network labs

Dr. Paige Backlund-Jarquín

Chief operating
visible network labs

Alex Derr


The NLTA is co-hosted in partnership by The CU-Denver School of Public Affairs’ Center on Network Science, and Visible Network Labs, a data science start-up working to make network data visible through training, tools and resources.

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