National WIC Association

2018 Leadership Academy - Cohort 7

May 13-May 25, 2018

Important Dates & Notices
view more

Registration Closed


The NWA Leadership Academy (NWA LA) Certificate Program is a customized leadership program designed to 1) assist WIC organizations in developing leadership skills and attributes for selected new leaders, and 2) update the skills of current leaders. Additionally, the NWA LA will enable WIC organizations to clarify, communicate, and execute their vision, mission, goals and strategic initiatives. WIC personnel completing the NWA LA will possess the leadership skills and qualities necessary to think and act strategically, demonstrate critical-thinking skills, and manage results-oriented teams. 

Cohort 7 will begin in May 2018.

Academy Information

The NWA Leadership Academy Certificate Program is comprised of four (4) courses – each one is 8 weeks in length: 

Course 1 -  What it Means to be a WIC Leader
Course 2 -  Managing the WIC Mission
Course 3 -  Results-Oriented WIC Leadership
Course 4 -  Mission Critical WIC Initiatives

Distance Learning

The four (4) courses are offered via a simple-to-access website featuring a new Learning Management System. The course materials are presented in a weekly fashion and participants will complete their assignments via the web.


Course Structure

Each course consists of eight (8) weekly assignments. The weekly assignments will take approximately 2 hours per week to complete. Participants will need to complete the assignment within a one-week timeframe and will then go on to complete the next week’s assignment until the course is completed in the eight-week period.


Each weekly assignment includes the following materials:

  • Mini-lecture that includes a downloadable pdf file.
  • Reading assignment that includes one or more downloadable pdf file(s) of relevant articles.
  • Discussion questions –Participants will respond to the discussion questions via the link that takes them to the Discussion Questions page.
  • Two (2) projects, which are generally 3-4 pages in length and are based on a set of special readings. The projects focus on practical applications of the curriculum on issues that participants would confront routinely.
  • A Case Analysis is due at the end of each 8-week course. 

Course 1 Information

Course 1 for Cohort 7 begins May 6, 2018.



The first course in the NWA Leadership Academy Certificate Program emphasizes the foundations of leadership from the work of important thought leaders. This course will offer participants an opportunity to learn about:

  • Team building and discussion of personal integrity and its impact on effective leadership;
  • Leadership theory, including applicable leadership models, and the impact of a variety of contingency factors on determining a leadership style appropriate to the situation;
  • Practical application of learning based on observation and interaction in their daily WIC assignments;
  • Organizational culture and values as a framework for behavioral norms within an institution, and
  • The theory and application of managing group dynamics as an important component of a leader’s skill set.

Course 2 Information

Prerequisite: Leadership Academy Course 1

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Analyze issues related to WIC market interpretation.
  • Describe the importance of establishing a clear vision and mission for the organization.
  • Create and implement goals and objectives.
  • Develop and measuring business objectives.
  • Implement planning and project management techniques.
  • Describe the role of budget and cost control systems, and process improvement.

Course 3 Information

Prerequisites: Leadership Academy Courses 1 and 2

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe best practices for building working relationships.
  • Explain the process and challenges related to organizing and motivating your team.
  • Present examples of delegating methods and explain how these methods can be used strategically to render the best work performance.
  • Describe the steps and best practices related to performance evaluation.
  • Describe how to provide corrective action, and creating personal action plans.

Course 4 Information

Prerequisites: Leadership Academy Courses 1, 2 and 3

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Analyze and discuss selected topics related to mission-critical WIC initiatives.
  • Design and present research projects related to current WIC issues.
  • Demonstrate expertise in understanding and applying the themes and lessons from WIC research and literature to strategic scenarios.

Leadership Academy Faculty

Patti Hauser, MPA, RD, CD
Consultant, NWA Leadership Academy, Academic Supervisor 

Patti Hauser is a registered dietitian, receiving her Bachelors in Dietetics from the University of Wisconsin (UW) – Stevens Point, and a Master’s in Public Administration from UW – Oshkosh. Patti worked in public health, specifically the WIC Program, for over 30 years. She started a county WIC project in Wisconsin in 1979, when she paid the WIC grocery stores from her own checking account. Patti recently retired from her position as WIC Program Director and Chief of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Section with the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. She had been the State WIC Director since 1991.

Ms. Hauser was an active member of the National WIC Association, serving in many capacities over the years; as Midwest Region Directors representative and on many committees and task forces. These include income documentation, immunization collaboration, disaster planning and response, obesity prevention, the food package implementation, and the separation of duties. Each of these has provided a rich variety of experiences and friendships within the Association and USDA-FNS. They also provided the opportunity to learn from others and to bring the many years of local and state perspectives to the table. Patti also had the privilege to serve the NWA Board of Directors as Chair-elect, Chair, and Chair Emeritus.

In Wisconsin, Ms. Hauser managed a mid-size WIC Program of over 120,000 participants monthly. At the state level, she collaborated with several other health programs to enhance the services provided to WIC families, such as immunization, blood lead screening, and dental health. She had a reputation of trying to find the “win-win” in the program collaboration, while protecting WIC Program funds, and integrity of the WIC Program’s nutrition goals.

Patti has two children (boy and girl – 26 and 24), and lives on a lovely farm outside of Wisconsin Dells with her husband, Kurt. 

Margaret Saunders, RDN, LDN, MS

Margaret started her career with WIC as a Nutritionist, accepted new opportunities, and advanced to the position of Local Agency WIC Director and has been in that position for nearly 20 years.  The CEDA WIC Program in Chicago and suburban Cook County is part a non-profit Community Action Agency that provides services to over 49,000 moms and babies.  Margaret is a RDN, LDN with a Master's in Clinical Dietetics.  She has had the honor of learning and growing with NWA and served as Illinois Local Agency Representative, Midwest Regional Representative, Chair of the Local Agency Section, selected as NWA Treasurer, and elected to President of the NWA Board of Directors.  Margaret has also served on several committees including the Calendar Committee.

Margaret and husband of 29 years, Wayne, have two daughters, Emma 22 and Julia 20, who are now in college, and a four year old Schnoodle.  Her interests away from WIC and family (and with family) include cooking, eating, traveling, camping, running, playing volleyball, and birding.

Margaret has served as faculty with the Leadership Academy since its inception in 2011 and is ready to help you reach your leadership goals.

Tuition and Payment

NWA’s Leadership Academy Certificate Program is comprised of four (4) courses – each 8 weeks in length. At this time, each course must be taken consecutively in order to receive the certificate.

The full tuition for the Leadership Academy Certificate is $2,000 ($500 per course) for NWA Members and non-members. To be officially registered for a course and placed in a cohort, balances must be paid in full at least three weeks prior to the start of the class.

At this time the Leadership Academy is unable to offer scholarships. We are in the process of developing sponsorship opportunities. Updates on scholarships will be posted as soon as they become available.

Methods accepted for payment include American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and VISA, money order, check, cashier’s check, or purchase order. There is a $25 processing fee for returned checks.

If you have any questions about the tuition and payment, please contact Shameka Jennings at Please allow one business day to receive a response.

All refund requests must be submitted in writing by e-mail or fax to the National WIC Association at 202-387-5281. The cancellation and/or refund request date will be the date the e-mail or fax was received by the NWA Leadership Academy. Please allow up to 30 days to receive a partial refund based on the following criteria:

80% if refund request is received at least one day prior to the first class meeting
70% if refund request is received at least one work day prior to the second class meeting
No refund after the start of the third class meeting