Leading Lights

NCMA’s award-winning Contract Management Leadership Development Program grooms directors, vice presidents, senior managers, and CEOs.

By Wanda Wallace, CPCM, CFCM, NCMA Fellow

During the July 2022 World Congress in Chicago, NCMA proudly celebrated the graduation of the 2021-2022 class from the award-winning Contract Management Leadership Development Program (CMLDP).

NCMA was also delighted to introduce and welcome the 2022-2023 CMLDP cohort shown in the sidebar. "Contract Management Development Leadership Program Class of 2022-2023."

These exceptionally capable and motivated class members have embarked on a journey that undoubtedly will be a high point in their professional lives as it has been for so many others.

In 2007, NCMA’s first CMLDP class – 35 trailblazers – graduated from the program, paving the way for future learners, problem-solvers, innovators, and leaders.

Since then, 329 people have graduated from the program, becoming recognized standouts in contract management, pricing, program management, finance and accounting, procurement, logistics, legal, business development, and other related professions.

From the first graduates to the present class, CMLDP boasts a long list of notable, accomplished alumni, including senior managers, directors, vice presidents, chief operating officers, and chief executive officers.

The CMLDP runs for 12 months and is designed to develop, support, and strengthen leaders in the contracting and procurement fields. Ever mindful of the shifting demands and vital attributes of highly effective leaders, CMLDP remains agile, emphasizing the skills most relevant to today’s workforce.

NCMA Chief Learning Officer Michelle Currier and CMLDP Program Manager Leah Denton work tirelessly to design the curriculum to better meet the needs of the participants, their employers, and NCMA.

Additionally, under the unflagging leadership of CMLDP Coach Cassandra Manos, the program has maintained its strong reputation for preparing talented cohort members to build the confidence, skills, and presence needed to effectively lead teams.

In addition to Manos, who provides guidance and shapes delivery of the curriculum, each participant is assigned two mentors – one for their career and the other for the program. The career mentor provides constructive feedback and support, reviewing career goals and objectives as needed.

Serving as an ally, advocate, and role model, the career mentor shares access to knowledge, networks, and professional development.

The program mentor, a CMLDP alumnus, is selected and assigned to clarify course expectations and assignments; provide frank, constructive feedback on projects; assist participants in working through personal challenges and problems arising during the program’s duration; and act as a sounding board and conduit to knowledge solutions and networks.

Both mentors provide safe spaces for participants to ask questions and test ideas as they progress through the program and their careers.

Finally, each member has ongoing access to a team of subject matter experts who provide specialized expertise and knowledge resources and offer thought leadership.

What’s in a Year?

What can participants expect during the yearlong program? In addition to coaching and mentoring, other key elements include:

Communication – Harnessing the skills to communicate effectively is a key skill of strong leaders. Through individual and team speaking and writing assignments, as well as workshops and discussions, cohort members learn how to communicate with clarity, express ideas, and share information with a multitude of audiences. Listening well is an equally powerful component of communication, and CMLDP participants also receive guidance and coaching on listening in a manner that fosters trust, respect, and alignment.

Teamwork – Through use of the DiSC® personality assessment tool, participants learn their own behavioral styles, how to recognize those of others within the cohort and others with whom they interact, and how to adapt and blend styles to reduce conflict and improve working relationships. Further, the cohort is grouped in smaller teams, each to develop a project focused on a key leadership competency/contract management problem.

Problem Solving – Individual and group projects offer opportunities to develop and hone problem-solving strategies, particularly in dealing with complex business and environmental challenges. Cohorts work on solving leadership and technical problems, developing strategies for resolution, and effectively communicating to senior leaders.

Goals and Action Planning – During the program year, cohort members spend dedicated time clarifying and articulating individual professional development goals. At the beginning of the year, with mentors’ support and assistance, participants develop SMART (specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and timely) goals to address long- and short-term career, personal, and NCMA objectives.

Exposure and Access – From monthly discussions with CMLDP alumni to attendance at in-person events to networking with NCMA Board members, there is no shortage of connection opportunities to form and grow a contracting community.

Additional areas of focus include emotional intelligence, change management, negotiation, influence, accountability, crucial conversations, authenticity, resilience, vision, and integrity.

For more information on how to become a part of the elite CMLDP network of contracting professionals and leaders as members of the 2023-2024 cohort, don’t hesitate to reach out to [email protected] CM

Wanda Wallace, CPCM, CFCM, NCMA Fellow, is a skilled and experienced procurement, contracts, and service professional with more than 12 years of experience supporting federal government contractors. A Consultant with Latham BioPharm Group, Wallace leverages her experience and knowledge to assist clients with FAR compliance and contracts and grants management. 

 Wallace holds a B.S. in Business Management and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. She also received a Master’s Academy in Government Contracting certificate from George Mason University. In addition, she is an honor graduate of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) Contract Management Leadership Development Program. She is the CMLDP Coach-Elect and is the Past President of the NCMA Jacksonville (FL) Chapter.   




Contract Management Development Leadership Program Class of 2022-2023

Rudy Baldus
William Barrett
Ania Berezyuk
Ashley Cameron-Gleezer
Megan Cossack
Kaitlyn Cumber
Jasmine Curry Brandt
Lawrence Davies, Jr.
William (Greg) Davis
Sydnee Distance
Margaret Florez
Kalyn Fox
Jennifer Hicks
Anna Jaggers
Deanna Kerkhoff
Stephanie Lemaitre
Ryan Ouimette
LaTasha Pace
Hannah Richards
Jarett Roush
Jennifer Runkle
Alexis Shellow

What CMLDP Alumni Say

“CMLDP develops tomorrow's acquisition and NCMA leaders with quality training and access to some of the best people in the profession.”

“CMLDP has made me a more thoughtful, engaged and productive member of our community.”

“Most of my big successes over the last year or two can be

traced back to CMLDP.”

“I have served two terms on the NCMA Board of Directors.”

“I’ve been recognized as a subject matter expert for procurement and been designated as an adjunct faculty member providing formal acquisition and procurement training.”