Liz Sak

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service

Liz Sak is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service of NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She is also the executive director of the Cricket Island Foundation a private, family foundation founded in 2000. CIF funds youth-led social change programs nationally with a particular emphasis on emerging organizations that work with extremely marginalized populations. Liz came to Cricket Island 8 years ago after almost two decades of experience running non-profit organizations – from a Beacon School in the South Bronx to an arts and youth-led social change group in Manhattan. She currently serves on the Board of Philanthropy New York and on the Executive Committee for the Communities for Just Schools Fund. She spearheaded an effort to analyze the impact of the recession on social justice philanthropy that resulted in release of Diminishing Dollars for Social Justice Philanthropy in partnership with the Foundation Center.  Liz received her B.A. from Lehigh University and her MBA from the Yale School of Management.

This course focuses on the three sets of key questions: (1) mission and vision ("What areas or activities should we be working in?"); (2) strategy and operations ("How can we perform effectively in this area?"); and (3) leadership (“What leadership skills are needed to develop and implement strategies effectively?”).  We will cover both strategy formulation ("What should our strategy be?") and strategy implementation ("What do we need to do to make this strategy work?"). 

All organizations – government agencies as well as non-profit or private companies with a public purpose – face substantial challenges that demand strategic responses, often in uncertain economic, social, or political contexts.  To deal effectively with these challenges, managers need knowledge and skills in strategic management and leadership:  setting and aligning goals with the organization’s mission; handling complex trade-offs between demand for services and resource constraints; defining measures of success; motivating staff and other stakeholders; developing relationships with relevant groups; dealing with crises and environments in transition; and leading organizational change.  In short, the course emphasizes the multiple, related requirements of the leader/manager's job: analysis, creativity, and action.

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