Contract Management Leadership Development Program (CMLDP)

The Contract Management Leadership Development Program (CMLDP) is designed to help develop the next generation of contract management leaders through an intensive yearlong educational experience. The program’s emphasis is on building leadership skills that will benefit the contract management Profession. Program participants will receive 180 hours of top-quality education in fundamental leadership, association volunteerism, NCMA governance, and contract management. The program is quite relevant to contract management professionals regardless of their employer, location, or industry.


The Problem

The contract management workforce is facing one of its greatest challenges ever. The workforce is aging and retiring at a pace faster than the next generation is replacing them. This has created a gap in supervisory, middle management, and executive-level positions across the entire profession. There are simply not enough high-quality contract management professionals to meet today’s needsand the outlook for the future remains challenging.


The Opportunity

The CMLDP is designed to quickly close the gap in leadership progression by accelerating the preparation of a select group of contract management professionals. Candidates will have demonstrated a level of commitment to their professional development unmatched in the field and, as a result, will carry with them a unique, meaningful credential that will open doors to new challenges and professional opportunities.


The Candidate

The ideal candidate should have at least four years (but not more than eight years of experience) and should not yet hold a supervisory level position in the contract management profession. He or shee must hold a bachelor’s degree, or higher, from an accredited institution. The candidate should have a strong desire to become an inspirational leader, be considered a top performer by his or her employers, and have a high degree of potential for advancement. This program is for “the best of the best.” Other than those mentioned, there are no specific qualifications required, but as you will see from the application form, there are certain criteria that will determine who has the highest potential for selection to this select program.


The Experience

In addition to the extensive classroom and online coursework contained in the program, your leadership growth will include a series of assignments designed to round out your development. These experiences include serving as a volunteer NCMA leader at a local chapter and possibly for the national organization. Volunteering for NCMA is like immersing yourself in a “leadership incubator,” where you may eventually become the president of a functioning, vibrant chapter and interact with colleagues and leaders, including senior executives, throughout the contract management profession. In addition, you will be required to write a research paper on a topic of interest to you, which will be relevant to the practice of contract management. It is possible that your research paper may be published in Contract Management Magazine or the Journal of Contract Management. Also, for the duration of the program, you will work with two mentors who will assist you in achieving your professional development goals and offer their input on your assignments. You will be given the opportunity to select your own mentors, but NCMA has a pool of deeply accomplished professionalsrepresenting all walks of the professionstanding by to assist. These mentors represent the most experienced and accomplished people within our professionour NCMA Fellows and Board of Advisors.


The Commitment

Your employer, your mentors, your fellow classmates, and NCMA itself, including your local chapter, are ready to invest a significant amount of time and money to prepare you to assume a leadership position. In return, NCMA requires that you remain committed for the entire program duration and two years thereafter, where you will undertake leadership experiences through volunteer opportunities with your chapter. Participants will be required to maintain a current NCMA membership over the course of three years. NCMA also requires that you honor and uphold the Contract Management Code of Ethics throughout your professional career. There is an expectation that a successful graduate of the program will assume a leadership position at the chapter level and may contribute to national leadership as well in preparation for leadership within his or her professional (employer) position.


Admission to the program requires a commitment of your time to attend the three in-residence events cumulatively representing 100 hours away from your position. The remainder of the program is conducted through webinars, group activities, and self-paced activities that do not require time away from the office. The 20142015 Curriculum Summary is available as a reference for those with scheduling concerns.


A successful candidate should consider his or her ability to manage time to complete required coursework, mandatory in-residence events, maintaining an NCMA membership, commitment to his or her  NCMA chapter or the association as a whole, and personal obligations prior to applying for the program.


The Cost

You must be an NCMA member to apply, but there is no application fee. 

NCMA is investing in future leaders, so the cost of materials, instruction, seminars, conferences, and mentoring is provided at no cost to participants.


The only expense participants experience is travel-related costs to attend the three in-residence events. Applicants may seek support for these expenses in full or in part from their employers or their chapters. Your total travel expense for the program will vary depending upon where you live, but we estimate your travel expenses will be from $4,000 to $8,000 for the year.


The Application

The program is currently undergoing a review to incorporate program enhancements. Applications for the 2017-2018 program year will be accepted May 1-June 30, 2017.

For information on how the Boston Chapter can help you with your CMLDP application email Ellen Kelley.  For questions addressed to the NCMAHQ, please e-mail or call 1-800-344-8096 or contact the program manager, Po Collins, CPCM, C.P.M., Fellow at