As leaders, it’s important to celebrate successes and highlight the wins. You also want to acknowledge when you are stuck, feel uncertain or misunderstood and you can’t see the finish line. Knowing these are common themes, Peer Advisory Groups (PAGs) were created where a community of leaders come together to transparently share and support one another in an intimate setting.

​Whether you’re seasoned or new to leadership, PAGs are a confidential place to learn, grow and create meaningful working relationships with a small group of diverse leaders. Participation provides accountability and helps members develop skills, learn best practices and get solutions to complex problems. You hear new ideas and perspectives, build confidence and give support to your peers. Members leave meetings feeling understood, equipped and energized! Groups are free of charge - most meet for two hours at a time and take place every other month or on a quarterly basis. 

“The answers are in the room” is the secret sauce of PAGs where members realize they are stronger together.


Leaders Helping Leaders... Grow. Support. Connect.


* We have gone virtual! Some of our groups have been designed to stay virtual and, for others, we can’t wait to get back to meeting in person as soon as we feel it is safe, and in accordance with the Governor’s reopening guidelines. 

Liz Cox -Wilmette Park District

Hear from one of our partners


Current openings for 2020-2021

Book Review and Discussion

Designed for the top leader of the organization who reports directly to a board. Each year members select a book to read and rotate facilitation of the discussion which allows for reflection, discovery and application. Deep connections form among the members where they benefit from hearing different perspectives on similar challenges.

Communications Group

If you are in a leadership position that largely focuses on communicating through marketing outreach and are looking to grow your professional network, discuss communication and leadership topics, —this group may be a great fit! Members dive deep into their own real-life instances that may be hindering or helping achieve their goals. This collaborative community then dives in with a dynamic exchange of knowledge, resources and encouragement. All walk away with ideas, more insight and deeper connections.

Bimonthly group meets on the following Fridays from 8:30 - 10:30 AM:

10/16/20       12/18/20       2/19/21         4/16/21        6/18/21         8/20/21

5 Seats Open

Community Peer Advisory Group

This group is for municipal/public and education sector leaders who are responsible for helping with strategic visioning, project design and implementation and have frequent interaction with board members, other elected officials and the public. Discussions focus on how to navigate leadership when working with a variety of different perspectives on the best course of action to move a community/district forward amidst constant change at the local, state and national level. Members benefit from networking with peers in similar positions and learn from each other’s challenges and successes. The meeting location rotates among member organizations.

Quarterly group meets on the following days from 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM:

9/17/20        12/10/20          3/11/21         6/10/21

3 Seats Open

Developing Effective Leadership Skills Group

If you are new to leadership and have someone reporting to you and/or are looking for fundamental training on the people side of leadership, this group is for you. A variety of resources will be shared – often times presented by the participants themselves.  Meetings will:

·         Discuss leadership goals and challenges

·         Offer support, questions and advice to one another

·         Provide an opportunity for all to share what they are walking away with and how they will put that learning into action.

We want each member to walk away knowing they are not alone on their leadership journey.

Group meets bimonthly from 8:00 – 10:00 AM beginning in October.

10/6/20        12/1/20        2/2/21        4/6/21        6/1/21        8/3/21


4 Seats Open

Downtown Chicago Leadership Cohort

We were asked and we are delivering!  While most of our Peer Advisory Groups are in the Northern Suburbs, we have formed a Nonprofit Leadership Group that meets downtown, Chicago.  In this group, we focus on “the people side of leadership” topics the group members identify as areas of interest.  All then dive into the discussions asking questions, sharing perspectives, best practices and offering support and guidance.

Group meets bimonthly on the first Friday of the even months from 8:00 – 10:00 AM

8/7/20        10/2/20        12/4/20        2/5/21        4/2/21        6/4/21


3 Seats Open

Executive Director Group

This group is for Executive Directors of nonprofit organizations that have at least 3 full-time staff and an asset size of $500,000 or higher. Group members determine the topics that will enable them to be more strategic and focused. The Executive Director role can be a lonely one and when the members of this group come together, they share ideas and discuss the application of best practices in the nonprofit sector. 

Quarterly group meets on the following days from 8:00 - 10:00 AM:

8/12/20          11/11/20         2/10/21          5/12/21          8/11/21                 

5 Seats Open

Lake Bluff Leaders Group

The top leaders in Lake Bluff gather quarterly to share updates, discuss the future and provide support to one another. The group provides a space to explore big topics that impact the entire community and have a good time in the process.

Lake Forest Leaders Group

This group of high-level leaders from many sectors in the community gathers quarterly to discuss a broad range of topics that impact the community and the respective organizations around the table. Members engage in thoughtful discussions and explore potentials for further collaboration and partnership to enhance services provided to the community.   

Leadership Cohorts

Are you seeking peer support to better navigate your leadership journey? We offer various cohorts which are carefully formed so that cross-community, cross-sector leaders with similar responsibilities and challenges feel comfortable sharing with and learning from one another as they identify solutions and help each other succeed.

1. Monthly group meets on the following Wednesdays from 12:00 - 1:30 PM:

9/16/20         10/14/20       11/11/20         12/9/20         2/10/21

3/10/21          4/14/21        5/12/21           6/9/21           8/11/21


2. Bimonthly group meets on the following Tuesdays from 8:00 - 10:00 AM:

10/13/20       12/8/20          2/9/21            4/13/21         6/8/21            8/10/21


3. Bimonthly group meets on the following Tuesdays from 8:30 - 10:30 AM:

9/15/20         11/10/20        1/12/21          3/9/21           5/11/21          7/13/21


4. Bimonthly group meets on the following Thursdays from 8:00 - 10:00 AM:

10/15/20       12/10/20        2/11/21           4/15/21         6/10/21         8/12/21


5. Quarterly group meets on the following days from 8:00 - 10:00 AM:

9/16/20         12/9/20          3/10/21           6/9/21

1 seats open

 group closed 

1 seat open

Group closed

3 seats open

Principal Group

This is a group of Elementary, Middle and Junior High School Principals in various communities across Cook and Lake County. They gather five times a year to share ideas and resources to keep up with the myriad changes facing the world of education. Members give advice and support to one another because the job of a principal can be lonely at times. As hard as it is to be away from the building, this group experiences the value in taking time for themselves and connecting with colleagues in different districts to discuss current situations and strategize about the future in a safe space where solutions flow.

Group meets on the following Fridays from 7:30 - 9:30 AM:

9/18/20         11/13/20        1/15/21           4/16/21          6/11/21

4 seats open

Transitions Peer Advisory Group

Change happens all the time. The question is, how can we successfully transition through it? This group is for high-level leaders to have interactive discussions that allow for reflection, understanding the impact of change and applications to help make their transition a success. Whether you are starting a new career, retiring, dealing with family changes, or a host of other possibilities, this group can be your lifeline.  

Group meets bimonthly on the second Monday of the even months from 8:00 - 10:00 AM:

10/12/20        12/14/20        2/8/21        4/12/21        6/14/21        8/9/21

5 seats open

Wilmette Leaders Group

This group gives the Assistant Directors the opportunity to get to know one another on a personal level, to share information about their departments and discuss leadership best practices as many work in various locations. We rotate the meeting location to get a close up view of departmental operations.

Team Assessments Peer Advisory Group

This is a group for staff who have experienced team workshops with one or more of our behavioral assessments and who are committed to incorporating what they learn into the fabric of their organization. When we get together, members share outcomes from homework and activities they complete in between meetings to further learning from their assessments and they share these activities with their teams at work to keep the momentum going within these organizations. There is time for individual reflection and group discussion on other leadership topics as well. If your team has experienced a workshop, join the group!  Two members from each team are recommended so that what is shared can be co-facilitated with the larger team and their involvement prevents a team workshop from being a “one and done” event.


Bimonthly group meets on the following Tuesdays from 9:00 - 11:00 AM:

10/27/20       12/22/20       2/23/21          4/27/21         6/22/21         8/24/21

4 seats open

Wilmette Assistant Directors Group

Our inaugural community group that started a trend… This group of top leaders across the Wilmette community started meeting back in 2014 and they are still going strong. Members gather every three months to share organizational updates, leadership tips and have fun! The group celebrates retirements and welcomes new leaders into the fold.

Zion Leaders Group

The top leaders in Zion gather quarterly to share updates, discuss the future and provide support to one another. The group provides a space to explore key topics that impact the entire community to further collaboration and connection.


During COVID, we held all of our Peer Advisory Groups on line.  Knowing their success, we have formed 4 new groups – all virtual.   So, “come as you are,” “join us from wherever you are” and enjoy the experience of learning from others who are interested in the same topics you are.

Lead by Coaching

There is a time to lead and there is a time to coach.  BOTH help your team members become stronger leaders themselves. In leading, we role model what to do (or not to do).  In coaching, we help our team uncover their ideas and answers, and provide the structure to take action. This group will focus on coaching.

Designed for any leader who leads a team, a number of theories and coaching practices will be shared, and by the first session, all will be coaching. In between sessions, group members will be paired up to practice, give one another feedback, and hold each other accountable.

Group meets bimonthly on third Thursdays of the even months, 8:00 - 10 am.

10/15/20        12/17/20        2/18/21        4/15/21        6/17/21       8/19/21

7 seats open

Dare to Lead Virtual Book Group

We are living in extraordinary times where daring leadership and brave work are assets. Are you looking for a group of leaders who are willing to be real with one another as we learn together how to have tough conversations, reset after setbacks and address feelings and fears of colleagues and coworkers? We are forming another book group for leaders who want to dive in and explore how to apply the strategies and principles in Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead. In her research, Brown and her team have found that courage can be taught so let’s lean in and build our skills together! If ever there was a time when courage, vulnerability and leading with your whole heart was needed, now is that time. We will meet virtually and discuss sections of the book in each meeting, using the companion workbook to guide us in taking actions based on what we are learning. The group will offer accountability, support, encouragement and a safe space to be vulnerable and grow.

Group meets bimonthly on the following dates from 8 - 10 am.

9/10/20        11/5/20        1/7/21        3/4/21        5/6/21        7/8/21     

4 seats open

Leadership Cohort Virtual Style!

Here is a safe space for a cross-sector of emerging leaders with similar responsibilities and challenges to let down their hair, focus on themselves and the challenges/successes they are going through, build a network they can come to depend upon and leave each meeting with new ideas, perspectives and actions to take. We often say, “The answers are in the room.” You will find this to be true and realize you are not alone. This is a group of people who can help you succeed.

Group meets bimonthly on third Tuesdays of the even months, 8:00 - 10:00 am.

10/20/20        12/15/20        2/16/21        4/20/21        6/15/21        8/17/21

8 seats open

Contact me today and together we will explore your options and determine if there is a group for you!

Ashley Ward, MSW, CPCC, TTI Certified in DISC, DF and EQ


How can we help you?

The Charmm'd Foundation

485 East Half Day Road, Suite 350

Buffalo Grove, IL 60089

847.883.9953 I

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The Charmm’d Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3, non-sectarian organization who welcomes diversity of thoughts, backgrounds and experiences in leaders who qualify for our services.