CHC’s Leadership Capabilities Model

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The Congressional Hunger Center (CHC)’s Leadership Capabilities Model serves as the foundation for its leadership development programs and projects. The core capabilities of a CHC leader fall into three distinct, but interrelated, categories that build on and reinforce one another: Develop Self, Lead with Others, and Create Change. A CHC leader must first be able to effectively lead themselves. Only with this foundation can they then move to successfully leading a team of others. Finally, the Congressional Hunger Center believes strongly that an effective leader uses their capabilities to create change in the service of ending hunger and poverty.

Develop Self

  • Self-Aware: Works to understand own strengths, growth areas, tendencies, and roles. Seeks out, accepts, and applies critical feedback. Understands how social identities are connected to own experience, development, and impact on the world.
  • Has a Personal Theory of Change: Has a personal vision for their role in ending hunger and poverty and actively works towards advancing this vision.
  • Goal-oriented: Sets clear personal and professional goals. Aligns personal goals with team/program/organizational goals. Takes initiative and is accountable for measurable progress toward achieving goals.
  • Resourceful and Resilient: Finds ways to make forward progress in the midst of uncertainty, ambiguity, and obstacles. Knows when to and how to ask for help. Adapts to new environments, cultures, work styles, and team structures.
  • Active Learner: Constantly sees opportunities for learning and distills knowledge from experiences. Is humble and open to learning from others, especially across difference. Asks insightful and critical questions.

Lead with Others

    • Builds Community: Actively listens. Works with others with empathy and humility, especially when working across difference and culture. Enthusiastically shares knowledge and experience, and draws out knowledge and experiences of others. Has the confidence and awareness to play different roles as needed.
    • Communicates Effectively: Effectively expresses complex ideas. Adept at oral and written communication, including public speaking and writing. Works to understand the needs of different audiences and tailors messages accordingly.


  • Strives to amplify voices directly impacted by hunger and poverty: Values lived experience and learned experience. Prioritizes the voices and perspectives of those impacted by hunger and poverty. Allows people to speak for themselves whenever possible.

Create Change

  • Has Vision: Is committed to ending hunger and poverty. Keeps the end goal in mind. Thinks and prioritizes on multiple time-horizons (short, medium, and long-term). Sees and seizes opportunities.
  • Thinks critically and systemically: Is able to analyze challenges with a view toward solving/overcoming them. Possesses the content knowledge to be able to analyze root and proximate causes, as well as relevant power structures. Uses this analysis to evaluate the strengths and limitations of different approaches to making change.
  • Inspires others to Action: Creates shared vision. Understands the self-interests, knowledge base and needs of others and adapts approach accordingly. Leads by example.
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