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Leadership Del. CEO Cohan to step down

Katie Tabeling
Leadership Delaware CEO Jennifer Cohan has announced she will be stepping down at the end of the year and looking for her next challenge.

Leadership Delaware CEO Jennifer Cohan announced she will be stepping down at the end of the year and looking for her next challenge. | PHOTO COURTESY OF LEADERSHIP DELAWARE INC.

WILMINGTON Leadership Delaware, Inc. CEO Jennifer Cohan is stepping down from the role after three years in the top job.

As its leader, Cohan has served as a guiding force for Delaware’s most notable professional development program since January 2021. Cohan was selected after previous Leadership Delaware CEO and co-founder Terry Strine decided to step down in 2020.

Cohan told Delaware Business Times that she was hired for an initial three-year term as a “transformational leader” to bring Leadership Delaware in the next phase of growth. Her tenure will end at the end of 2024, which is when the program traditionally announces its upcoming cohort.

“I am proud of the accomplishments Leadership Delaware has seen during my tenure. We accomplished my mission of modernizing the program, increasing brand awareness throughout the state and ensuring class inclusiveness,” she wrote in an email. 

Cohan added that she will continue to look for her next job as the year progresses. She will also have a seat at the table at Leadership Delaware’s succession planning committee.

Leadership Delaware is a yearlong program that unites rising Delawareans to leave lasting change on the First State through issue-based focus forums on diverse topics ranging from the economy to corporate governance and more. Strine had founded the organization in 2009 with his wife, Sandy, and former Gov. Pete du Pont after he stepped down as the chair of the Delaware Republican Party.

In its first year, the program had 15 members in its first class. To date, Leadership Delaware has seen more than 300 cohorts move through the program.

Before her arrival at Leadership Delaware, Cohan served as the state Department of Transportation Secretary for five years, and held various roles in the department over three decades. She was the third woman in the department’s 100-year history to serve as secretary. In the past five years, Cohan oversaw the development and execution of the largest roadway infrastructure program in Delaware’s history.

Leadership Delaware’s program includes two mandatory meetings each month between February and November and are conducted throughout all three counties. These meetings include notable public figures, educators, financial figures and more.

Under Cohan’s leadership, the nonprofit created a Leadership Development Series, which focuses on teaching leadership skills outside the traditional Leadership Delaware program in the spring. She also forged partnerships with the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce to create a pipeline with the Kent County counterpart, Leadership Central Delaware.

Cohan also established a teen mentoring program through the non-profit.

“Jen Cohan has been an invaluable asset to Leadership Delaware Inc. for over three years. She expanded statewide partnerships, including new venues, speakers, and sponsorships,”  Leadership Delaware Board Chair Joel Brown II said. “Additionally, she has worked tirelessly to strengthen our fellowship program, fostering an environment where emerging leaders can thrive and make meaningful contributions to the state.”

“Her commitment to excellence and passion for our mission have inspired us all and set a high standard for leadership within our organization,” Brown added.

The Leadership Delaware selection committee plans to have a new CEO selected before interviews for the Class of 2025 to bring the new leader in on the process. Candidate interviews are traditionally held in October.

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