School of Professional and Continuing Studies

Leadership academy




This Leadership Academy has been co-created to inspire and develop people from diverse fields, through a holistic approach, to become professional leaders with the qualities and skills to sustainably manage at an individual and collective level in today's complex and rapidly changing environment.

The participants of the Leadership Academy will go through transformational training that will impact professionally and in life. Changing leadership attitudes, when there is awareness, is key. In a complex and ever-changing environment, leaders will acquire:


  • high self-awareness of one's own leadership approach
  • high self-awareness of team behavior and team leadership
  • essential knowledge and skills for sustainable business transformation


We will consider sustainability from two aspects – sustainability of personal transformation, and sustainability of the business management approach, with care for people, planet and profits, in sync with the holistic approach.

The Leadership Academy is a dynamic place where you learn by doing. It combines:


  • individual coaching
  • group coaching
  • in-depth independent work (aimed at self-knowledge and building a practically applicable work project)
  • work between peers in small groups (where new skills will be practiced, and building new and meaningful professional connections with like-minded people).


Last, but not least, the program includes two internationally prestigious diagnostic tools that support self-knowledge and self-awareness:


Energy Leadership Index AssessmentTM (USA) - a study of your personal leadership potential, measuring your quotient for success in leadership and life, through 7 levels of consciousnes


The Energy Leadership Index assessment:


  • Provides depth in understanding the ways in which we behave and proceed in various aspects of life.
  • Measures leadership potential based on your awareness – or your awareness of who you are and what your understandings of life are.
  • Measures the ability to lead others, and yourself, to more effective, productive and sustainable actions.
  • Measures how involved and engaged you are in your roles and tasks at work and in your personal life.
  • Shows your response to stress so you can notice it and, if you want, modify it.


BelbinTM Team Roles (UK) - a study of 9 typical behavioural team roles that have applications in multiple organizational case studies:


  • Change management
  • Conflict management
  • Team (and talent) development
  • Working in silos
  • Team coaching
  • Start-up
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Management of teams (project, hybrid, virtual)
  • Understanding organizational culture


Based on self-awareness, leaders will be able to make choices about how to modify their leadership style so that they achieve the organizational mission, vision, and goals with ease whilst engaging their teams. Based on knowledge of their own team role (self-assessment and observers), participants will strengthen their leadership presence in teams. Knowledge of team roles and team coaching will give them new perspectives on the teams they work in and with, and how to unlock their potential to realize the organizational mission and vision.


Who is this Leadership Academy for?


The participants in the Leadership Academy must have knowledge and/or skills, qualities and interest in development in the following areas:


  • Business management/development
  • Self-leadership and reaching their high potential as individuals
  • Team Leadership applicable for all kind of industries
  • Management/development of teams
  • Upcoming management level career growth
  • Commitment to the process of self-knowledge and learning
  • An open mind, open heart, and open will


What knowledge and skills are you going to develop in the Leadership Academy?


  • Excellent communication skills with an emphasis on multi-layered listening
  • Skills to recognize attitudes and roles in teams that will help manage them
  • Skills for working with and managing one's own emotions and the emotions of others (working with intelligent emotions)
  • Coaching skills
  • Skills for managing relationships in teams and leading teams to success
  • Knowledge of sustainable organizational change models – B CorporationsSDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)
  • Knowledge of human behavior and emotions, with evidence from a neuroscience perspective
  • Knowledge of skill clusters endorsed by IDGs (Inner Development Goals) which, when put into practice, create capacity for sustainable management.


The Leadership Academy is structured as follows:


  • 12 live on-line sessions, 2 hours each, held every 2 weeks
  • Individual leadership coaching and mentoring, peer sessions and prep work will be needed and are ongoing
  • To be able to successfully graduate the Leadership Academy, you need to attend all 12 sessions, complete the individual leadership mentor-coaching and peer sessions and prepare a final project
  • This work will require: 30 min prep before each live on-line session, a one on one leadership coaching and mentoring session 90 min, 4 peer sessions x 60 min and the final co-creation project 12 hours focused work.
  • This work overall will entail a period of 24 weeks.
  • Upon successful completion you will receive certification


The topics we are going to cover during our 12 live on-line sessions are:


(1) Intro to the Course Standards & Self-Presentation; 100 min Elevator Speech incl. 20 Program Overview;

(2) Energy Leadership Group Debrief;

(3)(4) Self-Leadership – PART 1 & 2;

(5) 7 Levels of Leadership;

(6) Common Barriers to Leadership Success & Techniques to Bridge the GAP;

(7)(8)(9) Leading in Complex Environment – PART 1, 2 & 3;

(10)(11) Connect & Collaborate for GOOD – PART 1 & 2;

(12) Co-Creation Project. Leadership Academy Wrap Up;


More detailed information about the 12 live on-line sessions could be seen on the tab below.


Leadership Academy Co-creators


Elena Hinova-McNamee and Irina Stefanova-Parigvozdeva will be your mentor-coaches in ‘The Up Turn Journey to Thriving Leadership’ Leadership AcademyThey will support your leadership transformation in the 24-week period beginning on the 10th of October 2024.



Elena Hinova-McNamee


In the last nine years Elena has been coaching executive leaders, helping them expand their level of consciousness through paradigm shifts, reconnect with their core selves, discover their purpose & vision, and achieve sustainable success personally and professionally. She has coached over 2000 hours across Southeast and Western Europe, UK, USA, Canada and Australia. In the last two years her focus has been on expanding team coaching to enable sustainable organisational transformation.


Previously, Elena spent fifteen years in leadership roles in the corporate world - Human Resources Director, Business Development Director, and as CEO in one of the most human sensitive industries - Health Care and Pharmaceuticals.


Her mission is to enable, through executive leadership and team coaching, leaders and teams to thrive on purpose and inspire them to use their businesses as a force for good.


Elena holds double Masters qualifications in Economics and Human Resources Management and Development, and is currently finalising a PhD in Organisational Leadership and Coaching at New Bulgarian University (NBU). Elena also lectures at NBU to Masters students in management programs.


Coaching Skills & Abilities:

  • Proven ability to challenge executives and teams to rethink the status quo and make breakthroughs and paradigm shifts.
  • Engaging, energetic, empathetic and open style of coaching.
  • Strong intuitive listening abilities.
  • Inspires sustainable action and keeping executives and leadership teams accountable.
  • Ability to create a safe thinking environment.
  • Using neuroscience to explain concepts, create clarity and impact thinking.




Irina Stefanova-Parigvozdeva


Irina Stefanova is a Masters in Sociology, a marketing professional, and certified in global management & leadership training in Japan, and a professional certified coach. She has honed her professional path in the following 5 fields: Research & Consumer Insights, Brand Management, Marketing Strategy, Communications, and Leadership Coaching. Her solid experience and proven success in marketing, management and strategy add value to her coaching expertise and practice. In the past five years she has been guiding and developing human potential towards sustainable development - raising awareness, and training  conscious leadership. Working with Irina is a transformational journey that leads to discovering and fulfilling your potential.


As a CPC and E.L.I.–Master Practitioner (certified from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), she has worked with leaders and managers from many different sectors such as FMCGs, IT, B2B and advertising agencies. Due to her extensive practice as a Leadership Coach, she certified as ACC, ICF in 2021.


Irina’s professional motto is “Make a difference, not an excuse”, thus she utilizes the Creativity approach in her way of working. She is passionate about collaborating with people in innovative co-creation projects that lead to co-evolving (People & Planet).


Coaching Skills & Abilities:

  • Helping clients to recognize and develop potential through a profound coaching journey of self-discovery
  • Coaching with a holistic approach and applying savvy experience in quantum thinking
  • Ability to create a trustworthy and fruitful space for growth
  • Understanding, empowering, solution-oriented
  • Employs a deeply human approach that enhances the heart as much as the mind
  • Leads clients to full self-expression in desired areas of life/work that is powerful, purposeful and courageous
  • Talented in stimulating clients to overcome their limits, build courage and act S.M.A.R.T in order to reach their full potential



Our special guest-lecturer is Nicolás Gemio from B Lab Europe. His purpose is to help societies evolve. Currently Nicolás is focused on expanding the B Corp movement across Europe, supporting B Lab’s network of Country Partners and guiding companies in their B Corp journey. Nicolás is particularly active in the regions where the movement is in its early stages, such as Southeastern Europe.


Lenght of the cource: 33 academic hours.

Starting date: 10 October 2024


Tuition fee

  • for Bulgarian course students - 4 700 BGN
  • for International course students - 4 070 EURO 


Deadline for registration: 30 September 2024



  1. Download the registration from HERE
  2. Compleate it and send it to uppo@nbu.bg 
  3. UPPO will provide a payment information.




For additional information and registration:

School of professional and continuing education

Sofia, NBU, Str. Montevideo, 21, building 2, office 108

Tel.:  02/ 8110 110 (option 6), 02/ 8110 108

E-mail:  uppo@nbu.bg







  • Leadership academy programme
  • Session (120 min): Intro to the Course Standards & Self-Presentation

    100 min Elevator Speech incl. 20 Program Overview

    • Purpose, Goals & Intentions of the Program 
    • Brief Overview of All Modules 
    • Individual & Peer Learning Groups (incl.  coaching + case studies)  
      • Commitment to the Program 
    • Getting to know each other - “Elevator Speech”
    • Instructions for completion of Energy Leadership Index Assessment (ELI), by the Institute for Professional Excellence in coaching (iPEC).


    Session 2 (120 min): Energy Leadership Group Debrief  


    Purpose of the session: Understanding your current Levels of Consciousness and own Leadership Potential

    Prep work for the session: Completing the Energy Leadership Index assessment

    Topics: E.L.I.™ - Diagnostics / Attitudinal Self-Assessment; Outlining individual & collective learning goals


    Session 3 (120 min): Self-Leadership – PART 1

    Purpose of the session: Foundations of Self-leadership

    “Know thyself” Ancient Greek aphorism.

    Prep work for the session: Inner Compass (Self-reflection exercises: Values Assessment + My True Who)

    Topics: Personal + Business Mission; Introducing IDGs (Covering 1st Dimension: BEING - Relationship to Self)


    Session 4 (120 min): Self-Leadership – PART 2

    Purpose of the session: Leading with Intelligent Emotions

    Prep work for the session: Video materials; Scientific Article “Sorting Out an Emotional Muddle”

    Topics: Energy, Emotions, Trust, Leading with Intelligent Emotions - Neuro- biological perspective, Emotional Intelligence (D.Goleman); The Olympic Golden Standard of EI



    Session 5 (120 min): 7 Levels of Leadership


    Purpose of the session: Defining your Ideal Leadership Style

    Prep work for the session: Read 7 Levels of Leadership; Career & Leadership Wheel

    Topics: Current & Aspirational Level of Leadership; Exploring the GAP; 7 Levels of Energy Interplay


    Session 6 (120 min): Common Barriers to Leadership Success & Techniques to Bridge the GAP


    Purpose of the session: Bridging the GAP to your Ideal Leadership Style

    Prep work for the session: Leadership & Career Goals self-reflection exercise

    Topics: 4 Major Blocks to Success & How to work it out? (Coaching Techniques); Neurobiology of Stress reaction



    Session 7 (120 min): Leading in Complex Environment – PART 1


    Purpose of the session: Utilizing Core Coaching Principles & Techniques for Sustainable Leadership

    Prep work for the session: Read ICF Core Coaching Competences; Videos for Coaching

    Topics: The History of Coaching; Coaching Definitions; Differences between Coaching, Mentoring & Consulting; Core Coaching Skills (4 Levels of Listening & Empowering Questions; Peer Coaching Assignments



    Session 8 (120 min): Leading in Complex Environment – PART 2


    Purpose of the session: Influencing & Inspiring Others for Purposeful Actions

    Prep work for the session: My Communication Style

    Topics: Effective Communication; “Energy attracts Like Energy”; How am I Influencing Others; Critical Thinking & Collaborating (IDGs); Trust & Mobilisation Skills (IDGs)


    Session 9 (120 min): Leading in Complex Environment – PART 3


    Purpose of the session: Creating Awareness of SDGs & Sustainable Business Modeling

    Prep work for the session: SDG Action Manager; B-impact assessment

    Topics: B Corporations; ESG; Systems change; Movement building; Impact Management; Sustainability


    Session 10 (120 min): Connect & Collaborate for GOOD – PART 1


    Purpose of the session: Readiness to Upturn 2 Thriving Leadership

    Prep work for the session: “Thriving Leadership – reality or utopia” source: Economic Thought Magazine; Belbin Team Roles Assessment (Behavioral study)

    Topics: Relating (IDGs); Appreciation; Connectedness; Humility; Belbin Team Roles Debrief



    Session 11 (120 min): Connect & Collaborate for GOOD – PART 2


    Purpose of the session:  Enabling Sustainable Organisational Transformation through Team Coaching           

    Prep work for the session: Theory U – Key Extracts; Articles (ex. “The roots of sustainable team transformation”);

    Topics: Worst Teams – Best Teams exercise; Essence of Team Coaching and comparison with other team development modalities; Co-Creation Skills (IDGs); Key stages of the U-process



    Session 12 (120 min): Co-Creation Project. Leadership Academy WRAP UP


    Purpose of the session: Acting & Enabling Change

    Prep work for the session: Lead by example (harmonica™);

    Topics: Courage, Creativity, Optimism, Perseverance (IDGs);

    Co-Evolving (Presentation of the Assignments)

    Type of Assignments:

    1. Designed for Active Leaders (Creating a long-term sustainable vision for their organization – IDGs & B Impact Assessment/SDGs Action Manager)
    2. Designed for UNI Students (Make research on B-corp)


    Follow Up - Session (120 min): Co-evolve: Leadership Academy PROGRESS


    Purpose of the session: Monitor the Sustainability of Actions

    Prep work for the session: Presentation of Project Progress & Celebrating Success

    Topics: 5 minutes per presentation