woman standing with arms crossed
Nora Delaney
Director of Communications
Harvard Kennedy School

As a person who has always enjoyed exploring a  range of subject areas, including science, literature, and policy, Nora Delaney quickly realized that strong communication skills involved more than just strong writing skills. They also involved the ability to translate new and often complex information into usable knowledge that could help people, from policymakers to nonprofit leaders, make real change in the world.

Understanding the importance of putting research into practice is what inspired Nora to choose a communications career in higher education. It also motivated her to pursue the online Public Leadership Credential at Harvard Kennedy School.

“I heard about the program through Harvard Kennedy School, and thought it sounded like a great opportunity to further develop my skills as a leader and get a real taste of the HKS learning experience.” Nora’s instincts were right on both counts.

While originally only planning to take one of the six PLC courses, Nora found that the 10-12 hours of study the program required each week fit quite easily with her full-time work schedule. She also quickly realized the value of the skills she was gaining and how they could immediately better equip her for the broad range of challenges leaders like herself face every day. 

“Because the PLC program is so interdisciplinary, it added all kinds of new skills to my toolkit: analytical skills for better decision making; concepts from the “choice architecture” that nudge people towards a common goal; and, how to use my own values as a north star to guide me through a variety of situations. It’s all learning I believe has made me a better problem solver and more effective leader.”

Designed by Harvard faculty, the fully online Public Leadership Credential consists of six (6) six-week courses all which use the signature HKS teaching methods to offer an interactive educational experience similar to Harvard’s in-person classrooms.

“The PLC is a really special program. It takes all the elements that make the Kennedy School the Kennedy School - which is the marrying of research with real-world public policy work – and delivers this knowledge online to people across the globe. The quality of the material, faculty and teaching experts was incredible. And, as someone whose parents were in the foreign service, I found engaging with and learning from such a diverse cohort especially inspiring.”

Is Nora glad she completed the entire PLC program instead of just taking one course as she initially planned? “Absolutely! Look, there are no easy leadership solves. You need to put in a lot of work to better understand the problem, the stakeholders involved, and which solutions will actually work best. Because of the PLC, I now have the tools I need to do that."