Who We Are

Our Story

We know that the story of ministry to and with young adults, as well as their formation as leaders, is inextricably linked to the landscape of the Church in each moment. Therefore, the story of ESTEEM begins long before the program took flight.

In the wake of the sexual abuse crisis of the early 2000s, Leadership Roundtable was founded following a series of roundtable discussions aimed at addressing the crises of governance and accountability in the Church. Focused on promoting best practices and accountability in the management, finances, communications, and human resource development of the Catholic Church in the United States, Leadership Roundtable engaged in partnerships with a variety of organizations and entities interested in addressing the same concerns. flight.

A few of those concerns included the question of retention of young adults. Why do young people disaffiliate from the Church, or simply let it fade away as a factor in their lives? How could young people engage their myriad gifts in service to the Church, especially while working in secular fields? Thus, in the 2010-2011 academic year, ESTEEM was founded as a joint partnership between Leadership Roundtable and Saint Thomas More Catholic Chapel and Center at Yale University to develop the next generation of Catholic leaders to serve in roles of meaningful leadership in the Church. flight.

The project was also piloted at five other campuses across the United States, and over time expanded to eleven campuses total. While factors such as resource scarcity, declines in campus ministry staffing, and the COVID-19 pandemic caused ebbs and flows in the programmatic offerings of ESTEEM, the value of such a leadership formation opportunity for students preparing to transition from campus ministry to parish life remained constant.
Dr. Leo M. Cooney Jr. mentored Marysa Leya, a graduating senior at Yale, through the Esteem program.
(Photo by Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times)
Read Helping Catholic Students Remain Catholic in a Setting of Nietzsche and Beer Pong from the NY Times by Samuel G. Freedman, published May 20, 2011.

ESTEEM Photo Gallery

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Thank you to all of our students, site leaders, and mentors who joined us for our annual #ESTEEMCapstone21! Your patience with the transition to the virtual realm and tenacity this year are so appreciated! Thank you, also, to our young alumni and ministry leaders who joined our panel and small groups. A Sunday afternoon well spent! 💜
Join Nicole Perone Grosso, our National Coordinator, in exploring forming faithful adults through the lens of the new #DirectoryForCatechesis with our partners at Catholic Apostolate Center! Register at: http://cathapostle.org/DCAdult #Formation #Catechesis

ESTEEM Leadership Staff


Nicole M. Perone

National Coordinator
Nicole M. Perone joined ESTEEM in 2020. As the National Coordinator, she is responsible for leading the strategic planning and vision of the ESTEEM program, along with serving as liaison for each of the site leaders, maintaining and updating the ESTEEM curriculum, and planning and executing the annual Capstone Conference.
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Mary Pickens Corsones

Program Coordinator
Mary joined ESTEEM in 2018. As the Program Coordinator, she is the operational point of contact for site leaders and collaborates with the National Coordinator to manage the implementation of ESTEEM.
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