LEAD Atlanta is an intensive eight-month leadership development and community education program targeted at promising young professionals in Metro Atlanta. Starting with the Class of 2018, class participants will range between the ages of 27 and 34. Through personal and professional development and broad exposure to the community, LEAD Atlanta aims to equip young leaders early in their careers with the skills and knowledge needed to be an effective leader committed to the common good. Established in 2004 as an initiative of Leadership Atlanta, the program is distinguished by its unique integration of personal, professional, and community education.
LEAD Atlanta boasts a diverse roster of accomplished alumni. These young leaders, and all who follow their example, represent the next generation of Metro Atlanta's leaders.
In this age of hope, inspiration and activism, it seems everyone talks about leadership― but how do you really accomplish it?
If you are a young professional between the ages of 27 and 34 and have been asking yourself this question, you are not alone. Other talented individuals across metro Atlanta have been asking themselves the same question. (If you are not within this age range, you might be interested in our signature, executive-level program, Leadership Atlanta).
Through its intensive eight-month program, LEAD Atlanta aims to help you answer this and other similar questions through the provision of several key learning areas, including:
All of this adds up to a transformative experience for you and for the community!
We are currently accepting nominations for the LEAD Atlanta Class of 2018.
Applications for the Class of 2018 will be available in January 2017.
Being a member of the class of 2008 has been a great, lasting experience. It opened my eyes and heart to the opportunity and challenges facing the city and metro Atlanta. In my class and since, I have met a diverse group of community and business leaders, many becoming close friends. Leadership Atlanta opens the doors to many of Atlanta’s most influential leaders and decision makers, people that I most likely would have not met on my own. Staying involved in Leadership Atlanta keeps me informed on important events and happenings in metro Atlanta.
Brent Adams, Leadership Atlanta 2008Exec. Vice Pres., Private Bank of Buckhead; President, Private Bank of Decatur
I consider my involvement with Leadership Atlanta to be one of the most fulfilling and valuable experiences of my adult life. The perspective, insight, and relationships afforded me have aided me immensely in both my professional and personal life. The knowledge and friendships gained have allowed me to be a more active citizen of the Atlanta community.
Andre Anderson, Leadership Atlanta 2008Sr. Vice Pres., Corporate Engagement Division, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Leadership Atlanta is where Peachtree meets Sweet Auburn and Buford Highway meet. It taught me to appreciate the true values of leadership. Challenging and thought provoking curriculum combined with dedicated professional and lay leaders is a recipe for success for this lifelong experience. As an alumni volunteer, I see how Leadership Atlanta continues to be relevant. Leadership Atlanta is all about building a strong Atlanta foundation for the generations to come, one leader at a time.
Joel Arogeti, Leadership Atlanta 2008President & CEO, Kitchens Kelley Gaynes, PC
Having applied to LEAD just four months after moving to Atlanta, I had no idea how impactful the experience would be on my life, both professionally and personally. LEAD was my introduction to the diversity and exceptional talent of this city. I was introduced to the issues and challenges facing Atlanta, and participated in the dialogue toward solutions. I discovered how to get involved, and now share a network of innovative leaders continuing to cultivate relationships and create change. LEAD has built a formula that literally opens minds and hearts to advance the dialogue on inclusion and growth as a community. And as an individual, you are challenged to think about the journey toward your purpose and how you want to contribute to our city. I am so proud to have participated in the program, and will always be grateful for the opportunity."
Dani Ayers, LEAD Atlanta 2015Senior Director of Affiliates, ToolBank USA
LEAD Atlanta was a pivotal program for me. I was able to meet some amazing young professionals who were not only top performers in their respective professions, but had a passion to serve the communities of metro Atlanta. The program experience provided me with an intimate insight into how metro Atlanta has become the global city it is today. The diversity of the Leadership Atlanta and LEAD Atlanta classes provide a unique opportunity for professionals to interact with individuals from a myriad of interests, beliefs, sexual orientation, and backgrounds. My passion for service was expanded, and I am extremely humbled to have been selected.
Kornelius Bankston LEAD Atlanta 2010Director of Bioscience, Metro Atlanta Chamber
My involvement with Leadership Atlanta continues almost daily to influence my ability to affect change in the City of Atlanta. I am grateful beyond measure for all that I learned and for the relationships that I developed. I joined the class of 2012 four years after I became the Senior Rabbi of The Temple. The Temple has a strong history of commitment to involvement with the community. Leadership Atlanta was an essential part of my education about the who, what, where, when, and why of Atlanta. Of all the profound learning that took place, two ideas stand out: 1) Be courageous: Whether the issue is health, criminal justice, education, or race – strive to do what is right, even if it is not popular. 2) Build Relationships: Meet and develop friendships with other leaders who can bring about transformative change. I am confident that your decision to become part of Leadership Atlanta will be one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
Peter S. Berg, Leadership Atlanta 2012Senior Rabbi, The Temple
There is not a week in which I am not working with either a Leadership Atlanta classmate or alumni. An incredible investment, Leadership Atlanta exposed me to issues and parts of the city I would never have known -- opening my mind to our urgent role as leaders in this city. Moreover, Leadership Atlanta allowed me to make sincere friendships with leaders across the city, expanding my reach and ability to effectively get things done.
Rodney Bullard, Leadership Atlanta 2012Vice President of Community Affairs, Executive Director of Chick-fil-A Foundation, Chick-fil-A
LEAD Atlanta was an incredible experience to learn about the city and region, and gave me a perspective I will never forget. However, the one thing I got most out of the program was the importance of serving my community. While I always knew it was important to help the community at large, LEAD, through its program, speakers and fellow classmates, taught me that it needs to be a priority and central to my life. Watching my classmates dedicate their lives to service with alacrity and witnessing first-hand the impact that they have had in our community is a humbling experience, and no other program in the region can do this as well as Leadership Atlanta and LEAD Atlanta.
Andrew Chang, LEAD Atlanta 2007Head of Marketing and PR, Stan Johnson Company
When asked about Leadership Atlanta, my response has always been: one of the most satisfying years of learning. Still today, I cherish all the friends that were made as well as learning what makes the city work. My sense of civic responsibilities really changed because of Leadership Atlanta.
Aida Perez Flamm, Leadership Atlanta 1995Partner, Aida & Co.
I am a firm believe that information is the underground currency of the privileged. Leadership Atlanta exposed me to information that I never had, people I never thought I would know and experiences that have informed my leadership. My advocacy for and belief in Atlanta is even deeper as a result of this once in a lifetime experience. I never thought I would laugh, cry, rejoice and be forever changed by an experience at this age. Leadership Atlanta brokered that. It is the most thoughtfully curated experience I have had as an adult and I am on fire to lead with vulnerability and efficacy in Atlanta.”
DeLano Ford, Leadership Atlanta 2016Executive Director, Teach For America Metro Atlanta
Leadership Atlanta is one of the most impactful leadership development programs that I've experienced. What makes it unique and best in class is its proven approach of pulling together leaders across our community from all walks of life, leaders who care deeply about our community, leaders who are willing to get out of their own echo chambers and see things from other perspectives, leaders who will lean into the issues facing our community, and leaders who want to connect with others to make a difference. I value each one of my Leadership Atlanta friends and experiences and wish that everyone in our great city could experience Leadership Atlanta!
Shelley Giberson, Leadership Atlanta 2015Market Managing Partner, Greater Atlanta, PwC
Leadership Atlanta is a great opportunity to connect with others who want to make Atlanta and our state a better place for all of us. Connections are key for addressing many of the issues we face in our communities. The Metro Atlanta region is changing and leaders need to connect with others outside our normal and comfortable spheres of influence. Leadership Atlanta provides those types of opportunities for substantive connections to make Atlanta better for us all.
Jerry Gonzalez, Leadership Atlanta 2005Executive Director, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO)
Leadership Atlanta is an extraordinary and life-changing experience. The people, program design, and high standards elevate even the most accomplished leaders to an entirely new level of thoughtful decision-making and impact. LEAD Atlanta heightened my awareness of the issues facing our city at just the right time in my career. Leadership Atlanta challenged me further with even more complex topics and experienced colleagues. Fortunately, the learning continues as the alumni programming and relationships created through the program are of the highest quality. I strongly encourage all driven and active professionals to consider LEAD and Leadership Atlanta.
Dan Gordon, Leadership Atlanta 2015, LEAD Atlanta 2009Chief Operating Officer, The City of Atlanta
I had very high expectations going-into Leadership Atlanta, from its great reputation and the alums that I knew. But my experience was even more transformational than I could have imagined – both personally and professionally. From day 1, I found myself amidst a passionate and committed group of leaders who are driving positive change every day. My eyes were opened to a fresh view of issues and diverse perspectives. I also gained a renewed sense of optimism for the vital community Atlanta can surely become. Although you graduate, you are never “done” with Leadership Atlanta, because the experience continues to build on itself through an active and engaged alumni network and lifelong friendships. This is a program that truly delivers.
Kevin Green, Leadership Atlanta 2006President and CEO, Midtown Alliance
I was fortunate to have been a member of the 2004 Leadership Atlanta class, and the experience has shaped my career immeasurably. The skills I developed in the program have helped me in my leadership roles at Greenberg Traurig, the Georgia Chamber and many other community and professional organizations. During my year with Leadership Atlanta, I saw firsthand the benefits of working together collaboratively with others from a variety of industries and backgrounds, and I am an ardent believer that what one may accomplish alone pales in comparison to what a group can accomplish working together towards a common goal. What is truly exciting about the program is working together with other graduates to put what we learned into action and seeing results. Not only did I develop invaluable skills and knowledge about our region, but I made friendships that I am confident will last a lifetime.
Ernest Greer, Leadership Atlanta 2004Co-President, Greenberg Traurig
My Leadership Atlanta class was the single most impactful year of learning and connecting I have had outside of a classroom. My world was enlarged in ways that are hard to fully describe by the curriculum and the bonds I forged with passionate leaders throughout Atlanta. I took from the year a deep desire to engage further in our city and state. It is a rare day when I do not connect with classmates who are now dear friends. We continue to support each other and engage on issues where we can make positive change for those in our great city.
Jodie Guest, Leadership Atlanta 2011Professor, Rollins School of Public and School of Medicine, Emory University
Leadership Atlanta has had a bigger impact on my life than anything I've done in business over my 15+ year career. The experiences that I had during my year and the relationships I have made have fundamentally changed me as a person. When people ask me what the one thing they can do to become a better leader and grow in their career, the answer is always the same: apply to Leadership Atlanta!
Jeff Hilimire, Leadership Atlanta 2013Chief Executive Officer, Dragon Army
Leadership Atlanta opened my eyes to challenges facing our city that I did not fully appreciate at the beginning of the program. By the end of the program, I found that many of the singular issues had a lot of common threads and root causes. The genius of Leadership Atlanta is bringing together leaders from government, non-profits and private enterprise into a safe environment to address these problems collaboratively. None of these sectors, acting alone, can adequately address a large issue such as education. The friendships with classmates developed during the program were an added bonus.
Michael Hollingsworth, Leadership Atlanta 2014Managing Partner, Atlanta, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
I am proud to be a Leadership Atlanta alum. Through Leadership Atlanta, I am able to connect with and appreciate this city in ways I do not believe would have been possible without this experience. The program and curriculum challenged me to assess my own leadership capabilities and responsibilities at work and in the community. It also provided me with a unique opportunity for building and strengthening relationships that have come to matter for both personal fulfilment and for the express purpose of helping to fulfill Atlanta’s potential as one of the world’s great cosmopolitan cities.
Erika James, Leadership Atlanta 2016Dean, Goizueta School of Business
Leadership Atlanta develops leaders who are solving important issues that make Atlanta and our region a better place to live, work and play. What I learned as a member of the 2004 class has helped make me a better community leader today. Add to this the lifelong friendships that are made, and you see why Leadership Atlanta is our city’s premiere leadership program.
Bob Jimenez, Leadership Atlanta 2004Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications & Public Affairs, Cox Enterprises, Inc.
LEAD Atlanta provided me a learning and development experience that remains unmatched. Through the deep and meaningful relationships that were built, I gained a perspective that changed my view of my community and gave me a new sense of energy and passion to change it for the better. I developed lifelong friends, grew as a leader and found a new purpose for my role within Atlanta. I am forever thankful to LEAD Atlanta for challenging my positions, encouraging me to go further and making me a stronger leader committed to progress.
Rich Johnson, LEAD Atlanta 2015Director, External Affairs, AT&T Georgia
Wow! is how I describe my Leadership Atlanta experience. My Wow! includes people, knowledge and experience. I met and continue to meet extraordinary leaders who are making a difference in our city and state every day. The knowledge gained throughout my year was life changing, and the experiences were unmatched. I am honored to be part of such an outstanding organization.
Soumaya Khalifa, Leadership Atlanta 2015Executive Director/Founder, Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta
Leadership Atlanta not only made a profound impact on my life, but also made me more aware of the impact our leadership class alone can have on the community. My eyes were more wide open than they ever have been on the issues that face Atlanta. I was challenged on my belief system by my classmates, which was done with grace and acceptance. Leadership Atlanta has been designed to guide your experience in an objective way which helps facilitate productive conversation that encourages learning, growth and transparency. I believe it is one of the best ways I could have invested my time, not only growing myself and learning about the city but developing long lasting friendships.
Meredith Leapley, Leadership Atlanta 2014Founder/President, Leapley Construction
Through Leadership Atlanta I had the unique opportunity to engage with a diverse and passionate group of leaders dedicated to addressing many of the issues we face in metro Atlanta. A true strength of the program is that it forces you to be intentional about finding solutions for creating a better, stronger community for future generations.
Hala Moddelmog, Leadership Atlanta 1997President & CEO, Metro Atlanta Chamber
Leadership Atlanta has created and refined a unique program that honors Atlanta’s past while standing for the possibility of a powerfully inclusive future. I was honored and humbled to work with such a diverse group of business, non-profit and community leaders, passionately committed to making a difference. The relationships I’ve made have a depth and relatedness that continues to grow stronger following graduation. The program and alumni network prove that determined people working together can accomplish anything.
Chris Peck, Leadership Atlanta 2016Vice President, Corporate Human Resources, UPS
Like many others, my Leadership Atlanta experience was outstanding, providing me a chance to discuss and debate some of the key issues facing our City and our region, and to engage with other local leaders in tackling them. In addition to being provided a unique exposure to the region, and the complexities and varied perspectives that define so many of its challenges and opportunities, the shared experience of going through the year with classmates created many lifelong friendships and opened the doors to opportunities to better serve our community. The legacy of Leadership Atlanta is evident in many other ways, as it is common for me to encounter other Leadership Atlanta graduates in service on the boards of community and civic organizations, advocating for causes that move us forward, and at the table when conducting my business affairs.
Egbert Perry, Leadership Atlanta 1987Chairman and CEO, The Integral Group, LLC
There are very few opportunities in our adult lives that give us the chance to create the kind of deep relationships that Leadership Atlanta fosters. The program compels you to talk about difficult issues with people from all walks of life, all races and all belief systems. It challenges your core beliefs, expands your horizons and opens your eyes. The caliber of the participants is outstanding and can even be intimidating, but in the end you will be sharper for having met them. There’s no way to go through Leadership Atlanta without being changed for the better.
Denise Starling, Leadership Atlanta 2014Executive Director, Livable Buckhead / BATMA
Leadership Atlanta is the quintessential leadership program. Everyone’s journey begins similarly – Leadership Atlanta takes leaders with high potential, stellar professional achievement and incredible engagement in the community and creates something special. The program harnesses this potential, this leadership acumen and the commitment to do both well as an individual and good for the community and provides these leaders the network and resources to make meaningful impact across our entire beloved city of Atlanta. That is what makes Leadership Atlanta the best leadership experiences I have participated.
Pamela Stewart, Leadership Atlanta 2015VP - National Sales, The Coca-Cola Company
My Leadership Atlanta class year was one of the most significant catalysts for both my personal and professional growth. It has helped me become a more effective community and business leader. It helped me better understand pressing regional issues, and provided me with both the tools and like minded network to address them.
Cyril Turner, Leadership Atlanta 2007President, Delta Global Services & Delta Private Jets, Delta Air Lines, Inc.