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.
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 Class of 2008Sr. Vice Pres., Corporate Engagement Division, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
The Leadership Atlanta experience has been a defining moment for so many of the over 4,000 community leaders that have completed the program. And our city and region are all the better for it as it enables our leaders to be that much more prepared to understand, engage, collaborate and lead as a result. We are so fortunate to live in a community that has the model Leadership program that others in the nation seek to emulate.
Renay Blumenthal Class of 2006President, Grady Health Foundation
My Leadership Atlanta experience opened the door to a greater understanding of issues facing the city and therefore, opportunities to make a lasting difference. The impact it has had on me, personally and professionally, will always remain with me, along with the many relationships I built. And, that’s just the beginning. To fully appreciate Leadership Atlanta, you have to remain engaged and continue to leverage the value of the organization, while actively using what you’ve learned to help make the city better.
Sheryl Sellaway Class of 2007Public Relations Executive, Verizon Wireless
Leadership Atlanta’s programs are not just timely and interesting. They also are thought-provoking, and they challenge “status quo” thinking. The healthy debates that ensue among class members as a result of these programs broaden their perspectives about key issues facing the Metro Atlanta region. This level of honesty and engagement also forges lasting connections and networks. Anyone who completes the Leadership Atlanta process leaves the program feeling truly empowered to take action.
Melanie Platt Class of 2004Executive Vice President, Human Resources and President, AGL Resources Foundation, AGL Resources Inc.
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 Class of 2004Vice President, Corporate Communications & Public Affairs, Cox Enterprises, Inc.
Leadership Atlanta has provided me with a great opportunity to learn about the challenges facing the Atlanta Region and the many ideas and efforts to address those challenges. But more importantly, Leadership Atlanta has afforded me the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most gifted and dedicated people I have encountered over my career. Leadership Atlanta fosters civic involvement and promotes a collegiality among its members which is extraordinary.
Rick Deane Class of 1997Partner, Jones Day
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 Class of 2013Chief Executive Officer, Dragon Army
I have been fortunate to have experienced Leadership Atlanta along with many others who care deeply about this place and our time in it. Leadership Atlanta has served as an instrument of insight, innovation, inclusion and involvement – enabling its participants to fully appreciate not only our challenges, but also our resources, our solutions, and our stewardship. Leadership Atlanta offers a forum to honestly examine and better understand the galvanizing issues that face us, hearing and learning from differing perspectives and from each other. Almost without exception, those who are touched by this program leave with hearts open and ablaze, and with a life-long commitment to do “something.” Leadership Atlanta continues to influence me, and I welcome the broadening conversation and deepening impact that this “movement” has on all of us.
Veronica Biggins Class of 1983Partner, Diversified Search
Leadership Atlanta exposed me to issues and ignited a passion for community service. It also introduced me to other leaders who care about our community and who have become my closest allies and friends in service to our great city. It is one of the top ten experiences of my adult life.
Becky Blalock Class of 1997Managing Partner, Advisory Capital
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 Class of 2007Head of Marketing and PR, Stan Johnson 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 Class of 2007President, Delta Global Services & Delta Private Jets, Delta Air Lines, Inc.
Leadership Atlanta is an extraordinary learning experience that will deepen your knowledge of the complex social, economic, criminal justice and other challenges facing Greater Atlanta. Perhaps more important, it compels you to use the leadership skills and relationships you develop to challenge the status quo and take personal responsibility for making the community a better place for all who live, work and play here.
Milton Little Class of 2010President, United Way of Greater Atlanta
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 Class of 2012Vice President of Community Affairs, Executive Director of Chick-fil-A Foundation, Chick-fil-A
Leadership Atlanta took me out of my comfort zone such that I could look at the challenges impacting our metro area through a varying set of lenses. This ultimately broadened my perspectives on potential solutions to make our world a better place. Many of the classmates with whom I closely intersected remain some of my most valued friends today.
Ashish Bahl Class of 2006Chairman & CEO, Acculynk
Although the year that you participate in the Leadership Atlanta Class is a fantastic, memorable experience of learning about the critical issues of the city and region…that to me is only the beginning. The true value comes after your class has graduated and you have a responsibility to become more involved in bringing solutions, resources, and leadership to the major problems in our community. Leadership Atlanta is the beginning chapter to how you will serve the community for the rest of your life!
Ann Cramer Class of 1977Senior Consultant, Coxe Curry & Associates
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 Class of 2004Vice Pres., Atlanta Co-Managing Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig
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 Class of 2008President & CEO, Kitchens Kelley Gaynes, PC
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 Class of 1995Partner, Aida & Co.
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 Class of 2005Executive Director, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO)
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 Class of 2006President and CEO, Midtown Alliance
As a member of the class of 2005, I found Leadership Atlanta to be an outstanding opportunity to interact with a very diverse group of leaders and be immersed in the challenges and opportunities of our city. My experience continues today as I have chosen to stay engaged in Leadership Atlanta on a business and personal level.
Charlie Crawford Class of 2005President, CEO & Chairman, Private Bank of Buckhead
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 Class of 2014Managing Partner, Atlanta, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
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
LEAD Atlanta has provided me with an invaluable opportunity to learn more about the issues facing our city and forge relationships with other young professionals and community leaders who are committed to addressing them. Through my active alumni involvement, I have been able to continue learning and growing as a leader, and I will also be forever grateful for the incredible and diverse friendships that I have formed as a result of my LEAD experience. I am quite certain they will last a lifetime.
Whitney Deal LEAD Atlanta 2009Director, Corporate Citizenship, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
LEAD Atlanta presented me with the opportunity to learn more about the challenges facing Atlanta and presented opportunities to get more involved in serving our community. The collective experiences presented throughout the program from city leaders, peers, and alumni allowed for personal growth and leadership development. LEAD Atlanta allowed me the opportunity to further develop my leadership and service skills thus helping me to define the personal goals developed over previous years of service with multiple types of organizations. I am confident in the experience that LEAD Atlanta provided, and am looking forward to the contributions of our alumni to the city of Atlanta.
Kurt Ford LEAD Atlanta 2014General Manager - Schedule Implementation, Delta Air Lines, Inc.
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 Class of 1997President & CEO, Metro Atlanta Chamber
Leadership Atlanta is a premiere incubator of leaders who are courageous, committed and connected to Atlanta from a personal, business and philanthropic perspective. Leadership Atlanta’s resilience and legacy afforded me the opportunity and privilege to experience first-hand insight, appreciation and respect for Atlanta’s rich history, undeniable challenges and amazing people from a realistic, relevant and raw perspective. Leadership Atlanta and my amazing classmates, who I am proud to call my friends, have given me the priceless gift of becoming re-invigorated from a new perspective and provided me a platform to channel my business and academic acumen and to strive and achieve my life’s PhD aspiration. This PhD is one of P: passion with purpose, H: hunger with humility and D: dedication with direction.
Cassandra Johnson Class of 2015Global Risk Control Services Executive, AIG