Leadership Iowa University (LIU), a program of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry Foundation, is a personal and professional development program for Iowa college student-leaders. The experience is designed to bridge the gap between college and career, and assist emerging professionals along their path to success. The program connects college student-leaders with a multitude of Iowa professionals and provides an introduction to the diverse array of opportunities in Iowa. The 2024 program will take place August 4-8 in Des Moines. 

Program Expectations

The participants accepted into LIU each year gain the knowledge, tools, and inspiration to be successful in Iowa while rediscovering what makes our state an ideal place to work and live.

Throughout the week, participants can expect to:

  • Build Your Brand: We’ll dive into where the endless possibilities and your passions meet, uniting and optimizing your talents and skills. Dynamic speakers and industry professionals are brought into the program to work with attendees - from sharpening your personal strengths and honing your communication and leadership skills, to ensuring you (and your resume) are ready for your next big opportunity.

  • Grow Your Network: In just 5 days, participants have the opportunity to connect with 60+ Iowa professionals of diverse backgrounds, interests, and occupations. The week includes engaging roundtables and networking events, as well as fun evenings shared with new friends from other schools and communities.

  • Take Your Next Step: Learn about Iowa’s top industries through organizations doing meaningful work they’re proud of and excited about – and you will be, too! You'll take part in a variety of business tours, hear from a wide range of industry professionals, and learn how you can engage with your community to live the life you want after graduation!

The connections made with professionals, as well as relationships built with one another, often have a lasting impact on participants. As business and industry navigate ever-changing needs, LIU is designed to help equip our state’s young professionals to respond to these needs.

Participants are provided with overnight accommodations Sunday through Thursday. Attendees are required to participate in all scheduled programming throughout each day. The program begins at approximately 1:00pm on Sunday and concludes at 3:00pm on Thursday.


A maximum of 30 participants will be selected for Leadership Iowa University. Eligible candidates must be currently enrolled in an Iowa college/university (freshman-senior) or interning for an Iowa-based company the summer of their participation. Students pursuing any area of study or career interests are welcome. 

Participants are selected based on leadership potential, community/campus involvement, internship recommendation (if applicable), and other factors determined by application responses. GPA and course schedules are not determining factors in acceptance.

Ideal candidates for the LIU program are those who are:

  • Driven to become active, engaged leaders on their campuses and in their communities
  • Interested in exploring different career opportunities and workplaces
  • Highly motivated to grow their personal and professional skills and network
  • Thinking about their future in Iowa and interested in important aspects of our state
  • Inspired by local leaders and those making a difference in their communities
  • "Big picture" thinkers with a thirst for information and unique experiences


Each student participant is responsible for a participation fee of $500 for the 2024 program. Thanks to the generosity of program sponsors, need-based financial assistance is available. To discuss the opportunity for a program scholarship, please contact us. Participation payments must be received prior to the program week. This payment is refundable up until one week prior to the program.

Next Steps - Join Us!

Interested candidates are invited to submit an application found online hereThe application is made available after the first of the year until approximately one month before the program or until the class is filled. Attendees are notified of their acceptance on a rolling basis.

Expanding Upon the Experience

After participating in the program, LIU attendees can take advantage of a significantly expanded network of Iowa professionals, as well as a direct connection to Iowa's largest business organization, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. Additionally:

  • Participants may request to be paired with a mentor. This individual will be carefully selected by ABI Foundation staff to assist with the student's personal and/or professional goals.

  • Participants will also be invited to convene at the Young Professionals of Iowa (YPIowa) Conference. Each year, the YPIowa Conference is a can't-miss event for young professionals in our state, and includes a day of valuable break-out sessions, dynamic speakers, and networking opportunities. The ABI Foundation is a proud partner of YPIowa.

For more information or questions regarding the program, please contact us.