Leadership Iowa: Celebrating Our Past While Cultivating Our Future

January 14, 2022 | Improving Competitiveness Jessi McQuerrey, ABI Foundation,

Our state was just the fourth in the country to launch a statewide leadership program; one that brings diverse leaders together to learn and generate solutions for Iowa. This resulted in the creation of Leadership Iowa in 1982. 

Forty years and more than 1,200 program alumni later, we’re proud to celebrate Leadership Iowa’s ongoing success. However, it isn’t the crafted combination of tours, speakers and experiences that makes the program special each year. 

Leadership Iowa is impactful by what our participants choose to do with the information and opportunities they receive during the program. It’s the alumni who felt inspired to run for local office, leveraged partnerships for a new service organization, or proactively prepared their company for a potential issue faced in other towns. 

We invite you to consider who this might describe in your organization and nominate them for Leadership Iowa. Here are a few things to keep in mind for nominations:

  • Qualifications: There are no title or resume requirements to participate in Leadership Iowa. We look for Iowans who have shown a commitment to their workplace and community, and demonstrate a desire to expand upon their leadership for the betterment of Iowa.
  • Commitment: Eight two-day required sessions take place each month October through June (not held in February). These sessions are often the first week of the month, all day on Thursday and Friday, though there is typically travel time needed on Wednesday afternoons. It takes commitment to “shut down” from work and home responsibilities for two days each month.
  • Company Process: Many companies across Iowa have internal processes for selecting a candidate to nominate. Ask your director if one exists to ensure company support for your candidate. If you’d like to create a process for your company, please reach out!
  • Selection: A committee reviews all applications and carefully selects a purposefully diverse group of qualified candidates. Many candidates apply more than once before being selected.
  • Consider yourself, too!: Self-nominations are encouraged! Whether you are nominated by someone else or yourself, it makes no difference in the selection process.

Candidates must be nominated by April 1, 2022 (NEW DATE!) to be eligible to apply for the 2022-23 program. Nominations can be made online at www.LeadershipIowa.com. After April 1, nominees will be notified and provided application instructions. 

A fitting quote by Margaret Mead sums up the Leadership Iowa spirit well: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Leadership Iowa began and continues today on the principle that the power to sustain and grow our state relies on the collaboration and commitment of our greatest asset: our people.