Leadership Kalamazoo

2021 Is Your Year
Last year took many of us by storm. It certainly challenged our organizations, our families and our personal resolve in more ways than one. We will carry some those same challenges into 2021, but if you are like us, then you are ready to tackle them head on. You do not have to do it alone. We invite you to re-energize your leadership with a group of diverse and motivated peers by being part of Leadership Kalamazoo 2021.

What Keeps Us Going
Southwest Michigan First and its Chamber division believe that at our community’s core, the ultimate catalyst for growth is the ability to identify, engage and empower the right people. We must take a bold approach to developing the human capital required for a sustainable future. According to John Maxwell, “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.”

As a part of our robust leadership development strategy for our region, we continue the great work of Leadership Kalamazoo. For the past 25 years, Leadership Kalamazoo has been the community leadership development resource for the Kalamazoo Region, providing a unique opportunity for a diverse group of current and emerging community leaders to learn and work together. Southwest Michigan First is proud to bring you Leadership Kalamazoo in partnership with our presenting sponsor, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Participant Commitment
Leadership Kalamazoo is a dynamic, interactive, and intensive program that meets monthly from March to December 2021 through a combination of full-group virtual sessions and small group in-person experiences. The program consists of one orientation, two half-day retreats, five training sessions and three community engagement experiences. Also included in the program is an exclusive opportunity to attend Southwest Michigan First’s Catalyst University.

NEW in 2021!
Participants will be given the opportunity to work with their peers also enrolled in the program to make an impact on a community issue. The cost to participate in the program is $1,800 per person.

Each session of the program is focused on a different leadership development competency. Some examples of topics that will be examined are:

  • Talent | Strengths Exploration
  • Laying a Strong Leadership Foundation: Emotional Intelligence
  • Tools for Navigating the 3 C’s: Change, Conflict & Crunchy Conversations
  • The Motivational Leader’s Secret Weapon: Coaching
  • Cracking the Code: High Performance Teams
  • You’re Not Speaking My Language: Exploring Generations in the Workplace

Each community engagement experience is focused on a core community sector, including:

  • Health Care
  • Education
  • Public Safety

We bring together experienced professionals, a world-class faculty and a dynamic curriculum in a setting where the common denominator is a shared commitment to accelerating leadership and impact. The result is a lasting transformational leadership experience.

Our Approach in Response to COVID-19
Our top priority is to create a safe learning environment for everyone to learn and grow. Like all of you we have had to adjust our services and delivery in many ways during the 2020 program year. We look forward to 2021 because we have learned many lessons along the way on how to maintain excellence in leadership development programming and how to create a personal and engaging environment using virtual platforms.

Our plan for 2021 is to use a hybrid approach to stay in compliance with executive orders, emergency orders and common sense. We will meet virtually as a full group throughout the year but have also curated in-person community engagement experiences for smaller groups. Just as we did in 2020, we will respond as needed should restrictions change. If we can meet in person safely, we will adjust the program schedule to do that because that would be our first choice.

Who Should Apply For Leadership Kalamazoo?
Emerging and accelerating leaders who have a strong desire to grow their capacity as leaders in Southwest Michigan are strongly encouraged to apply. Early application is encouraged since programs often fill to capacity. Due to the interactive nature of Leadership Kalamazoo, the number of participants is limited. Applications received after the stated program deadline will be considered only if space remains in the class.

Our Commitment to Diversity + Inclusion
We believe that there are many “right ways” to be a great leader. The language and action of leadership can look very different depending on industry, location, gender, race, worldview, political views and the like. We believe there is room at the table for different perspectives, styles and voices. It is our responsibility to close the gap where one exists. We know there is an unacceptable gap in diverse racial representation in leadership seats. We are dedicated to becoming a more inviting and inclusive organization and are committed to having racial diversity in our Leadership Kalamazoo Class of 2021.

The Application Process
The application for becoming part of Leadership Kalamazoo is available exclusively online.  Once you have completed the application, a member of the Leadership Kalamazoo team will contact you to discuss next steps.  Applications are currently being accepted for our next cohort.