Empowering Our Region’s Future


Southwest Michigan First believes 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 develop 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.” Since 1987, Leadership Greater Kalamazoo has been the community leadership development resource for the Greater Kalamazoo region, providing a unique opportunity for a diverse group of current and emerging community leaders to learn and work together.


Program Overview

Leadership Greater Kalamazoo is an intensive program that gathers participants through interactive training sessions, shared experiences, community tours, and networking opportunities from January through October 2024.

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

  • Strengths-based Leadership
  • Wellbeing in the Workplace
  • Leading High-Performance Teams
  • Exploring Inclusion in the Workplace
  • Navigating Adaptive Change

Community experiences and tours focus on exploring community assets and challenges within economic development, local government, health care, education, and public safety. The opportunity to complete Gallup’s CliftonStrengths assessment is also included. A calendar and program details are available in our Playbook, accessible below.



Who Should Apply

Established and emerging leaders who have a strong desire to accelerate their capacity as leaders in Southwest Michigan are strongly encouraged to apply. You might consider applying if the following qualities describe you:

  • Personal commitment to ongoing self-discovery and professional development
  • Demonstrated active engagement in your organization and/or community
  • Commitment to shaping a positive future for our region
  • Desire to engage and learn alongside cross-sector leaders with different perspectives
  • Motivated to meet new people, build your network, and make new connections

Attendance at all sessions is expected and mandatory.

Our Commitment to Diversity + Inclusion

We believe that there are many “right ways” to be an influential leader. The language and action of leadership can look very different depending on industry, geographic location, gender, race, worldview, political affiliation, and other cultural identifiers. We believe there is room at the table for different perspectives, styles, and voices. It is our goal to gather a diverse group of leaders to have access to world-class training, who are empowered to lead effectively in a way that is authentic to them, and who are connected to a meaningful opportunity to practice their leadership in our community.

Meet the Leadership Greater Kalamazoo Class of 2024



The cost to participate in Leadership Greater Kalamazoo is $2,400. Chamber members receive a discounted rate of $2,150. This fee covers all program costs including meals, materials, resources associated with the retreats and community tours, and the CliftonStrengths assessment.

Tuition assistance is available on a limited basis for those who have a financial need. Please indicate in your application if you will need tuition assistance, and a team member will follow up on next steps.


Application Process

Thank you for your interest in Leadership Greater Kalamazoo. The application process for the class of 2024 is closed. If you are interested in learning more about a future cohort, please fill out the form below.



Want to talk? To learn all about Leadership Greater Kalamazoo, get in touch with Carla Sones at 269.553.9588.


Program Sponsor

Southwest Michigan First is proud to bring you Leadership Greater Kalamazoo in partnership with our presenting sponsor, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Blue Cross Blue Shield