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Leadership Academy

Leadership Academy 2019-20 Application



To promote servant leadership through an awareness program combining key community issues and enhanced leadership skill development to advance community stewardship.


How is the Elkhart Leadership Academy different from other leadership training programs? It's our focus. The purpose of the Academy is to provide a venue for in-depth understanding of community issues and awareness. Critical leadership skills are presented and then experienced.


Many of Elkhart County's most visible leaders are graduates of the Elkhart Leadership Academy. Past graduates have excelled in their respective business and community leadership roles. Most cite their participation in this program as having had a significant impact on their ability to grow as individuals and enhance their commitment to bettering the community in which they live and work.


“If you have an opportunity to be in the Academy I would highly recommend it. You not only learn about the community but you will be a different person when it is over. You will see Leadership differently through Servant Leadership eyes, and knowing it is not about you, it is about the community and how you can help make a difference. You also learn a lot about collaboration.”
Monica Abair, Cornerstone CPA Group, LLP

“Going through the Leadership Academy has made me realize how many talented people we are blessed to have in Elkhart County. I am impressed at the dedication of our community members in making Elkhart a better place to live, raise a family and conduct business. I feel comforted in knowing the future of Elkhart County is in the hands of our local leaders.”
Danielle Miller, TaigMarks



  • Two day (overnight) retreat
  • Study of behavioral styles
  • Quality of life issues, both personal and professional
  • Introduction to local arts and culture
  • A look at government, entrepreneurship and the local economy
  • An overview of the local educational system
  • Ethical decision making/diversity experiences
  • Conflict resolution
  • Project experiences and overview of the year
  • Graduation and alumni luncheon


The Elkhart Leadership Academy requires a full nine-month commitment, September through May. Attendance at the overnight retreat and eight subsequent sessions is mandatory in order to graduate. Sessions are from 7:45 am to 5:00 pm one day each month, generally on the second Wednesday. A complete schedule will be given to all participants at the retreat. Participants are expected to spend a minimal amount of time working on an outside group project and serve a one-year Board Internship.


To ensure the best experience possible for our group, participation is limited to 30 individuals. Recruitment begins in March of each year for the program starting in September. If you think the Elkhart Leadership Academy is right for you or someone in your organization, fill out the form below or click here to download the nomination form and employers agreement. (Adobe Acrobat Reader required) The cost to attend the Academy is $1100 for Chamber members and $1600 for non-members.

The Leadership Steering Council designs and monitors the curriculum for the Academy. Members of the Council are responsible for planning at least one session in the Academy program.


To coordinate curriculum for each monthly session so graduates of the
Leadership Academy will develop:
  • Heightened awareness concerning the community, its needs and issues
  • Enhanced desire to become community stewards
  • Increased understanding of the essential leadership skills to be advocates for change
  • Personal networks that can be tapped to bring people together to address
    community problems

Council Meeting Times: 4th Tuesday 4:00 pm

Council Chair: Brenda Kolbe, Elkhart Community Schools

Board Liaisons: Monica Abair, Cornerstone CPA Group, LLP; Shane Blotkamp, Majority Builders, Inc.; and Kallie Schuetz, Interra Credit Union

Council Liaison: Melissa Ramey

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