Kick-start your leadership journey.

For more than 35 years, Leadership Fort Wayne has inspired emerging leaders to embrace the community, get involved, and drive positive change.

Join our next cohort to get:

Go behind the scenes to meet some of the city’s iconic institutions and leaders.

Grow your abilities in a fast-paced, engaging, and inspirational learning environment.

Put your skills to work in an optional nonprofit board internship.

Connect with the LFW alumni network—more than 1,300 members strong.

Leadership Fort Wayne consists of seven full-day programs (November-May), class projects, participation in community activities, opportunities for hands-on experiences, and an optional internship on a nonprofit board of directors. Area leaders and experts provide information about the community and its history, institutions, socioeconomic composition, and current issues. Our goal of this seven-month program is to train, prepare, and inspire individuals to positively impact greater Fort Wayne-Allen County through meaningful engagement.

  • To instill an understanding of community trusteeship and a life-long commitment to community service
  • To provide information about the community–its history, people, strengths, challenges, and opportunities
  • To deliver opportunities to practice leadership skills and utilize knowledge gained

All participants must:

  • Currently be working and/or living in the greater Fort Wayne area.
  • Have full support from their employer or sponsoring organization.
  • Possess the ability to achieve personal goals.
  • Have the necessary time and resources to commit to community service.

Participants are expected to make a commitment to the program, including:

  • Attending the mandatory one-and-a-half day retreat in October.
  • Attending at least 80% of the seven monthly, full-day sessions (November-May).
  • In addition to completing out-of-class assignments, class members will work on a community action team project and provide community service.
  • Being mindful of COVID-19, will create opportunities for class members to participate either in-person or virtually based on personal comfort level and respective employer guidelines.

A willingness to support LFW through time, talent, and treasure and referral of future candidates for the benefit of our community is also expected.

Each month, participants meet for a “program day,” getting behind-the-scenes looks at the building blocks of our community, featuring insights from key leaders. These topics are:

  • Community history.
  • Human services.
  • Education.
  • Arts and culture.
  • Health services.
  • Government and economic development.
  • Public safety.

Key dates for the Class of 2021 include:

Application deadline: Aug. 2, 2020

Selection day: TBD

Orientation: Oct. 8-9, 2020

Program days:

  • Nov. 5, 2020
  • Dec. 3, 2020
  • Jan. 21, 2021
  • Feb. 18, 2021
  • March 18, 2021
  • April 22, 2021
  • May 20, 2021

Graduation: June 2021 (at the Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Annual Meeting)

Tuition fees are:

  • $1,800 for employees of GFW Inc. investor companies.
  • $2,000 for employees of non-investor companies and individuals.

Tuition may be paid by an employer, a sponsoring organization, or the participant. A limited number of sponsorships to underwrite program days or Designated Seat Sponsorships are available to GFW Inc. investors only. Sponsorships are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

The application period is closed for the Class of 2021. Applications for the Class of 2022 will be available in the spring.