Leadership Academy


Learn. Connect. Lead.


The Ionia County Leadership Academy has been initiated through a community needs assessment process undertaken by Ionia County-MSU Extension.  A committee was formed to develop the goals and objectives of the program, and targeted individuals who were invited to serve as the first steering committee.

Through the work of this steering committee, which represents a strong cross-section of the county, the Leadership Academy is being organized to facilitate the development of a sustainable supply of capable leaders from within Ionia County.   Participants will be provided information to develop their knowledge-base and skill set in preparation for leadership roles in their respective communities.

The Academy is the first of its kind in Ionia County and is being modeled after best practices found among other existing leadership programs throughout the state.


The Academy is a leadership development program intended to prepare a cadre of leaders which will, in turn, foster greater involvement with community initiatives, units of government, and businesses.

Target Audience

Participation in the Leadership Academy will be targeted to those within our communities that are identified as having leadership potential and an interest in becoming more involved.  This includes, but is not limited to, individuals currently connected to our local businesses, non-profits, churches, governments, schools and other critical areas.

The planned recruitment process includes the promotion of the Leadership Academy to existing community leaders, local organizations, and open invitations to the public at-large.

Interested individuals, who must be Ionia County residents, will be asked to complete and submit an application which will be reviewed by members of the Leadership Academy steering committee.  Twenty (20) applicants will be selected for participation.

Project Goals and Objectives

The Ionia County Leadership Academy, created initially under the auspices of Ionia County-MSU Extension, is intended to be a free-standing and self-sustaining program.

The goals of the program are as follows:

  • Deliver a strong, balanced, sustainable leadership development program.
  • Develop an appropriate knowledge-base and leadership skills with respect to potential and emerging leaders.
  • Create a neutral environment to learn leadership skills.

Objectives of the program are as follows:

  • Identify those who have the desire to be leaders and/or enhance their leadership skills where they live and work.
  • Develop mentors for current and emerging local leaders.
  • Assist potential and emerging leaders in identifying resources available to develop their leadership skills.
  • Increase the number of skilled leaders in Ionia County.
  • Increase the number of leadership roles that potential and emerging leaders take in their communities.

Partners and Their Roles

A steering committee of local leaders was recruited and has been meeting since February.  This group has been charged with developing the actual program for the Academy; identifying and recruiting speakers, sponsors, and prospective participants; and developing and implementing marketing strategies; and otherwise serving as the overall advisory group for the Academy.

Timetable Implementation

February – August, 2008……… Academy Planning Process
September – December……….. Program Promotion
January – March, 2009………… Leadership Academy Sessions Take Place
April………………………………… Graduation Dinner Ceremony


Evaluation methods are currently under development to assess participant benefits as well as the impact on the county.  This evaluation component will also seek to develop recommendations for any changes which will enhance the program in the future.

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