Community Leadership Development Program

The Core Program helps participants acquire both a broader understanding of the critical issues affecting our community and the leadership skills necessary to resolve them. This program prepares participants for the challenges of their own life-long leadership journeys, builds leadership skills, and develops an awareness for the rich opportunities for leadership in Waterloo Region.


Employee Sponsors

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Guiding Framework

There are four key areas of impact that the Core Program focuses it’s work:

Community Understanding

Learning the history, critical issues, and current assets of our community and considering implications for the future.

Relationship Building

Creating opportunities to connect across a continuum of leaders.

Collaborative Leadership

Enhancing skills, knowledge, and personal awareness to build connections and effect positive change in the community.

Community Readiness

Fostering individual attitudes, knowledge and behaviours that spark informed and sustained activity across Waterloo Region.

Affordable Housing Lab - Class of 2021

Each year, the Leadership Waterloo Region Core Program class work on a community project.  In previous years, the class would be split into smaller teams and would work on a variety of projects submitted by local not-for-profit organizations.  Although amazing work was done in the community, we knew if we were strategic, LWR could have a great impact on the wicked social issues in our community. In 2019, LWR partnered with the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR) at the University of Waterloo, and Wellbeing Waterloo Region (WWR) to raise the level of learning and broader community, and economic development impact of the group project work through a pilot solutions lab project focusing on affordable housing.

Moving into the Class of 2021, we are looking forward to utilizing the findings from our pilot project in 2019-2020, and refining the focus and developing solutions that will be shared through the WWR network, with local government, not-for-profit organizations. These solutions will also be scale-able out to other communities across the province and country. Through the teaching and facilitation from WISIR, the class will continue to collectively take on the complex issue of affordable housing.

During this project work, the class will:

- Participate in an innovation lab that is designed to stimulate social innovation . This approach brings together ideas and practices from the fields of social innovation, design and whole systems processes.

- Increase their knowledge of systems thinking and societal issues

- Perform asset based systems mapping of the many facets and stages of the housing continuum that create the need for affordable housing, i.e. mental health, new Canadians, seniors,  belonging, policy,accessibility, job loss, single parenting, addictions, systemic barriers, stock(at all levels of the continuum, which will foster talent attraction, business growth, and moving people through the housing continuum)

- Make meaningful connections, and create partnerships between not-for –profits and other agencies

- Build relationships between industry, not-for-profits, and government

- Conduct research on not-for-profit sector and its contribution to the region - through the lens of affordable housing

- Understand the complexity and interrelated nature of social issues

- Be exposed to and use various documents such as:  City of Kitchener Housing Needs Assessment,Region of Waterloo Strategic Plan 2019-2023, Strategic plans from the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, and townships of Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the costs associated with the Core Program?

There is a $100 application fee that is due with your application. This can be paid by cheque or credit card. Tuition: $4,800 Covers the entire program includes but is not limited to: all program materials, meals during Leadership Days, accommodations during opening/closing retreats. The tuition fee is due on or before the start of the program.

What if I can’t afford tuition?

Bursary support may be available!We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to grow as a leader and give back to our community. With the generous support of local businesses, bursaries are available to applicants that are not able to cover the full tuition amount. To apply for a bursary, please complete the bursary application form (link below) before the application deadline.

What is the selection process? When will I know if I’m in the program?

We welcome applications from people who demonstrate leadership qualities and are committed to creating a new network of informed and dedicated community leaders. A selection committee will review your application. Eligible candidates will be asked to participate in an in-person interview.
All applicants will be notified about their status at least six weeks prior to the program’s September start date.