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.

New for 2019

We are excited to share some significant changes to the structure of the Core Program, beginning in the 2019-2020 class.

In previous years, the class had been split into several groups to work on smaller community projects in partnership several local social-profit organizations.  Over the years, we’ve seen some great results for our classes and for the non-profits we partner with. Unfortunately, not all projects were equal in time commitment, level of experience/skills required and level of supervision, leading to an uneven experience for our participants, and it’s of most importance to us that each part of our Core Program stretch the knowledge skills of our participants. Something needed to be done.  

Leadership Waterloo Region has entered into a partnership with the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR) at the University of Waterloo and Wellbeing Waterloo Region (WWR) in a new approach to the group project work.

WISIR and WWR bring community stakeholders together around complex problems and involves students in working through a process designed to breed systems innovation.

In partnership, WISIR will be facilitating the project portion of each year’s class.  Bringing experienced pedagogy into the program will raise the level of teaching in the class.   Researchers and post-graduate students will also be working with the class on the project.

Through the teaching and facilitation from WISIR, the class will collectively take on one issue as identified by WWR: Affordable Housing.

The research component of the project will be shared through the WWR network and can be used by many groups and local non-profits to further address and solve issues in our community.  

The value of working, learning, and problem-solving in a cross-sectoral audience will be even more pronounced in a lab environment. Together, in a diverse group, with academics, researchers and industry experts our students will learn advanced levels of:

·         Design thinking

·         Community and systems mapping

·         Problem-solving

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.