Make an Impact // Networking & Professional Development

Leadership - Leadership Oakland

Since 1990, the Leadership Oakland Cornerstone Program has brought together more than 1,200 leaders from corporate, civic and non-profit organizations throughout the community. Graduates of the program have put their knowledge and network to work by becoming key contributors in their communities and places of business.

I’ve had a lifelong fascination with people– growth, performance, purpose – anything that helps individuals and organizations thrive to their fullest potential. That curious nature eventually evolved into a career in leadership and organizational development. But it was really the strengths gained from being an introvert in a largely extroverted world that made a difference. I naturally had an intense appreciation for different styles, a passion for knowledge and information, and comfort level in asking thought-provoking questions and listening to others. Leadership development is like a problem-solving puzzle to me: how can I connect various pieces to be the catalyst for growth?


This region has a wealth of amazingly talented people and depth of resources for whatever someone’s individual interests might be. The changes we see when people get involved with community leadership programs are astounding. They become better leaders in all areas of their lives – personally and professionally, as well as impact the region in a positive way.  Dozens of smart, committed, diverse people together over time + learning about the region + inspiring them to use their talent to tackle challenges together = a deep leadership experience, relationships, and growth that lasts long beyond the program.


  1. Leadership Oakland – Leadership Oakland is the program that I’m an alumnus of and now lead, so it would be odd not to list it first. It made an invaluable difference in my personal, professional and public leadership growth. You really can’t go wrong with any of the civic leadership programs in the region. It just depends on your own personal and professional interests.
  2. Leadership Detroit – Programs like Leadership Detroit, along with Leadership Macomb and Leadership Oakland, open up a world of resources, knowledge and relationships to participants. Leadership Detroit is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and holds a long legacy in the region.
  3. Leadership Macomb – Focusing on Macomb County’s role in creating strong leadership for the region, Leadership Macomb has been developing professionals for more than 22 years.  Along with other civic leadership programs, it is a strong resource in SE Michigan.
  4. Inforum – This is a top resource for women’s leadership development in the region (and state).  It also serves as a champion for discussion on women’s issues in the workplace. Inforum has been at the forefront of research on the impact of gender on organizational and economic performance.
  5. Crain’s Leadership Academy – A relative newcomer to SE Michigan leadership development programs is Crain’s Leadership Academy. I personally do not have direct experience with it. However, I have heard it mentioned often. It is worth checking out to see if it might be a fit for your leadership development journey.
  6. Michigan Political Leadership Program – I know several people who have participated in this program and found it of great value. It is a bi-partisan program that identifies individuals from across the state committed to community service and brings them together to engage in a public policy and leadership discussions.

Learn more about Leadership Oakland by visiting

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