Leadership Programs

Emerging Leaders

Designed for young professionals, the Emerging Leaders program offers the opportunity to strengthen your personal, professional and civic leadership skills, gain a deeper understanding of the inner workings of the St. Louis region and build connections with a diverse network of peers.  

You’ll leave the program with an increased sense of engagement in the region, as well as the tools to take an active role as the next generation of St. Louis civic and professional leaders. 

Who Should Apply

If you’re a young professional who wants to gain a better understanding of yourself as a leader, of the St. Louis region and how you can get involved to make our community stronger, you may be a great fit for Emerging Leaders. 

Like all FOCUS leadership programs, Emerging Leaders welcomes applicants from all backgrounds, industries and sectors.

What to Expect

The three-month program is held each spring and fall. Led by FOCUS’ experienced facilitators, subject-matter experts and regional leaders, the program includes:

  • An opening reception to meet your fellow classmates
  • A two-day (Friday & Saturday) retreat
  • Seminar days, held on Mondays and Thursdays
  • Civic Action Project (small group peer learning experience)
  • FOCUS Now, an all-program graduation/networking event
  • Complimentary 4-month FOCUS membership

At this time of social distancing, all sessions are held virtually.

Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to explore your leadership style, examine regional issues from different perspectives, strengthen your communication skills, and build lasting connections with other leaders.

Upon graduation, you’ll also become part of the network of more than 10,000 FOCUS program alumni.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Sign up to be notified when applications open for our next cohort!

Sign Up

How To Apply

Applications are now closed for the Spring 2022 cohort of Emerging Leaders. Stay tuned for the class announcement in January 2022!

Sign up to be notified when applications open for our next cohort.

You can also nominate someone you know for the program and we’ll alert them when applications re-open.


Tuition for Emerging Leaders is $895. Tuition is often covered in part or full by the participant’s employer. Partial scholarship assistance is available to those with demonstrated financial need. We also have the following sponsored scholarships:

Take Point Scholarships
Through the generous support of Regions and in partnership with the Veterans Business Resource Center, scholarships are available for active-duty, veterans and military spouses.

Betty Thompson Scholarship
Through the generous support of Tony Thompson/The Kwame Foundation, a scholarship is available for a participant who identifies as Black/African-American with demonstrated financial need.

Big League Impact Scholarship

Dierbergs Scholarship
Available to a participant who identifies as Black/African-American with demonstrated financial need.

Scholarship application details will be provided upon acceptance into the program.


For More Information

Matthew R. Kerns
Emerging Leaders Director
tel: (314) 657-4023
Email Matthew

Host a Civic Action Project

Civic Action Projects are a key element of the Emerging Leaders program, with participants working in small groups in collaboration with community partners. If your organization would be interested in hosting a Civic Action Project, click here to learn more and submit a proposal.

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