Leadership Programs

FOCUS Impact Fellows

Who Should Apply

If you are an experienced leader looking for meaningful civic engagement on issues critical to our region, you may be a great fit for FOCUS Impact Fellows.

Since our topic for 2020-21 is open-ended and potentially far-reaching, we are seeking a cohort that brings together the diverse perspectives and backgrounds of our region. Most importantly, we are looking for candidates with:

  • A passion for our region, an understanding of its challenges, and a desire to make a lasting and tangible impact
  • A demonstrated commitment to collaboration and equity
  • Strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Creativity and imagination – an ability to see beyond the way “we’ve always done things”
  • A desire to work alongside and learn from other area leaders
  • Leadership experience. Previous completion of a FOCUS leadership program is encouraged, but not required.

Launched in 2016, the FOCUS Impact Fellows program brings together experienced leaders from across St. Louis’ business, public and nonprofit sectors to make an impact on important issues in the region.

Each year, participants work in close collaboration with area leaders, community organizations and subject-matter experts to carry out meaningful projects aimed at changing our region for the better.

Past Impact Fellows cohorts have tackled issues ranging from healthcare to workforce development, always keeping our region’s needs, evidence-based practices and racial equity at the forefront of their work.

COVID-19 and the national uprising around policing and race have been a wake-up call for all of us, let’s make sure we don’t go back to sleep about what ails us. Beginning in September, the topic for the Fellows will be: “St. Louis: The New Normal.” This year in St. Louis, we are seeing the power of acting together to face momentous challenges. In response to pandemics, mass protests and renewed controversy over policing, our community is behaving in new and meaningful ways. When the immediate urgency has passed, will we be able to capture the lessons we’ve learned and carry on this spirit of collaboration to make sure the region works for everyone? What if this collaborative spirit was our new normal? What if we don’t just recover, but re-discover and re-imagine the potential of the St. Louis Metropolitan Region to assert itself as a top-tier U.S. city? What could we as a region accomplish?

What to Expect

The FOCUS Impact Fellows experience is immersive, hands-on, challenging – and rewarding. You’ll spend the first half of the program taking a deep dive into the issue, with unparalleled access to regional experts, agencies and organizations. Then, you’ll work alongside your peers to design and implement a sustainable project to address the issue in collaboration with area partners and make a meaningful impact.

FOCUS Impact Fellows is 10-month program, with sessions held 1-2 times a month from September-June. You’ll also spend time outside of program days for individual and group work on the project(s). 

In addition to the knowledge gained, projects developed and networks built, you’ll gain considerable training and experience in change management, problem-solving, systems thinking, group dynamics and project management.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

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How to Apply

Applications are currently closed.

Meet the 2020-21 cohort!

Submit a nomination for a future cohort.


Tuition for FOCUS Impact Fellows is $3,500 and includes a one-year FOCUS St. Louis membership.

Tuition is often covered in part or full by the participant’s employer. Partial scholarship assistance is available to those with demonstrated financial need. Scholarship application details will be provided to those selected for the cohort.


For More Information

Wally Siewert, Ph.D.
FOCUS Impact Fellows Director
tel: (314) 657-4026
Email Wally