Leadership Programs

Leadership St. Louis

Founded in 1976, Leadership St. Louis® (LSL)  is one of the most highly-respected leadership development programs in the nation. The program was built on the belief that the community, just as any business or organization, requires strong leadership to grow and improve. Graduates of the program include CEOs and senior level executives, entrepreneurs, elected officials, educators, attorneys, nonprofit directors and public servants. The common ground under this wide array of participants is a deep and active commitment to community improvement and making our region stronger.

Who Should Apply

If you are an experienced leader who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the St. Louis region, explore collaborative civic leadership and build connections across sectors, you may be a great fit for Leadership St. Louis.

Like all FOCUS leadership programs, Leadership St. Louis welcomes applicants from all backgrounds, industries and sectors.

What to Expect

Leadership St. Louis is a nine-month program, with one or two full-day sessions each month from September to May (usually held on Fridays and Saturdays).

The LSL experience is immersive, connecting you with the community to  learn firsthand about the challenges and opportunities facing our region. On any given program day, you may be:

  • Talking with police, prosecutors, victims and past offenders about the justice system
  • Meeting with nonprofit agencies to understand the social services safety net
  • Discussing leadership challenges with the CEOs of the region’s largest employers
  • Connecting with area school leaders to explore best practices and educational gaps
  • Weighing state and local priorities with officials in Jefferson City

In the process, you’ll gain the perspective, resources, knowledge and network to have a greater impact as a leader.

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.

Apply Now

How To Apply

Applications are now closed for the 2023-24 cohort. Recruiting for the next cohort will begin in fall. Sign up here to be notified when applications open!

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


Tuition for the Leadership St. Louis program is $5,000. 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 targeted scholarships made possible by our corporate/foundation partners.

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.

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


For more information

Yemi Akande-Bartsch, Ph.D.
Leadership St. Louis Director
tel: (314) 657-4019
Email Yemi

Featured Alumni Profiles
Cordaryl Patrick, LSL alumAnn Seeney, LSL alumMary Danforth Stillman