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The Leadership Institute

The Leadership Institute takes an innovative approach to the traditional leadership development model with this year’s class being more innovative than any before. Taught by accomplished CEOs and professionals, the program integrates skill-building with valuable networking opportunities to propel your career to the next level.

Class of 2022:

Click here to apply for The Leadership Institute Class of 2022!

How can I learn more about The Leadership Institute experience?

  • Participate in the Virtual Open House on Tuesday, April 20 at 9 a.m. Get your questions answered and hear from former Leadership Institute alumni on the benefits of participating in the Chamber's award winning professional development program. 

Who should apply?

  • Ideal candidates are professional individuals who are poised and eager to make the transition to a higher level within their organization and to assume increased responsibility.

How many are accepted?

  • Approximately 20-24 participants from across the region will be selected for the graduating Class of 2022.

What is the commitment & cost?

  • The Leadership Institute is a significant commitment by the participates and their employers. Each participant is required to attend a retreat in August and all subsequent monthly sessions through March and attend a graduation ceremony in the spring. Program tuition is $2,400 for Members and $2,900 for future members. Scholarships are available based on need.

Are there scholarship opportunities?

  • Yes, the Chamber does offer partial scholarships for The Leadership Institute based on financial need. They are funded through the "Van Rensselaer Fund - Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce" through The Community Foundation. Scholarships are awarded by The Leadership Institute Selection Committee. The amount of each scholarship is determined each year by the availability of funding. Recipients of the scholarships will be notified along with their acceptance to The Leadership institute. Requests for financial assistance will not affect consideration for participation in the program. As noted in the application, to be considered for a partial scholarship, please include a brief description (250 words or less) along with your application. Please indicate need, and how the scholarship would impact your participation in The Leadership Institute.

What is the experience of participating in The Leadership Institute like?

  • The Leadership Institute provides an opportunity for exceptional individuals strengthen their skills through interactive discussions and critical analysis. Professionals from diverse backgrounds learn from senior level executives across many sectors resulting in a truly unique educational experience. The program integrates leadership skill building with valuable networking opportunities. As participants explore leadership styles, examine options and establish relationships, they gain the skills necessary to make a more valuable contribution to their employers.

Please contact [email protected] with any questions about the program.


Class of 2021: September 2020 - May 2021

The Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the full class roster for The Leadership Institute Class of 2021. Now in its 16th year, The Leadership Institute is the Chamber’s award-winning professional development program that has an accomplished and diverse alumni network of more than 400 graduates.

The Class of 2021 includes the following 20 regional professionals:

  • Firmin Alexander, Troy Web Consulting
  • Margaret Arias, Unity House of Troy
  • Carlo Bileci, CAP COM Federal Credit Union
  • Ketaki Bodhankar, SEFCU
  • Natalia Burkart, CDPHP
  • Roz Cardish, United Way of the Greater Capital Region
  • Philip Carr, Fairway Independent Mortgage
  • Anna Despart, AWCplus
  • Shawn Dias, Nassau Re
  • Anisa Elsawi, Hampton Inn & Suites – Albany/East Greenbush
  • Nicole Gagnon, Mohawk Hudson Humane Society
  • Jessica Guido, Tri-City ValleyCats
  • Steve Lovelett, Mosaic Associates Architects
  • Peter Mueller, Ecovative Design
  • Janae Quackenbush, Healthcare Association of New York State
  • Philip Sopris, Berkshire Bank
  • Tony Spada, Hunter Engineering
  • Chris Stephens, Wojseki & Co.

Beginning in September, the class will meet for monthly professional development sessions with senior-level executives and leaders from some of the most prominent businesses in the region. Due to COVID-19, there will offer a blend of virtual web-based programming, and socially-distant in-person classes. The caliber of the curriculum will remain as high-quality as ever, and an added emphasis will be placed on molding organizational leaders amidst a crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic. The Leadership Institute is sponsored by CDPHP.

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