News & Events


Leadership Columbus Expands to High School Leaders

Thursday 30th September 2021

Leadership Columbus acquires Central Ohio Leadership Academy (COLA), a premier high school leadership program to again expand their leadership development programming in the community.
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Leadership Columbus Announces Acquirement of Relā programs, NxGen and ExecGen

Wednesday 15th September 2021

Expanded programming will offer a comprehensive continuum to meet the needs of current and aspiring leaders in addition to senior level executives
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Karen Hewitt named Associate Director of Leadership Columbus

Thursday 17th June 2021

Leadership Columbus is excited to announce that Karen Hewitt, M.Ed. has been selected to serve as the organization’s Associate Director!
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Shannon Lee Named Executive Director of Leadership Columbus; Robbie Banks promoted to Associate Director

Tuesday 9th February 2021

Strong Foundation Carries Organization into the Future
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Applications for the Signature Program Class of 2022 Now Available

Tuesday 5th January 2021

Are you ready to take the next step in your leadership journey? Leadership Columbus is now accepting applications for the Signature Program Class of 2022.
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Join us for the 2020 Virtual Alumni Reunion

Thursday 17th December 2020

Registration is now live and the competition for the Best Class, Ever! Award has begun!
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Leadership Columbus Launches Nonprofit Board Governance Training

Tuesday 20th October 2020

Leadership Columbus is excited to announce the rollout of its Nonprofit Board Governance Training!
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Announcing the Class of 2021

Thursday 24th September 2020

The Signature Program Class of 2021 has begun its program year!
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Accepting Community Impact Project Proposals from Nonprofits

Thursday 20th August 2020

We're accepting Community Impact Project proposals from local nonprofits until Oct. 9.
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Support Future Leaders During The Big Give 2020

Wednesday 10th June 2020

Donate to Leadership Columbus through The Big Give, June 10-11
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Interim Executive Director Announcement

Friday 5th June 2020

A Message from the Leadership Columbus Board of Trustees Chair
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Organizational Announcement

Thursday 21st May 2020

A Message from the Leadership Columbus Board of Trustees Chair
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Great Leaders | Great Bosses Workshop Series

Tuesday 28th January 2020

Continuing education for alumni and friends
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2019 Best Party, Ever!

Thursday 24th October 2019

Join us for our annual alumni reunion and fundraiser!
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Summer 2019 Newsletter

Tuesday 16th July 2019

LC Summer 2019 Newsletter
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Leadership Columbus honored as a Diverse Business Organization for the Columbus Business First Diversity in Business Awards (August 9, 2018)

Outstanding Diverse Organizations actively seek to create a diverse workforce and champion the business case for diversity within the community and their industries. Nonprofit or for-profit, they believe that a diverse workforce makes for better business.

These eight honoree organizations shined in the third year of Columbus Business First’s annual Diversity in Business awards program, which recognizes excellence in encouraging diversity in age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, race and religion at local workplaces across a wide range of industries.

Those below were selected by a group of outside judges recruited by Business First, from a pool of applications submitted by nominated people and companies. The awards program was held Wednesday.

They answered three questions about their diversity efforts.

Leadership Columbus

Top officer:
Laurie Stein Marsh, executive director

The mission of Leadership Columbus is to develop, inspire and connect diverse leaders to serve as catalysts in building a strong and vibrant community for all.




“True to the spirit of its mission, Leadership Columbus recognizes that in an increasingly diverse community, we are stronger when our leadership reflects this diversity and includes varied perspectives and approaches. Ranked 5th in the country among leadership programs, the mission of Leadership Columbus is to develop, connect and inspire diverse leaders who serve as catalysts in building a strong and vibrant community. The program is a unique combination of relationship building, learning, problem solving, civic engagement and personal growth.” – Nominator comment

What are some steps you have taken to increase diversity in your organization? 1. Priority to select a class of participants for the Signature Program each year that reflects the diversity of our entire community, thereby encouraging and empowering participants to learn from each other’s experiences in conjunction with a professionally facilitated and expertly crafted curriculum. 2. Commitment to a curriculum that never shies away from critical and sensitive conversations that lead to “teachable moments” about differences and commonalities among our participants. 3. Emphasis on the “Community Impact Project” that teaches critical team building skills while addressing and enhancing the work of local nonprofits that seek leaders to assist them in their efforts. 4. Determination and vigilance in recruitment of diverse leadership for the Leadership Columbus Board of Trustees that helps inform policy and strategic direction of the organization – thereby assuring we are “walking the talk” of inclusion of all in our work with the community. 5. Hiring and nurturing an internal staff that reflects diversity in all its forms (covert and overt), and recruiting volunteers from our vast alumni pool, which also represents the diversity of our graduates. 6. Establishing a Hall of Fame that honors stellar graduates and demonstrates successful and inspiring leadership by alumni from all walks of life.

How have younger workers’ attitudes and expectations about diversity changed your organization? Our younger generation of workers (both on staff and interns) have much to teach us about changing cultural norms and attitudes. Until recently, our three-person staff had a representative from three different generations. It was extraordinary to witness and learn from the experiences of each staff member and recognize that while differences existed that formed our individual perspectives, we could find common ground. Sometimes we would “agree to disagree” but most of the time, our conversations led to a compromise wherein the result was far more successful because of our expansive conversation and contributions of disparate mindsets. We have all learned to listen and share our experiences so we can succeed together. The older among us can say, “I’ve been there before, and this is what I learned,” while our younger employees offer ideas that lead to more innovative approaches and faster growth opportunities. We have learned as a board and staff that working together is essential to individual and organizational success.

How would you grade diversity efforts in Central Ohio? I would grade diversity efforts in Columbus as B-. I believe there is progress in many areas but an impediment to progress is a lack of urgency and total understanding of how our differences affect people who are not in our immediate surroundings every day. Many leaders and employers honestly believe they are incorporating diversity into their workplace and community decisions, but it has to be a conscious and ever-present priority – not just a box to check off – completed!

One of the reasons that Leadership Columbus is so successful is because we base our curriculum on experiential learning using many simulations and role playing scenarios to help our participants really feel the issues in their gut. Simply put, the foundation of our educational philosophy is directly related to the famous Confucius quote: “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” The magic of Leadership Columbus is that it provides an environment for leaders to evolve from “cognitive purpose,” which motivates them to do the right thing, and transforms them to the “passionate purpose.” We encourage the heart. It is this passion that defines our most determined and dedicated community trustees.