This updated program, facilitated by the Leadership Center’s CEO, Karen Coltrane, is designed for the young professional, aged 25-35, looking for a fast track leadership development experience. This program works best for those who believe community engagement and giving back matters. The Leadership Center is looking for aspiring high potentials with a sense of urgency for both career advancement and community impact and want the knowledge, connections and safe place to practice developing skills that move them faster towards meaningful leadership. Ignite Young Professional Program was crafted to expose participants to ideas, organizations and established area leaders that can catapult emerging leaders into situations to create real value and change.


1. Five hours of one-on-one professional coaching
2. Full day workshop on diversity and inclusion – facilitated by a national diversity, inclusion and equity thought leader and jointly held with participants of Leadership Arlington’s Class of 2020
3. Full day regional leadership summit – including high-impact keynote speakers, multiple breakout sessions featuring content experts and connections with 200+ summit attendees
4. A personal Everything DiSC® profile
5. Face-to-face interaction with elected leaders - including attendance at a legislative breakfast event featuring Northern Virginia Senate and House of Delegates representatives and a special facilitated post-event discussion session for the class
6. Education sessions with a curated group of experts in areas including trust building, leadership theory and execution, governance and teamwork and more
7. Exposure to community nonprofit organizations and leaders
8. A team experience making a difference for an area nonprofit
9. An individualized Service Plan for Action with concrete steps for creating more social impact through higher level community involvement
10. Cross-sector relationships with fellow classmates, creating an instant cohort of like-minded peers, as well access to the Leadership Center’s 1,500 area alumni, including face-to-face, one-on-one interaction with a member of the Center’s Board of Regents

In order to help prospective applicants gain an understanding of Leadership Arlington and to answer questions applicants might have, Leadership Center for Excellence holds informational sessions. The sessions include conversations with LCE members and a short presentation. We encourage you to attend as our guest!

See our 2020-21 schedule

Apply to be a part of our Class of 2021!

"My expectations after my acceptance to the Spring 2014 Young Professionals Program class were to sharpen some professional skills, learn about the new community to which I had recently moved and make a few contacts along the way. The program exceeded those expectations and more!"

Dan Imhoff, BB&T, Spring Class of 2014 Participant

"I’ve been pleased to witness the transformation of my team members who have completed the Leadership Center’s Young Professionals Program. Their confidence, collaborative spirit and broader consulting skills have developed significantly as a result of the program. Though we always pride ourselves on hiring the best at every level, the Young Professionals Program catapults these rising stars forward at a significantly greater pace."

Zach Wahl, Enterprise Knowledge, Employer of Participant

"Leadership is the key to success for businesses and communities. I can think of no better preparation for future leaders in this area than the Young Professionals Program."

Todd Yeatts, Boeing, Employer of Participant


Class Members Selected Each Year


Days of Experiential Learning


Cost of Tuition (Partial Scholarship Available)


Graduates of Our Programs


Regional Organizations in Our Membership


Member Volunteer Hours Contributed Annually

How do YOU benefit?

  • Learn leadership from those who practice it every day across the region
  • Develop experience and relationships that pay dividends personally and professionally
  • Experience exclusive leadership development training from the Center and its faculty
  • Be recognized as a rising leader with the demonstrated ability to take on challenges and serve the community beyond your ability today

How does YOUR ORGANIZATION benefit?

  • Better skilled employees, regardless of organization’s size
  • Deeper community connections for high potential employees that keep them more tied to the region
  • Enhancement of employment brand as an organization dedicated to growing the next generation of committed community leaders

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the age range of the Young Professionals Program?

To apply for the Young Professionals Program, candidates must be between 25-35 years old. The Young Professionals Program is the ideal program for the high-potential leader in the community region who endeavors to:

  • Develop essential leadership skills for effective personal, professional and community leadership
  • Engage with a network of dynamic civic and philanthropic leaders from the Greater DC region
  • Invest in oneself, one’s organization and the region

Some of our participants are professionals who have been in the workforce for close to ten years, but have not had the opportunity to engage in the community at a deeper level. Others may be in their first or second job and are looking to gain valuable skills for the workplace. If you have questions about which program is best for you, please contact Liz Nohra, Chief of External Relations, at lnohra@leadercenter.org or 703-528-2522.

Do I have to live in Arlington?

No. The Young Professionals Program is a regional initiative of Leadership Center for Excellence. There are no geographical barriers to joining the program, and it is open to all qualified individuals in the DC Metropolitan region. All lessons learned are tailored to be applied to the community you live or work in now or in the future.

How will the program help me become more involved in the community?

Our program is your launch pad to community involvement. Not only will you develop friendships with those in your class, but also experience the opportunities offered through Leadership Center for Excellence. Attend Leadership Center for Excellence events and join our network of 1,500+ alumni who represent over 600 organizations. Additionally, during the course of the program, you meet key decision makers, public and elected officials as well as other leaders from the community who become a resource to you on your leadership journey. Whether you seek to understand and embrace your civic responsibilities or look to become more philanthropically engaged with area nonprofits as a volunteer, you will discover new ways to share your time and talents as you expand your leadership footprint.

What are the time demands?

Offered once annually, the program runs for eight months, starting in October and concluding in May. Class sessions are held once monthly, usually on Wednesdays. We encourage our participants to take their learnings outside of class to be involved in their community and consider attending Leadership Center for Excellence events where they will have opportunities to network with other members. Click here to view the Class of 2020 Program Calendar.

Can I miss any of the class sessions?

All participants are expected to commit the time necessary to complete the program. Participants are expected to attend all sessions, including the opening retreat, which is mandatory. No more than two excused absences are permitted (including emergency or serious illness). Any participant who misses the opening retreat or more than two monthly sessions will not be permitted to graduate with their class. Arriving late or leaving early from a session counts as a half-absence.

What happens during the class sessions?

Sessions focus on both community engagement and skill-building. You’ll participate in hands-on, experimental learning while engaging in dialogue with leaders from our community. All Wednesday program days include lunch and snacks throughout. Sessions held in conjunction with Leadership Arlington and the Leadership Summit include breakfast, snacks and lunch.

Is there any flexibility on the tuition payment schedule?

Tuition for the Young Professionals Program is $2,950. It is our hope that finances will not be a barrier to participation. Candidates interested in applying for financial assistance should submit a one-page document with the amount requested and the rationale for the request. These scholarship requests should be submitted along with your application to apps@leadercenter.org. Additionally, payment plans are available upon request by contacting Liz Nohra, Chief of External Relations, at lnohra@leadercenter.org or 703-528-2522.

What happens after graduation?

After graduation, you will have the opportunity to remain engaged with the Leadership Center for Excellence in a variety of ways. You may participate in volunteer committees within the organization which allow you to continue increasing your professional and personal network as our committees are manned by alumni of our Leadership Arlington program and Young Professionals Program.

You will also find that there will be multiple opportunities for you to engage in activities that are geared directly to graduates of all of the Young Professionals Program classes such as class reunions and community volunteer engagements. Additionally, alumni-only events allow for relationship-building among the diverse group of leaders within our LCE network. Several of Leadership Center for Excellence’s ticketed events offer a reduced discount for alumni. Finally, you’ll have access to Leadership Center for Excellence’s password protected alumni directory, providing you even more access to some of our region’s most dynamic leaders.

Thank You to Our Program Sponsors

Ellen Bozman
Fred Schnider