Essential FAQ’s

Now serving the Knoxville region for over 30 years, Leadership Knoxville is a 10-month experience that is transformational for both participants and the organizations they lead. Through hands-on experiences, participants fully explore local government, education, economic development and the arts. A skill building program; Leadership Knoxville’s Flagship program offers class members the opportunity to further develop and enhance their personal leadership skills while learning more about the community, its’ history, opportunities and challenges. With the benefit of new perspectives and connections, participants are prepared to serve more effectively in various leadership capacities across the region.

Leaders within the community who seek to expand and further develop their leadership skills, explore different experiences and points of view, and build relationships with others equally committed to making Knoxville the place to live and work.

In addition, the following qualifications must be met at the time of the application deadline:

  • Applicant must be at least 28 years of age
  • Applicant must be a resident of the Greater Knoxville area for at least one continuous year
  • Applicant cannot be a candidate for public office
  • Applicant must be willing and able to commit to the mandatory retreat and the time necessary to complete the program

Participation in the flagship program of Leadership Knoxville offers a unique opportunity to be part of a ten-month experience during which you will develop your skills as a leader and learn more about Knoxville.  In addition, you will have the opportunity to network and form lifetime friendships with a cross section of the Knoxville population.

At the end of the year, most graduates say that their Leadership Knoxville experience has been a “game changer” for them both personally and professionally.  Many say they have learned more about themselves personally and they have enhanced their skill set of leading their respective organizations.  Almost all graduates agree that they have learned something new about their community and they have a greater understanding of servant leadership.  Many come to understand the value of collaborating with diverse partners from across the city to accomplish their goals and a greatly expanded network of professional colleagues to serve as resources in their endeavors.  Many end the year committed to being involved in their communities in even more meaningful ways, including being inspired to engage in public service.

One key component of the Leadership Knoxville experience is the relationships formed and the ability to expand your network across a diverse spectrum of leaders in the community.  Your involvement as an Alumnus offers the opportunity to participate in educational, social, and networking events.  The Alumni Association offers access to special educational, social and networking events, and many other Leadership Knoxville programs.  LK Alumni find that they are part of an ever-expanding network of leaders that they can engage with for both professional and personal benefit for both themselves and their respective sponsoring organizations.

Participation in the Flagship program offers the unique opportunity to meet fellow community leaders, establish connections and expand one’s circle of influence.  The ten month program allows individuals to learn a great deal about themselves and about our community. These experiences provide pathways for participants to have a broader and more profound understanding of Knoxville, a deeper appreciation for civic engagement and an increased awareness of the multiple ways in which they can be effective contributors to the future success of our community. Additionally, participants gain a heightened appreciation of the value of collaboration and servant leadership, while honing their leadership skills.

As a community, we must learn to work as a collective, cohesive body with a holistic understanding of our community’s needs and opportunities.  Companies who invest in developing their leaders stand to grow their foundations to build a strong local network, while deepening their connections to the community they also strengthen the commitment of their own leadership.

Applications are welcome from individuals living or working within the Knoxville region who are committed to civic and community leadership roles.

The flagship program consists of fourteen days of required in-class programming over the course of ten months (August – May).  The schedule includes the following:

  • A full day mandatory Orientation session in August
  • A mandatory, one overnight retreat in August (leave Friday, return Saturday)
  • An overnight stay and trip to Nashville in March (leave Monday morning, return Tuesday evening)
  • Ten full day sessions from September to May

In addition, class members will be asked to participate in occasional programs/activities outside of class and complete a Team Community Project.  Time commitments outside of class include a visit to a school, an optional Ride Along with the City of Knoxville Police Department, and Dinner with the Chancellor at the University of Tennessee.  There is an allowance for a limited number of hours of excused absences for the program year.  Anyone with more than the allowed absences will not graduate from the class, nor receive recognition for participation.

Attendance at the Opening Retreat is mandatory in order to continue participation in the Leadership Knoxville class.  Individuals who arrive late or who are absent from the Opening Retreat will not be allowed to continue participation with the class.  There is an allowance for a limited number of hours of excused absences for the remainder of the year.  Anyone with more than the allowed absences will not graduate from the class, nor receive recognition for participation.

Leadership Knoxville’s class members and alumni include individuals of many cultural traditions.  Every effort is made to take these cultural observances into account when the class schedule is developed; however, this is not possible in every instance.

We encourage you to begin working on your application well before the deadline.  Please use it as an opportunity to reflect on your talents, accomplishments, and goals for our community.  Carefully consider what you hope to gain for yourself and the community as a result of your participation.  Your online application can be saved and updated at any time prior to submission. You should allow for thirty minutes to one hour to complete your online application.

A diverse and anonymous Selection Committee is appointed by the Leadership Knoxville Board of Directors in order to ensure that participants in the Flagship Program represent the diversity of the Knoxville region.

Those who have previously applied and were not selected for the Flagship Program are strongly encouraged to reapply.  Many Leadership Knoxville class alumni were selected to participate after more than one application.  With each class limited to 45-55 participants, it is difficult to select class members from hundreds of applicants.  Previous applicants may reaffirm their interest and update their application by logging into their application online each year prior to the March deadline. Experienced civic and community leaders recognize that a long-term perspective and perseverance are fundamental to success.

Because the Leadership Knoxville Flagship Program is an intensive class for honing leadership skills to work effectively with diverse groups of constituents and in complex leadership environments, the curriculum is most successful when the class composition reflects the talents and diversity of Knoxville.  The Selection Committee selects individuals for each class to reflect the area’s geographic, ethnic, and professional diversity. Leadership Knoxville classes bring together individuals from both the public, private, and non-profit sectors.  In this way, Leadership Knoxville classes bring together individuals from all neighborhoods, interests, backgrounds, and religious sectors.  Therefore, the Selection Committee reviews the whole composition of the class when selecting applicants.

Tuition for the Flagship Program is $3,500.

Selection to Leadership Knoxville’s Flagship Program is made without regard to an applicant’s financial circumstances. To ensure qualified and diverse representation in the Leadership Knoxville offers financial aid for individuals who are representatives or employees of non-profit organizations who demonstrate a need for assistance. Financial aid requests are considered only after the class selection process is complete and will in no way impact consideration of your application. Payment plans are also available for class members who wish to pay tuition over time.

Financial aid requests are to be submitted at the time of application. Requests submitted after the application deadline will not be considered. Before requesting financial aid from Leadership Knoxville, applicants must consider all other potential sources for tuition assistance, such as contributions from their employer and other organizations with which they are associated. After all other potential sources of tuition assistance have been identified; financial aid for up to 50% of the tuition cost may be available.

Many Leadership Knoxville class graduates say participation in the class has given them an incalculable return on their investment in terms of their personal and professional development that will continue to benefit them for years to come.

Applicants will be notified during the months of July-August by a written letter.  Every effort is made to fill each roster in full; so many classes are filled up to the days prior to the Orientation.

When you are notified that you have been selected to participate in the Flagship Program, you will be asked to make a deposit to secure you position in the class.  You will also be notified of any financial assistance awarded on your behalf.  Upon acceptance, please contact the Program Director of the Flagship Program to verify any payment plans and financial assistance.

Talk with Alumni and Board Members about their personal experiences.  If you have more questions, contact the Program Director of the Flagship Program.  Thank you for your interest in Leadership Knoxville.