Experience our region like never before.

In operation since 1987, The Chamber’s Leadership Program prepares promising leaders for positions of responsibility by acquainting them with significant community processes and pressing issues. Participants will engage in discussions with established leaders, go behind-the-scenes at the region’s key institutions, build their leadership skills, create a lasting network of contacts, and give back to the community with a meaningful group project.

Goals and Objectives

The program’s goal is to prepare future community leaders for positions of responsibility by

  • Acquainting them with significant community processes, programs, and problems.
  • Teaching them about involvement opportunities, special challenges, and demands using forums with current leaders.
  • Improving understanding of various economic, social and political forces impacting the community.
  • Providing a network of new community talent for service on public and private commissions, agencies, organizations, and associations.
  • Providing leadership skill-building, including teamwork, communication, decision-making, and more
  • Creating an opportunity to enact newly-learned skills and knowledge through a comprehensive community service project for a local non-profit


Program Qualifications

  • A sincere concern about the future of our state and commitment to help shape its future.
  • Commitment through past and present community involvement.
  • A demonstrated capacity for leadership within the individual’s own organization.
  • A willingness to commit the energy necessary to complete the program (two years), including monthly attendance at all sessions.
  • Employed for more than 6 months by current employer

Selection Process

Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee consisting of members of the Leadership Board of Directors, which is comprised of various Leadership graduates.


Employees, companies, government, and professionals anxious to grow and become more effective.

Due to the maximum class size and the scope of our membership, companies may want to consider no more than 2 of their employees applying for the same cohort.


Class of 2025: $1,125 (usually paid by employer).
Tuition is non-refundable.

Pillars of Community Scholarship – generously supported by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT Regional Benefactors
A partial scholarships are available for:

  • applicant employed by a small business (under 15 full-time employees)
  • application employed by a non-profit, not-for-profit, or municipality
  • underrepresented ethnic minority applicant
  • underrepresented sexual & gender minority (LGBTQIA) applicant

To apply you must submit a formal letter of request with your application. See more information about the application process below.


The program requires attendance one day per month starting in September and ending in June. Each meeting is held at a location appropriate to the topic of the session so that participants gain a broader view of the community. Business, private and public organizations act as hosts for each program. Typical of the year-long session topics are the following:

  • Orientation
  • Health & Human Services
  • Economic Development
  • Education
  • Judiciary
  • Military
  • Media
  • Government
  • Tourism, Arts & Transportation
  • Retreat
  • Graduation

Participants are expected to attend all sessions. Only two absences will be permitted for emergency purposes. If candidates are unable to commit to the program schedule, it is not in their best interest to apply at this time. Upon completion of the first year, participants will be assigned to various planning committees (minimum of two) for the sessions of the following Leadership Program year. A participant is expected to attend all planning committee meetings with their respective committees, as well as attend the sessions they assisted in planning.


Each session is planned by a sub-committee of Alumni. The sessions provide participants with a sense of issues germane to the topic. Participants are introduced to the key leaders in each discipline, conducted through a series of discussions, lectures, group discussions and tours. In each session dialogue is established among members of the class. Leadership skills are challenged in a variety of simulation exercises. Finally, participants are asked for regular evaluations so that continuous refinements can be made in the program.

Organizational Structure

The Leadership Program is administered through the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, Inc. The Leadership Board of Directors governs program structure, budget, fees and candidate selection.


The Alumni provide the direction and support that provides the Leadership Program with a solid, lasting foundation. The Alumni also encourage periodic additional lectures and other updates to keep our graduates in touch with each other and up-to-date with the latest information.

Application Requirements

You will need to answer questions related to the following:

  • Personal information and demographics
  • Current Employer
  • Education
  • Community Involvement

You will need to answer the following questions:

  • How would you describe your leadership style?
  • What do you feel is a strength of yours? What do you feel is a weakness that you wish to improve?
  • What are your areas of particular interest for leadership involvement?
  • Identify and discuss a particular issue, opportunity, or problem crucial to the Eastern CT Community.
  • What do you hope to gain, and how do you expect to utilize your Leadership Program experience.

If you are applying for the Pillars of Community Scholarship you will be able to upload a formal letter of request. In your letter be sure include:

  • How Leadership ECT would benefit you and your organization
  • Any personal community involvement not already outlined in your application
  • Whether your participation is contingent on receiving the scholarship

Interested in Leadership?

Sign up to be the first notified when we open the next class’s application.

Staff contact:
Shöna Nilsson