IMPACT Leadership Development Program
Each year, IMPACT selects a cohort of around 30 African American professionals between the ages of 30-45 years old who hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and have at least seven years of increasingly responsible professional experience. Moreover, successful candidates have a strong, demonstrated track record of civic leadership. Selection to IMPACT is competitive and requires submitting letters of recommendation and engaging in a formal interview process. Prospective fellows are assessed based on personal and professional accomplishments, leadership potential, and commitment to civic engagement.
The intensive, nine-month program begins in September and provides our Fellows with the broad knowledge base, keen insight, and sharpened perspective that will augment their effectiveness as leaders.
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Program Structure and Curriculum
Monthly modules form the “backbone” of the IMPACT Leadership Development Program. The Chicago Urban League, in partnership with University of Chicago Booth School of Business, invites prominent academics,subject matter experts, and industry leaders to impart their knowledge and insights on our Fellows over the course of a day-long session. Learning material is presented in a variety of ways – via lectures, panel discussions, and breakout group reflections, to name a few. Our Fellows grapple with ideas and challenge themselves and each other on an intellectual level, but more than that, they develop a practical understanding of how they are situated in present-day Chicago as emerging African American leaders. Please consult our Class of 2020 Program Schedule to learn more about our modules.
In addition to our monthly modules, which serve as the program’s classroom learning component, Fellows participate in supplementary events and activities each month. These program elements are designed to provide a robust platform for inter-generational exchange and professional networking.
IMPACT hosts a “Lessons in Leadership” speaker series, which features senior leaders from the Chicago area who share their stories of challenges, triumphs, and lessons learned in their careers. These stories capture our Fellows’ imaginations and inspire them to pursue their passions.
Since its launch in 2014, the IMPACT Leadership Development Program has assembled five extraordinary cohorts, each consisting of some of the brightest, most talented African American professionals in Chicago. These high-achieving leaders have gravitated toward IMPACT because of the professional advancement and networking opportunities that the program affords them.
Our cohorts are exceptionally diverse in terms of professional experience, educational background, and personal interests. We strongly believe that this diversity of thought and experience is crucial to our Fellows’ learning and development, and we openly welcome the different viewpoints and perspectives that each of our Fellows brings to the table.
IMPACT Fellows share the Chicago Urban League’s vision that a strong African American community is a better Chicago and are unified in their commitment to affecting positive change as their generation’s most influential leaders. Our hope is that this mutual commitment permeates the very fabric of our communities and inspires long-term social transformation.
IMPACT will begin accepting applications for the 2021 cohort in September 2020. Please check back in September.
James Reynolds, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Loop Capital
“IMPACT is connecting talented emerging leaders with well-established ones. It is a really impressive program…and a critical leadership bridge.”
Kim Foxx, Cook County State’s Attorney
“IMPACT takes its Fellows to the next level. They get world class instruction from the Booth School of Business, hear personal stories from some of our best leaders, and reflect on the most important issues facing Chicago.”
Kurt Summers, Treasurer, City of Chicago
“This nine-month program combines leadership instruction from the University of Chicago, civic training from a variety of community leaders and one-on-one mentoring from respected and admired professionals. The IMPACT program provides significant value that will enhance the Fellows’ professional growth and civic engagement.”
Terry Peterson, Vice President of Corporate and External Affairs, Rush University Medical Center
“IMPACT is an amazing program that provides generational transfer of knowledge from experienced, established leaders to emerging leaders in an intentional, purposeful way. When you combine that with Booth’s training, mentoring and civic instruction… you hit a home run.”
Stephanie Neely, Vice President and Assistant Treasurer, Allstate Insurance Company
“As a former government leader, now serving as an executive at Allstate, I am really impressed by the talent the IMPACT program is attracting. They are building a powerful network of smart, innovative and inspiring African American leaders who will have a positive influence on Chicago today and into the future.”
For more information about IMPACT, contact Robyn Singleton at RSingleton@chiul.org.