Leadership Columbia

Leadership Columbia is an annual program of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce which identifies, cultivates and motivates future community leaders. This informative and thought-provoking program introduces participants to the opportunities and challenges in the community while exposing them to the Chamber’s strategic initiatives.

Those selected are required to fully participate in the 14 program activities, including an orientation, retreat, regular sessions, networking with Junior Leadership Columbia, and graduation day. Regular sessions involve a combination of panel discussions, tours, hands-on experience, one-on-one interaction with current community leaders, and leadership building group activities designed to expose participants to all aspects of the topics covered in each session. Each session begins with an hour focused on leadership style and skills development, followed by in-depth exploration of a particular industry area. Industry areas include Education, Healthcare, Media, Social Services, Development & Industry, State Government, Arts & Recreation, Local Government, Life Sciences & Agriculture, and Growth & Economy.

The Leadership Columbia program begins with a Retreat in late January and meets for a full day, every-other-week. The program concludes in June with a closing session and Graduation banquet. Applications are available each year in September and are due back in October. Applications are disbursed via Chamber publications and the website. To be placed on a list to receive an application for the next class when it becomes available, please contact Jolyn Sattizahn, Vice President of Community Affairs at [email protected] or (573) 817-9112.

Our 2020 application is now closed. Check back in Fall 2020 for our Leadership Columbia 2021 application.

Leadership Columbia Presenting Sponsor:


Junior Leadership Columbia

What is Junior Leadership Columbia?

What does it take to be a leader? Leaders possess various traits that make them who they are and they continuously develop those traits. JLC focuses on the following nine characteristic traits:

  • Advocacy
  • Ambition
  • Commitment
  • Courage
  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Integrity
  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Confidence

Each session will focus on one of these traits as it relates to a business or community sector, such as civil service, creativity, media, state government, the entrepreneurial community, and more.Students will also focus on organizational and soft skills such as interviewing, networking, resume development, managing a personal schedule, and professional communication. Sessions are organized by volunteer members of the community and experts from various organizations and institutions.

Commitment is a trait that is key to leadership. Applicants must commit to participate in all JLC activities and all program sessions. We understand that students are active in other extracurricular activities which may cause a session absence. In order to graduate from JLC, a student cannot have more than two excused absences. JLC begins in August and concludes in April. Sessions include:

  • One evening orientation session and six all-day sessions from 7:45 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. during teacher workdays.
  • One morning at the Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Membership Breakfast
  • One evening graduation banquet in April

Eligibility & Selection Process

JLC is open to 30 students from Columbia area public and private high schools who will be juniors in the 2020-2021 school year. Each completed application will be submitted anonymously for review by a selection committee. A select number of applicants will be asked to participate in an interview with members of the selection committee. After being interviewed, the final 30 students will be invited to participate in the program. The selection committee will be looking for students who have demonstrated leadership in the past or have a strong interest in holding leadership roles in their communities, schools and/or vocations. The selection committee will strive to include participants from all segments of the community. These committee members reserve the right to accept or reject any applicant. It is the policy of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce to grant equal opportunity to all qualified persons without regard to race, color, gender, sexual orientation, handicap, sex, religion, creed, national origin, or ancestry.

Payment Information

For the 2020-2021 year, there is no cost to apply for Junior Leadership Columbia. If accepted, there is a $150 participation fee to offset program expenses. The fee must be paid within a month of acceptance. Multiple needs-based scholarships are available. If you intend to apply for a scholarship, click the applicable box noting that you cannot otherwise afford to participate and fill out the income information.

Applications are currently closed. Check back in early 2021 to apply.

Junior Leadership Columbia Presenting Sponsor:

Tiger Scholarship Fund