Leadership Columbia

Leadership Columbia is an annual 6-month program of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce that identifies, cultivates, and motivates future community leaders. This informative and thought-provoking program introduces participants to the opportunities and challenges in our 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.

Over the course of 6 months, Leadership Columbia meets for a full day, every-other-week. In the past, the program typically began with a Retreat in late January and concluded in June with a Graduation banquet.

In 2020, due to safety protocols and social distancing needs in response to COVID-19, the Steering Committee decided to pause the in-person program in March, offer new virtual content, and resume in-person sessions with industry area exploration when feasible. Leadership Columbia strives to provide an in-depth look at our community which includes visits, tours, and hands-on experiences, and the 2020 program will resume when it is possible to offer this experience.

Please watch this website and future Chamber email communications for updates on when applications for the Class of 2021 will become available and the dates the 2021 program will run. You are also welcome to email the program coordinator to be put on a list to receive an email when applications are open.  Please contact Jolyn Sattizahn, Vice President of Community Affairs at [email protected]amber.com or (573) 817-9112.

LC 2018

The application above is provided for reference only; our 2020 application is closed. The application cycle for Leadership Columbia 2021 will be announced in the coming months. Please check back or contact the Chamber with questions. 

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:

Shelter Insurance