About Us

LGS was founded in 1990 as a partnership between the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, Onondaga Community College and Centerstate CEO. As an independent non-profit organization, it’s mission is to inspire current and future leaders to make a difference in the community where we live and work. The first class of LGS graduated in 1991.

Just like thousands of similar programs throughout the U.S., Leadership Greater Syracuse is where personal development and professional connections serve the greater good.

The Program

LGS offers a one-year, tuition based civic engagement program that informs and enriches participants — whom upon graduation– take a more active and higher level role in the community and in the work place.

Participants in LGS meet the key decision makers across Onondaga County where they have the opportunity to learn about the challenges and achievements of our community.

No two class years are ever the same. The “Apprentice” style format means that each class day is customized by the interests of the participants.

Civic Engagement

The common thread of LGS graduates is their passion for Central New York. With their training from LGS, graduates are making a significant impact in the community. Many serve on non-profit boards, school boards and hold elected offices such as county clerk, village mayor and family court judge. They are volunteering at a higher level of servant leadership. LGS graduates represent their employers in the community and as such, their organization enjoys an enhanced reputation by being viewed as an exemplary corporate citizen. Further, individuals who make a commitment to being involved and engaged in their community beyond work and home are more easily retained by their employers. Leadership Greater Syracuse helps to keep top talent in the region!

790 of our 1,266 graduates still call CNY home. And . . .  754 boards and offices have been held by our graduates.

Business Development

One of the greatest benefits of LGS is the opportunity to be connected to a cross section of key decision makers in CNY including the LGS graduate population of nearly 1,000. No other opportunity exists in CNY to create such broad and diverse cross section of relationships.

Personal Development

The life-long skills acquired through LGS include significant personal and professional growth including the enhancement and development of personal leadership style. Just as important, Leadership Greater Syracuse teaches how to recognize and work with people with differing leadership styles.  These skills have propelled our graduates into key decision-making roles in the community and in their workplace.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should apply?

Anyone who is interested in making a difference in the community or at work should apply to LGS. Whether you are new in your career, looking to advance your career, or are trying to figure out what to do in retirement, you will be inspired by the LGS experience.

How is LGS different than other leadership skills training programs?

Leadership Greater Syracuse makes our community’s best people even better!  LGS is not a traditional leadership skills training program. At the opening retreat, class members express their areas of interest and then volunteer to be on ‘design teams’ or sub committees to create the agendas of the themed topic days. Challenges in this “Apprentice” style format include working with people of differing perspectives, working with complex topics with limited class time, and working with a limited budget. It is in these design teams that participants improve their project management skills such as listening, compromising and budgeting. Themed topic days include: Economic Development Day, Education Day, Envisioning the Future Day, Discover CNY Day, Health and Human Services and Boardsmanship Day, Leadership Skills Day, Embracing and Celebrating Diversity Day, Community Service Day and finally Commit to Lead Day.

So what does “Leadership” mean in the Leadership Greater Syracuse title?

The life-long skills acquired through LGS can be applied at home, at work and in the community. Participants enhance their own leadership style and become aware of the leadership styles of others. Graduates of LGS are far more valuable to their companies and to the organizations in which they volunteer. They become better listeners, better collaborators and better communicators. Simply stated, they develop the courage to lead change.

LGS is one of 2,000 similar organizations throughout the country who train individuals to take on and solve important community issues!

How much time is required to participate in LGS?

The program runs January through November. The opening retreat in January is a two day, overnight experience. The 10 class days are from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and take place on Wednesdays once a month – February through November. The schedule is provided at the time of application.  Beyond the class days, each class member is required to participate on two ‘design teams’ which takes approximately 6 additional hours per design team or 12 additional hours outside of class days. There is no homework and there are no weekend requirements.  In order to graduate from LGS, only 16 hours of missed class time is allowed.

How do I apply?

Because there is more interest than available space, LGS is selective. In order to create the best experience for each class, it is important that the class be as diverse as possible. LGS is looking for people representing all business sectors, for profit, non-profit and government; people with volunteer experience or no volunteer experience; both genders; all ages; all ethnicities and physical abilities. Anyone interested in the program can apply at this web site. The deadline for application is right after Labor Day each year (please click on the ‘apply’ button at the top of this page for exact deadline). Every applicant is interviewed by LGS alumni. Selection and notification of approximately 50 people is made in November.

How much does it cost?

Tuition is $3,750. There is a $200 discount if tuition is paid in full by the end of the acceptance year. Tuition includes an overnight retreat, 10 class days and a graduation ceremony for friends and family. Along with class materials, lunch, beverages and snacks are provided on each class day. Partial scholarships are available and are typically reserved for those representing a non-profit organization.

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