LA Program Information

2016 - 2017 LA 35 Program Dates

**September 14, 2016 - Orientation - Mandatory Attendance
**September 29 - October 1, 2016 - Retreat - Mandatory Attendance
October 19, 2016
November 16, 2016
December 14, 2016
January 11, 2017
February 15, 2017
March 15, 2017
April 5, 2017
April 26, 2017
May 10, 2017 - Make-Up Day
**May 24, 2017 - Graduation - Mandatory Attendance

** Mandatory Attendance

Candidate Qualifications

Approximately 50 participants are chosen from the pool of applicants to create a diverse class with respect to several factors, including occupation, leadership experience, ethnicity, gender, age, geography, cultural perspective, and time in the community. 

Applicants must meet the minimum qualifications:

  • At least mid-to late 20s with work experience
  • Cannot be a candidate for public office at the time of application
  • Willing and able to commit the time and resources to fully participate in the program
  • Reside, work, or have demonstrated a commitment to Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, or Madison counties
  • Upon graduating, willing and able to volunteer 20 hours of service to leadership Asheville, or the UNC Asheville programs over the span of 2 years

LA seeks individuals who are:

  • Passionate about strengthening community and civic awareness, commitment, and involvement
  • Generally curious and articulate
  • Interested in their community and committed to making a difference
  • Open-minded
  • Willing to take risks
  • Clearly able to work collaboratively with people from diverse backgrounds
  • Prepared to mobilize other community members
  • Motivated and interested in new learning, self-discovery, community exposure, and networking
  • Ready to use their LA Program experience in serving the community

In order to complete the LA 35 Program, participants are required to:

  • Attend an orientation session on September 14 (mandatory attendance)
  • Attend a two-day, two-night opening retreat from September 29th- October 1st (mandatory attendance)
  • Attend a full-day program once a month, from October to April
  • Attend a full-day graduation on May 24th (mandatory attendance)
  • Engage in pre- and post-class reflections, exercises, and reading assignments
  • Participate in and contribute to a small team project and other activities that may take at least 20 additional hours outside of scheduled meeting times

Program Expectations

Attendance Policy

  • Participants are expected to attend every program day.  Absences affect the cohesion of the class and diminish everyone’s learning.  The full commitment of each class member is critical to the success of the program. Attendance is mandatory for orientation, the overnight retreat, and graduation.  There are also attendance requirements for the remaining program days, allowing participants up to 8 hours of excused absence for unexpected emergencies.  Missing between 8 and 16 hours of class meeting time will require a participant to attend an appropriate number of meetings or events the following year in order to officially graduate.  If a participant misses more than 16 hours, he or she will be asked to withdraw from the program and forfeit tuition.

Other Commitments

  • Participants contribute time and effort to a team project and participate in additional activities outside the monthly program days to enrich and complete the experience.  The schedule and time commitment outside of class time requires at least 20 hours over the 9-month period.


Participants must bring an open mind, a commitment to community service, and a willingness to listen to and seek to understand other perspectives.  Participants are asked to contribute to discussions as well as give others an opportunity to contribute.  The LA Program is a unique experience; many graduates emphasize that “you get out of it what you put into it.”  Participants should be ready to engage fully, build trust with classmates, and embrace new experiences/perspectives.


Graduation Policy

Ultimately, Leadership Asheville reserves the right to make graduation decisions contingent upon a participant’s fulfilling all program requirements.  This includes, but is not limited to, attendance, team project assignments, readings, exercises, and out-of class activities.


After completing the program, graduates are expected to volunteer for 20 hours of service to the Leadership Asheville organization over the course of 2 years.


The tuition is two-tiered. For companies and organizations with 25 or more full and part-time employees, the tuition is $2,800. In order to maintain the desired diversity in the class make-up, we do offer a discounted tuition of $2,500 for small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals who are employed in organizations with fewer than 25 full and part-time employees.  With over 140 hours of time invested in the Program, this amounts to a cost of approximately $20 per training hour.

Employee Sponsorships

All applicants are eligible regardless of their own, or their employers,’ abilities to financially support their participation.  Program participant sponsors are expected to support their employees to the best of their ability by giving them time to participate and contributing to tuition.  For-profit, private sector sponsors are encouraged to contribute additional funds to provide financial assistance to those participants who are employed by small nonprofit organizations, public sector entities, or self-employed.

Internal Process

Some corporations/organizations have an internal application process for selecting applicants from their organizations.  Applicants should check with their employers before submitting an application.

Financial Assistance

Assistance may be available on a limited basis.  Those seeking financial assistance should complete the Financial Assistance Request Form.  Requests are confidential and have no bearing on the selection process. Assistance will not be granted for the entire tuition amount under any circumstance.  The average amount of financial assistance is $750.  Award amounts are based on need, the number of requests received, and the available funds.

Priority for financial assistance is given to participants who are employed by small nonprofit organizations, public sector entities, or are self-employed.  Participants employed by large, private-sector companies are not eligible for assistance.

LA Candidate Nomination

The 36th year of the Leadership Asheville program will begin this fall and the new class will be announced soon. If you are you a proud LA Graduate and know a friend, colleague, or employee who would benefit from the program - Nominate them for the Leadership Asheville program today!