Created in 1980 by the Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Columbus identifies leaders and volunteers to help guide the community through this decade and beyond. The program exposes highly-talented and highly-motivated leaders to economic, governmental and socio-cultural community issues with the intent of involvement, future direction, and ultimately, solutions.

Leadership Columbus participants will enhance their leadership skills and gain an awareness of the community through a series of one-day sessions starting in September and ending in June. Topics covered include education, healthcare, city government, utilities, transportation, military, public safety, quality of life, and economic development. Information is presented through lectures, panel discussions, hands-on activities, tours, site visits and informal question and answer sessions.

Each year, up to 30 people are selected from the Columbus region with emphasis placed on diversity of race, gender and backgrounds. They all have one thing in common: a demonstrated talent and commitment to community leadership. Class members must exhibit the ability and willingness to be involved in the learning process and must make a firm commitment to attend each session of the program.  Participants will commit to at least two years of volunteer service after completion of the program, which may include service on a Chamber committee, commission, leadership program or board within the city/community/region.

Candidates must be nominated for the program by a firm, organization or individual. Once an candidate is nominated, a detailed application is required. All applicants are reviewed by a selection committee in early-August and final participants are selected from all applicants. All candidates must receive prior approval from their employer/supervisor, if applicable. Supervisors must be aware that the class member will be involved with the program for approximately 140 hours over the ten-month period.

Leadership Columbus will require one day each month from September through June. The time commitment involves:

  • Ten one day monthly sessions ( 9 hours per day)
  • Eight (8) hours of volunteer time during the nine month period.
  • One night to ride with a police officer on patrol or shift at the jail. ( min. 4 hours)
  • Attendance at an art event (Springer, RiverCenter, – save ticket stub. ( 3 hrs.)
  • Two ( 2) hours to attend a Board of Education meeting.(Have agenda signed by MCSD Board member)
  • Two (2) hours to attend a City Council Meeting
  • Two (2) hours on a Metra Bus Ride
  • Project assignment (estimated 24 hours over an 9 month period)
  • Welcome Reception and Completion programs
  • Attend one Chamber Board Meeting during the year


One of the benefits of the Leadership Columbus program is the network that is created. The alumni have a mutual respect for the experience and are committed to working with other Leadership Columbus graduates to improve our community. Graduates of the program are encouraged to participate in the next year’s Leadership Columbus class days as a day chair or committee member and also seek out opportunities to serve on volunteer boards and commissions that serve the public.

A Leadership Columbus application can be completed online here. The deadline for Leadership Columbus applications is June 30th, 2024.