What is Boone County Emerging Leaders Academy

History of the Emerging Leaders

In 2015, the Boone County Development Agency (BCDA), wanted to spearhead and revamp the county young professionals’ group, which was then known as the Boone County Young Leaders. With a new BCDA Executive Director, Michelle Olson, in place, she was tasked with taking over the existing group as Chairman. A committee was put into place and under new leadership the group underwent a brand change, becoming the Boone County Emerging Leaders, and a strategic plan was put into place in order to secure funding to elevate the group to the next level. 

In one year, the Emerging Leaders group roster grew to over 120 young leaders across the county that expressed interest in the mission of the group and being involved. For the next two years, the Emerging Leaders Committee planned four annual events that were open to the full roster to attend. The four events focused on the different pillars of leadership development. The Emerging Leaders Committee also played a large role in the planning and execution of the annual Business and Industry Day event hosted in partnership with BCDA and area sponsors.

How the Emerging Leaders Academy Came to Be

In 2020, the events came to a halt due to Covid. This was a perfect opportunity to re-evaluate the success of the group and discuss any necessary changes. It was decided that although the Emerging Leaders events were well attended, there was still room for improvement in accomplishing the overall goal and purpose of the group, which was to bridge the next generation of community leaders to help ensure the future of Boone County organizations. 

During this period of time, the Boone County Foundation Fund (BCF) was also discussing the need to invest in the future leaders of Boone County. Together, BCDA and BCF discussed and came to the agreement that offering high-quality leadership development training to young leaders in our communities was an investment worth making. This is when the Emerging Leaders Academy was born, with Michelle Olson and Brandi Yosten serving as the Academy Coordinators to bring the vision to life, recruit participants, and track the outcome of the program. 

The two worked to identify Curriculum Leaders, Molly Brummond and Curt Coffman, who had the necessary experience to make the Academy a high-quality and highly impactful experience for those that participate by offering professional curriculum and assessment tools.

Emerging Leaders Academy Success

The Academy has since had two successful groups participate and graduate from the program. Both groups accomplished a group project that left an impact on Boone County and also provided them the experience of working together with their peers to identify a county need, put together a plan of action, and carry out that plan. An experience that they can then practice as they move forward on their own and get involved in new leadership roles and with local community groups.

Why BCDA Spearheaded This Initiative

Investing in the future leaders of Boone County is not a traditional Economic Development initiative, however; it takes progressive thinking to set our county apart from the rest. Many of the local groups throughout the county work to put on events and programs that contribute to the quality of life that we all enjoy in Boone County. This investment helps ensure that these efforts can continue and assist these community groups, non-profits, and local government boards, to continue operating with new volunteers and leaders that are qualified to serve in the various leadership roles that need to be filled now and well into the future. Local employers are also seeing the importance of investing in their employees by sponsoring their participation fee to be part of the Academy. 

With the positive momentum going, a 2023 Academy Class will be offered. As more classes complete the program, a resource is being created that includes participant profiles outlining their passion points, current involvements, availability, and strengths. This resource will continue to grow and can be utilized by our local groups when trying to identify new leadership for their organizations and/or boards and to fill volunteer needs. This resource will also include information about local organizations, boards, and clubs that people can get involved with, that can be utilized by new people in the area, and/or people looking to get involved.

Check out the Emerging Leaders Academy page to learn more.