Leadership Anchorage is pleased to announce plans to launch LA 17 – the seventeenth cohort of learning for distinguished Alaska leaders. Leadership Anchorage is the premier leadership development program for established and promising Alaskan leaders seeking to expand their impact in the community. We recruit a diverse cadre of leaders with a range of experiences. The focus is to deepen leadership capacity in individuals by learning through the lens of humanities, diverse group experiences and personal reflection; all in the context of the dynamic issues leaders of Alaska currently face.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Leadership Anchorage?
Leadership Anchorage strives to provide a "full experience" in leadership training development. Diverse participants build a network of peers, are nurtured through a mentor relationship that often continues beyond the program, prepare and implement a community service project and apply their leadership training throughout the program. Participants emerge from the program prepared to advance in and fill new leadership roles, fueled by the desire to tackle a diverse array of community problems and challenges. The program seeks to ensure that the leadership of our city represents all of its citizens.
Leadership Anchorage is designed to introduce leaders across a range of experiences- from establishing to "emerging/promising leaders" in all sectors of our community, including business, government, non-profit, neighborhood, and ethnic organizations. We build a community of accomplished professionals and civic leaders in Anchorage and Alaska. Our goal is to make sure these leadership voices are heard and are at the table in the mix of city and statewide decision-making.
Consequently, group diversity is essential. Individuals proceed through ten rigorous, full-day sessions of interviews, speaker presentations, readings and group activities designed to facilitate the development of critical leadership skill sets. The keystones of the program include: one-on-one mentoring with an individual jointly selected by participants and the program leader, a group project fulfilling an expressed need in the community, and a series of readings and exercises that bring the humanities to life. When a Leadership Anchorage class graduates, the community is enriched with individuals who know how to get things done, know how to operate in a diverse world, and think carefully about the ethical and personal demands of leadership.
What's the program's history?
Leadership Anchorage started in 1997 as a program of the Pew Partnership for Civic Change. Pew started ten Leadership Name-of-City programs that year. After two years, the Pew funding ended, but Leadership Anchorage had enough local support and interest to develop the financial base to continue.
Why was Leadership Anchorage created?
Several individuals and organizations perceived that Anchorage needed more representatives of its diverse populations at the table, for their voices to be heard. Non-profit boards of directors as well as Municipal boards, and commissions were lacking representation by significant portions of the community. By exposing these individuals to other arenas, it was hoped two things could happen: Anchorage would gain their voices, and their communities would receive the exposure to operate more effectively on a city-wide level.
What is meant by participant diversity?
Participants have included representatives of a variety of Anchorage's ethnic communities, a wide range of ages from 24 on up, individuals who were blind or deaf, and recent immigrants. Employed by public, private, small business and non-profit sectors, individuals come from every political party and interest.
What's the program's format?
Leadership Anchorage consists of an initial two-day retreat and nine full-day sessions. Click here to view the Leadership Anchorage Training Schedule. In addition to the sessions, participants spend approximately 100 hours outside of class on their group projects, meetings with mentors, and preparations/readings for the class.
What is the cost?
The cost to an individual is $1,800. Many participants can usually arrange sponsorship by their employer, their Native corporation, or another group. The Alaska Humanities Forum does provide some scholarship assistance. As a rule, however, participants are expected to provide all or some portion of the fee as a demonstration of their vested commitment.
Wh0 is an established or emerging leader?
Established and emerging leaders are individuals who have demonstrated their leadership skills in some manner, have demonstrated thier commitment to their community, usually in one arena. What Leadership Anchorage provides is the exposure to the organization to accomplished professionals and civic leaders in Anchorage and Alaska, providing the opportunity to expand the reach of their effectiveness through these additional networks and ideas. By bringing together individuals from many different arenas, Leadership Anchorage bridges a variety of sectors, provides a larger community overview, and enables mutual collaboration to get things done.
What do participants gain?
Leadership Anchorage provides opportunity for development in four core areas:
- Interaction with established leaders in the context of leadership and current civic concerns
- Engagement in a diverse working environment with colleagues from many differing backgrounds
- Personal development of leadership capabilities applied to real world issues
- Reading and in-depth discussion in the humanities to complement contemporary leadership challenges
Past participants also note they have gained access to tremendous networks of information and resources, and have made valuable professional and personal contacts across the community and state as a result of their completion of the program.
What are key elements of the program?
- Mentors: Each participant has the opportunity to select a mentor. This mentor will meet with them on a regular basis, guiding them in meeting their goals for leadership development and community contribution.
- Community Service Group Project: Each participant will work within a smaller group to complete a project designed to address a community need by the end of the class.
- Presentations by Leaders: In a collegial environment, participants spend time with established leaders, engaging in dialogue about leadership development as well as various timely issues.
- Community Leadership Skills: Leadership Anchorage endeavors to provide an environment where skill sets are developed and connections made to improve an individual's ability to advance as an authentic and effective leader while giving back to the community and/or his or her constituencies.
Where do the Community Service Group Projects come from?
Projects are solicited from the Community, and often come from non-profit organizations and semi-governmental entities. Community Service Project Sponsors are asked if they have any projects that would benefit from the expertise and talent of a group from Leadership Anchorage. The intent is to fulfill a specific and existing community need with the group projects. At one of the Leadership Anchorage sessions, presentations are made for each project proposal and individuals select the one they want to work on.
What are the requirements of the program?
The first rule of leadership is to show up, so punctuality and attendance is critical. A maximum of two missed sessions are excused. Completion of the readings and the community service group project are core requirements for graduation from the program.
Why is Leadership Anchorage part of the Alaska Humanities Forum?
A distinguishing feature of Leadership Anchorage is its roots in the humanities, the study of society and the "human condition" as it spans the cultural, political, and civic landscape of our world. Leadership Anchorage includes varied readings in the humanities, which in the past have included Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "The Drum Major Instinct," Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist", " Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha," and John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath."
Who is the director of the program?
Kitty Farnham is the Program Manager for Leadership Anchorage. She’s lived and worked in Anchorage for 30 years and enjoyed a wide range of experiences at BP, Providence, the State of Alaska, and most recently with Catalyst Consulting. Kitty earned her Masters of Science in Organization Development from Pepperdine and undergraduate degrees in environmental science and public administration from Northern Arizona University. Kitty has designed and led numerous leadership development programs within BP and as a graduate level instructor at Alaska Pacific University and University of Alaska Anchorage. Kitty's experience also includes work on strategic planning, organization development, healthy communities, education, workforce development and economic development; particularly through collaborative, cross-sector efforts that enhance Alaska’s communities.
Do Leadership Anchorage connections continue after the program?
One of the definite pluses to Leadership Anchorage is the bonding and connection that takes place within each group. For years afterwards, individuals can turn to other alumni when putting together ideas, building networks, etc. There is an informal alumni organization, and all Leadership Anchorage participants are connected by participation in various social media, such as a ListServ and Leadership Anchorage Facebook page.
Timetable for applications
Applications are due at 5:00 pm on Monday, November 18, 2013. Applications will be screened by a selection committee with interviews beginning in early December. Interview panels include program alumni and staff. Final selections will be announced by mid-December, and the program will begin with an opening retreat on January 10-11, 2014. Training dates and applications are available here.
Please direct all inquiries to Kitty Farnham at 907-272-5324 or email at