The ADA 25 Advancing Leadership Institute year-long program provides:

  • Training for emerging leaders through an annual Fellows Retreat.
  • Programs that provide opportunities to move individual leadership plans forward, continue education, network, and connect.

The one year program commitment for 2019 Fellows includes:

  • Orientation session
  • Participation in On The Table
  • Summer event
  • Fall symposium
  • Holiday party and 2019 Fellows class announcement
  • Graduation of 2019 Fellows and 2020 class announcement
  • Mentoring program
  • Autonomous Fellows meetings


The Fellows are competitively selected emerging leaders from all walks of life and with diverse disabilities who come together in an immersive, transformative experience exploring leadership skills and opportunities to connect as a class.

Our Fellows who self-identify as having a disability represent Chicago’s diverse professions in areas including: finance, legal, public affairs, health and hospitals, digital media, community organizing, education, and non-profit. Advancing Leadership Fellows are passionate about growing as leaders, and becoming part of Chicago’s civic landscape. Employers of 2019 Fellows acknowledge the high level of value this unique program provides and employers sponsored half of the 2019 Fellows participation.

Fellows continue to become connected to new opportunities and pursue new goals collectively and individually, as a result of this program. To learn more about these outcomes, visit our Civic Connections page.

The next class of Fellows will be announced in Winter of 2019. Once completing participation in the Leadership Institute, all Fellows become Members. Learn more about our Fellows and Members by visiting the Members page here.


“I was able to articulate long-held perspectives on disability; consider and adopt new perspectives; validate and inform my perspectives through dialogue with my peers; and strengthen my confidence in the leadership choices I make” – 2017 Fellow

“Of the highest value. It was an opportunity to revisit leadership principles and to connect with leaders in the greater Chicago area for whom disability is more than a word, an obstacle or an initiative.”– 2017 Fellow

“It taught me to respect and honor what I am passionate about and to honor others strengths and passions. Our distinguished guest speakers and panel participants made the world of disability seem less “insular” and more connected to normal, everyday life. The curriculum is a good blend of academic and experiential learning.” – 2015 Inaugural Fellow

“The experience of connecting with such a motivated, eclectic, intelligent group of people with disabilities was invaluable.” – 2015 Inaugural Fellow

“A worthy investment of time and resources that has resulted in deep reflection and an urgency to take action.” – 2015 Inaugural Fellow

“The Leadership Institute allowed me to step back, assess where I am and where I want to go. It connected me with the people and resources I need to be successful now and in the future. More than just one weekend, the experience is about something much bigger than the classes. It is about community, connection, network and opportunity. It is about being seen as a leader and being able to draw strength from others. This is only the beginning and I am excited to see what opportunities are available by joining the vibrant and active disability community in Chicago.” – 2015 Inaugural Fellow

Inquiries regarding sponsorship or funding should be directed to Robin Burnett, Program Manager,, (312) 616-8000 x 262.