Updates coming soon! Check back in the coming weeks for information on how to nominate new emerging leaders for the next phase of The Leadership Institute for People with Disabilities.


Leadership Institute FAQ (Word)

What is the Leadership Institute for People with Disabilities?

The Leadership Institute is a short-term, intensive transformative leadership experience for people with disabilities (both evident and non-evident). It is designed to build leadership capacity and create a community of people who continue to support each other once they complete the program.

• Note: This program does not take the place of management or board training.

Participants should expect to come out of this intensive experience with:

• An enhanced sense of self.
• An increased awareness of their leadership approach, their impact on others, their strengths, and areas for improvement.
• Improved skills in cultural competence, cross cultural communication, and breaking through internalized barriers that inhibit leadership.
• An increased capacity to influence others through effective communication.
• Knowledge to develop relationships and create a strong network of peers and support.
• A clearly articulated vision for manifesting leadership in the world and next steps to move the leadership vision forward.
• A feeling of renewed self-confidence and preparedness to lead.

This program is designed and implemented by leading national experts in the fields of leadership training, disability rights and civic engagement.

The program will take place on-site, in downtown Chicago.

All participants are expected to commit to participating in the training program during the following times and to sleeping in the overnight accommodations arranged by the Institute. Training involves intensive group work. Note these are approximate hours and may be adjusted – they are provided to give a sense of the demands of the training.

• Thursday December 3: 11 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., return to hotel by 8 p.m.
• Friday December 4 and Saturday December 5: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (with short breaks). Dinner will follow at approximately 6:30 p.m. at the hotel with possible evening programming Saturday ending by 10 p.m.
• Sunday December 6: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Who Should Apply?

The Leadership Institute seeks emerging leaders with disabilities who meet the following criteria:

7-12 years of management and/or leadership experience demonstrated in professional, civic or community contexts.

Self-identifies as a person with a current disability (may include both apparent and non-apparent disabilities, defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities).

Is a resident of the Chicago region (includes Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties).

Is interested in being engaged in the civic life of metropolitan Chicago and seeking out the possibility of voluntary participation on a board, commission, or other leadership position in public, private or non-profit sectors.

Has personal leadership characteristics including:

• Emotional Intelligence and agility.
• Strategic thinking.
• Gets results.
• Brings different groups together and has a commitment to collaboration.
• Wants to learn from others.Is comfortable engaging with people across cultures and across disabilities.

Willing to self disclose and be a visible and vulnerable learner/leader in an intensive group learning setting.

Has a vision for leveraging their participation in the Leadership Institute for longer term leadership in the Chicago region.

Will commit to the three and a half day schedule of the Institute, from 11 a.m. December 3rd – through 3 p.m. December 6th, 2015. Programming on Friday and Saturday will extend from early morning transportation from the hotel (approximately 9 a.m.) through the day, supplemented by required dinners and evening sessions in the hotel (see approximate hours above).

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How Can I Participate?

All applicants must complete an application, and submit via web form or email.

You will need references from 3 individuals—one who formally nominates you and two additional references. Application deadline is August 15, 2015 at 5 p.m.

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Is There A Fee?

The $1500 tuition fee is due following acceptance to the program. Financial needs will not be a barrier to participation. Scholarships are available.

What Accommodations Will Be Provided?

We seek to provide the highest level of accommodations possible to facilitate the full participation of a diverse class of Fellows. Please complete as fully as possible the accommodations section on your application so we may know as much as possible. Note: Requests for accommodation will be considered and provided on a case by case basis based on the nature of the request and reasonableness in light of available resources and constraints of the program.

Accessible transportation will be provided between the training venue and hotel.

The Leadership Institute will not provide personal services or provide personal devices for participants (i.e. personal care, service dogs, mobility devices, etc.). However, some general supports will be available to ensure individuals are able to engage in the Institutes activities (guidance regarding relief areas for service dogs, wait staff assistance during meals, general assistance during required activities to ensure that individuals are able to fully participate).

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When and Where Will It Take Place?

The inaugural class will take place in the downtown high rise offices of our corporate partner.

Overnight accommodations will be in a downtown hotel. (Please note any specific needs for accessible hotel accommodations in the accommodation section)

The program kicks off Thursday morning December 3 at 11:00 a.m., and ends Sunday December 6 at 3:00 p.m. Participants will be expected to be ready to leave the hotel by 8 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings.

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What happens after the program?

This is the inaugural class and applicants will be expected to participate in evaluation after the program and to provide input to help shape the future of the Institute.

The Fellows class will become a peer support network to help each Fellow achieve their leadership goals.

Pending funding and program design, the Leadership Institute hopes to create an Appointments Project in 2016. This is conceived as an organized sustained program to connect leaders with disabilities - both those who have participated as Fellow and other qualified applicants – to public, private and non-profit boards, commissions, and other civic appointments. It will be modeled on successful initiatives to connect LGBT leaders to public appointments pioneered by the Victory Fund in Washington DC.

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What is the Nomination Process?

In addition to completing the application, each applicant must be nominated by at least one person who is not a family member and provide two references.

A nominator should be someone who is well acquainted with the nominee and can attest to their qualifications. The nominator is responsible for submitting the nomination form and must be available for possible follow-up inquiries by the selection committees.

One nomination and two additional references are required. If you have more than one nominator you may reduce the number of references (in other words, please provide three contacts: 1 nominator + 2 references; OR 2 nominators + 1 reference; OR 3 nominators).

Nominations must be completed and received by 5 p.m. (CST) on August 15th, 2015. Nominations are accepted by web form and email (please use only one). Incomplete and/or late nominations will not be considered.

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What is the selection process?

An advisory committee will review all applications and select participants for the inaugural class of Leadership Institute Fellows. This is a competitive process, as there are a limited number of positions for the inaugural class.

In addition to meeting the criteria listed above, the selection process will seek to build a class that is diverse in terms of disability, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, profession and sector (e.g. public, private, not-for-profit).

Candidates will be contacted in August or September for phone or in-person interviews. All finalists will be interviewed in person.

Fellows will be selected in early Fall, and announced at the ADA 25 Chicago Opportunity Summit, November 16th, 2015.

Candidates who are not selected will be eligible to apply for future programs of the Leadership Institute as they are developed.

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When will the Inaugural Fellows Class be announced to the public?

ADA 25 Chicago will celebrate the accomplishments of more than 150 program partners and convene Chicago leaders to reflect on the anniversary and set agendas for the next 25 years at an Opportunity Summit on November 16 and 17, 2015.

Fellows and their nominators will be invited to the summit and the class will be announced on November 16 and celebrated as part of a reception that afternoon. The second day of the summit, November 17, will focus on employment of people with disabilities in collaboration with the Chicagoland Business Leadership Network. Attendance on November 16 is highly encouraged, and attendance on November 17th is optional.

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