Cornerstone Program Frequently Asked Questions

What is Leadership Oakland?
We are whole-life development. Cornerstone is the primary program that Leadership Oakland offers to individuals seeking to expand their leadership skills personally, professionally and publicly. The program begins in September with a three-day retreat, and ends in June with graduation. Each month, class members participate in a day-long session with a different regional focus-from education, government and the justice system to health and human services and race and ethnic diversity. Each in-depth session is led by multiple experts, and includes a mix of lectures, activities and experiences. Each and every participant reaps the benefits of their Leadership Oakland experience and will apply it in different ways. Individuals, families, businesses and communities will be stronger as a result.
Who participates in the Cornerstone Program?
The program is open to all persons living or working in Oakland County and the surrounding region. Participants represent the community and therefore come from diverse backgrounds. From large corporations, to small businesses and a range of non-profit organizations, leaders are identified and nominated to participate in the program. Leadership Oakland does not discriminate when selecting individuals to participate in the program and encourages a diverse group of participants. If you are interested in the program but do not know a graduate that might nominate you for the program, contact the Leadership Oakland office for information about self nomination.
How does the program work?
The program year kicks off with a three-day, overnight Leadership Development Retreat in September. At this retreat, participants get to know one another, gain an overview of the region, examine their leadership potential, and set goals for the year. Eight monthly sessions from October through May, and several optional sessions follow over the next nine months. Sessions are designed by Leadership Oakland alums and presenters are experts in their field. Each session is designed to expose participants to current resources and issues to promote an awareness of our county and region as a whole. Sessions are a combination of presentation, interactive exercises and personal and group reflection. Leadership Oakland challenges participants to examine how they might take appropriate action on issues from a personal, professional and/or public perspective. The year long program concludes with a popular evening graduation celebration.
What is the cost?
The cost of the year long program is $3,250 and includes: overnight accommodations at the retreat, all meals, materials, graduation, and miscellaneous program costs. When you consider this covers the 3 day retreat, 9 all day sessions, and the graduation event, it is a true value for top-notch professional development!
Is there a Cornerstone scholarship or payment plan?
A limited scholarship fund is available for those in need of tuition assistance. Each year, two $1,000 competitive scholarships are awarded. These funds are available thanks to generous donors, class projects and fundraising activities. Additional $250-$500 tuition reduction scholarships are granted to a few individuals awarded on a case by case basis. If you are in need of tuition assistance, please submit a short letter with your application explaining the reason for your request. Payment plans are also available. Those on payment plans will be asked to sign a payment contract. The plans are individualized to help meet your needs and yet stay ahead of actual program costs. Please contact the Executive Director to discuss details. 248.952.6880 x 2.
How will I benefit from participating in Leadership Oakland?
Participants and graduates of Leadership Oakland have a leg up on many others in the community. They are a part of one of the most powerful leadership networks available. Over 1100 LO alums are closely bonded together through the shared experiences they have had in the program. Graduates of the program frequently call upon one another for business contacts, resources and information. The friendships made among the class and throughout the Alumni Association are long lasting, positive influences in the lives and careers of participants. In addition to the member network, participants are introduced and provided direct access to presenters who are top leadership officials and experts in the region. Many of our graduates attribute Leadership Oakland for providing the knowledge, connections and confidence to make career moves and other major positive life changes.
How do I apply and get into the program?
You may obtain an application by contacting the Leadership Oakland office 248.952.6880 x 1. The class is generally limited to 50 participants who will be selected by a committee. The committee will be seeking participation from varied ethnic, minority, age and gender groups to represent a cross-section of the community. Participants should be active in business, and/or professional, educational, organized labor, governmental, artistic, religious, service or community organizations. Retired individuals are also considered. The most important factor in selection is identifying those individuals most apt to utilize their leadership for the long-term benefit of the community. In reviewing applications, the Selection Committee looks for candidates who demonstrate the following characteristics: a sincere commitment, motivation and interest to serve our region; genuine concern for the future of Oakland County and the region; current position and/or potential for advancement to top leadership positions; willingness and ability to make the time commitment required by the program; and the intention of seeking appointments to community boards, commissions or key volunteer leadership positions.
Do Leadership Oakland graduates stay involved after the program year?
Yes! Leadership Oakland has an excellent reputation in our state for our highly engaged alumni. Several hundred graduates are active on Leadership Oakland Committees planning programs and events, serving on the LO Board, and providing advisory support for the administrative operations of the organization. Additionally, events such as: Taste of Leadership Oakland, The Breakfast of Champions Series, Oktoberfest, social events, community service projects and a host of continuing education opportunities have a high degree of alumni participation. and a host of continuing education opportunities are available. LO alums have fun! Friendly class competitions, after hours discussion groups, and informal get-togethers involving food and drinks are common.