The founders of a new leadership program aim to build a “network of doers” for the greater Charlottesville area – and they’re now recruiting the program’s inaugural participants. The first Leaders Lab program session will be held in September 2022. Applications for the first cohort will be accepted through July 1, and applicants will be notified in late July.

Larry Terry Headshot

“The Cooper Center’s emphasis on improving good governance across the Commonwealth is based on our belief in the power of cross-sectoral leadership, and the Leaders Lab is reflective of this vision. This collaboration with the Chamber, CNE and IEN was carefully put together in the hopes that individuals from all corners of the region will find value in this program and use it to be transformative in their communities. We are thrilled to be a part of this important work.”


Larry Terry II, Executive Director, Weldon Cooper Center

About the Program

The Leaders Lab of Greater Charlottesville launches in September 2022, offering a 9-month program for current and emerging local leaders to build their leadership skills and practice collaborative community problem-solving. “Leaders Lab of Greater Charlottesville is grounded in the belief that all of us are and can be leaders - wherever we sit professionally or in our communities,” said Cristine Nardi, Executive Director of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence. “If you're hoping to grow your own leadership skills, gain a deeper understanding of regional issues, develop the tools to be an agent of community change, and meet others seeking the same, this new program is for you,” Nardi said. Interested individuals can learn more and apply now at CvilleChamber.com/leaderslab.

Program participants will learn best practices in conflict resolution, multi-party negotiations, cultural competence, meeting facilitation, and many more skills they can put to work immediately in their careers and in the community.

The founders of the Leaders Lab are committed to enrolling a cohort that reflects our entire community – in terms of geography, industry, race, gender, age and more – to establish a deeply collaborative network of leaders across the wide spectrum of our population. “In today’s world, leadership can and should come from all sectors and all levels,” said Frank Dukes, Ph.D., Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for Engagement and Negotiation. “The ability to engage across boundaries is key to building a community that works for all its residents,” Dukes said. “I am both pleased and honored that our Institute is part of this promising and important effort.”


The Leaders Lab Founders

The Leaders Lab curriculum and program have been crafted by the executive leaders of four local organizations with decades of leadership development expertise: the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, and the Institute for Engagement and Negotiation at the University of Virginia.

Program Cost

To ensure the $2,900 program tuition does not prevent qualified applicants from joining the cohort, the Chamber has established the Leaders Lab Fund for the Future. The Fund will make possible a sliding scale that ensures access to all applicants selected for the cohort. The Chamber has seeded this fund with $50,000, the largest single program investment in Chamber history. We are seeking several donors to make a matching contribution.

Read the press release >


For information about investing in the Leaders Lab Fund for the Future, please contact Chamber President & CEO Elizabeth Cromwell at elizabeth.cromwell@cvillechamber.com or 434.295.3141.