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Scottsdale Leadership Core Program FAQs

Thank you for your interest in Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. This FAQ document addresses the most commonly asked questions about the program. Please visit for more information and to apply.  


  1. What is Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program? Scottsdale Leadership is an impactful, life-changing, Arizona Leadership Program that fosters leadership in its participants, which range from emerging leaders to seasoned professionals. The primary focus is its nine-month interactive, community leadership Core Program. Classes are held on Fridays between September and April at various community and corporate locations throughout Scottsdale. Up to 50 established or emerging leaders are selected to participate each year. Graduates join a tight network of alumni that stay connected through events, volunteerism, and community service. 

  2. Do I need to live/work in Scottsdale to participate in this program? No, however, having a vested interest in the community is important. We seek candidates who see themselves leading in some way. This could include volunteering to help a nonprofit, serving on a committee or board, joining a city commission, or becoming a better leader in your own business. This program introduces you to many opportunities that you may not have known existed. It gives you a better understanding of how you can get more involved in shaping our community.

  3. What is Scottsdale Leadership specifically looking for in their selection process? We are seeking a diverse group of committed candidates who have aspirations for personal and professional leadership growth, and who want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. An ideal candidate will have the ability to fully commit to the scheduled class days as well as the small group community service project. 

  4. How can I best prepare for the application process? Familiarize yourself with the program by visiting the Scottsdale Leadership website, attending an applicant reception, and talking to alumni. And don’t wait until the deadline to apply! Leave plenty of time to complete and submit the application, as well as obtain two nominations/referrals. 

  5. Do my two references need to be Scottsdale Leadership Alumni? No, they do not need to be alumni of Scottsdale Leadership but having at least one is beneficial. Your references should be strong character references that can speak to your alignment with the values of Scottsdale Leadership. If you let us know the company you work for, we will be happy to connect you to any alumni that have worked there. 

  6. What is the selection process like? Selection into Scottsdale Leadership is competitive, and a spot in a class is never guaranteed. The first phase consists of review of the application and nominations. Applications will be scored on pre-established criteria. Strong candidates will be invited to interview with a panel consisting of Scottsdale Leadership alumni, staff, and possibly other community members. While the number varies each year, approximately 40 to 50 candidates will be invited to participate in Scottsdale Leadership, with notifications going out about three weeks after the interviews conclude.

  7. What if I am not selected for this class? Our rigorous and thorough selection process focuses on finding a diverse group that will all benefit from their differences and have the ability to work together cohesively. If you are not selected, you can apply again, year after year. Many people have applied more than once. All have said it was worth continuing to try. 

  8. What makes Scottsdale Leadership unique from all of the other Leadership Programs? Our program is a powerful, transformative experience that enhances the ability of leaders and creates engaged citizens who ensure a sustainable future for our community.  Our mentoring program carefully matches current class members to alumni with experience in the community and in Scottsdale Leadership to provide you one more resource to navigate your journey. Our podcast series provides additional learning opportunities to get to know more of our 1200+ alumni. Each class breaks into 3-5 small groups to develop a meaningful and sustainable project for a non-profit organization that benefits our community for years to come. We provide many ways to keep our alumni engaged and involved through the years. We take pride in our Scottsdale Leadership family!

  9. Will class days be in person or virtual?  Class days will be in person following appropriate safety protocols. 

  10. What is each day like? We begin the day with coffee, snacks, and conversation at 8am and then class begins promptly at 8:30am.  Each class is held at a different venue pertinent to the topic of the day. Alumni with expertise in the subject matter lead the class with additional speakers, activities, and locations to give you an in-depth education of the subject matter. Topic days may include Historical Leadership, City Government, Public Safety, Sustainability, Human Services, Diversity, Economic Development, Healthcare, Education, Arts, Emerging Leadership, and the Project Lead It Forward Showcase/Graduation. Lunch, materials, and transportation are all included in your tuition. We complete each day with a wrap-up of leadership skills and learn how to get involved in outside opportunities, particularly those related to the day’s topic.  Social hour after class is highly encouraged and offers a great way to connect with your classmates. 

  11. Can I schedule a time to speak more about this program and my concerns, and questions with staff or alumni? Absolutely!  Please call (480)627-6717 to reach Lee Ann Witt, Executive Director.  

  12. How do I apply?  Apply here!


We require: 

  • Complete application

  • Pay the non-refundable application fee *$50 (*Increases to $100 after April 6th)

  • Two references fill out a reference form on your behalf

  • Everything above must be submitted by May 17th at 5:00 PM. 

  • Interviews take place the first week of June

  • The class will be announced in July.

13. What if I am interested but can’t afford the program tuition? Our program fee of $3,300 is one of the most reasonable compared to programs across the state and nationally. Many employers will sponsor their employees as the benefits are tremendous to both parties. We do offer partial scholarships; scholarship applications must be submitted when you apply.   

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