Leadership DeKalb

Each spring, a new Leadership DeKalb class is nominated and selected to participate in our 10-month leadership development program. Throughout the program year (August – June), members of the class view DeKalb County from many angles (e.g., education, health, diversity, economic development and more) and are educated about the issues facing the region and the impact they can have as more educated leaders.

Click here to view the current program year schedule.

Class members build leadership connections with one another as they engage in lively discussions during the program days and debrief at the end of each day. In study groups, classmates expand their understanding of the topics and learn from one another. Retreats at the beginning and end of the program year, provide even more opportunities for making connections — from understanding the impact of how these critical areas of the community relate to one another to creating alliances, finding ways to serve and forming friendships.

Upon graduation, classmates select and unite together to work on a Community Pledge Project to benefit the local community. And, in turn, join as members of the larger network of more than 1,000 Leadership DeKalb graduates.

Benefits of the Leadership DeKalb Program


  • Develop your abilities as a leader
  • Gain a broader understanding of the issues facing your community
  • Join a community-wide network of influential leaders

Employers & Sponsoring Organizations

  • Increase the visibility and involvement of your organization within the community
  • Benefit from the enhanced leadership skills, broadened perspective and network of contacts developed by the participant
  • Help create a better community environment in which to operate DeKalb County
  • Benefit from the Leadership DeKalb graduate’s commitment to serving as a community trustee, their increased involvement in the community and their increased effectiveness as an influential leader

I can say without hesitation that Leadership DeKalb prepared me for the rigors of public life better than any other program in Georgia. The opportunity to watch government up close and truly learn the mission of service providers has made me a better Attorney General.

Thurbert Baker '88

~ Thurbert E. Baker ’88
Former Attorney General of Georgia



Have questions? Click here for more information.

Get an application. OR Make a nomination.

For additional questions contact info@leadershipdekalb.org.

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Description of Leadership DeKalb’s Program Days


In order to understand any community, learning its history is vital. On History Day, members of the Leadership DeKalb class interact with the county’s experts on local history, beginning with the ancient Native Americans and continuing through the founding of the county in 1823 to today. Along the way, the class learns about the people who wove the fabric of the community and sees up close how DeKalb came to possess its unique diversity.

Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity & Inclusion DayDeKalb County is one of the most diverse counties in the country, and its leadership program does not miss the chance to discuss in detail what it means to lead in a community with dozens of ethnic groups. During the day, facilitators challenge members of the class to ponder how they react to diversity as well as show how much we all have in common despite our different ethnic and cultural origins.


Each year, members of the Leadership DeKalb class are offered the chance to witness first-hand the inner workings of the county’s storied educational system that reaches from pre-K to colleges and universities. Educators show members of each class how the county’s students benefit on a daily basis from school systems, technical schools, and colleges and universities.

Justice & Public Safety

With activities including tours of the county jail and morgue, Justice & Public Safety Day focuses on how justice is dispensed in the county and the link between violations of juveniles and the prison population, among other topics. Class members hear from judges and public safety officials the ins and outs of administering federal, state and local laws.


Government DayMeeting in the early part of each year, Leadership DeKalb exposes members of the class to an up-close look at the Georgia Legislature and how it works while during the course of the day challenging the class to participate in mock lobbying, gaining an insider’s view into the government and meeting legislators. Government Day is also a time for the class to see the inner workings of government and how policy is set.

Economic Development & Transportation

Economic Development & Transportation DayTransportation is the building block on which the Greater Atlanta area (of which DeKalb County is a part) is built. Over the course of Economic Development & Transportation Day, members of the class come to an understanding of how economic development/business recruitment works and what role the area’s varied forms of transportation (mass transit, airline, interstate, etc.) play in maintaining a good climate for business viability.

Health & Quality of Life

DeKalb County is the proud home of some of the country’s most prestigious healthcare institutions, including DeKalb Medical, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University School of Medicine and Yerkes National Primate Research Center. On Health Day, Leadership DeKalb visits these outstanding research centers to hear from top-level personnel as well as taking a more local look at how healthcare is provided by visiting Grady Memorial Hospital and the DeKalb County Board of Health.

Leadership DeKalb has been enlightening and educational. I’ve learned so much about the community, and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to network with community leaders. I highly recommend it.

David Moody '08

~ David Moody ’08
President, C.D. Moody Construction Co.



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