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What is the Vermont Leadership Institute?

The Snelling Center for Government created the Vermont Leadership Institute (“VLI”) in 1995 with the goal of stimulating citizen enthusiasm for and participation in public service. VLI gives participants from the private, public and non-profit sectors the information, tools and inspiration to make greater contributions to their organizations, to their communities and to Vermont. As Vermont’s premier civic leadership development program, VLI consists of eight overnight sessions, totaling nineteen seminar days, with each session held in a different region of the state to convey a sense of Vermont’s rich historic, geographic and cultural diversity. VLI associates engage in intensive assessment and self-reflection, learn from both each other and an esteemed faculty, and become immersed in some of the most important issues facing Vermont.

Why VLI?

  • Enhanced leadership skills are perhaps the biggest asset to successful careers in non-profit, for-profit and government.
  • Learn about your strengths and areas of growth as a leader to empower and more accurately direct your team’s management and leadership staff.
  • Begin to identify your own preferences and biases to invite more diverse stakeholders, perspectives, conversations and decision making into your daily work.
  • Explore ways that race, power, privilege and inequities impact your organization, community and leadership.
  • Apply a systems thinking lens to mentor others and implement change in your organization.
  • Explore the role of innovation and transformational leadership in building for the future.
  • Work with an 8+ month practice plan to bring your leadership learning insights to fruition.
  • Build a strong network of leadership, relationships and support that extends past graduation with continued opportunities to learn and engage.

Who has completed this program?

There are currently more than 625 program graduates who are making a difference in Vermont: leading innovative businesses, creating award-winning non-profits, serving in the legislature and state government, and volunteering in their communities. In addition, VLI alumni become part of the larger Vermont Leadership Network that includes more than 1000 graduates to date from all of the Snelling Center’s leadership programs.

What are the program dates for the coming year?

Tentative dates for the Class of 2023 are outlined below. Session locations will be updated prior to Session 1 and as the program progresses. Session dates marked with a + are pending confirmation.

Opening Retreat September 29-30
Know Thyself November 2-4
Leadership in Context December 1-2+
Systems and Organizational Change Leadership January 12-13
The Shaping of Public Policy February 6-8
Human-Centered Systems in Action March 22-24
Transformational Leadership, Innovation and the Future of Vermont April 27-28
Commencement June 2-3

How are you managing COVID-19?

Having successfully navigated the pandemic with three consecutive cohorts, we are well-versed with a range of mitigation strategies to ensure health and safety for both participants and staff. We will continue to follow guidance from the Vermont Department of Health, and if the situation should change again with the issuance of new directives, some content may end up being delivered in a hybrid online/in-person model.

What are the costs?

A non-refundable application fee of $25.00 must accompany your application. If you are accepted into the program, tuition is $7,800 for double occupancy or $8,700 for single occupancy, which includes food and lodging.

What if financial commitment is a concern?

We strongly encourage all interested candidates to apply. Once participants are accepted into the program, we are committed to working with individuals to address financial barriers to participation. Thanks to the generous contributions of VLI alums and other supporters, we have a limited amount of scholarship assistance available, plus we also have resources on other funding opportunities. Check out our Financial Assistance page for more details or contact Ptarmigan Abbott at ptarmigan@snellingcenter.org.

How do I apply?

Submit an application ASAP. Applications are currently being accepted on a rolling basis. Click here to apply.

What happens next?

You will receive confirmation once your application has been received and will be scheduled for a 30-minute interview with VLI alumni. Whether interviews will be offered remotely or in-person is TBD. Our Selection Committee will then meet to review all applications and make a final decision on those selected for the Class of 2023. We will notify applicants of their acceptance status in July.

What are the expectations if I’m selected?

Full participation in all sessions is expected. Session days typically run from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, so please make note of the session dates to minimize scheduling problems during the year. VLI constantly evaluates the curriculum, faculty, presenters, activities, facilitation and design. VLI seeks to break down barriers by listening to participants and openly engaging with complex conversations. We count on participants to be open to values inquiry and dialogue and committed to learning and growth.

What happens if I’m not selected?

Participation is limited to approximately 25 associates to ensure an optimal learning environment. Each class is selected with an eye towards diversity on multiple levels, including professional experience, gender and ethnicity, as well as applicants’ desire to learn and commitment to the citizens of Vermont. Consequently, we have to turn away applicants every year. If you are accepted as an alternate, you will automatically be offered admission in the next cohort. If you are not invited to join the class, we strongly encourage you to reapply to next year’s cohort.

What if I have additional questions?

Further details are available by exploring the Leadership tab on our website or feel free to call 802.859-3090 or email ptarmigan@snellingcenter.org.