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Vermont Leadership Institute: Class of 2025

Program Description and Tentative Timeline

Since 1995, the Snelling Center’s Vermont Leadership Institute (VLI) has been the state’s preeminent leadership development program.  There are currently more than 675 program graduates actively influencing Vermont’s future in business, public policy, education, community development and in a wide range of volunteer and non-profit sector roles.

VLI Program

The VLI program consists of nineteen seminar days with eight overnight sessions between September and June. For each session we convene in a different region of the state to convey a sense of Vermont’s rich historic, geographic and cultural diversity as well as current issues communities are facing. Each year, we select an average of 25 participants, based on their professional experience, desire to learn, and commitment to the citizens of Vermont. The cohort model offers meaningful connections and strong support among peers throughout the 9-month program and beyond.

VLI’s Core Values

VLI fosters ethical and transformative leadership, drawing on expert faculty from within Vermont, as well as dynamic presenters from across the nation. The curriculum is both thought-provoking and tailored to a variety of adult learning styles. VLI teaches participants to examine the status quo and promote change in a safe and inclusive non-partisan environment.

VLI’s Goals

VLI’s staff and faculty strive to create a learning environment that is psychologically safe and inclusive in order to develop self-awareness and acquire knowledge and skills that result in strong and effective leadership. Participants delve into evaluation of “the self” in relation to the world by asking probing questions and exploring modern-day problems.

Class of 2025 Tentative Program Sessions*

We anticipate a normal year, but we do have a range of COVID mitigation strategies to draw on having successfully navigated the pandemic with four consecutive cohorts, should they become necessary again.

Opening Retreat
2 days: Thursday and Friday, September 26 & 27, 2024

In this session, we lay the groundwork for a successful cohort experience through team building exercises, shared meals and collective inquiry in order to set a tone of collegiality and reflective leadership. Assessment tools, including the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, illuminate and celebrate diversity of experience, leadership styles and communication styles.

Know Thyself
3 days: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, October 21, 22, & 23, 2024

The class explores learning styles, models and motivation. Each participant completes a 360-degree professional evaluation with their peers (professional and personal) to add to their toolkit. The class works with coaches on personal and professional leadership goals, which incorporate their new understanding.

Leadership in Context
2 days: Thursday and Friday, December 5 & 6, 2024

The class clarifies personal and organizational core values as well as leadership practices and models that further equity across difference. Exploring embedded social narratives, and systems of oppression, this session supports participants’ continued reflection on equity, equality and leadership practices. This session continues to build upon sessions one and two.

Systems and Organizational Change Leadership
2 days: Thursday and Friday, January 9 & 10, 2025

The class explores systems theory and access to power and privilege within leadership dynamics with specific application to systems here in Vermont, such as health care, food systems and environmental systems. Participants will work with Vermont leaders to discuss their experience and models for creating systems and organizational change.

The Shaping of Public Policy
3 days: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, February 3, 4, & 5, 2025

The class visits Montpelier to see the Vermont State House when it is in session. Participants meet with Vermont’s leading public servants and the State Supreme Court through VLI-sponsored panels, lunch-time meet and greets and in House and Senate Committees. Participants also engage with local lobbyists and journalists. VLI invites state representatives and other leaders to openly discuss their roles in the legislature – past topics include equitable treatment of people of color and access to power and privilege across race, gender and sexual orientation.

Human-Centered Systems in Action
3 days: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, March 19, 20 & 21, 2025

Participants continue to explore complex issues such as education, poverty, criminal justice, opiate addiction and the economy. Models and lenses from prior sessions such as leverage points, complex systems and equity will be used to provide context and further learning in how these issues are addressed by state agencies, for profit and non-profit sectors in the economy, education and social services sectors.

Transformational Leadership, Innovation and the Future of Vermont
2 days: Thursday and Friday, April 24 & 25, 2025

Participants will explore the concept of innovation from a theory and process standpoint while discussing tangible real-world examples. Specific tools will also be covered with the goal of inspiring and empowering participants to return to their own spheres of influence and use everything they have learned throughout VLI to lead transformative change in their respective professional and personal roles.

2 days: Friday and Saturday, May 30 & 31, 2025

Reflection and celebration are the themes as participants bring the formal part of VLI to a close.

*Please note this is a tentative schedule. Locations will be updated prior to Session 1 and as the program progresses.

Stay tuned for a printable PDF version of the Session Dates.

How To Apply for Vermont Leadership Institute