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The LeaderShape® Institute is an interactive, energizing, and unique experience that builds leadership skills no other program can match. Since 1986, approximately 56,000 participants have graduated from the program from all over the world. But be prepared! It is six days of non stop self-discovery and learning from practical experiences that build your leadership concepts and abilities. It’s go, go, go 12 hours a day… and you’ll love it!

Check out the facebook album from last year’s LeaderShape!


The LeaderShape® Institute is a week long institute involving dialogue and leadership self discovery in a supportive community of up to 60 Washington University undergraduate students.

Time at The LeaderShape® Institute follows the following format/timeline:

  • Leave campus Friday, May 11 at 2pm. Stay on site at Toddhall Retreat Center for 6 days. Return to campus by 1pm on Wednesday, May 16.

DAY 1: Building Community (Friday, May 11)

Participants begin to explore what leadership means and discuss its core components, meet the other participants in the “Learning Community” and join 8-12 other young adults in a group called the “Family Cluster.” As the primary reference group, the Family Cluster offers feedback and support while helping participants develop and refine a vision for the future.

DAY 2: The Value of One, The Power of All (Saturday, May 12)

Participants start the second day in an experiential team-building activity. By working through a series of initiatives and discussions, they discover how relationships, trust, and problem solving can be enhanced in a supportive group setting.

Participants then add another dimension to self-awareness by completing a behavior style inventory. From that information, each participant has an opportunity to set several personal goals for the week and share those with members of the Family Cluster. Participation in exercises which explore the concept of “inclusive leadership” and how to create communities which value respect, openness, and diverse opinions happens on the evening of Day 2.

DAY 3: Challenging What Is, Looking To What Could Be (Sunday, May 13)

Creating a powerful vision is one of the most important aspects of leadership! During this exciting day, participants begin to work on developing their own visions which define a bold change for the future in their community, group, cause, or organization back home. The evening concludes with a Guest Leader Forum and Reception. This is an opportunity to interact with significant leaders in different professions. Using an informal question and answer format, these individuals will share their insights and experiences related to the challenges of “leading with integrity.”


DAY 4: Bringing Vision To Reality (Monday, May 14)

A vision is only a dream unless it results in action. Three key requirements are discussed (relationships, goals, and action steps) which move a vision forward. In addition, the issue of power is explored in a dynamic group simulation exercise.

DAY 5: Living and Leading With Integrity (Tuesday, May 15)

The concept of “integrity” is a challenging one, but it is central to LeaderShape’s philosophy of lifelong leadership development. Participants discuss how core ethical values, thoughtful decisions, and courage all play critical roles in sustaining integrity and fostering trust and respect.

During the afternoon, an open discussion on “burning issues” will happen before preparations take place for creative Family Cluster Skits that will be presented on the morning of Day 6.

DAY 6: Staying in Action (Wednesday, May 16)

On this final day, participants prepare to return home and face the responsibilities of being an Institute graduate who practices the discipline of “leading with integrity.” Participants learn what it means to be a part of the nationwide LeaderShape community – a network of mutual encouragement and support. A Learning Community Commencement ceremony concludes the week

Check out the national LeaderShape.org for more information!



Statements from 2016 participants about what they learned/experienced at LeaderShape”

“I didnt just make friends, I got a family that I can call home.”

“Before coming to LeaderShape, I only had a fuzzy idea of vision; and after days of working on it, I have developed manageable and attainable goals towards creating positive change towards my vision.”

“I learned that people judge me a lot less than I presume they do.”

“Once I figured out what I stood for and what my vision was, acting accordingly became so much easier.”

“At a school with a great number of opinionated, dominant people; sometimes the best behavior is not for everyone to practice expressing ideas and talking – but rather taking a breath between contributions and practicing active listening.”

“Vulnerability is good and can foster trust within a community. We are all capable of changing the world!”

“For the first time in my life, I was told that I am valuable. That I have valuable insight every time I speak. That I shouldn’t feel pressured to speak because I am quiet, but that I should speak because they want to learn from me and appreciate my insight and perspectives.”

“Leaders can come from anywhere, so don’t disregard anyone.”

“Perspectives cannot be overlooked because people offer unique insight that no other person can fully 100% understand. No individual can be recreated, yet their talents make them necessary, and everyone has talents.”

“I learned to always strive to better myself.”

“I was reminded a lot of my core values and what it really means when we say “it’s people who matter in the end”. What it really means is to always foster relationships. I was very humbled by this experience and I appreciate that.”

“I realized that I’ve been neglecting to truly identify myself, which was hindering my understanding of others. LeaderShape gave me a week to prioritize, not neglect, myself. I was able to work on understanding myself fully and therefore others.”



Program Coordinator for Leadership Development

Meet with Jesús