Emerging Leaders Institute

We are committed to the health and safety of all participants and community partners, and are planning our classes accordingly. Our Fall Programs will be conducted virtually. Participants will receive additional information prior to the start of courses. 

The Emerging Leaders Institute (ELI) is a 10-month program that brings together 35-40 young professionals from business, nonprofit and government sectors throughout Northern Virginia to enhance their skills in project management, conflict resolution and negotiation, communication and public speaking, community leadership and more. 

All Leadership Fairfax faculty members are sought-after trainers and certified leadership coaches whose “coach approach” to training provides a rich, experiential and individualized approach. Participants receive six individual hours of professional coaching or mentoring support, and participate in community service projects that enhance their personal and professional résumés. ELI develops leadership skills and competencies that accelerate the process of becoming a leader at work and in the community, turning potential into powerful performance. 

ELI Class Days of 2020 - 2021

Monday, September 14, 2020: Opening Reception and Keynote

Tuesday, September 15, 2020: Opening Class Day 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Tuesday, June 1, 2021: Final Presentations

Wednesday, June 9, 2021: Commencement Celebration

Who Should Apply?

ELI is for the high-potential employees who are ready to focus on core leadership skills and are poised to move up in their organizations.

Goals of the Emerging Leaders Institute

Skill Building: Sharpen your critical skills essential for effective organizational and community leadership. Enhance your public speaking, conflict resolution, communication, negotiation skills and more. Learn what it means and what it takes to be a results-oriented leader.

Management and Leadership Development

Participants have the opportunity to work with experienced leaders and managers throughout the year, and will interact with high level community leaders and elected officials.

Leadership Coaching

Pair with a certified leadership coach for six one-hour sessions focusing on real-world leadership techniques and challenges (value $1,200-$2,000).

Community Service Projects

Work in teams on short-term community service projects (CSP) for a local nonprofit. Build relationships, learn from your peers and experience first-hand the opportunities to make a difference in your community. Each year, in the summer, proposals for community service projects are requested for selection by the incoming class.
For CSP submission details, Click here.

Community, Board and Committee Service

As an ELI graduate you will be better prepared for greater responsibility within your sponsor’s organization. In addition, you can exercise your newly developed leadership skills by volunteering or serving on the board of a Northern Virginia nonprofit or community organization.

Benefits to Participants

  • Intensive skill building taught by diverse and expert faculty
  • Mentoring from experienced leaders in the community and professional coaches
  • Networking within the ELI class with a diverse and upwardly mobile group of future executives
  • Networking with Leadership Fairfax alumni who represent more than 400 of the top companies in the area
  • Education about the extensive challenges, resources and opportunities available in Fairfax County
  • Access to over 2,000 Alumni Leaders in Northern Virginia

Program Commitment

The ELI program is launched in September with an opening reception and dinner, followed by an opening program day. From there, class participants will typically meet on the second Tuesday each month, September through June, from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm including social networking time to finish up the day at various locations in the county. Outside speakers, seminars and experiential activities allow for active engagement at each class day. Time outside of regular class days is required for participation in project team’s community service project and for the coaching relationship.


Individuals who have demonstrated a capacity for leadership, an interest in community service and a willingness to commit time to the ELI program are invited to apply.

Applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  • have been formally or informally recognized for emerging leadership in your organization or in the community
  • be willing to commit the required time to the Emerging Leaders program
  • be committed to utilizing leadership skills and knowledge for the long-term benefit of the community
  • attend the opening dinner and opening day in September


Tuition for the Emerging Leaders Program is $3,000. If accepted and enrolled into the program, you and/or your organization will be obligated for the full tuition fee of $3,000 payable by the start of the program.

Tuition covers all program costs, plus:

  • the opening dinner for the ELI program
  • complimentary invitation to the annual alumni reception
  • member pricing on Leadership Fairfax events including the NVLA luncheon and Board of Supervisors Breakfast
  • two tickets to Commencement (one ticket for graduate, one ticket for guest)

Tuition assistance

We offer limited tuition assistance, based on demonstrated financial need. If you indicate on your application that assistance is requested, you will receive an email link to that application. Tuition assistance requests are evaluated separately and are not a factor in the selection process.

Expectations for the ELI Program

As a participant in the ELI program you will be expected to attend each program day and in addition take on an active role outside of the program days as a team member in planning and executing a community service project as well as being engaged in a mentoring or coaching relationship.

As an ELI Alum

Leadership Fairfax is a membership organization and a 501c3 nonprofit. Following your class year, as a graduate of the ELI Program of Leadership Fairfax, you will join a cadre of over 2,000 remarkable, accomplished fellow alumni. Each year you will be invited to join with them for updates on community leadership issues, community projects, networking and social activities.

LFI, ELI and LLP Alumni are Community Trustees for Fairfax County — we give you the county knowledge and background, and set the stage for what you will do once you’ve graduated from the program. Your knowledge, skills and experience will benefit the county, in whatever way you choose.




Applications now being accepted for our dynamic leadership programs. Apply online.



Join us Jan 26 for our first ever virtual trivia night - Grab Your Team and REGISTER NOW!



We're joining forces with Leadership Center for Excellence to recognize 40 young leaders!


8230 Old Courthouse Road, Suite 100
Vienna, VA 22182-3853
Phone: 703-752-7555

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