Leadership Skagit FAQs

1. What will I learn?

During the 9-month program you will hear the diverse stories and histories that made Skagit County what it is today and explore the abundant natural and human-made resources that make this place special. You will develop awareness of yourself as an individual and as a leader and deepen your understanding of community issues as systemic, complex, and rooted in our history. You will build relationships and skills to engage in these issues starting with reflective leadership practice, listening, design thinking, collaborative problem-solving, and communicating to build trust and motivate action toward a more just, equitable and sustainable future in Skagit county.

At the end of the Leadership Skagit program you will be able to:

  • Articulate a vision for a just, healthy and sustainable community in Skagit County
  • Claim a leadership challenge and identify the relationships, resources and skills needed to impact this challenge
  • Develop a framework and reflective practice for the leader you want to be


2. How does Leadership Skagit impact our community?

Leadership Skagit graduates community leaders who are informed, engaged, and skillful in collaborative problem-solving centering the voices of marginalized people.  The 550+ alumni network creates a unique and powerful resource for collective action.


3. How much does it cost? Are scholarships available?

Tuition for the Leadership Skagit Class of 2023 is $3,000 for for-profit companies and $2,400 for small non-profit organizations, individuals, and companies with 10 or fewer employees. 

If you are interested in learning more about our community and engaging more fully, do not let the tuition be a barrier.  We want a diverse class that represents many different experiences and areas of interest.  We will make every effort to support those who cannot pay the full tuition with scholarship funds and payment plans. Due to generous donors, Leadership Skagit has scholarships available. To request tuition assistance, you will be asked to fill out a form stating your specific financial need.


4. Who participates?

Each Leadership Skagit class is composed of 25-30 current and emerging leaders from diverse backgrounds and representing the private, nonprofit and public sectors who share a common interest in this beautiful place we call home.

5. Will Leadership Skagit’s 2023 cohort meet face-to-face or online?

The Leadership Skagit 2023 cohort will meet face-to-face for rich, experiential scheduled program days, supplemented by online resources and small group activities. Leadership Skagit will follow all CDC and Washington State health guidelines for COVID safety protocols and will move to the virtual learning platform if advised.


6. What does Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) have to do with community leadership learning?

Community leaders must address the disparities that have been created in health, wealth, education and many other areas as the result of systemic racism and other forms of oppression.  To lead effectively in this environment requires self awareness and growth in understanding the way each of us participates in maintaining systems of oppression. This awareness combined with the leadership skills of listening, engaging respectfully and amplifying the voices from marginalized populations, considering historical context and systemic nature of these issues, and co-creating solutions will allow Leadership Skagit graduates to create a more just and equitable community.


7. What is the time commitment?

Alumni of our program often say that Leadership Skagit is “transformational” and a significant time commitment. Please review the schedule for the Leadership Skagit Class of 2023 to ensure you are at a time in your life when you can fully commit.

Our 9-month program begins in September and ends in June. There are two mandatory two-day retreats, one in September and one in May, as well as eight day-long Challenge Days. You are allowed eight hours of excused absence for the monthly Challenge Days over the course of the program. Missing more than eight hours requires checking in with the Program Manager and may result in not graduating or receiving college credit. Here is the Leadership Skagit 2023 program schedule.

In addition, there will be four hours of pre-work each month that will involve small group or individual activities to prepare for the Challenge Days and retreats, plus time to meet with your team to discuss, plan and execute your leadership development project. The amount of time spent on team work varies between teams, but is often a significant time commitment. 

8. How do I convince my employer to support my participation in LS?

Employers benefit from the skills, knowledge and network their employees gain through the Leadership Skagit program. Leadership Skagit offers participants a broad network of contacts across all sectors and industries, and Leadership Skagit helps them build knowledge of county-wide issues. Employers tell us Leadership Skagit graduates are better leaders, team members and overall contributors in the workplace.

Since the dawn of Leadership Skagit, Community Action is proud that we never have missed a year of sending at least one staff member to Leadership Skagit – and sometimes more than one, and sometimes a Board member too. We know our organization’s mission has benefited by the blossoming of this amazing group of leader-full people in our midst. How gratifying it has been to watch our team grow their leadership skills, voice, confidence, connections, networks, understanding, and even love for this special community we live and work in. So much good has come from this that it truly is impossible to track that difference it has made for us as an organization, and individually as professionals and community members. I will say this, though, my own choice to join the class of 2009 in my first year as a new and somewhat overwhelmed Executive Director was both a crazy decision – and the absolute best crazy decision I’ve ever made. Servant leadership set the course of everything that was to come.

- Bill Henkel, Executive Director, Community Action of Skagit County


9. Is the application process competitive?

Yes, the Leadership Skagit program reviews all applications for commitment to learn and engage in community life in Skagit County. In addition, we believe the class as a whole benefits when a diversity of experiences and demographic characteristics are represented in the class. If your application is not accepted, please plan to re-apply the following year. 

10. How do I submit my application?

Applications for the Class of 2024 are due May 31, 2023. You can learn more about applying online here.


11. What can I do to strengthen my application?

  • Make sure you fully understand the time commitment Leadership Skagit entails and what you can expect from participating.
  • Carefully fill out the application form in its entirety. We want to know what you care about in our community and why, and how you will benefit from engagement in Leadership Skagit.
  • Feel free to contact the Program Manager for more information: leadership@skagit.org.


12. What happens after I submit my application?

After you submit your application and non-refundable fee, you will receive an email from the Program Manager with an application signature form requiring signatures from you and your employer company/organization. 

All applicants to the Leadership Skagit program will be interviewed.  You will be contacted to coordinate a time for your interview.  Interviews will take place in June and July and are conducted by the Program Manager and Curriculum Manager. After interviews are completed, applicants will be evaluated and notified of your acceptance into the Class of 2023 cohort. 

13. How does the scholarship process work?

After submitting your program application, you will fill out a tuition assistance request form addressing your specific financial need. Your request form, plus your answers to the application essay questions will be sent to the scholarship committee for review. Scholarships range from $250 to $2,000 and are based on need and the amount of scholarship funds available. 

14. What is the Leadership Skagit Network?

The Leadership Skagit Network is made up of 550 Leadership Skagit Alumni, including local officials from city and town mayors to county commissioners; small and medium-sized business owners; and numerous employees at large corporations and non-profit organizations that are the heartbeat of the county. 


15. What else do I need to know about Leadership Skagit?

Leadership Skagit was founded in 2003 as a program of the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC) in partnership with Skagit Valley College (SVC). At the culmination of the program year, participants qualify for 17 college credits in Leadership from SVC.