Cultivating, inspiring and challenging our region’s leaders

Leadership Charleston

Leadership Charleston

Through community immersion and interactions with diverse leaders, Leadership Charleston is cultivating leaders and igniting the advancement of the Charleston metro. The Chamber has been running this 10-month program for over 45 years – offering an intensive and up-close look at the most challenging issues and opportunities facing our region.

Leadership Charleston engages participants in experiences that help them become better community leaders.

View the Leadership Charleston Class of 2020

5 Reasons to Apply

  • Expand your leadership capacity through immersion into the realities and opportunities of our community
  • Collaborate with the region’s top community leaders and organizations
  • Develop deep relationships with a network of diverse colleagues
  • Gain valuable insight into the most challenging issues facing our region
  • Ignite change in our region

Leadership Charleston Program Information

  • Demonstrate leadership in your community.
  • Be employed by a Chamber member company.
  • Have an interest in furthering your knowledge about the Charleston Metro Area and community leadership.
  • Commit to full participation in the Leadership Charleston program – the program requires a major time commitment.
  • Attend a mandatory orientation session on September 5 – 6, 2019 at Wild Dunes Resort.
  • Become active participants in advancing the community and making a positive contribution to the Charleston region post-graduation.
Application Process
  • Applications for the Leadership Charleston Class of 2020 are now closed.
  • If you submitted your application before 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 14, you will receive confirmation of receipt within 48 hours of sending your application. If you do not receive confirmation, please follow up by email to to verify your application was sent correctly.
  • A letter of endorsement must be received by June 14. This should be completed by your company Chief Executive or local area executive. This can be uploaded with your application or sent by email to with the subject line Leadership Charleston Letter of Endorsement.
  • Upon acceptance, a headshot and profile information will be required.
  • You will need to supply an email address that Leadership Charleston can use to communicate important program information throughout the class year. The class will also utilize social platforms for communication (google forms, etc.).
Selection Process
  • All completed applications will be reviewed by a committee comprised of Leadership Charleston Alumni during a blind process.
  • Leadership Charleston class size is limited. If you are not accepted into this class, you are encouraged to reapply for an upcoming Leadership Charleston program.


  • Applications open May 13 – June 14
  • Select 2020 class participants early July
  • Notify all applications of acceptance status by email late July
  • Tuition payment required upon acceptance and before August 20
  • Press announcement of class in August
Program Sessions & Attendance


Leadership Charleston begins with an overnight orientation September 5-6 at Wild Dunes Resort and then meets one full day per month from October 2019 through May 2020.


Each of these monthly program days is focused on a facet of the community (i.e. local government, military, philanthropy, economic development, etc.). June 2020 is a final wrap-up session and a graduation celebration.


Attendance is mandatory for the overnight Orientation Retreat on September 5-6 (Thursday and Friday) at Wild Dunes Resort. The monthly sessions are normally the third Thursday of each month. Only two absences for the one-day sessions will be allowed throughout the program. The schedule for each month’s sessions is below. Class members are also required to attend community meetings and a police ride-along on their own time outside of the monthly meetings.


  • September 5-6, 2019 (Mandatory Overnight Orientation; Thursday-Friday)
  • October 17, 2019 (Thursday)
  • November 21, 2019 (Thursday)
  • December 12, 2019 (Thursday)
  • January 16, 2020 (Thursday)
  • February 12, 2020 (Wednesday)
  • March 19, 2020 (Thursday)
  • April 16, 2020 (Thursday)
  • May 21, 2020 (Thursday)
  • June 18, 2020 (Thursday)

Tuition for the Leadership Class of 2019 is $2,900 for participants employed by Chamber member companies/organizations. Upon acceptance to the class, tuition is due in full by August 20, 2019.


Tuition fee payments are final and are not refundable once the applicant has accepted their spot in the class. The deadline to submit your application is June 14.

Thank you to our 2020 sponsors

Program Sponsors

Training Sponsor

Not in the current Leadership Charleston class?

Let us notify you when applications open for the Class of 2021!

In Their Words

Leadership Charleston allowed me the opportunity to learn about important industries and issues in the region, along with tools to be a more effective and mindful leader.

Chelsea Ex-Lubeskie, Class of 2019