Signature Program

The Leadership Akron Signature Program is a 10-month program for our region’s top leaders across sectors who are interested in broadening their community impact. Each day-long experience is designed by Leadership Akron alumni who have expertise in the field of interest for that day. In addition to each month’s day-long seminar, short site visits to unique locations provide a deeper understanding of the topic at hand. The program not only engages and informs the top leaders of our community’s companies and organizations, it creates meaningful bonds with other like-minded individuals of diverse backgrounds.

From August through June, the Signature Program exposes top area leaders to experiences and connections that will prepare them to maximize their community impact. The program kicks off with a city tour and a spirited, overnight Opening Retreat. In the months that follow, the class is immersed in experiences that address specific aspects of the community. Each program day gives the class a hands-on, behind-the-scenes look at what is happening in each sector; the opportunity to hear from leaders of organizations and the key issues they are addressing; and firsthand accounts from providers and customers.

Signature Class 36, Opening Retreat

Signature Class 36, Opening Retreat

The Goal: Leaders Ready to Serve

Leadership Akron presents an unparalleled opportunity for leaders to see beyond their own spheres to the broader interests of community. They develop a working knowledge of our community across sectors, and learn to appreciate the diverse perspectives of their classmates. The result—a corps of leaders equipped to advance our community.


Follow the link to the right to be directed to the application page.

Akron City Tour
Wednesday, August 7
7:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

New Class Reception/Annual Meeting
Tuesday, August 27
5:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m.

Opening Retreat
Thursday, September 5 – Friday, September 6
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Parks & Environment Day
Wednesday, September 25
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Arts & Culture Day
Wednesday, October 16
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Day
Wednesday, November 20
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Civic Leadership Day
Wednesday, December 4
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Health Care Day
Wednesday, January 15
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Social Services Day
Wednesday, February 12
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Education Day
Wednesday, March 18
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Justice Day
Wednesday, April 22
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Closing Retreat
Thursday, May 14 to 8:00 a.m.–Friday, May 15 to 12:00 p.m.

Wednesday, June 10
5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.


*The 2019-2020 application period is now closed*
Applications for Signature Class 37 will be available in Spring 2020.

APPLICANT criteria:

In general, there are 2-3 applicants for every spot in the class; up to 40 individuals will be selected. Many candidates apply multiple times before being selected. A selection committee, made up of the members of the Leadership Akron Board of Trustees, carefully reviews all submitted applications. Each candidate will have a brief informational interview with a trustee to provide additional background on their application.

The committee looks for applicants who:

  • Have demonstrated commitment and concern through past and present community volunteer activities.
  • Have demonstrated a capacity for leadership within their own organizations through significant achievements relative to age and experience.
  • Have the ability to make the time commitment required with the full support of the applicant’s employer.

Other considerations for the Signature Program:

  • We seek representation from a diverse group of men and women in business, labor, education, health care, arts, religion, government, community-based organizations, and ethnic and minority groups.
  • We seek representation from all geographic areas of the greater Akron region.
  • Community service in other communities is considered in the selection process.
  • It is NOT a requirement to have completed any other Leadership Akron programs or attend any Leadership Akron events.
  • Appointment to the Leadership Akron Signature Program is limited. Only one candidate is selected from a business or organization in any given year.
  • Due to the size restrictions of each year’s class, many well-qualified candidates will not be chosen. Applicants are encouraged to reapply in subsequent years. Oftentimes, when candidates reapply, it is noted and weighed in to the selection process.


Tuition for the 2019–20 Signature Program is $3,750.