Leadership Development

Leadership Bartow was established in 1984 to enhance the civic participation of emerging leaders within the Greater Bartow Area. Every two years, Leadership Bartow selects the best and brightest individuals in the Bartow area to participate in the two-year program oriented to developing leadership skills, fostering understanding of the major issues facing the Bartow area, improving the communications network among leaders of disparate backgrounds and interests and, most importantly, motivating them to contribute through voluntary participation in civic activities.

Since its inception, more than 350 individuals have completed the Leadership Bartow program, acquiring the skills, knowledge and passion necessary to participate fully in the life of our community. Moreover, the program has brought together individuals ranging from corporate executives and entrepreneurs, to educators, non-profit managers and public servants. These individuals have created lasting networks that have proved essential to creating a vital, positive community for current and future generations. Leadership Bartow continues to be a vital part of the overall effort to ensure that the pool of talent from which the community can draw its future leaders continues to be renewed.

The founders of Leadership Bartow shared at least two things in common. First, they understood that the future of Bartow was closely tied to the commitment and expertise of its next generation of leaders. Second, they wanted to ensure that the quality of responses made by future leaders to a wide array of complex social and economic issues in the greater Bartow area would be vigorous, well-informed and responsible. Those who have followed them share their commitment and look forward to guiding Leadership Bartow’s strategic direction.

Leadership XIV Graduation, June 5, 2012 at Bartow Municipal Airport


  • To identify and educate potential, emerging and existing community leaders.
  • To promote networking among the membership.
  • To identify community needs and to promote and facilitate community projects.
  • To provide a resource pool for the benefit of the community.


Leadership Bartow targets individuals:

  • With a sincere commitment, motivation and interest to serve in the community;
  • Who have demonstrated commitment by past community activities;
  • Who are interested in seeking, or intending to seek public office, boards, commissions, or key volunteer roles;
  • With potential opportunities for advancement to top leadership positions within their organizations;
  • With the commitment to remain in the Greater Bartow area or are not likely to be transferred in the immediate future;
  • Representing all segments of the community;
  • With demonstrated leadership qualities or potential for development of those qualities;
  • That represent geographic, occupational, gender, ethnic and other diversity.


In addition to gaining an awareness and understanding of the issues and challenges facing the region, participants in Leadership Bartow can:
  • Refine their personal and public leadership style and skills;
  • Develop diverse contacts and an excellent communication network;
  • Receive recognition for themselves and their organizations for their voluntary civic activities;
  • Access better opportunities for taking an active role in addressing community needs.

Attendance Policy

To graduate from Leadership Bartow, class members are expected to attend all of the sessions. Class members must have a minimum of sixteen (16) credits at the end of the two-year curriculum in order to graduate from their class and includes at least eight credits in Year One and at least eight credits in Year Two. A credit is earned by attending the full day program. Sessions normally run from about 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Class members are expected to travel with the group, not in their own vehicles. Socials and volunteer opportunities count as a one-half (1/2) credit and may be used toward graduation requirements. Class members not earning enough credits to graduate may utilize the make-up policy and may remain in the class, although not graduate from the class in the Spring of the second year. If a class member begins the program and does not finish or graduate, no refund of tuition is granted.

Make-Up Policy: If a class member does not earn enough credits within the two-year curriculum to graduate with their class, they will be given the option of making up the same classes (or similar classes if the topics have changed) with the next group. When enough credits are earned to total the sixteen (16) needed for graduation, the class member will earn their alumni status. Participants not earning sixteen (16) credits will not be eligible to take part in any of the scheduled graduation exercises. Only when enough missed classes are made up for the class member to meet the required credits will the participant be considered a “graduate” of their original class.

Tuition and Application for Next Leadership Class

The tuition for Leadership Bartow is $1,950.00. The tuition may be paid in two installments of $975.00 due August 15 prior to the start of year one and year two. Tuition for Leadership Bartow covers the majority of costs relating to the progam.
Costs not covered by tuition include:

  • Private rooms requested by students during overnight stays
  • Some meals during the Tallahassee Day
  • The entire Washington D.C. trip
  • Several lunches during various days
  • Incidentals, tips, gratuities.

Other Leadership Programs and Expansions

  • Networking morning coffee breaks
  • "Lunch and Learn" events
  • Professional development luncheon series
  • After hours social gatherings

  • Educational programs and trips
  • Fundraisers to benefit the Leadership Bartow program

  • New curriculum components including: Quality of Life, Retail / Manufacturing, and enhanced leadership training.