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Our Mission

The vision of the Rural Leadership Institute is to retain, attract, and develop rural Virginians into innovative, responsible, and civic minded leaders who build strong local and regional communities; bringing rural prosperity across the entire Commonwealth.

Curriculum: A Three Part Approach

1

Leadership Skill Building

Through a series of workshop sessions that cohort members attend as a group, participants sharpen critical skills necessary for effective leadership in their organization and/or community. Through experienced and professional facilitators, participants will learn and practice the characteristics of a results-oriented leader. Skills learned include:

  • An Introduction to Leadership Philosophy

  • Personal Leadership Development

  • Community Story Telling

  • Communication & Listening

  • Difficult Conversations

  • Navigating Power Structures

  • Organization & Funding (Grant Writing)

  • Civic Engagement and Political Leadership 

  • Engaging with Elected Officials & Govt

  • Building a Team

  • Growing Your Network

  • Understanding Data

2

Understanding Rural Issues

Many factors influence economic prosperity within rural communities, including economic development efforts, community characteristics, environmental factors, and the types of services delivered by governmental agencies or private and not-for-profit organizations. After Cohort members begin to understand their leadership style, it will be necessary to learn more about the issues facing rural Virginians. Issues learned include:

  • Economic Development

  • Rural Entrepreneurship

  • Gaining Capital

  • Regional Collaboration

  • Youth In Rural Communities

  • Faith in Rural Communities

  • Food Issues

  • Rural Tourism

  • Rural Housing

  • Agribusiness/Natural Resources

  • Broadband 

  • Rural Health/ Human Services

  • Rural Education 

3

Community Impact Project

Curriculum: A Three Part Approach

A highlight of this program is the Community Impact Project. Participants will work with industry leaders and mentors to complete a Community Impact Project that provides them with the opportunity to put their leadership skills into practice. Throughout the project they will build relationships around a goal-oriented assignment, learning from peers and acquiring first-hand experience at making a difference in their community or region. 

This multi-faceted approach enables participants to build valuable skills and professional contacts, and enhance their ability to become effective leaders in their community or across the Commonwealth.