Abilene’s talent pool and LEADERSHIP NETWORK isn’t just a driving force of our economy. It’s what separates us from the pack.

We help our members invest in that talent through comprehensive leadership development offerings designed to connect and grow strong leaders who lead both inside and out of the office.

Our leadership development programs offer a unique blend of classroom and experiential learning that allows participants to:

  • Build meaningful, long-lasting connections

  • Learn from our region’s most influential leaders

  • Think critically about key business, policy and civic issues facing the Abilene area

Applications for the next Leadership Abilene Class will go live on June 1, 2023. Contact Jennifer Kent here for questions. 


Leadership Abilene

  • Identify and motivate potential leaders

  • Acquaint them with community needs

  • Provide insight into techniques, opportunities, and challenges of leadership

  • Explore alternate perspectives for community challenges

  • Encourage new leaders to community involvement

Leadership Abilene strives to expose participants to the many services, resources, organizations and businesses that make Abilene unique. Each month (of the nine-month program) the group will attend presentations, tour facilities and interact with representatives from local businesses, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and public offices. 

This highly sought-after and respected program accepts up to 36 participants each year from a wide cross-section of Abilenians. After almost 40 years, Leadership Abilene Alumni can be found serving on boards, leading companies and creating new opportunities.

Who should apply?

Anyone 21 and older who is interested in expanding your network and gaining deeper insight and access to all that Abilene has to offer.

What is the time commitment?

This program runs one full day, monthly, September through May. Usually on a Thursday or a Friday. A mandatory orientation and seven out of the nine program days are required to graduate from the program.

Why should I do this? 

Leadership Abilene offered me an avenue to explore leadership opportunities alongside others with the same goal. Leadership Abilene also provided valuable insight into how I can make an impact in my community. -Emerald Cassidy, ACU

Two of the many great experiences I took from Leadership Abilene are, one, the numerous close friendships that developed during that year and beyond, and two, I gained a greater understanding
and appreciation for how this GREAT city operates and serves its GREAT citizens! -Luke Harwell, Baack’s Florist

Being part of Leadership Abilene gives you an opportunity to see what it takes to make and keep Abilene the great city that it is. If you want to be part of this community, from the inside out, Leadership Abilene should be on your bucket list!  – Yanell Rieder, Casa Authentique


Meet the Class of 2023

Shawna Atkinson, City of Abilene
Daisy Jane Bergeron, American Cancer Society
1st Lt Kaitlin Cashin, United State Air Force
Brett Clifton, First Financial Bank
Joshua Davis, Abilene Police Department
Kristin Donald, Coleman County State Bank
Kyle Felan, Big Country Title
Wesley Gosdin, Coca Cola Southwest Beverages
Elizabeth Gray, Abilene Teachers Federal Credit Union
Ricardo Gutierrez, RGF Insurance Agency LLC
Sarah Halbert, Happy State Bank
Krista Hale, Home2 Suites by Hilton
Graig Jackson, Ben E. Keith Beverages
Cynthia Jeter, Hendrick Medical Center South
Brandon Knighton, McMahon Surovik Suttle, PC
Ashley Knowlton, Abilene Chamber of Commerce
Rachel Lantrip, Texas State Technical College
Patrick Lewis, Community Foundation of Abilene
Daniel Macaluso, Abilene Christian University
Eric Mallet, Dream Bigger Financial Legacy
Capt. Sarah Orvosh, United States Air Force
Joel Paris, Big Brothers Big Sisters
John Ramirez, Abilene Police Department
Rhonda Rivas, Perini Ranch
Luke Roberson, AEP Texas
Danielle Robertson, Goodwill West Texas
Tyser Robertson, Jacob & Martin
Morgan Roden, Weatherl & Associates Architecture
Jared Rodriguez, First Financial Bank
Brent Schroeder, Abilene Industrial Foundation
Blake Sherman, Arrow Ford
Chase Sims, Condley and Company, LLP
Edward Smith, Abilene Library Consortium
Jared Whitworth, United Supermarkets
Marcus Wiley, 211Texas – A Call for Help/United Way
Julie Wilson, Buffalo Gap Chamber of Commerce

Class Project

Leadership Abilene will begin accepting proposals from non-profit organizations for the Class of 2023 class project beginning Monday, November 14, 2022, with a deadline of Wednesday, November 30, 2022. The purpose of the project is to develop and implement a project that will benefit the city of Abilene and or the Taylor County community, and to give class participants the opportunity to work collaboratively as a team, utilizing the combined resources, talents and skills of class members, as well as the leadership skills promoted within the Leadership Abilene program.

Click HERE for the project guidelines and examples of previous class projects and HERE for the proposal form.