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

Due to COVID-19, last year’s Leadership Abilene class was put on hold. In September the 2021 class, now known as the Class of 2022, will launch meaning we won’t be accepting applications for a new Leadership Abilene class until Summer of 2022. For more information on what went behind this decision, click here. We appreciate your patience and look forward to growing and developing even more leaders for our community. 


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. An overnight 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


Leadership Abilene Class of 2021

Brittany Adair, Hendrick Health
Jessica Adams, Vagabond Pizza
Allison Alvarez, Arrow Ford Mitsubishi, Inc.
Emily Bailey, TTUHSC, GSBS, Abilene Department of Public Health
Matt Beard, Maverick Saw Cutting & Core Drilling
Holly Bearden, Community Broadcast Partners (KORQ-KABW)
Chelsea Brooks, Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau
Joshua R Brown, First Financial Bank
Meredith Churchill
Elijah Dawson, Arrow Ford Mitsubishi, Inc.
Stephanie DeLaGarza, Abilene Zoological Society
Garrett Dussia, Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages
Allison Goodwin, Hardin-Simmons University
James Gordon, First Financial Bankshares, Inc.
Grant Greenwood, McMurry University
Andrew Harmon, Abilene Christian University
Kenneth Heaton, America’s SBDC at Texas Tech
Victoria Hernandez, United Supermarkets, LLC – N. Willis
Susan Holland, Servicemaster by A-Town/Hi-Tech
Joe Mangrem, Enprotec / Hibbs & Todd, Inc. (eHT)
Jan Morrison, Noah Project
Mindi Nagy, Abilene Country Club
Kimberly Norman-Prater, Gary’s Floral Gallery
Michelle Parrish, Community Foundation of Abilene
Jay Patterson, The Leaf
Jackie Powell, Wylie Independent School District
Charles Rodgers, West Texas Rehabilitation Center
Travis Ruiz, KTAB-TV/KRBC-TV
Byron Stephenson, The Shed Market
Gabriel Stokes, The Local
Brenda Trinidad, First Financial Bank
Bubba Weckwerth, Vintage Marketplace
Noreen White, Betty Hardwick Center
Benjamin R Young, Brightway, The Young Agency