About the Academy

The Academy enlarges the definition of success and redefines the description of leadership to include doing well at work, to do more good in the community. To that end, it assembles a group of Fellows who have the likelihood of significant accomplishments in both of those arenas. The Academy selects individuals who are ready to grow and to engage in preparation for that kind of success and that kind of leadership.

Each year, the Academy’s Advisory Board along with current and past Fellows seek out and nominate individuals to be invited to apply to the Academy. These individuals represent the business, non-profit, government, education and entrepreneurial sectors of the central Ohio community. Nominees have demonstrated potential for top leadership roles in both their professional and civic life.

Nominees are asked to apply to the Academy. Applications typically far exceed the number of available class slots. From the pool of applications only 12-20 people are invited to participate in the Academy. The Academy class starts in January of each year with graduation occurring in September.

By design, the Academy’s intensive strengths based curriculum focuses on rigorous reflection and thoughtful development around efficacy, leadership agility and leadership interaction. It is rooted in working on the individual as a distinctive leader.

The Academy’s core curriculum involves:


Exploring, discovering & developing each participant's distinctive style of leading.


Exploring, discovering & developing each participant's distinctive style of leading.


Creating a personal agenda for growth and development through access to personal coaches and strategic connections with highly regarded community leaders

Our mission matters

This is what we stand for.

The Academy’s mission is to increase the number of central Ohio’s African American leaders and broaden its awareness of a wider pool of capable and civic minded African American professionals.

Maximizing the potential and engagement of all social and economic sectors is essential to the greater purpose of building “best at” and “best to be in” businesses and communities. The Academy seeks to accomplish this by offering strength based curriculum focused on efficacy, leadership agility and leadership interaction.



The Academy is governed by an Advisory Board consisting of representatives from the Academy’s sponsoring organizations, AALA Alumni, as well as other prominent community leaders.

Robert 'Bo' Chilton

Board Chair

Tristan Hall

Vice Chair

Donna A. James

Co-Executive Director

Mo Wright

Co-Executive Director




The African American Leadership Academy is grateful to the organizations below for supporting its mission. This financial support enables central Ohio to anticipate and construct the bench of diverse leadership that is needed to be –and remain– a “best at” community. By partnering with the Academy, our sponsors bring more innovative and highly performing leadership teams to all sectors of our community.

*Founding Sponsor