Applications Open August 2024

African American Leadership Academy (AALA) is a community based, leadership development program designed to expand the number and effectiveness of emerging African American leaders in our city who excel in their professions and engage in public and community life.


Developing the Next Generation of Leaders

For Today and Tomorrow.

The Academy is an outgrowth of the vision of a small group of African American leaders who understood the importance of developing the next generation of leaders for today and tomorrow. Selected Fellows will learn and grow through individual coaching and mentoring experiences, seminars, skill building exercises and interaction with community leaders. Fellows will be engaged in this dynamic curriculum over a ten-month period.


We are a community-based leadership development program. Entrance into the African American Leadership Academy is by invitation. Individuals accepted into the Academy are called “Fellows.” Our Fellows come with a demonstrated excellence in their profession, a commitment to public or community service and a desire to succeed.

We reach across the business, non-profit, government, education and entrepreneurial sectors of our community to form each class. Building a diverse class produces a learning environment that engages our Fellows in both new and different realms of thinking.

By design, we create rich and authentic development experiences. They include up-close and personal engagement with some of the city’s most visible leaders. Fellows graduate from the Academy with a sharper focus on understanding their own leadership style and strengths. In addition, they have a clearer strategy on adding more value in their workplace and a deeper commitment to community service.

The African American Leadership Academy expands the number of African American leaders who excel in their professions and engage in community service in central Ohio. Our work reshapes the future landscape of leadership and broadens awareness of African American leadership beyond the borders of commonly tapped leadership circles.

Criteria for Selection

Approximately 20 individuals will be selected based on the following criteria:

Commitment to civic involvement through time, talent and/or resources.

Demonstrated leadership potential in their profession and/or community.

Motivated to address critical needs in the community.

Application Process

The application process takes place each year. During this process 20 applicants will be selected to join a cohort of African American leaders who will complete the AALA program together. The selection process occurs as follows: 


Call for nominations. Any alumni fellow, sponsor, or board member has the opportunity to nominate 2 people to apply for the upcoming cohort.


All nominees are invited to submit their applications.


All completed applications are given to members of the AALA Advisory Board Review. 


AALA Advisory Board makes their selection for the upcoming cohort. All applicants for notified if they were accepted into the academy.


Cohort kick-off event.

January - September

AALA class sessions.