What you should know about Leadership Greater Washington membership

We get a lot of questions about the Leadership Greater Washington (LGW) Signature Program. The information included on our website is a great primer, but we wanted to personally address some of the more frequent inquiries - such as who should apply and who to ask for references - and give more insight on what we do.
As our region continues to grow, that growth comes with challenges, and we believe these challenges demand leaders who are informed, engaged, and ready to work together to build positive change. Through the LGW Signature Program, our goal is not just to find those leaders, but to equip them with the knowledge and resources necessary to create impact on their communities. It’s about uniting Great Minds for a Greater Purpose.

We’re excited to announce that applications are now open for the Signature Program Class of 2025 and the application deadline is April 12, 2024. This is your opportunity to join a diverse collective of senior leaders to identify, examine, and address civic issues in our region. By informing leaders of the complexities and intersections of these issues, we can empower regional leaders to serve as a force for social change and become part of a movement working together to make a difference.

How long has Leadership Greater Washington been around?
Our organization was established in 1986 by a group of regional leaders and three leading organizations – Meyer Foundation, Greater Washington Board of Trade, and the Junior League of Washington – to foster communication and cooperation among the area’s established leaders. Through the Signature Program we have fostered the success of more than 2,000 influential leaders, and we continue to offer unique programming that builds connections and inspires collaborative efforts to improve our region and their impact.

What will I gain from the Signature Program?
We often stress that the Signature Program is not a leadership development program. Our focus instead is on providing the opportunity for great leaders across the region to come together and learn from trusted facilitators, noted experts, and other class members about issues affecting our communities. Participants will graduate from the program with an understanding of how to effectively incorporate community-based leadership in addressing these critical issues.
When you join LGW’s 10-month Signature Program, you connect with change-makers from a wide range of social, cultural, and professional backgrounds. Together you will forge meaningful relationships, exchange trusted counsel, and cultivate progress from common ground. It’s the beginning of life-long connections with each other and with the greater LGW network of leaders.

What should I expect from the Signature Program?
You can expect to be in a cohort of approximately 60 leaders competitively selected to represent the professional and individual diversity of the Greater Washington region. You can expect to learn about important topics such as education, human needs, housing affordability, and other issues intrinsic with a rapidly growing region. But you can also expect the unexpected. With each class year comes leaders from all walks of life, from all sectors and geographies, and you are certain to make connections and learn things you never imagined. The relationships built through the Signature Program are about making an impact on the region, but also about making an impact on each other.

Should you apply for the LGW Signature Program?
As there is no typical Signature Program class, there is also no typical Signature Program participant. Each year we look for senior leaders in the business, non-profit, and local government sectors, but because of the diversity of leadership in our region, we welcome a wide array of people into each year’s class.
In order to have the most impact as a collective, we do ask that all Signature Program applicants:

  • Hold a senior title in their organization such as Partner, CEO, Executive Director, SVP, VP, or Managing Director;
  • Stand out as a prominent influencer in their industry; and
  • Reside and work in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, or Suburban Maryland.

The Signature Program brings together an impressive mix of leaders from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors from across the region, and we pride ourselves on our track record of bringing together leaders with diverse experiences, backgrounds and points of view. The CEOs of our region's largest employers, multiple Mayors and elected officials from the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions, and the leaders of the best-regarded nonprofit organizations, are all members of Leadership Greater Washington.

Those from the nonprofit sector who have applied but not been selected have asked for feedback, so we will share that publicly: we tend to oversample in applications from nonprofit leaders but strive to maintain our balance of private, public and nonprofit sectors across the entire region, so the Selection Committee generally looks for the most senior leader of a nonprofit organization to apply, and in some cases, they apply multiple times before they are selected.

How are members of the LGW Signature Class selected?
Our Selection Committee is comprised of current and former members of the LGW Board of Directors and past participants in the Signature Program. They review all Signature Program applications and undertake the difficult task of building a class that is representative of our region and holds potential for meaningful impact where it’s needed most.

Who should I use for references? 
We welcome any reference that speaks to your character as a person and a leader. If possible, we encourage applicants to have a reference from a past Signature Program participant. However, we understand that not everyone will have that connection, and if you have any questions or concerns about your references please contact our Sr Director of Development and Engagement, Dani Brockert, at dbrockert@lgwdc.org.

I’m interested in applying for the Signature Program, what’s my next step?
We encourage you to visit the Signature Program page on our website to learn more about the program and to begin your application. Applications for the Class of 2025 close on April 12, and if you believe you’re a good fit for the program, that your leadership will help us build a better region for all, we strongly recommend you start the application process today!

We're looking forward to what the future brings, and once more witnessing the power of connection, collaboration, and extraordinary leadership!