5 Leadership Development Programs for City Leaders

The best athletes and performers put significant time into practice and preparation for their execution. However, most city leaders are expected to execute, execute, execute, without being given time for practice or learning from that execution.

Anybody looking to be a leader in urban planning, urban design, rural planning, city government, and regional planning must practice and learn to improve your decision-making, technical skills, and collaboration ability.
Below are leadership programs that will set you up for success. Hurry and check these out soon before the application deadlines!

Next City Vanguard Conference

“The Vanguard conference is an experiential urban leadership gathering of rising urban leaders working to improve cities across sectors, including urban planning, community development, entrepreneurship, government, transportation, sustainability, design, art, and media.” Click here for more info.

It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment.

-Carl Friedrich Gauss

Leadership NACTO

“Leadership NACTO offers promising leaders in city transportation the opportunity for in-depth, targeted professional development and training, as well as sustained connections with a cohort of other emerging leaders. Throughout the program, the Fellows participate in curated workshops, learn from proven leaders in the field, build meaningful connections with peers in other cities, basing their learning on a personalized 360-review process. ” Click here for more info.

Urban Leaders Fellowship

If you want to focus more on community development, check out the Urban Leaders Fellowship. It’s “a paid summer fellowship for early- to mid-career professionals who are already leaders in their own right and are looking to accelerate their leadership through a seven-week fellowship with a focus on policy and practice. In ten premier cities across the country, fellows work in partnership with other ambitious, mission-driven individuals, organizations, and elected officials with the aim of empowering fellows to bring about real and lasting change in the community in which they work.” Fellows have opportunities to work on policy advancement, community impact, and people development. Click here for more info.

Experience is the key to learning. Reflecting on experience is the key to transformation.


This training is put on by the Institute of Transportation Engineers that focuses on leaders in transportation. ITE is a great organization I’ve been a part of as a planner. It’s an excellent opportunity to interact with our favorite colleagues, transportation engineers. “Participants will explore current issues in transportation; develop and hone leadership competencies; and build the professional network required to excel as leaders…” Click here for more info.

Eno’s Future Leaders Development Conference

If you are in graduate school with a transportation-related discipline, this program is for you! ” Each year, the Eno Future Leaders Development Conference (LDC) gives 20 of the nation’s top graduate students in transportation a first-hand look at how national transportation policies are developed. Students apply to the program early in the year, and those selected as ‘Eno Fellows’ come to Washington, DC for a week in the spring of meetings with federal officials and leaders of business and non-profit organizations. ” Click here for more details.

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