Community Leadership School

Joliet Area Young Professionals Logo

Community Leadership School Helps to develop excellence in leadership development

The Joliet region has enjoyed the benefits of strong voluntary leadership since it’s founding in 1852. As the region continues to experience commercial and residential growth, there is a continuing need to develop an expanding foundation of leadership. Our future demands the development of skilled, committed leaders who understand the region’s strengths and needs.

Patterned after community leadership programs across the country, the Joliet Region Chamber’s Community Leadership School will celebrate its 47th “class” in 2024. Each year, the program has grown and changed, seeking to stay abreast on the latest issues, trends and challenges facing our region.

Enrollment in the Community Leadership School is open to individuals from all organizations and professions. The main criterion is a willingness to become involved in community leadership. The maximum class size is 40 participants. Seats fill quickly so do not delay!

Organizations are encouraged to sponsor promising young executives, new managers, and other individuals who want to make the Joliet area a better place to live. Participants gain a broad understanding of the concerns and activities of governmental bodies, agencies and organizations serving the region.

The sessions for Community Leadership School are generally held from January through March. During this intensive 10-week period, students will hear from and interact with a panel of guest speakers from area businesses, government, education, labor and community -based organizations to discuss a variety of current events.

Students will be required to participate in an in-depth, team project for a selected non-profit agency. The project will require additional out of class time and participation. Presentation of group projects will be made after during the final class meeting.

Session Topics

Each Session is designed in a panel/presenter format. Specific issues and topics concerning the Joliet/Will County area are selected for study.

  • How To Effectively Network Learn how to effectively network by a Dale Carnegie veteran
  • Leadership Assessment An evaluation of ones self to help define possible leadership productivity and personality style
  • Region In Transition City and County perspectives from local leaders
  • Leadership & Community Engagement The public good through community engagement depends on leadership
  • Ethics In Responsibility Learn how to judge situations and make the best decision possible
  • Education & Business Gain multiple perspectives from a panel of educators on how the future generations will be prepared for business
  • Illinois Legislative Panel An excellent way for CLS participants to address legislative leaders on issues that have direct impacts upon Joliet and Will County
  • Personal Leadership Skills A motivational perspective on the how’s and why’s of successful leadership
  • Building on Joliet’s Excellence Enjoy our very own bus trip around town discussing our past, present and future

Invitation Letter

To the Employer of a Future Community Leader:

I am reaching out to extend a personal invitation for you to consider sending one or more of your valued employees to the next Community Leadership School (CLS) offered by the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce.

I am very familiar with this program and can speak to its worth through firsthand experience. As a member of the 2019 CLS class and now a member of the Joliet Chamber’s Board of Directors, the experiences I had in CLS and the networking opportunities it provided continue to make a difference in my professional life. Through CLS, I not only became much more familiar with the services, organizations and businesses in the Joliet and Will County area, but I also developed professional relationships and contacts that have greatly enhanced my role as the Director of Community & Government Relations at the University of St. Francis. I can attest that this 10-week program can play an invaluable role in the building and developing of future leaders in our community.

For this 47th annual class offering, we will continue with programming sessions that explore the importance of networking, personal leadership, ethics and community engagement, while also allowing participants to become more familiar with how the Joliet and Will County regions continue to grow and evolve. Additionally, teams of participants will work on a service project in partnership with local nonprofit organizations to create and experience their own positive impact within our community.

We are mindful that participation in a 10-week course may sound time-consuming, as it requires valued employees to be away from their respective worksites each week. Know, though, that classes meet for just one day each week (Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.). We can assure you that the opportunities for personal and professional growth offered through CLS are tremendous and can make for a more enriched and actively engaged employee, while also allowing for the promotion your business through networking with community leaders, service agencies and other program participants with whom they will engage.

I encourage you to review the enclosed brochure and contact me ( or the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce with any questions about the 47th annual Community Leadership School. On behalf of the Joliet Chamber, we look forward to having your company represented in this year’s program, which will begin on January 11, 2024.


Dave DiLorenzo, 2024 Community Leadership School Chairperson

Community Leadership School Group photo at seminar with speaker

CLS Session Schedule

Beginning date – Thursday, January 11, 2024 / start time will be 7:30 AM and will run weekly until 9:00 AM

Sessions will meet at various locations throughout Joliet. This will provide an additional opportunity to become familiar with Joliet’s business community. Locations will be announced in the confirmation packet provided to all participants.

CLS Information

CLS Application

(815) 727-5371

Mission & Purpose
The mission of the Community Leadership School (CLS) is to help develop excellence in leadership development.

CLS is designed to:

  • Develop responsible community leadership
  • Foster community awareness and involvement among talented individuals who display leadership leadership potential
  • Develop a “shared vision” for a better future
  • Provide participants an opportunity to develop valuable networks of resources
  • Guarantee a strong corps of volunteer leaders for the Joliet Region

CLS Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor
University of St. Francis




Platinum Sponsors
D’Arcy Buick GMC
NuMark Credit Union

D'Arcy Buick | GMC logo




NuMark Credit Union