Bloomington Leadership Program group

Participants of the Bloomington Leadership Program pose in the City Council chambers with City staff who led the program. 

Mayor’s memo: Bloomington Leadership Program

Engaged leaders help make a community thrive, and the Bloomington Leadership Program fosters success across our city. Any Bloomington resident 18 years or older can apply to be a part of this free program designed to build leadership opportunities for all communities.

In 2017, the City launched the Bloomington Leadership Program to encourage more diverse populations to apply for commission and board openings. So far, 51 people have taken part in the program.

Participants get to know each other, cultivate a broader understanding of their community and hone leadership skills. All the while, barriers to understanding are broken down, discovery takes place and community building occurs.

Topics cover civic engagement, community leadership, personal leadership development and other engaging exercises. From start to finish, the Bloomington Leadership Program is a fun way to be involved with the community and build leadership skills.

As a Bloomington Leadership Program guest presenter, I enjoyed taking part in a mock city council session where participants took on the roles of city councilmembers, subject matter experts and community members who acted out a scenario to experience what takes place at a regular meeting. For this exercise, I acted as mayor. The mock council voted in favor of an ordinance, and I cast the only dissenting vote. The measure passed. This illustrates how a mayor’s legislative power has limits.

Some participants were surprised at the outcome. (They also took the opportunity to remind me in a joking way that the roleplay was a test of my future mayoral dealings.)

These emerging leaders go on to take their skills to new levels. Bloomington Leadership Program alumni have participated in Welcome Meals, the 2020 Census Complete Count Committee, the Lyndale Avenue Retrofit project and other vital community initiatives.

The benefits of the Bloomington Leadership Program are innumerable. I encourage Bloomington residents to get involved and become leaders for a better community.