leadership oakland

Leadership Oakland has been preparing future leaders in our community for 35 years. A key part of our success is the personal connections made between classmates of each year’s cohort as well as with the many community leaders and elected officials that so graciously give their time to the program. We are extremely proud of our recent graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021 that, due to COVID, participated in the program either in part or completely virtually. Their resilience is noteworthy.   As we near full reopening, albeit with a pause as our country navigates the Delta variant and associated road bumps to herd immunity, we have decided to move our program launch date to January 2022  – but will continue to accept applications thru the fall.  We encourage those who want to be a part of our 2022 graduating class, that you apply now to hold your place.

Leadership Oakland

What is Leadership Oakland?

Leadership Oakland is a civic and professional development, networking, and leadership training program of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce. Currently in its 32nd year, the program offers Oakland’s current and future leaders the opportunity to gain an in-depth knowledge of the role leadership plays in our city and prepares participants for roles on city commissions, non-profit boards, elected office, and greater community engagement.

Leadership Oakland Alumni also stay connected with each other and the community through the Leadership Oakland Alumni Association (LOAA). 

Who should participate?
Anyone living or working in Oakland who has a stake in the City’s future and plans to continue to be involved in Oakland five years from now
Anyone with an interest in government, advocacy, non-profit work, or who wishes to contribute to the betterment of our community
Anyone interested in civic and professional development as well as leadership skills training
Participants come from a wide array of backgrounds and often include executives, business owners, consultants, and employees of politicians
Cohorts develop a close bond that provides them a valuable network after the program ends. Participants also benefit from involvement with the Leadership Oakland Alumni Association, which hosts mixers and events year-round.
What is the curriculum?

Each day-long session is devoted to an in-depth exploration of various topics relevant to Oakland. Participants are introduced to speakers and leaders from the Oakland community. During each session you will be introduced to experts who will speak about the factors that impact Oakland’s future. Session topics include:

 • Leadership skills and professional development

• Economic Development 

• City Government and neighborhoods

• Local news media

• Health Care

• City Commissions and Boards of Directors

• Education

• Non-profits 

• Arts

• Public Safety 

• Implicit Bias

• Transportation and the environment 

The program also includes several unique site visits and field trips, as well as attendance at the Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Awards Luncheon in June. Sessions are held at various locations throughout the City that align with the curriculum for the day. Each participant is responsible for their own transportation to and from the sessions as well as all parking involved. Participants are encouraged to carpool.


Leadership Oakland requires a strong commitment from its participants. Each participant is required to have the support of their employer. The following will result in termination from the program with no tuition refund:

• Failure to attend the Leadership Training.

• More than one absence during the program.

• Partial attendance at any session in excess of two occurrences.

What are the commitments and requirements?

One full day per month from October to June, usually the second Friday from 8:30am – 4pm followed by a cohort happy hour (see Program Calendar for more information).

Complete a small group project for a local non-profit or micro-business and should expect to devote on average 5 hours per month outside of sessions.

• Previous small group projects have included technical assistance to Oakland nonprofits such as SOS Meals on Wheels, Family Paths, Prescott Circus Theatre, Kiva Oakland, and Facing History and Ourselves. 

• Attend and speak at an Oakland City Council or other public agency meeting to advocate on an issue you find important. Ample opportunities and coaching will be provided and the topic is of your choosing.

• Tuition includes: all program materials, leadership training sessions, breakfasts and lunches, as well as costs associated with Chamber mixers and events free to members, Annual Awards Luncheon, and graduation.

Early bird or Non-profit tuition
June 7 – July 31: $1,350

Regular tuition from
August 1 – September 1: $1,550

Late tuition from
September 2 – September 10: $1,750

Participants will be notified of admissions status on September 15th

Participants may purchase a discounted membership to the Leadership Oakland Alumni Association for $50 during the program.

What is the selection criteria?

Selection will be based on the information provided in your application and possible personal interview. Leadership Oakland seeks representation from a cross section of the community including business, government and nonprofit organizations. The criteria for selection includes the following: 

• A sincere commitment, motivation and interest in serving the community.
• Individuals who demonstrate commitment through past or present involvement in the community.
• Individuals with an awareness and understanding of community and business issues who demonstrate a commitment to Oakland and its future. 

How do I apply?

• Complete the online application after reviewing the program calendar.

• A nonrefundable $50 application fee plus a $100 tuition deposit is due with your application. Applicants will be notified of their admission status on September 15, 2021 after all applications have been reviewed. Applicants have until 5pm September 17, 2021 to confirm their place in the program or it may be given to a waitlisted applicant and tuition deposit will be forfeited. 

• The complete tuition minus the $100 tuition deposit must be paid in full by September 30, 2021. If the complete tuition is not received by the day of orientation on September 30, 2021 the applicant will not be able to participate in orientation. If you are not selected for admission, your $100 tuition deposit will be returned. Once a participant has attended two sessions (including the orientation), the tuition is nontransferable and nonrefundable.

• Checks should be made payable to the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and submitted to the below address. If paying tuition by credit card, an additional $25 processing fee applies. 

Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce 

Attn: Leadership Oakland

1333 Broadway, Plaza Level Suite 100, Oakland, CA 94612