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      the CHANGE



Leadership Ellsworth County, originally a project of the Ellsworth-Kanopolis Area Chamber of Commerce and now a program supported by Ellsworth County Economic Development, was designed to develop leaders who will have the skills and capacities to move our communities forward.  Leadership for the 21st century includes a thorough understanding of the assets as well as the needs of their communities.  Ellsworth County's leaders must have skills and understanding, as well as a sense of responsibility, caring and compassion for others, the desire to serve, and to give back.  Leadership Ellsworth County is a partner with world-renowned Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) and shares the curriculum and style modeled by the KLC.  Leadership Ellsworth County class members will work to build their leadership capacity through experimental learning based on a framework of four leadership competencies and five leadership principles.

This is a skills-based program, not a checklist of "how to be a leader."  Expect to be challenged, and expect to be given tools that can change the direction of your civic engagement, your profession, your relationships, and your life.  It starts with YOU.  Let's get started.

The Principles

1.  Leadership is risky.

2.  Leadership starts with you and must include others.

3.  Leadership is an activity, not a position.

4.  Anyone can lead, anywhere, anytime.

5.  Your purpose must be clear.

These are the foundation principles of the course curriculum.  Learn more about each of these by enrolling today.


The Competencies


What might be the benefit of understanding interpretations of those around you before making your intervention?  

Whose work is it?


What is the tolerance for raising the heat?  

How might you act experimentally or do something differently?


Who are the unusual voices?

How can you identify and work across factions to make progress?


Have you been triggered and taken out of the game?

What is your comfort zone and how can you expand it?

Start Your Journey

2023 Class

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September 2023 classes are closed

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Leadership Ellsworth County is a skills-based program.  Expect to learn the skills and competencies to develop better leadership.  Expect to be asked to experiment with those ideas with your own personal leadership challenge.  Expect to stretch your skillsets, be asked to think outside of the box, and expect to have an amazing network of classmates that will become your colleagues and friends. 

However, it's not enough just to learn the skills.  We want you to practice them in a supportive environment and leave with a plan of action on the leadership challenge that matters most to you. 

2023 sessions are available ala carte at $50.00/session.  While each session stands alone, it is best as a cumulative series, as each builds on the last.  A 50% rebate will be given to all participants that attend all sessions.




Carolyn Graves

Class of 2021  

The approach was simple in that leadership isn’t a position but the process you go through to understand your stakeholders and their values, to gain buy in, adapt to change, and push your personal boundaries even when it’s uncomfortable. Anyone can lead, anytime, anywhere, it’s not a title but an activity.  Our leadership class was a mini “system” or “incubator”. The problems, frustrations, and barriers we were facing were being housed in a smaller, contained version of what we see within our workplaces, board meetings, volunteer organizations, and our family and friends. Our “system” had tension, anxiety, and frustration . . . all of the things our worlds have. By utilizing the tools we were taught, we were able to move through challenges and make tough decisions.


During the five weeks we discussed stakeholder maps, determining purpose, building bridges across differing viewpoints & belief systems (factions) and understanding the stories others tell about us. We would work through a challenging project and utilize case in point where we took ourselves to the balcony, looked down, and realized what we had or had not accomplished. We discussed observations and tough interpretations and were challenged to experiment daily. We looked at adaptive vs. technical problems and realized many of us attempt to solve adaptive problems with technical solutions. It just doesn’t work when you’re dealing with culture and belief systems. I could go on and on about the curriculum and what I learned. Each individual took away something different, some more than others. This type of program is how we could invest in our staff and not just for those with a leadership title. The materials, leadership book, partnerships, and tools provided were wonderful and I’m going to continue to utilize them.

“My experience with participating in Leadership Ellsworth County was incredible!  The curriculum was truly cutting edge, like no other leadership program I have ever completed.  I learned valuable skill sets and competencies that truly stretched my comfort zone, expanded my perspective, and developed solutions I would never have developed otherwise.  Being able to actually experiment with these concepts in my own leadership challenge was truly remarkable, and proved to me that this process is highly effective.  Last of all, my classmates were amazing!  I know we will all participate in the Ellsworth County Leadership alumni to continue to utilize our skill sets as well as the relationships we have started, and I am hopeful that we will get to attend the Kansas Leadership Center together as well.  This training is an absolute necessity for anyone wanting to lead in today’s challenging fields!”

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Jessica Homolka

Class of 2019


Let’s Engage

Ellsworth County Economic Development

PO Box 321 | 107 W 2nd St | Ellsworth, KS 67439

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