Leadership Ouachita

PURPOSE: To develop and empower the emerging leaders of northeast Louisiana to transform the region into a place recognized as one of the best places to live and do business

PROCESS: Focus the efforts of the class on Workforce Development and Infrastructure

2022 Leadership Ouachita Expectations

During the program year, participants will be expected to:
  • Attend all sessions in their entirety (more than 2 absences during the year will remove you from the program)
  • Attend the opening retreat (required, no absence allowed)
  • Complete all assignments prior to the sessions as assigned
  • Engage with other participants
  • Participate during sessions with key leaders and classmates
Session Details:
  1. Participants are given information on each program prior to the session
  2. Each session is a facilitated discussion with class members and issue leaders
  3. Study circles are used as the primary source of learning. These become working groups on specific issues. Working groups will develop solutions on their community issues.
  4. Ideas are generated and collected by the class
  5. Graduation is an event where solutions are celebrated


The Monroe Chamber of Commerce has been identifying leaders in order to strengthen the community by broadening and enhancing the leadership base. The purpose of the pro- gram is to develop and empower the emerging leaders of northeast Louisiana to transform the region into a place recognized as one of the best places to live and do business.

Leadership Ouachita provides insight on public decision- making, practical and in-depth discussions on public issues pertinent to Ouachita Parish, an expanded knowledge and understanding of the community in which we live, and the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with established leaders.


The goal of the program is to build a stable foundation of trained and informed leaders. The Leadership Ouachita program consists of 9 sessions, which include a mandatory opening two-day re- treat, the Northern Exposure Legislative Appreciation Forum held at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge and formal graduation. The program focuses on Issues III the areas of Workforce Development, Transportation & Infrastructure and Education. The focus is redefined to meet the ever-changing needs of our com- munity and region.


Nominations are encouraged from all segments of the community. Individuals may apply or nominate those they feel best exemplify the philosophy of LEADERSHIP OUACHITA. Once accepted into the program, participants are expected to attend every session in order to benefit from all that the program offers. Total commitment and support from both the participant and their business firm is imperative.


Involvement in Leadership Ouachita does not end with graduation. Alumni are encouraged to stay active through Leadership Council. Leadership Council sponsors programs which include: Welcoming reception for new class members with Alumni and Chamber Board of Directors, the annual James M. Shipp, Jr. Memorial Business Leader Award, Leadership Recruitment Socials, Leadership Newsletters and Leadership Directory.

Tuition & Application

Tuition for the Leadership Ouachita program is $1,600 per participant and is due prior to the opening retreat. Participants are often sponsored by their own business firm or organization. Partial scholarships are available through the Monroe Chamber of Commerce Foundation on a limited basis. Installment plans are also available.

Applications are available through the Monroe Chamber of Commerce office. The selection process is coordinated by the LEADERSHIP COUNCIL immediate past chairman through an anonymous committee of program graduates. Selection to the program is highly competitive and applicants are encouraged to reapply to subsequent programs if they are not initially accepted.


Since 1988, over 386 individuals have graduated from Leader- ship Ouachita. These community leaders have gone on to serve on a variety of community, governmental and for-profit boards. Several graduates currently hold elective offices.

The community leadership program is not exclusive to Ouachita Parish. There are leadership development programs throughout the United States and Canada and several in Europe and Australia. Over 20-25 graduates of Leadership Ouachita have also completed Leadership Louisiana, a state-wide pro- gram administered by the Council For A Better Louisiana.