Experiential Community Leadership

Core Program

Leadership Seacoast is one of 3,000 community leadership programs in the U.S. and follows a national design, which offers existing and emerging community leaders the opportunity to meet and learn from those who are actively involved with issues that will shape the future of the Seacoast.

The Core Program is an experiential community leadership program framed around regional issues that have a direct impact on the lives of seacoast residents. Class members engage in daylong interactive presentations and discussions, shared experiences, events, socials, exploration of varying leadership theories, and individual learning opportunities. Topics explored include:

Opening Day

Opening Day

The goal of Opening Day is to establish a safe, trusted environment for class members to release the many ‘hats’ they wear on any given day (personally and professionally). This is a time to create connections and build trust with others in the class, to establish a cohesive group dynamic which allow for engagement and dialogue over the next six months.

Diversity Day


During Diversity Day a safe space is created to allow participants to engage in meaningful conversations around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. After a series of facilitated and engaging activities, the class is introduced to opportunities that allow them to serve as allies in the community.

Health and Human Services Day

The learning objectives of Health and Human Services Day include providing members an expanded understanding of the network of social services in the region and through experiential learning, deepen the understanding of barriers to access. The discussion and presentations primarily focus on mental health and substance misuse issues.

Economic Development Day

The goal of Economic Development Day is to explore the elements that support a vibrant, healthy and viable community. Through interactive presentations and small group learning, members of the class gain a deeper understanding of the challenges that local decision makers face when trying to balance economic development in our communities and local conditions affecting development of the region’s economy.

Education Day

As a result of this program day, participants explore the framework of education in NH; the role of the school board, how mental health is being addressed in schools; early childhood education, non-traditional learning and higher education are examined.

Environment Day

During this program day, participants examine the impact of climate change both globally and locally as well as the environmental changes in marine life, water standards, and what shifts can be made on a personal level to reduce our carbon footprint.

Criminal Justice Day

During Criminal Justice Day, participants will be provided with a holistic view of the drug and mental health courts in NH and the interconnectedness of social issues, mental health and substance abuse on the criminal justice system.

Arts and Culture Day

As a result of this program day, participants will have the opportunity to go behind the scenes and gain a deeper understanding of the impact that arts and culture has on our local economy and our quality of life.

Government Day

The objective of Government Day is to provide members of the class with a greater understanding of the legislative process, ease of access to that process in NH and importance of individual advocacy. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of how funding for critical issues are prioritized and made in the state.

Closing Day & Graduation

This day is designed to allow participants time to reflect on the program, explore how the issues are connected and identify their next steps, know that they know.

5 Qualities of a Community Leader

  1. Empathy
  2. Honesty
  3. Integrity
  4. Motivation
  5. Service
Community Leadership Quote

Who Should Apply

Each year, Leadership Seacoast strives to recruit a diverse group of existing and aspiring community leaders from all sectors of the region. The greater the variety of experience, skills, professions, ages, interests and geographical perspectives, the richer the experience for all participants.

Whether you are a seasoned professional looking to deepen your understanding of the region, a young professional looking to build your network and explore the issues and resources available on the Seacoast, or a mid-career professional hoping to re-energize your work and your involvement in your community, you should consider applying to Leadership Seacoast.

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Individual Benefits

  • You will gain a broader and deeper perspective of the Seacoast Region and your role in the community.
  • Build a lasting network of civic-minded local leaders from your classes and over 1,000 program graduates. These relationship grow and impact your professional and personal life.
  • Discover issues you are passionate about and meet the community leaders who deal in those issues daily.

Business and Organization Benefits

  • Participants meet fellow community leaders, establish connections, and expand their circle of influence that extends beyond their classmates as they complete the program and join the ranks of over 1,000 Leadership Seacoast alumni.
  • Your company leaders establish relationships that will provide new opportunities to serve the community and deal firsthand with vital local issues. The program provides participants with opportunities to deepen individual connections and to build a strong foundation for a local network. Your company’s support of the program plays a critical role in developing community leadership.

How to Apply

The application will be available on May 1, 2024.

Applications must be submitted electronically by Friday, September 27, 2024.

Time Commitment

A total of 10 days over 7 months beginning in December with Opening Day, followed by one program day and study group session every 2-3 weeks, ending in June with Closing Day and Graduation. There are homework assignments between the program days that include visiting off-site locations, reading assignments and group activities.

Program Dates

At the time of application, it’s important to commit 100% to these dates. If you know for sure you have travel or a major life event over one of the times, it’s better to apply another year. The times listed are core times, some days may vary slightly depending on location and activities. If selected for the class, there are attendance procedures that will allow for unplanned critical work assignments or family emergencies. Keep in mind there are homework assignments between the program days that include visiting off-site locations, reading assignments and group activities.

Each program day is held on Wednesdays starting at 8:00am and ends at 4:30pm. Please note that full-day attendance at Opening Day, Diversity Day, and Closing Day are mandatory.

  • Wednesday December 11: Opening Day*
  • Wednesday January 8: Diversity Day*
  • Wednesday January 29: Health + Human Services Day
  • Wednesday February 12: Economic Development Day
  • Wednesday March 12: Education Day
  • Wednesday April 2: Environment Day
  • Wednesday April 16: Criminal Justice Day
  • Wednesday May 7: Arts + Culture Day
  • Wednesday May 21: Government Day
  • Wednesday June 11: Closing Day*
  • Wednesday June 11: Graduation (immediately following Closing Day)

*indicates that full-day attendance is mandatory

You should also note that in addition to attendance at the 10 program days. Participants should plan to:

  • Participate in self-directed small group meetings between program days (required)
  • Read, watch, and listen to topic-focused enrichment materials in advance of each program day (required)
  • Visit off-site locations outside of program days (strongly encouraged)
  • Attendance at post-program day social gatherings (strongly encouraged)

Program Location

Varies throughout Rockingham, Strafford (NH), and York (ME) Counties.

All applications are reviewed by the Leadership Seacoast selection committee. We respect and value the unique attributes, characteristics and perspectives that make each person who they are. We also believe that bringing diverse individuals together allows us to collectively and more effectively impact the communities of the Seacoast. Participants will be chosen on a merit basis by the committee. Selection for participation in Leadership Seacoast is made without consideration of race, religion, national origin, gender, or socioeconomic status.  Applicants will be notified of their status no later than mid-December.  Since the class size is limited, interested individuals who have not been selected the first time are encouraged to apply again.

Leadership Seacoast uses a two tiered tuition plan in an effort to make the program accessible to people from the for-profit, non-profit, and public sectors as well as those who are self-employed or participating independently. Please take a minute to review the tier descriptions.

All participants receive the same Leadership Seacoast experience. 

Tuition is non-refundable. Rare exceptions may be made at the discretion of the board.



This price most accurately reflects the full cost of operating and maintaining the program. This tier helps to ensure that Leadership Seacoast is available and thriving for leaders throughout the region.


Thanks to the generosity of our corporate sponsors and alumni, we are able to offer a tuition rate for organizations or individuals who are unable to underwrite the full cost of participation in the program.

Upon acceptance into the program, you will be asked to select the tier which is most suitable for you and your organization. This is an honor system and your choice does NOT impact the status of your application during review.

Tuition assistance for Leadership Seacoast candidates may only be requested by applicants meeting the following criteria:

  • Employed by a not-for-profit organization or a self-paying individual.
  • Candidate is the only applicant from their organization.

NOTE: Tuition assistance is based on the availability of scholarship funds. The average assistance is approximately $500.

The board allocates funds for scholarships to support participants interested in attending who need financial assistance beyond what you and/or your employer may be able to provide.  We do ask that each applicant contribute something toward the cost of tuition. If you would like to apply for a scholarship to the program, please complete the scholarship section on the application for consideration by the Admissions and Scholarship Committee.

The success of Leadership Seacoast depends on attendance by its participants. Therefore, attendance at each session is expected, and attendance at the opening day, diversity day, and closing day is mandatory. As a condition of acceptance into the program, participants are asked to clear their calendars to allow for attendance at each session. To receive a Certificate of Graduation, participants must have no more than two excused absences.  Rare exceptions to this policy may be made at the discretion of the Board and Admissions Committee. Requests for consideration must be submitted in writing to the Executive Director.

A Special Thank You


Leadership Seacoast is deeply grateful to our sponsors for their generous support of our programs.

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