FAQ - Leadership Program
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  1. What is Leadership?

Leadership San Mateo, Foster City, Burlingame, Hillsborough is an educational program of the San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Burlingame and Foster City Chambers, and support from the Cities of San Mateo, Foster City, Burlingame and the Town of Hillsborough.

  1. What is Leadership all about?


The Leadership Program identifies, nurtures, and connects existing and potential community leaders, increasing their knowledge of the community and community issues while enhancing their individual effectiveness through development of leadership skills.

Strategic Goals

  • To create an expanding base of knowledgeable citizens and leaders
  • To prompt broader citizen involvement by providing a forum for educated debate and an opportunity for participants to strengthen their inherent leadership skills
  • To enable participants to meet with key community leaders and learn about their programs and services, as well as the critical issues facing our communities
  • To provide networking opportunities with key community leaders, class members, and graduates of the Leadership program.


  1. Why should I consider the Leadership Program?

If you are interested in learning about how the public, private, and nonprofit organizations in your city and county operate, and you want to meet leaders who work to meet the various needs of people in our county, this program is for you.  If you’re considering becoming more engaged in any aspect of our community, the Leadership Program will expose you to current issues and needs where you can add value. Or if you are new to a current leadership role and want to increase your leadership skills and connect with other local leaders, you’ll find this program invaluable.

  1. When did this program start and how many people have completed Leadership?

The first class graduated in June 1991. Graduates number over 800. Leadership Program graduates have made impressive contributions in their personal and professional lives, and many have committed to public service.

  1. How many people are selected to attend each year?

Each class has 35 – 40 participants that come from the private, nonprofit, community, and public sectors.

  1. When does Leadership meet?

Leadership kicks off with a two-day leadership development and community orientation in early  September 2020. Attendance at this opening retreat is required of all program participants.

After the orientation, Leadership is held on one Friday each month from October through June.

*All program days are from 8am-5pm unless otherwise noted.

The dates for the class of 2021 are:


Opening Retreat:

Friday, September 11, 2020 – 8am-5pm (Welcome Reception on Friday, 5:00pm-6:30pm)
Saturday, September 12, 2020 – 8am-3:30pm

Friday, Sept 25, 2020
Friday, Oct 16, 2020
Friday, Nov 13, 2020
Friday, Dec 11, 2020
Friday, Jan 22, 2021
Friday, Feb 5, 2021
Friday, Mar 5, 2021
Friday, April 16, 2021
Friday, May 14, 2021
Friday, June 4, 2021

Closing Retreat & Graduation:
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Closing Retreat: 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Graduation: 5:30pm – 7:30pm


  1. What will be covered during the program days?

Leadership is unlike any other training or educational experience. Each program day focuses on a different topic and is comprised of presentations, field trips, and interactive activities. Program days feature: Education; Police Services & the Judicial System; Fire & Emergency Preparedness; Media & Communications; Health and Healthy Communities; Government; Business and Economic Development; Human Services; Planning, Housing & Transportation; and the Environment.

  1. Who facilitates these program days?

A Curriculum Committee comprised of local, expert leaders in these fields facilitate each session. The class will make site visits to a number of important community facilities and have the opportunity to interact with leaders in each of these areas.

  1. Do I have to attend all of the program days?

To successfully complete the Leadership Program, a participant is expected to attend all sessions and participate in the skill development groups.  Our attendance policy allows for two absences. Please note, three occurrences of late arrival or early departure will be considered as two absences.

  1. How will we connect with community issues and other class participants?

Each program day is led by current leaders in our community who facilitate panel discussions and invite speakers to inform you about current community issues.  There are numerous opportunities to connect to your fellow classmates in problem solving activities and by working in “Leadership Learning” groups, a source for peer mentoring.

  1. To what extent do alumni get together and how do they stay involved with the program?

The most recent graduating class hosts the Welcome Reception for the incoming class and alumni in September every year.  This is a great way to connect incoming class participants and alumni. We invite all graduates to convene for both informal, social gatherings, and more formal discussion topics of interest.  We hope that alumni will agree to serve on our many committees and give back to the program with their time and financial support.

  1. When is the next application window?

Applications for each class year are posted on our website in February and must be submitted by the May deadline for consideration for next year’s class.

  1. Where can I find more information and the application?

Additional information and the current application are available on the Leadership Program website:  www.LeadershipProgram.net.