LGBTQ Leadership Institute

2019 LGBTQ Leadership Institute Class

Meet our 2019 LGBTQ Leadership Institute class!

2018 LGBTQ Leadership Institute class

View the 2018 LGBTQ Leadership Institute class’ National Coming Out Day video project here.

Have questions about the LGBTQ Leadership Institute application process? Reach out to us at [email protected] or 515-288-4019.

What: Four month educational program to build LGBTQ leaders

Where: Sessions will be held in the Des Moines area, but individuals across the state are welcome to apply and participate. Stipends for travel and other costs to attend sessions may be provided based on participant needs. We intend to build capacity to expand this program to other areas of Iowa.

Who: Twenty to 25 LGBTQ individuals who aspire to be visible leaders. The program is open to people of all ages–with a strong emphasis on transgender individuals, people of color, and women–who meet one of the following:

Newly out

Aspiring to move up in their career

New to their career, position, or central Iowa community

Want to engage with and give back to the LGBTQ community


March 5, 2019: Applications open

April 15, 2019: Applications close

June 1, 2019: Participants announced

June 15, 2019 to October 13, 2019: Sessions held, participants will need to block off the following dates and times:

  • Saturday, June 15: all day
  • Sunday, June 16: all day
  • Tuesday, July 2: 4-8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 23: 4-8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, August 6: 3-7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, August 27: 4-8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 17: 4-8 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 12: all day
  • Sunday, October 13: all day



LGBTQ History:
By understanding LGBTQ history, participants will be able to articulate our community’s journey and pay homage to the many trailblazers who have pushed our movement forward, especially right here in Iowa.

Participants will explore who they are and what makes them unique. By reflecting on how their experiences, values, and environments have shaped them, they will better understand their own
leadership style.

Resilient leadership:
Being an out LGBTQ leader can be difficult. Participants will learn strategies to overcome adversity despite obstacles they may face.

Individualized Planning:
Participants will create a multi-year individual plan to help them achieve their leadership goals both during and after the program. Community experts will provide a support network as each individual crafts their plan.

Through these plans, participants will find entry points for broader community engagement that fit their goals (nonprofit boards, community organizations, running for office, etc.) and receive support in pursuing those goals.

Project: Hands on experience to apply practical skills LGBTQ Leadership Institute class members develop through the program.


Nearly half of LGBTQ Individuals do not share their identities at work according to a 2018 Human Rights Campaign report. When people are out at work they have greater job satisfaction, increased productivity, and improved job retention.

LGBTQ leaders improve environments for other LGBTQ people by being out.
For example, even a small number of LGBTQ legislators significantly increases the chance that LGBTQ rights protections will be passed.

LGBTQ leaders can inspire their closeted peers to come out and encourage LGBTQ youth to become leaders, perpetuating a cycle of empowerment.

LGBTQ Leadership Institute class members gain access to leadership opportunities in their community and interest areas, in addition to networking opportunities with established community leaders. 2018 LGBTQ Leadership Institute graduates have used their Institute experience to join boards and commissions, start their own nonprofits, become certified advocates, pursue their passions through academic research, and more.