LGBTQ Leadership Institute

Leadership Institute Group Photo Capitol

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.


When people are out at work they have greater job satisfaction, increased productivity, and improved job retention.
Fifty-three percent of LGBTQ individuals do not share their identities at work.Influence:
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.

Meet our 2018 LGBTQ Leadership Institute class!

Have questions about the LGBTQ Leadership Institute application process? Feel free to 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 expand this program to other areas of Iowa within five years.

Who: Fifteen to 20 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


April 13, 2018: Applications open

May 15, 2018: Applications close

June 1, 2018: Participants announced

June 12, 2018 to October 2, 2018: Bi-weekly (every other week) classes, tentatively scheduled for Tuesdays from 1-5 p.m.

October 11, 2018: National Coming Out Day event with participants

October 12, 2018: Celebratory luncheon to honor graduates