Educating leaders in LGBTQ advocacy

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Apply for LGBTQ Leadership Institute 2024!

LGBTQ Leadership Institute Program Overview 

The LGBTQ Leadership Institute is a program focusing on uplifting LGBTQ Leaders from across the state of Iowa. The LGBTQ Leadership Institute runs from June through October yearly since 2018.

The LGBTQ Leadership Institute curriculum focuses on a broad range of topics, but there are four broad curriculum themes: 

  • LGBTQ Foundations: LGBTQ History, Intersectionality, Power and Privilege, etc. 
  • Authentic and Resilient Leadership Skills: Self-Care, Holding Allies Accountable, Strengths and Values, etc. 
  • Skill Building: How to Run for Office, Public Speaking, Media Training, etc. 
  • Connection and Consistency: Mentoring Program, Leadership Development Plan, and an individual Capstone Project. 

As a part of the curriculum, participants will develop a Leadership Development Plan, focusing on their immediate and future goals, emphasizing the participant’s skills and values.

Each participant will be paired with a community member with similar interests. This mentor will help the participant work towards their goals and connect them with the resources to do so.

Each participant will develop a capstone project based on their interests and goals. This capstone project can range from a local zine to a public presentation; capstones should be exciting to the participant. Participants are not expected to complete these projects in their entirety by the end of the program.

Examples of past capstone projects include: 
  • Starting a self-care habit, like drawing or playing piano
  • Starting a nonprofit or business 
  • Creating a business plan
  • Developing an artistic project or brainstorming an EP
  • Switching career paths 
  • Writing a book
  • Applying for grad school

About the 2024 LGBTQ Leadership Institute

The LGBTQ Leadership Institute is a program focusing on uplifting LGBTQ Leaders from across the state of Iowa. The LGBTQ Leadership Institute runs from June through October yearly since 2018.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Leadership Institute Sessions will follow a hybrid model, with two to three in-person dates in Des Moines, Iowa. All other dates will be held virtually over Zoom. One Iowa can provide mileage assistance to any participant traveling from outside Des Moines.

Class #1 | Friday, June 7th, 10:00 am- 5:00 pm (In-person in Des Moines)
Class #2 | Tuesday, June 18th, 3:30-6:00 pm (Virtual via Zoom)
Class #3 | Tuesday, July 9th, 3:30-6:00 pm (Virtual via Zoom)
Class #3 | Tuesday, July 23rd, 3:30-6:00 pm (Virtual via Zoom)
Class #4 | Tuesday, August 6th, 3:30-6:00 pm (Virtual via Zoom)
Class #5 | Tuesday, August 20th, 3:30-6:00 pm  (Virtual via Zoom)
Class #6 | Friday, September 6th, 10:00 am- 5:00 pm (In-person in Des Moines)
Class #7 | Tuesday, September 17th, 3:30-6:00 pm (Virtual via Zoom)
Class #8 | Tuesday, October 1st, 3:30-6:00 pm (Virtual via Zoom)
Graduation |  Friday, October 11th, 12:00-5:00 pm (In person in Des Moines)

In addition to class time, pre-recorded class sessions may be required viewing before some classes. One Iowa’s expectation is that participants do not miss more than three classes. Additionally, we strongly recommend that participants prioritize attending all in-person sessions, as these provide vital time to connect as a class. The first in-person session in June includes free headshots for participants.

While the typical cost of the One Iowa Leadership Institute is 250.00, One Iowa is committed to making the LGBTQ Leadership Institute accessible to all leaders. We offer sliding-scale scholarships to all participants who express a need, no questions asked. Use of these scholarships is encouraged; for example, in 2023, 75% of participants did not pay anything to access the program.


LGBTQ Leadership Institute Application Information 

• The LGBTQ Leadership Institute application is due April 15th, 2024 at 11:55 pm CT.
• The application questions can either be written out, or an audio recording of an applicant’s answers can be sent to One Iowa Program Director Max Mowitz at
• Applicants can reach out to Max for help and guidance. Neither Max nor any other One Iowa staff member is an application grader.
• The application selection committee comprises alumni and values substance over style; grammar and sentence structure will not be graded. We recognize that applicants come from different educational backgrounds and writing styles.
• The application selection committee values your future goals over your resume or past experiences; individuals without much leadership experience should still apply.

View Alumni Class Bios

success stories

Gary Moore

One Iowa has been the go-to organization for thoughtful responses to issues arising in the community. The LGBTQ Older Adults Conference has been another such response. It provides leadership and workshops to thoughtfully explore the needs of our gay seniors, those that led the way 30-40 years ago and can continue to do so with our help.

  • Gary Moore
  • LGBTQ Activist
Emily Brown

Partnering with One Iowa and bringing their leadership and expertise to the table to work alongside our Executive Leadership team allowed UnityPoint Health to begin providing frequent and regular LGBTQ education for teams across the system… The impact the partnership with One Iowa has had will live on for decades to come.

  • Emily Brown
  • UnityPoint Health
Heidi Yang

The people are what drew me to One Iowa and why I’ve been volunteering here since 2008. The staff at One Iowa have always been kind, considerate, and accepting. I admire the work they do and I’m happy to help out in whatever way I can; whether it’s doing data entry or volunteering at an event.

  • Heidi Yang
  • One Iowa volunteer
Portrait of Jarrel Johnson

This experience has definitely created a fire in me to think about how I can be more active; how I can leave this space in a better place than it was when I got here.

  • Jarrel Johnson
  • LGBTQ Leadership Institute 2018
Portrait of Mariah Himes

I had the opportunity to see people like me in [leadership] positions, which honestly was super empowering. I can now visualize myself in different kinds of roles.

  • Mariah Himes
  • LGBTQ Leadership Institute 2018
Headshot of Kristel Payne

Max came and did a lunch and learn for us on non-binary and was their normal wonderful self. I had several comments afterwards and people really enjoyed the presentation, but even better, they learned a lot and it opened more minds and hopefully created more allies.

  • Kristel Payne
  • Bankers Trust