Rural Leadership Exchange

Rural Leadership Exchange

If we want our rural communities to survive and thrive, it will take strong local leadership. Many rural communities have created effective leadership programs, as have various Iowa industries. Leveraging these efforts as examples and partners, this initiative works to bring together those lessons learned and best practices for an annual event as well as virtual webinars and online resources for existing programs.

The 3rd Annual Rural Leadership Exchange will be an educational event to bolster existing rural leadership programs and support a statewide network of program leaders. The event is designed for existing rural leadership program directors and managers to share best practices for expanding, renewing, and improving existing programs. Additionally, communities or organizations that are interested in starting their own programs are welcome to attend and learn from statewide experts. The one-day event at Carrollton Inn in Carroll, Iowa will feature strategies for elevating local leadership, roundtable discussions on alumni engagement and measures of success, and will be capped off with an evening event spotlighting stories of leadership from across the state.

The program this year kicks off at 10 a.m. on October 20, 2022, with an opening keynote by Aaron Thomas of Parkersburg, Iowa on how to deal with adversity, making the most of all opportunities, and the power of one. He will challenge you to look at your life, your community, and your job to see if you are being a difference maker. A full agenda will be released closer to the event date.

The following day in Carroll includes the Rural Leadership Bootcamp, a one-day training for Rural Leadership Grant recipients to develop a work plan to launch their own local leadership program.


  • Why We Participated in the Rural Leadership Bootcamp
    A presentation from last year's recipients and where they are today in their leadership program journey, plus tips for submitting your own application.
    View Recording
  • Why You Should Attend the Leadership Exchange
    Hear from three leadership program directors on lessons learned and best practices.
    View Recording