Emerging Leaders Program

Emerging Leaders Program

Lead with Purpose

Emerging leaders navigate a dynamic and ever-evolving landscape filled with unique obstacles. To thrive in a fast-paced environment, investing in your training and development early is essential to developing the critical skills needed to accomplish goals, achieve success, and become a leader of impact.

Through a collaboration with the Center for Creative Leadership, the Emerging Leaders Program was developed through proven research and tailored specifically for Association Forum. This program equips new and experienced team and people leaders with the skills and knowledge to thrive.

Embark on a meaningful, comprehensive, and impactful journey of personal and professional growth to lead with purpose

Through this program, you will:

  • Develop strategies, skills, and insights needed to excel in today’s dynamic association landscape and elevate your work for long-term success—as an individual contributor or a team leader. 
  • Acquire and practice core skills to help solve timely and relevant obstacles that greatly impact your career, your team, and your organization.
  • Forge deep bonds with a close-knit cohort of peers and create a supportive network that fuels your success for years to come.
  • Learn to navigate disruption and approach today’s most challenging leadership roadblocks to evolve, adapt, and thrive. 
  • Connect through immersive in-person experiences and dynamic virtual gatherings. 
  • Gain leadership tools to accelerate your personal and professional leadership journey with proven, world-respected content. 

Program Snapshot

  • Content is based on proven research and is carefully designed to be human-centered.
  • The program is divided into five modules (plus a program kickoff meeting) for a total of 18 hours of approved CAE education. 
  • Each module is either fully in-person or fully virtual, lasting roughly four hours each. 
  • They are designed for new and experienced emerging leaders. 

The 2024 Cohort #2 program takes place from July–November 2024.
The 2025 Cohort #1 program takes place from February–June 2025 and is the first fully virtual cohort!

Module Overviews

Each module frames a common challenge question with steps to overcoming these challenges.

Session Title

Session Description

2024 Cohort #2 Dates

This Cohort Is Hybrid!

2025 Cohort #1 Dates 

This Cohort Is Fully Virtual!

Program Kickoff

1–2 p.m.


Thursday, July 25, 2024


Thursday, February 6, 2025



Direction, Alignment, Commitment

1–5 p.m.

Challenge: How can leaders improve results through effective leadership?

Outcomes: Develop a framework and action plan that enables individuals to work together as a cohesive group to produce collective results that cannot be achieved working as individuals. Understand the difference between a leader and leadership. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2024


Thursday, February 13, 2025



Fundamental Four

Online | Four-week Asynchronous, Self-paced Program 

Challenge: What are the four fundamental areas of development leaders must master for success?

Outcomes: Cultivate a self-aware view representing your preferences, priorities, strengths, and weaknesses. Develop your ability to learn from experience and adapt to new situations. Refine communication skills and recognize different influencing styles. 

August 1–31, 2024

This part of the program consists of self-paced, asynchronous content to be completed online over the course of four-weeks. 

March 1–31, 2025

This part of the program consists of self-paced, asynchronous content to be completed online over the course of four-weeks.


Influence: The Business of Getting Things Done

1–5 p.m.

Challenge: How can leaders strengthen their influence skills to gain commitment for key initiatives that drive performance, create process improvements, and increase revenue and satisfaction?

Outcomes: Understand why influence is important and identify key components of influence. Recognize personal influence strengths and developmental gaps. Apply influence concepts to real-life situations. 

Thursday, September 12, 2024


Tuesday, April 8, 2025



Feedback That Works

1–5 p.m.

Challenge: How do we confidently give each other direct, honest, and timely feedback without emotion or judgment to achieve our goals?

Outcomes: Provide simple, powerful, and effective feedback to give and receive focused, productive feedback for improved team dynamics and collaboration. Review common mistakes in communicating feedback. Develop an action plan for more effective feedback delivery. 

Thursday, October 17, 2024


Thursday, May 15



Step Up to Conflict

1–5 p.m.

Challenge: How do we directly address conflict in a way that preserves or improves relationships, creates new opportunities, and increases productivity?

Outcomes: Recognize your own conflict "triggers" and how different values may contribute to conflict. Review a ten-step method for resolving conflict and provides a sound, logical roadmap for action. 

Thursday, November 14, 2024


Tuesday, June 3, 2025


**All in-person modules will be held at the Association Forum offices (10 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 800, Chicago, IL) or in the surrounding suburbs. All times are listed in Central Time (CT).

Program Pricing

Early Member $1,399
Early Nonmember $1,799
Standard Member $1,499
Standard Nonmember $1,899

Read more about the program.

Early pricing closed on June 18, 2024. Early pricing for the February 2025 cohort will open on June 26.


Who Should Attend

  • Ambitious individuals looking to accelerate their leadership journey 
  • Association professionals aiming to amplify their impact and enhance their leadership capabilities
  • Team leaders aspiring to take their team to the next level
  • Emerging leaders eager to gain comprehensive training and development 
  • Senior functional experts and/or emerging leaders seeking to transition into leadership roles
  • Those who recognize the value of a tight-knit cohort of peers and peer learning opportunities

Do any of these sound like you? Join a Cohort today!

Need help getting this expense approved? Download our justification letter for help communicating the benefits with your boss!


CAE Registered ProviderAs a CAE Registered Provider educational program related to the CAE exam content outline, this program may be applied for 18 credits toward your CAE application or renewal professional development requirements.

About the Center for Creative Leadership

The Center for Creative Leadership works with individuals, organizations, and communities looking to turn today’s challenges into opportunities to lead — with confidence, with clarity, and with a sense of optimism. As one of the world’s top providers of experiential leadership programs, they are driven to lift leaders who lift the world. This mission is part of the fabric of who we are as a nonprofit.

Through our collaboration with the Center for Creative Leadership, you'll gain access to premier education tailored for the Association Forum community at an exclusive rate. The collaboration allows you to receive top-notch training and guidance from industry-leading experts, ensuring your development as a world-class leader.  

Read more about the Center for Creative Leadership.