Academy for Regional Leaders Information

Define your path

CORE Program Elements

  •  Essentials of Leadership. Subject experts lead interactive sessions in strategic thinking, leadership philosophy and styles, political strategy, change management, and ethics.
  •  Understanding Regions. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of regional issues, the legislative process, and policy development. We will discuss how to collaborate and communicate with a wide variety of regional stakeholders and entities. The diverse class roster allows participants to learn about issues, practices and policies from regional entities across the state.
  •  Skill Workshops.  Each year, we introduce advanced technical skill sessions that address effective communication, facilitation, messaging, public engagement, conflict management, writing, working with data, and a number of other skills.
  •  Personal Effectiveness. Participants will spend time identifying their leadership styles, learning how to leverage their strengths and exploring professional adaptation and resilience.
  • Regional Executive Speaker Series.  Accomplished regional executives will join our sessions for frank “unplugged” conversations. Participants will have an opportunity to explore the executive’s career journey and discuss key issues and factors about their views on region leadership and the role of regional government.  
  • Social Activities. Participants tell us that the relationships they develop during the programs are one of the most valuable aspects of the program. We foster relationship-building by planning activities that allow participants to building relationships with each other.
Prepare for the next step

Program Faculty And Leadership

  • Frank Benest, Instructor and Program Advisor. Frank is a noted trainer on collaborative service delivery, entrepreneurial government, civic engagement, and leadership development. He designs a number of leadership programs throughout California. Formerly, Dr. Benest served as the City Manager for the cities of Colton, Brea, and finally Palo Alto. He holds a doctorate in management from Brigham Young University; a Masters in Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach; and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University. Frank is a Credentialed ICMA Manager and serves as the Senior Advisor to ICMA on Next Generation Initiatives.  Frank also chairs the Cal-ICMA Coaching Program.  Frank is Past President of the California City Managers Department and past Vice President of the International City/County Management Association. Frank teaches at Stanford University and has been inducted into the National Academy of Public Administration. In 2011, Frank was recognized by ICMA with its Distinguished Career Service Award. Read Dr. Benest’s Career Compass Columns here.
  • Bill Higgins, Lead Instructor and Program Director. In addition to serving as CALCOG’s executive director, Bill Higgins is an experienced trainer, advocate, and thought leader.  He has written policy guides such as the Planning Commissioner Handbook(League of California Cities, 2004) and represented regional agencies before state agencies and the Legislature. He is a frequent speaker and has lead strategic planning retreats for regional boards. He has also served as an instructor for the UCLA and UC Davis Extension Services and has twice served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Environmental Science at Sonoma State University.  Bill has an undergraduate degree in Agriculture and Resource Economics and a law degree from the University of Minnesota.
  • Julia Lave Johnston, Program Assistant Director. Julia is currently the president for the California Chapter of the American Planning Association. Previous positions at the Institute for Local Government and the Local Government Commission focused on integrating health and sustainability into planning at the local and regional level. As the Director of the Land Use and Natural Resources program at UC Davis Extension, Julia designed innovative education coursework for professionals. As a deputy director for planning at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, she developed climate and planning policy ard help coordinated the Strategic Growth Council during its first two years. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon.
  • And More.  The structure of our program affords us the opportunity to contract with highly qualified professional leadership and skill instructors.  We select various instructors to discuss specific topics. We expect to retain as many as ten different instructors (not counting interviews with executives or policy awareness experts) to teach different elements of the class. In this way, participants get exposed to more ideas and perspective as they identify the right mix of leadership styles and strategies that will help them succeed.
Academy Schedule
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