Leadership Columbia

Founded by the Columbia Chamber in 1972, Leadership Columbia strives to provide our community with an enduring source of diverse leaders who are prepared and committed to serving their region.

As a skills-building program, Leadership Columbia aims to identify and motivate emerging community leaders; provide an educational experience with a strong emphasis on social and community awareness; and challenge participants to apply their talents within their community while providing an opportunity to become involved.

Each year, 60 candidates are chosen based on community involvement, capacity for leadership, commitment to improving the Midlands, and an interest in enhancing their capabilities.

This ten-month program includes a two-day retreat, nine monthly day-long sessions, and a class project.

The program focuses on showing the candidates an in-depth look at the critical issues facing the community. Through hands-on experiences, the candidates fully explore topics such as: education, politics and government, arts and culture, economic development, finance, health and human services, criminal justice and law enforcement, military affairs, as well as environment and tourism. Each class day the location, lectures, speakers, panelists, interactive experiences and site visits change.

Such an intensive examination of these issues gives the candidates the information and confidence to make a positive change in our community.

The program culminates with a graduation ceremony and the unveiling of the class project. Once graduated, our candidates become alumni of the program and continue their impact on our region.

Leadership Columbia has more than 1,900 alumni serving communities all across the United States.

For questions, please contact Elizabeth Cardell at or 803.733.1152.