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Who We Are

Who We Are

Leadership Illinois is a not-for-profit organization that got its start in 1988. 

We're a group of diverse and talented women united by the desire to educate, energize and connect so we can be a catalyst for positive change in communities and workplaces.

Sound like what you've been looking for? 

The Leadership Illinois Program

Our program features a series of three conferences for a selected class of about 30 accomplished women from across the state. Once completed, the class joins a powerful network of distinguished alumni who enjoy events and online resources that strengthen connections, energize, and inspire change.

Take a few minutes to preview the Word version of the application --> see Learn How to Apply

Getting Started with Leadership Illinois

Getting started with Leadership Illinois begins with applying for the next class.

We accept applications through December 3 for the next class year. We carefully consider each application and announce our selection by the beginning of March.  

Learn How To Apply

Who’s Part of Leadership Illinois?

Once you're accepted into Leadership Illinois and graduate from our program, you join an elite network of accomplished women and can become an LI Fellow. 

Our annual class selection process is competitive. We’re choosy in our selections and our alumni represent diversity in:

  • Ethnicity
  • Geography
  • Political and professional experience
    Political and professional experience
  • Volunteer contributions
    Volunteer contributions

Alumni are corporate executives, senior management leaders, business owners, community volunteers, and political advocates.


Our Mission and History

Leadership Illinois is a professional and personal support network that brings together a diverse group of accomplished women from all sectors of society to educate, energize and connect, so that each can be a catalyst for positive change.

In 1988, four women were inspired to start Leadership Illinois. Leonore Janecek, Lois Ryan, Vilma Colom, and Peggy Montes had just completed the Leadership America program, and shared a passion to provide a similar program for Illinois.

These founding women, along with Laura Sullivan and Elynor Williams, worked to create the program and its annual conference format, developing support of Illinois businesses and interested individuals.

Our Leadership

An executive committee, elected annually by the Board of Directors, leads our volunteer-managed program. Fellows who have experienced the value of Leadership Illinois for themselves hold our leadership positions.