The Leadership Development Initiative (LDI) program is an investment in the future leader. LDI is a 9 month long program for high-potential young professionals. This creative and innovative leadership training program has served as a model for several others around the country. Our faculty utilizes data-driven training models and provide access to experts who share their experiences as our community grooms the talented professionals who will lead this region in the coming years. LDI strengthens the bonds of this highly mobile talent pool with others in their cohort and with the region and serves as a retention and engagement tool for our area’s businesses and nonprofits.

For the young professional interested in Leadership Development Initiative:

  • Share your enthusiasm and energy as one of about 50 young professionals selected to participate in Leadership Development Initiative.
  • Enhance your Star-Performer© skills and commitment to community service.
  • With a strong network of over 700 graduates, LDI provides young leaders with the tools and visibility necessary to affect positive change in the Pittsburgh region.

Apply to Leadership Development Initiative Now!

Applications are due the first Friday in June

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Submit a Letter of Recommendation for an LDI Candidate Now! 



Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Leadership Development Initiative application and selection process?

Leadership Development Initiative applications are due the first Friday in June each year for the class that starts in late September/early October. Early applications are encouraged. Incentive tuition price for applications submitted by first Friday in May. All parts of the application must be complete to be considered. For a sample application including application, questions click here

A selection committee reviews applications during the months of June and July. Applicants accepted for admission to Leadership Development Initiative are notified in mid-August.

A letter of support from the organization that employs the applicant, as well as letters of recommendation are required at the time of application. Entrepreneurs/Self-employed individuals are also welcome to apply. The selection committee seeks to have each class of Leadership Development Initiative represent a diverse cross section of our community, that is: diverse by race, occupation and personal experience.

How much is tuition? Is tuition assistance available?

Leadership Development Initiative tuition is $3,700 per participant (please note that this is subject to change in the future). Early applications are encouraged. Incentive tuition price for applications submitted by first Friday in May is $3,400. All parts of the application must be complete to be considered.

Accepted applicants will receive an invoice which must be paid to ensure the spot in class. Payment plans are available but must be arranged in advance with our team.

A limited number of partial scholarships are available and are primarily intended to assist participants from not-for-profit organizations with limited resources. Participants seeking tuition assistance will be asked to complete a statement of financial need and should submit their request for assistance with their application.  Tuition assistance information can be requested by emailing info@lpinc.org.  Acceptance into Leadership Development Initiative is not influenced by the need for tuition assistance.

What is the program schedule?

In addition to an overnight opening retreat, the LDI class typically meets bi-monthly from approximately 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. on Thursday afternoons. The schedule is determined several months in advance. Credits are assigned to each session and most activities. Participants are required to earn a predetermined number of credits to complete the program. More credits are offered than required for program completion in order to allow participants flexibility in arranging their personal schedules.

Twelve to fourteen sessions held from September through June focus on sharpening key leadership skills and capacities such as inquiry, dialogue, and listening – skills that are critical to professional community leadership. Participants gain an understanding of the leadership styles that work in our community while developing a better awareness of their own particular style. The LDI program helps participants hone the "Star Performer" skills of emerging leaders while exposing them to avenues for civic involvement and critical-path networking across industries.

Welcome Reception and Orientation - Is typically held in mid-late September. Attendance is not optional.

Overnight Retreat - Soon after the welcome reception, the overnight retreat will be held on either a Thursday-Friday or Friday-Saturday and is about an hour’s drive from Pittsburgh. Attendance is not optional. Schedule for the next class will be available by Thanksgiving. 

Leadership Sessions - Participants meet for learning experiences on topics such as civic engagement; regional planning; understanding differences and serving on nonprofit boards. These sessions enhance leadership skills and expose the participants to community leaders and issues. Sessions typically take place on Thursday afternoons. Participants are expected to attend all of the regularly scheduled sessions in their entirety and earn sufficient credits to graduate.  

Community Impact Projects - LDI participants form teams to implement a Community Impact Project in our community. In addition to meeting a need in the community, the projects provide significant learning experiences for the class members. Teams meet outside of the regularly scheduled sessions, and each team determines its own schedule. In recent years these Community Impact Projects have taken the shape of PopUp Pittsburgh. To learn more, click here. 

Click Here to download the Tentative LDI XXVIII 2020-2021 Schedule.  

What is PopUp! Pittsburgh and how does it relate to LDI?

PopUp! Pittsburgh is one of the many different components of the LDI program. This project is modeled on the “Pop Up City” concept which sees to momentarily revitalize a neighborhood that has excess vacant land by developing a temporary, low-cost initiative that has the ability to surprise, provoke, and entertain city residents and visitors in ways that change perceptions about the places where they occur. 

PopUp! provides a “real-world” and hands-on opportunity for Star Performer skill practice and development.  PopUp! Pittsburgh is a 9 month long project designed to help teach leadership lessons and is undertaken by this group of high potential emerging leaders working together with a defined city neighborhood’s stakeholders that culminates in a one day experience in that neighborhood. The development, design and execution of PopUp! Pittsburgh will provide these emerging leaders from our region’s corporate, public and non-profit sectors participating in the LDI cohort opportunities to hone the skills/strategies taught throughout the program which serve as the underpinning of their LDI program curriculum.

Initial planning time for PopUp! will be provided in the first two content-driven LDI Sessions in October. The scope and scale of the project will be determined by the LDI participants, with the Project completed by end of May.

Past PopUp!'s were all very unique – some were community festivals, one focused around the filming of a zombie movie called Spineview, another involved pulling off a mass wedding vowel renewal to celebrate love in the community, a 5K and community festival in Mt. Washington’s Emerald View park system, one focused on “shining a light” on Larimer with a laser show, one was a community focused around fresh produce, a community festival in Wilkinsburg which told the story about the neighborhoods past, present and futures and one physically showcased the faces of the Carrick neighborhood as a part of an international art installation program. Each year, PopUp! drew significant crowds of people from inside and outside the neighborhood. Each year, PopUp! drew significant crowds of people from inside and outside the neighborhood.

To learn more visit www.PopUpPittsburgh.com

Who are Leadership Development Initiative participants? 

Successful applicants who get the most out of LDI are typically between 26 and 35 years of age.  They are in positions as an emerging manager, professional associate or significant individual contributor. They represent corporate and professional organizations, as well as civic entities.  Entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals are encouraged to apply as well. Our LDI participants exhibit high levels of energy, enthusiasm, a strong sense of self-reflection, dedication to community well-being, a desire for personal growth and to be part of something larger than themselves. Individuals with these characteristics do well in the LDI program.

Leadership Development Initiative participants are:

  • Fast-track young professionals in business, nonprofit, government and civic entities
  • Ready to challenge other dynamic professionals with their own unique views
  • Ready to invest 10-15 hours each month to learn, grow, and contribute as collaborative leaders
  • Ready to acknowledge the perspectives of others
  • Looking for a leadership experience that is reality-based and fun
  • Seeking to broaden professional and personal networks
  • Interested in acquiring skills and knowledge that would make them stand out within their company and the community as a Star Performer©
  • Wanting to climb the career ladder faster
  • New to the area OR want to contribute to the community in which we live, work, & play
  • Open to people, places and opportunities in the Greater Pittsburgh region
  • Committed to joining about 50 other fast-track professionals from every walk of life to learn and to inspire positive change in our community
Who is in the Leadership Development Initiative most recently graduated class?

Click here to view a listing of the 2018-2019 LDI XXVI Class.

Who has graduated from Leadership Development Initiative?

Click here for a comprehensive list of our LDI Alumni.

How can I refer someone to the learn more about this program?

Email info@lpinc.org today with your recommendation's contact information and we will get in touch with them to share more information regarding the program. Or use this REFERRER FORM to share their information. Thank you for helping to spread the word and strengthen our mission delivery!

Please use this separate form to submit a LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION that will accompany a potential candidate's application. 

I have been asked to write a letter of recommendation, now what?

The Leadership Development Initiative Selection Committee considers letters of recommendation in the application process. We strongly encourage each applicant to submit at least two letters of recommendation. Successful applications in prior years tend to be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from applicant’s supervisor/head of business unit in addition to recommendations from LPInc. alumni (see under "Who has graduated from Leadership Development Initiative?").

Recommendations are due in to the Leadership Pittsburgh Inc. office by 5:00 p.m. on the FIRST FRIDAY OF JUNE (same as the application itself). These can be submitted along with your application or separately via the online form; by fax to 412.392.4559; e-mail to info@lpinc.org; or mail to our office. 


I learned a lot through the program. LDI challenged me to continue to work towards being the best leader I can be, both at work and personally. The teachings were valuable, the interactions with the cohort were fantastic, and the overall experience was really a great one!
Daniel Guimaraes, LDI XXII
PNC Bank