Leadership CORPS Program

Leadership CORPS is a 10-month, immersive, professional development experience for established, senior-level leaders from the business, nonprofit, and government sectors.

Leadership CORPS empowers participants with the knowledge, skills, and relationships they need to advance and deepen their community impact.

Program Content and Benefits

Leadership CORPS Program provides three primary areas for growth.

Increase Civic Engagement

Each month participants gain a deep understanding of a different community issue through a combination of:

  • In-person Learning Days presented by subject matter experts and influential leaders
  • Asynchronous learning opportunities in our online learning community via online discussion
  • Curated resources including articles, videos, and other curated content

Build Cross-Sector Relationships

Leadership CORPS elevates and empowers participants by connecting them to one another, and to organizations that provide opportunities for systemic change.

We create opportunities for participants to develop meaningful relationships with their cohort, and to collaborate throughout the program and beyond.

Participants learn from, and gain exposure to, speakers who are influential across SMC, and leave the program as part of a valuable alumni network with ongoing connection opportunities.

Enhance Leadership Skills

Participants work with expert coaches, refining their leadership capabilities by developing practices that strong leaders use to inspire and create change.

They learn about collaborative civic leadership and why it is critical to SMC’s success, and they deepen their understanding of the role and necessity of representative leadership that is needed to solve issues and effect change that impacts a diverse group of people.

Niambi Clay, Executive Director, Equity, Social Justice, and Inclusion at the San Mateo County Office of Education, Kate Hiester, Peninsula Regional Director of Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY), and Amanda Anthony, Program Director at the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center ride the bus with their classmates on Intelligent Urbanism Learning Day field trip.

Benefit My Organization

Participants leave the program with valuable connections to the people, organizations, and services across San Mateo County that can collectively resolve issues, address the needs of our communities, and help everyone to thrive. These connections enrich each organization's understanding of stakeholder needs, deepen its impact, and strengthen their relationship within others in San Mateo County.

Participants develop deeper leadership skills that will inspire collaborative problem solving in their organizations, and recognize the role and importance of diversity to their organization’s success.

VIEW the Leadership CORPS Program Overview (PDF)
Photo of the thirty-six members of the Leadership CORPS Class of 2023 outside the City of San Mateo Main Library.

Who Should Apply?

We welcome and encourage senior leader candidates from diverse backgrounds and organizations who live and/or work in San Mateo County.

Graphic with a Venn Diagram of who should apply to the Leadership CORPS Program. The following are encouraged to apply: Nonprofit sector executive directors and senior staff, Private sector C-suite executives, senior leaders, small business owners, and community engagement leaders; Public sector education and health care leaders, city managers, elected officials, and successor staff.

Commitment and Class Schedule

  • Mandatory two-day Opening Session in September
  • Monthly Learning Days are on Fridays through the end of May 2025
  • Learning Days are generally 8:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.; December's Leadership in Action Day runs from 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Pre-work and small-group project time is 3-4 hours per month

Learning Day Schedule (2024-2025)

Two-Day Opening Session (Mandatory)

September 12-13, 2024

Healthy Communities

October 18, 2024

Economic Development & Opportunity

November 15, 2024

Leadership in Action

December 6, 2024 *

Human Services: Addressing the Needs of All Members of Our Community

January 31, 2025

Intelligent Urbanism

February 21, 2025

Educational Equity & Opportunity

March 21, 2025

Climate Resilience & Adaptation

April 18, 2025

Safe Communities

May 9, 2025

Civics & Being a Community Citizen

May 30, 2025

Closing Session and Graduation

May 31, 2025

Application Process

  • Applications for CORPS Class of 2025 available March 1, 2024.
  • Application deadline is May 1, 2024.
  • Applicants notified by July 1, 2024.
    Those who are not accepted will be placed on a waitlist and, if not accepted off the waitlist, are encouraged to reapply in future years.

Selection Criteria

Candidates are selected through a highly competitive application process. Emerging Leaders applicants must:

  • Be an established senior-level leader within their profession (including elected officials and experienced leaders in the community)
  • Demonstrate a significant level of leadership in the community
  • Have the full support of their employer if applying as part of an organization

Program Costs - Leadership CORPS Class of 2025

  • Tuition is $2,800 plus a non-refundable $100 application fee.
  • Fees can be paid by the individual or employer.
  • Scholarships are available and payment plans can be arranged.


I appreciate the care Leadership Council SMC takes to create meaningful agendas and recruit a top-level cohort. It feels really good to be considered part of this high-functioning group of leaders. Thank you.
Headshot of Eddie Flores, South San Francisco Councilmember and Leadership CORPS Class of 2022 Alumni

Stefanie Brugemann

Senior Director of Development
Special Olympics

Leadership CORPS has been hugely beneficial in helping me establish the much-needed connections and networks to hold important conversations to help leverage existing resources to help our communities.​​
Headshot of Dana Johnson, Co-Chair of San Mateo County's LGBTQ Commission, and Co-Chair of San Mateo County's PRIDE Initiative, and Leadership CORPS Class of 2022 Alumni.

Eddie Flores

Councilmember, City of South San Francisco
Leadership CORPS, Class of 2022
Pronouns: he/his/el

Leadership CORPS helped me build collaborative connections to better serve San Mateo County's LGBTQIA+ community. I gained a network of community leaders that also serve San Mateo County’s LGBTQIA+ community. I have gained an opportunity to network with community leaders that also serve in the capacity of ally’s to help bring equity and inclusion to the LGBTQIA+ community.

Dana Johnson

Co-Chair, LGBTQ Commission, San Mateo County
Co-Chair, PRIDE Initiative, San Mateo County
Leadership CORPS Class of 2022
Pronouns: they/them/theirs

Leadership Council SMC is a connector of great ideas and of the people critical to getting them implemented. The collaboration and cooperation they encourage is invaluable to solving entrenched county problems.

Amanda Anthony

Program Manager, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Pronouns: she/her/hers

The Leadership CORPS Program ‘WOWs’ me every month, with each Learning Day taking us to a higher level of understanding. The program should be orientation for every large scale organization doing business in the County of San Mateo and mandatory at the executive level.

Steve Van

Business Owner, Victory Consulting
Pronouns: he/him/his