Greater Iowa City, Inc.’s Community Leadership Program (CLP) uniquely engages local leaders from a variety of industries to plan, organize, and present to the next generation of community leaders. In this way, it is a direct hand off of experience and insight – preparing future leaders with extensive understanding of local advantages and challenges. Greater IC facilitates and organizes each of the 10 full-day sessions but delegates programming to a local industry leader. The Economic Development Session is the only session that is fully programmed by Greater IC staff. As our area’s leader in economic development, Greater IC pulls together experts, experiences, and partners to give the CLP cohort an immersive deep dive into the work we do every day.
In February 2024, the CLP cohort began the Economic Development Session at the Iowa City Municipal Airport (CID). Local representatives and CID Director Marty Lenss explained the impacts of airports and robust transportation systems on economic development. Being introduced to the University of Iowa (UIowa) Operator Performance Laboratory and director Tom “Mach” Schnell, the cohort learned about advanced aviation research happening here in Iowa City and bringing in dollars from across the globe. From there, the cohort traveled to the BioVentures Center to experience the massive impact of biosciences, medtech, and pharmaceuticals on our economy and see how UIowa works to commercialize and promote research happening in their labs. A highlight was hearing the success of Perspective Therapeutics coming out of UIowa and staying local on their quest to cure cancers with radiopharmaceuticals.
The cohort spent their afternoon at the MERGE Coworking, hearing from various groups of local leaders on wide ranging topics that all tie back to economic development. They learned from leaders of economic development organizations, including Greater IC, Think Iowa City, The Iowa City Downtown District, South of Sixth, and Better Together 2030. They also heard from people who don’t necessarily focus on economic development, but are leaders of companies driving the economy in areas such as the future of workforce development and promoting diversity and equity in entrepreneurialism. Finally, the cohort dug in with hands-experience in an activity designed to put them on the front lines of community leadership. In small groups, they considered hypothetical development opportunities and strategized change and growth for the region.
What is CLP? Greater Iowa City, Inc.’s premier leadership program was created in 1990 to foster informed, well-equipped, invested leaders. Through the program’s life, more than 700 current and future leaders have gained insight into the issues, opportunities, strengths and challenges within our community. CLP is a year-long program, including 11 sessions on everything from healthcare and human services to local government to arts and culture. Applications open each spring.
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