Emerge FAQs

1. What is the Emerge program?
Emerge helps young professionals identify “the leader within” while developing skills and building relationships that lead to high impact. Emerge participants will strengthen their network and increase the diversity of their circle of influence in order to collaborate and benefit Greater Austin. The program is the beginning of the path toward learning more about your leadership style, investing in your personal growth and increasing your impact in the community.
2. What will I gain from participating?
Participation in the Emerge program offers the unique opportunity to join with other community-minded young professionals during which you will learn a great deal about yourself and how to make an impact in Greater Austin. In addition, you will make lifetime friendships with individuals representing the diversity of the region.

At the end of the program graduates say that their Leadership Austin experience has been life changing—professionally and personally. Alumni have:

  • a broader and more profound understanding of their own leadership journey
  • a deeper appreciation for the passion that drives them to lead
  • an increased awareness of their values and how to align their behavior with those values
  • a greater understanding of team processes and their role in leading teams to high performance
  • a heightened confidence in discussing the community issues about which they are passionate
  • the skills needed to contribute to advancing community issues
  • a greatly expanded network of colleagues to serve as resources in their endeavors
3. Who should apply?
Emerge participants are young professionals and emerging leaders who believe they have something to contribute: a point of view and passion for the community. Ideal candidates for Emerge are:

  • highly motivated to serve their community, and have a passion for making a difference
  • seeking to cultivate relationships with a network of other community leaders
  • already demonstrating their community involvement

In addition, the following qualifications must be met at the time of the application deadline:

  • Applicant must have at least two years of full time employment experience.
  • Applicant cannot be a candidate for public office.
4. What if I applied previously and was not selected?
Those who have previously applied for the Emerge program are strongly encouraged to reapply. Many Emerge program alumni were selected to participate after more than one application. Experienced civic and community leaders recognize that a long-term perspective and perseverance are fundamental to success.

Emerge plays a crucial role in developing the leadership skills of emerging leaders so that they can work more effectively with our community’s diverse constituencies.  Because this curriculum can only be successful when the class composition reflects the diversity of Austin, the Selection Committee selects individuals for each class to reflect the region’s geographic, ethnic, and professional diversity. Therefore, the Selection Committee reviews the class composition as a whole when selecting candidates.

5. How can I best convey my experience and interests on the application?
The Emerge program application is designed to lead you through a process to reflect on your civic and community leadership experiences and future goals. Make sure to follow instructions and submit your application materials in advance of the deadline. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

The selection committee will be looking for the following to be illustrated in your application:

  • A record of volunteer roles, leadership and achievement in community/civic/business activities.
  • A demonstrated personal commitment to community service and to solving community problems. Experience may be demonstrated through a variety of initiatives including traditional and non-traditional activities.
  • A strong interest in and the potential for creating positive change for the common good of the entire Greater Austin community.
  • The desire to foster collaboration.
  • High standards of personal quality and integrity.

Your full application will include:

  • Completed application form
  • One letter of recommendation
  • An updated resume
  • A head shot photo suitable for publication (head and shoulders, neutral background); pictures of at least 300 dpi resolutions are preferred
  • A Scholarship Request Form (if applicable)
  • The $25 application fee

In the words of one Selection Committee member, Leadership Austin is looking for applicants who have a “fire in the belly” to make a difference in the Greater Austin area. They are seeking individuals who have demonstrated a passion for the community and have begun leading initiatives that result in a benefit to others.

6. Who should I ask to write my letter of recommendation?
Applicants must provide one letter of recommendation. The best person to write a letter of recommendation is someone who knows you well, can speak to your commitment to the community and the ways in which you’ve begun to demonstrate leadership, and can write a heartfelt, first-hand testimonial on your behalf.

Leadership Austin is more interested in the content of the letter than the status of the person writing the recommendation letter. Examples of potential references may include colleagues, friends, clergy, or educators. We suggest staying in touch with the individual writing your letter of recommendation to ensure they are able to submit the letters by the application deadline.

7. Who reviews the applications?
A diverse and anonymous Selection Committee is appointed by the Leadership Austin Board of Directors’ Executive Committee each year in order to ensure that participants in the Emerge program represent the diversity of the Greater Austin community.
8. What are the time commitments involved?
The Emerge program consists of eight sessions over the course of seven months (September—April). Selected applicants will be expected to meet all of the following commitments for Emerge:

  • A full-day opening retreat in September (Friday, 8:30am-5:30pm)
  • Six evening sessions, one Thursday per month (5:30-9:30 pm)
  • A full-day closing retreat in April (Saturday, 8:30am-5:30pm)
  • 2 out-of-class, applied learning activities (2-5 hours total)
  • 1 group project (3-5 hours total)
9. I am not sure I can attend all of the class days—can I still participate?
Attendance at the Opening Retreat is mandatory in order to participate in the Emerge program. Individuals who arrive late or who are absent from the Opening Retreat will be dropped from the class. There is an allowance for a limited number of hours of excused absences for the remaining sessions.

Emerge class members and alumni include individuals of many cultural traditions. Every effort is made to take these cultural observances into account when building the class schedule; however, this is not possible in every instance.

10. What if I do not live Austin?
Applications are welcome from individuals living or working within the five-county (Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Caldwell and Hays) area who are committed to civic and community leadership roles. Because the Emerge program curriculum frames its programming on leadership skills and community relationships in the context of regional impact, it is valuable to have participants representing all areas.
11. What is the tuition cost?
Tuition for the Emerge program is $1000. Payment plans are available for class members who wish to pay tuition over time. 
12. Are partial scholarships available?
A core value of Leadership Austin is inclusiveness and tuition will not be a barrier to participation in the Emerge program. Selection for the Emerge class is made without regard to an applicant’s financial circumstances. Scholarship assistance requests are considered only after the Emerge selection process is complete and will in no way impact consideration of your application.

Applicants requesting assistance are asked to take full advantage of available employer training dollars, community organization support and their own personal capacity. Scholarship assistance requests must be submitted with the Emerge application and we are not able to consider requests after the application deadline. Read more about partial scholarship assistance here.

Please contact us for more information.

13. When will I find out if I have been selected?
Notification will be emailed to all Emerge applicants by August 25.
14. How can I learn more about the Emerge program?
Attend one of the Emerge recruitment events to talk with alumni, board members, and staff about the program and their personal experiences.

More questions? Please contact us and we’d be happy to answer them!

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