What is LeadBoston?

LeadBoston meets organizations’ demand for more inclusive leadership by equipping mid- to senior-level professionals with the knowledge, skills, and network to propel their leadership and their organization’s success. During this unique, 11-month program, participants explore barriers to inclusion through facilitated dialogue, expert speakers, communication modules, and peer learning. Our experiential learning approach focuses on the inner workings of Boston, trends and systemic issues that impact the city’s social and economic vitality, and inclusive leadership. It provides an unparalleled opportunity for in-depth learning about complex issues, equipping participants with the knowledge, tools, and analytical skills necessary for effecting meaningful change in the workplace.

Who participates in LeadBoston?

Since 1991, LeadBoston has competitively selected more than 1,000 individuals as LeadBoston participants. Representing the gamut of Boston’s professional, racial, ethnic, faith, and gender diversity, LeadBostonians are typically leaders with 15 to 30 years of experience and who have the ability to influence change within their organization. Participants are sponsored and financially supported by their employers. LeadBoston is not an introductory workforce training program, and participants are required to have professional experience prior to participation.

How do I apply for LeadBoston?

Applying for LeadBoston is easy! Just fill out our convenient online application. Here, we’ll ask you to provide some information about who you are, how you identify, and why you are interested in being part of LeadBoston.

Applications for the Class of 2025 are reviewed on a rolling basis. Admission is competitive, so applicants are encouraged to apply early. Apply or refer a colleague at ywboston.org/leadboston-apply.

Professional development with a purpose

LeadBoston is unique among mid- and senior-career leadership programs due to its experiential learning approach and cohort-based structure. Over the course of the 11-month program, participants will experience: 

  • Meetings with policymakers, corporate leaders, and academics
  • Visits to Boston’s civic institutions, schools, health centers, corporations, correctional facilities, and neighborhoods (subject to COVID-19 safety guidelines)
  • A candid exploration of Boston’s inequities and how local leaders can make a difference
  • Bonding and networking with a class of around 40 professionals representing the gamut of Boston’s professional, racial, ethnic, faith, and gender diversity

Participants spend the year building skills that enable them to analyze the root causes of diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges faced today. The program culminates with a commitment and development of a project that will drive equitable change within the participants’ organizations and communities. 

The program includes a combination of in-person and supplementary virtual components to provide a flexible yet impactful experience for participants.

Click here to check out the Class of 2024!


Building a network of socially responsible leaders  

LeadBoston has been graduating socially responsible leaders for over 30 years and its robust alumni network is over 1,000 local leaders strong. Alumni are offered timely events including panel discussions, social gatherings, and professional development workshops. Alumni and their employers benefit from lifelong access to this unique network. Some of our alums include:


Wendell K. Chestnut, Senior Vice President, Bank of America
Peter DeBruin, Vice President, State Street Corporation
Holly Laurent, Senior Vice President, Fidelity Investments
Doug Banks, Editor in Chief, Boston Business Journal
Maura Banta, Director, IBM
David Carrewyn, Global Creative Director, Converse
Mark Michalowski, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP
Tom Burrow, Vice President of Digital Brand Commerce, Reebok
Marcita Thompson, Vice President, Fenway Park Tours, Boston Red Sox
Regina Pisa, Chairman Emeritus, Goodwin Procter LLC
Darryl Settles, Owner, Darryl’s Kitchen 


Nam Pham, Assistant Secretary of Business Development at the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, MA
Kenneth Green, Chief of MBTA Transit Police 
Stephanie Pollack, MA Secretary of Transportation

Matteo Urella, Program Manager, Strategic Communications, National Grid

Andrew Peck, Undersecretary of Public Safety, Executive Office of Public Safety and Security


Wendy Foster, President and CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay
Chien-Chi Huang, Executive Director, Asian Women for Health
Stephanie Lovell, Executive Vice President, Blue Cross Blue Shield
Wanda McClain, Vice President, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Benjamin Perkins, Vice President, American Heart Association
Charlie Rose, Senior Vice President, City Year
Stephen Chan, Vice President of Strategy and Operations, The Boston Foundation
David Waters, CEO, Community Servings