The SIGNATURE Program is our premier program designed for experienced leaders seeking to expand their circles of influence, their knowledge of the inner working of Hampton Roads and their opportunities to serve.

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Brings together proven leaders from across the region and provides unique avenues for cooperation, innovative problem solving and the development of lasting professional and civic relationships.

The class begins in October and ends with annual BRAVO! graduation in May.

applications for the Class of 2020 will be available April 1st, 2019.


the purpose

  • Focuses leaders on key issues that impact Hampton Roads and its position in the state, the nation and the global economy.

  • Supports leaders in developing and acting from a sense of personal responsibility for the well being of the region and creates momentum for action.

  • Encourages the development of innovative leadership strategies.

  • Fosters the development of extensive networking and collaboration across our region’s 17 communities.

who participates

Leaders with a regional perspective and recognized for excellence in their professions and civic life. Approximately 50 established professionals from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors will be selected.


the experience

Monthly issue oriented seminars offer opportunities to experience the region at work behind the scenes, explore innovative solutions to pressing issues with the region’s top decision makers, and hone your leadership style.

Topics include:

  • Education

  • Transportation/Infrastructure

  • Arts, Culture and Tourism

  • Our Governmental Framework

  • Economic Development

  • The Military Presence and Quality of Life.



  • Orientation and Alumni Welcome Reception: October 11, 2018, 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

  • Opening Retreat: October 18 - 19, 2018: overnight at an out of town location. (Mandatory)

  • Monthly Seminars:

    • Third Thursday of each month

    • November 2018 through April 2019

    • 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM at locations around the region

  • Enrichment Session: Trip to the General Assembly; January 23, 2019, 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM

  • Closing Retreat: May 16, 2019

  • Graduation Celebration: May 30, 2019

  • Approximately 2-3 hours each month outside of monthly sessions for class community project.

  • Upon graduation, you are asked to participate in LEADOnBoard, where you will be placed on a board for 8 months as a non- voting representative of LEAD.

How to apply

Candidates for 2019 must submit an application packageA committee of LEAD Trustees will select a class that reflects the rich diversity (age, profession, ethnicity, city, etc.) of the region.

A completed packet must include:

  • Signature Program Application

  • Essay on several regional issues of your choice

  • Resume

  • Tuition of $3,300 is due upon acceptance. Credit cards accepted. Payment plans may be arranged upon request. Limited Scholarships are available upon written request.


For more information or to apply to our Leadership Programs, please contact

Alexis Epps, Program Coordinator, lead Hampton Roads
Hampton Roads Chamber

desk: (757) 664-2529   |

applications for the Class of 2020 will be available April 1st, 2019.

Name *

eXcel Leadership Academy

eXcel Leadership Academy is a program of LEAD Hampton Roads, the region's oldest and largest business leadership organization. eXcel provides a "behind-the-scenes introduction to the real world" and training to our regions rising high school juniors and seniors.

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eXcel Leadership Academy inspires students to lead providing development tools, opportunities and experiences that introduce them to the rich diversity and opportunity of our region. We assist students in creating a vision of themselves as the future leaders of Hampton Roads.


The 2019 program takes place July 16 - 19, 2019 from 9 AM - 5 PM. Students will begin and end each day at the Hampton Roads Chamber, located in downtown Norfolk. They will visit sites across Hampton Roads traveling together by bus.


Leadership components

eXcel is built on the leadership concepts and training used in the LEAD Hampton Roads Signature program which has provided leadership development  for regional leaders for over 30 years. These concepts and experiences are modified to engage emerging teen leaders.

The 5 Practices of Leadership: Based on the research of James Kouzes and Barry Posner, students will study 5 basic behaviors that are fundamental to effective leadership.

Appreciative Inquiry: Based on the work of Dr. David Cooperrider of Case Western Reserve University, Appreciative Inquiry is an innovative and positive approach to personal and organizational growth and improvement.


Life Skills

eXcel provides opportunities  to examine and reflect on personal behavioral styles and interpersonal skills which are fundamental to success in all areas of life.

I-Sight: Adapted from the work of Dr. William Marsh who studied observable behavior within distinct environments, I-Sight is the “youth version” of the DiSC which is widely used within organizations to:

  1. Learn to understand oneself better

  2. Get along better with others

  3. Recognize and develop personal strengths. Students will understand their particular style and be able to recognize differing behavioral styles in others, resulting in improved interaction and teamwork.

Real World Wisdom: Students will participate in engaging conversations on techniques and opportunities to excel in the "real world" with business leaders and young professionals.



eXcel takes students behind the scenes for tours and activities focusing on leadership styles and environments. Past experiences throughout the region have included:

  • Leadership in the Military: Tour and lunch on an aircraft carrier

  • Leadership as an Elected Official: Visit to Chesapeake City Council with Mayor Krasnoff

  • Leadership in Media: Conversations with media professionals, tour of ABC13/WVEC

  • Leadership in Sports: Tour of Harbor Park/Tides

  • Leadership in the Arts: Tours of museums and entertainment venues

  • Entrepreneurship: Visit to HATCH, a start up accelerator

  • Graduation at the Slover Library


The 2019 program takes place July 16 - 19, 2019 from 9 AM - 5 PM. Students will begin and end each day at the Hampton Roads Chamber, located in downtown Norfolk. They will visit sites across Hampton Roads, traveling together by bus.



 Tuition is $300 and includes materials, transportation during the sessions and lunch and snacks each day. Limited financial aid is available.

eXcel LEADership Academy is coordinated and facilitated by: Angela Blackwell Carter, MEd, Executive Director, LEAD Hampton Roads, Vice President, Hampton Roads Chamber, and business and education leaders from across the region.  

Academic Partner:  Old Dominion University Strome College of Business


eXcel Application

July 16 - 19, 2019


1.    Please complete all sections of the application. You may include attachments if necessary and email to Alexis Epps,

2.    Priority will be given to early applications; applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis.

3. The application, with signatures of the student and the parent/legal guardian, must be completed and received by June 21, 2019.

Address *
Home Phone *
Home Phone
Cell Phone *
Cell Phone
Gender *
Optional Racial/Ethnic
Name *
Address *
Home *
Daytime *
Please list, up to five (5) school, volunteer, religious, social, athletic, or other activities or organizations in which you have participated.
Select one activity or organization listed above and briefly explain how your participation has benefited you.
List any awards, honors, or recognitions for academic, school, or community activities you may have received with year.
Two references are requested. Please complete the information below.
1. Principal or Headmaster *
1. Principal or Headmaster
Address *
Phone *
2. Adult, other than a relative, who knows you well. *
2. Adult, other than a relative, who knows you well.
Address *
Phone *
Cell *
Address *
If selected, you agree to commit to attend the entire four day program. Full attendance and active participation is essential for a quality leadership experience. I understand and accept the attendance requirements for eXcel.
Limited financial aid is available. Do you require financial aid in order to attend?
Would you like to know more about a payment plan?

For QUESTIONS OR more information please contact

Alexis Epps,  Program Coordinator, lead Hampton Roads
Hampton Roads Chamber

desk: (757) 664-2529   |

For more information, contact Angela Blackwell Carter at (757) 664-2528 or     

For more information, contact Angela Blackwell Carter at (757) 664-2528 or 


LEAD OnBoard

LEADOnBoard, created by the Class of 2001, has matched hundreds of our graduates with boards across the region. Soon we will graduate our 30th Class of 48 skilled leaders who are prepared to take their places as LHR Board Partners.

Eligible boards have LEAD alumni as members and/or staff. We invite you to engage the boards you serve on in this initiative. 






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LAUNCH30 is a program of LEAD Hampton Roads, the region’s oldest and largest business leadership organization. Designed to attract, engage and retain our region’s next generation of leaders, the curriculum is skill-based while introducing participants to the rich opportunity in Hampton Roads.


The experience will provide a dynamic and innovative addition to our region’s efforts to retain high-performing young people. 


Participants will:

  • Experience our region from “Behind the Scenes”
  • Identify and enhance basic leadership skills, including how to lead change
  • Learn how to navigate multigenerational workplaces and organizations
  • Enhance presentation, fundraising and networking skills
  • Be matched with a community board as an intern for a 12 month


One full-day retreat plus 5 sessions 3:30-6:30 PM

Each session will take place in a venue of interest to young professionals, with opportunities to tour and meet CEO’s. 



$1500 to include leadership development materials and self-assessments; tours; refreshments and graduation recognition. Limited financial aid available. 


For more information or to apply to our Leadership Programs, please contact

Alexis Epps, Program Coordinator, lead Hampton Roads
Hampton Roads Chamber

desk: (757) 664-2529   |


Please complete the form below to inquire or request an application

Name *