The Application Process

Applying to Leadership SLO is a process that requires your time and thought, and, if you are employed, your employer’s agreement. Please be assured that if you are accepted to Leadership SLO, we will do everything possible to make sure that tuition payments are not an obstacle. No one in the interview is aware of scholarship requests.

The Application

  • A completed Confidential Application
  • A brief and thoughtful response to a few general questions
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation
  • A completed Application Agreement that includes your employer’s signature
  • A completed Tuition Agreement
  • A completed Tuition Worksheet

The Interview

Following acceptance of your complete application package, you will be notified of a time for your group interview with six fellow applicants.


Successful applicants share some common traits. These applicants:

  • Are CURIOUS by nature and MOTIVATED to get involved in their community
  • Are LOOKING for information about our entire county
  • Are actively exploring arenas in which to FOCUS their energies
  • May be SERVING on boards or commissions or may be just thinking their path to community service
  • Have a COMMITMENT to personal and professional growth
  • Are WILLING to view community issues from a broad perspective

Membership in the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce is not a factor for selection

Applicants to Leadership San Luis Obispo come from all over SLO County and from every walk of life. In every class you’re likely to find:

*college students                       *middle-managers                      *front line workers

*farmers and ranchers                *retirees                                    *parents and stay-at-home parents

Leadership SLO class members bring unique perspectives and a rich life experience to the class. They graduate the program with new leadership abilities that serve their respective realms and our community as a whole.

Leadership SLO class members are ALSO public servants, nonprofit and business executives, officers and managers; people already in leadership roles in their work life. These class members contribute significantly to the Leadership SLO experience while sharpening their skills and exploring community values that will transition well into their professional and volunteer roles.

Selection Criteria

The selection committee chooses the class with a conscious effort to ensure that the group reflects a geographic, cultural, life experience, and gender balance between the private, nonprofit, public and voluntary sectors. We do not typically accept two members of the same family in the same class, nor do we typically accept two candidates from the same business or municipality, so a great candidate may be asked to defer their Leadership experience and apply again in the following year.

Selection is based on:

  • A demonstrated desire for community involvement
  • An intent to remain in the County for at least 3 years
  • A commitment to full participation in the Leadership SLO program, including two-and-a-half day out-of-county retreat, nine “Day Sessions”, homework and the Legacy Project

Approval from the applicant’s employer to be absent from the workplace on the above noted 12 days.

In our commitment to ensure diversity of people and viewpoints, many well-qualified applicants may not be selected. We urge those applicants to reapply in the following year with the understanding that each year’s applicant pool is independently considered.


In 2019, the tuition for the 10-month program is $1,950. Your Leadership San Luis Obispo tuition includes:

  • 2 nights accommodations at Wonder Valley Resort
  • 5 meals at Wonder Valley Resort
  • A private coach on Tour Day
  • Coffee, tea, pastries and fruit at 9 Day Sessions
  • Lunch at 9 Day Sessions
  • Access and exposure to city and county leaders in industry, government, and non-profits.
  • The right to claim kinship and affinity with the nearly 700 Leadership SLO graduates working to make San Luis Obispo County a better place to live for ourselves and for our children

See the Tuition Worksheet included in the Application Package for more information.


Partial scholarships are offered to assist those who otherwise couldn’t participate and are awarded based on greatest need. Since scholarship funds are limited, Leadership San Luis Obispo encourages applicants to seek sponsorship from their employers and community affiliations. Every year over 25{b16937efed2fc63e89504cf07af2a70f9dc0f983064997b2821001a5babf5ae7} of the people applying to Leadership SLO’s year-long program request scholarship assistance. Generous sponsors and  donors help ensure a SLO County future served by a diverse group of passionate and effective community leaders. Don’t let money (or lack thereof!) get in the way of applying.

Apply Today!

Our Generous Major Sponsors

Scholarship Sponsors