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Leadership Academy

Educating Emerging Leaders at SML

The Smith Mountain Lake Leadership Academy is a 12-month leadership program designed to develop a diversified corps of informed, committed and qualified individuals who will assume leadership roles for Bedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania county organizations, both public and private, to meet the needs of the future.

SML Leadership Academy logo


  • To identify and develop potential and existing leaders in business, government, and the community and to help them better prepare for responsibility in the community.
  • To provide these leaders with a practical, clear and simple understanding of major problems and opportunities facing our community.
  • To facilitate access between emerging leaders and current leadership of the community.
  • To improve the communications network among leaders from diverse backgrounds and interests.
  • To create an avenue for persons of demonstrated commitment to the community to meet and exchange ideas.
  • To stimulate increased participation in and commitment to the community.

Mission Statement

The Mission of the Smith Mountain Lake Leadership Academy is to develop local leaders by equipping them with leadership skills, to provide information on community issues so that the community can progress, and to evoke community action based on the presentation of these issues.


Each year, participants are selected through an application process.  Orientation begins in early January and class days are the first Wednesday of each month with graduation in early December.

In its first year, the Chamber will accept 10 participants from a diverse group of local professionals, representing various local industries and entities. Applications are being accepted until Nov. 20. For those selected, the tuition will be $750, which includes orientation, classes, networking mixers and graduation.


Class of 2021 Session Calendar



Wednesday, January 6, 2021


History & Culture

Wednesday, February 3, 2021


Regional Leadership

Wednesday, March 3, 2021


Economic Development

Wednesday, April 7, 2021


Recreation, Tourism & Hospitality

Wednesday, May 5, 2021


Health & Human Services/Poverty Awareness

Wednesday, June 2, 2021


Protective Services

Wednesday, July 7, 2021


Government Affairs

Wednesday, August 4, 2021



Wednesday, September 1, 2021


Agri-Business/Natural Resources

Wednesday, October 6, 2021



Wednesday, November 3, 2021



Wednesday, December 1, 2021


In order to successfully complete the Smith Mountain Lake Leadership Academy program, attendance is expected at all scheduled sessions. Failure to attend all sessions may result in participant's ineligibility to graduate from the program. The Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber realizes that unexpected situations may arise that result in participant's inability to attend. In such instances the Chamber’s Education Committee will evaluate the absence on a case-by-case basis.

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