"The ALF experience was one of the most meaningful things I have done in my life. I met some of the strongest people I know and more importantly, I met – for the first time – me. ALF goes well beyond the confines of a typical ‘leadership’ program. Wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world."

- David Bradley, Class IX
President and CEO, Statesville Chamber of Commerce


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ALF Curriculum

Please find below an outline of current curriculum topics. The curriculum is subject to change based on current events and/or the Fellows’ request to explore topics further.

Orientation/Civic Engagement/Dinner

The first session will provide a foundation for the ALF experience.  Presentations will include the history and philosophical framework of ALF, an overview of the aspects and issues in the Charlotte Region and an introduction of a model for effective community leadership.  During this session, Fellows will discuss the need for civic leadership and the importance of the common good in our communities.

7 Minute Introductions

This session immediately follows the orientation and overview day described above.  As a way to start building a cohesive group, all Fellows engage in 7 minute introductions, an ALF tradition.  During each introduction, the Fellow shares with his/her classmates a bit about who they are, the key influences in their lives and the legacy they wish to leave.


This session will first focus on identifying individual strengths. Participants will then learn how to nurture and develop those strengths, both personally and professionally. Each class member will be given Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham & Donald Clifton and will take an on-line assessment to help determine their strengths prior to the session.

Wilderness Experience

The Wilderness Experience is the ‘glue’ for the rest of the ALF experience. The group will be immersed in problem-solving, physical challenges and personal reflection.  This powerful experience encourages Fellows to learn to trust each other and push themselves beyond self-imposed limits.


Dialogue is essential to the work of ALF.  Bringing together diverse leaders requires the capacity to develop as a cohesive group while at the same time exploring challenging topics. This session will focus on how to develop the capacity to have difficult conversations while remaining connected.  Participants will develop their abilities to listen more effectively, generate dialogue that moves a group forward, identify interests behind positions and develop creative options.

Leading Across Differences

This session will focus on defining aspects of diversity: what values do participants hold relative to diversity and how an increased understanding of the impact on our lives helps one become a stronger collaborative leader. Participants will assess closely held values and learn how to fully include others who experience the world differently.

Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive Leadership is the practice of mobilizing people to tackle complicated, systemic and community-wide challenges. In the absence of obvious solutions (and sometimes even the absence of a clearly defined problem), this requires leadership as an activity and a collaborative skill, rather than leadership as authority or a defined position of power. For the emerging challenges facing our region, adaptive leadership narrows the gap between the way things are and the way things need to be to create a better future. This session provides an overview of adaptive leadership and gives class members hands-on practice framing highly complex community problems and engaging people to be part of the solution.

Taking Stock

This overnight session provides for integration of learning both as individuals and as a group.  “Taking stock” halfway through the year provides the group with valuable information to assess progress to date and make any mid-course corrections. During this session, the group will establish a preliminary framework with which to apply learned skills to current and future real time community issues.

Stand and Deliver/Commencement Dinner

The final session provides a framework for summarizing ALF learnings, evaluating the year and planning for individual and group actions to carry out the group’s personal commitments to the region. Highlights include buddy graduations and a Stand and Deliver exercise.  The day-long session is followed by a reception and celebratory dinner with family and invited guests.