In 1982 a group of business and community leaders founded Leadership Spokane to meet the need for new leadership, following the tremendous growth and development period of the 1974 Expo. Though based in the Spokane Chamber of Commerce (now Greater Spokane Incorporated), from the beginning Leadership Spokane was a distinct 501 (c)(3) organization. The first class of 27 students graduated in June of 1983.
In the first few years, the Board was heavily involved in producing the class sessions, with the assistance of a very part-time manager. As Leadership Spokane gained economic viability, employees were added. Current staff consists of full-time Executive Director and Executive Assistant, four work-study interns and a part-time accountant. The organization continues to rely on its active Board, Alumni Association and Committee members.
1996: Leadership Spokane and the Spokane Area Chamber of Commerce (now GSI) launched the Executive Welcome program to welcome and integrate new leaders to Spokane. (The program languished after 1999 and was revived in 2005 by the Alumni Association). Also in 1996, Leadership Spokane introduced Youth Leadership Spokane, with an enrollment about 30 high school students.
2000: Leadership Connection (a fall and spring series of leadership training and networking breakfasts) debuted, produced in partnership with Gonzaga University and Whitworth College (now University).
2001: We launched the website and on-line applications. We moved the Leadership Spokane “Foundation” from a CD to a formal Investment and drew up the policies for managing it.
2002: Leadership Spokane started Excellence in Non Profit Leadership (NPL) with partners Gonzaga University, Foundation Northwest (now Inland Northwest Community Foundation) and United Way. NPL is a training program for non-profit staff and board members. The partnership has since expanded to include Avista Foundation.
2004: The Servant Leader newsletter went to electronic format. We move to rotating volunteer facilitators for the adult program.
2005: We increased adult class size to 45-50 and began the year with an overnight kick-off retreat. We implemented Lean Office which streamlined processes, saved money and time, and allowed staff to focus on the demands of a growing business. LeMaster & Daniels conducted a financial review.
2006: Leadership Spokane was the first organization to hold an event (Graduation) in the new Convention Center.
2007: Leadership Spokane completed a major IT transition and purchased new computer equipment.
2008: Board and staff spent a year on strategic planning. We launched a new logo, thoroughly updated our publications and brochures, and began using various electronic tools: MySpace, Facebook, Linked In, Launch Pad, Animoto, and Google Docs (for adult program curricula).
2009: Organizational emphasis is shifting toward the Alumni Association and how students engage as leaders after they leave the program.
2011: Launch of the new website designed by Webmaster Intern, Luke Turner and content by Alumni Relationship Manager, Connie Stark. Leadership Spokane hosts the first annual signature event “Leadership Lights the Way” supports the Leadership Spokane Scholarship Fund and the brand new Leadership Spokane Foundation.
Leadership Spokane is grateful for our founding investors, through their vision we continue to build the leadership mission and community of alumni for Leadership Spokane.
- Coopers & Lybrand, now Price Waterhouse Coopers
- Cowles Publishing Company
- Empire Health Services
- Fred S. James Company of Washington
- Group Health Northwest
- Kaiser Aluminum
- Lincoln Mutual Savings Bank
- Lukins & Annis
- Medical Service Corporation, now Premera Blue Cross
- Moloney, O’Neill, Corkery & Jones
- Old National Bank,now US Bank
- Sedgwick James
- Sterling Savings Bank
- US West Communications, now Quest Communications International
- Washington Mutual Savings Bank
- Washington Trust Bank
- Washington Water Power, now Avista Corp.
- Winston & Cashatt
2012 Community Leadership Award Winners
- Community Trustee Leadership Award: Dr. Joe Albert, Gonzaga University
- Youth Leadership Spokane Community Leadership Trustee Award: Representative Kevin Parker, Washington State Legislature
- Non-Profit Trustee Leadership Award: Sally’s House
- Business and Trustee Leadership Award: Stacey Cowles, Class of 1991, The Spokesman-Review
- Small Business Trustee Leadership Award: Kent Wales, Class of 2009, Happy Laundry and Dry Cleaning
- Distinguished Leadership Award: Pam Tajima Praeger, Class of 1987, Community Colleges of Spokane
- Board of Directors Spirit of Leadership Award: Dale Stedman
- Silver Spirit of Leadership Award: Group Health Cooperative