Regional Leadership Institute (RLI)

Developing Informed Leaders to Address Regional Challenges

The Regional Leadership Institute (RLI) is a flagship leadership program of the ARC. It engages 50 leaders each year across sectors and the 10-county Atlanta region in an immersive, interactive week-long leadership development program held in Savannah, Georgia.

RLI is designed to expose people who are already leaders within their organization or community to a framework of issues that is regional in nature. As metro areas drive the economy, culture, and policy conversations, it is critical that leaders from all backgrounds understand specific issues and how they are interconnected.

Issue experts, panel discussions, and interactive sessions around policy areas and leadership curriculum fill out this week of learning and connections. More than simply a one-time experience, RLI is an additional avenue of engagement for participants to partner in building a stronger Atlanta region. Upon graduation, alumni are invited to join the work of the ARC and other organizations that work regionally.

“The Regional Leadership Institute experience has not only deepened my awareness of the challenges facing the region, but has allowed me to interact with fellow decision makers and seek out innovative solutions to move our region forward collectively. It was one of my best experiences!”

Nicole Hendrickson, Gwinnett County Government,
Community Outreach Program Director; Class of 2016

Program Details

The 50 participants selected for RLI meet for a week in Savannah, Georgia to learn together about the region’s issues. Sessions in last year’s program included: Building an Educated Workforce, Community Planning and Visioning, Building an Inclusive Atlanta Region, and The Economic Impact of Regional Issues.


  • $2,400 which includes accommodations and most meals (breakfast and lunch each program day; dinner on Sunday and Thursday).
  • Participants are responsible for their own travel to and from Savannah.

2018 RLI Schedule

  • Orientation reception: Thursday, September 13, 2018, 5 -7 PM (in metro Atlanta)
  • RLI week begins: Sunday, September 30, 2 PM (in Savannah)
  • RLI week ends: Friday, October 5, 11 AM
  • Follow-up event: Thursday, January 17, 2019, 5 -7 PM (in metro Atlanta)

NOTE: Participants are expected to participate in all RLI events including the reception, follow-up event and every day of the program in Savannah.

Application Process

Applications are solicited regionwide. Interested individuals apply directly to ARC during the application period. The online application for the 2018 class will open on February 15 with a deadline of April 16, 2018.

Review Process

The RLI Selection Committee is comprised of ARC staff and selected RLI alumni. Each year the committee seeks to select a diverse group of individuals with regard to ethnicity, gender, geography, profession, community service, and demonstrated leadership. This is a competitive process. If you have questions, email Folashade Alao at

“I am always impressed with the content of the program and the participants the Regional Leadership Institute. I am often asked to give speeches at other leadership programs around the region. I always end those by suggesting that participants’ next step as leaders should be RLI. I don’t think one can be an authentic and effective leader without first understanding the regional context. There is no better way to learn than going through RLI.”

Bill Bolling, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Founder; Class of 1992

RLI Speakers

Past speakers include:

  • Anthony Rodriguez (Producing Artistic Director, Aurora Theatre)
  • Alicia Philipp (President, Community Foundation)
  • Dr. Tim Hynes (President, Clayton State University)
  • Milton Little (President and CEO, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta)
  • Hala Moddelmog (President, Metro Atlanta Chamber)
  • Hon. Rochelle Robinson (Mayor, City of Douglasville)

RLI Alumni

RLI boasts more than 1,500 graduates and has an active alumni group that works hard to make the Atlanta region a better place to live – and has a little fun in the process.

Regional Leadership Institute Alumni