New Community Leadership Development Program Unveiled in Chicago!

As Executive Director for Leadership Grand Rapids, Derrick Sorles revitalized a leadership development program that was in its 16th year. By shifting the program’s emphasis from solely teaching leadership theory to actually applying it by working with area non-profits on specific projects that had immediate, measurable and direct impact on the community, he renewed a shared vision and commitment to the program from alumni, community volunteers, business leaders and citizens of West Michigan causing participation and sponsorship to soar. “Derrick Sorles served as our Executive Director with passion and commitment…He made our program stronger through his perspective, enthusiasm, and abilities. Through the efforts of Derrick, his staff and our volunteers, we have created one of the best leadership programs in the country…” – Timothy Reimink, National City Bank representative and Chair, Leadership Grand Rapids.

Wanting to create a model transferable to any metropolitan area, he set his sights on Chicago as his ideal destination! He felt Chicago provided an amazing “classroom” to showcase the model designed to ignite individual and collective passion for community advocacy. “Derrick is an individual who is passionate about life and making a difference. I believe he has the desire, vision and commitment to make a difference in our community.” – Gail S. Scott, Principal, Morningstar Health.


Ideal for executives recently relocated to Chicago who want to be extremely informed and get richly connected quickly, LEADERSHIP INSIDE YOUR CHICAGO’s application campaign kicks off this month. Only 40 people will be able to participate in the CLASS OF 2007, which meets approximately 11 sessions, from this September through May 2007 (schedule available at Each session, participants are exploring our city’s resources, strengths, threats and opportunities in multiple community sectors, i.e. government, healthcare, public education, and connecting with Chicago’s key business, civic and cultural leaders and institutions that are shaping the future of the city.

“It is our mission,” explains Derrick, now Executive Director for INSIDE YOUR CHICAGO, “to provide a leadership series, here in Chicago, committed to developing a diverse group of community leaders that is accessible, affordable and work/life friendly. And he added, “Our alumni will volunteer on boards and commissions, impact community groups, serve as elected officials and are enabled catalysts committed to the city’s future growth and prosperity. Therefore supporting, rather than leaving to chance, Mayor Richard M. Daley’s belief that Chicago is the best city in the nation in which to live, work and raise a family thanks to the city’s long-standing tradition of community participation.”

“We believe an aware and empowered group, connected by common goals and visions, equipped to take risks and overcome challenge, will make a positive impact in their homes, in their workplaces and in our community.” said Derrick, “And you know what? Everyone benefits!”

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