Program Description

The West Houston Leadership Institute (WHLI) is a breakthrough community leadership program. Leaders from corporate, non-profit and community organizations apply to participate in a 10-month program to learn and dialogue about issues that affect West Houston. In addition to a full- day Opening and Closing Retreat, participants meet monthly for a half-day to explore focus areas such as Education, Healthcare, Quality of Life and Transportation.

Hands-on Learning

A unique feature of WHLI’s class year is the opportunity to interact with civic and corporate leaders in a small group; to ask challenging questions, receive honest answers and explore solutions to real problems. WHLI is structured to include dialogue sessions with subject matter experts to discuss dynamic issues impacting the overall health and direction of West Houston.

Class Sessions

The West Houston Leadership Institute begins in January with a chili social where class members can meet one another, board members, and other program alumni. The overnight opening retreat is also held in January and allows class members to build community, dialogue with corporate leaders or government officials, and begin developing their class project. Participants then meet for nine half-day learning sessions on the 2nd Thursday of each month from February to November.

Each program day gives the class a hands-on look at what is happening in that field; the opportunity to hear from leaders of organizations on the key issues they are addressing; and solutions they have developed to make West Houston an even better place to live, grow, and work.

Class sessions are held throughout West Houston and are facilitated by subject matter experts. At the end of ten months, the class participates in a closing retreat and graduation that highlights the accomplishments and comradery of the group.

Learning Journeys

Another critical component of WHLI is the class-organized expeditions into the community. Participants gain a front-line understanding of what is happening in the crucial issue areas- what’s working, what isn’t, what opportunities and threats are present, who the change agents are, and what they can do to make a difference.

Service Projects

The WHLI service project is an essential part of the WHLI experience. Each class is required to develop and implement a service project that will have a meaningful impact on West Houston. Through the service project, participants gain a firsthand look at community leadership, teamwork, project development, and self-discovery.

Candidate Profile

• 10 years or more of professional experience
• History of community service
• Eager to learn about West Houston
• Proven leadership skills

Application Process

The West Houston Leadership Institute accepts applications from May-October for the upcoming year. If you are interested in applying, please review our class schedule for the forthcoming year and submit an online application. Qualified applicants will be notified of their acceptance after their application has been reviewed and approved by WHLI’s board of directors.


Tuition for The West Houston Leadership Institute is $2,399. The West Houston Leadership Institute offers monthly payments plans and a limited number of partial scholarships based on individual need and requests. Partial scholarships are restricted to employees of small nonprofit organizations and government employees. A $200 discount is available for current Houston West Chamber of Commerce members.

2023 Program to Schedule

For Questions or Additional Information

For questions or additional informations about the application process or class tuition please contact us.