What is Elevate Leadership Institute?

The Elevate Leadership Institute is designed to instill leadership qualities and perspectives that mold everyday actions. We believe this empowers individuals to lead from wherever they find themselves at the moment, whether it's at home, at work, or as an engaged member of the community.

The Black Hills Region's future success depends on pro-active, visionary leaders that lead strategically and progressively towards the common good of all.  The Elevate Leadership Institute develops passionate, motivated, and engaged citizens who understand how the workings of our community, state, region, and nation impact everyday lives.    

This Leadership Program aims to attract engaged citizens from across the Black Hills region and provide them with the background, unique experiences, and insights necessary to assume leadership positions in the community. Participating in an ELI leadership class will build self-confidence, teach valuable skills, identify one's greatest strengths, and empower individuals to maximize opportunities for success. An ELI graduate will advance their natural desire to serve, engage, lead and inspire others to join them to achieve even greater success. Together we will discover the vision and continue to develop partnerships with a purpose to elevate the region for all.   

Who is Elevate Leadership Institute For?

Aspiring Entrepreneurs

As soon as you take the seemingly small step of hiring your first employee, the entire dynamic of your business is liable to change, because you’re no longer only responsible for yourself. If your ultimate career goal is to be a successful entrepreneur, developing your leadership skills is an essential piece of the puzzle, and can help you gain the skills necessary for building and managing high-performing teams.

Businesses And Organizations

Realizing the benefits of promoting from within, companies need to provide a pathway for their employees to develop the skills necessary for success. Investing in professional development initiatives, such as leadership training, is an effective way of doing so. It can also improve employee retention: Statistics show that employees would stay with a company longer if it invested in helping them learn and grow professionally.


Who is Elevate Leadership Institute For?

New Leaders

Many established organizations follow a strict hierarchy in determining who to hire or promote into a leadership position. Applicants, whether internal or external, must typically meet a certain level of education and experience even to be considered. But in smaller or more nimble organizations, this hierarchy may not be formally established, which can enable an individual to move into a position of leadership even if they don’t yet have experience in such a role. (This can be particularly true for many startup environments.)

If you find yourself suddenly and unexpectedly thrust into a position of leadership, pursuing leadership training can be an effective means of getting oriented to your new role.

Early- And Mid-Career Professionals

Early- or mid-career professionals who are currently working as individual contributors or specialists within their department or organization stand to benefit from completing leadership training. This is especially true for anyone who has a desire to eventually move into a position of management or leadership but is unsure of how to get there. By taking a leadership course and proactively developing your leadership skills, you’re priming yourself to be ready when the opportunity arises to make a change.

The program costs $2,000. Some financial assistance is available. Contact us for more information.

Application Process

Approximately 24 participants will be selected each year. The online application is step one. A panel of judges will review applications and invite the top-scoring applicants to an in-person interview for the final selection. Interviews will be held in July and you will be notified the beginning of August if you have been selected for the Class of 2024.

 Applications are now closed! 

Applications for the class of 2025 will be available in May 2024.

2024 Program Dates & Details

The ELI class sessions will be held from approximately 8:30 am - 4:00 pm each day (final schedule may change).

  • September 14 - Orientation
  • October 12
  • November 9
  • December 14
  • January 11
  • February 8
  • March 14
  • April 11
  • May 9 - Graduation

Linda Rabe Women In Leadership Scholarship

The Linda Rabe Women in Leadership Scholarship was established by Elevate Rapid City in honor of Linda Rabe, former President and CEO of the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce. Linda spent over thirty years with the Chamber, was the first female to serve as its chief executive, and broke barriers for other women in leadership throughout her career. Her dedication and commitment to bringing more women into leadership positions in the Black Hills continues to inspire to this day.

This scholarship will be awarded to a woman going through the Elevate Leadership Institute, who shows potential as a current or future community leader and who demonstrates passion, integrity, and a commitment to the mission of Elevate Rapid City — Elevate the Rapid City region for everyone.

To apply for this full-tuition scholarship, you will need to submit your ELI application and the scholarship application. The application will ask for a 500-word personal statement as well as a letter of recommendation.