What is the Leadership Development Academy of Rock County?

The Leadership Development Academy offers a leadership center of excellence for the development of leaders in southern Wisconsin. The LDA is comprised of individuals, businesses and organizations interested in positively impacting our communities by providing a personal and professional empowerment experience for aspiring leaders.

We strive to provide an opportunity for community leaders of diverse backgrounds and interests. LDA participants gain knowledge and business acumen, skills in building community, and an expansive, professional network with others necessary to assume leadership roles in the rapidly changing public, private and nonprofit sectors. 

The future of our community is predicated on the capabilities of those individuals who assume leadership roles within the next 10 years. Knowledge and understanding of the community, its people and its needs is one of the most important traits for those who play active roles in shaping our community-based organizations, businesses and governmental organizations.

The Leadership Development Academy of Rock County prepares leaders of all ages and helps them find their niche within the community. How can you best lend your time, talents, and skill set to make your community a better place?

LDA participants meet in early September for an orientation session with the program facilitator, followed by a high-ropes course retreat.

The program continues with one full-day session per month, from October through May. Sessions explore the Rock County community and promote leadership skills using tours, guest speakers, mock sessions, case studies, role-playing, multimedia presentations and more.

Each participant works within a small group to produce a collaborative project that addresses a specific community need. Many of these projects have made Janesville, Beloit and all of Rock County a better place to live, work and play.

The program concludes with a graduation celebration in May, but LDA does not end. We have an active and engaged alumni base, which is always invited to participate in committees, social events and LDA-led volunteer projects!

Empower the leader in you. Become part of LDA!

Learn more Apply today

Our Program's Core Competencies


Develop leadership self-awareness. Self-awareness is essential to leadership. In order to lead others, you need to first be aware enough to lead yourself.



Demonstrate effective leadership communication. Clear communication is a key component of leadership. To grow as a leader, you must learn how to be an effective, compelling communicator.



Enhance team leadership skills. To effectively manage relationships with others and create positive outcomes a leader needs to learn the valuable skills of team-building.



Expand community network, awareness, and involvement. Community leaders take responsibility for the well-being and improvement of their communities and make a lasting, positive impact.


Follow LDA on Social Media

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram

Support LDA’s Mission


The Latest LDA Blog Posts

Participant Testimonials

I am convinced this program is a value to those that participate as well as to ANGI and ANGI’s customers. Appreciate all of the hard work you and your team put into making this available.

Jason Lund, President, ANGI Energy Systems, Platinum Sponsor

LDA has helped me to grow as an individual, create new relationships, and gain a greater awareness and appreciation of Rock County. I plan to use this to find innovative ways to touch lives and make a difference in our community.

Wendy Bumgarner, Johnson Bank, Graduated Student

My journey over the last ten months with LDA has been filled with self-awareness, collaboration, networking opportunities, new friendships and the chance to step out of my comfort zone on more than one occasion. Thank you to all who joined me on this journey, it was a very rewarding experience.

Tammy Eliszewski, Town Bank, Graduated Student

Without a doubt, LDA has awarded me the pleasure to work with talented, passionate, and engaging leaders here in Rock County. Connecting with all the awesome people in this program has been the best part of the experience, as well as collaborating with them to make our community work better. Cheers to all of you!

Nathan Fuller, Rock County Historical Society, Graduated Student

LDA has raised my awareness and social conscience; provided me with the opportunity to touch the heart and soul of our community; deepened my appreciation; sparked my desire to help make it a better place.

Julie Gietzel, Blackhawk Community Credit Union, Graduated Student

This program exceeded my expectations. It has been an amazing opportunity and I feel very blessed to have gone through this academy with such an amazing group.

Theresa Gunderson, Blackhawk Community Credit Union, Graduated Student

The LDA opened up my eyes to myself and my abilities, and the needs of our community. LDA taught me how to be impactful and to use the resources of teammates to move us forward. Thank you to all of the mentors, sponsors, businesses and especially (Executive Director) Linda Ross for making our LDA journey

Lily Lux, ANGI Energy Systems, Graduated Student

I’m very thankful for the opportunity to participate in LDA. It has helped shape and define who I am and who I want to be in the community. The best part – I’ve been able to make a difference and make some friends along the way!

Jennifer McCarthy, Baker Tilly, Graduated Student

Leadership Development Academy has taught me so many things about our community, about working as a team, and about myself. I am extremely thankful to (Executive Director) Linda Ross, the LDA Board Members, my employer, my team and new friendships I have made during my time at LDA.

Jenny Ryan, Applied Ecological Services, Graduated Student

As a newcomer to Rock County, it was interesting to learn more about the economic development efforts within the region and to meet so many dedicated representatives from area charitable organizations.

Kathryn Scott, SSM Health, Graduated Student

Through my LDA journey, I emerged having a greater understanding of myself and my leadership style, nurtured my ability to effectively communicate with others, enhanced my team-building skills (and made some amazing friendships along the way), and gained a deeper understanding of the needs of the community I live and work in.

Katrina Bird, First Community Credit Union, Class of 2013-14

LDA has taught me a great deal about myself. I am much more open and confident in a group setting and while presenting thanks to LDA. I also now have a much greater appreciation for Rock County and the many great people and organizations that make it thrive.

Bill Frisbee, City of Beloit, Class of 2015-16

LDA has given me the opportunity to learn more about the positives of Rock County … our economy and growth positives, both residential and business. Rock County is truly on a path to bigger and better….Every LDA graduate has a place to lead in our neighborhoods and workplace markets.

Deb Curtis, Johnson Bank, Class of 2015-16

The Leadership Development Academy has been a great experience for me both personally and professionally. I’ve gained insight into some wonderful organizations and have made connections with great leaders in Rock County. The LDA has paved the way for me to continue an active role within the community.

Jane Golberg, Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change, Class of 2015-16

Participating in the LDA was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Not only did it help me understand the people, places, businesses, and organizations that make Rock County what it is, it also helped me find my niche in the community. I have used lessons learned during LDA almost daily…

Eric Kuznacic, Why The Fuss? Technical Solutions, Class of 2009-10

The Leadership Development Academy … taught me that stepping out of my comfort zone creates adventure, excitement and opportunity. If you stretch your limits even a little bit, you can build and improve your confidence and self-esteem. No matter what happens when you try something new, even if you fail at least you tried and probably even learned/gained something…

Jean Miller, ANGI Energy Systems, Class of 2014-15

Meet the Class of 2017-18

View the LDA Photo Archive (2003-present)


Empower the leader in you. Become part of LDA!

Learn more Apply today