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Community Leadership Academy

Save the Date: May 1-3, 2019

2018 Highlights Recap

Keynote Speaker: Devine Carama from Believing in Forever Inc.

Devine Carama presenting on stage.Devine Carama is a socially conscious hip hop artist, community activist, and motivational speaker from Lexington, KY. He is also the director of Believing In Forever Inc., the former Youth Services Coordinator for Community Action Council & Common Good, and is currently teaching a class at the University of Kentucky called “Lyricism & Leadership: hip Hop and Community Change”. He has worked with and opened up for acts such as Big KRIT, J. Cole, Talib Kweli, Nappy Roots, LL Cool J, Black Eyed Peas, Canibus, De La Soul, & Little Brother. His music has been covered in major music publications like The Source, Vibe, & Complex Magazine. Through his "The Devine Experience" umbrella he hosted local events such as Brown Sugar, Neo Soul Nights & Poetry in Motion. He’s youth organization has facilitated such initiatives as Sons Of Single Mother Mentoring Days, Impact 859 in-school mentoring program, Senior Summer Jam, A Coat to Keep The Cold Away youth coat drive, Fresh Water For Flint water drive, Poetry In Motion You, Strive 4 Success youth tutoring sessions, and more! Investing in the future of West Virginia includes a fresh perspective on how we can leave our legacy. We are pleased that Devine Carama will bring his own experiences and successes to the Community Leadership Academy this spring!

For more details about the Community Leadership Academy, please contact:
Community Leadership Academy Director, Michael Dougherty, or call Mike at 304-293-2559.

Sponsor the Community Leadership Academy

Get more information about the Community Leadership Academy:



Sponsors & Partners

Planning Committees

Pricing, Registration and Scholarships

Lodging and Location

About the Academy

The Community Leadership Academy (CLA) helps emerging and established leaders develop their leadership skills.

The academy provides community leaders with a solid foundation in public organizational and financial management. Topics emphasize enhancing personal leadership skills and providing an understanding of current, complex issues affecting communities.

The academy unites community leaders, elected officials, economic developers, Chambers of Commerce, business owners and civic-minded residents of West Virginia and nearby states.

The Community Leadership Academy was founded the by WVU Extension Service Community Resources and Economic Development (CRED) unit, with the help of Extension partners.

CLA Mission

The Community Leadership Academy provides leadership development opportunities focused on the knowledge, collaboration, and connections that empower communities to lead West Virginia into the future.

CLA Vision

To be West Virginia’s premiere community leadership development program.

CLA Shared Values

  • Partnerships
  • Collaboration
  • Excellence/Quality
  • Strategic Relationships
  • Networking
  • Creativity


  1. Help emerging and established leaders understand, use, and develop their community assets effectively.
  2. Support robust community engagement and further community growth.
  3. Provide local government officials and community leaders with a solid foundation in public organizational and financial management, grounded in current complex issues affecting communities.

Learning Tracks

  • Good Governance: Learn new strategies in Emergency Management, Funding and Community Relations.

  • Community Economic Strategy: Adopt strategies for successful community economic development.

  • Leadership: Understand new leadership skills for successful planning, implementation and performance.

Who should attend?

The conference will be most beneficial for community leaders in West Virginia and surrounding states. Members who regularly attend include:

  • Community volunteer leaders
  • City and County officials
  • County commissioners
  • Main Street program participants
  • Chamber of Commerce Representatives
  • Local business owners/managers
  • Mayors
  • City/Town councilmen
  • City managers
  • Municipal Planners
  • Members of local boards and commissions (CVBs, planning commissions, Parks and Recreation commissions)
  • Local EDA directors/members
  • Extension professionals
  • Historical organizations
  • Community development organizations
  • Students

Awards & Recognition

In 2013, the academy introduced a new recognition and award system for all attendees.
CLA Champion Award

The Community Leadership Academy Champion award honors an individual each year who is doing an exemplary job, going above and beyond expectations, to develop their community through their leadership, service, or other activities.

Anyone who has attended a Community Leadership Academy and is not involved in planning for the academy can seek the award. A nomination packet must include both information on what the person has done with respect to promoting and/or supporting CLA. It must show how knowledge learned at CLA have been put into use in a community setting. And it must include at least one letter of support from someone other than the award nominee.

CLA Champion Award Nomination Packet

Cumulative Recognition

There is also a cumulative recognition of participation. There are five levels of recognition (bronze, silver, gold, platinum, and titanium). Each requires the completion of 24 hours of instruction (24, 48, 72, 96, and 120 hours respectively). After completing 120 hours, a participant will be placed in an elite Mentee/Mentorship program where they will have opportunities to recruit, guide and mentor less experienced participants.

The program is open to all academy participants. Credit is given only for those sessions attended (verified by sign-in sheets).

If you would like to know how many hours you have earned so far or if you have any other questions regarding the cumulative recognition program, contact Michael Dougherty.

Past Academies 2013–2017

Past Academies