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An economic and leadership development program that fundamentally changes the prospects of communities by investing in their civic Infrastructure.

We deploy 3 concurrent strategies to Catalyze, Cultivate and Connect leaders to amplify their skills and talents in service of thriving, equitable and resilient communities.



The core of the program is a transformative, seven-month executive education experience hosted at Harvard Business School and taught by HBS faculty and other pre-eminent thought leaders from around the state. The curriculum is designed to elevate the skills and leadership of LEADS fellows to advance personal, organizational and community development with a heavy emphasis on applied learning.



Throughout and beyond its conclusion, LEADS fellows are engaged and supported in the development of on the ground cross-sectoral projects for the benefit of local or regional communities. LEADS provides support and connectivity to other key stakeholders across the region and state to put ideas into action.



With periodic network-wide events, LEADS fellows build social capital and networks with individual leaders and cohorts across Greater Boston and Massachusetts, leading to fruitful mutual connections, ongoing exchange of ideas and access to greater resources to affect change in their local communities.



LEADS is directed by a dedicated group of experts with decades of experience delivering executive education, catalyzing transformative start-ups and working in Gateway Cities. The program was successfully piloted in Lawrence, Mass. in 2018–2019 and has expanded to host cohorts in Lawrence, Haverhill, and Lowell in 2020–2021, in collaboration with the Lawrence Partnership (Lawrence), Lowell Plan (Lowell), and Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce (Haverhill).

The concurrent delivery in all 3 communities allows for the development of an impact cluster, recognizing that many structural issues must be dealt with at the regional level. The Merrimack Valley Impact Cluster (Lowell, Haverhill, Lawrence), is strategically supported through a partnership with the Essex County Community Foundation, providing supplemental programming and networking development to amplify regional opportunities.  



LEADS seeks to recruit approximately 25 high impact, cross-sectoral leaders in each community to participate in the program, which will run from July 2020 through January 2021. Participants are strategic thinkers and actors, already in positions of influence, eager to make new connections and develop new capability to further themselves, their business/organizations and their communities.



Leads Programming

The formal LEADS program takes place over five modules from July 2020–January 2021. Each module consists of day-time and evening programming and fellows are expected to attend 100% of all scheduled activities.

Time Commitment

Time in Formal Program: 8 days, 3 overnights, 3 evenings

In addition to time spent in the formal program, fellows are assigned to study groups of 4–5 people that convene between every module, beginning with Module 2. Study groups meet at times/locations that are convenient for participants and are self-facilitated and last for approximately 90 minutes each. After Module 2, participants will self-select into project groups to engage in cross-sectoral initiatives that are intended to be actionable and impactful at the city and regional level. These groups, similarly, will be self-facilitated and scheduled by participants, and it is anticipated that each group will convene approximately five times between August and January.

What will be expected of me?

100% participation is required in all program activities, including local program days, academic intensives, study groups, and project work. Beyond being present, you are expected to come prepared to fully engage in class discussion and be an advocate for the community you represent. You are also expected to work in a team that crosses organizations and sectors to tackle an issue of system-wide significance. While there is no obligation to continue your project work after the conclusion of the formal program, LEADS will provide support and possibly funding to encourage ongoing participation.

Tuition $2,500

Scholarship funds are available.

Tuition covers course materials and food for all events and programming. Hotel accommodations are provided during Modules 2 and 5 at Harvard Business School, and fellows are expected to stay in-residence during these modules. The modules hosted in the  Merrimack Valley and Boston also include evening programming but overnight accommodations are not provided and staying overnight is optional.



Pam Hallagan
Executive Director

Senior Director 

HBS Executive Education

With more than 25 years of leadership development and executive education experience, Pam has developed a broad business perspective that she brings to her client advisory and program design work. As Director of Custom Executive Education at Harvard Business School (HBS), she worked closely with business leaders to design strategically aligned, high impact executive education and leadership development programs using multi-modal learning designs including residential, virtual, field-based, and experiential learning. Prior to her work at HBS, Pam managed Harvard University alumni involvement in the university’s expansion into Allston, Mass. and the planning of the capital campaign. Before this Pam was a principal at the Center for Executive Development and a management consultant with CSC Index.


Building LEADS has been a perfect marriage of Pam’s expertise in leadership development with her passion for mobilizing communities through positive, collaborative action. Pam sits on the NE Regional Board of the Anti-Defamation League and the Leadership Council of Temple Beth Elohim. She is a proud mentor with Partakers’ College Behind Bars program. She lives in Needham, Mass. with her husband and four children.

Derek Mitchell
Senior Advisor

Executive Director 

Lawrence Partnership

Derek brings a cross-sectoral lens and gateway city orientation to the development and implementation of the LEADS programming. He has lived, worked, started his family in Lowell, and spent the last five years running the Lawrence Partnership in Lawrence. Derek is deeply committed to the unique assets and opportunities that Gateway Cities provide for innovation, upward mobility, and community building. In the course of his career—which has included everything from working with refugee families and high-risk youth to real estate investment and local politics—he was bitten by the bug of collaboration, which he believes is the true silver bullet for getting things done. Helping build the LEADS programming has been a perfect complement to his day job at the Lawrence Partnership and represents the alignment of his values, passions, and deep seeded idea that bringing people together is the clearest path to making systems-levels change. Derek lives in Newbury, Mass. with his wife and two daughters.


Get Involved / Learn More

Local recruitment and selection is managed by local leadership. To learn more about referrals and recruitment, email the specific local program you are interested in. General program detail questions should be directed to Pam Hallagan.


Derek Mitchell

Executive Director, 

Lawrence Partnership


Allison Lamey

Executive Director,

Lowell Plan


Dougan Sherwood

President and CEO,

Haverhill Chamber of Commerce

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