Annual LeaderShape Institute seeks student applicants and sponsors

Some of the participants at last year’s LeaderShape event

York University is gearing up for its 11th annual LeaderShape Institute, which will take place Oct. 7 to 12 at the Delta Hotel in Guelph, Ontario. Sixty York University students will have an opportunity to attend this award-winning leadership development program.

The emerging student leaders following last year’s LeaderShape Institute

Student Community & Leadership Development (SCLD) at York University coordinates the institute and is seeking both student applicants and campus partners interested in sponsoring this year’s event. The deadline to submit an application is Wednesday, Sept. 12.

Originally established in 1986 in Chicago, the LeaderShape Institute was first hosted by York University in 2008. Since then, 600 York students have joined its ranks and there are more than 100,000 other LeaderShape Institute graduates worldwide.

The LeaderShape Institute has developed a strong reputation for being one of the best leadership experiences at York University. The program includes six days of intense dialogue and self-exploration in a supportive learning community. Students are challenged and pushed out of their comfort zones to produce a breakthrough in their leadership capacities to develop a personal vision for the change they wish to see in the world.

“One of the core teachings behind the LeaderShape Institute is that leadership is not positional, but rather it is how you relate with others,” said SCLD’s Student Leadership and Development Coordinator Urshian Khalid. This principle is what informs many of the participants’ experiences in forming strong bonds with one another to challenge pre-conceived notions of what it means to be a leader with a “healthy disregard for the impossible.”

To support the LeaderShape Institute as a cornerstone to SCLD’s vision for an engaged University community, York’s Vice-Provost Students Lucy Fromowitz served as a guest leader for a panel discussion last year. Prakash Amarasooriya, a LeaderShape Institute alumnus, who also led the Toronto Youth Cabinet initiative in pushing for financial literacy training in high schools, also attended.

Still wondering if this program is right for your students?

Read what former participants have to say about their experience at previous LeaderShape Institute sessions:

“I’ve woken up every single morning with a renewed passion for reaching my goals, a clearer vision and a healthy disregard for the impossible.” – Roshni Khemraj

“LeaderShape is a powerful catalyst. I know certainly that my university experience and career aspirations evolved tremendously because of LeaderShape. I continued to be amazed that one week changed me so much.” – Jose Burgos

“My non-profit empowers marginalized women through education, experiential learning and opportunities to develop leadership potential. I couldn’t have done this without LeaderShape.”– Mastoureh Alvandkouhy

“Leadership is defined by the relationships we build, rather than the position we hold. I will use this reflection to build the types of connections that will help make a positive social change.” – Duan Parchment

The LeaderShape Institute is made possible by the collaborative support of student groups, University departments and alumni. Past participants have gone on to assume senior leadership roles across the University, whether it be in their respective councils, peer mentoring groups, or as active alumni.

If you know of a student (or students) in your area (someone or a group you think could benefit from attending the program) such as a member of your peer mentor group, a work-study student or any passionate student, organizers ask that you consider submitting a nomination (nominations) since not all participants nominated will be available to attend.

To nominate a student or a group for the LeaderShape Institute, email Urshian Khalid at, or visit

SCLD has funding to cover a limited number of participants; however, the overarching goal is to have 60 students with representation from all areas at York University. Sponsorships are sought for one or more students. The fees for LeaderShape are $1,000 per person, including taxes. For more information, email, or by phone at ext. 44175.