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Office of Administration Announces Graduation of Sixth Missouri Leadership Academy Class, Launch of Seventh Class

July 15, 2021

JEFFERSON CITY - Today, the Office of Administration announced the graduation of 29 state employees from the Missouri Leadership Academy – a program that develops the next generation of state government leaders.

The graduates came from 15 of the State of Missouri’s 16 executive departments and were chosen by senior leadership to participate in the cross-department leadership development program. The Office of Administration also announced another 30 emerging leaders who will participate in the seventh class of the program this fall. You can learn about the new class here.

“Programs like the Missouri Leadership Academy allow our team members to explore new and improved ways to make state government better,” said Governor Parson. “I want to applaud the graduates of the Missouri Leadership Academy Class Six for devoting their time and effort to complete this program and continuing their professional development that will undoubtedly help move Missouri forward.”

“The Missouri Leadership Academy is an innovative program that brings together emerging leaders from across all 16 executive departments, helping them to build new skills and become better leaders,” said program coordinator Aaron Dimmock, Deputy Director of Operational Excellence, Office of Administration. “Each participant experiences professional growth to better prepare them as emerging leaders in their respective departments. The foundation of the Missouri Leadership Academy is through better leadership, we can better serve our Missouri citizens.”

The Spring 2021 Missouri Leadership Academy class presented recommendations for improving state government from their capstone projects to Governor Parson and Cabinet leaders on July 13 and 14. Recommendations ranged from mental health wellness to modernized work environments. The evening of July 14th, Governor Parson hosted the Spring 2021 class for their graduation followed by a reception in the Capitol Rotunda.

The Missouri Leadership Academy is an innovative program that brings together emerging leaders to develop new skills and become better leaders. The program is based on the idea that by developing leaders, Missouri state government will continue to improve and better serve its citizens.

Emerging leaders from the Missouri Leadership Academy build their capabilities in three core areas: leading themselves, leading others, and leading change in state government.

This class was able to meet with numerous state leaders, including legislative leaders, statewide office holders, members of the judiciary, Cabinet leaders, and reporters covering the Capitol. They also toured the DNR environmental lab, Jefferson City Correctional Center, and were visited from staff from the Department of Social Services, who gave the class an overview of the hotline crisis center.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Spring 2021 class was the first to return to meeting completely in person. The Fall 2021 class will continue to adapt to COVID-19, as needed, to maintain public safety.

“The Leadership Academy provides a unique opportunity to build and strengthen the skills that are needed to be an effective leader and teammate. No matter what your role is within state government there will be opportunities within your career when you will be called on to lead and other times when you will be asked to play a supporting role. The Leadership Academy helps prepare you for both of these situations,” said Nick Bestgen, Department of Commerce & Insurance. “Lastly, the Academy teaches you that successful leaders build teams that are made up of team members with skills that can support one another.”

“It’s been wonderful growing alongside some of the best and most dedicated through the Leadership Academy. The broader perspective, skills, and relationships we developed are invaluable,” said Kaitlyn Thomas, Department of Economic Development. “The most rewarding and humbling part, though, is seeing so many involved with this program truly embody a public servant mindset and the continued commitment they make to improving State Government through leadership.”

To be considered for participation in the program, department leaders must nominate their team members. Nominees then submit a resume and brief memorandum explaining why they are a good candidate for the program to a committee of Cabinet leaders. The committee reviews the applications and makes the final selections.

Since launching the program, the state has graduated over 100 emerging leaders and will continue to have two classes per year. The Spring 2022 class will be nominated by Cabinet leaders this fall and begin early next year.

For more information about the Missouri Leadership Academy, visit You can also keep up with the new class on social media by following #MOLeadershipAcademy.