MO Project: Contextual Branding

Office of Administration

Commissioner’s Office

Excellent customer service, every time.

Office of Administration announces graduation of tenth milestone Missouri Leadership Academy Class

July 14, 2023

 JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Today, the Office of Administration announced the graduation of 36 state team members from the Missouri Leadership Academy – a program helping develop the next generation of leaders throughout state government.

The graduates were chosen by senior leadership to participate in the cross-department leadership development program, which focuses on three core areas: leading themselves, leading others, and leading change within state government.

“The Missouri Leadership Academy plays a crucial role in state government by fostering effective governance, driving innovation, and addressing complex challenges,” said Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe. “By investing in our workforce, our team members are able to grow as leaders and work together to make government more efficient for all Missourians.”

“By investing in our state workforce, government can cultivate a strong group of leaders who are equipped to navigate complex challenges, drive positive change, and serve our customers effectively,” said Commissioner Ken Zellers, Office of Administration. “Since the beginning, the Missouri Leadership Academy has provided these opportunities for our emerging leaders to grow in their professional development. Our graduates worked tirelessly these past six months to find creative new ways to make government better.”

 “It has been incredible watching the members of Class 10 grow and develop together. As part of the Missouri Leadership Academy coordinators, just when we think we’re in a good place with this program, another cohort surprises us with their energy, collaboration, and commitment to serve citizens throughout Missouri,” said Aaron Dimmock, Deputy Director of Operational Excellence, Office of Administration. “We look forward to witnessing the future accomplishments for each of our graduates here today. Well done Class 10!

Class 10 of the 2023 Missouri Leadership Academy presented new ideas which will further improve the lives of Missourians. The teams presented their capstone projects to Governor Parson's senior staff, cabinet, and department leaders on July 12 & 13. The capstones included: Build the Bench – Succession Planning, Burnout – Recognition and Prevention, Daycare, Personal Health and Wellness, Procurement Process Improvement, and Risk Management Prep & Communications.

The evening of July 13, Lt. Governor Kehoe hosted Class 10 for their graduation ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda.

The Missouri Leadership Academy is an innovative program, which pushes state team members to work together, develop new skills and become more efficient leaders. The idea of the program is that by developing leaders, Missouri state government will continue to improve and better serve its citizens.

Throughout the program, the recent graduates were able to meet with many state leaders, including speakers from the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Branches. They learned more about the budget process by listening to a state budget session with State Budget Director Dan Haug, and participating in a mock budget hearing with Anna Hui, Director of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR) and other members of the DOLIR leadership staff. In addition, they also toured the Jefferson City Correctional Center while participating in a change transformation session and also visited OA Document Solutions Center (formerly known as the State Printing Center). 

“Participating in Class 10 of the Missouri Leadership Academy has been an incredible opportunity to grow as a professional with lessons that I will undoubtedly carry with me throughout the rest of my career. From building understandings of my own learning and leadership styles to interacting with and learning from great team members across state government, the leadership academy experience has shaped me to be a better team member, learner, and contributor,” said Jared Hankinson, Director of Operations, Governor’s Office. “Because of this rigorous and information filled course that is led by one of the strongest teams within state government, I feel more confident and better equipped to take on future challenges and give back to Missourians than I ever could have imagined.”

To be considered for the program, department leaders from across the state must nominate their team members. Nominees then submit a resume and brief memorandum explaining why they are an ideal candidate for the program to a committee of cabinet leaders. The committee reviews the applications, and then makes final selections.

Since launching the program, the State of Missouri has graduated nearly 300 emerging leaders and continues to have two classes each year. The eleventh class of the Missouri Leadership Academy is currently ongoing and will graduate later this year. To learn more about this program, please visit