Skip to content

Homegrown Leaders

HomegrownLeaders<br />

Homegrown Leaders is a three-day regional leadership and community economic development training that equips existing and emerging leaders with the skills they need to lead long-term economic advancement in their community and region.

Western Region Application Information

People who live or work in these counties are encouraged to apply: Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, and Transylvania.

The training will take place June 4-6 in Sylva. Applications are now closed.

Western Region Application and Selection Timeline

  • April 21, 2024 | Application period closes.
  • April 25, 2024 | Accepted applicants are notified and registration opens.
  • May 19, 2024 | Registration completed ($350 registration fee is due).
  • June 4-6, 2024 | Homegrown Leaders Training


  • Gain an understanding of the importance of a regional lens for building long-term solutions to common problems and innovative opportunities for growth. 
  • Learn and apply skills needed to address current and emerging critical issues and economic trends that will impact the future of their communities and regions:
    • Economic development – Participate in an examination of the building blocks of community economic development; receive an analysis of current data and regional economic trends; take part in an exploration of critical local/regional economic development issues and opportunities; and learn how rural community leaders can eliminate barriers and expand opportunity for marginalized populations and the future economic well-being of all rural North Carolinians and their communities.
    • Leadership development – Learn collaborative leadership skills, explore emotional intelligence, and learn strategies for working with others and leading in difficult conversations.

Build relationships by networking with other leaders from the region.

If you live or work outside of this geographic area, you can complete this interest form and we will notify you when your county is being served.

“Homegrown Leaders took me out of my comfort zone and exceeded my expectations. This training was an excellent experience. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity allowing me to gain knowledge to go back and share with my community.”

2022 Homegrown Leader Graduate

Elizabeth City, May 2022

Lumberton, June 2022

Want to learn more? Contact the Leadership Training Team:

Olaunda Green
Director of Leadership Training

Emily Holder
Leadership Training Program Manager