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Level up your career with Ignite Louisville

Since 2004, Ignite Louisville has helped up-and-coming leaders gain the skills and tools to differentiate themselves. This competitive program is perfect for those looking for their next promotion, position, or potential to make an impact in their organizations and community.

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For Leaders Aged 25-45

A masterclass in getting things done with and through other people, where you will forge deep connections with like-minded high-performers, building a stronger peer network that can last a lifetime.

6-Month Program

Starting with an overnight retreat and continuing with monthly program days, this program will allow you to build the skillset you need to stand out and get more done.

Meet Successful Leaders in our Region

Make connections, hear their career stories, and reflect on your own lessons learned as you identify pathways for your own advancement.

Practical, Valuable Leadership Curriculum

Participants cover a wide range of topics, including communication styles, project management, personal branding, and collaboration.

Highly-Credentialed Trainers

Learn from experienced professionals from LeadingBetter™ and some of Louisville’s largest and most successful companies.

Ignite Louisville Leadership Challenge

Apply real-world teamwork and leadership lessons (with a little healthy competition) while helping local nonprofits. Learn more.


"The Ignite Louisville program was hands-down the best professional development I’ve done in years! Not only was it an organic way to build a network of outstanding young professionals across the community, but I’ve been able to implement learnings from both the instructional content and the non-profit project that have allowed me to take the next steps in my leadership journey."

Nick Kues, CPA, CIA
Quality Program Manager, Humana

“Words cannot express the incredible experience I had with the Ignite Louisville program at Leadership Louisville Center! I’m forever grateful for the countless relationships developed, the insights acquired, and the impact created from this year’s class! #TeamItsLIT — I’m honored to have been part of the amazing work we achieved during our time with Ignite! Godspeed as we all embark on the next stage of greatness in life/career!”

Raechele Smalls (Gray)
Manager, Entrepreneur Selection & Growth at Endeavor

"Brown-Forman has been a long-time supporter of this program because we believe it is an excellent way to develop important skills for our up-and-coming leaders who live and work here in Kentucky. Ignite Louisville teaches participants how to influence without authority, leverage diversity, diagnose issues, and lead change --- skills that they practice with non-profit agencies of their choosing. The non-profits certainly benefit, and importantly, so does Brown-Forman. The employees who participate in Ignite Louisville bring these leadership skills back to their day jobs and can apply their learning to the roles they have today and will have in the future."

Kirsten Hawley
SVP, Chief Human Resources Officer, Brown-Forman

Recent Projects

Take a look at the impact our last class made on area nonprofits

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Ignite Louisville Graduates

View all of the alumni of the Ignite Louisville Program.


Case Study

Read about how one team supported Dogs Helping Heroes

Read More

Frequently asked questions

Ideal Ignite Louisville candidates are:

  • High-performing young professionals or up-and-coming leaders who are on the path to significant leadership positions within their organizations.
  • Individuals who are engaged, involved, and ready to make a positive impact both in their career and in their community.

Typically between the ages of 25-45. Leaders above and below this mean are invited to contact us and we can help you decide if Ignite Louisville is right for you.

The program runs 6 months, from October-April. The experience includes a mandatory two-day opening retreat, one full program day per month, and additional time spent working with a nonprofit partner in the Ignite Louisville Leadership Challenge community leadership project. To get the most out of the program, participants are expected to attend all program days – so please check the program calendar to ensure the dates work for your schedule prior to submitting an application.

The Leadership Louisville Center programs have attendance policies designed to give everyone the best possible experience. Exceeding the allowed absences for your program will result in a review of your continued participation by the Leadership Louisville Center Board of Directors. At that point, you must petition the Board to review your status via a letter outlining the reasons for exceeding the allowed absences. The board chair will rule on these matters. Failure to petition the board will result in dismissal.

  • Full and partial days are counted. Any hours away from the program day will be tracked and 8 hours will add up to an absence.
  • Failure to attend the mandatory sessions in their entirety will result in automatic dismissal from the program and forfeiting of tuition.
  • When using an excused absence, please notify the program manager as far in advance as possible. In cases where you cannot provide advanced notice, day-of notification is helpful so staff will know who to expect.
  • Consult program calendars for dates of all mandatory events.


  • The two-day opening retreat in April or October is mandatory in its entirety.
  • One excused absence, or equivalent hours, is allowed. A second absence will result in a review of your continued participation by the Leadership Louisville Center Board of Directors.
  • If approved to continue after a second absence, a third absence would result in automatic dismissal.
  • Two consecutive absences will result in automatic dismissal.

Tuition for Ignite Louisville is $4,500. This includes overnight retreat lodging, meals, and materials. We understand that this is a barrier for some, and encourage you to reach out to us for guidance on how to convince your employer to fund the cost of the program. If your employer is unable to support your participation financially, tuition assistance through Leadership Louisville Center is available based on need. You can request tuition assistance through your application form.

Ignite Louisville’s curriculum features exclusive content from the Leadership Louisville Center and partners with many of the region’s top corporations to provide leadership training from their executive teams and internal universities. Topics include: innovation, creative thinking, project management, effective communication, personal branding, DE&I, and leading up, down, and across. Through the Ignite Louisville Leadership Challenge (the service-learning component of the program), participants gain insight into the inner-workings of nonprofit organizations and gain hands-on experience in community leadership, board involvement, and teamwork.

Ignite Louisville classes are usually made up of about 45 – 50 participants.

Applications for the next Ignite Louisville class will open in summer 2024. Our selection committee considers experience, community service, responses to essay questions, and approval from your employer/supervisor. The application consists of three parts:

Applications are considered complete once all components of the application have been received by the Leadership Louisville Center. A selection committee determines which applicants will be invited to participate in Ignite Louisville.