Leadership LabBuild Leadership Skills
Grow Your Network
Lead Our Community

Accepting Applications!

Online application is open NOW for the 2023-2024 Leadership Lab session. Apply today!

About the Leadership Lab Program

DeRondal Bevly, Mentor   |   Cathy Yen, Mentor

Through the Lab, you will curate your own leadership journey with a series of in-person and virtual classes, a
ten-month program that offers personal/professional coaching, skills development and a curriculum based on the most urgent needs of our diverse West Cook community.

The Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation’s Leadership Lab Program celebrates and supports the diverse set of people and skills required to make lasting change in our community. As part of the program, you commit to an ongoing journey of community leadership, identifying core issues while setting personal goals for growth and engagement. The Program has three important components:

Build, Grow, Lead

The Lab

Ten month program focused on leadership incubation for our community

The Library

Set of leadership resources available to all Lab participants and alumni

The League

Network of 200+ local leaders who have participated in the program and remain committed to the success of our region and each other
We will provide you with a set of core leadership competencies that belong in a community leader’s toolkit. Working with our coaching team, you will identify areas for your own professional growth, learn about opportunities for local involvement; and create your personal action plan to become the leader you know you can be.

Fellows Leave With:

  • Curated leadership action plan
  • Leadership skills
  • Membership in the Leadership League
  • Toolkit to address systemic issues
  • Better understanding of regional western Cook County issues
  • View of critical issues through a community lens
  • Access to Leadership Library
  • Certificate of completion
  • Capstone Conference and Graduation Event

Program Details

  • Program runs September 2023 - June 2024
  • Meetings once a month on Fridays: 9am-12pm
  • Expected time commitment 8-10 hrs per month
  • Self-directed sessions offered throughout the month, including a mix of in-person and virtual workshops
  • Member activities including ”Member Exchanges," Book Club, Movie Night, Podcasts and more…

View the 2023-2024 Program Schedule

Tuition Information and Payments

Leadership Lab tuition is $2,000, of which $200 is tax-deductible. We encourage your employer’s sponsorship. For individuals seeking financial assistance, partial funding is available. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., for details. Refunds are not available once session has begun for any missed classes or cancellations.

Click here for ONLINE PAYMENTS

Or, mail checks to:
OPRF Community Foundation
1049 Lake Street, Suite 204
Oak Park, IL 60301
Memo: Leadership Lab Tuition

Credit cards are accepted over the phone.
Contact Cathy Craddock, Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation: 708-848-1560

If you have questions about the program, email Jenny Yang: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2022-2023 Cohort

We're proud of this diverse and talented group of community leaders taking part in this year's  program.

  • Dr. LaTonya Applewhite, Executive Director of Equity and Student Success, OPRF District 200
  • Elijah Bebora, Management Analyst, Village of Lincolnwood
  • Christine Brooks, Older Adult Benefits Administrator
    (Retired 7/1/2022)
  • Ann Marie Buczek, Communication & Community Engagement Manager, Park District of Oak Park
  • Jolien Connor, Self Employed, Entrepreneur
  • Allison Davenport, Chief Executive Officer, Riveredge Hospital
  • Cal Davis, Board Member, River Forest District 90
  • Chad Drufke, Programs Manager, Park District of Oak Park
  • Daisy Gabriel, Programs Coordinator, Beyond Hunger
  • Sophie Grimes, Communications Coordinator, Collaboration for Early Childhood
  • Caroline Heskett, Program Manager, Office of Community Health Equity & Engagement, Rush Oak Park Hospital
  • Dominique Hickman, Girls on the Rise Program Manager, Oak Park Township
  • Jeffrey Hines, Managing Partner, Hines Insurance & Financial Services, Inc dba Jeffrey Hines State Farm
  • Miguel Jones, Village Trustee, Village of Maywood
  • Megan Keskitalo, Research Manager, Strategar & Volunteer with Lincoln Elementary, VRF & Oak Park Temple
  • Becky Martin, Co-Executive Director, A House in Austin
  • Francesco Russo, Fitness Programming and Services Manager, West Cook YMCA
  • Chejuana Stiles, Facilities Manager, A House in Austin
  • Hannah Weigel, Program Coordinator, Beat the Streets Chicago
  • Cherise Williams-Brown, Executive Assistant, Rush Oak Park Hospital

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