Leadership Dayton Graduates Rave About Program’s Impact

Leadership Dayton (LD) is a premier leadership development program designed to identify, educate and motivate a network of community leaders and increase their capacity to serve the Dayton region.

As the March 24th deadline for applications into the program approaches, some of the LD graduates are sharing their experiences.


Tonya Casey

Finance Director, Miami Valley Hospital

Maya Angelou was quoted, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” This quote summarizes my experience as a Leadership Dayton graduate class of 2022. Over the 10-month long program, the monthly topics ranged from justice, education, economic development to diversity. On Wright Patterson Day, I was amazed to hear the important role the air force base plays in the US Armed Forces. As a native Daytonian, the information learned was more insightful than redundant. As an African American, I participated with mixed emotions. LD exposed me to places and information not readily available to someone who looks like me. Knowing makes me a better-informed community leader in a position to benefit the African American community, Dayton and the surrounding areas. My community involvement has increased through the American Heart Association Board and the 4C for Children Board. Both organizations align with my passion for health and kids. LD is a fine balance of work and play. The intensity of the program was highlighted by professional relationships which transformed into friendships. Each month I looked forward to seeing my classmates, alongside staying connected in between sessions. LD has given me a network for brainstorming, information sharing and access to a plethora of talent & resources.

Thank you, LD, for this opportunity. I encourage others to submit an application to participate in this eye opening experience!


Michael Newsom

Montgomery County Fatherhood Director

Before I interviewed for Leadership Dayton, I had heard about the connections I would make if selected. My mind immediately went to business opportunities, but that turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg. Since the opening retreat in August of 2020, the connections I made have not only turned into friendships, but the program itself has opened so many doors for me to serve the Dayton community in ways that I had not experienced in a 20+ year career with Montgomery County. Every month of LD highlighted different facets of Dayton, and my classmates and I, of the class of 2021 (best class ever?) learned and bonded together in ways that we could not have anticipated.

Since graduation, our class has stayed in touch intentionally through happy hours, facility tours, etc… We also celebrate each other’s accomplishments and lend a hand when needed. It is almost impossible to walk into a collaboration of any kind in Dayton and not see one of the awesome 52 members of our cohort. Leadership Dayton was an amazing journey and we are still on it together. I am such an advocate for the program that I am proudly recruiting and interviewing new potential candidates each year to do my part to help the program maintain its quality.


Sarah Hackenbracht

President & CEO,
Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association

After returning to the community and stepping into a leadership role in 2019, I needed to rebuild my knowledge and relationships across the community. Leadership Dayton provided me with that opportunity, but it has given me so much more. Now, I have a cohort of like-minded individuals who are trusted advisors and dear friends. With that, I have a front-row seat to celebrate them as they share their gifts with our community and do amazing work to benefit the Dayton region.

Our monthly sessions allowed us to have deep exposure and impactful discussions around Dayton’s history, our arts and cultural amenities, and much more. However, other sessions required us to take critical looks at the challenges within the criminal justice system, the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community, and the network of health and human services entities serving vulnerable people. In those harder sessions, we benefited from sharing our perspectives and experiences while providing one another a safe space. And now, we remain connected as a class, committed to celebrating the Dayton region and supporting each other, and using our collective power to help this region become a vibrant and equitable community for all.

As you consider the opportunity that Leadership Dayton provides, I hope you will commit to the experience and prepare to grow with a spectacular network of leaders.


How to Apply

To learn more about Leadership Dayton and how to submit an application, click HERE.