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Minnesota Young American Leaders Program

Greater Mankato Growth, in collaboration with Minnesota State University-Mankato, is currently accepting nominations for the Greater Mankato Cohort for the 2020 Minnesota Young American Leaders Program (MYALP).  The cohort of 12 chosen from the Greater Mankato region will join cohorts from Duluth and the Twin Cities Metro. While Greater Mankato Growth and Minnesota State University-Mankato will be facilitating the nomination process, candidates will be selected by a committee of community leaders representing a wide range of industry sectors.  The event is open to all people who live, work, or volunteer in Blue Earth or Nicollet County who meet the nomination criteria below regardless of which business they work for.  There is no charge to attend the program; the Itasca Project has assembled a group of sponsors to underwrite the costs of program development, food and lodging.

Nominate a Candidate

The Minnesota Young American Leaders Program is an intensive, two-and-a-half day program at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities convening approximately fifty rising leaders from across business, non-profit organizations and government who are committed to working across sectors to help their communities and our region prosper inclusively. The program interweaves case studies, insights from national and Minnesota practitioners of cross-sector leadership, diverse perspectives on our current state economy, and research presentations from scholars of inclusive economic development and the future of work. The 2019 program took place November 20-22, 2019 at the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. The 2020 program will take place October 7-9, 2020 at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. 

Growing from a partnership among the Itasca Project, the University of Minnesota’s Center for Integrative Leadership, and the Harvard Business School, the Program shares themes as well as selected faculty and content with Harvard Business School’s Young American Leaders Program, which includes cohorts from fourteen city cohorts across the nation. The Minnesota Young American Leaders Program provides an opportunity to bring rising leaders together to focus specifically not only on the inclusive economic development of their city, but also on challenges and opportunities of common concern to all generations across our state and region.

The 2019 cohort from Saint Cloud made the following video describing their experience:

Candidate Selection

All candidates must be nominated by June 30, 2020 using this link.  Once nominated, we will contact candidates to confirm their interest and will send a link to complete an application, which must be completed by July 10, 2020.  Good nominees will meet the criteria outlined below and the final cohort will be determined by the selection committee, who will endeavor to choose a cohort, which represents a wide range of industry sectors, diversity, and includes representatives with varying levels of leadership.  Self-nominations are allowed; however, there will be no opportunity in the application process for reference letters, so candidates interested in having their application supported are encouraged to seek out a nominator.

Individuals chosen should have a track record of civic engagement and cross-sector collaboration.  Ideally, that engagement should include activities designed to improve the community of Greater Mankato.  This can be broadly construed to include those activities having a direct impact on community development, activities supporting the residents of this community, and activities fostering a community atmosphere.  Individuals should also have a track record of leadership within their organization and other organizations where they have worked.  Finally, individuals should have a "runway" for future growth in their career path and community responsibility.

There is no official age range for this project; however, most candidates who have both the track record and "runway" will be between 25-45.  Past attendees held a variety of positions ranging from C-Suite Executives to Mid-Level Managers.

Please note that the project will not accept candidates who are actively running for elective office but will consider current office-holders. In addition to looking for participants with both a track record and a potential trajectory in their professional and civic engagement, the project seeks individuals who have demonstrated their openness to new ideas and relationships, their willingness to debate and consider different perspectives on tough issues and their aptitude for working across potential boundaries such as race, ideology, sector, age or profession. 

In short, candidates should meet the following characteristics:


  • Mid-career professionals (roughly 25-45)
  • Track record of civic/non-profit engagement
  • Track record of working collaboratively with people and businesses in multiple industries/sectors.
  • Capacity for career growth
  • Ability to take action on information learned at the MYALP event to improve the community of Greater Mankato


The Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. Family: Visit Mankato City Center Partnership