The Leadership Experience

Several years ago I created a summer leadership academy for high school students. I enjoyed the work and while I would classify it as a success I knew it could be better – I just wasn’t sure where we were missing the mark. I felt like we had hit the target but not the bulls-eye. I made the decision to press pause on that event until I figured out how to hit the bulls-eye in leadership development.

During the last few years of working with high school and college students, the answer has become crystal clear to me; young leaders are craving opportunities to experience leadership. In my previous leadership academy, we did a great job of providing speakers, workshops, and breakout groups. We studied and talked about leadership, but we had failed to give them the opportunity to practice the skills we were teaching. We had made the assumption that they would put it all into action when they returned to their team, campus, or community. This approach failed because leadership is a skill. To become great at any skill you must practice that skill. Any great athlete, musician, or artist will tell you that they have spent countless hours practicing their skills and that was the piece that was missing. Young leaders need opportunities to practice their skills through experience.

This light bulb moment led to the creation of The Molly Grisham Leadership Experience®. This event will be divided into two categories; The Main Event, which will be a weeklong event in St. Louis in 2020, and our Preview Program, which will be 1-2 day events, co-hosted with local partners throughout the country. The Main Event will include opportunities for growth in each six of our Touchstones while the Preview Program will include a sample of several Touchstones. You can download a flyer about The Leadership Experience by clicking here.

Our Approach:

Our approach to leadership development is rooted in our six Touchstones. We believe that we must be intentional about developing leaders and that process must include skill development as well as opportunities to experience those skills action. We believe there are many programs that talk about leadership but most of those are missing the built-in opportunities of experience.

Our Touchstones:

  1. Deconstructing Leadership

  2. Becoming a Servant Leader

  3. Connecting with Others

  4. Investing in Personal Growth

  5. Developing Solution Focused Leaders

  6. Experiencing Leadership

Our Programs:

The Main Event is a residential program that will be held in St. Louis in the summer of 2020. Attendees will participate in workshops, lectures, breakout groups, peer groups, community leader meals, and offsite service projects. These sessions will expose them to each of our Six Touchstones. Attendees will not only learn about leadership but they will also experience hands-on leadership opportunities. We will ask participants to help lead various portions of The Main Event so they can practice their skills in a productive learning environment.

Additionally, attendees will be placed in peer groups designed to allow them to discuss, plan, solve, and practice the skills needed to become successful leaders. The Main Event will also provide a track that student-athletes can select to provide development specifically geared towards student-athletes.

In addition to our nationally known guest speakers, attendees will meet with local community leaders as well as engage with young adults who will serve as Peer Mentors. Our Peer Mentors are young adults who have invested in their own leadership journey. They will be on site to connect with and provide insight to our participants. Participants will receive our Resource Guide, a journal, apparel, as well as several leadership books.

Our Preview Program is a commuter event that typically lasts 1-2 days and exposes the participants to a sampling of our Six Touchstones.  The Preview Program is designed as a partnership with local hosts. Participants will receive our Resource Guide.

Hosting a local Preview Program:

Our Preview Program is set up as a revenue sharing model. Local hosts help us acquire meeting space, meals, and assist with the local marketing. In return, they receive a percentage of the revenue. Local hosts can also determine the parameters of who can attend. Hosts can choose to provide a single-sex or co-ed program. Others may place restrictions on age or specific leadership interests. If you are interested in co-hosting a Preview Program event please send us an email by using the Contact Molly form.

Video updates are posted below:


“Announcing the Launch of The Leadership Experience” Video #1

“Three ways you can get involved in The Leadership Experience” Video #2

Are you interested in attending The Leadership Experience?

Click on the Events tab to see where we will be hosting our next event!

The Leadership Experience Mexico February 2019 highlight video.