Skip to content

Leadership Southside

Chamber Day_3

Leadership Southside is the Dan River Region’s premiere leadership development program for the business, education, public, and nonprofit sectors.

Leaders from Danville and Pittsylvania County have been participating in this program for over 30 years to develop their leadership skills and strengthen their role as an individual, professional, and community member.

From equipping participants with the understanding of a leader’s role in developing and communicating a transformative vision for the future to teaching them how to manage themselves and others effectively through conflict situations, this program is designed to build an alliance of the finest leaders for present and future leadership needs in the region. As each individual’s capacity for growth increases, so does our region’s capacity for success.


Session topics include leading a team, conflict resolution, nonprofit board leadership, communication skills, crisis leadership, equitable leadership, presentation skills, purpose-driven leadership and transformational leadership. Throughout the program, participants will have access to several assessments, including CliftonStrengths, the Enneagram, and a 360 assessment, to learn more about their own leadership style. In January, participants will travel to Richmond for Chamber Day at the Capitol to hear from and engage with members of the General Assembly.

Through these sessions, participants will:

  1. Explore their personal leadership style, and learn how their own behaviors, motivations, and tendencies influence their interaction with others;
  2. Connect with each session’s presenters, who are established leaders from across the Dan River Region and the Commonwealth of Virginia; and
  3. Expand their network by building strong connections with their classmates that last beyond the program.On average, 30-35 participants, all from different organizations, participate annually in Leadership Southside. Bringing together representatives from these 30+ organizations has the potential to increase the capacity for collaborative work in our community.


Leadership Southside is a 10-month program, typically meeting on the third Tuesday of each month from August through May. To avoid holiday schedules, the class will meet on the second Tuesday in November and December. Participants will graduate in May at the Chamber’s Annual Awards Dinner.

Please see the application link below for the list of proposed dates for this year’s program.


Leadership Southside proudly boasts over 550 alumni, many of whom still contribute in a number of ways to the vitality of our region.

Here’s what a few recent alumni have to say about the program:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my Leadership Southside experience. It changed my views on how leadership is defined and can be applied each day. It also forced me to do some internal evaluating that I would have never had the opportunity to do otherwise. The course was intense, but in all the best ways. I left each session feeling accomplished, and it was great to connect with other members of our community.”

Pete Kostopanagiotis, Class of 2022

Daniel, Medley & Kirby, P.C.

“Before Leadership Southside, I was always under the assumption that you needed the title to TRULY be considered a leader: CEO, Owner, Director, etc. But I’ve learned that titles are irrelevant; you can be a leader regardless of your position, and not only at your job. You can be a leader anywhere in your community.”

Alyssa Turner, Class of 2023
River District Association

“In this program, participants will understand themselves better—how they communicate, how they handle conflict, and how they view others. I think Leadership Southside is an essential program to increase everyone’s emotional intelligence.”

Irving Perez, Class of 2023

First National Bank

“My favorite part about the Leadership Southside program was the people I met, both classmates and presenters. The various life experiences and perspectives of people from all walks of life being shared was invaluable.”

Michelle Wilkerson, Class of 2023

Danville Sheriff’s Office


Tuition: $1399 per participant

Leadership Southside is a 10-month program with a value of over $15,000. This one-time tuition investment covers all programmatic and logistical costs, including the overnight trip to Richmond in January.

If a participant misses more than two sessions, they cannot graduate from the program. Please note that tuition is non-refundable.


  1. Complete the Leadership Southside Participant Application.Click here to access the Leadership Southside Participant Application. This year’s application timeline and program dates can be found on the application.
  2. Email your current résumé/CV to Rachel Covington at
  3. Forward the Leadership Southside Employer Commitment Form to your supervisor for them to complete.The Employer Commitment Form is necessary so your employer can [1] provide a leadership recommendation and [2] confirm your commitment to the program. If you are self-employed, please complete the Employer Commitment Form yourself to indicate that you have the time to commit to the program.

Click here to access the Employer Commitment Form.

Only complete applications will be considered by the Leadership Southside Selection Committee.


The Chamber has contracted with Rachel Covington lead and facilitate this year’s Leadership Southside program.

If you have any questions, contact Rachel Covington at