New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute


The mission of NORLI is to help promote regionalism and to provide a diverse cross section of current and emerging leaders from the business, non-profit and governmental sectors from throughout the region with a more thorough understanding of issues and an enhanced ability to collaborate for the greater good of the community.

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Category: Community Improvement
Parish: Orleans
NORLI is open to a broad spectrum of community leaders representing business, labor, education, healthcare, the military, government, non-profit, and civic organizations in the Greater New Orleans region.The NORLI experience affects each graduate in a different way. Many classmates create new friendships and relationships that extend beyond the program. Synergies and connections between alumni have led to wonderful partnerships.

In 1988, a task force was formed to develop a leadership program for the New Orleans region. The task force included representatives of the Metropolitan Area Committee, Young Leadership Council, Jefferson Leadership Institute, Leadership Slidell, West St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce, and Leadership Louisiana (a program of Council for a Better Louisiana). A concerted effort was made to include knowledgable members from all ten parishes in the metropolitan area.

Research on successful leadership programs nationwide was conducted through establishment of a relationship with the National Association for Community Leadership and visiting three well-established programs in other parts of the country.

From the beginning, the core values guiding this effort were a dedication to regional cooperation and collaboration and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. These elements were considered essential to economic growth and viability.

Through the efforts of the task force, the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute was established in 1999. A program was crafted to give these leaders a more thorough understanding of the most pressing issues and an enhanced ability to collaborate for the benefit of the New Orleans Region. The first class of 34 leaders was selected in the fall of 1999, and graduated in the spring of 2000. Since that time, over 600 regional leaders have graduated from the NORLI program and 41 more are due to graduate in June 2017.

NORLI Alumni continue to have an impact in our region, expanding the relationships they made with classmates and further committing themselves to improving our community.
"I was able to meet different professionals in different levels of management" - Amy Collins ('15)

"The relationship you make with your classmates in that NORLI room will last forever" - Brandon Nelson ('13)

"I feel it's so important, no matter where you are in your career, to have this experience and to feel open to give yourself the opportunity to do this" - Christine Rigamer ('16) on how NORLI has cultivated her professional development.

"Attending NORLI actually helped me to identify a more direct leadership capability" - Kelisha Garrett ('12)

"NORLI has truly been one of the best experiences I've invested my time in" - Ric Smith ('01)

"It offers me the opportunity to meet other people in the region who are looking to solve some of our most challenging issues" - Trevor Theunissen ('11) on growing through his NORLI experience.