The Institute

Mason LeaderShape Institute

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, this year's 2023 Mason LeaderShape Institute has been cancelled. 

We hope you will consider participating in other LEAD programs and events. Here are some of our other recommended programs:


About LeaderShape LeaderShape® is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating a just, caring, and thriving world where all lead with integrity and a healthy disregard for the impossible. LeaderShape® works to do this by having conversations that matter. To grow this community, and achieve our mission, LeaderShape offers three programs: Catalyst, Institute, and Resilience. Each program encourages participants to live in possibility. We want to live in possibility and, by doing so, lead others to do the same. In other words… to lead, live. Our programs support people in their life pursuits and encourage them to make an impact by the way they live their lives.

About the Institute The Institute℠, formerly known as The LeaderShape Institute®, has been a program of LeaderShape® for 30 years. Originally developed by the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity as a means of improving campus leadership, the Institute℠ now serves people representing a wide variety of organizations throughout the United States and internationally. In 1992, the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan invited LeaderShape® to bring the Institute℠ to its campus and run a session of the program exclusively for Michigan students. This project was very successful and created the opportunity for more organizations to operate “campus-based” sessions of the Institute℠. To date, more than 60,000 participants from colleges, universities, and corporations across the country have attended the Institute℠. In addition, more than 6,000 volunteer faculty have contributed their time and talents since the program began in 1986. LeaderShape® partners with institutions and organizations large and small, across the United States and throughout the world in order to create a just, caring, and thriving world where everyone leads with integrity™ and a healthy disregard for the impossible.

What Mason students are saying about the Mason LeaderShape Institute℠,

  • “In just a few days, the Mason LeaderShape Institute embodied what George Mason University stands for, a message that takes some students their entire college career to learn: freedom to grow and discover the numerous possibilities in the world, and learning how being a leader is something anyone can accomplish if they “have a healthy disregard for the impossible.”
  • “I am so grateful to the LEAD office for providing me with that collaborative space and especially for that week-long immersion into those relationships. LeaderShape has continued to impact my outlook on my abilities. I am constantly reflecting on my knowledge learned in the week, and applying it to my day-to-day situations. I often find my motivation comes from thinking about all the goals I set back at LeaderShape. At the end of that week, I walked away so excited to start the Fall semester, feeling very connected to my campus community.”
  • “Going to the LeaderShape Institute was one of the most enriching experiences I have had during my college experience. During this 6-day institute, I grew tremendously as a person. I was put into an environment with other students, faculty, staff, and professionals that all wanted to focus on personal development and personal growth while learning how to contribute their own individual voice to events and issues that are important today. This institute allowed me to take a deeper look into myself and where I currently stand with my leadership skills and how I could grow and develop more into the woman that I wanted to become. I left with so many useful tools and connections to others at Mason because of this trip.”
  • “Being a part of the LeaderShape Institute at Mason provided me with the BIGGEST transformation throughout my college experience. The things I gained from LeaderShape are things few people, who are lucky enough, get to experience in their lifetime. For the first time in my life, I was given tools to help me define myself.”
  • “The most rewarding aspect of Mason LeaderShape was what I learned about myself and my capacity to be a catalyst for positive change. This has allowed me to focus on my vision and continue to work on it in a way that will contribute to society.”

Frequently Asked Questions

We are excited to share that each student participating will receive their own room in Taylor Hall to stay overnight for 3 nights, all meals and program materials are provided, and students will also receive an official LeaderShape Institute t-shirt.  The Mason LeaderShape Institute is a fully immersive and engaging leadership experience and we have found that participants gain the most from the program when being able to participate in the program in its entirety (please do not schedule anything else during these dates so you can fully experience and be a part of the community that we create). 

Question: Are we supposed to accommodate our own place to stay since school will be out?

Answer: Students will be staying over night in Taylor Hall at George Mason University (Fairfax campus).  Meals will be provided. Students are required to participate in all 4 days of the Institute.

Question: Is there a registration fee involved to participate?

Answer: If selected to participate in the Institute, students will be asked to pay a $50 registration fee.  Payment will be made online and will not be due until a student is accepted to the program.

Question: Is it just for Mason students, or others as well?

Answer: The LeaderShape Institute is open to Mason students ONLY.

What is the LeaderShape Institute?

The LeaderShape® Institute challenges participants to lead with integrity while working towards a vision grounded in their deepest values. Participants explore not only what they want to do, but who they want to be. Dynamic, challenging, and exciting, the week is intended to produce a breakthrough in the leadership capacity of participants—benefiting them individually, as well as their respective communities and the organizations they will go on to lead and serve in the future.

What is the Impact?

Sharing the impact of the Institute experience is tremendously valuable to LeaderShape®. It gives voice and meaning to the experience of each individual who participates in this program and those impacted by it. When looking at results, we conduct both internal and external reviews of the Institute on an annual basis.

The experience of participants at the Institute is what helps create change in the world. When participants have a positive experience, they leave with the knowledge, confidence and skills to make an impact. Every participant who attends the Institute is asked whether the session was a valuable experience in developing their capacity to lead. Our historical average is “6.40” on a 7-point scale with “7” representing that they “strongly agree” with that statement.

We think it also important to put voice to these numbers. Click here to hear from the participants’ perspective how the program impacted them. As campuses and organizations that partner with LeaderShape® to provide the Institute experience, it is important for us to share a little insight into how this program has impacted their organizations and communities. Click here to read more.

Research has always been impactful for LeaderShape® and the development of our programs. The Kellogg Report is a historical document that we share to give insight into the impact of the program on participants. LeaderShape began a long-term study of the Institute’s impact in 2013 that continues to expand as more institutions request this information. The Institute is LeaderShape©’s six-day immersion program that challenges participants to lead with integrity while working towards a vision grounded in their deepest values. Participants explore what they want to do and who they want to be.

Who is the Institute for?
The curriculum was created for individuals who are committed to taking their leadership to the next level and who want to make a significant impact on campus, in their communities, and in the world.

Those who attend generally do so through an affiliation through the college or university they attend. We are fortunate to work with so many wonderful campus and organization partners who are committed to the development of ethical leaders. We also have the opportunity to welcome participants even if there isn’t institutional or organizational involvement.

How is the Institute different from other conferences and residential programs?
Everyone who attends the Institute engages in the same activities and contributes to the same conversations. While the involvement of the individual is honored and expected, everything during the Institute is approached with a sense of community. Everyone is viewed as a learner and as a teacher. This belief is evident as the community is created through the contributions of everyone at the Institute, with time spent in meaningful conversation serving as its foundation.

Unlike conferences, participants don’t only leave the six days with a few tips and ideas. Graduates of the Institute experience a breakthrough in their leadership capacity.

How will we spend our time during the Institute?
Everything in the curriculum is anchored to four themes: community, inclusivity, integrity, and vision. Therefore the work that we do during the six days is tied, in some way, to these concepts.

We participate in large group activities, in small group exercises, in conversation with one another, and in personal reflection. We set out to discover our most deeply held values and greatest passions and how they can come together to give our lives and work purpose. We learn how developing a vision and plan of action can create lasting change. We reflect on how our personal styles and life experiences influence our leadership and our relationships. Those who graduate from the Institute leave as an agent of positive change in the world.

Why four days? 
Four days is a lot of time to give – and we ask that time of participants because we see such value in the extended time together. Four days allows us to remove ourselves from the day-to-day demands of life and focus more intently on discovering who we want to be. It gives us the chance us to move beyond the masks of our composure and embrace the opportunity to share our authentic selves. Four days for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Four days to make the experience your own.

Bigger picture
® believes in the possibility of and is working towards the creation of a just, caring, and thriving world. If everyone lives and leads with integrity and if everyone holds a healthy disregard for the impossible we can get there! We aren’t alone in the desire to live in this type of world! Participants from the Institute engage in this extraordinary work and make a difference in their communities and in the world.