Cook Leadership Academy Information
Leaders For The 21st Century
The Wheelhouse Talks
The Wheelhouse Talks feature cross-disciplinary, local leaders who are
eager to share their leadership philosophy and experience. Leaders of
today and tomorrow come together to evoke personal stories of
learning and growth. Throughout the series, shared leadership values —
responsibility, energy, community, and authenticity — are center stage.
The Wheelhouse Talks provide fellow candidates and the public with an
opportunity to engage with those making an impact in our community today.
Each fellow candidate in the Cook Leadership Academy is paired with a community
mentor for the academic year. The candidate and mentor work as a team, helping
the candidate tap their potential and think about ways they can improve their
leadership skills to best reach their goals. Mentors come from many sectors of
the community including non-profit, business, and public backgrounds. Each is
dedicated to supporting student learning by providing insights to our group of
future community leaders.
Leader Lab and Self Reflection
In our Leader Lab series, six or more Cook Leadership Academy fellow candidates
each year explore the connections between leadership and their own
experiences. These fellow candidates then speak about their experiences to the full
cohort, giving the speakers an opportunity to gain valuable public
speaking experience while also encouraging other candidates to examine
the leadership path in their own lives.
In our Self Reflection initiative, candidates reflect on their own qualities as an
authentic leader based on leadership assessments such as Strengths
Finder, DiSC, Reflected Best Self, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness
workshops, Failure Laboratory trainings, or similar exercises.
Opportunities to Engage
Fellow candidates are able to...
• Attend hallmark events through the Hauenstein Center and meet nationally
• Pursue intensive leadership development through service learning projects,
Washington Campus Week, and other high-impact initiatives.
• Participate in vibrant downtown Grand Rapids through partnerships with the
Economics Club of Grand Rapids, the World Affairs Council of Western
Michigan, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, Jennifer Maxson & Associates, and
our accomplished alumni.
• Meet with national leaders. Fellow candidates have been face-to-face with four U.S.
presidents, one U.S. Supreme Court Justice, two vice presidents, six first ladies,
five secretaries of state, a Speaker of the House, and seven state governors.