THE EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE was established in 1987 as a program dedicated to grooming African American managers for the rigors of executive positions in public service organizations. Understanding the array of critical problems faced by cities, counties, and states – the need for talented, energetic, creative, resourceful, and capable executives from diverse backgrounds is increasingly present. ELI was established to sharpen the skills and capabilities of an elite core of managers and administrators who have already demonstrated superior achievement in their careers as assistant city managers, department heads, bureau/division chiefs, and the like. This program is one of the few training institutes in the United States that offers a curriculum mixed with both academic-based theory and practitioner-based experience through partnerships with universities and cities throughout the county. The ability to compare the impacts of urban development, transportation policy, economic development strategies and other public policies in a select group of cities over an eight-month period is unique to ELI participants. Candidates also have an exceptional opportunity to interface with elected and appointed administrators from across the country who grapple with diverse public policy decisions daily, citizens who live in these communities, and universities that study and analyze public management application and theory.