Leadership Bay


Founded in 1983, Leadership Bay is a community leadership development program presented by the Bay County Chamber of Commerce. Its mission is to cultivate a broadened network of well-informed leaders whose strengthened commitment to community involvement will affect positive change in Bay County.

The Mission

The mission of Leadership Bay is to cultivate a broadened network of well informed leaders whose strengthened commitment to community involvement will affect positive change in Bay County.  The goal of Leadership Bay is to identify and prepare Bay County residents to assume the demands of leadership in their community.

Emerging Leaders

The Leadership Bay Class will be composed of people from all parts of our community. One of the strengths of the program is that participants will have the opportunity to exchange ideas with other emerging leaders. Participation is limited. A Leadership Bay Steering Committee composed of past LB graduates select participants through an application process. Applications are available in mid-June of each year.

The Program

Based on the premise that people are our most important resource, the purpose of the program is to offer potential leaders a curriculum in community leadership training. Upon graduation, the program will mint a new batch of leaders, a diverse group of individuals with a renewed commitment to their local communities, and the skills, contacts and information to turn commitment into action. Sessions are held every other Wednesday, beginning in September and running through April, to familiarize selected participants with issues and resources that directly impact the future of Bay County. Participation is limited; additional cost required.


The curriculum of Leadership Bay consists of three major components:

  1. A two-day retreat providing an orientation to the program and leadership training seminars conducted by the Bay County Chamber and Gulf Coast State College.
  2. A class project must be conceived, planned and executed entirely by the class, as a team, outside of the regular curriculum. The project must benefit the Business Community of Bay County. Active participation in the project is required for graduation.
  3. Tours and presentations focus on the Chamber of Commerce, tourism, healthcare, local and state government, law enforcement, transportation, industry, economic development, military, education, culture, growth management, ecology, media, community volunteerism, and more.

Return on Investment

The Bay County Chamber of Commerce takes pride in operating a program that will bring value to your business, non-profit, educational or governmental organization at a low cost to you. Many participating entities have applicants year after year, demonstrating the immeasurable value of Leadership Bay.

How to participate

Selected by the Steering Committee, class size is based on the merit of the applicants and is limited each year. Please complete the online application by clicking the link below. After you submit the application, submit your application, letters of recommendation and the application fee to P.O. Box 1850, Panama City, FL 32404.

For cost and other information contact Elizabeth Smith at 850.215.3779 or [email protected]