Take your leadership skills to the next level.


The Elected Leaders Institute Advanced Program gives experienced elected officials a chance to come together to learn higher level leadership skills and network with other elected leaders from across the state. Topics will focus on honing negotiation skills, considering what belonging looks like in your city, and how to lead through a crisis.

By attending this program, participants will:

  • Gain practical insights into building and regaining community trust and implementing long-term changes for community resilience.
  • Practice Inversity™ for positive culture shifts and productive conversation.
  • Learn to lead through tough times by tackling difficult topics, including employment, public safety, incivility, and preparing for the future.
  • Boost negotiation skills by harnessing communication styles, forging alliances for joint ventures, working with external partners, and championing new initiatives.
  • Browse the full agenda.

Who should attend?

The Advanced Program is designed for experienced elected city officials who have served in local government for two or more years. If you are a newly elected official, the Foundational Program may be a better fit.



Register for a Cohort:

Plymouth –  Feb. 9-10

Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West – 3131 Campus Drive | Plymouth, MN
(Registration is closed.)

Alexandria – Feb. 23-24

Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center – 2100 Arrowwood Lane | Alexandria, MN
(Registration is closed.)

Lodging Information

Plymouth – Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West
3131 Campus Drive
Plymouth, MN 55441

Alexandria – Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center
2100 Arrowwood Lane
Alexandria, MN 56308

Program Agenda

Friday Program:

9:30 a.m.
Welcome. Check in opens.

10 a.m.
Greeting from Host City and Welcome from League Leadership
Jenny Max, LMC Board President and Nisswa City Manager; Adriana Temali, Learning Manager, League of Minnesota Cities

10:15 a.m.
Crisis-Ready Leadership: Building Resilience and Trust in Organizations
Todd Axtell, President and CEO, The Axtell Group; Steven Linders, Chief Communications Officer, The Axtell Group
Prepare for high-stakes situations and crises and learn to build an organizational culture that can weather storms and recover from high-profile incidents. Explore the vital role of elected officials in crisis management, from talking to the press to supporting staff. Plus, gain practical insights into regaining community trust and implementing long-term changes for increased resilience.

12:15 p.m.
Networking Lunch

1:15 p.m.
Karith Foster, President and CEO, INVERSITY™

Belonging, intention and respect are the triad for creating high-performing work environments. Within this engaging and interactive presentation, you will explore how harnessing these elements increases awareness and communication skills, providing the building blocks for creating a caring, inclusive, and healthy work environment. In addition, you will gain a sincere comprehension of modern-day diversity, including the importance of reclaiming the word “diversity” to encompass everyone and their lived experiences.

3:15 p.m.

3:30 p.m.
Tackling the Tough Stuff: A Panel Discussion with Local City Leaders
Moderator: Luke Fischer, Executive Director, League of Minnesota Cities
Plymouth Panelists: Audrey Nelsen, Council Member, Willmar; Nadia Mohamed, Mayor, St. Louis Park; and Kirt Briggs, Mayor, Prior Lake
Alexandria Panelists: Lisa Iverson, Mayor, Wyoming; Ron Johnson, Council Member, Bemidji; and Greg Zylka, Mayor, Little Falls

Join esteemed city leaders from across Minnesota as we dive into the topics keeping you up at night and tested strategies for leading through tough times.

4:30 p.m.
Social Time

5:30 p.m.
(Plymouth participants will join the Foundational cohort for a shared networking dinner.) 

6:30 p.m.

Saturday Program:

7:45 a.m. – 8:20 a.m.
Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m.
The Art of Negotiation
Plymouth Workshop Presenter: Ken Fox, JD, University Professor and Founding Director of Conflict Studies at Hamline University and Senior Fellow, Dispute Resolution Institute, Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Alexandria Workshop Presenter: Aimee Gourlay, JD, LMCIT Collaboration Services Manager, Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow, Dispute Resolution Institute, Mitchell Hamline School of Law 

Elected leaders constantly negotiate — with fellow officials, government counterparts, staff, constituents, and a host of others. Whether routine or highly charged, every situation is unique and calls upon a host of skills and insights. This workshop will help you identify and apply key negotiation concepts that can lead to more constructive outcomes and purposeful results.

11:45 a.m.
Adjourn & Closing Remarks