What is Leadership McAllen?

Following a hostile McAllen Mayoral election in 1981, there was real concern that the community had been divided. Feelings and trust on all sides of the political spectrum were frayed.

Fortunately, not everyone was caught up in the debate. The late Dr. Charles Wilson, Danny Boultinghouse and Joseph Garza saw the crisis for its potential, and sought to find a way to draw McAllen back together. Over a period of several months, they researched programs around Texas and the nation. They met with community and business leaders and embarked on a very risky venture loaded with the potential to do well, but fraught with considerable risk. They discovered an idea that had successfully worked in other communities. This idea is known as Leadership McAllen.

Leadership McAllen was created to:

Identify and motivate emerging leaders, develop their potential for community leadership by exposing them to the realities, opportunities and challenges facing McAllen and its citizens.

The Details:

Leadership McAllen is governed by a Steering Board that is comprised of a cross section of our community.  Each class elects three of their members to serve on the Steering Board.

The sessions, guided by the Program Committee of the Steering Board, are intended to be a forum for dialogue among participants and sessions leaders, to share ideas and develop understanding and to develop and enhance leadership skills.  The sessions are closed to the public and the press.  Steering Board members may attend but are not participants in the discussion.  Other activities in addition to the monthly sessions include a police ride along and attending a McAllen City Commission meeting.

Since Class I, more than 800 people have graduated from the Leadership McAllen program. Many of the graduates have gone on to serve on city boards and currently hold or have run for public office.

Each year, thirty class members are chosen by the Selections Committee of the Steering Board from applications submitted by interested citizens of McAllen.  To qualify for the class, applicants must have lived in McAllen or its extraterritorial jurisdiction for one (1) year prior to September 1. Priority is given to applicants who have demonstrated leadership abilities.

Elected officials, except Precinct Chairmen, are not eligible.  Spouses cannot participate in the same class.  Prior non-acceptance of an applicant does not affect future consideration for selection.  Class participants are a cross section of the community with some being proprietors of their own businesses, some employed by others, and some not employed outside the home.

Attendance is mandatory at all meetings for all class participants.  Employers must be willing to allow their class participant to make a September-May commitment.

Each year a Reception is held for the class members to meet each other and the Steering Board and to learn more about the program.  There is also a retreat for the class to give the class members an opportunity to get to know each other and develop friendships.

Regular monthly meetings are the second Tuesday of each month, October through May, 4:00 P.M. – 10:00 p.m. Leadership McAllen classes meet in various locations.

The Graduation Dinner is from 6:00 PM – 10:00 P.M. on the second Tuesday of May following the class time.

Tuition is $500 per participant and covers meals, hotel and transportation costs for the annual program. Limited scholarship monies are available. Tuition only partially funds Leadership McAllen, the remainder comes from private and corporate contributions.