Aspen Leadership Seminars FAQs

Seminar Experience

How are Aspen Leadership Seminars different from other executive and leadership development programs?

Rather than offering one-size-fits-all solutions to leadership, our seminars support each participant in developing their own personalized tools for effective leadership. In recognizing that we all have purpose, drive, and things that matter to us, the Aspen Institute approaches people as fully realized human beings and helps them become more fully realized in their everyday work.

Through a holistic combination of experiences that includes thoughtfully curated texts introducing provocative ideas, discussions facilitated by Aspen’s expert moderators, and the ability to hit “pause” on the pressures of day-to-day work, participants are engaged in lively, brave spaces that allow them to zero in on the values that are important to them. They then have the tools to embed these values into their decision-making processes. Rather than provide all the answers, we help participants develop the questions they must ask and continue to ask in order to continually evolve as a leader.

Read more about the Aspen Experience here.

Are Aspen Leadership Seminars professional or personal development?

Both. In order to be a good leader, one must make decisions from a place of strength and surety to lead with purpose and conviction in a complex world. The best leaders are self-aware: they know their strengths and their faults, they know what they value and what they are willing to sacrifice, they have developed the skills to listen to others, and they weigh competing points of view. Our seminars seek to bring personal and professional development into alignment to help individuals develop surety in their own values-based leadership philosophy.

Who teaches the seminar?

Because the seminar experience is a collaborative investigation into the questions of what makes a good leader, the seminar does not have traditional instructors. Instead, participants are guided in discussion by highly-trained moderators. Most of our moderators do not work full-time for the Aspen Institute. Instead, they have high-powered everyday jobs, choosing to take time away from their work to moderate our seminars because they believe in the experience. All of our moderators have been with us for 10+ years and at one time were participants in the seminar themselves. To view select moderator bios, click here.

Aspen Executive Seminar

How many people are at each seminar?

Our seminars provide an intimate small-group experience. We cap enrollment of our on-campus seminars to 23 participants.

Do I have to be present for the entire seminar, or can I attend on select days?

In order to experience the full benefit of the seminar, we ask that you be present for the entirety of the experience and try your best to not check in with work or answer work emails during the week. We know that leaders are expected to constantly make decisions and act in the moment. One of the benefits of the seminar is the gift to step back, pause, and take time away from everyday concerns by immersing yourself in the process.

Do you have scholarship options to attend a Leadership Seminar?

The cost of in-person seminars is inclusive of all materials, meals, lodging, and activities. As we know the price may not make our seminar experiences accessible to all, limited scholarship funds are available to individuals who work for nonprofits, in government, as clergy, artists, or journalists. If you are interested in being considered for a scholarship to one of our seminars, including the Aspen Executive Seminar, you can apply for one within our seminar enrollment forms or you can reach out to [email protected] with any questions.

How are participants selected for the Aspen Executive Seminar?

While most of our seminars allow anyone interested to enroll, the Aspen Executive Seminar includes an application process. This is not meant to deter any senior leaders from participating but rather ensures the curation of a room of people who bring diverse viewpoints and experiences to the table in order to foster deepened, authentic dialogue. Areas of diversity can include everything from race and gender to industry and ideological background.

I’ve already applied and been accepted to a seminar, can I see the names and bios of the people who will be taking the seminar with me?

You will receive an onboarding packet with the readings, seminar expectations, and other materials to help you prepare and be ready to participate fully in the seminar experience. This will allow you to meet your fellow seminarians and develop authentic relationships person to person rather than bio to bio once the seminar begins.

How can I learn more?

If you have questions that we haven’t answered, please reach out to Kalissa Hendrickson at [email protected].