The APA Los Angeles Leadership Program is a new professional development program created to help promising, career-oriented planners prepare for leadership roles in their departments and organizations. Participants will meet together six times over six months with classes designed to help them improve their skills for positions of increasing responsibility while also growing their effectiveness in their current roles. Program participants will gain knowledge and skills in leadership, organizational dynamics, communication, and career planning to help them identify and achieve their professional goals while equipping them with tools to make even stronger contributions to their organizations.

Program Features

  • Demonstrated Leaders. The program includes presentations from established practitioners representing planning and allied professional fields, including architecture, real estate development, law, economic development, and community engagement.
  • Online Instruction. In an effort to maximize flexibility and cost-effectiveness, the program will utilize online courses made available by the educational website
  • Interactive Group Sessions. The program incorporates hand-on activities with valuable takeaways focused on immediate practical use and long term career success. 
  • Unique Meeting Locations. Each meeting will take place at a different facility within the Los Angeles area to expose participants to different learning environments.
  • Job Shadow. Each participant will take part in a job shadow with a leader of each participating organization/agency. The job shadow will enable each participant to observe a typical workday to develop leadership-related knowledge and skills.
  • Participant Recognition. In an effort to recognize each participant’s commitment to developing leadership skills among the community of professional planners, successful completion the program is officially recognized by awarding a certificate of completion at the annual APA Los Angeles awards gala. 

Each program participant will be required to provide a fee of $50 to cover the costs for materials. If you would like to learn about future opportunities or have any questions please contact Richard Rojas, Leadership Program Director, at

Hear from our alumni!

“I found the conversations to be incredibly thoughtful and useful. Discussions were tailored to planners which add relevancy to the experience.”

Kevin Finkel, AICP, Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning

“Lessons and discussions were very insightful and interesting. I would recommend to any planners who wants to improve their abilities and effectiveness.”

Luis Escobedo, City of Whittier

“The program was valuable not just for the information but for helping me form a peer group. I met some great people willing to share their interests and thoughts.”

Darryl dePencier, AICP, Kimley-Horn

“The Leadership Program was a wonderful experience to connect with other professionals from APA. The guided discussions and conversation topics were interesting and valuable.”

Christina Bustamante, City of Menifee 

“It’s so important for planners to invest in not only their planning skills, but also leadership and management skills. The program offers a critical opportunity to reflect, learn, and grow in these areas among a supportive group of planning peers.”

Ashley Atkinson, AICP, Los Angeles City Planning