What is LEAD?

  •  LEAD’s mission is developing leaders through collaborative learning to build a stronger community.
  • The Cities of Batavia, Elgin, and St. Charles have partnered together to offer speaker events and book clubs to foster personal and professional growth.
  • LEAD believes that all employees are leaders regardless of their city positions, and leaders benefit from ongoing training on a variety of topics. 
  • LEAD events offer valuable networking opportunities for employees from different departments and cities where we learn from each other to improve city services.
  • LEAD participation is open to employees based on position responsibilities and work group schedules.  Employees discuss attendance with supervisors prior to signing up.
  • LEAD welcomes participation from other municipalities for a small fee.

LEAD was developed to support a number of core concepts:

  • Creating a culture of learning improves city services.
  • Personal development = leadership development.
  • Leadership and personal development require ongoing input and training.
  • LEAD values learning, NOT just position-specific training (*).
  • Networking creates better service for our communities.

* This is a key characteristic of LEAD. Attendees supplement training in their own fields with continuous self-development to become better people and better leaders. Self-development is linked to self-awareness; being aware of ourselves helps us to change and grow, becoming more effective leaders in our departments and communities.

History of LEAD

LEAD was launched in September of 2011, evolving from the SMILE (Supervisor Modules in Leadership Excellence) program. The SMILE program began as an initiative from the City of St. Charles’ 2001 Business Plan with an objective to “foster an environment where supervisors can perform at their best.” At a later date, it was decided that the full potential of the program could be enhanced with participation from other communities. The Cities of Batavia and Elgin were asked to join this effort and they provided a perspective that improved the program immensely.  SMILE officially began in 2004, offering over 100 hours of training to approximately 300 participants. In 2008, we began inviting non-supervisors to the leadership book clubs. Their enthusiasm for becoming better leaders eventually led us to recognize that leadership can (and does) come from all levels within an organization. The seed was planted, and LEAD was born in 2011.  All employees from the Cities of Batavia, Elgin, and St. Charles were invited to participate in LEAD, which sponsored speaker events and book clubs.

For more information on LEAD, please contact LEAD executive team members: