Leadership Development

Leadership Development

A community is only as strong as the leaders who live and work there. Leaders are people with followers. Leaders are people who understand issues, are able to build relationships with others, and use their relationships to advance a shared agenda.

The Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) provides leadership development opportunities to people living and working in the Chicago Southwest communities of Chicago Lawn, Gage Park, West Lawn, West Elsdon, and Ashburn. Participants in leadership development work are active participants in the member institutions that make up SWOP. These institutions include religious organizations, schools, social service and healthcare providers, and community development corporations.


In SWOP’s leadership development programs, participants learn and enhance skills that help them be active in the public life of the community. The focus of the leadership development training is to help people build the power they need to effectively address issues impacting their lives. In the trainings, participants learn how to do one on one meetings with people they don’t know so that they can build public relationships. They learn how to identify their own self-interest, the self-interest of others, and how to bridge differences so that they can act together on these self-interests. Participants learn how to turn problems into issues that can be addressed in a fashion that allows for short- and long-term action and victories. They learn how to identify who has the power to impact or change an issue they are interested in and how they can influence these people.

SWOP offers leadership development in a number of formats over the course of the year. If you are interested in SWOP’s leadership development trainings, please contact Jeff Bartow at jbartow@swopchicago.org.