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Leadership Certificate Program


2025 Leadership Certificate Program Details

DISCUS Academy is dedicated to developing leaders who are committed to improving the industry and themselves through 3 leadership programs. The programs are an eight-month commitment consisting of virtual and in-person elements.

Upcoming opportunities to learn more about the Leadership Programs:
  • Live Webinars on July 10 and August 29: Join us to hear details about the 2025 Leadership Program. Learn about the three programs you can apply for: Executive, Developing and Developing Women. Meet the program facilitator, Kate Wiggins, and hear from previous graduates.
  • Office Hours on October 3: Meet our program facilitator, Kate Wiggins in this casual conversation. Join in and ask questions about the 2025 Leadership Program.
Below is additional information about each program, the program components, deliverables and program costs. If you have questions please contact education@distilledspirits.org.

2025 Executive Leadership Program
Early Bird Program Fee (application must be received by 9/30/24): Members - $8,995 / Nonmembers - $10,995
Standard Program Fee (applications received between 10/1/24 and 11/15/24): Members - $9,195 / Nonmembers - $11,195

The Executive Leadership Program is designed for experienced professionals with at least 5+ years of experience, during which they have demonstrated responsibility for cross-functional leadership and/or strategy-level decision-making in the distilled spirits industry. The certificate will build upon your leadership skills and develop your ability to communicate strategy, negotiate skillfully, influence team behaviors, and deliver results. The program will ensure you have the right blend of soft skills and a strategic mindset to achieve performance outcomes at your company. Participation in this program is not contingent upon completing the Developing Leadership Program.

Required Program Components (subject to change prior to program start):

March (2-nights)
In-person Introductory Kick-off in Washington, DC  (hotel and meals cost included in program fee)
March
Type Indicator Workshop + University of Kentucky Intro Call (3.5 hrs)
March - April (asynchronous course) University of Kentucky Class #1 – Strategic Planning
April
Self-Motivation, Accountability, & Self-Help + University of Kentucky Cohort Call #1 (3.5 hrs)
April (asynchronous course) University of Kentucky Class 2: Competitor Analysis
May
Cultivating Intrapreneurship & Innovation + University of Kentucky Cohort Call #2 (3.5 hrs)
May - June (asynchronous course) University of Kentucky Class 3: M&A/ Change Management
June
Conversations of Race & Allyship in the Workplace (2 hrs)
Feedback, How to Give and How to Receive (2 hrs)
June
University of Kentucky Cohort Call for class #3 (1.5 hrs)
June - July (asynchronous course)
University of Kentucky Class 4: Managing Organizational Culture
July
University of Kentucky Cohort Call for class #4 (1.5 hrs)
July - August (asynchronous course) University of Kentucky Class 5: Motivation at Work
August
University of Kentucky Class Cohort Call for class #5 (1.5 hrs)
September

Managing Unconscious Bias (3 hrs)
Team Building-Values Discovery & Alignment (1 hr)
September (3 nights) In-person Leadership Retreat and Graduation (mandatory) (hotel and meals cost included in program fee)

Program Deliverables:
  • University of Kentucky Leadership Program Certificate
  • DISCUS Academy Leadership Certificate
  • Predictive Index Report & Content
  • Leading with Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Program
  • Kick-off Session in DC (hotel and meals included in program fee)
  • Leadership Retreat (hotel and meals included in program fee)
  • Connected and engaged cohort
  • Better understanding of the self
  • Tools to develop skilled leadership

2025 Developing Leadership Program
Early Bird Program Fee (application must be received by 9/30/24): Members  - $5,995 / Nonmembers - $7,995
Standard Program Fee (applications received between 10/1/24 and 11/15/24): Members - $6,195 / Nonmembers - $8,195

The Developing Leadership Program is designed for any professional with an interest in growing their leadership skills. This program will transform early-stage managers into true leaders, by learning your leadership style, developing interpersonal skills, and understanding how to build and manage a high-performance team. Entrepreneurs, new managers, and employees with limited management experience are encouraged to apply.

Program Components (subject to change prior to program start):
March (2 nights)In-person Introductory Kick-off in Washington, DC (hotel and meals cost included in program fee)
March
Type Indicator Workshop (3 hrs)
March - April (asynchronous course) Cornell Class #1 – Active Listening & Processing Feedback
April
C-Suite Insights and Culture + Active Listening Cohort Call (2 hrs)
May
Stress and Health as a Leader (2 hrs)
May (asynchronous course)Cornell Class #2 – Electives:
The Psychology of Getting Things Done
Coaching Skills for Leaders
Leading for Creativity & Innovation
May 31
Cohort Call
June (asynchronous course)
Cornell Class #3 – Electives:
Preparing for the Future
Negotiation Skills
Creating Advantage Through Entrepreneurial Thinking
June
Cohort Call for class #3
June or July (asynchronous course) Cornell Class #4 - Applying Strategic Influence
July
Cornell Cohort Call + Dare to Lead Leadership Training (Part 1)
July - Aug (asynchronous course) Cornell Class #5 - Becoming a Powerful Leader
August and September
Cornell Cohort Call + Dare to Lead Leadership Training (Part 2 and Part 3)
September (3 nights) In-person Leadership Retreat and Graduation (mandatory) (hotel and meals cost included in program fee)

Program Deliverables:
  • Cornell Leadership Program Certificate
  • DISCUS Academy Leadership Certificate
  • Dare to Lead Certificate of Completion
  • Personality Type Indicator Report
  • Kick-off Session in DC (hotel and meals included in program fee)
  • Leadership Retreat (hotel and meals included in program fee)
  • Connected and engaged cohort
  • Better understanding of the self
  • Tools to develop skilled leadership

2025 Developing Women Leadership Program
In Collaboration with Women of the Vine & Spirits (WOTVS)
Early Bird Program Fee (application must be received by 9/30/24): DISCUS or WOTVS Members  - $5,995 / Nonmembers - $7,995
Standard Program Fee (applications received between 10/1/24 and 11/15/24): DISCUS / WOTVS Members - $6,195 / Nonmembers - $8,195

WOTVS & DISCUS are committed to creating professional environments that encourage women to take risks, collaborate, and connect with each other around shared experiences. The Developing Women Leadership Program will equip leaders in beverage alcohol with professional skills to help them address unique challenges organizations face. This program will specifically focus on the empowerment of women leaders, creating a safe space to examine the historical and present issues faced by women in a male dominated industry.

The Developing Women Leadership Program is designed for professionals with an interest in growing their individual skills and fostering themselves as women leaders. This program will transform early-stage managers into true leaders, by learning individual leadership styles, developing interpersonal skills, and understanding how to build and manage high-performance teams. Entrepreneurs, new managers, and employees with limited management experience are encouraged to apply. For those interested in this level of leadership programming without a focus on gender, the Developing Leadership program is an excellent alternative.


Program Components:
March (2-nights)In-person Introductory Kick-off in Washington, DC (hotel and meals cost included in program fee)
March
Type Indicator Workshop (3 hrs)
March - April (asynchronous course) Cornell Class #1 Navigating the Double Bind
April
C-Suite Insights & Stress and Health as a Leader + Navigating the Double Bind Cohort Call (3 hrs)
May
P & L Responsibility (4 hrs)
May (asynchronous course) Cornell Class #2 - Electives:
The Psychology of Getting Things Done
Coaching Skills for Leaders
Applying Strategic Influence
May
Cohort Call for class#2 Elective Discussion + Kicking off Class #3 (1.5 hrs)
June (asynchronous course)
Cornell Class #3 – Electives:
Negotiation Skills
Leading for Creativity & Innovation
Creating Advantage Through Entrepreneurial Thinking
June
Cohort Call for class #3
June or July (asynchronous course) Cornell Class #4 - Giving and Receiving Feedback
July
Cornell Cohort Call + Dare to Lead Leadership Training Part 1 (3.5 hrs)
July - August (asynchronous course) Cornell Class #5 - Becoming a Powerful Leader
August and September
Cornell Cohort Call + Dare to Lead Leadership Training Part 2 (3.5 hrs) and Part 3 (3 hrs)
September (3 nights) In-person Leadership Retreat and Graduation (mandatory) (hotel and meals cost included in program fee)

Program Deliverables:
  • Cornell Leadership Program Certificate
  • DISCUS Academy Leadership Certificate
  • Dare to Lead Certificate of Completion
  • Personality Type Indicator Report
  • P&L Training
  • Kick-off Session in DC (hotel and meals included in program fee)
  • Leadership Retreat (hotel and meals included in program fee)
  • Connected and engaged cohort
  • Better understanding of the self
  • Tools to develop skilled leadership

NEW in 2025:
We have made a change based on feedback, and we will now offer an in-person experience at the beginning of the program. This component will help set the stage for starting the program and then bookend the learning experience with the Leadership Retreat at the end. The kick-off will be in DC this year!

Your registration, hotel and meals are covered with your Leadership program fee in addition to the hotel and meals for the Leadership Retreat in the fall. Transportation to the Kick-off and Retreat are the only costs not covered, due to varying prices. Both the Kick-off and Retreat in-person components are required to complete the program.

Application Dates:
Early Bird Application Period: September 3, 2024 - September 30, 2024
Standard Application Period: October 1, 2024 - November 15, 2024

Early bird applicants will be notified of acceptance in October. All applicants from the standard application period will be notified by the end of December.

Applicants will be chosen based on the following criteria:
  • Demonstrated leadership potential, initiative and commitment to the industry.
  • Those who are emerging leaders seeking opportunities to grow and develop.
  • Applicants should be prepared to engage in self-reflection and introspective work required by this course and be prepared to put their leadership commitment into action following the program.
  • Only candidates who commit to the involvement and participation in the entire program will be considered.
  • In selection, we seek diversity in all aspects to enrich the cohort with diverse opinions and experiences.

In addition, for Executive Leadership Certificate Program:

  • 5+ years management experience
  • Demonstrated responsibility for cross-functional leadership and/or strategy-level decision-making
DISCUS Academy is committed to upholding the principles of diversity and equality in all areas of its work, seeking to ensure that all participants and other stakeholders are treated fairly and equally at all times. In accordance with this policy, women, minorities, people with disabilities, people of all genders, and veterans are encouraged to apply.

To apply, beginning on September 3, please click on the application below. You will first be directed to pay the application fee before accessing the application.