Leadership Education And Development, or LEAD, is a 501 (c)(3) national nonprofit located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The LEAD Program is an international collaborative TRIAD of (1) premier U.S. corporations, (2) undergraduate and graduate colleges of business, engineering and computer science, and (3) academically talented middle to high school students from ethnically diverse backgrounds. LEAD began in 1980 when a group of professors from University of Pennsylvaniaâs Wharton Business School and executives from McNeil Pharmaceutical collaborated to create a rigorous academic enrichment program for under-represented high school students. Their goal was to fill the gap caused by a lack of diverse role models in the field of business. The first Summer Business Institute occurred on the University of Pennsylvania campus. The program was a huge success and expanded rapidly in the succeeding years. LEAD is now considered the preeminent high school to college to career diversity pipeline, which serves 500 students yearly and boasts an alumni base of over 9,500 LEADers.
LEADâs mission is to engage youth of diverse backgrounds to convert high potential into high achievement and responsible leadership. LEAD accomplishes this mission by fostering a vibrant community for students to gain the skills, experience and encouragement they need to fulfill their educational and professional aspirations in the fields of business, engineering and computer science.
LEAD’s goal is to expose students early in their academic development to career opportunities in business, engineering or computer science. This exposure will equip them with knowledge and expertise to confidently make better-informed decisions when choosing a university and career. Students live on-campus for 1, 3 or 4 weeks and participate in interactive classes, site visits and one-on-one sessions conducted by leading college professors and corporate executives. Students also collaborate and compete against each other in teams on various projects. During the weekends, students engage in a variety of extracurricular activities from theme park trips to sporting events. LEAD Summer Institutes provide opportunities for students to develop lifelong friendships.