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The Southern Office of The Council of State Governments and the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) have a long history of providing leadership training opportunities to state elected officials, dating back to an exclusive relationship – 1987 to 2001 – with the prestigious Center for Creative Leadership, located in North Carolina. The Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills (CALS), inaugurated in 2007, continues in that tradition of providing state elected officials the opportunity to attend one of the most comprehensive leadership programs in the nation.

CALS 2011

Coastal Carolina University

September 24-28, 2011


The Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills

Leadership Program of the Southern Office of The Council of State Governments / Southern Legislative Conference

In recent years, a number of federal initiatives have placed significant new demands on states.  The shifting federal-state relationship has forced states to assume greater responsibilities, in both the policy and funding arenas. Additionally, term-limited state officials are working with challenging time constraints to meet the needs of their constituents during difficult fiscal conditions.

It was the implementation of term limits in five of the 15-member states, and recognition of the changing political landscape in the South, that moved the Executive Committee of SLC to approve the establishment of the Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills (CALS).

CALS embodies the Southern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments’ mission of championing excellence in state government and providing non-partisan forums for state officials who might rarely cross paths to share ideas. The objective of the program is to enhance the participants’ leadership knowledge through sessions geared to improve competencies in communication, conflict resolution, consensus building and critical decision-making.

Additionally, CALS prepares emerging and mid-career legislative, executive and judicial branch state leaders for their roles in state government. Particularly compelling is the need for leadership development in the five term-limited state legislatures in the Southern region.

Annually, applications are accepted from 10 of the 15 states in the region.  The state rotation guarantees a manageable class size and includes at least three of the region’s five term-limited legislatures.  Scholarships, which cover the cost of tuition, travel, lodging and meals, are awarded to 25 state leaders.

Ultimately, the Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills helps provide the public with highly skilled, educated, and confident state leaders equipped to be effective decision makers. Meeting state officials from around the region, sharing insights and ideas, and networking are key components of the program.  For more information, please contact Ms. Lori Moore in the Atlanta office at (404) 633-1866 or

Images from the 2009 CALS Program in West Virginia

CALS 2009 CALS 2009 CALS 2009 CALS 2009 CALS 2009

CALS was one of
–if not the best– conferences I've ever attended. It was so good to interact with other legislators and judges from around the region."

Representative Lee Denney, Oklahoma
CALS Class of 2010

State Participation Rotation for the Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills

* indicates term-limited state legislature

2010 CALS

University of Arkansas System

Alabama Louisiana *
Arkansas * Mississippi
Florida * Missouri *
Georgia North Carolina
Kentucky Oklahoma *

2011 CALS

Coastal Carolina University

South Carolina Alabama
Tennessee Arkansas *
Texas Florida *
Virginia Georgia
West Virginia Kentucky

2012 CALS

Georgia State University

Louisiana * South Carolina
Mississippi Tennessee
Missouri * Texas
North Carolina Virginia
Oklahoma * West Virginia

Southern Legislative Conference and SLC are trademarks registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.