Mission and History

The mission of the National Leadership Institute is to provide leadership training and to facilitate the operation of non-profit and civic organizations throughout the United States.

The National Student Leadership Institute was founded by Dr. June Thompson in 1971 and conducted youth leadership training in California for ten years. In 1981 it became a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization under the name of the National Leadership Institute and expanded its focus to include adults as well as youth.

The organization was inactive until recently while curriculum was developed and national and international work was conducted by the California Association of Student Councils, a non-profit organization led by Dr June Thompson. NLI trainers are alumni of the California Association of Student Councils.

In 2004, NLI conducted a weekend leadership training for incoming freshman at Yale University. That same year, work began with the American Institute for Public Service to establish the Jefferson Awards program in high schools in the San Francisco Bay area. Annually NLI conducts two trainings for students involved in the Jefferson Awards program.

In 2005, NLI was selected by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons to design and conduct leadership training for their 6000 member organization. In 2010, the organization completed its fifth year as the “Architects for Leadership Development” and was instrumental in the design of the “Pathways to Leadership’ program which has trained four classes of physicians since 2006.  An Advanced Skills Training was  implemented in 2007 to prepare Pathways graduates to serve as co-trainers for the program.

In 2006, Dr June Thompson and representatives of youth organizations in Russia and the UK met at the Civil G8 in Moscow and agreed to form the Global Youth Leaders organization, a collaboration of The California Association of Student Councils, the National Leadership Institute, The Association of Young Leaders,  and the Volunteer Center at the University of Central Lancashire. The goal of the collaboration is to conduct youth leadership training worldwide.

In 2008, NLI conducted its first annual student council workshop for The Lake County, Illinois Regional Office of Education. Students and advisors received training in meeting skills, presentation skills, conflict management, communication and teamwork. Plans are underway to offer a similar program through other regional offices of education.