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Broome Leadership Institute gears up for new class with a new leader

By Traci DeLore (


BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — The Broome Leadership Institute (BLI) is getting ready to kick off its 36th year with a new director and a slate of in-person activities.

Applications for the class of 2023 are due by July 23, and the program year begins with a teambuilding retreat on Sept. 23. The program was mostly virtual for the 2020-2021 program year and was a hybrid model for 2021-2022 class.

This year, Rose Olsen heads up BLI in her new role as director of the Greater Binghamton Education Outreach Program (GBEOP), a nonprofit affiliate organization of the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce. Olsen joined GBEOP in April and previously worked at the Binghamton Housing Authority.

GBEOP operates four main programs throughout the year — the Junior Achievement program aimed at students in grades K-12, the SPARK career exploration event for eighth graders, Launch Pad: The Greater Binghamton Startup Challenge competition for high schoolers, and Broome Leadership Institute.

“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to run this program,” Olsen says of BLI which has a full schedule of in-person sessions planned.

Each year’s class is limited to about 20 participants at a cost of $1,700 for business chamber members, $1,200 for nonprofit chamber members, and $2,500 for non-members.

The six-month community leadership-training program introduces participants to each other as well as to all the segments of business and industry in Broome County.

“We go to all the different sectors of the area, and you get an idea of how Broome County works as a whole,” Olsen notes. Participants meet twice a month, usually at a host location in one of the various sectors such as nonprofit organizations, government, or agriculture. Participants learn about that business and that sector of the county’s economy while also building leadership skills and a network of community contacts.

The program runs from September through March and participants all work together on a group project at the end of the year. Typically, the project is a fundraiser of some sort with proceeds to benefit a nonprofit the participants select.

Participants run the gamut from CEOs on down, Olsen says, adding that the diverse mix helps make the program so successful. At the kickoff retreat, the only thing participants can share is their first name, she says. That way, they are able to interact and get to know each other without any preconceived notions. “Everybody kind of starts from the same level,” she notes.

Over the years, a number of businesses have found BLI to be a successful employee growth and retention tool and continue to sponsor an employee’s attendance each year, Olsen says. United Health Services, IBM, Visions Federal Credit Union, and Binghamton University are some of the regular participants. Each year, new companies and organizations also join in, she adds.

With more than 600 graduates since it started in 1988, BLI also has an active alumni association that meets and offers programs throughout the year.

Aside from taking on the upcoming BLI class of 2023, Olsen also has plans for GBEOP, starting in July. The organization, with help from a consultant, will spend the month working on strategic planning. The goal is to end the month with a five-year plan for GBEOP.