Leadership Berks is a program dedicated to developing, supporting, and connecting community leaders in Berks County. Choose from our Core Program to enhance your learning experience.

Leadership Berks Mission

The mission of Leadership Berks is to serve as the premier source for developing, educating, and connecting Individual, organizational, and community leaders for life starting in Reading and Berks County, PA.

Leadership Berks is program within Alvernia University's O'Pake Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Public Service. Leadership Berks was founded in 1985 by the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, the United Labor Council, the United Way of Berks County, and the Junior League of Reading, PA. Our programs leverage the power of leadership, influence, relationships, education, and service to deliver unique professional and leadership development learning experiences that build stronger individuals, organizations, and communities.


Program Goals & Objectives

Leadership education at Alvernia University is a formative process intended to produce ethical leaders and followers of strong moral character, who are competent, empowering and visionary. We believe that fostering an understanding of these key areas through communication, leadership skills, character, leadership theory and ethics is the foundation for forming ethical leaders with moral courage. Leadership berks is committed to:

  • The development of individual, organizational leaders
  • Delivering instruction on best practices in organizational culture, business, nonprofit, community leadership, and nonprofit board governance
  • Providing an issues-based and physical orientation to the community's assets and challenges in an effort to position reading and berks county for reinvention and economic prosperity


Ideal Adult Participation Qualifications

(preferred, but not required)

  • Mid–senior level career position
  • Bachelor's Degree or Higher
  • Minimum of 10 years of work experience
  • Interest in advancing in the workplace
  • Passion for and commitment to, volunteer leadership and community service

The Leadership Berks curriculum includes:

  • A Half-Day New Student Orientation
  • A Two-Day Overnight Retreat
  • Full Day Monthly Coursework From November - May
  • Half-Day Graduation & Awards Ceremony in Mid June
  • Leadership
  • Board Governance
  • Community Issues Forums
  • Organizational Culture
  • Team & Relationship Building
  • Service Learning Consulting Projects
  • Community Service
  • Community Volunteer Leadership Placement


Program Management, Content Expertise and Faculty


The Leadership Berks program is managed by a Director with 25 years of nonprofit manage-ment, leadership, and board governance expertise. The program’s faculty is selected based on their specific area of expertise and represent a broad cross-section of the community in-cluding: business leaders, nonprofit leaders, and higher education faculty from Alvernia Uni-versity as well as other institutions of higher learning.

Instructional Methodology

Leadership Berks instruction methodology includes: lectures to include theoretical frame-work and practical application; panel discussions; case studies; and personal experiences and reflection exercises. Consulting assignments and research including work independent of class time is expected. Written materials, small group breakouts, and hands-on application exercises such as mock scenarios and debates are also employed. Best practice resources are cited and recommended readings are also provided.

Application, Admission, Schedule & Tuition

The Leadership Berks curriculum is designed with the adult learner in mind with a minimum of 20 but not more than 35 students in each cohort. Applications are accepted between April 15th and September 1st with the program cycle beginning annually in mid-September and commencing in mid-June. A full schedule of program sessions and events is included in the application. The application deadline for each program cycle is August 30th.

Upon acceptance, all application data and key essay themes are summarized and provided to Leadership Berks faculty to allow them to better understand the student cohort, to custom-ize instruction as needed, and to address specific perceptions or misconceptions about the community's assets and challenges. The curriculum allows students to interact closely with faculty, area leaders and content experts, community organizations, and peers from a broad cross-section of professions, and the community at large. To apply: visit: www.leadershipberks.org. Tuition rates are included in the application. Limited scholar-ships may be available. Special conditions apply. For more information about Leadership Berks visit us online or on Facebook. Appointments also available, please contact:

Toni Eckert, Director of Leadership Berks
O'Pake Institute for Ethics, Leadership, & Public Service
610-790-1930 or toni.eckert@alvernia.edu


Core Program


The Core Program is designed to identify emerging and current leaders; train them about good governance practices; provide issues-based community orientation; and engage them as community leaders on local nonprofit boards and committees. Apply Now

To learn more about Leadership Berks and its benefits, please watch our video.

Maria Radwanski

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to an alumna/alumnus of Leadership Berks in recognition for distinguished volunteer service and support for Leadership Berks programs. The award recipient’s personal and professional accomplishments exemplify excellence in leadership, exceptional community leadership, and extraordinary commitment to community engagement and service to others.

The mission of the alumni council is to foster and expand the personal, professional, and community leadership benefits enjoyed by Alumnus and support the ideals of Leadership Berks by assisting with the achievement of the organization’s objectives.


Service Learning Projects

(Sept.-May) 300+ hours
Program participants function as mini consulting teams by completing Service Learning Projects for Leadership Berks or community organizations. This unique learning experience provides participants the opportunity to apply their expertise and professional skills as well as concepts learned in the Leadership Berks classroom to meet project goals and objectives.

For the 2018-2019 program cycle, participants’ efforts within this program requirement will benefit the nonprofit and broader community through targeted Leadership Berks initiatives. Leadership Berks is excited about our plans for this year and are already fast at work on feature focuses that will build greater capacity and highlight our nonprofit and community partners. More details will unfold over the 2018-2019 program year.  

In July 2018, Leadership Berks will resume regular solicitation of external project proposals from nonprofit and community organizations.

Nonprofits & Boards

Leadership Berks provides great benefits to local nonprofit and community organizations.

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Faculty & Presenters

Many Berks area community leaders regularly take time to present lectures and projects to our Leadership Berks classes.

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Sponsors & Supporters

Many local employers sponsor participants in the programs year after year.

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Leadership Berks