Master’s Class

Business Council Masters Class

In 2007 the Gulf Coast Business Council Research Foundation launched the Masters Leadership Program to identify and develop emerging leaders on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The program brings together 20-25 of the Coast’s leaders to become the regional “think tank” for one year. Each year the class learns, challenges assumptions, and develops solutions that lead to making the Gulf Coast region the most livable place in the United States.

2018 Class

Blue Print Gulf Coast

The 2018 Program theme is “Blue Print Gulf Coast.” It is the second year of a five-year Masters Class effort to develop a long-term, strategic plan for the success of Mississippi’s Coastal regionCreating the Economic Blueprint for the Gulf Coast, the 2018 class will continue to build a roadmap to transform the economic landscape for the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s future.  The 2017 Masters Program “Think Tank” identified key economic pillars that will become the foundation for the Coast’s future economic prosperity and viability.  The 2018 Masters Program will be tasked with determining the best course of action for enhancing these pillars, and driving increased economic success. In 2018, the class will visit a U.S. city that has demonstrated best practices associated with one of the key pillars.  This year the class will visit a city that has identified and put into place key components of their own economic blue print and learn how they have drawn upon their own regional assets to affect change in their communities.

The Master’s program consists of 9 sessions held from March through November.  These sessions are designed to develop and enhance critical leadership skills of Gulf Coast leaders.  The theme-based program creates a practical application forum where the curriculum is applied to build individual leadership skills and enhance group leadership capacities.  The 2018 curriculum includes the following study areas:

  • Making the case for Addressing and Resolving Issues
  • Identifying Key Trends and Best Practices
  • Identifying Key Assets That Drive Outcomes
  • Influencing the Political Will & Gaining Public Support
  • Identify and Prioritize Key Takeaways

The culmination of these sessions and field study will result in the class developing a position paper on recommended solutions and courses of action that will be presented to the Gulf Coast Business Council.

The class will have the opportunity to meet and dialogue with leaders and strategists with expertise in different areas, and to develop solutions to improve our Coast.  In addition, the class will have the opportunity to sustain its work after 2018, with future Masters Program classes building on the work of the 2017-18 class.

The Masters Program does not seek to replace or replicate other leadership programs in each of the three Coast counties but is designed to enhance the skills developed there at a deeper and more engaged level.   

Applications are due to the Gulf Coast Business Council by February 28, 2018

Selection Criteria

Participation in the MASTERS PROGRAM is open to persons living or working in one of the three Coast counties of Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson who possess a demonstrated ability to critically examine issues on a regional basis and actively engage in efforts important to the region. Applicants should have a demonstrated record of leadership in their respective businesses or other organizations. No more than 25 individuals will be appointed to participate in the program. Applicants not selected this year may be nominated in subsequent years.

Participants will be chosen by a confidential selection committee based upon the information completed on this application. The committee will seek a diverse class but will not select participants based upon a predetermined apportionment system.

Applicants must have the full support of the organization or corporation they represent. Full tuition is $2000 per selected member and is due within 30 days of selection. Scholarships are available on a limited basis and are capped at 40% ($800).

Attendance at and engagement in each of the eight sessions is expected. Those who fail to attend or to actively participate may be asked to withdraw, with no refund of tuition.

Selected applicants must not participate in any other community leadership program while simultaneously participating in the Masters Program (e.g. Leadership Mississippi, Gulf Coast, Hancock County, or Jackson County).


Presentations from Previous Years

2017 Presentation | Blueprint Gulf Coast Initiative – Year One

2016 Presentation | Where is Mississippi’s Place in the Hollywood South?

2015 Presentation | Gigabit Coast: Taking Control of our Own Broadband

2014 Presentation | Leveraging the Assets of the Gulf of Mexico for Regional Viability

2010 White Paper Pre K Coalition