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Institute of Leadership

Developing Courageous Leaders of Character

Whitworth University's Institute of Leadership is guided by the foundational principles of gratitude, humility and service. It harnesses the strength and collaborative power of business and community leaders to create a connected, passionate and continuously educated network of leader-citizens. The Institute of Leadership is designed to prepare and empower high-potential individuals to make innovative and sustainable impact in their positions of leadership.

This dynamic reinvention of leadership training is built upon an intensive retreat model, engaging participants in a three-part series of offsite weekend retreats located in scenic locations along the West Coast. They will have the opportunity to reflect and relate in a close community of peers. In this three-part series, participants will explore the history of leadership theory and practice – from classical to contemporary – and collaborate to develop a plan for personal and professional growth.

Who should apply?

The Institute of Leadership seeks ambitious and high-achieving, rising professionals and activists who have a demonstrated track record of execution and results – who desire to lead with humility, gratitude and service in order to meaningfully and positively contribute to their organization, cause and/or community. If that's you, we'd love to chat.

Schedule and Descriptions

Over the course of one year, you will have the opportunity to engage in three destination retreats. Retreats will include facilitated discussion, group dinners, seminar readings, guest speakers and an evening social. Generally, sessions are scheduled to begin early Friday afternoons and end early Monday afternoons. All retreats are led and moderated by Kevin Parker.

How to Apply

Admission to the 2021-22 class is now closed. Applications for the Class of 2023 will open in fall of 2021. 


If you have questions about the application process, please contact Whitworth's Graduate Studies in Business at

Total Cost

The total cost of the institute per participant is $8,325 (nine credits earned at $925 per credit for 2021-22). The participant costs exclusively cover tuition. The institute will separately cover the cost of lodging, some program materials and most meals throughout the destination retreats. Travel is not included. Employer tuition reimbursement, financial aid and scholarship opportunities may apply.

For this reason, annual employer tuition benefits and scholarships may be applied directly to the program. Federal financial aid may also be applied directly to the program should the candidate be enrolled in a graduate degree program.

Our Leadership Team

Sinéad Voorhees
Director, Graduate Studies in Business

Sinéad Voorhees is a native of Ireland and earned a master of science in development practice from Trinity College Dublin. Voorhees has spent over a decade aligning passion with opportunity, with time spent in the fields of international development, event management and academia. During her tenure as director of graduate studies in business at Whitworth University, Voorhees has helped double the size of the MBA program, making it one of the fastest growing MBA programs in the area. She continues to implement a "people first" approach and believes in the power of collaboration and servant leadership. 

 In 2014, Voorhees was recognized as one of the Inland Northwest's top 20 rising professionals under 40, and in 2019 she was featured on the cover of Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living as one of the top 20 women in business leadership (an award she won in the newcomer division). Also in 2019, Voorhees was recognized as a Spokane Journal of Business Rising Star, an honor bestowed annually to 10 professionals under 40 in the Inland Northwest. She speaks publicly on passion, dreams and confidence and is a proud graduate of Leadership Spokane. In addition to her career accomplishments, Voorhees is a mother to four children, is married to the love of her life and happily calls Spokane home on her family's 10.5 acres of heaven.

Kevin Parker
Chair, Whitworth Institute of Leadership
Visiting Instructor

Kevin Parker is an entrepreneur, former four-term politician and a retired advisor to a senior member of Congress. He has taught organizational theory and leadership for over a decade to graduate students at Whitworth University and is currently a visiting instructor in the School of Business. He has also served as a facilitator in adaptive leadership at Harvard University, is a fellow of the Aspen Institute and is currently completing his Doctorate of Philosophy in leadership studies. Parker oversees 230 employees within his Dutch Bros Coffee franchise and has collectively received more than 30 awards for his work within the community and region, including being named to Spokane's Most Powerful list multiple times.

Founding Sponsor
Northwest FCS Logo

Leadership Advisory Board

Phil DiPofi
CEO, Northwest Farm Credit Services

Jack Heath
President & COO, Washington Trust Bank

Latisha Hill
Vice President of Community and Economic Vitality, Avista

Marty Linsky
Retired Faculty, Harvard Kennedy School

Dan Mahoney
Retired, CEO, Hitachi and BAB member

Greg Mahugh
Retired COO, DAA Northwest

Jim Masterson
CEO, LightEdge

Charlotte Nemec
President & CEO, Canopy Credit Union

Kevin Parker
Owner, Dutch Bros Coffee

Julie Shiflet
Founding Partner, NorthWest CFO

Fred Stockton
Retired, CEO, Liquid Development, current Whitworth trustee and BAB member

Wayne Williams
Retired, President & CEO, Amphenol Telect

Nancy Vorhees
Retired, COO, INHS

"The Institute of Leadership is a unique immersion experience that will indelibly impact the level of effectiveness of your leadership. This is a place where you share your failures and setbacks, while learning to convert those experiences to victories in your life and in your organization."

Kevin Parker

Payment Information and Cancellation/Refund Policy

Employer Sponsored Tuition Benefits

The Whitworth Institute of Leadership is unique within executive education offerings because it bears official graduate-level credit (nine credits total). For this reason, annual employer tuition benefits may be applied directly to the program, as well as federal financial aid should the candidate be enrolled in a graduate degree. (The Whitworth MBA offers a concentration in Comprehensive Leadership through the Institute for candidates who would also like to pursue that degree. The Whitworth MBA is offered online and in person.)

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to support your investment in education. You do not have to be in a low-income category to qualify, but you do need to apply to be considered for financial aid. The Whitworth Financial Aid Office (509.777.3215) is eager to assist you in determining the best way to fund your education.

Participants applying for financial aid of any kind must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available online at List Whitworth University on the FAFSA along with Whitworth's Title IV code, which is 003804. Only domestic and permanent residents are eligible for financial aid through the FAFSA.

Payment Information

Payments with credit cards can be made via the online registration form and will incur a service fee. We also accept checks and purchase orders. Please email purchase orders to or mail them to:

Whitworth University
Graduate Studies in Business
300 W. Hawthorne Road
Spokane, WA 99251

Academic Credit

Whitworth University Academic Credit

Participants who successfully complete all three sessions will earn nine graduate-level academic credits and receive a Certificate in Comprehensive Leadership (non-transcripted*). Credits earned may be applied toward the completion of Whitworth University's Master of Business Administration (MBA) program and applied as a concentration in Comprehensive Leadership, or can later be applied to other graduate programs pending admission and credit transfer policies.

Those using employer-sponsored tuition benefits will receive a letter grade and transcript to demonstrate successful completion of each 3-credit series session.

*Non-transcripted certificates are issued by the Institute of Leadership as proof of program completion. Official transcripts reflecting completed coursework and earned credit for the Institute of Leadership are not degree-bearing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have a bachelor's degree to participate?

Participants are not required to have an undergraduate degree in order to enroll in the Institute of Leadership; however, current Whitworth undergraduate students are not eligible. Professional business experience is required. If you decide to matriculate into a graduate program, a bachelor's degree would be required, but the graduate-level credits earned from the Institute of Leadership would apply toward that program. 

Do I need to have an affiliation with Whitworth to apply?

No prior Whitworth affiliation is required to participate in the Institute of Leadership, including current enrollment in a degree program or alumni status. The Institute of Leadership is open to all members of the community.

Do I need to practice Christianity in order to participate?

No. Whitworth University is an inclusive Christian liberal arts institution, inviting all members of the community to ask questions of faith and explore different points of view, no matter their background.