Leadership Program

Applications are reviewed by the Board of Trustees, who are responsible for selecting the WestStar class. Only one class is chosen each year. Selection is based on leadership achievements and potential to contribute to the development of the region. Geography and diversity are factors in the overall class selection. Past participants have been chosen from all occupations and levels of community and regional involvement. WestStar does not select on the basis of age, sex, race or religion.


Candidates need to provide a completed application. Applications may be faxed, but the original must be on file in the WestStar office to be eligible for selection.


If accepted for the program, a tuition fee of $1,000 is payable prior to the first session. The fee includes meals during each session, breaks, program materials and expenses. Participants are responsible for their own lodging and transportation. Two-thirds of actual participant cost is underwritten by the program sponsors.


WestStar is an exciting program of study designed exclusively for class members. One of the major benefits of the program is the interaction with other class members and the people who are shaping the future of West Tennessee. Therefore, the program requires full participation by those selected for the program. Applicants should carefully review the program dates and assure their availability for all sessions. Board of Trustee policy specifies that any absence from a session or any part of a session be reviewed by the Trustees to determine if continued successful participation is still feasible.


WestStar benefits the people of West Tennessee first and foremost as a result of the knowledge, commitment, excitement, and enthusiasm graduates have for helping the region achieve its potential. Individuals also benefit from:

  • The new skills and knowledge they have gained from the seminars
  • The contact and friendships made with fellow class members and recognized state leaders
  • The confidence acquired in their ability to make a difference in their communities and the region
  • Public recognition from membership in a unique commitment to serving their communities and the state

WestStar Class of 2023 will be announced mid December.

WestStar Nomination


WestStar begins recruitment for Class of 2023 September 1, 2022.

WestStar Applicant Information Sheet (to be updated soon)

WestStar Application


WestStar begins recruitment for Class of 2023 September 1, 2022.


"Even though I had traveled West Tennessee extensively and I thought I knew a lot about the area, I was amazed at what WestStar did to open my eyes to even more assets we have to offer. The biggest mistake that I made with WestStar is not applying earlier in my life. The friends and acquaintances that I have made are invaluable and will always be cherished. WestStar is truly an asset to West Tennessee and in fact all of Tennessee". - Art Sparks, WestStar Class of 2016


"I appreciate the opportunity WestStar has given me. I now have a wealth of knowledge about what we can do together. Virginia is truly the back bone of this program, and I really appreciate the effort she puts into WestStar." - Jim Coy Houston, WestStar Class of 2017


"WestStar has been a great experience for me and I'm proud to have gone through this program." - Charley Brown, WestStar Class of 2017


"Charley, Virginia, and Jordan, thank you so very much for the time and energy you invest into the WestStar Program. I know by helping facilitate just a County Leadership Program how much preparation and planning goes into such, and the fact that you guys pull it off for all over West Tennessee is astonishing to me. I feel like I made friendships and connections that will stay with me personally and professionally for years to come. The commitment and dedication that each of you have to the continuance and growth of WestStar should be commended. I look forward to serving alongside of you to get the word out about THE BEST leadership program in the state!" - Libby Wickersham, WestStar Class of 2017


"Charley, Virginia, and Jordan, thank you all for making the WestStar experience as great as it was! My participation in the program has been both a privilege and an honor! What seemed to be a big investment in days and dollars 6 months ago has provided a much greater return in awareness, knowledge, and friendships. There are few things I believe in strong enough to 'sell' to others and WestStar is one of those things. I'm already thinking about others who would benefit from the WestStar experience." - Bobby Smith, WestStar Class of 2017


"WestStar has given me the opportunity to meet people and develop relationships/friendships I would not have had otherwise. These relationships have broadened my professional network, making it more diverse. It's beneficial to have experts you can contact when you need business advice or to find out about resources in other counties. It has also widen my perspective on what other communities around are achieving, especially in the areas of economic development, workforce and education. WestStar continues to be a positive impact on my life!" - Vicki Bunch, Class of 2010


"I am very thankful that UT Martin cares about educating leaders in West TN. Because so many of our problems are regional, it is advantageous to collaborate across county lines. Thanks UT Martin for helping us learn to be better teamplayers!" - Sarah Levy, Class of 2012


"Not growing up in West TN, WestStar provided an education of the region that no other organization could. WestStar has provided me with a network of friends and like-minded community centered folks that have been instrumental in advancing the needs of my community and organization through a regional, big-picture approach to leadership development." - C. Seth Sumner, Class of 2014