The Advanced Applied Leadership Program (AALP) is a cohort-based, comprehensive certificate program designed to help aspiring mid-level and senior managers make the transition from functional roles to effective, big picture, strategic leadership in their organizations. The program offers a highly-engaging experience that fosters personal and professional growth while providing skills and insights for immediate application at work.​

The Brief


AALP Summary

 The Advanced Applied Leadership Program is a comprehensive certificate program designed to help aspiring mid-level and senior managers and executives, make the transition from functional leadership to effective, big picture, executive leadership.

Participant Profile

Mid-level and senior career executives, with expanding general management or cross-function responsibilities, who want to sharpen their strategic, analytical, and leadership skills.

Key Takeaways

Participants gain the knowledge necessary to lead in today’s increasingly challenging environments; acquiring the analytical, strategic, and leadership skills essential to success.


AALP co-lead instructors include Deirdre Danahar of InMotion Consulting & Coaching and Chuck Sampson of Charles E. Sampson and Associates.  Millsaps current and former faculty instructors include Dr. Blakely Fender and Dr. Kurt Thaw, plus a host of other faculty, instructors, organizations and partnerships facilitating 10+ elective workshops.

program Dates

In 2024, the AALP program will run from April – November beginning with a half-day orientation May 1, followed by a 2-day leadership retreat mid-May, with core courses occurring one day per month starting in June, as well as a choice of elective workshops each month. The program concludes in November, with a day of Capstone presentations delivered by each participant reflecting their application of skills and talents gained through the program and immediately followed by a graduation reception and ceremony.  Sponsors and guests are invited to attend.

Executive Development Workshops

In addition to the leadership retreat and seven core courses, you can choose up to four open enrollment executive development workshops available throughout the program.  Sponsors are invited to send additional participants from their organization at a discounted rate of $250 per person.

Click here for a full listing of our 2024 EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS!

Executive Coaching

Alongside group learning sessions with your cohort, you’ll undergo a personalized debrief of your LCP360 Inventory and results. Plus, you’ll have a one-on-one executive coaching session with a scholared practitioner. This session is tailored to assist you in crafting a personalized development plan to nurture your growth journey.

Program Investment


$12,000 per participant with group discounts and limited scholarships available.


$5,000 per participant for nonprofit, government and public sector thanks to a partnership with The Alliance for Nonprofits & Philanthropy.

The Leadership Circle Profile ™ (LCP)360

We use the Leadership Circle Profile® a comprehensive leadership 360 assessment that Connects Patterns of Action with Habits of Thought.

The Leadership Circle Profile ™ (LCP) 360 delivers profound insights about your leadership strengths and areas for growth. Unlike traditional assessments, the LCP connects competencies with underlying motivations and habits of thought that drive much of our behavior. As leaders gain these insights they have more leverage to make transformative change.

At a glance you see what is working, what is not, why, and what you can do to develop as a leader.

Our lead faculty are Certified Leadership Circle® Practitioners. They will guide you through interpreting your results and crafting a tailored development plan.

The Leadership Circle Profile ™ is created and owned by The Leadership Circle ©

STRUCTURE & benefits

HOW the advanced applied leadership program is structured: 

Individual organizational project – applied learning, cohort collaboration, with results presented to sponsors.

What can you expect to accomplish through the AALP?

AALP participants and their organizations
gain the ability to:

  • Clarify the roles and responsibilities of mid-level, senior and executive leaders and the competencies that distinguish excellence in their role.
  • Develop advanced critical thinking and adaptive skills critical to solving complex business problems and aligning talent with opportunity.
  • Establish a climate that builds trust, supports robust interaction, and moves a team forward.
  • Build a culture of high reliability that, in turn, drives profit, productivity, talent retention, and customer loyalty.
  • Create a leadership development plan paralleling distinctive capabilities and aspirations of each participant with those in their organization.


  • 1-2 business days per month for 8 months
    (May – November)
  • Cohorts of 15-20
  • Half-day Orientation (May 1)
  • 2-day Leadership Retreat (mid-May)
  • 7 Core Sessions (once a month; weekdays; blended learning approach with half or full day in person and remote sessions)
  • Choice of 4 Executive Development Workshops in addition to Core Sessions (Weekdays 9a-3p)
  • Individualized 360 Leadership Assessment + debrief and 1 executive coaching session (per participant)
  • Capstone Experience / Individual Presentations
  • Graduation reception and ceremony
  • Personalized development experience with scholar practitioners + cohort-based learning environment in small group setting

 Core Sessions

Unless specified otherwise, core sessions are from 9am to 4pm with lunch provided.

Wednesday, may 1


8:30 – 11:30AM

 The orientation will include a welcome, program kickoff, and a chance to meet your fellow cohort members who will be participating in this experience with you. You will also have the opportunity to meet your instructors, faculty and staff; and hear from program alums. Plus, you will receive an overview of the program schedule, our approach, an overview of coursework and  assignments, and expectations for success.

This day will set the tone for a great experience throughout the course of your program!



thursday, May 16 & Friday, May 17

leadership retreat

2-Day Event | 9:00AM – 5:00PM*

During the 2-day retreat, you will explore insights gained from your Leadership 360 assessment including your personal strengths and development areas, your internal motivations and belief system, and how each of these impacts your effectiveness as a leader. This experience will also stimulate creative and critical thinking and will provide a tool you can leverage throughout the duration of the program. The personal insights learned are structured in a supportive, positive environment that strengthens each individual and the cohort as a whole.

*Team Building Dinner and celebration immediately following on Thursday

Thursday, june 20

High impact communications in the high-Performance Environment

During this course, you will uncover the principles of communication that drive your effectiveness as a leader under a variety of challenging conditions, and learn practical applications that you can incorporate for immediate impact in your daily work environment and interactions.

We will also explore how psychological safety is established and its importance in creating high performance environments.


WEDNEsday, juLY 17

performance coaching

Coaching skills expand leader’s capacity to effectively connect and communicate with employees, peers, teams, and executives. Purposeful connection and effective communication diminishes confusion, strengthens morale and accountability, and fosters a productive workplace environment.

Using the Grow Model you will examine and practice the nuances of questioning, listening, and dialog to bring out the best in your people. You will build on your current coaching and leadership skill sets and are encouraged to bring your own real examples to work on in the course.



thursday, August 15

productive Conflict

Conflict is an inevitable byproduct of human interaction and a necessary catalyst for a work group to become a team. Unproductive reactions to conflict vary between avoidance, passive-aggressive subversion, or coercion – all of which sabotage a work group’s efforts at effective collaboration. This session introduces methods developed by the Program on Negotiation (Harvard, MIT, and Tufts) for managing conflict. Understanding conflict as both an emotional and rational process, development of self-management skills that help mitigate the “emotional hijack”, and skills for managing both interpersonal and organizational conflict will be emphasized.


thursday, september 26

Critical thinking & decision making

Throughout this course, you will explore a variety of ways individuals think and process information; and discover the impact of executive decision-making on organizational performance.

You will also learn behavioral theory, analytical tools and methods that improve organizational performance, and practical workplace applications that will lead to more impactful decision-making and improved outcomes.




thursday, october 17

Teams and Cross-Functional Collaboration

Many organizations use the term team to classify their workgroups. An IT organization, for example, might use a procurement team to specify system requirements and determine the most cost-effective means for obtaining hardware and software.  Use of the term may reflect an intention of high levels of cooperation and performance but does not guarantee that the group will function as a team. Understanding how work groups develop, along with some of the pitfalls they face, can help team leaders and members assume responsibility for higher levels of performance.

wednesday, november 6


You will design and execute a presentation that explores your experience in AALP – one that inspires, has personal resonance, integrates the AALP course content, and connects the insights gained from discussion groups and executive coaching sessions. The capstone is intended to provide a meaningful outlet to demonstrate how the program has influenced, expanded or challenged your unique skills, talents and strengths.



thursday, november 7

Capstone Experience

This is your opportunity to showcase your personal experience through individual presentations to AALP fellows, faculty and staff, coaches, sponsors, and guests.

graduation reception & ceremony

(Immediately following presentations)


For more information about the AALP, contact Janet Parker, Director, Executive Education via email at or phone at 601.974.1258 or Steve Pickering, Associate Director via email at or phone at 601.974.1267.


One of the things that’s most interesting about the AALP program is we bring the concept of “cognitive diversity” to life. You’ll find people from different backgrounds, with different perspectives, and different levels of experience coming together to share, plan and collaborate in reaching their full leadership potential. Bringing together such a broad spectrum of people to grapple and wrestle with ideas is inspiring.

Deirdre Danahar, MSW, MPH, LCSW, PCC
Owner, InMotion Consulting & Coaching
AALP Faculty, Millsaps Else School of Management


The AALP is as fulfilling an experience for me as an instructor as it is for the participants. They discover insights from one another and gain support for the authentic application of their ideas in every aspect of their lives. The same thing happens for me as well; it transforms all of us toward the best version of ourselves.

Charles (Chuck) Sampson
President, Charles Sampson & Associates
AALP Faculty, Millsaps Else School of Management

Personally this program has helped me learn more about myself and has helped shape my character. Professionally every class, including electives, has given me tools and resources to bring back to my organization to pour into the people I serve.

Kimberla Little
EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer, Hope Enterprise Corporation

Said Teddy Roosevelt in one of my favorite pithy quotes: ‘It is not the critic who counts….the credit belongs to the [leader] who is in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again….who knows in the end the triumph of great enthusiasm and high achievement and who, if he fails, fails while daring greatly.’ Through Millsaps AALP, I’ve been encouraged to be a leader who is not afraid of doubt and shortcomings, but to dare greatly.

John McElwain
Manager, Organizational Effectiveness, Entergy


Having studied in the Advanced Applied Leadership Program, we have been able to identify problems relating to effective research conduct in our department, and have developed solutions which we are implementing right now, and I can tell you that it’s making a real difference there. I hope that you take advantage of this program in order to acquire the skills and knowledge to move your organization forward.

Dr. Ike Eriator
Physician and Tenured Professor of Anesthesiology and Public Health, UMMC

Learn more about AALP from Kirk Sims

Learn more about AALP from Kimberla Little

Learn more about AALP from Scott Moak

Learn more about AALP from Richie Moore

Learn more about AALP from Dr. Ike Eriator

Learn more about AALP from John McElwain

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