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 eight-month 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, offered through Executive Education of Millsaps College Else School of Management, 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. Kim Burke, former Dean of Millsaps Else School of Management, and now Dean at Meredith College, plus a host of other faculty, instructors, organizations and partnerships facilitating 10+ elective workshops.

program Dates

The AALP program runs from March – October beginning with a half-day orientation in March, followed by a 2-day leadership retreat in April, with core courses occurring one day per month starting in May, as well as a choice of elective workshops each month. The program concludes in October, 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.

Elective Workshops

In addition to the leadership retreat and five core courses, participants will choose a minimum of two, open enrollment elective courses available throughout the year.  Sponsors are invited to send additional participants from their organization at a discounted rate of $250.00 per person.

Click here for a full listing of our ELECTIVE WORKSHOPS!

Executive Coaching

Each participant receives two, one-hour sessions of individual, executive coaching designed to help the participant create and engage in a personal development plan as identified personally, by the organization, and through assessments offered, including a 360˚ Leadership Practices Inventory and Social & Emotional Intelligence Quotient.

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.

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 
    (March – October)
  • Cohorts of 15-20 (one annually on campus in Jackson and one biannually on MS Gulf Coast)
  • Half-day Orientation (March)
  • 2-day Leadership Retreat (April)
  • 5 Core Sessions (once a month; weekdays 9a – 4p)
  • Choice of 10+ Elective Workshops
    (weekdays 9a-3p)
  • 360 Leadership Assessment + 2 hours of executive coaching (per participant)
  • Capstone Project / Individual presentations
  • Graduation reception and ceremony
  • In-person is encouraged and recommended; virtual options available on an as needed basis when necessary
  • Lunch included for all in-person participants

 Core Sessions

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

Thursday, March 23, 2023


8:30 – 11:30AM

Welcome, program kickoff, and participant introductions. Meet instructors, faculty and staff; hear from alums, plus an overview of the program schedule, our approach, and a brief review of coursework, assignments and syllabus.


Thursday, April 13 &

Friday, April 14, 2023



9:00AM – 5:00PM
(both days*)

*Special dinner together as a cohort immediately following on Thursday

Participants explore insights gained from personality and an 360˚ assessments completed prior to the retreat. Introduces emotional intelligence and baseline profile of individual strengths, weaknesses and development opportunities.

wednesday, May 10, 2023

HIgh impact


with Deirdre Danahar & Chuck Sampson

Uncovers principles of communication that improve an executive’s effectiveness under a variety of challenging conditions. Examines the connection between executive communication, the resulting organizational climate, and impact on speed of strategic execution. 


Wednesday, June 7, 2023


Critical thinking

& decision making

with Drs. Kim Burke and Blakely Fender

Explores how we think and the impact of executive decision-making on organizational performance. Examines behavioral theory as well as analytical tools and methods that improve organizational performance.





Wednesday, july 19, 2023




(Case study)

with Professor Gerad Hardy, MBA

Focuses on problems and issues faced by business organizations from a strategic and comprehensive viewpoint. Integrates concepts from all areas of business in order to evaluate issues and recommend approaches to business solutions.



WEDNESDAY, August 9, 2023



with Deirdre Danahar & Chuck Sampson

Learn how to better understand conflict management as both a rational and emotional process, as well as examine conflict management styles necessary in the development as a leader (LPI and SEIP).  Plus, explores the “mutual gains” approach to managing conflict and negotiation developed by the Program on Negotiation (Harvard, MIT, and Tufts).


WEDNESDAY, September 13, 2023




with Deirdre Danahar & Chuck Sampson

Dives into challenges and opportunities present in today’s hierarchal organizations and the territorial thinking that occurs within these organizations.








Participants design and execute a presentation that inspires, has personal resonance, integrates the AALP course content, and leverages the insights gained from discussion groups and executive coaching sessions.

Each presentation provides a meaningful outlet for participants to demonstrate how their unique skills, talents and strengths positively impact their organization.

THURSDAY, October 19, 2023




1:00 to 4:45PM

Individual presentations to AALP fellows, faculty and staff, coaches, sponsors and guests.


reception &


4:45- 6:45PM

(Graduate Presentations @ 5:30)


For more information about the AALP, contact LeAnne Brewer, Director of Executive & Continuing Education via email at or phone at 601.974.1258.


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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