Iron Leaders Academy Develops County Leaders in Inaugural Cohort

Published: July 18, 2022 | Author: Susie Knudsen | Read Time: 3 minutes

he Iron Leaders Academy spent time with Governor Spencer J. Cox during a visit to Utah’s capital during the legislative session.

Cedar City, UT - Southern Utah University is pleased to announce the graduation of the inaugural cohort of Iron Leaders Academy, a leadership development program for established and emerging leaders in Iron County. The program is offered through SUU’s Community and Professional Development department and provides opportunities for personal and professional growth in an experiential, high impact, nine-month training schedule.

“Iron Leaders Academy is designed to support the development of emerging leaders by giving them access to important parts of a community, done in an educational and unifying model,” said Stephen Lisonbee, Governor’s senior advisor to rural affairs and assistant vice president for the SUU Office of Regional Services. “Through their time together in a cohort, participants gain access to high-level introductions and connections so they can support positive change and respond to community needs.”

Iron Leaders Academy is currently accepting applications for its next cohort set to kick off in mid-September and run through May of next year. Participants are expected to commit to one full “Adventure Day” each month that is built around a different theme and includes retreats, behind-the-scenes tours and meetings, guest lunches and VIP dinners, a mid-legislative session excursion to Utah’s Capitol Hill, and university-sponsored training for strengthening the leader within.

“The experience improved my ability to speak to issues, know the right questions to ask, and most importantly, understand how people feel about challenges in their industry,” said Tiffiney Christiansen, vice president of marketing for Leavitt Group and Iron County School Board candidate. “I learned more about our community in those months than all my 20 years of living in Iron County.”

The Iron Leaders Academy aims to unite elected officials, economic developers and other civic-minded leaders to provide an understanding of current and complex issues critical to leading Iron County into the future. Due to the length of the program and immersive design, participants build relationships within their cohort and connections to the community.

“This exposure to passionate, creative and intelligent people doing great things has vastly broadened my perspective of our community,” said James Mullenaux,vice president of student services at Southwest Technical College. “I now have connections and references that will enable me to better collaborate as well as assist others in need of local resources.”

Iron Leaders Academy utilizes a transformational leadership model and was developed in part by community leaders who share a vision for the future of southern Utah and inspire upcoming changemakers in Iron County. These founding leaders include Eric Leavitt, Mark Hendrickson, Mindy Benson, Stephen Lisonbee, Jared Tippets, Kevin Callister, Kristie McMullin, Steve Nelson, Melinda Pfundstein, Michelle Tullis, David Westwood and Brennan Wood.

The culmination of the program results in a graduation ceremony and award of an SUU Institutional Certificate. Visit to learn more and apply for the upcoming cohort.

SUU’s Community and Professional Development department offers opportunities for adults to elevate their careers, stay competitive in the workforce and further develop as leaders. Located in the world’s best backyard, Southern Utah University is known as University of the Parks thanks to its close proximity to several national monuments, outdoor recreational areas and educational partnerships with the National Park Service. Reach your next career peak with SUU by visiting

Tags: Community and Professional Development

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