Leadership Carteret

Providing Community Leaders the Opportunity to Discover the Crystal Coast While Building Lasting Relationships with Professional Peers

We are currently taking names for the Leadership Carteret waitlist. Applications will open to those on the waitlist in September on a first come, first served basis. Add your name to the waitlist.

Leadership Carteret is one of the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce’s proudest traditions. Our goal since 1988 has been constant: to help up-and-coming community leaders gain knowledge and build relationships that will enable them to be more successful here in Carteret county and make a difference in our communities.

Over the years, more than 1,000 people have graduated from Leadership Carteret. The program is open to anyone 21 and older who is passionate about Carteret County and its future and is able to commit to the full course schedule. Each year’s course is planned by Leadership Carteret alumni.

What to Expect

The program runs once a year for 12 consecutive weeks starting in January. The focus is on introducing class members to the places, people, and issues that define our county. Throughout the 12 weeks, participants will travel the county from Cedar Point to Cedar Island, visiting dozens of places and meeting hundreds of people in between.

Example Program Schedule (Schedules are for example purposes only and are highly subject to change.)

  • Week 1
    • Tuesday Evening Kickoff Reception
    • First day of class: Orientation Day
  • Week 2: County Government & Services Day
  • Week 3: Growth & Industry Day
  • Week 4: Beaufort Day
  • Week 5: Atlantic Beach & Pine Knoll Shores Day
  • Week 6: Emerald Isle & Western Carteret Day
  • Week 7: Newport Day
  • Week 8: Education Day
  • Week 9: Cherry Point Day
  • Week 10: Down East & Cape Lookout Day
  • Week 11:
    • Last Day of Class: Morehead City Day
    • Last Night Party
  • Week 12: Service Project Presentations & Graduation Luncheon

A typical day of Leadership Carteret includes breakfast and lunch, presentations about local organizations and issues, tours of notable places, and a keynote address from a recognized community leader. Brief breaks are offered in the morning and afternoon, and water and snacks are offered on days when the schedule does not allow for self-directed breaktime.

Example schedule for “Beaufort Day” (Schedules are for example purposes only and are highly subject to change.)

  • 8:15 am: Breakfast at NC Maritime Museum
  • 8:30 am: Speakers from town government
  • 9:00 am: Presentation from museum staff and friends; tour museum
  • 10:00 am: Recreate historic courtroom drama at Beaufort Historic Site
  • 11:00 am: Tour county courthouse, presentations from county leadership
  • 12:00 pm: Lunch at a local restaurant; keynote speaker
  • 1:30 pm: Presentations from NOAA and Coastal Reserve; tour facility
  • 3:30 pm: Tour Parker Boats facility
  • 4:30 pm: Class bonding time at a local brewery (optional)

Leadership Through Service

Participants also do hands-on projects that benefit local not-for-profit groups such as Camp Albemarle, Hope Mission, and the NC Coastal Federation. Past projects have included: installing an educational garden for nature school students, packing oyster bags for living shorelines, and preparing meals for individuals in need of nutritional support. Service projects are taken on in small groups and completed on participants’ own time. Each group presents on their project at graduation.

Carteret County nonprofits interested in partnering with Leadership Carteret can apply for consideration by emailing taylor@nccoastchamber.com.

The Details

How to Apply

Leadership Carteret operates on a waitlist that rolls over year to year. When the application period opens in September, those first on the waiting list will be offered a limited time period to apply. We will work our way down the waitlist until all spots are filled. To join the waitlist, fill out this form.

Attendance Expectations

Leadership Carteret takes place from January through March for 12 consecutive weeks. Demand for this course is high, and each class is limited to a maximum of 30 participants. For this reason, participants must commit to attending all 11 classes (apprx. 8/8:30 am to 4/4:30 pm most days) and graduation (9 am – 1 pm). Unexpected absences due to illness or emergency should be communicated to the staff facilitator and will be excused on a case per case basis.

Class members should also plan to attend a Tuesday evening Kickoff Reception in early January and are strongly encouraged to attend the “Last Night Party” on the final day of class. Leadership Carteret is as much a social experience as it is a professional growth opportunity. Many lifelong friendships have started during Leadership Carteret!


Participants will need to provide their own transportation to the meetup spot every class day, and between stops on most class days. Carpooling is encouraged. The class will use bus transportation when schedules require it.

Accessibility & Accommodations

Although not guaranteed, Leadership Carteret makes an effort to accommodate special dietary restrictions. This information must be included with the participant’s application for planning purposes.

The class will occasionally visit locations that do not fully support users of some mobility aids, eg: an outdoor wastewater treatment plant. Applicants who require accessibility accommodations should contact the email address below.


Leadership Carteret 2024 tuition is $595 for Chamber members and $695 for non-members. Tuition is not refundable. Staff of member organizations are considered members. Often, tuition is paid by employers interested in providing professional development opportunities to their staff. Individuals are also welcome to apply for Leadership Carteret. Unfortunately, financial assistance is not available through the Chamber at this time.

Please note: tuition is subject to change based on economic factors. Any changes will be announced when the application period opens.

Sponsor Leadership Carteret

To keep tuition as low as possible, Leadership Carteret solicits day sponsorships from member organizations. Sponsors will have the opportunity to speak to the class and hand out materials on their chosen day. Sponsors will be recognized in weekly Leadership updates on social media and in the Chamber’s PULSE newsletter.

Contact Taylor McCune at taylor@nccoastchamber.com for more information about sponsorships. To join the waitlist, please fill out this form.

The 2023 Leadership Carteret Class at graduation 

Here are some highlights from the 2020 Leadership Carteret Class: