Annetta Watkins Foard



Connecting Across Difference To Lead & Serve

Leaders Under 40 (LU40) is one of CBI’s signature leadership programs. It was piloted in 2011, and since that time over 200 people have participated in Classes 1 - 5 of LU40. CBI is currently in the process of recruiting and selecting members for LU40 Class 6 which launches in May 2016 and concludes in May 2017.


LU40 is a leadership development program that convenes and supports a diverse, cross-sector group of emerging community leaders to build connections across difference, to learn about their own leadership styles, to become more aware of and educated about the community and real-time community issues and to connect with established leaders in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. LU40 is founded on the premise that we live in a community that has been shaped by decisions made by leaders in years, decades or even centuries past. Today we have both the opportunity and responsibility to participate knowledgeably and actively in decisions being made that will impact our community for years to come. Leaders Under 40 can be a valuable resource in these deliberations and have a vested interest in assuring that ours is a community that works and provides for everyone.


Major areas of focus for the overall LU40 program are:


  • Connecting with self & others;
  • Connecting with the community & community issues;
  • Connecting with community leaders.


The success of LU40 requires an inclusive group of participants – including diversity across race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, time in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, employment, background and perspective – to form an active and engaged network of people.

Who's Involved

CBI recruits a diverse group of up to 45 Leaders Under 40 from the public, nonprofit, corporate and faith sectors of the community to participate in each LU40 class. Candidates are nominated by leaders of key community institutions, organizations and groups and by individuals connected to CBI and are accepted into the program by a CBI/LU40 Selection Committee. Nominations are accepted based on the following criteria:


  • Under 40 when the program begins;
  • Connection to a constituency / sector / organization;
  • Desire to participate in LU40 as a personal development process and as an opportunity to become more connected to the community;
  • An intention and desire to influence for inclusion and equity;
  • A commitment to prioritize attendance and actively participate in all LU40 sessions.


Session Partners

Balfour Beatty
Carolinas Healthcare System
Charlotte Center City Partners
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Fifth Third Bank

Our Main Coordinators

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Sustaining Sponsors