The WestStar Leadership Program at UTM

Category: Features

A group of people gather on the marble steps inside the capitol building in Nashville

The WestStar Leadership Program has had a profound impact on the employees and administrators at the University of Tennessee at Martin since its inception. The program was founded at UT Martin in 1989 and is Tennessee’s oldest and largest regional leadership program. It was established with the sole purpose of equipping regional leaders with new skills and knowledge designed to impact the educational, economic and social development of West Tennessee. With more than 800 alumni from 21 counties, the program also provides members with a growing network of community-minded people committed to serving the area. Each individual who takes part in the WestStar Leadership Program has a mission to make West Tennessee a better place.

“My favorite part of the program is getting to meet new people every year,” said Virginia Grimes, assistant director of WestStar Leadership Program. “It’s great to have so many friends that you can call if you need anything.”

The class of 2022 includes 30 business and education leaders from 17 West Tennessee counties. The class took part in one of their larger events, which is the Working Women’s Conference in January. The 24th annual conference is recognized for drawing in a substantial number of faculty and staff. They also hosted a Lunch-Learn-Leadership Program featuring a representative of the Ford Motor Company who spoke about Blue Oval City, which is the $5.6 billion Ford manufacturing plant coming to West Tennessee.

WestStar benefits the people of West Tennessee because of the knowledge, commitment, excitement and enthusiasm graduates have for helping the region achieve its potential. Individuals also benefit from:

  • The new skills and knowledge they have gained from the seminars.
  • The connection and friendships made with fellow class members and recognized state leaders.
  • The confidence acquired in their ability to make a difference in their communities and the region.
  • Public recognition for being dedicated to serving their communities and the state through WestStar’s Leadership Program.

To learn more about how you can apply to be a part of the WestStar Leadership Program class of 2023, visit

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