The second annual LEAP program for Irish and Irish American women is now accepting applications for their 2017 New York program, looking for applicants from the Greater New York/Tri-State area.

Standing for Leadership and Executive Acceleration Program, LEAP was founded last year by Mary McEvoy, Senior Director, Global Procurement at PepsiCo and Susan O’Brien Founder & CEO of Smigin, a language learning company with a unique focus on conversation skills, in order to encourage and support the advancement of Irish and Irish women in their careers through workshops, mentoring, and community-focused projects.  

The second year of the 6-month program launched earlier this year with the application process recently opening for a start date of October 1. Potential participants will have until August 15 to submit their application.

Speaking at the launch in May, founder Susan O’Brien described the program as “free but competitive,” explaining how LEAP was concentrated in giving access to women to the resources and people who will help them succeed.

An important part of the success of the program, she believes, however, is that the skills they learn are being brought back to the Irish community for the most impact through community-based problem-solving projects with organizations such as the New York Irish Center and the Emerald Isle Immigration Center.

Read more: IIBN celebrates Irish women and inspiring ideas

“LEAP is all about promoting diversity and inclusion in leadership. Really putting more women into leadership positions,” explained Maura Kelly, a Principal at Purple Mountain Media and a senior advisor with LEAP.

Julie Currid, Co-founder of Initiafy, was new to New York when she took part in last year’s program.

“I would highly recommend LEAP for any participants that are considering doing that next year and the major reason for that is that it is the perfect opportunity to meet new people and to meet people that are like you, that want to give a little bit back to society and also expand your business network,” she said.

“The program really appealed to me because it was focused on women in leadership and I’d never done any kind of external leadership program before,” added Róisín Mullins SVP Program Management at Intuition Publishing Ltd who also took part in last year’s program.

“I just thought it would be a really good opportunity to network with peers. To get some insight from mentors. The structure of the program was based on workshops, formal learning and mentoring but also there was an action part of it so we worked with organizations within the community.”

Irish/Irish-American women: Check out @leap_now NY, Leadership & Exec. Acceleration Program

— Irish Consulate NYC (@IrelandinNY) May 3, 2016

You can apply for the LEAP program here, or find more information on the program on their website. The closing date for applications is August 15. The six-month program will begin on October 1.