Leader Incubator

Baton Exchange Fellows Program: Start Strong!

A working-learning-leading-serving one year leader incubator experience in Columbus, Ohio, that equips talented and leadership-oriented young adults, age 21-31 years old, to integrate the Christian faith, work, service and servant leadership for redemptive cultural and social transformation.  We welcome young adults from a wide range of vocational interests: Arts & Entertainment, Media, Government, Education, Business & Science, Social Sciences, and more.

We equip you to start your career strong and launch well as future Christian leaders of redemptive influence in the global workplace!



For your application, you will also need 2 recommendations.
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Hear what past fellows have said

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Learn from Dave and other leaders like him at the Baton Exchange Leader Incubator

Why do the 12-month Leader Incubator experience?

  • Discipleship for Work-world Application -Many young Christians struggle in their faith once they graduate and start their careers. They also often desire to know how their faith applies to their work, but aren’t sure what it looks like. Our training disciples you in faith-work integration. You don’t have to start your career wondering how faith influences work: you can be equipped to start your career prepared rather than take years trying to figure it out on your own!"
  • Resume builder - Having on your resume that you took the initiative to sacrifice a year of career or of pursuing a great job offer- that statistically you will only stay in for 2.5 years- to invest in your own leadership and professional development shows motivation and commitment. It will only help you in the long run.
  • Deepen and develop your understanding of vocation, calling and leadership and how they fit in God’s story.
  • Timing - Once you start your career, the likelihood that you will have  time to focus on intensive career and spiritual development and paying forward greatly decreases. The time between graduating and starting your career and family will perhaps be the season in your life that you will have the most flexibility. But it is a very small window of time. Now is the best time to intensively invest in your professional & leadership development!
  • Short Time, Big Results - The 12 month commitment is a very small part compared to your career life, which will likely last forty-five years. This one year on the front end of forty-five can yield great cumulative results. And the impact on your career and spiritual life can be BIG in comparison to the time invested.
  • Networking & Relationships - Those going through our training frequently engage and network with marketplace leaders in informal small group settings throughout our training who are leaders in business, science, education, medicine, the arts, social sciences, nonprofits, sports, government, or communities on local, regional, or even national levels.
  • Change Agent Tools for Kingdom Impact - Now’s the time to acquire the tools you need to be a redemptive influence, a change agent for God, in the workplace. Principles you learn in our training will help you avoid common pitfalls that others experience early in their career. By avoiding these pitfalls, you can make a bigger impact sooner!fellows-location-the-baton-exchange-columbus-ohio
  • See the Big Picture - It’s been well documented by researchers (among them Chinese economist Zhao Xiao and top Harvard graduate Dr. William Jeynes) that a link exists between the Christian faith and the flourishing of a community or nation. You aren’t likely to learn these principles at university or through a company’s professional development training. But, we study many  of the key principles in our program and you’ll see them being applied.
  • Accelerated Career Advancement - A Harvard study revealed that 85% of career success is tied to soft/people skills, and 15% to technical skills. University typically focuses on the 15%. Our training focuses on the 85%. Those who start their career right out of university may initially struggle to learn the necessary people skills required to advance. However, those starting with good soft skills may advance at a faster rate than their peers who lack soft skills. It’s a great post-graduate preparation for the workplace!
  • Life Skills - Our Character & Leadership sessions and Competency Workshops deliver life skill training that is essential for career and life success. The skills acquired through our program will not only benefit you in your career, but also in relationships with family and community. Those living in residence at the Leader Incubator also acquire practical life skills as they live together in community with others from around the world.
  • Mentoring - We match you to a mentor in your occupational interest.  From former senior level executives of Fortune 500 companies to small business owners and community leaders to mature professionals, fellows receive one-on-one mentoring on a monthly basis from people who have proven themselves successful in their career and in their personal and spiritual lives. Our mentors voluntarily give their time to invest in those going through our program because they want to see young adults succeed. They genuinely have your best interest in mind.

    Invest in yourself at the front end of your career journey so you can start strong!


Program Highlights

  • Build your job skills while paying forward serving at nonprofit placements working 35 hours/week with ½-day/week of training
  • Be mentored monthly by a Christian in your occupation
  • Explore your faith, vocation and calling connection
  • Receive professional and leadership development and coaching
  • Get practical equipping and coaching to integrate your faith and work  for redemptive impact
  • Enjoy networking with local and national leaders
  • Build your self-awareness and EQ
  • Living expenses covered and a modest stipend provided
  • Live in intentional community with other like-minded young adults from around the world
  • Shadow non-profit board members to see how leaders interact
  • Receive help with job placement upon completing the Incubator.

We’ve designed the learning experience around the question, “What does it take to be an influence for Christ in the workplace and culture?” resulting in a holistic approach to your development.

You will receive development in the context of your community, in four areas: Change Agent Leadership (integrating faith, work, and leadership and developing strategies for engaging culture and helping the marginalized); Professional Career Competencies; Character Formation; and Life Skills. This is accomplished by exploring topics through an integration of guest leader roundtable interviews and excursions, mentoring curriculum, professional development workshops, life-skills training, quarterly leadership retreats and special training session modules. You will shadow non-profit board member leaders at various non-profits around the city.  Seasoned marketplace leaders, life coaches, corporate trainers, and guest leaders from around the world invest in you during your experience.  Trainees receive a Gold Level Leadership Certificate upon completion of the fellows program, given during a special commissioning celebration.

Graduates with undergrad, graduate and/or doctorate degrees have all been a part of the cohort. You do not have to be a college graduate, however, to be considered for the cohort leader incubator program.

You will likely develop relationships with other young adults from around the world while in the fellowship and learn a great deal from these interactions.

The program cycle starts in June and ends mid-June by using what you learned to help lead parts of a one week summer camp for children in the inner city.

This fellows program may be the only formal biblically based career and leadership development training a trainee may receive, as secular universities do not offer a comparative and most churches don’t either. It’s a unique opportunity to grow, shape perspectives and get some practical tools before getting firmly engrained in one’s career and subsequent lifestyle choices.

As fellows leave the program and move on, we encourage them to connect with other fellows who have been in the program. You’ll have a web of alumni family around the world. 

Check out our Facebook photo album for pics of life in the Baton Exchange. https://www.facebook.com/thebatonexchange/photos_stream?tab=photos_albums

Are you a fit for our Fellows Program?

Are you…

Faithful: keep commitments and perseveres
Available: makes commitment a priority
Teachable: humble attitude to learn
Hungry: demonstrates motivation to grow
Other-Centered: Growing in Christ, becoming more other-centered rather than self-centered

Do you...

Enjoy strategic, big picture, thinking?
Find yourself in leadership positions?
Enjoy learning from and engaging with world class leaders?



Meet Past Fellows

(click here to view )

What We Believe


Work & Service Placement

The year in the Leader Incubator is not only one of equipping you, but one of service at worthy nonprofits that need help building capacity through the academic background and skills you can bring. Because of you, they’ll be able to serve more people. And you’ll grow your job skills in the process. You may have a choice as to where you are placed, but this is determined by supply and demand. Recent international student graduates would typically be placed in an OPT.  Being placed at a non-profit is a great way to build valuable work skills while at the same time give back, utilizing your energy and know-how to help build the capacity of organizations that are making a difference.  Placements at nonprofit placement partners are full-time, temporary stipend (nonpaid service) placements.  As mentioned, we have arranged with our nonprofit placement partners to cover your living expenses.  These work placements are a practical way to help cover the costs of the fellows experience and a great way for you to start building practical service experience that can be put on your resume. For some of our fellows cohort, placements have turned into full time jobs. Placement also is a very important part of our training, as it serves as real-time learning for the training and development you will be receiving throughout the year. Real-time application is one of the most beneficial ways to learn principles.  We will also assist you in a job placement hunt as you exit the program.  For more details on how placement works, ask us for the Orientation Guide pdf.

(Some of the Baton Exchange Work & Service Placement Organizations)



Per week, you will work approximately 35 hours at your job/volunteer service placement, have about five hours of professional and spiritual development on Wednesdays, one house meeting, and 2-4 hours of volunteer work (you schedule.) There is one compulsory leadership retreat per quarter. Of course we don’t provide a maid to cook, clean, do laundry, or the yard work at your Baton Exchange house, so you will have to work out the details with the others in your house to get chores done. Evenings and weekends typically are free to enjoy wherever the road takes you. For more on vacations, schedules, and other logistics, ask us for the Orientation Guide pdf.



The deadline for the 2017-18 fellows program year will be March 31, 2017. However, you may want to get your application in as early as November 1.  Mail your application to 543 W. Rich St., Columbus, Ohio, 43215 or email to RecieveIt@theBatonExchange.com.   If you would like to view a copy of our application, the PDF version is available here. [pdf]

The application process is:

1.       Learn more about Baton Exchange by reading Baton Exchange Orientation Guide. Direct any questions to our Training Program Administrator mentioned above.
2.       Complete the online application, and have two references send in the Recommendation Form found at this link.
3.       Conduct a skype/phone/on-site interview with Baton Exchange.
4.       Receive offer from Baton Exchange to join program.
5.       Pay a $250 nonrefundable deposit to secure your slot in the program. This signals us to begin mobilizing people and resources for your arrival into the Leader Incubator.
6.       Read Leader Incubator Fellows Manual, sign letter of commitment and submit to Baton Exchange.
7.       Move into one of the Baton Exchange houses and start your year with other fellows. Move-in weekend is the last weekend in May.




Room, utilities, food, training, special activities, and a small living stipend are typically covered through the job/volunteer placement arrangements.  The value you receive during your fellows experience is approximately $30,000.  Participation fee in the fellows program is $2,500 and can be paid during the course of the year.  More details are in the Orientation Guide pdf.

columbus-skyline-photoLiving in Columbus

Top 50 City in America - BusinessWeek
8th Best City for Tech Jobs - Columbus Dispatch
Ranked 7th for Biggest Bang for Your Buck -  The Fiscal Times
8th Best City for Female Entrepreneurs - Forbes
75 Reasons to Live in Columbus

For more info, give us a call. 614.554.6608

Photo by Rick Titus © 2015 Business First of Columbus Inc.
All rights reserved.  Reprinted with permission.