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Future Leader Award

Choose Chicago strongly believes in supporting the future of the hospitality and tourism industries in our city. One of the many ways we do this is by investing in outstanding college and university students who show promise as future leaders within the tourism industry.

The Choose Chicago Future Leader Award is a merit-based opportunity that recognizes students who demonstrate their commitment and passion for the hospitality and tourism industries. Two (2) winners will be selected annually to each receive a $5,000 award to apply to their educational costs (i.e. tuition, room and board, and other associated expenses).

Selection of recipients

Recipients are selected on the basis of academic record, professional and internship experience, relevant volunteer experience, educational and/or professional recommendations, and an essay that includes a statement of career and educational aspirations and goals. See specific eligibility guidelines.

The Future Leader Award is open to all students meeting the criteria below. However, additional consideration is given to applicants who are hospitality/tourism or related majors and who have experience in the hospitality/tourism industry.

The Choose Chicago Future Leader Award Committee will select the recipients of the award based on the above qualifications and grading rubric with a point system.  All applicants agree to accept the decision as final.

Eligibility and qualifications

Award applicants must fulfill the following requirements to qualify for consideration:

  • Choose Chicago Student Partner
  • 3.0 GPA or above
  • Undergraduate or Graduate Student enrolled full-time in an accredited college or university in the Chicagoland area
  • All academic majors are eligible to apply


Submit the following materials in ONE PDF document to

  • Completed application form
  • College Transcript
    • We will accept a current, complete, unofficial transcript including student name, school name, grade point average, grades and credit hours for each course and term in which each course was taken.
  • 1 Page Resume or Resume Form
    • The resume form can be found with the application form
    • Resume form should only be used if you do not have a professional resume
  • Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
    • We suggest at least one from a current or former employer/industry professional
  • A typed 1,000-word essay
  • Select one of the three topics below for your essay:
    • Tell us about a time you demonstrated leadership to overcome an obstacle.
    • Tell us about one of your favorite industry experiences and the impact it had on you.
    • Why do you want to work in hospitality and what do you hope to achieve in your career?
  • Applicants should be prepared for an interview if selected as a finalist

Application deadline

Deadline to submit the Future Leader Award application is Friday, February 23, 2024.

Award recipient responsibilities

Recipients will be informed via a phone call and email if they have received an award. Recipients will be given award acceptance instructions and a deadline to accept the award.

If recipients do not formally accept their awards by the deadline specified in their offer letters, the funds may be reallocated to other applicants.

Recipients may be asked to attend an event or events honoring them.

Recipients may be asked to deliver brief remarks at relevant events.


Choose Chicago reserves the right to review the conditions and procedures of this award program and to make changes at any time including termination of the program.



Choose Chicago Future Leader Award winners will receive $5,000 to apply to their educational costs (tuition, room & board, and other associated expenses).

Yes, you are eligible to apply and receive this award if you have won in past years however the Award Committee will give additional consideration to students who have not been recognized before.

Award funds will be disbursed to your school which will then apply them to your student account.

Selected recipients will be notified by phone and email that they have won the award.

Applicants who are not selected to receive the award will be notified by email.


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