Press Release

2022 Central Florida Political Leadership Institute Class Graduates

The 20 graduates represent diverse communities and professions and a total of 30 graduates have been elected or appointed to serve in public office since the program’s inception in 2008.

Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI) Class of 2022

Orlando, Fla. – A diverse group of professionals from the Orlando region are now prepared to run for public office after completing the Orlando Economic Partnership’s (the Partnership’s) Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI). The 20 graduates represent diverse communities and professions.

PLI is a unique and nonpartisan regional program developed to prepare and strengthen the next generation of elected leaders before they formally choose to run for a specific public office or commit to serving on a local government board. The program is free but requires an application and approval of admission.

Since its inception in 2008, PLI has had 30 graduates elected or appointed to serve in public office. Two of our current graduates will be running in the 2022 elections.

“Our graduates have emerged to serve in elected office as state legislators, mayors, city council members and county officials. Others are contributing through service on government boards and commissions or impacting public policy and politics.”

Rachael Kobb, Partnership Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications

“I believe this demonstrates why a strategic approach to preparing potential candidates for office is an effective way to position our region for the future, and I’m confident the hard work and dedication they put into the process has prepared them to be effective public servants,” said Rachael Kobb, Partnership vice president of public affairs and communications.

PLI Class of 2022 graduates include:

Bethanie BarberLegal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association, Inc.
Emily BrownVeracity Strategies
Kelly Flaherty ClarkSeaWorld Orlando
Anthony DePinaNew Level Digital
Trey DyerOrlando Economic Partnership
Christina HollerbachHollerbach’s German Restaurant
Daniel Jesus LopezKissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce
Sean McDermottWindward Consulting Group, Inc.
LaVell D. MongerRTW Photography
Sarah NemesEmbrace Families
Elijah NoelOrange Avenue Concepts
Giorgina Pinedo-RolónGio Communications
Donovan PyleHealth Compass Consulting
Raman P. RamaPremier Management Services
Pamela L. SaffranPamela L. Saffran, Mental Health Counselor
Ralph Seegobin, Jr.Office of the State Attorney, Ninth Judicial Circuit
Kevin SuttonTrue Change Staffing
Ilia TorresOrange County Government
Anthony D. Watts, Sr.Orange County Government
Cortez WhatleyOrlando Health

“Successful public leaders have understood that they didn’t have the luxury of choosing their opportunity—their opportunity chose them and they were already prepared to win.”

Mark R. Mills, PLI consultant and President of Mills Strategic Communications, Inc.

“When that moment arrives for these graduates—which will likely come with little or no advance notice—they will be ready to step to the starting line as frontrunners,” said PLI consultant Mark R. Mills, president of Mills Strategic Communications, Inc.

PLI students explore topics relating to campaigning, appointments, public issues and leadership strategies as they learn from local, state and national speakers who share their invaluable expertise on how to lead once elected. The 2022 graduation ceremony featured words of encouragement from Florida State Representative, District 28, David Smith.

The Partnership is currently seeking potential participants for the fall 2022-23 Political Leadership Institute. Anyone interested can find more information here. There is no cost to apply or attend. 

PLI is made possible by the support of its sponsors including AdventHealth, CNL, Duke Energy, Florida Blue, Full Sail University, Lockheed Martin, Massey Services, Orlando Health, Orlando Magic, Orlando Regional Realtor Association (ORRA), OUC – The Reliable One, Tavistock Group, Teco Peoples Gas Company, Travel + Leasure Co., Truist Financial Corp., Universal Orlando Resort, University of Central Florida, Visit Orlando and Walt Disney World Resort.

For more information on any of these announcements or Partnership programs, please contact Justin Braun, Partnership director of public affairs and communications at or at 407-902-0211.