Press Release

2023 Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI) Class Graduates

This year’s 20 graduates bring decades of experience spanning the public, private, and non-profit sectors. They join the Partnership’s growing network of PLI alumni that includes over 30 graduates that have been elected or appointed to serve in public office since the program’s inception in 2008. 

MicrosoftTeams image 21 2
The 2023 Central Florida Political Leadership Institute 20 graduates pose during graduation day.

Orlando, Fla. – A diverse group of professionals spanning the public, private, and non-profit sectors are now prepared to represent the Orlando region in public office after completing the Orlando Economic Partnership’s (the Partnership) Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI), presented by TECO Peoples Gas. 

PLI is a unique, nonpartisan regional program developed to prepare and strengthen the next generation of public leaders before they formally choose to run for elected office or commit to serving on a government board or commission. Program participants are selected through a highly competitive application process each year, with no cost to apply and participate in the program – through the support of PLI sponsors.  

I am proud of PLI’s proven track record of fostering our region’s collaborative ethos preparing and strengthening the next generation of public leaders

Rachael Kobb, the Partnership’s Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications

“Collaboration among our region’s public and private leaders is as important as ever and I am excited to see how this year’s class choses to serve our community in the years to come,” Kobb added. 

PLI Class of 2023 graduates: 

Puja Aggarwal  Orlando Health  
Austin Arthur  Stars and Stripes Management Systems  
Vanessa Bershad  AdventHealth  
Samuel Gaslin  4Acre Commercial Real Estate  
Deidre Graybill  Graybill Realty & Associates, LLC.  
Dr. John Gyllin  Seminole State College  
Erin Huntley  Independent Contractor   
Joel Kaiman   TJM Communications  
Danny Kavanaugh  Holland & Knight LLP  
Alexis Miranda Lok  Compass  
Thomas Melton  AdventHealth  
Steven Miller  State Attorney’s Office 5th Judicial Circuit  
Karen Monteleone  Community Leader 
Frances Nevill  Teach For America  
Rajal Patel  Lariyen Investments  
La-Zondra C. Randolph  LCR Legal  
Arnold Sánchez  Goodwill Industries of Central Florida  
Andrea Small  African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida  
Daniel Vanegas   Heart of Florida United Way  
Dawnn Williams  Allstate Insurance Company  

Since its inception in 2008, PLI has prepared and strengthened the next generation of public leaders and has seen over 30 graduates elected or appointed to serve in public office. 

PLI students explore topics relating to campaigning, appointments, public issues, and leadership strategies as they learn from local, state, and federal speakers who share their invaluable expertise on how to lead once elected.  

I’m confident that the hard work and dedication our graduates put into the process has prepared them to successfully run for elected office or seek an appointment to a local government board or commission and be an effective public servant

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

The 2023 graduation ceremony featured words of encouragement from Orlando Regional Realtor Association (ORRA) CEO, Cliff Long, and PLI consultant, Mark R. Mills, as family members, friends, and colleagues celebrated the incredible accomplishment of this year’s cohort of future public leaders. 

Later this summer, the Partnership will begin seeking applications from potential participants for its 2024 PLI class. Anyone interested can find more information here

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

For additional information, or to be notified when applications are available for the 2024 PLI class, please send an email to


About Orlando Economic Partnership 

The Orlando Economic Partnership (the Partnership) is the Orlando region’s economic and community development organization that is seizing the moment to advance Broad-based Prosperity® by growing the diversity of the economy and driving investment into the region. The Partnership catalyzes the collaborative ethos of the region to fuel regional leadership and improve the region’s competitiveness. Learn why opportunity in Orlando is Unbelievably Real™ at 

For more information on any of these announcements or Partnership programs, please contact Jennifer A. Marcial Ocasio, Partnership director of public affairs and communications at or at  407-902-0221.