Press Release

Central Florida Political Leadership Institute Announces 2018 Class

Orlando, Fla. – The Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI) announces the members of the 2018 class. The non-partisan program is designed to prepare and strengthen the next generation of elected leaders before they formally choose to run for a specific public office. Since its inception in 2008, 17 graduates have served public office in the Central Florida region. Seventeen finalists were chosen to participate in the 2018 program.

A selection committee reviewed the strength of applications, conducted interviews and selected the participants, ensuring representation from a wide range of business, civic and community organizations across the Orlando region. 

The 2018 PLI class includes:

Chris Anderson Seminole Tax Collector

Jon Arguello                                 PMB Specialties

Rishi Bagga                                  Skyline Hotels, LLC; Law Office of Rishi S. Bagga

Regine Bonneau                         Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation

Ross Burke                                    Vacation Weeks, LLC

Mary Downey                                Hope Center

Ana Luisa Esquivel                        Humana Market Management Consultant

Keith Lowe                                     Adventist Health

James (Jim) Mark                          American In-Home Care

Joel Montilla                                  Montilla Law Firm

Mark Politte                                  Doubletree Universal

Michael Scott                               University of Central Florida

Marni Stahlman                           Shepard’s Hope

Michelle Tatom                            Rhodes + Brito Architects

Karl Theobald                               Theobald Construction

Jimmy Dunn                                June Engineering Consultants, Inc

“The Central Florida Political Leadership Institute gives emerging leaders the opportunity to learn what it takes to wage a winning campaign and become a successful elected or appointed official. The new PLI class will be given comprehensive skills, resources and connections they need to launch their political career,” says Sharon Smoley, Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy at the Orlando Economic Partnership.

During the two-day session, PLI participants hear from prominent local, state and national experts including Florida Representative Colleen Burton, City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles, and Southeast Regional Director at the U.S. Chamber Moore Hallmark. Following the session, program participants are provided numerous leadership activities and important networking opportunities.

There is no cost to apply or attend the program. PLI is made possible by the support of its sponsors including AT&T, CNL, Duke Energy, Florida Blue, Florida Hospital, Full Sail University, Leidos, Lockheed Martin, Massey Services, Orlando Health, Orlando Magic, SeaWorld, Suntrust, Tavistock Group, Tupperware Brands, Universal Orlando Resort, and Walt Disney World Resort.

For additional information, please contact Sharon Smoley, Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy at 407.902.0201 or via email at