Press Release

Central Florida Political Leadership Institute Announces 2019 Class

Orlando, Fla. – The Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI) selected 23 participants for its upcoming 2019 class. The nonpartisan program prepares business-minded leaders who want to explore how they can make a difference in elected or appointed office and use their business experience, skills and talent to address critical issues. Since its inception in 2008, 21 PLI graduates have served in elected office in the Central Florida region.
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 2019 PLI class includes:

Yesnia (Jesi) Baron
National Criminal Justice Training Center 
Daniel (Danny) Betancourt
Wyndham Destinations
Chan-Denise Budhoo
AmeriTeam Realty
Derrick Chacon
The Bid Coach
Christopher (Chris) Chambers
Serious Simulations, LLC
James Evans
Century 21
Cliff Long
Orlando Regional Realtor Association
Dan Lopez
Legends Realty
Katy McGinnis
FL Dept. Of Business and Professional Regulation
Sean McQuade
CompuGroup Medical
Paul Norman
Wyndham Destinations
David Riccardi
Fifth Third Bank
Tiffany Sanders
JHT, Inc.
Steve Simpson
Central FL Property Management
Anjali Sivakumaran
Tezz, LLC
Lee Steinhauer
The Steinhauer Group, LLC
Jeff Swirsky
AD1 Global
Derick Thompson
Walter P. Moore
Pamela Tuscany
Universal Orlando Resort
Lito Valdivia 
Leidos Engineering
Franz Reiner Valencia
Josh Wyche
Downtown Orlando Partnership
Elizabeth Yawman
Florida Capital Bank

PLI’s public leadership school meets from April through September and includes a two-day bootcamp session, monthly half-day meetings and a final all-day gathering, highlighted by team presentations, before concluding with a graduation. Sessions feature local, state and national faculty who share their invaluable expertise on strategies to transition from private to public life, campaign for office, land an appointment and address important public-policy issues.
“The PLI class encourages new leaders within our Orlando region and teaches them new skills, provides important resources and helps them make the connections they need to launch their political careers,” says Sharon Smoley, Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy at the Orlando Economic Partnership. “It is certainly a demanding job and PLI gives emerging leaders the opportunity to learn what it takes to become a successful elected or appointed official.” 
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, AdventHealth, Full Sail University, University of Central Florida, Wyndham Destinations, Charter Communications, Lockheed Martin, Massey Services, Orlando Health, Orlando Magic, Suntrust, Tavistock Group, Hilton Grand Vacations, Tupperware Brands, Universal Orlando Resort, and Walt Disney World Resort.
For additional information, or to be notified when applications are available for the 2020 class, please contact Sharon Smoley, Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy at 407.902.0201 or via email at