Press Release

Central Florida Political Leadership Institute Announces 2020 Class

The nonpartisan program will prepare 27 business-minded leaders to explore how they can make a difference in elected or appointed office.

Orlando, Fla. – The Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI) selected 27 participants for its upcoming 2020 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, 24 PLI graduates have served in elected office in Central Florida.
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. According to the selection committee, the 2020 PLI class was the most competitive to date.

The 2020 PLI class includes:

Alex Cardenas  SecurityNational Mortgage Company
Antoinette Giles  eXp Realty
Arnaldo Oliveras Fernandez  180 Commercial Real Estate Solutions
Carlos Torres  Orange County Sheriff’s Office
Christine Wydra Lennar Industries
Danielle Levien   Embrace Families
Dr. Thomas Bryer  University of Central Florida
Ebo Entsuah  Montverde Academy
Hunter Lamirande  Point Blank Political
Lt. Col. James Cooper  U.S. Air Force Agency for Modeling and Simulation
Juliana Boselli Neves  Glasstone Group
Karen Climer  Demetree School of Real Estate
Kathryn Miller  Florida Polytechnic University
Lawrence Lyman  Tactical Electronics Corporation and Gaboton Group
Leonard Spencer  Walt Disney Company
Maegen Pierce Breakthrough Behavior
Mandie Jones  AdventHealth
Orlando Rolón  Orlando PD Police Chief
Pamela Tuscany  Universal Studios Orlando
Renee Weeden  Orlando Skin Solutions
Sandi Vidal  Central Florida Foundation
Sean Osmond  Contec America
Stefanie Steele  Project Lead the Way, Inc.
Thomas A. Moses  Emerson International, Inc.
Trey Gordon  Hope for North Brevard, Inc.
Trinity Kutschinski  The Apartment Association of Greater Orlando
Woody Walker  CCG

“Electing candidates who truly understand what it takes to lead in today’s environment is more important than ever.”

Sharon Smoley, Orlando Economic Partnership Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy

“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. 

PLI’s public leadership training program meets from June through November and includes monthly meetings, which consist of half-day and full day sessions. A final all-day gathering will be highlighted by team presentations before concluding with a graduation. In light of COVID-19, the first session will include a virtual attendance option. 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.

“PLI is one of most unique and successful public leadership programs of its kind anywhere in the nation.”

PLI consultant Mark R. Mills, president of Mills Strategic Communications, Inc.

“The curriculum is engagement-based and practical,” says PLI consultant Mark R. Mills, president of Mills Strategic Communications, Inc. “Everything we do is intended for class members to emerge encouraged and educated with a strategic plan for clearing the personal, professional and political obstacles for engaging in the process and stepping to the starting line prepared and positioned to succeed and lead.”

“Through PLI, I was able to meet folks that I need to know both to successfully do my job now and run my campaign for re-election,” says Chris Anderson, Seminole County supervisor of elections. “During the class, I never felt anyone was trying to push a certain opinion or agenda.”

“The focus was entirely on the strategy of campaigning and the process of campaigning or becoming appointed to office.”

Chris Anderson, Seminole County supervisor of elections

There is no cost to apply or attend the program. PLI is made possible by the support of its sponsors including AdventHealth, Charter Communications, CNL, Florida Blue, Full Sail University, Lockheed Martin, Massey Services, Inc., Orlando Health, Orlando Magic, Orlando Regional Realtor Association, Orlando Sentinel Media Group, OUC – The Reliable One, SunTrust (now Truist), Tavistock Group, Tupperware Brands, Universal Orlando Resort, University of Central Florida, The Walt Disney Company and Wyndham Destinations.

For additional information, or to be notified when applications are available for the 2021 class, please contact Sharon Smoley, Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy at 407.902.0201 or via email at