Press Release

Future Political Leaders Graduate from 2019 Central Florida Political Leadership Institute

A total of 19 participants graduated from the Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI) Class of 2019.

PLI Class 2019

The Orlando Economic Partnership (the Partnership) celebrated the graduation of 19 participants of the Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI) Class of 2019. PLI is a 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 graduates represent a variety of business, civic, and community organization from across the Orlando region.

2019 PLI Class includes: 

  • Yesenia Baron, National Criminal Justice Training Center, Regional Liaison   
  • Daniel Bentancourt, Wyndham Destinations, Director of Partnerships 
  • Chan-Denise Budhoo, AmeriTeam Realty, Realtor 
  • Derrick Chacon, The Bid Coach, CEO 
  • Christopher Chambers, Serious Simulations, LLC, CEO 
  • James Evans, Century 21, Realtor 
  • Dan Lopez, Legends Realty, Broker 
  • Katy McGinnis, Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulations, Director of Real Estate 
  • Sean McQuade, CompuGroup Medical, Sales Manager 
  • Paul Norman, Wyndham Destinations, Vice President of Talen Acquisition 
  • David Riccardi, Fifth Third Bank, Vice President of Commercial Relationship Manager 
  • Tiffany Sanders, JHT, Inc., Senior Vice President 
  • Steve Simpson, Central Florida Property Management, Owner/Broker 
  • Jeff Swirsky, AD1 Global, Regional Director of Hotel Operations 
  • Derick Thompson, Walter P Moore, Business Development Manager 
  • Lito Valdivia, Leidos Engineering, Account Manager 
  • Franz Reiner Valencia, Enerzen, LLC, President & Founder 
  • Josh Wyche, Downtown Orlando Partnership, Director 
  • Elizabeth Yawman, Enterprise Florida, Business Development Manager 

PLI teaches leadership skills for effective governing and educates participants on the critical public policy issues that are affecting our community. 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. 

“We are proud of the hard work and dedication that all of our potential candidates have put into the process to learn about running a successful campaign and being an effective public servant. PLI takes an innovative approach by offering a non-partisan program to better equip business and civic leaders who want to make a positive impact on our community.” 

Sharon Smoley, vice president of advocacy and public policy at the Orlando Economic Partnership

“This program has seen the successful election of 21 graduates since its inception in 2008 demonstrating why this approach to preparing potential candidates for office is an effective way to position our region in terms of public leadership for the future,” said Tim Giuliani, President & CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership.  

The Partnership is currently seeking potential participants for the 2020 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, AT&T, CNL, Charter Communications, Duke Energy, Florida Blue, Full Sail University, Lockheed Martin, Massey Services, Orlando Health, Orlando Magic, SunTrust, Tavistock Group, Tupperware Brands, Universal Orlando Resort, University of Central Florida, Walt Disney World Resort and Wyndham Destinations.