Press Release

Next Generation of Political Leaders Graduate from the 2018 Central Florida Political Leadership Institute

PLI Class 2018

Orlando, Fla.  Today the Orlando Economic Partnership celebrated the graduation of the 2018 Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI) Class of 2018. PLI is a unique, non-partisan regional initiative designed 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 program graduated 16 participants representing a wide range of business, civic, and community organizations across the Orlando region.
The 2018 graduating PLI class includes:
Christopher Anderson, Office of the Seminole County Tax Collector
Jon Arguello, PMB Specialties
Rishi Bagga, Law Office of Rishi S. Bagga
Regine Bonneau, RB Advisory, LLC
Ross Burke, Vacation Weeks, LLC
Rev. Mary Downey, Community Hope Center
Jimmy Dunn, June Engineering Consultants, Inc.
Ana Luisa Esquivel, Humana Market Management Consultant
Keith Lowe, Adventist Health Florida
Jim Mark, American In-Home Care
Joel A. Montilla, Esq., 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
Students participated in numerous leadership activities throughout the year and had the opportunity to explore the elections, in-depth, with experts such as Florida Representative Colleen Burton and City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer serving as adjunct faculty. Topics examined included campaigning, appointments, public issues and leadership strategies. Participants had the added value of studying the current election cycle and the outcome which included past graduates winning office.

“On Election Day eight PLI graduates were elected or re-elected into public office, totaling 19 elected graduates since the program’s inception in 2008,” said Partnership President and CEO Tim Giuliani, “I believe this demonstrates why a strategic approach to preparing potential candidates for office is an effective way of positioning our region for the future.”
PLI is made possible by the support of its sponsors including Charter Communications, CNL, Duke Energy, Florida Blue, Florida Hospital, Full Sail University, Hilton Grand Vacations, Leidos, Lockheed Martin, Massey Services, Orlando Health, Orlando Magic, Media Group, Suntrust, Tavistock Group, Tupperware Brands, Universal Orlando Resort, Walt Disney World, and Wyndham Destinations.

“We expanded our program this year to offer a wider range of tools and increased networking opportunities to our participants. Our hope is that this year’s graduates feel better informed and supported as they consider political careers,” says Sharon Smoley, vice president of Advocacy and Public Policy at the Orlando Economic Partnership. 

Applications are open for the 2019 PLI class. For additional information please contact Jenna Layton, Research and Public Policy Coordinator at the Orlando Economic Partnership at 407.902.0206 or via email at