PLI is a six-month, non-partisan program for business-minded leaders who have an interest in exploring future public leadership opportunities and discovering how their experience and talent can address critical public policy issues.  

Aponte Studios 11650 2
PLI Instructor Mark Mills (left) leads each cohort through a seven-class curriculum to prepare them for public service.

Have you ever considered running for elected office or seeking appointment to a government board or commission? If the answer is yes, the Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI) can provide you with an opportunity to gain valuable insights on your journey to public service.

There is no commitment required to run for office; PLI is for leaders who want to explore the possibility of serving as a public leader in either the short-term or long-term. 

A six-month, non-partisan program, PLI is focused on business-minded leaders who have an interest in exploring future public leadership opportunities and discovering how their experience and talent can address critical public policy issues. Since 2008, over 30 PLI graduates have gone on to serve in public office as mayors, council members, commissioners, legislators, school board members and appointees.  

Interested candidates can apply visiting Each class, a limited number of applicants are competitively chosen by a selection committee. Those selected to participate receive a full scholarship thanks to the support of program sponsors. 

“The fact that we’ve had several past PLI participants recently elected is proof that our program works and gives potential candidates the knowledge and tools they need to run a winning campaign and become strong leaders for our community.” 

Tim Giuliani,
Orlando Economic Partnership president and CEO 

With seven unique full -and half-day classes- PLI students gain the expert insight of Mark Mills, president of Mills Strategic Communications and PLI’s lead instructor. Mills has more than three decades of experience working with leaders in business, politics, and public affairs to communicate critical ideas, engage audiences, and move public opinion.

PLI students will also hear from local, state, and national speakers as they share their invaluable expertise and experiences from their own campaigns and leadership careers. Through the completion of the program, PLI graduates become equipped with the knowledge and experience necessary to begin their public service careers with confidence and success. 

Mills says that PLI is about helping prospective candidates start strong by “winning the starting line.” He noted that many first-time candidates often miss one crucial aspect of campaigning: “how you start will likely determine how you finish. So, start strong.”  

PLI’s curriculum equips and empowers future public leaders to step to the starting line already prepared and positioned to succeed, using their experience, skills and talent to make a difference for our region. 

Mark R. Mills,
PLI lead instructor and president of Mills Strategic Communications, Inc. 

Participants represent a diverse range of business experience, backgrounds and community involvement. In order to be selected for PLI, applicants must not be a declared candidate.

PLI takes a truly innovative approach by offering a nonpartisan program to better equip business and civic leaders who have expressed an interest in becoming political candidates and government leaders. It exposes prospective elected or appointed leaders to the political process, regardless of their political affiliation.

If you’re interested in learning more about the process of running for office and the skills needed to lead effectively, consider applying for the next class. Learn more about PLI here.