Press Release

Program Developed by Business Leaders Cultivates Next Generation of Future Elected Officials

Applications now being accepted for free, non-partisan program

Orlando, Fla.  The Orlando Economic Partnership’s Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI) is accepting applications until May 11, 2018 for emerging leaders interested in running or serving in a public office. PLI was developed by business leaders in Central Florida and is geared toward applicants who are not declared candidates but are considering a run for local office or who want to serve on a local government board.

“Many new faces are entering the political arena without a track record or knowledge of how to run a successful campaign,” said Sharon Smoley, vice president of advocacy and public policy at the Orlando Economic Partnership (the Partnership). “This program exposes prospective elected leaders to the political process, regardless of their political affiliation.”

PLI teaches leadership skills for effective governing and educates participants on the critical public policy issues that are affecting our community. PLI features a two-day political leadership school, ongoing leadership activities throughout the year, important networking opportunities and a final one-day course that concludes with a graduation. It features local, state and national speakers who share their invaluable expertise on campaigning for public office and leading once elected.

“Typically, campaign schools are operated by political parties and are designed for declared candidates and current officeholders,” said Daryl Tol, the chair of the Partnership’s Advocacy and Public Policy Committee and president and CEO of Florida Hospital and its Central Florida Division. ”PLI takes a truly innovative approach by offering a non-partisan program to better equip business and civic leaders who want to make a positive impact on their community.” 
Participants are selected based on the strength of their applications and personal interviews with a screening committee. Applicants must reside in Lake, Orange, Osceola, or Seminole Counties in order to be selected.

There is no cost to apply or attend. PLI is made possible by the support of its sponsors including AT&T, CNL, Duke Energy, Florida Blue, Florida Hospital, Full Sail University, Leidos, Lockheed Martin, Massey Services, Orlando Health, Orlando Magic, SunTrust, Tavistock Group, Tupperware Brands, Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. 

For additional information, contact Sharon Smoley at 407.907.0201 or via email at