Public Leadership Institute (PLI)

Public Leadership Institute of Polk County

Building the bench of aspiring business-minded public leaders

•    The Public Leadership Institute of Polk County (PLI) is a nonpartisan “pre-campaign” candidate and public leadership school with the mission of identifying and educating local business-minded leaders who are interested in exploring the possibility of one-day seeking public office and using business principles to address public issues;

•    PLI of Polk County is a program of BusinessVoice, the political arm of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce;

•    Polk County has had a history of some outstanding public leaders who understood the importance of a vibrant business economy to our area’s outstanding quality of life.  However, there is no guarantee that these leaders will always be there in the future.  It’s important to begin building the bench of prospective public leaders who understand business issues because they’ve lived business issues, by creating jobs, managing payrolls and dealing with regulations;

•    Applications can be found at the bottom of this page or by CLICKING HERE and must be returned by October 3.  Selection is limited and competitive.  There is no fee to apply or attend thanks to the generous support of our sponsors;

•    Classes will be held at Southeastern University on October 21, November 4, November 18 and December 2 from 9:00am - 4:00pm and will feature experts on candidacy, leadership and local public issues;

•    There is no commitment required to run for office, merely consider the possibility of seeking a public leadership position in the future.  The program cannot accept filed candidates for office.  Attendance at the entire Leaders School is mandatory;

•    The curriculum will cover “how to” topics, such as filing for office, choosing a campaign team, conducting a personal and political “pre-campaign” assessment and strategic plan, developing a campaign plan, leadership strategies, local public issues, political messaging and fundraising;

•    The Chamber is working with a nonprofit, nonpartisan public leadership development organization whose leaders developed the educational template with success in other areas.  Nearly 30 business-minded graduates have entered public office from various programs that have used the model, including local public leaders Florida Representatives Ben Albritton (R-56) and Colleen Burton (R-40) and Polk County Commissioner Melony Bell.  Learn more at;

•    The Public Leadership Institute of Polk County is not a political action committee or campaign organization.  Acceptance into the program does not guarantee a future candidate endorsement or support from BusinessVoice, program sponsors or anyone affiliated with the program.

For more information, please contact Cory Skeates, President, Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce at (863) 688-8551 or

2016 PLI Application

Public Affairs Documents 2016 PLI Application