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Public and Policy Leadership Institute (PLI)

New Polk PLI proposed logo 1.29.19

The Public and Policy Leadership Institute of Polk County

"Preparing Pro-Business Leaders of Influence …at no cost to you!"

Deadline Application for the 2019 has passed. Please be on the lookout for the 2020 application.

  • Small business leaders are uniquely equipped to make a difference in public affairs by using their experience, skills and talent to promote a strong economic climate that serves as the foundation for our community’s vibrant quality of life.
  • Preparing business leaders for pro-business public advocacy and engagement is the mission of The Public and Policy Leadership Institute of Polk County (PLI), a nonpartisan program of BusinessVoice, the political arm of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce.
  • The nonpartisan program welcomes applicants who would like to understand the role of pro-business advocacy in public affairs; learn about the local political process and environment; or explore opportunities and preparation strategies for a possible political candidacy or government appointment.
  • Over the past few years, the Public Leadership Institute of Polk County operated under a singular mandate to prepare aspiring business leaders who had an interest in exploring opportunities for elected office.
  • A number of graduates have become public leaders of impact and influence who are using their real-world business experience to address public issues. Graduates have earned local seats on city councils, county commission, school board and in the state legislature.
  • Under the new program, the objective is to broaden the business community’s engagement beyond political leadership to include strategies to advocate for the business community in the public arena.
  • The curriculum will include topics, such as Understanding the Political Process and Political Environment; Advocacy and Policy Objectives for the Business Community; Identifying Areas of Engagement; Preparing for Opportunities in Public Leadership; Political Messaging and Advocacy; Fundraising; Building a Grassroots Coalition and others.
  • Participants will be divided into working groups based on areas of interest.
  • There is no cost to apply and all participants will receive a full scholarship thanks to the generous support of our sponsors.
  • Only a limited number of applicants will be selected to participate based on a competitive selection process.
  • The program includes four classes held on Fridays at Southeastern University from 8:30am - 4:30pm with a VIP reception and graduation following the final class.

For more information, please contact Cory Skeates, President, Lakeland Chamber of Commerce at:
(863) 688-8551, Ext. 234 or 

Click below to open the application, choose download PDF, save to your computer and fill out the form, and finally email finished copy to

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