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 Class:  April 19

  • 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 to be held on Friday, May 3; Friday, May 17; Friday, May 31 and Friday, June 7 at Southeastern University from 8:30am - 4:30pm with a VIP reception and graduation following the final class.

The application deadline for the 2019 class is April 19.

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

2018 Platinum Sponsors
2018 Silver Sponsors
2018 Graduation Sponsors
2019 Host