Political Leadership Innovation Institute, Inc.

Preparing outstanding business leaders to become outstanding public leaders

"I always believed I had something positive to offer in a public-servant role,  but dreaded the process.  Now, I'm inspired.  Thank you."

A program graduate and former real estate executive who is now City Council President

"My attention to finances derives from a business background of understanding financing and evaluating the efficacy of a transaction. Translating that to City budgets, I can ascertain when something doesn’t seem to make financial sense and ask the questions necessary to reveal underlying issues." 

Lori Boyer, Jacksonville (FL) City Council President, was a real estate executive and Jacksonville (FL) 2010 program member, elected in 2011 and re-elected in 2015. As Council president,she succeeded another program graduate. Eleven graduates have been elected to office,including two mayors, five council members, two sheriffs, a municipal trustee and state legislator. 

“The goal is to encourage energetic members of the business community to become outstanding public leaders who are prepared to address our most pressing public-policy challenges.”  Jacksonville (FL) business leader
11 local program graduates have been elected to office, including mayors, city council members, two sheriffs and a legislator

​We're proud of our graduates who have used their

business skills to make a difference as public leaders

  Here are a few...

 © 2017 Political Leadership Innovation Institute, inc. All Rights Reserved.

San Diego Public Leadership Institute to become a program of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2017 announces Ernesto M. Arredondo, Jr., San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Board Chair and Wells Fargo San Diego Region President.  LEARN MORE.

Florida State Rep. Ben Albritton, a citrus company owner, said the program gave him the confidence to organize his campaign, prepare his business and family for the election process and develop important networking contacts.   Albritton was first elected in 2010 and serves as Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee Chair in the 2017 legislative session.  During his legislative tenure, Ben has received numerous awards from business, agriculture and civic organizations for fiscal responsibility.  He has focused legislative attention to making state contracting more competitive and reforming the state's guardian ad litem system. He is a former Florida Citrus Commission Chairman. 

Kathryn Starkey, a graduate of the Tampa Bay Public Leadership Institute 2011 class, was first elected in 2012 as Pasco County (FL) Commissioner and was selected in 2016 to serve as Board Chair.  She won re-election in 2016.  
Kathryn has a background in real estate development and entered office with a wealth of civic and business leadership experience.  She has been active in promoting economic development, trade and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education.  Before her election to the County Commission, she was a local school board member who became active in education issues on the state level. 

Edwin Narain,a 2012 Tampa Bay program graduate, and AT&T Florida executive, was elected to the Florida House in 2014. As a freshman Democrat legislator of a Republican-controlled House, Rep. Narain received the "Distinguished Advocate Award" from the Florida Chamber of Commerce in 2015 for advancing legislation to extend R&D tax credits.  The award was unheard of for a first-year member of a minority party.  Rep. Narain ran unsuccessfully for the Florida Senate in 2016.  Other Tampa Bay graduates have been elected to the Florida House, local government on city and county commissions and school board.


Mark R. Mills

888-430-0009 • markmills@reclaimpublicleadership.org

In 2007, John McReynolds, a Central Florida business executive, and Mark R. Mills, a public messaging consultant and former communications director to a U.S. Senator, were having lunch discussing the need to see more candidates with business experience run for elected office. 

An idea was sparked to launch a leadership program that would demystify the political process as a way to encourage business leaders to pursue political leadershipAn outline was sketched on a napkin that the program had to be nonpartisan, pro-business and intentional about selecting only those business leaders who were serious about exploring public leadership in either a short or long-term horizon.  

A model was developed and launched in Central Florida in 2008 and was met with immediate success, both in sponsorship support and business leaders who were competitively selected for the program.

In the first three years, nine graduates were elected to office as mayors, commissioners, legislators and to a school board. As word of the program's success spread, leaders from other communities began inquiring about launching their own programs. 

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational entity was then created to work with local business organizations on launching independent and locally-branded programs. LEARN MORE.

While the mission remains, the original program model has changed to include a proprietary "how to" curriculum that covers transition strategies from private to public life, candidacy, appointments and public leadership strategies, while also addressing local priorities and issues. 

Jacksonville City Council Finance Chair Anna Lopez Borsche, a Jacksonville program graduate and accountant elected in 2015, has been named "one of the top 10 people to watch" in Jacksonville politics.  LEARN MORE

"(They) aren't just waiting for (the) next generation of political leaders to appear — they're actively recruiting and training them." 

Florida Trend, Business Newsmaker of the Year, 2011

Select business leaders trained for public leadership in Florida, California, Virginia

Graduates have become mayors, city councilmembers,

commissioners, legislators, appointees

We're a nonprofit, nonpartisan and unabashedly pro-business public leadership development organization that works with local leaders to "build the bench"of business-minded aspiring public leaders who want to prepare to run for office or land appointments and use their business skills to address public issues. 

Learn how to launch your locally-branded and locally-controlled program...no long-term commitment

We're not a PAC or campaign group.  Instead, we're an educational program that pulls back the curtain on the political process and gives business leaders the competence and confidence to pursue public leadership. 

Learn more about our difference-making graduates below

The proven model can be tailored to any community and has trained competitively-selected business leaders from diverse local markets in Florida, as well as San Diego and Northern Virginia.  

Graduates have made a difference by going on to serve as legislators, mayors, council members, commissioners, school board members and government appointees.  

“As a small business owner, I developed sound financial management principles that now provide the cornerstone of my service as an elected official.  PLI made a tremendous difference in my transition.”
Bill Sandke, City of Coronado (CA) Councilmember, is a small-business owner who was elected in 2014.  He was a member of the San Diego Public Leadership Institute 2014 class. In this photo, Councilmember Sandke participated in PLI-sponsored seminar on cross-border cooperation in the San Diego - Tijuana region.  Another PLI graduate, Whitney Benzian, was elected to the Coronado Council in November 2016.

Darryl Daniels, a 2013 Jacksonville program member, was sworn into office in January as the first African-American Sheriff of Clay County Florida.  He won his seat in 2016.

Jacksonville Beach Mayor Charlie Latham, a Jacksonville program graduate and business owner, was re-elected in November with priorities to complete the Downtown Vision Plan and make the city debt-free.  LEARN MORE.

"I knew a little about the political process but loved getting first-hand exposure from experts and making connections that I still maintain.   Most people have two reactions to the program:  `there's no way I'm ever going to do this' or, if you're like me, `Game On, I really want to do this.`  The program gave me confidence." 

Colleen Burton, Florida State Representativeof Lakeland (FL) is Vice-Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee for 2017.

Donald O'Brien, a graduate of the Flagler (FL) Public Leadership Institute and insurance executive, said his priorities as a newly-elected Flagler County Commissioner include accountability and supporting jobs creators.  LEARN MORE.

Whitney Benzian, Executive Director, California Apartment Association-San Diego, a San Diego program graduate, won a seat on the Coronado (CA) City Council, joining fellow alum Bill Sandke. . 









​​​​​​​“We could not have done this without you. We could have given (this idea) a lot of lip service, but to actually pull it off would have been practically unthinkable."  

San Diego business leader...103 business-minded leaders have been trained for public leadership since 2012​​

Learn how San Diego business leaders saw our model as a way to expand their voice in public affairs

Florida Rep. Jackie Toledo, a Tampa Bay program graduate, civil engineer and businesswoman who won her seat in November, will serve on several House committees, including the Commerce Committee.  LEARN MORE.  

"The (San Diego Public Leadership Institute) is a fantastic program. I appreciated hearing first hand from people who were involved in politics and policy and learning what it’s like to go through a campaign and be prepared for a leadership position.   The class teaches you the skills to make a contribution.”
Chris CateSan Diego City Councilmember elected in 2014, was a member of the 2013 San Diego Public Leadership Institute.

In December 2016, Cate was named San Diego's fifth most powerful person by Our City San Diego magazine.  Learn more about the San Diego story.


Read about our success stories and history below or

LEARN MORE about launching your locally-branded and locally-controlled program with NO long-term commitment.  

The San Diego Public Leadership institute graduated 28 select business leaders from its 2016 program, bringing the total of participants to 103 over four years.