Public Leadership Institute

The Public Leadership Institute (PLI) is a comprehensive training program for aspiring public leaders with a background in business and community who are interested in either elected or appointed public office. PLI is nonpartisan and works in concert with the Chamber’s efforts to make the San Diego region the best place to live and work by identifying and fostering the development of future leaders.


The Public Leadership Institute’s signature training equips leaders with the resources, knowledge, and skills necessary for a successful elected or appointed position in government. Since 2012, PLI has recruited, trained, and supported over 200 class graduates across San Diego County.

PLI is an interactive 5-month training program that provides individuals the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue elected or appointed positions in government. We seek to recruit and train leaders who reflect the communities they serve and build a politically diverse bench of individuals who understand how policy decisions effect the local economy and constituents in the region. By providing a foundational education on key elements of public service, PLI is helping ensure the next generation of government leaders are well equipped to address our region’s unique needs.


Application Submission: The applications for this year’s cohort will be open from April 1 through May 31. All interested applicants must provide a resume and two references.

Interviews: Interviews will be held virtually on Zoom during the month of June with the selection panel.

Acceptance: Accepted applicants will be notified between July 5 and July 9

Program Fee Due: Upon acceptance, applicants will be required to commit to attending all classes and will have until August 4 to pay their $500 program fee. PLI challenges participants to advance their fundraising skills by fundraising into the Chamber Foundation 501c3. The amount raised by each participant will be counted against the program fee and refunded after graduation.


Participants meet once a month for five months to receive training from political professionals, elected officials, and regional experts on topics including the following:

  • Campaign strategy: Timing, Budgeting, and Hiring
  • Communication: Public Speaking, Messaging, and Media
  • Fundraising: Grow Your Network, Make the Ask
  • Networking & Endorsements: Organizations and Elected Officials
  • Voter Outreach: Campaign Mail, Digital Advertising, and Ground
  • Public Policy: Government Regulation and Local Policy Proposals
  • Boards and Commissions: City, County, and State


Classes will be held on the first Thursday of every month between August and December from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. Attendance at all classes will be required upon acceptance into the program.




For general program inquiries, or if you are interested in supporting PLI as a program sponsor, please contact Sara Kamiab at


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