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The Successful Presidential Leadership Scholar

The program assembles a unique and diverse cohort of high-potential leaders. Scholars most successful in the program share certain characteristics:

  • Civically minded: Acts to improve society.
  • Open to feedback: Seeks, mindfully accepts, and actively responds to assessments of their behavior and performance.
  • Accepting of diverse points of view: Welcomes opportunities to interact with and learn from others with different backgrounds or perspectives.
  • Meaningful professional experience: Has breadth and depth of professional experience — typically 10+ years — and will build on the PLS experience for years to come.
  • Demonstrated leadership: Presents an established record of engagement and leadership. (PLS is not an introductory course in leadership.)
  • Influence: Is in a position to implement the change they desire.
  • Committed to the program: Can fully participate in a rigorous and intense six-month program.

Approach to Leadership

The PLS program challenges Scholars to develop their leadership skills in an environment in which individuals’ experiences are seen as strengths and are respected, supported, and valued. Within this welcoming and inclusive climate, Scholars are expected to do the following both in and out of the program:

  • Engage in deep reflection about their personal leadership development, including acknowledging habits of exclusion and creating new habits of inclusion.
  • Commit to meaningful interactions with others whose life experiences and perspectives are different than their own, even if those interactions are uncomfortable.
  • Include diverse perspectives in the framing of challenges and consideration of responses.
  • Work to ensure the full participation of others in influencing change.
  • Seek understanding with others, especially when they disagree.


Learn more details about the program, qualifications, and application process in our frequently asked questions.

2023 Program Schedule

Module One:      January 24 – January 28, 2023
Module Two:      February 23 – February 25, 2023
Module Three:   March 23 – March 25, 2023
Module Four:     April 27 – April 29, 2023
Module Five:      May 18 – May 20, 2023
Module Six:       June 21 – June 24, 2023

Leaders are not born, they are made.

Watch Presidential Leadership Scholar Holly Gordon’s story.