2023-2024 Political Leadership Institute

 ALBANY, GA – January 23, 2024 – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the 2023-2024 Albany Area Political Leadership Institute (PLI), a nonpartisan program dedicated to preparing participants for leadership roles on local boards and in elected office. 

The program, now in its second year, welcomed a diverse group of participants who completed a rigorous application process and were hand-selected for their commitment to public service and community engagement. The program’s January 17 graduation ceremony celebrated the accomplishments of the 2023-2024 PLI cohort, consisting of individuals from throughout Albany and the surrounding area. Participants included Renea Miller, Christopher Harvey, Tameeka Daniels, Martez Favis, Dr. Jennifer Williams, Angela Michele Patterson, Kenyetta Simons, Caleb Clugston, and George Houston. 

PLI’s goal is simple and local: To build well-equipped candidates for elected office and appointed boards. Throughout the three-session program, held from November 2023 to January 2024, participants delved into essential topics such as “Government 101,” “Issues of Importance,” and “Appointed Boards and Elected Office.” The curriculum, developed by business leaders in Albany, aims to equip participants with foundational knowledge and skills needed for effective public service leadership. Each program session was followed by networking opportunities with community and business leaders, connecting class participants to those serving the community in a variety of ways. 

Graduates of the 2022-2023 program successfully obtained local appointments, and 2023-2024 graduates are well on their way to expand their public service. 

“Participating in the 2023-2024 Political Leadership Institute has been an enlightening journey for me,” said class participant George Houston, organizational development coach at Phoebe 

Putney Memorial Hospital, president of the Lee County Exchange Club and member of the Board of Elections and Registrations for Lee County. “I entered the program with a commitment to community service. Through this experience, I gained wonderful insights into the intricacies of local governance. The program’s comprehensive curriculum and networking opportunities have left me feeling even more encouraged that normal individuals can indeed make a significant difference in shaping the future of the Albany Area. I am grateful for this empowering experience and look forward to applying what I’ve learned in my continued service to the community.” 

Barbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, expressed the chamber’s commitment to developing local talent for public service leadership. 

“The Political Leadership Institute serves as an innovative platform to nurture public servants and political newcomers, providing them with essential insights into issues and expectations as they consider elected office candidacy or public board positions,” she said. “The Albany Area Chamber aims to engage more people in public service, to prepare business-minded leaders who have an interest in exploring leadership opportunities on appointed boards or elected office, and to help them discover how their experience, skills and talent could address critical policy issues.” 

Bridges Sinyard, vice president of Adams Exterminators and chairman of the Albany Area Chamber’s Government Affairs Division, emphasized the program’s impact on bridging the gap for political newcomers and those interested in public service. 

This program educates and equips future community leaders on the unique demands of governmental leadership,” he said, “helping potential candidates and board members become more attuned to community needs and prepared to meet those needs through strategic action. 

Applications for the 2024-2025 class will open late summer/early fall. Interested individuals should follow the Chamber at www.albanyga.com and on social media.