Overview

The need for effective leadership in politics, government, and civic life is fundamentally important to the success of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership plays an important role in developing effective leaders.

Sorensen is pleased to be among other leadership programs provided around the Commonwealth, many of which are highlighted below. While we don’t endorse other programs, we do want to increase awareness of those programs and of our own programs.

Sorensen engages in partnerships with other organizations to establish programs that advance Sorensen’s mission. Examples of those partnerships are reflected below.
 

Partnerships

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Advancing Civics logo

Advancing Civics

 

The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership have formed a partnership designed to encourage greater collaboration among Virginia’s current and future business, government, and civic leaders. This partnership, called Advancing Civics, will host events and recognize Virginia leaders who exemplify the kind of civic-minded collaboration the partnership intends to promote.

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George Mason University logo

Regional Elected Leaders Initiative

 

Sorensen is partnering with the Regional Elected Leaders Initiative (RELI) at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government to develop public policy and leadership training content.

RELI was created to enhance regionalism and support Northern Virginia’s regional elected leaders—General Assembly Members, City and Town Mayors and Council Members, County Supervisors and School Board Members. Through programs and events, RELI helps elected leaders to engage, learn and connect in order to effect positive change for their communities and the Northern Virginia region.
 

 

Leadership Programs

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Leadership Center for Excellence logo

Leadership Center for Excellence

 

The Leadership Center for Excellence (LCE) connects, develops, and inspires leaders for personal growth, civic engagement, and community impact. It offers programs for people at every stage of the leadership journey. This includes the Leadership Arlington program for established leaders, Ignite Young Professionals program for emerging leaders, and the Summer Youth Program for rising 11th and 12th graders. Another offering of LCE is Volunteer Arlington, which connects individuals, groups, nonprofits, and businesses in an effort to promote volunteerism. LCE also conducts a number of leadership development and civic engagement events, such as the ON BOARD! training program for current aspiring board members, Regional Leadership Summit, Northern Virginia 40 Under 40, and Racial Equity Summit. For more information, visit leadercenter.org or call (703) 528-2522. 

 

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Sorensen Logo

Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership

 

Political Leaders Program: Effective leadership – through building trust and working together – is a central theme of the program. We explore how leaders have gained positions of trust and shaped public policy in Virginia. We also look at how bipartisan and regional cooperation can be used to craft approaches and solutions to problems, opportunities, and challenges faced by Virginia residents. We review techniques for finding common ground in addressing potentially divisive topics. Program participants meet in various locations across Virginia one weekend a month from March through December except for the month of July. Designed for mid-career professionals. 
 
Emerging Leaders Program: Effective leadership—through building trust and working together—is a central theme of the program. We explore many issues that are not inherently partisan and that instead reward bipartisan cooperation in crafting approaches to problems, opportunities, and challenges faced by Virginia residents. The Emerging Leaders Program curriculum is focused on several core subject areas: public policy development; policy advocacy skills; Virginia’s government structure; ethics in public service; and managerial skills. Designed for professionals in the first 10 years of their career. 
 
High School Leaders Program: The two-week program is held each summer on grounds at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Successful completion earns each student three graded college credits from UVA. The program offers concentrated study in Virginia politics and government based on a belief that young people can make a positive difference in their communities. The Virginia-focused, multidisciplinary curriculum involves substantive discussions about public policy challenges facing the Commonwealth and interaction with Virginia’s political and business leaders. Designed for 16-18 year olds. 
 
22nd Century Scholars Program:  An internship program offered with partners in UVA’s Karsh Institute of Democracy. Students have studied crises and opportunities faced by past Virginia governors to learn best practices, effective leadership, and how to make an impact on public policy. Most recently, they examined Virginia transportation policy and interacted with a broad cross-section of transportation leaders and officials. Designed for college students. 
 
Candidate Training Program: One of the few bipartisan candidate and campaign training programs in the county, participants explore the nuts and bolts of building a winning campaign from the ground up—all within the context of ethics and principled public service. The curriculum provides participants with a framework for developing their own code of conduct to run a winning and ethical campaign. Designed primarily for people who are interested in running for public office or taking on senior roles in campaigns. 

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Virginia Rural Leadership Institute Logo

Virginia Rural Leadership Institute

 

The Virginia Rural Leadership Institute (VRLI) is a leadership program that develops and supports highly-skilled, highly-motivated leaders who are committed to revitalizing their communities across rural Virginia. VRLI addresses the need for high-quality, professional training that equips community leaders with the skills they need to lead long-term economic advancement in their rural communities. The program also seeks to increase cooperation, collaboration, and coordination
across a broad array of rural localities. Each year, VRLI will accept up to 30 applicants. To learn more, please visit www.cfrv.org/vrli.

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Vote Lead Impact Logo

Vote Lead Impact

 

Vote Lead Impact (VLI) was founded in 2006 as the Virginia Leadership Institute with the specific goal of increasing the number of Black elected officials in Virginia to 500 by 2026 through training, tracking, networking, and mentoring. VLI conducts numerous events to encourage youth and adults to pursue careers in public service. Recognizing the value of leadership development, VLI offers a scholarship for African-Americans enrolled in community leadership programs. VLI's CEO Krysta Jones is a Sorensen Political Leaders Program alumna.

 

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University of Richmond, School of Professional Studies logo

University of Richmond, School of Professional and Continuing Studies

 

Political Campaign Management Professional Certificate Program: The Political Campaign Management Professional Certificate Program focuses on ethical campaigning and producing professionals who raise the discourse of our politics. Students will gain the expertise and knowledge fundamental to campaign management, from conducting oppositions research, to building political coalitions, to creating a relevant policy platform that resonates with voters. Certificate holders will leave this intensive program with the skills needed to step into professional campaign staff roles, in any discipline.

Grassroots Lobbying & Advocacy Professional Certificate: Companies, associations, and citizens are increasingly engaging in grassroots lobbying and advocacy to influence changes in legislation that support their core missions and constituency groups. Grassroots lobbying and advocacy, in contrast to direct lobbying, tends to focus on stimulating the politics of specific communities by impacting public opinion and encouraging public action. In addition to covering the history of lobbying, students will examine how the legislative process works, key tactics used by groups to promote different issues, building coalitions, relationship building and ethical concerns. Certificate holders will leave the program with the skills needed to step into grassroots lobbying or professional advocacy roles in most any field as well as the knowledge to support personal causes through grassroots lobbying or advocacy.

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LEAD and SEI logos

Virginia Institute of Government, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service

 

Leading, Educating, and Developing (LEAD) is a dynamic and engaging one-week leadership development program designed for local government department heads and supervisors. Participants engage with peers in a highly interactive environment focused on the distinct experiences of local government leaders. During the one-week course, participants gain valuable tools for effective leadership, from developing diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies and interpersonal skills to honing more practical skills, such as coaching, active listening, and contextual awareness. Central to the course is ensuring that participants have a clear roadmap of how to apply course concepts to their organizations based on the most relevant and powerful leadership practices.

The Senior Executive Institute (SEI) is a dynamic and engaging two-week leadership development program designed for senior executives. Participants engage with peers in a highly interactive environment focused on the distinct experiences of local government leaders. During the two-week course, participants gain valuable tools for effective leadership, from developing diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies and interpersonal skills to honing more practical skills, such as coaching, active listening, and contextual awareness. Central to the course is ensuring that participants have a clear roadmap of how to apply course concepts to their organizations based on the most relevant and powerful leadership practices. The course content is similar to LEAD but will include sessions specifically for managers and assistants/deputies.