Institute is the nation’s premier leadership development program for young professionals committed to social justice. For more on our philosophy behind Institute, click here. For details about how Institute works and whether you should apply, read on below.

What is the Institute?

Who attends the Institute?

What are the benefits of being an NLC fellow?

What do fellows do after Institute?

How and when can I apply for the Institute?

When does Institute take place?

How much does Institute cost?

I have a different question about selections and/or Institute. Who should I ask?


What is the Institute?


The Institute is the core of New Leaders Council. A free, five-month, comprehensive leadership development program, the New Leaders Council Institute combines advanced leadership development training by experts, mentorship, networking, and job placement to train the very best of the next generation of progressive entrepreneurs and civic leaders.

Training programs focus on a core curriculum of personal leadership development, entrepreneurship, communications and marketing, fundraising and finance, political strategy and management, traditional and new media, and Internet and technology.

Heavy emphasis is placed on teamwork. Fellows spend time meeting with local and national leaders, and after Institute are paired with with career mentors.

Although many Institute participants want to and eventually do run for political office, a desire to run for office is not required to become a fellow. NLC trains leaders across all sectors: private, public, non-profit, and political.

Institutes occur one weekend per month over five months (January – May). The commitment is a total of 10 full weekend days.


Who attends the Institute?

Each year, the San Francisco Selections Committee recruits hundreds of applications from potential fellows. A rigorous interview process allows us to select between 15 and 20 fellows. Each year’s class of fellows attend a series of Institute sessions specifically tailored to their interests and career paths.

NLC-SF-Class-of-2013-Vernon-Revery-Sabrina-Sophath-Adam.jpgAre you a future NLC fellow? We look for people who are:

Top Talent with Entrepreneurial Mindset or Experience: An institute will train 15 to 20 “top talent” young professional leaders, generally ages 22 to 35, per year. Fellows have generally created an organization or business, led an organization or business to greatness, or demonstrated an interest in and ability to create change by realizing a vision and compelling others to follow it.

Diverse backgrounds: Fellows represent the diversity of the progressive movement in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, income, and industry. NLC places a high priority on diversity.

Early Stage Career Young Professionals: They are progressives at the early stage of their careers or interested in changing careers, and have generally completed all of their undergraduate and/or graduate studies.

NLC specifically searches out fellows who know what they want to achieve but do not yet have the skills or training to achieve it. Applicants must know what skills they still need to develop and to what field they will apply those lessons before being accepted as a fellow.

Post-Education: Most NLC fellows have finished all the formal education they plan to obtain. College education is not required.

Cross-Section of Society: NLC fellows are recruited from diverse professional fields. Past fellows have worked in education, law, aerospace engineering, finance, journalism, technology, entertainment, medicine, media, non-profit management, small business, and agriculture.

Although many Institute participants want to and eventually do run for political office, a desire to run for office is not required to become a fellow. NLC trains leaders across all sectors: private, public, non-profit, and political.


What are the benefits of being an NLC fellow?

Professional development: The Institute accepts fellows who demonstrate natural leadership ability but have not had the opportunity to refine their skills for the professional and political world. NLC trains them and gives them those skills.

Networking: NLC is creating an incredible nationwide network of like-minded, forward-thinking individuals who are committed to making their communities better. Becoming an NLC fellow means you join an exclusive network of young, progressive professionals who are going to lead our companies, communities, states, and countries to a better and more just future.

Mentoring: Institute fellows are also paired with career mentors within their fields to build lifelong relationships with entrepreneurs and elected officials.


What do NLC fellows do after they finish the program?

Lead: After completing five months of Institute, fellows have the leadership training and professional development to affect significant progressive change in their communities. They go on to found companies, lead organizations, and run for office at all levels of government. We pair them with career mentors who stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Stay in touch with the NLC family: NLC provides alumni with great friends and a nationwide network of ambitious and talented progressives from which alumni can continually benefit.

Alumni programs: Each chapter hosts regular events especially for alumni, including social gatherings, happy hours, fundraisers, and professional development sessions by top trainers to continue the learning process that began with the Institute.

NLC-SF Class of 2012 Celebrates Their Graduation



How and when can I apply to the NLC Institute?

Applications become available every September and are open through October/November.

After applications close, we advance outstanding applicants to the interview round. Please note that in order to apply, you must be available on one of our two interview dates. Likewise, you must confirm that you are able to attend all 10 Institute days before being accepted to the program.

Notifications of fellowship are sent out by email in mid-December.

If you’re interested in applying this coming fall, please like us on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter so that you’ll be notified of our application deadlines.



When is Institute?

Institute takes place during the day (approx. 9 AM – 5 PM) over the course of one weekend per month for five months.

For example, Institute 2016 will be:

January 23-24, 2016
February 20-21
March 19-20
April 16-17
May 21-22

Fellows Fundraiser: May 12
SF Chapter Graduation: June 2

Our Institute dates also become available on our Events Calendar as soon as they are finalized.


How much does Institute cost?

The NLC Institute is free.

Our mission is to help people jump over socioeconomic barriers and become leaders dedicated to social justice within their own communities. As such, it’s very important to us that Institute is accessible to all of tomorrow’s brightest leaders.

Each year, the class of fellows finishes their Institute program by hosting a fundraiser of which all the proceeds go to covering the costs of the next year’s Institute. That’s paying it forward!


I have a different question about Institute. Who should I ask?

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a question we haven’t answered. Please fill out the form below to email us.

Using the form will send an email to Chapter Director Ian Magruder and Selections Chair Matt Podolin. The appropriate person will get back to you in a timely manner.