Leadership Polk 

Leadership Polk is a Polk Vision program started in 2007 that brings together current and emerging leaders from across Polk County to develop a diverse network of resourceful, informed and proactive leaders who will contribute to building a more vibrant community.

Leadership Polk Class I graduated in May 2008 and Leadership Polk Class XII will convene in August 2018.  The ten-month program immerses participants in an inspiring and enlightening curriculum that examines critical issues that impact Polk County.  Leadership Polk is topically relevant, dynamic, and exposes participants to a broad range of perspectives through location tours, facilitated conversation and experiential learning.


267 participants have graduated program
13 of the 17 municipalities have been represented
29 business categories have been represented
13% of participants represent a diverse group of minority population
44% of program participants have been female


What is Leadership Polk?

Leadership Polk is a Polk Vision program that brings together leaders from across Polk County who have demonstrated a commitment to civic engagement within our local communities. We seek individuals with a desire to expand their knowledge and involvement on a county-wide level. Over the course of ten months, we explore the “hot topics” facing Polk County through facilitated conversations, group interactions, expert presentations, location tours, and experiential learning. By participating in Leadership Polk, you will build relationships with other passionate, influential and positive-thinking leaders, and you will have a greater understanding of Polk County as the larger community that we all share.

Leadership Polk Goals

  • To educate and engage demonstrated leaders from various geographic, occupational and economic segments of Polk County.
  • To familiarize the participants with a wide range of community issues facing Polk County and the municipalities within the county.
  • To build a collaborative network of community leaders who can make a difference in Polk County.

 How can I apply?

The class selection process begins each spring with a call for nominations. We accept nominations during the month of April each year. All of those nominated, and only those nominated, will be invited to submit an application in May. Self-nominations are welcome.

We will be accepting nominations for Class XII beginning April 2nd  - April 30, 2018. If you would like to be notified when we are accepting nominations, please email reba@polkvision.com.


How is the class selected?

Class members are selected based on their leadership abilities, career accomplishments, volunteer activities, contributions to the community, and commitment to work towards a collaborative and thriving Polk County. These items are covered in the application, and letters of reference are not required or accepted.

Applications are given to a confidential Selection Committee, which closely examines them and performs the difficult task of selecting a representative cross-section of leaders as members of the upcoming class. Leadership Polk does not discriminate because of age, sex, race, religion, or national origin. The composition of the Selection Committee is kept confidential to prevent outside influence.

Typically there are more qualified applicants than positions available.  Because the program is limited in size, many qualified individuals must be deferred. Those not accepted in a given year may be considered again in subsequent years if they wish to reapply.

Spouses will not be accepted into the same class. Announced political candidates will not be accepted. Multiple applicants from the same business or organization are typically not selected into the same class, but rare exceptions may be made depending on the organizational structure.

What is my commitment?

Leadership Polk requires a serious commitment of time and energy. All dates are published in advance for planning purposes. If you work for a company or organization, their support is essential. If you are self-employed you will need to evaluate the requirements of the program as compared to your available time. Please review the calendar below for potential conflicts prior to applying.

To be eligible for graduation from the Leadership program, participants are required to attend the orientation, opening retreat, and closing retreat (click link below to view specific dates). In addition, participants may not miss more than one class day. Missing any portion of a class day will count as an absence. Class members who miss two class days (or any portion thereof) will be required to make up one of their two missed class days the following year. Should a class member miss three class days, he/she will no longer be part of the program, and no refund of tuition will be given. Attendance requirements are strictly enforced in order to maintain the integrity of the program and respect the commitment made by other class members.

Cell phone use is very limited during class events. You will have 1-2 brief (15 minute) phone breaks. You must be able to be without access to your phone/email for periods of up to 4 hours. A phone number will be provided for your business and/or family to use in case of emergency on class days.

Class XII Calendar

What topics will be covered?

Topics for the program will include Economic Development, Quality of Life, Infrastructure, Government, Education, and the History of Polk County.

We will also visit a variety of locations across Polk County including Auburndale, Bartow, Davenport,  Fort Meade, Frostproof, Haines City, Lake Wales,  Lakeland, Mulberry, & Winter Haven.Tuition covers the opening retreat accommodations and meals, 6 day-long sessions, luncheons and refreshments, and Graduation luncheon for the participant and a guest.

Tuition for Leadership Polk is $1,850. Partial scholarships may be available, please contact us for more information.

Qualifications for application

If you are applying for Leadership Polk and you live and/or work in the following communities: Bartow, Fort Meade, Haines City, Lakeland, Lake Wales or Winter Haven, it is recommended that you graduate from your local Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Program before you apply for Leadership Polk. If you are unsure whether you meet this requirement, please contact us. 

Contact information:

Reba Coil
Leadership Polk Program Manager 

Class XI





Class XI 

Deric Feacher- Class Chair and Leadership Polk Class III Graduate 

Kathryn Bevilacqua-Ely- Bartow Chamber of Commerce

Brian Bracey- Citizens Bank and Trust

Brian Bradway- City of Auburndale 

Rodney Cannon- City of Frostproof

Jennifer Codo-Salisbury- Central Florida Regional Planning Council

Jeanette Crowley- Polk County Public Schools

Howard Drake- Polk State College

Nate Dunham- Core Wealth Advisors

Kirk Eich- YMCA 

Angie Ellison- InnerAct Alliance

John Erwin- Saddle Creek Logistics

Joe Halman- Polk County Board of County Commissioners

Sara Irvine- Town of Lake Hamilton

Eric Labbe- City of Winter Haven

Lisa Landers- Winter Haven Housing Authority

Chrissanne Long- Maximize Digital Media

Colleen Mangan- Florida Department of Health in Polk County

Nicole McDowell- City of Frostproof

Mark Miller- Holland & Knight

Misty Peacock- MIDFLORIDA Credit Union

Renee Pobjecky- Pobjecky & Pobjecky

James Slaton- City of Lake Wales

Holly Vida- Bartow Regional Medical Center/BayCare

Brian West- Publix Super Markets

Larry Williams- Polk County Sheriff's Department

Chelsea Young- City of Mulberry