Class photo with Senator Bob Graham

Our core program, Leaders of Excellence, is a certificate course for early-career elected officials who receive more than 60 hours of education in the nuts and bolts of government in South Florida.  So far, 52 state and local elected officials have completed the course. This August, we will begin Class IV, and we’ll work with them on such issues as ethics, budget and finance, land use and smart use of our natural resources, governing and working with constituents in a diverse community, media relations, history and economic development.

Woven into all topics is the goal of fostering responsible leadership. The course features case studies, tours, instruction and lots of lively discussion. Our instructors include University of Miami faculty, community leaders, public officials and outside experts.  Through this program, it is our goal to better prepare leaders for the decisions they face as elected officials and to help them develop a supportive cohort of smart, ethical, engaged office holders from Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties.


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 Class III All Photo v.5

The members of Class III are (from left to right):

Councilwoman Peggy A. Bell, Town of Cutler Bay
Commissioner Richard Chervony, M.D., North Bay Village
Commissioner Enbar Cohen, City of Aventura
Commissioner Yvette Colbourne, City of Miramar
Councilman Anthony DeFillipo, City of North Miami Beach
Vice Mayor John DuBois, Village of Palmetto Bay
Councilwoman Patricia Fairclough-McCormick, City of Homestead
Councilwoman Caryl M. Hattan, Town of Davie
Councilman Erhabor Ighodaro, Ph.D., City of Miami Gardens
Mayor Noah Jacobs, Village of Biscayne Park
Commissioner Michelle Kligman, Town of Surfside
Commissioner Myra Koutzen, Town of Palm Beach Shores
Commissioner Vince Lago, City of Coral Gables
Councilman Anthony Lama, Town of Miami Lakes
Commissioner Michele Lazarow, City of Hallandale Beach
Representative Kionne McGhee, Florida Legislature, District 117
Representative Holly Raschein, Florida Legislature, District 120
Councilmember Kelly Reid, Town of Bay Harbor Islands

The 2013 class of 18 includes municipal and state office-holders from Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties. 

“It’s inspiring to be able to convene another group of committed, thoughtful elected officials who are eager to serve their communities in an honorable and intelligent way,” Sorenson said.

The 2013 program will kick off with a keynote address from former Mayor Glenda Hood, the first woman to serve as Mayor of Orlando. Other speakers and presenters will include Senator Bob Graham, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and Executive Director of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust Joseph Centorino.


South Miami Town Center Magazine covers the Leaders of Excellence program. April/May 2013


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The Good Government Initiative hosted its annual Alumni and Donors celebration on Thursday, January 31, 2013 at the Kelley Roy Gallery in Wynwood. Class members from the 2011 and 2012 Leaders of Excellence Program mingled with past presenters and major supporters of the Initiative. The event was sponsored by Memorial Healthcare System.


The 2012 Leaders of Excellence Class members concluded their program on December 5, 2012 at the Kampong Gardens in Coconut Grove.


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The members of the 2012 Class are:

Assistant Mayor Joni BlacharBal Harbour Village
Mayor Franklin CaplanVillage of Key Biscayne
Councilmember Joseph CorradinoVillage of Pinecrest
Councilmember Lisa C. DavisCity of Miami Gardens
Councilmember Jeffrey HmaraVillage of Royal Palm Beach
Representative-Elect Shevrin JonesFlorida Legislature, District 101
Vice Mayor Michael KarukinTown of Surfside
Mayor Ashira Mohammed, Town of Pembroke Park 
Councilmember Stephen ShelleyCity of Homestead
School Board Member Carlos Curbelo, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Commissioner Deede WeithornCity of Miami Beach
Commissioner Alexander LewyCity of Hallandale Beach 
School Board Member Patricia GoodBroward County Public Schools 
Commissioner Josh LiebmanCity of South Miami 
Mayor Shelley StanczykVillage of Palmetto Bay 
Mayor Connie Leon-KrepsCity of North Bay Village
Representative-Elect David Richardson, Florida Legislature, District 113
Commissioner-Elect Jennifer Levin, City of Sunny Isles Beach

Classes will begin at the end of August and go through mid-November.  Those selected will participate in training on a variety of issues, including budget and finance, ethics, land use,  media relations, cultural diversity, and more.

 ”Our goal was to assemble a balanced cohort of active, engaged  leaders from South Florida who are eager to work with others and to develop knowledge and skills in governance.  They represent the future of leadership in South Florida,” Sorenson said.

This year’s class will open with a dinner at The Little Haiti Cultural Center on June 27th with federal judge and former Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court Rosemary Barkett giving the keynote address.

Other speakers and presenters will include Senator Bob GrahamCongresswoman Ileana Ros-LehtinenMayor Carlos Gimenezformer Mayor Alex Penelas, historians Arva Moore Parks and Paul George.

“I congratulate all these elected officials for investing their precious time in expanding their knowledge and understanding of good government.  Not only will they benefit, but their colleagues, constituents and the community will benefit as well,” Sorenson said.

GGI Inaugural Class 2011

Our inaugural cohort comprised early-career elected officials from throughout South Florida representing a variety of jurisdictions. Our participants came from Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, and these participants were members of the State Legislature, County Commission, School Boards, and municipalities.

The program for this inaugural cohort spanned from late August to early November with a wide range of activities and experiences. The curriculum is designed to help introduce early-career elected officials to the issues they will face and further develop the skills they need in order to be more effective in office. It includes speakers, panels, large and small group-activities, as well as community tours. Topics include ethics, budget and finance, media relations, economic development, constituent services, land use, working with community organizations, and many others. There are two overnight retreats as well as four full days of courses and activities.

Patricia Asseff

Jennifer J. Ator

Dwight Bullard

Heather Carruthers

Daniel Dietch

Jorge R. Exposito

Wendy Harrison

Barbara Kramer

Keith Scott London

Sue Ellen Loyzelle

Frank C. Quesada

Raquel Regalado

Felicia Robinson

Roxanna S. Ross

Nora Rupert

Robin Smith-Martin

Francis X. Suarez

Elsa Vazquez