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New Leaders Council



Is NLC a political organization?  No. New Leaders Council (NLC) is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) that works to recruit, train and promote the progressive political entrepreneurs of tomorrow. We are seeking trendsetters, aspiring elected officials and civically-engaged leaders in business, nonprofit organizations and government who will shape the future landscape. We are not just seeking to train future politicians, but future progressive leaders.

What do you seek in an applicant? An ideal applicant is somebody who has demonstrated progressive leadership and entrepreneurial skill in their community, whether in a professional or volunteer context. Typical age range is 25-35, but these are not set limits. Fellows come from the world of business, non-profit, law, government, political campaigns, healthcare, the arts and many other sectors.

NLC actively recruits Fellows from outside traditional power structures, equipping them with the skills necessary to become civic leaders in their communities and workplaces. We aren’t exclusively looking for resumes from the best schools, most prestigious jobs, or most notable references.  We also encourage those who may have taken nontraditional paths to achieve remarkable goals in line with our progressive mission.

What does the Institute cost? Applications are just $30, with waivers available upon request for applicants in financial need. Our program is funded by the Fellows Fundraiser (FF), our annual event designed and hosted by our Fellows. The FF teaches fundraising and event planning skills while raising money to support NLC Chicago and other growing chapters across the nation. 

How does the selections process work? Our selections team seeks Chicago's best and brightest young progressives. We expect nearly 200 applications for the NLC Chicago institute; we will hold approximately 40 interviews and accept around 20 individuals for the Fellowship. Applicants are required to submit the following through the application website:

★      Three essays

★      An online leadership skills assessment

★      Current resume 

Applications are reviewed and scored blindly.  All personal information is removed from the applications, which are reviewed by a team of NLC alumni and scored on several criteria to assess the applicant's abilities and experience.

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