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New Leaders Council

2016 NLC-Houston Institute FAQ

You've got questions? We've got answers. Here are some quick facts about the 2016 NLC-Houston Institute.


  • Fellows are in their 20s, 30s, and sometimes 40s.
  • They are rising stars in their field, on a leadership trajectory but still learning and growing.
  • If their job or life track requires an undergraduate degree, they've completed it. If it does not require a degree, then they have the equivalent work and life experience necessary. 
  • They come from diverse backgrounds & have diverse interests. Immigrants and long-time Texans. All races, every ethnicity, any religion. Cis or trans. Inside the loop or outside the Beltway. Bankers, carpenters, chemists, organizers, business owners, volunteers, doctors, traders, performers, teachers ... the more diverse the class, the more fellows learn from each other.


  • The NLC-Houston Institute is a 5-month leadership development and political entrepreneurship program.
  • Fellows learn the skills and establish the connections that will make them effective advocates for progressive policies and programs throughout the community:
    • Messaging & framing
    • Fundraising
    • PR & marketing
    • Tech & new media
    • Political management
    • Leadership & progressive values
    • Entrepreneurial approaches to problem-solving
  • Fellows participate in a capstone project, creating a strategic plan encompassing overall long-term personal and professional goals.  
  • Fellows accepted into the institute do not pay tuition. The program is free. Fellows are expected to work together to raise funds to pay for the next class. (Don't worry-you get plenty of help.)
  • A fellowship class is between 15 and 20 people.
    • The class size means that some fantastic applicants are not accepted. We keep the class small as that's how it works best. You can apply again for the following year, and stay connected by coming to our events and programs.


  • One weekend per month, January - May.
  • 2016 Institute dates are:
    • January 23-24
    • February 20-21
    • March 19-20
    • April 16-17
    • May 21-22
  • Fellows also commit to take part in a fundraising event in May or June, and celebrate with the community at a graduation ceremony in June.
  • Fellows must be available for all institute dates to take part in the program.
  • Applications are due November 1, 2015. No late applications will be considered.


  • NLC-Houston is part of a nationwide network of 44 chapters running 39 institutes in 2016.
  • Fellows become part of a growing network of progressive leaders that reaches across the country. You'll be connected to ten years' worth of alumni who are doing some remarkable things.


  • Our mission is to recruit, train, and promote the next generation of progressive leaders.
  • We believe civic engagement is a key element in creating and sustaining social justice, equal opportunity, and strong democracy.  
  • We want Houston to be an engine for progressive policies and progress in all sectors, and we want you to be part of that movement. 


  • Apply online now on the New Leaders Council website.
  • The deadline to apply for consideration is November 1, 2015.
    • The deadline is midnight.
    • No late applications will be considered.
    • You should start early so you don't have to worry about missing the deadline in the last-minute crush.
  • There is a $30 application fee.
  • The application process is competitive.
  • The application consists of two essays, a skills and aptitude screening, and for some applicants, an interview. You must also submit your résumé as part of your application. Application information remains confidential.
  • Our review team evaluates applications anonymously in the first round, and scores all rounds according to a rubric to ensure a fair process. 
  • The application process considers applicants as individuals, but also factors in how potential fellows will work together. We think astronauts who speak German and Mandarin and grew up in South Africa are phenomenal, for example, but we wouldn't select a fellowship class of all German and Mandarin-speaking South African astronauts. So, nominate a friend! 


If the program doesn't seem right for you, but you know someone who should apply, you can nominate them on the NLC website. They'll receive an email encouraging them to apply.

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