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New Leaders Council

How to apply

Applications for the 2019 class are open! Apply here.

Profile of an NLC Fellow

  • 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 an undergraduate 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.

  • NLC explicitly encourages people who do not see themselves or their community reflected in civic or political leadership to apply and help to change that. 

The Program

  • 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. They also take the lead in a major fundraising project.  

  • Fellows accepted into the institute do not pay tuition. The program is free. Fellows are expected, however, to work together on a project to raise funds to pay for the next class. (Don't worry-you get plenty of help.)

  • A fellowship class is between 14 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, and we go for a dynamic and diverse mix of backgrounds in the class as a whole.
    • You can apply again for the following year, and stay connected by coming to our events and programs.
    • Some of our most outstanding NLC fellows around the country were not accepted the first time they applied. Or even the second. And some applied three or four times. 

Key Facts

  • The Institute meets one weekend per month, January - May. Plan on full days for both Saturday and Sunday; sometimes, we start a bit later or end a bit earlier, depending upon faculty availability and topic. Fellows must also take part in an orientation, a fundraising event, and graduation.

  • The Institute datesfor 2019 are forthcoming.
  • Fellows should expect to attend all of the dates.
  • Fellows must be available for all institute dates to take part in the program.

    Because the program meets for only 10 days, applicants who know in advance that they cannot make one or more day are asked to consider delaying their application. We do have a policy that covers emergencies and unanticipated events. 

  • Fellows who do not meet attendance policy requirements, which will be outlined when an offer to join is extended, will not graduate. Illness and emergencies are obviously unanticipated and fellows and the institute team can address those situations as they arise.

  • There will be a chapter wide fundraising event and a Fellow graduation ceremony in June.  All Fellows must take part in the planning and execution of the events.

  • Each fellow must complete a capstone project over the course of the Institute. While the project need not have concluded, or even started, before the Institute ends, all fellows are expected to give a brief presentation on the project during that final weekend. 

  • Fellows are encouraged to apply to join the board once they have completed the institute to continue their leadership development and help shape and mentor future classes. 

The Application Process

  • The application process starts each May, and closes October 1st.  

  • Keep in mind:
    • The deadline is firm. 
    • 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.
    • We're really serious about this.

  • There is a $30 nonrefundable application fee.

  • The application process is competitive. Not all who apply will get in. 

  • The application consists of three short essays and an additional question, 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. 

  • Because we look at overall class fit, and because more qualified people apply than we can accept, each year, some really phenomenal people are not accepted. We encourage those people to apply again. Many fellows from other NLC chapters were not accepted until their 3rd or 4th time applying.  
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