Institute FAQs

SDLA Insti­tute – Fre­quently Asked Questions

The San Diego Lead­er­ship Alliance (SDLA) Insti­tute is a civic lead­er­ship train­ing pro­gram for pro­gres­sive young professionals.

  1. How do I apply for the SDLA Insti­tute in San Diego?
  2. What is the SDLA Institute?
  3. Does the SDLA Insti­tute cost money?
  4. What are you look­ing for in SDLA Fellows?
  5. How are Fel­lows selected?
  6. What do Fel­lows go on to do?
  7. Who runs SDLA Institute?
  8. When will the Insti­tute ses­sions be?



How do I apply for the SDLA Insti­tute in San Diego?

Appli­ca­tions will be avail­able online at in September each year. You can be the first to know when appli­ca­tions are posted by sign­ing up for our email list. 

You can also nom­i­nate some­one for the SDLA Insti­tute here.

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What is the SDLA Institute?

The SDLA Insti­tute is a pro­gram that equips Fel­lows with the skills, oppor­tu­ni­ties, and rela­tion­ships to make change in San Diego.

The train­ing pro­grams focuses on a core cur­ricu­lum of per­sonal lead­er­ship devel­op­ment, com­mu­ni­ca­tions, fund rais­ing, polit­i­cal strat­egy, tra­di­tional and new media, and pub­lic speak­ing. The Fel­lows also orga­nize a fundraiser to put into prac­tice their orga­niz­ing skills, and to help fund the next year’s class.

The SDLA Insti­tute spans 10 full days on week­ends between Jan­u­ary and June, usu­ally on Saturdays.

The pro­gram is designed to pro­vide Fel­lows with the tools they need to take the next step in their careers. The train­ing pro­gram is rel­e­vant to Fel­lows who work inside and out­side of pol­i­tics, with an empha­sis on prepar­ing young peo­ple to be engaged in civic life through­out their careers.

Fel­lows spend time meet­ing with local lead­ers from across sec­tors, includ­ing through pair­ings with career mentors.

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Does the SDLA Insti­tute cost money?

The SDLA Insti­tute is free to ensure that financial means are not a bar­rier to participation.

Fel­lows who are admit­ted to the SDLA Insti­tute pay a refundable $200 deposit. Fel­lows who grad­u­ate from the pro­gram receive their deposit back.

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What are you look­ing for in SDLA Fellows?

We are look­ing for pro­gres­sive young pro­fes­sion­als who are com­mit­ted to improv­ing San Diego.

The SDLA Insti­tute attracts accom­plished young peo­ple who have dis­tin­guished them­selves. Fel­lows have cre­ated an orga­ni­za­tion or busi­ness, led an orga­ni­za­tion to dis­tinc­tion, or demon­strated an abil­ity to cre­ate change by real­iz­ing a vision and com­pelling oth­ers to fol­low it.

Usu­ally, our Fel­lows are between the ages of 22 and 35. Gen­er­ally, Fel­lows have either com­pleted their edu­ca­tion, or they are cur­rently enrolled in a grad­u­ate or pro­fes­sional pro­gram. A col­lege degree is not required.

Each year, we select between 15 – 20 Fellows.

Diver­sity: Fel­lows rep­re­sent the diver­sity of the pro­gres­sive move­ment in terms of race, gen­der, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, income, and indus­try. The SDLA places a high pri­or­ity on diversity.

Cross- Section of Soci­ety: Fel­lows don’t just come from the world of pol­i­tics and gov­ern­ment. SDLA Fel­lows are recruited from fields like defense, tech­nol­ogy, non- profit man­age­ment, law, real estate, med­i­cine, media, small busi­ness, and education.

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How are Fel­lows selected?

Appli­cants are scored on the basis of writ­ten appli­ca­tions. A sub­set of appli­cants are invited for a sec­ond round of con­sid­er­a­tion which includes an interview.

A com­mit­tee reviews appli­ca­tions and inter­views can­di­dates. Selec­tions com­mit­tee mem­bers do not score appli­ca­tions or inter­view can­di­dates with whom they have a per­sonal pre­ex­ist­ing relationship.

The Fel­lows class is cho­sen to ensure a diverse group of par­tic­i­pants, includ­ing diver­sity of race, gen­der, sex­ual iden­tity, occu­pa­tion, goals, and background.

Writ­ten appli­ca­tions are avail­able usu­ally between Labor Day and early- November.

Inter­views are sched­uled in early Decem­ber, usu­ally on a Saturday.

Appli­cants are noti­fied if they have been selected as an SDLA Fel­low in mid- December.

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What do Fel­lows go on to do?

Many Fel­lows use the net­work and expe­ri­ence they gained from the SDLA Insti­tute to change careers, serve on local boards and com­mis­sions, or take on other lead­er­ship roles in their community.

The SDLA alumni com­mu­nity in San Diego has rela­tion­ships with a broad spec­trum of key employ­ers and pro­gres­sive stake­hold­ers in the region.

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Who runs SDLA Insti­tute in San Diego?

The SDLA Insti­tute is a program of the San Diego Lead­er­ship Alliance (SDLA), a non­profit run by vol­un­teers with a com­mit­ment to a pro­gres­sive future for San Diego. You can read about our leadership team here.

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When will the Insti­tute ses­sions be?

Insti­tute ses­sions are sched­uled for 10 days from February through June. The ses­sions are usu­ally on Sat­ur­days.

2020 SDLA Institute Calendar


Sessions 1 & 2

Saturday, February 1st and Sunday, February 2nd

Session 3

Saturday, February 8th

Session 4

Saturday, February 22nd

Session 5

Saturday, March 14th

Session 6

Saturday, March 28th

Session 7

Saturday, April 4th

Session 8

Saturday, April 18th

Session 9

Saturday, May 2nd

SDLA Fundraiser


Session 10: 

Saturday, May 16th


Saturday, June 6th


Applicants should review the Institute schedule prior to applying, as all Fellows are expected to be present for the entirety of each Institute session. 
*All ses­sions run from 9:30 am – 5:30 pm (except Grad­u­a­tion which is only in the afternoon).


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Tammy Lin
Immigration Attorney, Prins Asylum Attorney, Jewish Family Service of San Diego

Tammy Lin is the immigration attorney for Jewish Family Service of San Diego’s Prins Asylum Program providing pro bono representation to scientists, musicians, artists, scholars, and professionals seeking...