SDLA Institute Quick Facts

San Diego Leadership Alliance Institute Quick Facts


What is the San Diego Leadership Alliance? 

  • The San Diego Leadership Alliance (SDLA) is a local nonprofit dedicated to building progressive leadership in San Diego.
  • The SDLA’s flagship program is the SDLA Institute, a six-month intensive skills and relationship building program for progressive young professionals.
  • The SDLA Institute includes the following elements:
    • Personal leadership development
    • Skill building in multiple areas, including policy analysis, political management, messaging, and strategic communications
    • Training on fundraising for politics and nonprofits
    • Application of fundraising skills via organizing a fellows’ fundraiser
    • Spotlight speaker visits from local elected officials and prominent progressive leaders
    • Networking events with the Institute class, the SDLA board, and the larger SDLA network


Who should apply for the SDLA Institute?

  • The SDLA Institute is for progressive young professionals and emerging leaders.
  • Institute Fellows have a demonstrated capacity to take risks and make meaningful change in the world around them. 
  • The SDLA Institute is not just for political professionals, but also for those in business, law, education, defense, and the non-profit and philanthropic sectors.
  • Applicants should review the Institute schedule prior to applying, as all Fellows are expected to be present for the entirety of each Institute session.


How do I apply for the next SDLA Institute?

  • Application opens September 5, 2023 at
  • DEADLINE: Applications are due by 11:59 PM on Thursday, November 9, 2023.
  • Applicants must be members of the SDLA ($30) to apply, and there is a $200 deposit to participate. The $200 deposit is returned to Fellows after they complete the Institute.


How do I learn more about the SDLA? 

  • Visit our website at for the following information:
    • Details on optional info-sessions for prospective applicants.
    • Read about past Fellows, and past Institute programs.
    • Sign up for the SDLA email distribution list.
  • Please contact [email protected] if you have any additional questions!


How else can I help out the SDLA’s mission?


Who runs the SDLA?

  • The SDLA is a nonprofit, run by local volunteers. 
  • The San Diego Leadership Alliance is managed by two co-presidents, Ansermio Jake Estrada and Emily Tran, as well as about 16 other board members.


San Diego Leadership Alliance

2024 Institute Dates



  • SESSIONS 1 & 2.  Saturday & Sunday, January 20 & 21  
    • Happy Hour to follow with Fellows only.
  • SESSION 3.  Saturday, February 3 


  • SESSION 4.  Saturday, February 10


  • SESSION 5.  Saturday, March 9


  • SESSION 6 Saturday, March 16


  • SESSION 7.  Saturday, April 13  


  • SESSION 8 Saturday, April 27


  • SESSION 9.  Saturday, May 4




  • SESSIONS 10. Saturday, May 18


  • GRADUATION.  Saturday, June 8


*All sessions run from 9:30 am – 5:30 pm (except Graduation, which is usually scheduled for the afternoon).    

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Alex Southard
Small Business Engagement Specialist, City of San Diego Economic Development Department

Alex Southard serves as the Small Business Engagement Specialist in the Economic Development Department at the City of San Diego. Driven by...