PLS is a life-altering experience. I'm a better leader—by many orders of magnitude—than I was before I entered the program.”

– Manuel Palaez-Prada (PLS 2017)

Launched in the U.S. in 2015

348 Scholars to date

Aim to improve local and national communities in the U.S. and beyond

Six modules, hosted by four presidential centers in Texas and Arkansas

The Presidential Leadership Scholars program is a partnership among the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson. It is designed for mid-career leaders from diverse backgrounds who share a commitment to helping solve society’s greatest challenges. Participants connect with some of the best minds in the study of leadership. They benefit from the assets of the presidential centers and the insights of former presidents and the people who served with them.

With an acceptance rate ranging from seven to 15 percent each year, each 60-member class is comprised of well-qualified participants who represent the capability, humility, and diversity the program seeks to promote.

PLS concentrates on four leadership abilities: engaging others through vision and communication, making decisions, influencing and persuading stakeholders, and building strategic partnerships.

About Our Scholars

No event, program, or experience has connected me to more amazing thinkers and change-makers than the Presidential Leadership Scholars program.

– Antonio Williams (PLS 2017)

Results & Highlights

The program received a net promoter score
(NPS) of 95.

Across all five years of the program, PLS has received enormously positive net promoter scores from Scholars. The average score is 95.

indicated they experienced significant growth in their sense of purpose and role.

expressed growth in their belief of what they could accomplish as leaders for social change after the program.

indicated their exposure to and appreciation of a wider variety of perspectives increased.

87% reported their sense of confidence or purpose as a leader changed since beginning PLS.

Scholar Story:

Will McNulty

Taking a Successful Non-Profit to the Next Level
Scholar Story:


Using the Power of Film to Empower Women Worldwide
Scholar Story:

Daron Roberts

Bringing Leadership into the Athletic Community

Inspiration and Exposure

One of the most powerful results of Presidential Leadership Scholars is the degree to which participants adopt a more expansive view of their role as a leader to drive change.

There is no doubt that PLS has not only inspired me, but given me the courage to do more. Hearing the great work other scholars are doing and figuring out how I might be able to help them is a privilege. Figuring out what I can do to grow my own work has been supercharged because of the encouragement and expertise of my fellow Scholars.”

– An-Me Chung (PLS 2015)

Increase in Leadership Capacity

Similar to the results seen across all the leadership programs, Scholars consistently reported remarkable growth in skills, responsibilities, and opportunities for impact:

As a direct result of my experience as a PLS Scholar, I gained skills, strategies, and knowledge that have helped me across a wide spectrum of challenges – from supporting the creation and passage of legislation limiting opioid prescribing to organizing relief efforts during Hurricane Harvey. The skills in stakeholder engagement, collaboration, and decision making have been crucial.”

– Srey Ram Kuy (PLS 2017)

Impactful Projects

Scholars used personal leadership projects to apply the skills they developed through PLS and increase their leadership impact. They chose projects that improved our nation's schools, supported transitioning military members, brought poverty relief to communities around the globe, and implemented practical business solutions to enhance public and private partnerships.

Using the PLP process, we stress-tested our ideas and assumptions around alternative approaches to addiction and its impact on a community's families. Additionally, we brought in PLS scholars and program staff to San Francisco to work on the ground with the program providers there. Given the extensive learning we have done, we have been able to move the city to a place of supporting a heroin safe injection program along hte lines that we explored, in less than a year. Amazing.

– Kevin Cousy (PLS 2016)

Increase in Size and Diversity of Network

At the end of cohort five, Scholars said they knew at least half of their fellow classmates “very well” and maintained monthly or weekly contact with an average of 34 of their peers after the program.

There is no question my interaction with other members of PLS has been the greatest impact. I have broadened my network and been challenged to be a much better leader. Hopefully, I have made an impact on them. I have met people extremely different from me on every level yet have found a bond, friendship, and partnership with people who I otherwise would never associate with. It has changed my view of leadership, opposing points of view, and the power of cooperation more than any other program or leadership training I have been a part of. I cannot say enough about this aspect of PLS.”

– Brent Taylor (PLS 2016)

Powerful Interactions with Former Presidents

Across all cohorts, Scholars had personal experiences that helped them grow to better understand, respect, and appreciate the Presidents and their achievements.

Talking to people—and learning how to truly listen—can sharpen convictions, change a course that was flawed from the beginning, or lead to a better outcome than originally planned. I learned a valuable lesson through PLS and President Bush—to listen more and postpone my conclusions until I fully hear from someone I may disagree with.”

– Ramsey Green (PLS 2015)