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WASHINGTON, DC– Today, the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) announced that Keith Fernandez, President of CHLI’s Alumni Association, has been chosen as one of 60 Scholars who will form the Presidential Leadership Scholars’ (PLS) ninth class. For nearly a decade, PLS has served as a catalyst for a diverse network of leaders brought together to collaborate and create meaningful change in the United States and around the world as they learn about leadership through the lens of the presidential experiences of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson and their administrations.

The class was selected after a rigorous application and review process. Scholars were chosen based on their leadership growth potential and the strength of their personal leadership projects aimed at improving civic engagement or social good by addressing a problem or need in their community, the country, or the world.

Keith Fernandez is currently President of the CHLI Alumni Association and was a 2006 Ford Motor Company Congressional Intern in the office of then-U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (FL). Fernandez heads Social Impact Communications at DoorDash and previously served as Counsel and Communications Director to then-U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL). He is a graduate of the University of Florida, Levin College of Law and Florida International University.

“I’m honored to have been selected to be part of this class of Presidential Leadership Scholars and to be partnering with CHLI on my personal leadership project, to help break down financial and other barriers for the next generation of CHLI leaders through the establishment of a public policy fellowship. This fellowship will help Hispanic college graduates pursue their public service goals and bring their unique perspective to the rooms where decisions are made that impact our communities. I’m especially grateful to Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and CHLI’s President and CEO, Mary Ann Gomez Orta, for their support and partnership,” said Keith Fernandez.

For his PLS personal leadership project, Keith Fernandez will partner with CHLI to establish a public policy fellowship focused on empowering Hispanic college graduates who want to serve our nation on Capitol Hill.

“As CHLI’s chairwoman, part of my role is to encourage our alumni to reach new professional milestones focused on expanding the diversity of thought. Keith’s Presidential Leadership Scholars personal leadership program will help CHLI ensure Hispanic college graduates have another way to get to Capitol Hill and launch their careers in public service. I’m confident this fellowship will not only benefit CHLI alumni but will be a key piece of Keith’s CHLI legacy. I’m incredibly proud of Keith and look forward to working closely with him to make this fellowship a reality,” said the Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, CHLI Chairwoman.

Over the course of the program, scholars will travel to each participating presidential center to learn from key former administration officials, business and civic leaders, and leading academics. They will study and put into practice varying approaches to leadership and exchange ideas to help strengthen their impact in the communities they serve.

The 2024 program kicked off on January 24 in Washington, D.C.


CHLI is the premier organization founded by Members of Congress and corporate leaders to advance the Hispanic community’s economic progress with a focus on social responsibility and global competitiveness. Founded in 2003, CHLI is a 501(c)3 non-profit and non-partisan organization. CHLI is dedicated to fostering a broad awareness of the diversity of thought, heritage, interests, and views of Americans of Hispanic and Portuguese descent. CHLI’s purpose is to prepare future leaders through internships, fellowships, scholarships, and leadership conferences. For more information about CHLI and its programs, please contact Emily Benavides,


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. To learn more, visit For updates about the Presidential Leadership Scholars, use #PLScholars and follow @PLSprogram on Twitter and Instagram.