Civic Leadership Engagement Roadmap

The Civic Leadership Engagement Roadmap (CLER) is a proprietary, experiential, three-month, self-paced leadership program that takes you from having general civic knowledge to becoming a civic leader.

CLER is designed to help emerging and aspiring women leaders expand their impact through civic engagement. Our innovative, action-oriented curriculum is designed to inform, prepare, and build the next generation of community leaders.

The CLER curriculum features one-on-one coaching, mastermind peer groups, networking opportunities, and curated activities designed to help you build connections with local policy leaders and decision-makers. CLER is an opportunity for you to learn how to take intentional actions to become a more impactful citizen and connect with other civic-minded women representing a diverse range of business experiences, backgrounds, and community involvement.

We are grateful for the Bowe Stewart Foundation grant that allowed us to expand this program to members of the military or veterans’ community (including active duty/military spouses) in 2023. 

The three CLER courses, described in detail below, focus on different spheres of government and policy:

You will: 

  • Build confidence to engage with leaders in your community and drive action
  • Identify personal areas of growth and develop leadership capacity through world-class training 
  • Connect with other women leaders and special guests from across the country
  • Demonstrate awareness of the policies and issues that impact individuals and communities
  • Engage in complex conversations and learn how to navigate diverse perspectives


What Graduates Say:

“The CLER program has helped me understand the fundamentals of the U.S. government, and instilled enough confidence to lead and influence for the betterment of my community. I recommend this program to the people who are immigrants, and have a passion for public service, but do not have a clear understanding of U.S. Constitution and the way government functions.”

Vasavi, Illinois Circle Leader and CLER Graduate

“The depth of material provided through the CLER program strengthened my political knowledge base more than I could’ve imagined. As one who desires to run for political office someday, this program built confidence, knowledge and connections that will last a lifetime.”

Lindsay, Indiana Circle Leader and CLER Graduate

“The Policy Circle’s CLER program helped me determine how to leverage my experience to effect change in my community.”

ZeNai, CLER 2021 Graduate




Applications now accepted for the following cohorts: 

Spring 2024 (February 1 – April 30) – Application Deadline Jan. 15
Summer 2024 (June 1 – August 31) – Application Deadline May 17

Space is limited.

CLER 1.0:
Founding Principles & Local Government

CLER 1.0 is designed to take you to the next level of civic engagement by guiding you through a deep dive of your local government to help you:

  • obtain a greater understanding and appreciation of the founding of our country, the  U.S. constitution and overall governmental structure
  • gain clarity on how your local government works, including local election processes
  • build relationships with local stakeholders and elected officials 
  • identify your unique areas of interest
  • engage with your community at the local level

After completing CLER 1.0 you will be equipped with a strong foundation of how your local government operates and a deeper understanding of how you fit in as a change agent to become more active in your community. 

CLER 1.0 is a three-month self-paced course, which includes two monthly virtual meetings, and approximately six hours of monthly experiential engagement. 

Spring 2024 (February 1 – April 30) – Application Deadline Jan. 15
Summer 2024 (June 1 – August 31) – Application Deadline May 17

CLER 2.0:
State & Federal Government

CLER 2.0 invites graduates of the first module of our CLER curriculum to the next level of civic engagement.

Graduation from CLER 1.0 is a prerequisite for eligibility in this program.

During CLER 2.0 you will have the opportunity to understand and experience: 

  • the workings of state political parties, what they stand for and who the influencers are in the party apparatus
  • how a bill is passed and possibly make a difference in shaping legislation by building relationships with your local legislators and providing testimony on a bill
  • how the executive branch works while also learning how to participate in the process of appointments to boards and commissions that have statewide impact 
  • how the third branch of government, the judiciary, works in your state
  • an overview of the federal legislative process and how the federal budget works

After completing CLER 2.0 you will be inspired to become more engaged at the state and federal level. 

Spring 2024 (February 1 – April 30) – Application Deadline Jan. 15
Summer 2024 (June 1 – August 31) – Application Deadline May 17

If you have completed CLER 1.0 and are interested in taking CLER 2.0, please reach out to Beth McQueen, Membership Engagement Manager, at


CLER: Education

The CLER: Education program is not a series of one-way webinars, but rather an experiential roadmap to active engagement where you will be encouraged to interact with education stakeholders in your community.  

The hot-button issues in education are just a small fraction of the responsibilities of a school board member, and what you need to watch for as a parent.  CLER: Education is a launchpad to prepare you to be an effective advocate with substantive knowledge, to be an informed parent armed with important questions, or to assume a leadership role in education for your community.

During CLER: Education you will learn about:

  • how to be an advocate for your student
  • the role of the federal government in your local school district
  • the role of the state board of education in your local school district
  • how your local school district measures success 
  • how your local school district is funded
  • how your local school district is structured and who is making the decisions
  • the nuts and bolts of serving on a school board
  • what innovations are possible to provide a high-quality educational experience for students

After completing CLER: Education, you will be empowered with the tools and information you need to become an education advocate in your community and ensure that excellence in education is the top priority in your local school district.  

CLER: Education is a stand-alone course with no prerequisites.

Spring 2024 (February 1 – April 30) – Application Deadline Jan. 15
Summer 2024 (June 1 – August 31) – Application Deadline May 17