What is the Civility Leadership Institute?

Partisan policies driven by partisan politics, coupled with 24-hour news feeds and always-on lifestyles, have widened and deepened our country’s divide. It is getting harder to have civil conversations. Kitchen table issues can’t be discussed because the kitchen table itself has become a battleground. Families are divided. Communities are divided. Our government is divided. We are stuck. We need skills. We need to be able to restore mutual respect in our relationships and need to be able to move forward as a country. We need to remember what matters to all of us. All of this is what inspired the creation of the Renew America Together (RATO) Civility Leadership Institute (CLI).

CLI participants will begin their journey by attending the CLI Civility Summit in Little Rock, AR on July 19-21, 2023. After that, the class will virtually meet once a month for five months. During each session, they will work through an exciting curriculum, hear from dynamic nationally recognized speakers, and strengthen their relationships with each other. CLI graduates will receive a professional certification in Crucial Learning™ Crucial Conversations and TypeCoach Influence Training and participate in a six-month follow-up program allowing them to continue to build relationships with one another, measure their progress and accomplishments, and receive professional coaching from industry leaders.

Upon graduation from CLI, individuals will be a part of an alumni workout that will have continuous opportunities to work together and participate in special events.

Who should apply for CLI?

Anyone that feels that our program will help you make an impact in your community. We hope to have a diverse class in order to provide our participants with a unique and impactful experience.

Our inaugural cohort included community leaders, law enforcement, mayors, educators, business leaders, grassroots activists, congressional staffers, nonprofit executives, students, etc.

See below for information on CLI benefits, requirements, registration fee, and schedule.

Cohort three applications will start in spring 2023. 


Applicants should be able to:

  • Commit to the program (Summit in Little Rock and then one day each month for five months with six months of follow-up)
  • Attend all sessions (see schedule)
  • Have computer and camera access in a private area
  • Have access to Zoom
  • Be willing to participate in measurements during and after the program

Application & selection process:

  • Apply to the Civility Leadership Institute (CLI) before the May deadline.
  • The third cohort will be announced in June.


  • Investment per participant:
    • $5,000 
    • Full and partial scholarships available through the general online application.
  • Payment is due upon acceptance into the program.
  • Includes Civility Summit registration in Little Rock: hotel, most ground transportation, and most meals.

During this program, you will gain insights about yourself and others, build leadership skills that will enable you to better communicate with those you influence and those who try to influence you. You will also apply what you learn to real-life situations where the consequences of your leadership really matter.

Specifically, you will:

  • Recognize your communication, leadership, and influence styles and adapt to positively impact others.
  • Look for signs of silence and violence in yourself and others and tailor your communication approach accordingly.
  • Begin crucial conversations by creating mutual purpose and building mutual respect.
  • Mitigate conflict due to misunderstandings by owning your behaviors and making it safe for others to do the same.
  • Apply what you learn to specific situations through project work.

You will also:

  • Co-create solutions to organizational and societal problems with fellow participants.
  • Receive a certificate of completion in Crucial Conversations™ training by Crucial Learning™.
  • Receive a certificate of completion in Verifier+ and Influence training by TypeCoach.
  • Participate in check-in events with General Clark & other Renew America Together (RATO) featured speakers.
  • Engage in reading assignments designed to help you examine your thinking process and identify how to act with courage.
  • Leave with a playbook to replicate program elements in your community.

Upon acceptance to the CLI program, you will receive:

  • Civility Summit Registration: Including hotel, most ground transportation, and most meals.
  • Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue: Toolkit
  • Crucial Conversations: Book
  • TypeCoach Verifier+ and Influence Training: Digital Handout and Downloads
  • Think Again: Book by Adam Grant
  • Braving the Wilderness: Book by Brené Brown
  • Journal

Required CLI Participation Dates
Session 1:
July 19-21, 2023

Civility Summit in Little Rock, Arkansas

  • Click HERE for the summit agenda.
  • CLI Registration price includes hotel, most ground transportation, and most meals.
  • Travel scholarships are available in some circumstances.

Session 2: August 18, 2023
9am - 4pm central

  • Crucial Conversations training
  • RATO Roundtable: Topic TBA
  • Book club and journaling breakout rooms

Session 3: September 15, 2023
9am - 4pm central

  • Crucial Conversations training
  • RATO Roundtable: Topic TBA
  • Book club and journaling breakout rooms

Session 4: October 20, 2023
9am-4pm  central

  • Crucial Conversations training
  • RATO Roundtable: Topic TBA
  • Book club and journaling breakout rooms

Session 5: November 17, 2023
9am-4pm central

  • Crucial Conversations training
  • RATO Roundtable: Topic TBA
  • Book club and journaling breakout rooms

Session 6: December 15, 2023
9am-4pm central

  • RATO Roundtable: Topic TBA
  • Final Project Reports

*Each session will take place virtually, with the exception of the kickoff summit in Little Rock.
January-June 2024 will host lunch featured speaker/panel sessions from 12:00pm (CT)-1:30pm (CT) each third Friday of the month. These dates are not required, but highly encouraged for the entire CLI network. 


Previous Featured Speakers

Renew America Together Inaugural Class

2021 Civility Leadership Participants

Elizabeth Koldyke Boolbol- Partnership to End Human Trafficking- Greenwich, CT
Rahul Bhandari- Force Multiplier Capital- Washington, DC
Dellashon Di Cresce- World Affairs Council of Detroit- Grosse Pointe, MI
Blake Davis- United States House of Representatives- Arlington, VA
Mark Evans- The Church at Rock Creek- Little Rock, AR
Mike Galloucis- Department of Veterans Affairs- Jacksonville, FL
Charles Gillis- Gray Robinson- Winter Garden, FL
Suzi Guardia- Blue Star Families- Washington, DC
Hakki G. Gurkan- Chicago Police Department- Chicago, IL
Hana Mariah Hatta- Opera in the Rock- Little Rock, AR
Michael John Gray- Democratic Party of Arkansas- Augusta, AR
Chris Halter- St. Bonaventure Indian Mission and School- Gallup, NM
Austin Harrison- Squire Patton Boggs- Atlanta, GA
Chris Hyslop- Montana World Affairs Council- Missoula, MT
Paul Johnson- Redirect Health- Phoenix, AZ
Leigh Keener- Episcopal Collegiate School- Little Rock, AR
Ryan Korn- SBA Insight- Washington, DC
Sara Lake- Sustainability Program Manager- Spotsylvania, VA
Joni Lee- the University of Arkansas at Little Rock- Little Rock, AR
Carla Marie McPherson-Rushing- Rushing Aviation- Marks, MS
Carlandra Moss- Blue Star Families- Riverview, FL
Susan Odum- University of Illinois- Vienna, IL
Krishna Patel- KnDo Advisors- West Port, CT
Eric O. Reece- Human Rights Campaign, Arkansas-Little Rock, AR
Michael A. Sanders-City of Little Rock- Little Rock, AR
Dan Shuff- CarBeau Capital- Dallas, TX
Carol Stump- Graduate Student- San Francisco, CA
A.J. Walts- LinkedIn- Papillion, NE
Luke Watson- Third Way- Washington, DC