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Your work resonates throughout our community.

Leading From Within creates an environment for social sector leaders to learn, share, and grow together.  As we collect stories from program participants, our alumni community, and network of peers – we grow in connecting leaders and their work with the community at large.

By sharing our stories, our leaders inspire and leverage the impact of our social sector in Santa Barbara County and beyond.

Learn more about Our Network.

Stories From Our Network 2020

Read our newest edition of featured stories from our network of leaders!

Four stories of four incredible individuals, and their purpose in creating positive change.

STORIES OF IMPACT

Connie Alexander

Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director | Gateway Educational Services Courage to Lead Participant Connie comes from a long line of activist women, devoted to the idea that if you see something wrong, you must try to fix it. As a child…

Michael Kenji (Maka) Takahara

Health Education Specialist | Department of Health & Wellness (UCSB) Katherine Harvey Fellows Alumni If you wonder if positivity is contagious, Michael Kenji (Maka) Takahara’s laugh might make you a believer. While his career focuses on practicing mental health and…

Gabriela Macias-Mota

Program Director | Future Leaders of America Emerging Leaders Alumni At Future Leaders of America (FLA) we treat students like individuals, and at that age that’s transformative,” says Gabriela, having attended FLA’s Youth Leadership Conference in 2006, before entering the…

Frederick Janka

Executive Director | Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation Courage to Lead Alumni  We can only be transformed for the better through art, and I am a passionate believer in that,” says Frederick Janka, Executive Director of the Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation.…

Christopher Tucker

Executive Director | Garden Court Courage to Lead Alumni Garden Court independent living community in downtown Santa Barbara is transforming low-income senior housing on a national level and significantly improving the lives of its residents. The pioneering power of Garden…

Wendy Sims-Moten

First 5 Santa Barbara County | Executive Director & Santa Barbara Unified School Board | President Emerging Leaders Alumni Wendy Sims-Moten has served as Executive Director of First 5 Santa Barbara County for the past two years. However, she was…

Frank Rodriguez

Policy and Communications Associate | CAUSE (Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy) Emerging Leaders Alumni Frank Rodriguez is the person you want advocating for you. The son of immigrants from Jalisco, Mexico, and a first-generation UCLA grad with…

Karin Powers

Finance and Human Resource Director | North County Rape Crisis & Child Protection Center Emerging Leaders Alumni Karin Powers graduated from Cal Poly at the age of 40. If she had not been motivated by her back injury, she may…

Niki Sandoval

Dr. Nicolasa “Niki” Sandoval, the first member of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to earn a doctorate in education, never even considered going to college. She didn’t think it was possible. The Native American population shares many of…

Samuel Duarte

The Little House by the Park is anything but little. The friendly faces and numerous activities that fill the center are driving big changes in the city of Guadalupe, thanks to the care and guidance of Samuel Duarte and his…

Chuck Flacks

Chuck is a beam of light when you see him – always with a smile and sense of honest compassion. However, he proves that anyone can get stuck in the dark. Chuck did everything you’re supposed to do when sinking…

Elisa Pardo

Elisa Pardo learned how a social services organization can change a life when she became a teenage parent. The Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County (CACSB) helped her in a time of need. Now, 15 years later, she’s still…

Danna D. McGrew

Partner | Bartlett, Pringle, & Wolf Katherine Harvey Fellows Alumni Danna’s talents extend well beyond her accounting and business consulting expertise. With exceptional candor and positivity, Danna juggles a big family, full-time career as an audit and accounting services partner,…

Michael Heck

State Director | Community Solutions, Inc. Leading for Community Impact Alumni For someone who spent 10 years in prison, Michael Heck’s path to leadership was anything but ordinary.  And yet, his uncharacteristic background led to his present success and strong…

Eder Gaona-Macedo

Executive Director | Future Leaders of America, Inc. Emerging Leaders Alumni As a Latino youth, Eder Gaona-Macedo felt his voice didn’t matter. He grew up as an undocumented immigrant in a single family household, yet held strong to his American…

Alejandra Gutierrez

(Former) Director of the Family Service Center | SB Unified School District Emerging Leaders Alumni Alejandra is a Santa Barbara local, having grown up intertwined in two different cultures. Her Mexican roots and American attitude have supported her to interweave the…

Ben Romo

(Former) Community Recovery and Engagement Coordinator | Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management Katherine Harvey Fellows Alumni Ben Romo draws inspiration from his personal experience as he helps lead in disaster relief for our community. “I had friends plucked from their…

Leading From Within collects stories from program participants, the alumni community and network of peers to connect its leaders with the community at large. If you prefer to reach out to our team directly, you may contact Sarah Harris at sarah@leading-from-within.org or (805) 770-3232.

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