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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 Edition

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

STORIES OF IMPACT

Tyson Halseth

Development Director | Pacific Pride Foundation Katherine Harvey Fellows 2019-2020 Tyson Halseth has spent the better part of his career working for the Pacific Pride Foundation. He started fresh out of UCSB twelve years ago, as a part-time programs assistant, and within six months he was named Development and Events Manager, giving him an immediate,…

Norbert K. Tan

Deputy Director | AAPI Equity Alliance Courage to Lead Participant The Tans were one of just two Asian American families at Norbert’s high school in Westchester County, just outside New York City. It was the Tans and the Lees. The rest of the population (and most of Tan’s friends) were mostly Jewish, Italian, or Irish.…

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 of San Francisco in the 70s, Connie explained “there was a lot going on: Women’s…

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 wellness for his students, “Mondays with Maka” on the UCSB Student Affairs YouTube channel has…

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 ninth grade.  Gabriela Macias-Mota considers the questioning of patriarchal power structures as a personal passion,…

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. Frederick makes no secret of his respect for the value of art in troubled times:…

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 Court is due to the innovative talent of its Executive Director, Christopher Tucker, and to…

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 passed up for the position when she first applied five years ago. At that time,…

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 a master’s Degree in Latin American studies from the University of Texas at Austin, Frank…

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 have not attended college. She serves as the Finance and Human Resource Director for the…

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 the same issues that plague youth nationwide. Among those: addiction, mental health, and violence. Niki…

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 team. In a community effort, the organization offers skill building workshops, health and nutrition classes,…

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 into depression. According to him, he was doing all the “right stuff” – medication, therapy,…

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 with the organization – this time as program manager of 2-1-1 Santa Barbara County, the…

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, and four current boards, which include the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation, the South Coast Business…

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 desire to help other ex-offenders change the course of their lives.  As a participant in…

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 upbringing and go-getter attitude. His perspective and view of his future changed toward the end…

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 different niches that exist in our town, grow as a professional, and expose first-generation students…

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 roofs, others who lost their homes, and a good friend who saved his parents’ lives.…

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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