Leadership Institute 2018-10-11T14:53:20+00:00

Inspiring, educating, and connecting leaders to create and model healthy, just, and resilient communities.

Ignite Your Leadership Potential

We are pleased to announce the launch of the 2018-2019 Class of the Leadership Institute for Just and Resilient Communities!

This unique leadership development program is designed to meet the need for effective and connected leaders who can promote systems level change to create a better future for all.

Our goal over this 10-month program is to provide the inspiration, skills and support network for leaders to be more powerful change agents in their lives, organizations and communities.

This is an exceptional opportunity to develop your leadership skills, broaden your cross-sector network and expand your understanding of local solutions to current issues facing our community.

How do we do this?

Classes meet for a full day each month at different sites across Sonoma County. Each class moves through the four pillars of leadership, building on personal practices of values-aligned leadership and stepping into how to foster environments for collective leadership that unleash the power of community and organizations.

Through robust discussion with experts, guided self-reflection and emergent strategy inspired projects, each class critically analyzes the intersecting challenges and opportunities around topics such as:

  • Sustainability: Ecology, Equity and Economy
  • Social and Environmental Health
  • Water and Natural Resources
  • Agriculture: Food and Fiber
  • Climate Change and Energy
  • Housing and Land Use
  • Public Policy

Each cohort is made up of a mixture of government, business and nonprofit participants ranging in age from student to retiree. This creates a unique setting for rich group discussion as we apply systems thinking to focus our efforts and impact around the solutions that will best benefit this and future generations.

Personal Leadership Development – Clarify and operate from your purpose, passions and strengths.

Regenerative Living – Live your values and embody the change you want to see in the world.

Civic Engagement – Take action and drive positive change to protect and promote our public values.

Shared Leadership – Gain tools to be a more effective leader while sharing power through co-creative and collaborative leadership models.

Meet the Class of 2019

Aaron Schreiber-Stainthorp – Sustainability Specialist, Jackson Family Wines

Caitlin Quinn – Communications Coordinator, Verity

Carolyn Glanton – Climate Program Manager, Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority

Chase Takajo – Water Agency Engineer, Sonoma County Water Agency

Christopher Clarke – Instructor, Vilda

Donna Legge – Parks and Recreation Director, Town of Windsor

Heather Ah San – Communications Coordinator, Sonoma Land Trust

Jeff Kelly – Chief Business Development Officer, California Community Lender Inc

John LaBarge – Waste Zero Specialist, Recology – Sonoma/Marin

Julie Milazzo – Grants Program Analyst, Environmental Protection Agency

Lars Langberg – Architect, Lars Langberg Architects

Lendri Purcell – President and Co-Founder /Vice President, FACTS (Families Advocating for Chemical and Toxics Safety)/ Jonas Philanthropies

Leslianne Lee – Wellness Guide & Viniyoga Therapist

Liz Platte-Bermeo – Programs Coordinator, Daily Acts

Mathew Stone – Self-employed, Estuary & Ocean Science Center, Founder Sail 4 Science

Mia Zimman – Educator and Life Cycle ritualist

Misty Cordeiro – Executive Administrator, CannaCraft

Monique Brown – Career Pathways Manager, Conservation Corps North Bay (CCNB)

Nelson Lomelli – Program Manager, Sonoma Clean Power

Pamela Van Halsema – Librarian/Educator, Community Organizer, Information Professional, Bay Area Discovery Museum and Coffey Strong

Saskia Van Donk – Grants Compliance Manager, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa

Sophia Porter – Care Giver, Student SRJC

Susan Price – Development Manager, Daily Acts

Zach Neeley – Prevention Educator, Verity

The Graduates Fellows Network

Graduates of the program join an engaged network of change-makers, from state and local elected officials, to business entrepreneurs, non profit thought leaders and more.  The Fellows Network, composed of more than 500 Leadership Institute graduates, gives access to seasonal networking events, ongoing education and more.

How to Apply

Applications for September 2019 will open this spring, if you are interested in learning more, please email Kerry Fugett at kerry@dailyacts.org.

  • March: Applications for Fall 2019 open.
  • May: Early Bird deadline for Fall 2019.
  • June: FINAL application deadline.
  • Applicant interviews will be conducted in mid-June, and selections will be made in early July.

The 17-year Legacy of the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy

Given the incredible confluence of crises we face, we need more and not less leadership in this big planetary moment. So when the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy approached Daily Acts with news that the Institute would close its doors, we knew we couldn’t just let this incredible organization, that for 17 years trained and grew a network of over 500 change making Fellows, go away.

Several of Daily Acts Board and Staff, including our founder Trathen Heckman are Leadership Fellows and have been greatly enriched by the Institute and its Fellows Network. This is why in the fall of 2017 as the Leadership Institute officially closed its doors, its programs, resources and stewardship of the Fellows Network became a part of Daily Acts.   

Daily Acts: Transforming People and Places

With 16 years of experience empowering and educating over 57,000 engaged people and sustainability leaders through collaborative programs, Daily Acts is excited to add the Leadership Institute and Fellows Network into our programming.


Click here to review our informational packet with course logistics, timeline and application process, view our program flyer here, or reach out to kerry@dailyacts.org with questions!

Hear What Past Graduates Have to Say

As an academic ecologist, I had a broad, global knowledge of ecological and environmental issues, but only a shallow understanding about local environmental problems and how these interplay with local government policies.  The Leadership Institute inspired a shift in my career – to apply science directly toward preserving our natural resources, sustainable agriculture and the local economy.

Anna Sears, Ph.D.

The Leadership Institute addresses the entire spectrum of environmental issues in Sonoma County, covering the details about process as well as content along with an opportunity to meet and get to know some of the most influential leaders in the community. The Institute offers invaluable training for both newcomers to the County as well as those who’ve lived here all their lives.

Ken Wells, , Executive Director of Sonoma County Trails Council and Former Director of the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency

The Leadership Institute’s classes are packed with information and food for thought. It also provides an excellent incubator for problem solving with other individuals concerned about issues critical to our future.

Una Glass, Sebastopol City Council, Aide to Former Supervisor Mike Reilly

The training actually changed my life, providing me with new insights on many issues related to sustainability, social equity, the economy and our environment.  In no small measure, the training helped me to develop the confidence and the skills I need to run for city council and serve the public.

Cindy Thomas

The Leadership Institute gave me an incredibly unique opportunity to learn and experience the relationship between our local economy and the natural environment that added depth to both my professional and personal life. The mix of student backgrounds allowed me to question, reinforce, and fine tune my own beliefs of what is the best course for our greater community of Sonoma County.

Pamela Tuft, AICP, Director of General Plan Administration, City of Petaluma

The Leadership Institute’s classes gave me the intellectual foundation for what I knew in my heart, and introduced me to a network of people with whom to discuss sustainability.

Sarah Gurney, Sebastopol City Council Member

I had never in my life been around a group of people with that much professional experience. I felt like I was among giants. I never saw myself as a leader until I took the training. I began to see myself differently. As an activist you lead in a populist way, dealing with emotions. This (the Leadership Training) was more purposeful, more thoughtful. I got a much better understanding of leadership.

Evelina Molina, Co-Founder of North Bay Institute of Green Technology and Director of the Eco-Workforce

The information and understanding makes me better at my job. It was very well thought out, and I’ve recommended it to other people.

Robert Judd, Former VP at Community Foundation Sonoma County

I got so much out of it. I got a broader understanding of the issues. The people I have met in the class have become the backbone of my new community. We all get caught up in the details of our lives. You sometimes need an excuse to go out and explore the place where you live.

Maitreyi Siruguri

What I think is exciting is seeing what other leaders in the community are doing with important issues. It inspires me, and it confirms that we’re on the right path.

Genevieve Taylor, Co-Executive Director Ag Innovations

For me, the institute has been about support, inspiration, and commissioning. I sometimes felt alone in driving change for sustainability at work, but I felt personally inspired by the (institute) board and my classmates to make a difference. After the program, I felt an approval and commissioning to move away from lip service into action.

Linda Gibboney

The Leadership Institute program is a unique and exceptional way to learn the tenants of responsible business and how to effect change through public policy. This program will forever affect your vision of how you can contribute to society – no matter what you do.

Alison Healy, Executive Director Alliance for Smiles

Through the Leadership Institute I was able to see how the important issues of our time such as energy, water, health, agriculture, land use, transportation, and the economy are woven together in Sonoma County. And it was awesome to meet the local leaders creating community solutions for a more healthy, just, and ecologically vibrant world.

Sam Ruark, Executive Director at Green Built Alliance

The program was simply amazing. Moving from New York City a few days before the class began, I had no previous knowledge of sustainability issues. Through fascinating lectures, panel discussions, site tours, and networking with classmates, over the course of the year I developed a strong foundation that I will utilize for the rest of my life.

Jennifer Johnson, Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State

Being very experienced in public policy squabbles in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but relatively new to Sonoma County, I found that the program offered precisely what I was hoping for – a well balanced introduction to many of the organizations, individuals, and issues in Sonoma County that matter. The program is designed in such a way that both veterans and newcomers to public policy will not be bored or mystified, respectively.

Woody Hastings, Renewable Energy Implementation Manager at Center for Climate Protection

This (program) is for any individual that feels a passion for creating a better place in this world. You are provided with tools to help you focus and hone your enthusiasm and then asked to use that focus to effect change. There is nothing more valuable than being given the tools and encouragement to follow your dreams.

Nica Poznanovich, General Manager, Bella Rosa Coffee Company

The Institute helped me to think about public policy in different ways—to connect issues together in a more holistic approach and to learn more progressive and satisfying ways to solve policy challenges such as affordable housing, transportation and community development.

Susan Gorin, 1st District County Supervisor