Recent News

SDLA Welcomes New Co-Director and Board Members

John Greenwell and Wyn FurmanAs the San Diego Leadership Alliance (SDLA) prepares to field its eighth class of Fellows, SDLA is proud to announce that Wyn Furman (2013 Institute alum, The San Diego Foundation) joins John Greenwell (’12, Arroyo Vista Charter School) as Co-Director.

“The San Diego Leadership Alliance has grown tremendously in the last few years”, said John Greenwell. “We’ve launched an exciting membership program in the last year to extend our reach in the San Diego metropolitan area and just successfully graduated our seventh Institute cohort! I’m excited to welcome Wyn Furman as my Co-Director so that we continue cultivating the next generation of young, progressive leaders throughout the county!”

Furman takes the helm from Johanna Schiavoni (’10, Law Offices of Johanna S. Schiavoni), who served on the SDLA Board of Directors for six years, and was instrumental in developing SDLA’s current strategic plan. Schiavoni was recently recognized by the 2016 SDLA Institute Fellows during their annual fundraiser for her contributions to the San Diego Leadership Alliance, and for her leadership in the community.

“I’m honored to have been asked to serve SDLA and San Diego’s progressive community as Co-Director,” said Furman. “As an alumna of the program, I know first hand how effective we are at engaging and activating our region’s up-and-coming leaders. I’m excited to work with John and the SDLA Board of Directors to select a new class of Fellows and to expand our membership in the coming year.”

Furman has served on the SDLA board since 2013 as its Communications Chair and Co-Chair, and is the Manager of Community Scholarships at The San Diego Foundation. In addition to her contributions to SDLA, Furman is involved with Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, Women Give San Diego, Run Women Run, and Animal Rescuers Without Borders. SDLA is thrilled to welcome a Co-Director with Furman’s dedication to the organization, nonprofit management experience, and passion for progressive change in the San Diego community.

“Our Institute Alumni and Board of Directors move on to greater opportunities. We are thrilled that many have chosen to lead other nonprofit boards, community associations, and election campaigns,” Greenwell added. “We encourage all of our young leaders to take on ever-more important positions in the greater San Diego community.”

SDLA also welcomes six new board members: Sarah Borger (’15, University of San Diego), Malieka Johnson (’16, San Ysidro Health Center), Ashley Rodriguez (’16, The Center on Policy Initiatives), Matt Strabone (Strabone Law), Alberto Velasquez (’16, Office of Mayor Mary Salas, City of Chula Vista), and Wilda Wong (’16, San Diego Workforce Partnership).

SDLA is proud of this group of talented individuals who are dedicating their time, energy, and passion toward creating a more progressive San Diego, and looks forward to another great year training future generations of leaders. More information on the SDLA board members can be found here.

The San Diego Leadership Alliance will begin accepting applications on September 15, 2016 for its next Institute class, which will begin in January 2017. Applications close by 9:00 pm on November 11, 2016.  For further information about the Institute, including how to apply or nominate a prospective Fellow, please visit

Wyn Furman can be reached at and John Greenwell can be reached at

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New Report on SDLA Diversity

Today the San Diego Leadership Alliance (SDLA) released a report on diversity in our Institute.

This report details several key demographic characteristics self-reported by the 140 Fellows admitted to our program since its inception. Since we are committed to and pride ourselves on training a diverse group of emerging leaders, we want to be sure SDLA's supporters and the general public can see our principles in action by having data on the makeup of the fellows in each year of our Institute.

The complete report, as well as a downloadable PDF version is available here:

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Company Founded by Former Board Member Wins Highest SANDAG Award

Mixte Communications, founded by former SDLA board member and a regular SDLA Institute speaker, Jamie Hampton, recently received the highest-level honors from SANDAG's iCommute program. The company, which empowers environmentally and socially conscious businesses to tell their stories, won a Platinum Diamond Award for its car-free commuter program.

Of Mixte's eight staff members, seven ride bikes to work and one telecommutes, and they are all happier for it.

If your company wishes to make similar improvements to its commuter program, read Jamie's five tips to get started.


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Alumni Spotlight: Kristen Aster and Tammy Lin

SDLA alumnae are playing an integral role in the globally important humanitarian work involving Syrian refugees and asylum seekers, while also educating Americans on the importance of continuing the U.S.'s long tradition of immigration.

Kristen Aster (2015 alumna), Manager of the Hunger Advocacy Network at Jewish Family Service (JFS) has moved to Washington, D.C. where she will serve as Policy and Advocacy Officer for the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Kristen will support the IRC's implementation of a robust advocacy strategy related to the Syrian refugee crisis. Her work will entail raising awareness of Syrian and other refugee resettlement in the U.S. in the context of the wider refugee response in the Middle East and now in Europe. The goal of these efforts is to maintain and strengthen political and community support for U.S. resettlement, and increase grassroots engagement on refugee resettlement.

The work of board member and 2012 alumna Tammy Lin is also shifting to focus on Syrians. For seven years as part of the Prins asylum program at JFS, Tammy has worked in collaboration with New York-based HIAS, the oldest resettlement agency in the U.S., to provide free legal representation to asylum seekers with backgrounds as scientists, musicians, artists, scholars and professionals. The Prins program is now known as the Syrian Humanitarian Crisis Response Project (SHCRP). With local funding, the SHCRP will focus on representation and community outreach to Syrians seeking asylum protection in San Diego County while also building a regional infrastructure in advance of the anticipated resettlement of Syrian refugees.

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What It Took: the Climate Action Plan Victory

The Climate Action Plan adopted in December 2015 by the San Diego City Council is a groundbreaking, first of its kind in the nation, 100% clean energy victory with unanimous, bi-partisan support that took five years of dedicated effort by several members of the SDLA community.

In particular, SDLA Mentor Nicole Capretz, her SDLA mentee and 2011 Institute graduate Kath Rogers, and 2013 Institute alumna and current board member Kayla Race--who all now work together at Climate Action Campaign--organized and worked with a broad coalition of organizations, businesses, and individuals, many of whom are also connected with SDLA as instructors, members, mentors, board officers, and Institute alumni.

Nicole, Kath and Kayla are proud to have played a role in leading the City of San Diego to this historic achievement that will create a healthier, brighter future for all and protect the people and places we love! 

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