We're featured in CityBeat

City Beat Article - Cover - Web ResizeToday, San Diego City Beat put San Diego Leadership Alliance (SDLA) on the cover of their magazine. We are featured in a story written by Kelly Davis on the future of the progressive movement in San Diego.

The story is posted online, and you can pick up a copy all around San Diego.

Today’s article describes the successes we have enjoyed, and the work we still have left to do.

Back in 2009, Evan McLaughlin and I began recruiting a small group of friends to found San Diego’s first institute of the New Leaders Council (NLC). The NLC is an organization that trains progressive young professionals across the country.

Over three years of successful Institutes, we’ve graduated almost 60 Fellows. Each Fellow undergoes an intense training program, a critical self-evaluation of their goals, and is paired with a mentor to guide them through their career.

Today, with my new co-director Johanna Schiavoni, our local collaboration has blossomed into the San Diego Leadership Alliance. We are a local nonprofit with a diverse and committed board that now hosts the San Diego NLC chapter.

We began this project with a mission to stitch together a community of likeminded individuals with the skills and relationships to improve San Diego. Our vision is long-term. We are planting seeds of leadership across San Diego, in the form of young people who have decades more of growth and service to their community. We are building a farm team.

Entrenched interests continue to control elements of our region, but time is not on their side. Party registration, ethnicity, and all other demographics point to a San Diego that is moving firmly and irrevocably progressive.

While the tides of fortune are in our favor, trends alone will not fundamentally change San Diego. We need people who are prepared to do the hard work of reshaping our region. The SDLA is making a years-long push to train individuals and build the infrastructure necessary to realize the promise of a better tomorrow.

So what is the future of a progressive San Diego?

You are.  

You are the members of our community who nominate rising stars for our annual New Leaders Council Institute. You are the Institute Fellows that sacrifice 6 months of Saturdays to prepare for a career in civic leadership. You are the mentors and instructors who volunteer your time to share wisdom and experience with our Fellows. You are the supporters who donate at our fundraisers and who attend our professional development events.

Personally, my involvement with the SDLA has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Our all-volunteer board, instructors, and mentors have given tirelessly to support our cause. It has been an honor to work with them. I have watched with pride as our graduates have used the tools provided through our Institute to achieve successes in their careers, and in service to San Diego.

Finally, I want to say thank you to all of those who have been a part of this great and continuing adventure. The story of the SDLA is one of collaboration and mutual commitment. Our accomplishments are shared not only with our board or our alumni, but with the broad range of San Diegans who have helped us build a more lasting progressive infrastructure.

With your continuing help, we will all enjoy the San Diego we imagine it can be.

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Alex Southard
Small Business Engagement Specialist, City of San Diego Economic Development Department

Alex Southard serves as the Small Business Engagement Specialist in the Economic Development Department at the City of San Diego. Driven by...