As the San Joaquin Valley’s economic, social, and educational challenges have gained more national attention, it’s easy to get lost in the myriad of well-documented problems and issues facing the valley.
However, we have also seen a groundswell of new energy and creative ideas bubbling up in the region. New leaders are harnessing the valley’s longstanding creativity and resilience, making instrumental strides towards a better future for the region. We see a unique opportunity to support these new leaders to bring the kinds of changes and social benefit they envision for the San Joaquin Valley. To do this, we are pleased to announce the launch of The James Irvine Foundation New Leadership Network.
As a long-time supporter and champion of the San Joaquin Valley, I’d like to offer some personal observations on what makes the New Leadership Network different.
First, the program was created directly from the input and guidance of many outstanding young and established leaders in the San Joaquin Valley. Through focus groups and interviews, young leaders described their aspirations for the valley and the kind of resources they felt were needed to advance these aspirations. We also heard from more established leaders who reflected on some of the challenges that have impeded greater progress, and who offered a myriad of ideas on how some of these long-standing challenges might be broken down.
Second, the network brings some of the country’s leading practitioners and thinkers to participants, exposing them to world-class strategy, leadership development, entrepreneurship and network building ideas, drawn from the most promising private, public and social sector organizations in the country.
Over the coming months, the program will select 36 leaders, organized into three groups of 12 participants each. Each group will learn and collaborate through three intensive immersion workshops, one of which will be a study trip to another community. Once participants have completed the program, they will continue to have opportunities to engage as alumni, in order to sustain and deepen the network over time.
Applications to be part of the first class are due this week, on Wednesday, March 27, and applications to be part of the second and third classes will be open through the fall.
I am eager to see how the New Leadership Network unfolds. I believe that this type of support, at this moment in time, will help the many creative, resilient and ingenious leaders in the valley move their vision from ideas to reality.
Please help us spread the word about the network and share the program details with anyone you think might be interested in participating or championing this new network. We promise to share updates as the network grows and evolves — and as our participants have tangible results to share.