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Leadership Santa Maria Valley- Leadership Topic Day

The Leadership Santa Maria Valley Class of 2023 recently participated in their final monthly seminar or “Topic Day.” Serving as an opportunity to reflect on their journey and to think what class participants will do differently moving forward, the June topic day was centered around community leadership. 

To begin the day, class member Olivia Bernal (People’s Self-Help Housing Center) spoke to the class about her leadership journey and the personal hardships she has overcome to become the leader she is today. 

Following Bernal’s presentation, the class revisited an activity they completed in the early days of the program. This leadership activity is called “Hot Lava” is designed to be a team building exercise where group members must move across a given space using mats without losing contact with any mat at any given time. Having been several months since the first time the group completed the exercise, it was evident that the group was much stronger and their ability to effectively communicate with each other to complete the task had grown. 

The group’s first guest speaker was Glenn Morris, President & CEO of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber. This presentation highlighted an overview of current topics of concern and discussion within our community that various individuals, organizations and companies are working towards improving. Topics mentioned included supporting the development of better jobs, expansion of higher education opportunities and growth of investment in our community. Morris concluded his presentation by asking class members to make a commitment to one specific action they each feel empowered to take after completing this program. It is a goal of the Chamber to support LSMV alumni become more active in our community as upcoming leaders of the Santa Maria Valley. 

After the guest speaker session, the group had the opportunity to visit the Santa Maria Valley’s Historical Society Museum. The class received an informative tour of the museum and learned all about the rich history and culture of the Santa Maria Valley’s early years. The tour covered information about about the founding of the City of Santa Maria and how our community has grown and developed over the years. 

Following their tour of the Museum, the class came together for their final guest speaker of the day. Councilman Carlos Escobedo joined the group to share his personal experience as a city leaders, as well as his objectives and vision for community development in the City. Escobedo emphasized the importance of community engagement and investing in our local youth. 

To conclude this topic day, the class members took the time to reflect on the program’s impact on their own personal and collective growth. The group is eager to give back to the community and implement what their refined leadership skills as they look to positively impact our community.

Class members participate in "Hot Lava" team building activity during Leadership Topic Day.

Councilman Carlos Escobedo shared his personal experience as a City leader with the group.

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