Leadership Santa Maria Valley: Class of 2021 has begun!!

One of the challenges of the pandemic has been how do we continue to offer our Leadership program given the current restrictions? Our Leadership board of directors had many discussions and suggestions and we came up with a way to offer a quality program that will flex with whatever the recommendations and restrictions are for Santa Barbara County.

There are sixteen members of the 2021 class. We held our three-day retreat virtually in mid-March. Activities that could not be done in a virtual environment have been postponed until we can meet in person. The retreat is a time to get to know each other, learn a bit more about ourselves and hear more about what is to come during the program year. I think that it went quite well.

On April 2nd we had our first virtual topic day. This was our Government Day. It started out with a motivational leadership lesson from Ed Carcarey of Fuego 97.1 and Downtown Fridays. He encouraged us to find our passion, volunteer to make changes in our community, and find that person in our lives who will keep that passion going! Next we got to hear from Etta Waterfield, Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Santa Maria and Bob Nelson, Fourth District Supervisor and Steve Lavagnino, Fifth District Supervisor from the County of Santa Barbara. We learned what is going in the City and County, what similarities they have and their differences. It was great to meet our local government leaders and have the opportunity to ask them questions. In the afternoon, Mark van de Kamp, Public Information Manager for the City of Santa Maria, showed us a video tour of City Hall. It was interesting to learn the history of the various buildings that have housed City Hall and about the current building that it is in now.

Although meeting virtually has some drawbacks, we are still able to share some of the great people and opportunities of the Santa Maria Valley. In the months to come we will move to hybrid meetings. We may have our speakers in a virtual environment and then gather in a social distance format to have our discussions and eventually tour our local businesses. We look forward to getting back to being in person for the whole day soon!