Leadership North County: Connecting, Contemplating and Creating the Region’s Future
Photo: Members of the Leadership North County Class of 2012 participate in a helicopter demonstration by San Diego County Sheriff personnel during Public Safety Day in February.
It’s the kind of questions you might expect an upper division political science class to tackle: How do you lead a growing region as vast and diverse as North County? What are the challenges that our leaders face? What will the future of our communities be like?
There are more ways than one to answer these questions as participants in California State University San Marcos’s (CSUSM) Leadership North County (LNC) soon realize. But LNC is not your typical university program and its students aren’t your typical university students.
Born as “Leadership 2000” in 1986 by a group of concerned citizens led by Dr. Fran Aleshire and Major General Marc Moore, the program seeks to cultivate leaders who will address issues unique to the North County region while also developing harmonious working relationships within the cities. In 2001, the program was entrusted to CSUSM – today it is run out of the university’s Division of Community Engagement – and renamed Leadership North County.
In its 16 year history, LNC has inspired over 400 individuals. This year’s class of current and immerging leaders includes a police captain, a museum executive director, a superintendent of a public school district and a dean from CSUSM, along with many individuals from non-profits, city departments and private industries.
Meeting once a month for ten months, each class focuses on a different issue relevant to the region. Topics cover government, transportation and land use, resources and sustainability, healthcare and human services, public safety, Camp Pendleton, education and business.
“Through expert speakers, tours and exercises, participants gather a variety of information about the subject. Each class builds on the one before it and at the end of the day we synthesize what we learned through group discussion,” commented Scott Gross, associate vice president of community engagement at CSUSM and LNC’s program coordinator. “Yet, I think our participants learn as much from each other as they do from the curriculum.”
“I think that as leaders, sometimes we are in danger of growing complacent or even arrogant about our knowledge about subjects, or myopic in our views,” said Veronica Villasenor, vice president relationship manager at U.S. Bank. Villasenor graduated with the class of 2011.
“This program ‘stirs the pot’ so to speak, and causes one to take a look at issues through a new lens. For me, knowing what I know now…makes it virtually impossible for me to idly standby and do nothing about the myriad of issues that have been brought to my attention. I am compelled to speak on topics and challenge the status quo amongst my circle of colleagues and friends.”
Applications for the next class, which begins in September, are now available.
“We are looking for people who are hungry to learn,” said Gross. “People who have a desire to transform themselves and their organizations. People who want to connect, to contemplate the issues of the day and ask, ‘What can I do?’ We are looking for people who truly want to make an impact and create the future of our region.”
The application deadline for the class of 2013 is June 1, 2012. For more information, visit www.csusm.edu/LNC.