March 2022

Leaders in the Field

Serving families experiencing homelessness, or on the verge of experiencing homelessness, is incredibly challenging. Add inflation and the current affordable housing crisis and it can seem impossible – but not when we work together. Families Forward, along with donations from Coastal Business Group and Feed the Children were able to feed 400 families in Orange County!

To check out the blog highlighting these donations, click here.

Madelynn Hirneise, Chief Executive Officer, was also featured in the Orange County Business Journal's OC Leader Board with an article she wrote, titled The Changing Face of People in Need of Affordable Housing. For the entire article click here.

Madelynn participated in the 2019 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, was coached in the 2020 Executive Coaching Program, and participated in the 2021 Executive Learning Group.

Michele Silva, Chief Advancement Officer participates in the 2022 Executive Coaching cohort, and and Brian Arzate, Property & Acquisition Manager, and Marika McCall, Development Manager, are current participants in the Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.


Meals on Wheels Orange County was honored to receive a proclamation from the Orange County Board of Supervisors, presented by Chairman Doug Chaffee, Vice Chairman Don Wagner, Andrew Do, and Lisa Bartlett in support of March for Meals 2022.

As they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program, they urge you to honor the older adults in our community and the volunteers who care for them.

To view the presentation, click here.

Holly Hagler, President and CEO, participated in the 2014 Executive Learning Group, was coached in the 2015 Executive Coaching Program and was trained as a Coach in 2021.

Yanina Camarillo, Senior Director, Adult Day Health Care Services, is currently in our Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.


Debora Wondercheck, Chief Executive Officer of The Arts & Learning Conservatory, a national award-winning arts education nonprofit, recently completed the Annenberg Alchemy for Black-led Organizations Leadership Program. This represents the culmination of rigorous training and mentorship for the conservatory’s leader that will catapult their organization into a new age of growth.  

Founded in 2006, the Annenberg Alchemy Program builds nonprofit leadership through strategic mentorships with black executives. These partnerships provide a wealth of resources and connections, allowing both parties to create forward-thinking initiatives and lasting change in their organizations and communities. 


Debora was coached in the 2021 Executive Coaching Program.


The Greater Irvine Chamber 2022 Women of Influence recognized women who lead and succeed in their lives, businesses, and communities. We are proud to honor our Fieldstone Network alumni finalists Sharon Ellis, President & CEO, Habitat for Humanity Orange County; Madelynn Hirneise, CEO, Families Forward; Ronnetta Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, Waymakers; and Maricela Rios-Faust, President and CEO, Human Options.

HUGE congratulations to International Women's Day Lifetime Achievement winner, Sharon Ellis!

All of these remarkable leaders have participated in a Learning Group; Sharon and Ronnetta are coaches and Madelynn and Maricela have been coached in our Executive Coaching Program.

Christine Farwell.jpg

Chris Farwell is the new Individual Gifts Officer at Project Hope Alliance. Presently there are 31,000 homeless youth in Orange County. Project Hope Alliance's aim is to end the cycle of homelessness - one child at a time. By providing wraparound services through the public school, students are given the tools needed to break out of the generation cycle, that without intervention, are very likely to repeat. Students are offered services from age six - 24, in a proactive approach to a very targeted population. 

Chris participated in the 2017 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group when she was with Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation.


Gina Cunningham, Executive Director of HomeAid Orange County recently celebrated her 25th year. Board President, Michelle Thrakulchavee, said it best, "What a career! What an impact! What a difference you've made! Without a doubt, HomeAid Orange County would not be what it is today without your tireless commitment, dedication, and heart for the organization. At some point over the last 25 years, you became HomeAid. The organization is immensely better because of it, and because of you."

Gina was a participant in the 2002 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, coached in the 2014 Executive Coaching Program, a member of the 2019 and 2020 Leadership Reading Groups, and is a graduate of the 2021 Executive Learning Group.


Jeanne Flint, Senior Consultant for Orange Door Consulting is serving as chair of the upcoming AFP Conference on Philanthropy. She currently serves on the board of directors for AFP and was National Philanthropy Day chair in 2018 and 2019. She is the judging chair for the 2022 NPD. 

Jeanne participated in the 2006 Executive Learning Group while serving as Executive Director of Women Helping Women. 


Each March, in honor of Women’s History Month, the 34th Senate District of California recognizes women throughout our community that have made significant contributions in one of the following fields: Arts, Business, Community Service, Education, Health Services, Public Safety, and Miscellaneous. This year Becks Heyhoe, Executive Director of United to End Homelessness, a program of Orange County United Way, was selected as a Woman of Distinction in the Community Service category.


Becks was a participant in the 2021 Executive Learning Group and is currently coached in our 2022 Executive Coaching Program.


Innovative Housing Opportunities is celebrating 45 years of building possibilities. IHO develops high-quality, affordable housing communities that are indistinguishable from market-rate properties. In all they do, their objective is to offer the greatest opportunity for residents to grow, thrive, experience housing independence, and, where possible, give back to their neighborhoods.

Executive Director, Rochelle Mills, participated in the 2019 Executive Learning Group and was coached in the 2020 Executive Coaching Program. Antonio Ramon, Project Manager and Brenda Walters, Community Impact Manager are in our two 2022 Learning Groups, and Michele Rinehart, Director of Operations is in our Executive Coaching Program.


Je’net Kreitner, Founder and CEO of Grandma’s House of Hope, was recognized by Congresswoman Michelle Steel in California's 48th District, as a 2022 Woman of Distinction in the category of Compassionate Care. Her organization empowers the invisible in Orange County through three programs: Rescued and Restored Housing, Nana’s Kidz and HopeWorks! Each serves vulnerable populations experiencing homelessness and hunger and touch over 3,500 lives annually. 

Je'net participated in the 2014 Executive Learning Group, was a Clare Rose Sabbatical recipient in 2014, and has chosen to "re-enlist" in this year's Executive Learning Group.


With state and federal leaders placing a renewed focus on mental health care, Orange County officials are showing off the year-old Be Well OC campus in Orange – but they also acknowledge there’s more to be done to meet residents’ needs for services.

U.S Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra visited Orange County to meet with local leaders and health professionals in Orange and Irvine, where a second, larger

Be Well OC campus will be built starting later this year.

For the complete article, click here.

Lauren Brand, Executive Director of Operations of Be Well OC was a participant in the 2016 Executive Learning Group, is a trained Creative Encounters by Fieldstone facilitator; is a Coach in our Executive Coaching Program, and participated in the 2019 and 2020 Leadership Reading Groups.

Anita Lewicke, Campus Operations Manager, is a participant in the 2022 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.


The Arab American Civic Council organized a lunch meeting and mini tour of Little Arabia with the President of California State University, Fullerton, Mr. Fram Virgee, his wife, and their leadership team. The president was impressed by the Little Arabia community and offered his support of the campaign to officially designate Little Arabia as such. 


"The memory of this rich experience is one that my wife and I, along with our Cal State Fullerton leadership team, will not soon forget," he said in a letter sent to the Anaheim City leadership.


Read the full letter, click here.

Rashad Al-Dabbagh, Founder and Executive Director, was coached in the 2021 Executive Coaching Program and is a current member of the 2022 Executive Learning Group.


After 20 years working intimately with high-net worth clients and multiple nonprofits, Shana Buxser has officially launched Buxser Consulting LLC – Independent Philanthropy Advisors. Her background in philanthropy gives unique insight into understanding giving, through the eyes of the philanthropists and the lens of the nonprofits, to provide the most effective counsel. Her goal is to create higher gratification with donors and focus more resources to worthy causes.


For more information, click here.


Shana participated in the 2001 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, was coached in our 2013 Executive Coaching Program, and was trained as a Fieldstone Executive Coach in 2017.


Welcome Eric Boyd, Anaheim Family YMCA's new Vice President of Development. Eric is very passionate about the YMCA’s impact on youth and families, and he lives the mission in his heart. Eric comes to the Anaheim YMCA having served the Y movement for over 20 years in various roles. Eric also served 15+ years as District Director for several elected officials in the California State Assembly, Senate, and the United States Congress.

Brent Finlay, President & CEO of the Anaheim Family YMCA is currently a member of the 2022 Executive Learning Group.

Leaders in the Field is a monthly communication highlighting Fieldstone Leadership Network member organizations and their

achievements in the community.

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