March 2024

Leaders in the Field

Lucy Santana, CEO of Girls Inc. of Orange County, celebrated 25 years of unwavering commitment to inspiring young women. Lucy's visionary leadership has been the driving force behind the organization's transformative impact on countless lives. Her tireless efforts have allowed them to continue creating parity for all girls in Orange County in career, education, and society. Lucy's legacy is a testament to the power of compassion, determination, and a steadfast belief in the potential of every young woman.

Lucy participated in the 2002 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, was coached in the 2004 Executive Coaching Program and became a coach in 2021.

Julie Hudash, Founder & CEO of Team Kids, received the International Women’s Day Lifetime Achievement of the Year Award at the 11th annual Women of Influence event of the Greater Irvine Chamber. They recognized ten women who are leading and succeeding in their lives, businesses, and communities!

Julie was coached in the 2005 Executive Coaching Program.

Mary Ann Foo, Founder and Executive Director of OCAPICA and Seema Shah, Director of Training at Groundswell were honored by Orange Coast Magazine at the their Annual Kickass Women Luncheon in the category of Building Community & Support.

They were was also featured in the Power of Women article that you can read here.

Bonni Pomush, CEO of Working Wardrobes graced the stage as a distinguished panelist at the luncheon where she lent her expertise and insights, and left an indelible mark!

Here’s to celebrating the resilience, wisdom, and accomplishments of all the extraordinary women this Women’s History Month! 

Mary Anne was coached in the 2002 Executive Coaching Program, and Seema participated in the 2015 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group. Bonni participated in the 2023 Executive Learning Group and is currently being coached in the 2024 Executive Coaching Program.

Rochelle Mills, President & CEO, Brenda Walters, Community Impact Manager, and Jenny Castro, Director of Operations of Innovative Housing Opportunities were panelists at the REDI Speaker Series - Innovations in Affordable Housing and the Power to Change Community. This is kitchen table-type conversation where they shared their career paths and interactions within the AEC industry. Learning objectives included: Understanding the Importance of Diversity and Inclusion, Exploring Varied Career Paths, and Gaining Strategies for Overcoming Barriers, and Leadership and Trailblazing.


Rochelle participated in the 2019 Executive Learning Group and was coached in the 2020 Executive Coaching Program; Brenda participated in the 2022 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group; and Jenny participated in the 2023 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

Jeri Wilson was promoted to Vice President of Development, Principal Gifts at Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation. Working closely with the research and pediatric oncology community, this new role allows her to spend more time with donors, companies and research institutions.

Jeri participated in the 2016 Executive Learning Group.

The Senate of the State of California proclaimed the month of February 2024 as 2-1-1 Month, and February 11, 2024 as

2-1-1 Day to promote and strengthen the 2-1-1 service.

The Senate is committed to support the 2-1-1 service

and infrastructure so that all Californians have equitable access to

this critical service that provides resource connections regarding

support for poverty, housing, family and children, aging and

disability, health equity, and disasters.

Elizabeth Andrade, Executive Director of 211 Orange County, stated, "Our work is only possible because of the tireless efforts of our call specialists, support staff, and partners across the state who strive to make 211 the invaluable service it is. This recognition will forever be valued and every February will serve as a reminder of 211's impactful role in our state."

Elizabeth participated in the 2015 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and was coached in the 2022 Executive Coaching Program.

We are thrilled when alumni of our Learning Groups get together after the cohort has commenced! Taryn Palumbo stated, "Even at our most busy, I am reminded how important it is to take a moment and connect with lik- minded individuals who “GET” what it means to be a nonprofit leader. So grateful for Fieldstone Leadership Network OC for bringing us together and so glad our cohort continues to be there for one another!"

Pictured from the 2023 Executive Learning Group: Adita Arya, Afghan Literacy Foundation; Noel Burcelis, Orange County Ronald McDonald House; Taryn Palumbo, Orange County Grantmakers; Diana Hill, Pathways to Independence; and Yesenia Ochoa, MECCA.

Dawn Reese, CEO of The Wooden Floor, was featured in the Forbes Nonprofit Council as a Council Contributor on the question about 20 Barriers Standing In The Way Of Potential Nonprofit Donors. She shared the following on Question #10- Donations Feel Transactional: "First, treat them as a supporter, not a donor. Being a donor is more about a transactional action, while being a supporter is more about a mindset shift that enables nonprofit and development leaders to build a long-term relationship by connecting where the supporter's passions and purpose are aligned to a mission. An effective stewardship plan is essential to sharing the impact of the supporter's gift.”

You can read the complete article here.


Dawn participated in the 2007 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and was coached in the 2012 Executive Coaching Program and became a Coach in 2013.

Holly Hagler, CEO of Meals on Wheels Orange County, was honored with the prestigious 2024 Women of Distinction Award by Senator Tom Umberg.

Holly participated in 2014 Executive Learning Group, was coached in the 2015 Executive Coaching Program and became a Coach in 2021, and is a current participant of the 2023/24 Leadership Reading Group.

Congratulations to the Orange County United Way's United to End Homelessness initiative for reaching a remarkable milestone. Its WelcomeHomeOC program has housed more than 1,000 people experiencing homelessness. In Washington D.C., the program’s success was recently recognized on the House floor by U.S. Representative

Katie Porter of the California 47th District.

You can watch the complete coverage here.

Becks Heyhoe, Executive Director, participated in 2021 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, and was coached in the 2022 Executive Coaching Program.

We are excited to introduce David Wetzel, the new Executive Director for SPIN OC. David comes to SPIN from the restaurant industry, most recently as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Farmer Boys Restaurant chain. His years of experience in the restaurant business regularly placed him face-to-face with the hungry and unhoused throughout Southern California, prompting a very intentional and passionate career change to help the most vulnerable in our community. For the last eighteen months he has steeped himself in the nonprofit world, having completed a year-long certification program through the UCI specialized studies program for Nonprofit Management. He has volunteered with organizations such as Corazon, building modest houses for the needy in Mexico, and Families Forward, helping to administer their intake program. He participated in this year’s PIT count, and joined the CoC general membership in 2023.


He will work closely with SPIN Family Navigators, Case Managers and the Board of Directors to shape the future of SPIN, and continue the amazing 30+ year legacy left by former SPIN CEO Jean Wegener and others to improve and stabilize the lives of so many Orange County families and individuals. We hope to see David in an upcoming Executive Learning Group soon!

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

achievements in the community.

We want to celebrate YOU!

If you would like to share a personal or organizational accomplishment

in upcoming Leaders in the Field

publications, please direct your email here.

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