May 2022

Leaders in the Field
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Through involvement in their Executive Learning Group, Grace Kim, Co-Founder of the Dragon Kim Foundation, was invited by Iliana Soto Welty, representing Be Well Orange County, to participate in a panel discussion on innovative community-based approaches to teen mental health. The foundation's mission is to inspire youth to impact their communities while discovering and pursuing their passion. They do this through a Fellowship Program that provides high school students with seed money and business training to launch "why didn't I think of that?" community impact projects. Dragon's Music Program also offers underserved children scholarships and a chance to discover their inner Mozart.

To access the panel discussion, click here.

Grace and Iliana are current members of the 2022 Executive Learning Group.

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Mental Health Association of Orange County is recognizing individuals who have made a difference in community. 


During a challenging time filled with isolation, loss, and fear, nominees for the 28th Annual Community Service Awards emerged as leaders providing support, hope, inclusion, and pushing the needle towards creating a community stigma-free mindset of mental wellness. 


Mara James was nominated in the professional category, as she has grown the Extraordinary Lives Foundation into a dynamic nonprofit providing mental health and wellness programs for children in just over six years. Extraordinary Lives Foundation is based on her personal experience, and the knowledge of many gifted healers that helped guide her family back to mental health and well-being. A book she authored, "The Power of Piggie Bear" and the Piggie Bear plush animals she created have profoundly impacted many children. 

Mara is currently being coached in our Executive Coaching Program.


As part of the Help them Home campaign, facilitated by Orange County Community Foundation, WISEPlace placed #2 on the leaderboard and had 384 donors, by far their highest number of donors in one day. 

Brateil Aghasi, CEO, was featured on Good Day LA promoting Giving Day. To view the segment, click here.

Brateil participated in the 2013 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and is a trained Creative Encounters by Fieldstone facilitator.


Fristers has received a two-year, $60,000 City of Santa Ana Community Development Block Grant, supporting the re-open of Fristers Santa Ana city chapter this fall. Fristers will also open chapters in Tustin and La Habra in September, and has plans to continue expansion in the coming months and years. Founded in 2008 and serving Greater Orange County, Fristers is dedicated to helping teen and young parents build healthy and stable lives and families through educational classes and workshops, mentoring, case management and the support of a caring community.

Ali Woodard, President/CEO participated in the 2020 Executive Learning Group.

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Congratulations to everyone on the United to End Homelessness #HomeRunTeam for participating in this year’s OC Marathon! Together, the team ran over 200 miles across the 5k, half marathon and full marathon courses. 

Becks Heyhoe, Executive Director, United to End Homelessness at Orange County United Way participated in the 2021 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and is currently being coached in the 2022 Executive Coaching Program.

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Habitat for Humanity of Orange County announced the appointment of Monique Davis as the President and CEO. Monique, who previously served as the Chief People Officer at Brilliant Corners and currently serves as the Executive Director of the Buena Park Collaborative, has over 20 years experience in the housing and human resource sectors. Her knowledge of housing needs in Southern California, DEI work, and expertise in overseeing diverse teams put her in an optimal position to successfully carry forward Habitat OC's mission. This appointment comes amidst an affordable housing shortage in Orange County. Monique's longstanding advocacy for affordable housing along with her work to end homelessness will be assets to help the organization find and implement solutions.

Monique joined the organization as Sharon Ellis retired after serving 17 years as President & CEO.

Sharon participated in the 2007 Executive Learning Group, has been a coach in our Executive Coaching Program since 2009, and participated in the 2017 Leadership Reading Group

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After seven years at Laura's House, Amanda Hearne will join Onward Healing Counseling and Wellness. Amanda worked closely with individuals affected by intimate partner violence and has witnessed her clients heal and positively transform their lives through EMDR therapy. Since completing her EMDR training six year ago, Amanda has used EMDR therapy as her primary treatment modality to help clients access and reconnect to their past in a manner that allows each person to feel as safe and secure as possible, prior to diving into the work. Amanda places tremendous value on the therapeutic relationship and feels the road to deep healing is quietly guided by one’s vulnerability and willingness to step outside of their comfort zone - where the inner work begins.

Amanda participated in the 2020 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.


Family Solutions Collaborative honored Families Forward for their dedication and support over the last seven years, serving as the FSC Fiscal Sponsor. They provided financial and administrative support, allowing the FSC to move to the next phase of their development.

Pictured is FSC Chairperson and Director of Housing Development at HomeAid Orange CountyYvette Ahlstrom with CEO of Families Forward, Madelynn Hirneise.

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

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The Initiative to End Family Violence unites faculty from 21 departments at UCI with community partners in research, education and clinical interventions in abuse across the lifespan. They envision a world in which all people are safe.

Homeless, pregnant women in Orange County face significant challenges, including intimate partner violence and other trauma exposures. Lisa Wood, CEO at Casa Teresa joined a panel that brought together experts from the community at UCI to discuss existing community outreach and support, findings from a collaborative project, and reflections on successful community partnerships to combat the cycle of violence.

To hear the complete panel discussion, click here.


Lisa participated in the 2018 Executive Learning Group, and is a coach in our Executive Coaching Program in 2021 .


Congratulations to Debora WondercheckPresident of Arts & Learning Conservatory who was named Woman of the Year 2022 of the City of Costa Mesa by the Mayor John Stephens. What began as a summer camp for just thirteen string musicians and eight actors, has now grown to serve over 1,000 children every year, reaching over 10,000 in audiences annually. Debora's dream of "paying it forward" through creating arts opportunities to help children see and fulfill their potential, was realized and has become the heart of the Arts & Learning Conservatory


Debora was coached in our 2021 Executive Coaching Program.


Delayed two years due to the pandemic, Rev. Dr. Sarah Halverson-Cano was awarded the 2020 Claremont School of Theology Alumna of the Year. Selected because of her commitment to justice, Sarah is active in the Orange County community speaking out for LGBTQ+ rights and equality, immigration reform, gun control, economic justice and women's rights. Sarah serves as senior pastor at Irvine United Congregational Church

Sarah participated in the 2020 Executive Learning Group.

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Child Guidance Center (CGC) Chief Executive Officer, Lori Pack shared her expertise on the delivery of mental health services for military connected children and the impact of community and caregiving on brain development respectively at the 2022 Meeting of the Minds conference – bringing together over 700 attendees from the Orange County mental health services community.

Lori participated in the 2010 Executive Learning Group and was coached in the 2011 Executive Coaching Program.


Just Published: Fair Pay for Southern California Nonprofits: The 2022 Compensation & Benefits Survey

Attract and Retain the Best Employees for Your Organization in 2022 and Beyond

As our communities continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofit managers navigate uncertain economic conditions related to pay rates, employee retention, benefits and employment policies.

The 2022 survey reports current, local compensation levels for more than 190 survey jobs based on survey responses from two hundred thirty-five Southern California nonprofit organizations.

Here's how your organization will benefit from the survey report:

·      Base pay levels and bonus/incentive pay for each job with details by annual operating budget, location within Southern California, number of employees and primary field of service

·      Employee benefits in detail: paid time off, insurance, retirement

·      Salary increases over past year and expected during the next year

·      Policies with respect to on-call work, overtime, shift differentials, pay for bilingual skills, introductory periods, performance reviews and more

·      An updated "Economic Environment" section reporting the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related issues such as remote work and changes in workforce size

·      New questions about DEI practices

The survey is conducted and published by Nonprofit Compensation Associates, Inc. For more information, visit or contact them at 510-645-1005 or

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

achievements in the community.

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