June 2023

Leaders in the Field

The Robins attended the grand opening of National CORE's Legacy Square, a 93 unit affordable community in Santa Ana transforming underutilized church-owned land. This new building will become home to many low-income families, with a third reserved for individuals who have formerly experienced homelessness. Residents are currently moving in and supportive services will be provided by the Hope through Housing Foundation and Mercy House. This is the first of four new communities opening in Orange County over the next 12 months. 

For more information on the project, click here.

Greg Bradbard, Senior VP of National CORE and President of Hope Through Housing, participated in 2000 Executive Learning Group and was coached in the 2010 Executive Coaching Program. Larry Haynes, CEO of Mercy House, participated in the 1997 Executive Coaching Program and was trained as a coach in 2011.

Waymakers celebrated the 17th anniversary of their Huntington Beach Youth Shelter! The event also served as an open house, the first that the city-owned location in Central Park has been able to host since the pandemic. The shelter is a short-term intervention house for runaway, homeless and at-risk youth ages 11 to 17. To date, 2,245 children have been served at the shelter, which can house up to 12 children at a time.

Ronnetta Johnson, CEO, participated in the 2017 Executive Learning Group, became an Executive Coach in 2021, and participated in the 2022/23 Leadership Reading Group. Melinda Ramos, CFO, just graduated from the Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, and Tiare Escobedo, COO, is a participant in the first -ever summer Nonprofit Leaders Learning cohort.

In the June issue of Builder and Developer, many passionate, determined, and exceptional women in the homebuilding industry were recognized. Gina Cunningham, Executive Director of HomeAid Orange County, was featured and discussed her story and journey into the nonprofit sector working for HomeAid, and offered words of encouragement to other women to ignite their passion and pursue a career in the homebuilding industry.

Click this link and flip to page 32 to read the full article!

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

Kendra Chandler gave a HUGE shout out to her incredible colleague, ULI Orange County/Inland Empire, CIE Director, Katie Holst for successfully coordinating their first annual UrbanPlan fundraiser “Builders Got Talent!” Four teams completed an UrbanPlan build where they responded to an RFP to redevelop a neighborhood in the fictional city of Yorktown. Using legos, the teams met city and developer revenue targets, incorporated sustainability and equity requirements, provided affordable housing, while satisfying the desires of various neighborhood and city groups.

Katie recently participated in the 2023 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, and Kendra participated in the 2019 Executive Learning Group, is currently being coached in the 2023 Executive Coaching Program and is a trained Creative Encounters by Fieldstone facilitator.

OC Human Relations changed their name to Groundswell! Their mission is to bring diverse people together to build a more equitable future and they envision a world where belonging is co-created and realized by all. The name reflects "A broad, deep swell or rolling of the sea. A surge of support, approval or enthusiasm, especially among the general public. We are a groundswell. We are shifting energy. We are movement forward. Together, we amplify perspectives, we create change, and we work to build a more collective, supportive, and belonging community."

Norma Lopez, Commission Director, recently participated in the 2023 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

Congratulations to Angie Rowe, President & CEO of Beyond Blindness, who will serve in her first public office as an appointee to the First 5 Orange County Commission. First 5 envisions an Orange County in which all children reach their full potential. The groundwork for this vision is set during a child’s earliest years. They partner with many organizations working towards creating and maintaining an early childhood system that families experience as a seamless network of care.

Angie participated in the 2021 Executive Learning Group and the 2021 Leadership Reading Group.

The Wooden Floor was the recipient of a prestigious $50,000 grant from The Genesis Inspiration Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Hyundai Motor America. The grant funds The Wooden Floor’s award-winning mission to inspire and transform the lives of young people through the power of dance and access to higher education. The Genesis Inspiration Foundation is committed to connecting youth to the transformative power of the arts.

Vanessa Rodriguez, Chief Operating Officer, is a current member of the 2023 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

Kudos to Dan Stetson, Trustee and Executive Director of The Nicholas Endowment, who was part of a team at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station briefing Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and Congressman Mike Levin on our national efforts to help solve our spent nuclear fuel challenges. 


Dan participated in the 2000 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and hopes to join the Executive Leaders Learning Group in 2024.

Orangewood Foundation was chosen as the 2023 Nonprofit of the Year by California State Senator Tom Umberg. Each year, legislators across California honor a Nonprofit of the Year in their district that best represents the role that the organization plays in making our communities better places to live, work, and thrive. Umberg stated, "Because of Orangewood’s efforts, thousands of individuals, families, and children have access to the necessary resources to prepare them for their futures and to be effective, contributing members of society.”

Chris Simonsen, CEO, participated in the 2017 Executive Learning Group.

Families Forward hosted Danielle Cameron, Director, Program Development, and Nicole Garcia, Director of CalAIM Outreach for a tour of their newest affordable housing property, The Bungalows. California Advancing and​ Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) is a long-term commitment to transform and strengthen Medi-Cal, offering Californians a more equitable, coordinated​, and person-centered approach to maximizing their health and life trajectory.​​​​CalOptima's recent Capacity Building & Infrastructure grant will make a huge impact on the families they serve and the partnership will continue to make a positive difference in the lives of families facing homelessness.

Natalie Rodolfo, Grant Compliance Manager, and Hanna Ibrahim, Affordable Housing Manager, have participated and are currently a member of the 2023 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, and Nishtha Mohendra is currently being coached in the Executive Coaching Program.

Exciting news to share with you about the future of 2-1-1 Orange County! After many months of discussions, the 211OC Board of Directors voted to enter into an agreement with Orange County United Way to acquire 211OC. Aligning 211OC with Orange County United Way will result in greater benefits for our region and the people they serve. They have finalized the many steps necessary to make this acquisition possible and are awaiting final approval from the California Attorney General, which is anticipated to happen in early July 2023. 

In the meantime, they are collaborating closely to align the teams and resources to ensure a seamless transition for all. Rest assured, there will be no interruption in service and anyone in the community who needs support can continue to dial 211 to receive help.

Erin DeRyke from 2-1-1 Orange County recently graduated from the 2023 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group,

Girls Inc. of Orange County’s mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold, by offering research-based programs for girls ages 5 to 18; including the program SmartUps- a four-week summer program that teaches girls in the third through sixth grades how to create a business plan. The girls learn introductory and advanced principles of business, take field trips to local businesses, hear from guest speakers and eventually participate in a business showcase and pitch event similar to “Shark Tank.” The girls present their businesses to investors, vying for “capital” to start their business.

Lucy Santana, CEO, participated in the 2002 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, was coached in 2004 and became a coach in 2021 in Executive Coaching Program. Irene Samadoff, Director of Finance, participated in the 2022 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and is currently being coached, and Cristina Ynez, Operations Manager, participated in the 2023 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

We look forward to welcoming Emerald Archer, Ph.D., the new Chief Program Officer of Girls Inc. to our Network. Dr. Archer has spent the last 14 years championing gender equity in higher education, with career highlights that include designing a women’s and gender studies program at Mount Saint Mary’s University and developing workshops and events that advanced STEM and leadership opportunities for thousands of female students.

Working Wardrobes CEO, Bonni Pomush, was a member of American Advertising Federation Orange County’s (AAF OC) “How Women Rise” panel. They discussed overcoming obstacles faced by women in the advertising industry and their roles in shifting that paradigm, making the workforce more accessible to women. The crux of the issue, the panelists agreed, is a lack of flexibility in the modern workplace.  Bonni shared the tactics Working Wardrobes employed to adapt to employee needs. A non-traditional, 9-80 work schedule, hybrid/remote work, and professional development opportunities allow the organization to meet staff where they are, much like the organization does for clients. By “taking care of [their] people,” Working Wardrobes has earned the designation of “Best Places to Work” by the Orange County Business Journal two years in a row. Working Wardrobes recognizes that the workforce is composed of diverse individuals with unique needs. The organization boasts a lineage of strong, female leaders, determined to pave the way for women to experience the dignity of work, without sacrifice, starting at the top with Bonni. 

Bonni is a recent graduate of the 2023 Executive Learning Group.

Our very own Robin Sinclair was featured in The Faces of Newport Beach.. As ambassadors, they tell the story of their community through the faces and voices of the people that live there. They introduce great people to each other and the world, one smiling face at a time. Please join us in celebrating our Chief Facilitator through The Faces of Newport Beach.

To view the entire article, click here.

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

achievements in the community.

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