August 2022

Leaders in the Field

Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens was on the cover of the San Clemente Times in anticipation of its 95th Birthday! 

A 1927 historical landmark and major cultural institution in South Orange County, Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens is a place for people of all ages to enjoy the arts, culture and rich history of Southern California. The article provides a brief history of the estate and the year-round events Casa Romantica offers. The reporter highlighted D. Yoder Family Sundays: Coffee Concerts, and the upcoming "Endless Summer" event theme.

Amy Behrens, Executive Director, participated in the 2020 Executive Learning Group and is currently coached in our 2022 Executive Coaching Program.

Strategic Planning was discussed at one of our 2022 Executive Learning Group sessions. Jeff Ahlberg, Executive Director with My Safe Harbor, was invited to share best practices and a lively discussion followed. Dave Lugo, a learning group participant, and CEO of MOMS Orange County, asked if Jeff could come to his organization at a later date. Jeff spent the day with Dave, his leadership team and board of directors, and took them through the beginning stages of their three-year strategic plan.

Dave shared, "Jeff exceeded my expectations and kept our board focused, while challenging them with questions none of us had even pondered." 

What a fabulous collaboration...and truly speaks to the power of the Network!  

Jeff participated in the 2019 Executive Learning Group and is a trained Creative Encounters by Fieldstone facilitator and Dave recently graduated from the 2022 Executive Learning Group.

Be Well OC recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Be Well Mobile Response Team in Huntington Beach. This team has been instrumental in serving the City of Huntington Beach, providing in-community assessment and stabilization services for those experiencing behavioral health and substance use challenges. They are one step closer to bringing optimal mental health and wellness to all Orange County residents. 

Lauren Brand, Executive Director of Operations of Be Well OC participated 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 GroupsAnita Lewicke, Campus Operations Manager, participated in the 2022 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

One year ago, OC Human Relations decided as a board and leadership team, to raise all starting salaries and provide an additional two weeks of restoration time to take at any point during the year. Their only ask was that folks completely unplug during this “pause.”

Their leadership was a bit nervous - “What are we going to tell our funders? What if our grants don’t get done in time?” But now, their take is that they should go out and brag about it! The vast majority of their workforce are impacted by the same issues they’re trying to address: prejudice, intolerance and discrimination in the Orange County community. They are hoping this sparks a ripple effect away from the scarcity mindset within nonprofits and a step into abundance.

Alison Lehmann Edwards, CEO, participated in the 2008 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and was coached in the 2013 Executive Coaching Program.

Anne Olin with Charitable Ventures recently sat down with Shawna Smith, Executive Director at Hope Builders for their podcast, The Economy of Good, to talk about the social impact evolution of her 'heart work' and how it has turned into a nationally recognized business model - balancing leadership and spending precious time with kids between zoom meetings post-COVID.


To listen to the entire podcast, click here.


Shawna participated in the 2008 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, was coached in 2009 and became an Executive Coach in 2013.

Through their partnership with Camp 4 Kids, HomeAid Orange County sponsored 26 Thomas House Family Shelter and HomeAid Family CareCenter youth at their week-long sleep away camp in Big Bear, giving kids the opportunity to better understand themselves, develop problem-solving skills, independence, confidence, and strength of character all while having lots of fun!

Gina Cunningham, Executive Director of HomeAid, was a long time YMCA kid as a camper, counselor-in-training, counselor and ultimately director. Gina often states, “Everything I ever needed to know in life, I learned at camp. Participating at campfire and chapel helped me become a public speaker, and counseling a cabin filled with 12 girls taught me how to be a leader. Having the opportunity to send children from our partner agencies to the magical week at camp every year is my dream!” 

Pictured with Gina is Joshua Galindo, part of the first family that came through the HomeAid Family CareCenter five years ago.

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

Each year, Orange County United Way meets one-on-one with hundreds of local low-income families to develop personal financial plans that help them increase their income, reduce debt, improve credit, and build assets to create a brighter future for themselves and their families.

This year, they will serve even more Orange County families! Orange County United Way was one of 12 selected to receive a CalMoneySmart grant (out of 128 statewide applicants), which comes from the state and is given to nonprofits to support free financial education and empowerment programs throughout California. They will be able to assist even more hard-working OC families who are on the path to financial security through SparkPoint OC, their flagship financial literacy and coaching program offered as part of their United for Financial Security℠ initiative.

 Ann Truxaw Ramirez, Vice President, Grants and Contracts for Orange County United Way, participated in the 2002  Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group. Thao Ngo, Director of Accounting recently graduated from the 2022 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

Creative Encounters by Fieldstone was honored to participate in the Irvine Public Schools Foundation retreat bringing together their staff for the first time since the pandemic. Keegan Bell, Executive Vice President of IPSF shared, "Thanks again for an AWESOME day! It was greatly received and appreciated by the team…and a nice kickstart to bring the fun back into our team gatherings."

Keegan participated in the 2013 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, was coached in the 2021 Executive Coaching Program and will be a member of the 2022-2023 Leadership Reading Group.

New Yorker staffer and author Tad Friend was a guest on the podcast Writers on Writing, hosted by Leadership Reading Group facilitator Barbara DeMarco-Barrett. Tad's memoir, In the Early Times was Fieldstone’s book choice for June.

To listen to the show, click here.

Congratulations to Kevin Fuhrmann, Sunwest Bank's new Compliance Analyst, who will oversee their Community Reinvestment Act work. Creating meaningful relationships between business and nonprofits is a longtime passion of Kevin's, and he is eager to introduce SWB employees to organizations through service and giving across all the markets they serve.

Kevin participated in the 2020 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, was coached in the 2021 Executive Coaching Program and is a trained Creative Encounters by Fieldstone facilitator.

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.

Facebook  Instagram  Linkedin  Youtube