October 2021
Leaders in the Field
Zonta International believes in making the world a better place by empowering women. Zonta stands for women’s rights and advocate for equality, education and an end to child marriage and gender-based violence. 

Members of our Network were asked to speak at two different break-out sessions at their 2021 District 9 Conference, held at the Westin South Coast Plaza.

Wendy Weeks, Corporate and Institutional Giving Director with Girl Scouts of Orange County, was a conference planning committee member and is an active member of Zonta District 9. Wendy participated in the 2016 Executive Learning Group and is a Creative Encounters by Fieldstone facilitator.

Madelynn Hirneise, Chief Executive Officer of Families Forward, was a panelist on the seminar, "Your club is going great work in your community, but how do you get the word out and let others know?" highlighting best practices for content marketing, public relations and journalism. Maddie was a member of the 2017 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, the 2021 Executive Learning Group and the 2020 Executive Coaching Program.

Robin Sinclair, Executive Director for Fieldstone Leadership Network, presented an interactive workshop, "You've Stepped into Leadership...Now What" where participants explored what’s next in their leadership journey and how they can continue to walk this path. Robin was a member of the 2008 Executive Learning Group and the 2009 Executive Coaching cohort.

Thank you to Wendy Weeks for facilitating this fantastic leadership experience!
Newport Beach will soon have its own mobile mental health service response team with the approval of a $1.2-million contract between the city and Mind OC, the nonprofit that operates Be Well OC.
The Newport Beach City Council unanimously approved the contract Tuesday night, with Councilwoman Diane Dixon describing the contract as “hopefully the last link — the missing link — that we can really serve the people. ... we’re doing our part for Orange County.”

The Be Well OC partnership is expected to launch in December and will mirror services offered in Huntington Beach, which officially launched the first such mobile crisis response team with Be Well OC in September. It will initially be a one-year pilot program.

Lauren Brand, Director of Operations, participated in the 2016 Executive Learning Group, was trained as a Coach in 2017 Executive Coaching Program, is a Creative Encounters by Fieldstone facilitator and participated in the 2019-2021 Leadership Reading Group. Valerie Fryer, Director of Finance, participated in the 2021 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and is a current member of the 2021-22 Leadership Reading Group.
An Irvine-based homeless nonprofit is partnering with Irvine Valley and Saddleback community colleges to help students experiencing food and housing insecurity.

South County Outreach is taking over the schools’ food pantries to provide students with much-needed sustenance as they work to get their degrees. Starting this fall semester, the nonprofit is also offering a program allowing Saddleback College students to apply for housing in South County Outreach’s 17 condominiums. The pilot program is considered the first of its kind for the school.

LaVal Brewer, President & CEO, participated in the 2017 Executive Learning Group.
The Muckenthaler Motor Car Festival is the oldest and longest running car show in North Orange County, and like most events, it’s not the same on Zoom. The festival switched to a virtual format in 2020 due to COVID-19, but this year returned as an in-person event at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton.

To read more about it, click here.

Farrell Hirsch, Chief Executive Officer, was a participant in the 2019 Executive Learning Group.
Homes are what people need, but not everyone has a home to call their own.

United Way's Welcome Home OC Program has connected more than 500 people with housing under Becks Heyhoe’s leadership. Her team has set up an ambitious goal of housing a total of 800 individuals by June 2022.

  • The program incentivizes property owners to rent to emergency housing voucher holders
  • The program includes financial incentives such as double security deposits, sign-on bonuses, holding fees and other assurances for landlords who rent units in Orange County to individuals, veterans and families
  • The program is a joint effort between the United to End Homelessness initiative, Orange County United Way, Public Housing Authorities and rental property owners

To watch the Spectrum news piece, click here.

Becks is the Executive Director with United to End Homelessness and was a member of the 2021 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.
Kristi Perez has earned her MA in Organizational Leadership from Concordia University Irvine. Kristi is the Founder & Director of Inspire Life Skills Training, Inc. Inspire exists to break the cycle of abuse and poverty through stable housing, education, training, and mentorship of foster and homeless youth.

Kristi participated in the 2008 and 2015 Executive Learning Group, was coached in 2014 Executive Coaching Program, was a member of the 2017 Leadership Reading Group and is a frequent attendee of Fieldstone@4.
The Youth Center has been named 2021 Best Nonprofit in Los Alamitos by OCNN and received the 2021 Top-Rated Nonprofit Award. The Youth Center's mission is to transform children’s lives one family at a time through collaborative social, educational and recreational programs.

The Youth Center welcomes Maryam Guirao (pictured) their new Director of Development, who has lived in the Los Alamitos community for over 25 years and joined their team this month.

Lina Lumme, Executive Director, participated in the 2018 Executive Learning Group.
Team Kids just launched a service project for youth/families to serve following the recent oil spill. Team Kids Unite empowers youth through service, helping their emotional well-being by keeping them connected to community issues from anywhere in the world. Children complete “challenges” designed to help them think creatively about making an impact in their communities. For more information, click here.

Julie Hudash, Founder/CEO, was coached in the 2005 Executive Coaching Program.
The Board of Directors of the Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County is pleased to announce that they selected the Orange County Human Relations Council as their 2021 Community Leadership Award Recipient.
The board highlighted OC Human Relations for its 30 Years of significant impact and positive influence on the African American and minority business and education communities in Orange County.
The Community Leadership Award is given to individuals and groups in the Southern California community who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting and enhancing the quality of life for African Americans and other underrepresented minorities.
Their banquet celebration was held virtually on Thursday, October 14th.

Alison Edwards, CEO, participated in the 2008 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and was coached in the 2013 Executive Coaching Program, and Don Han, Director of Operations participated in the 2013 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and was coached in the 2013 Executive Coaching Program.
Brenda Rodriguez, Executive Director of Affordable Housing Clearinghouse is hosting the organization’s 30 year anniversary. Since she was hired 12 years ago, the organization has successfully participated in Neighborhood Revitalization efforts during the housing recession, promoted homeownership, developed affordable single family homes, became a HUD Certified Housing Counseling Agency and assisted with foreclosure prevention. She is an advocate for affordable homeownership for low to moderate income families and the organization offers services in English/Spanish/Vietnamese. Brenda is also proud to serve on related boards in Orange County.

Brenda participated in the 2015 Executive Learning Group and was coached in the 2017 Executive Coaching Program.
After Vital Link’s success in launching Pedal-ED, Dr. Brian Dozer visited several community college campuses, the Orange County Department of Education, Coastline ROP, Newport Mesa Unified School District, and Edison High School in Huntington Beach on Friday, October 22. The Pedal-ED campaign raised nearly $6,000 for scholarships.
Funding will empower Career Technical Education (CTE) students in need who are enrolling in Orange County community colleges, helping to cover expenses so they can attend as full-time students. Additionally, Pedal-ED showcases the CTE programs available through junior and senior high schools, Regional Occupational Programs, and community colleges.

Neda Arab, Senior Director of Programs, participated in the 2021 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group. Misha Houser, Fundraising and Development Coordinator, is in the 2021-2022 Leadership Reading Group.
Pretend City celebrated White Cane Safety Day with friends from Beyond Blindness! This important day celebrates the independence and ability of those who are visually impaired.
Beyond Blindness hosted interactive activities that provided awareness and appreciation for those who live with visual challenges.

Angie Rowe, CEO with Beyond Blindness, was a member of the 2021 Executive Learning Group and is a participant in the 2021-22 Leadership Reading Group, and Kevin Fuhrmann, Director of Fund Development, participated in the 2020 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and is being coached in the current Executive Coaching Program.
Veterans Legal Institute® (VLI) provides pro bono legal assistance to homeless and low income current and former service members to eradicate barriers to housing, healthcare, education, and employment and foster self-sufficiency.

VLI was highlighted by KCal9/CBS. To view the coverage, click here.

Antoinette Balta, Executive Director and Co-Founder, participated in the 2015 Executive Learning Group and KellyAnn Romanych, Deputy Executive Director, was coached in the 2019 Executive Coaching Program and participated in the 2020 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.
Pretend City Children's Museum announces Ellen Pais (pictured) as the new Executive Director for the growing organization. Passionate about children, Ellen has made a significant impact in early childhood and K-12 education by focusing on building collaborative education systems where parents and teachers integrate with community partners to meet the needs of children and their families. The museum’s goal is to ensure that children get the experiences necessary for success in school and a productive future. She is excited to join the highly trained professional staff in this continued effort.

Sandra Bolton, former Executive Director, participated in the 2013 Executive Learning Group and was a member of the 2017 Leadership Reading Group. Leslie Perovich, Chief Operating Officer, participated in the 2002 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and the 2003 Executive Coaching Program. Sue Harrison, Chief Development Officer, was coached in the 2019 Executive Coaching Program.
Mara James, Founder and CEO of Extraordinary Lives Foundation is grateful that children's mental health is finally getting the awareness it deserves.

Fritz Coleman came out with his own story, allowing Extraordinary Lives Foundation to remove the stigma around mental health challenges. ELF is excited to partner with Fritz Coleman to raise awareness and funds to support children and their families on their mental health journeys.

To read more about this collaboration, click here.

Mara will be coached in the 2022 Executive Coaching Program.
The volunteer Board of Directors of Project Independence has named Robert Watson (pictured), a seasoned professional with many years of experience working with adults with developmental disabilities, the Costa Mesa-based organization’s new chief executive officer. Stepping up from his role as associate director, he replaces current CEO Debra Marsteller, who is retiring after helming the organization for nearly 40 years.

In 2007, after 26 years leading former Vantage Foundation and building the first integrated work supports system for people with the most complex lives, Marsteller joined with Watson in conducting a successful merger with Project Independence that seamlessly blended the two programs into one, keeping the focus on those served while promoting independence and choice. To read the press release, click here.

Debra was a member of the 2008 Executive Learning Group and has been an active member of the Leadership Reading Group for two years.
Leaders in the Field is a monthly communication highlighting Fieldstone Leadership Network members and their
achievements in the community.

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