February 2024

Leaders in the Field

Over 9,000 Girl Scouts of Orange County will sell over one million packages of cookies this year in Orange County alone! The picture shows the mega delivery where troops picked up their first order of cookies at Wild Rivers in Irvine. For those of you buying Girl Scout cookies… you are participating in the largest girl-led entrepreneurship program in the world. Girls get hands-on practice with a variety of skills, including goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics as they learn to think like entrepreneurs. 


To learn more about distribution day, read the LA Times article here.


Vikki Shepp, CEO, is a current member of our Leadership Reading Group.

Kudos to Lauren Brand, Executive Director of Campus Operations at Be Well OC. Lauren was an invited speaker at the Perrin Conferences for lawyers. She shared valuable information about the psychological impact of gender bias and harassment in the workplace and how to prevent it.

Lauren participated in the 2016 Executive Learning Group, is a Creative Encounters by Fieldstone Facilitator, became a Coach in 2017, and participated in the 2019 and 2020 Leadership Reading Groups

Congratulations to Diana Hill, Executive Director of Pathways to Independence, and her husband Randy, who were honored by the Los Alamitos Education Foundation as the 2024 King and Queen at their Royal Gala. They were recognized due to their outstanding leadership of LAEF and their dedicated volunteerism on behalf of the youth in their community.

To read about their incredible list of contributions to LAEF, click here.

Diana participated in the 2023 Executive Learning Group and is being coached in the 2024 Executive Coaching Program.

HomeAid Orange County dedicated its newly renovated Robyne’s Landing development, a 4-bedroom home that will provide safe housing for six at-risk students from the Huntington Beach and Newport-Mesa Unified School Districts. The project is a partnership with Robyne’s Nest, and building partner, Boyes Construction. HomeAid’s unique business model partners with nonprofit service providers and the building industry to build housing and shelter at reduced costs. HomeAid does this through in-kind donations from the building industry of both labor and materials allowing the owner/nonprofit service provider to use the savings to provide services to those residing in the housing and shelter.

Yvette Ahlstrom, Housing Director, recently participated in the 2023 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

Lina Lumme, CEO of The Youth Center, was recently featured in the Podcast Ameritocracy with Troy Edgar. Lina candidly spoke about her 2003 journey to immigrate to the United States from Russia, when she arrived eight months pregnant, homeless, and with only $100 in her pocket. She shared her touching testimony of being connected at that time of desperation with the Precious Life Shelter, a Southern California-based nonprofit that provides residential and supportive services for homeless pregnant women. Through their support, her determination and lots of hard work, she forged a path from being homeless to becoming the CEO of The Youth Center.

You can listen to the entire podcast here.

Lina participated in the 2018 Executive Learning Group.

Congratulations to Carrie Buck, Executive Director of Family Solutions Collaborative for her recent appointment to the Orange County Housing and Community Development Commission. Their purpose is to provide advice to the Board of Commissioners of the Orange County Housing Authority as required by law, and to the Orange County Community Resources Department. This collaborative focuses on housing-related needs of low to moderately low-income families, including households experiencing homelessness. Additionally, they advise the Department on funding priorities for rental assistance, housing development, and community development.

Carrie is a current member of the 2024 Executive Learning Group.

Congratulations to Tiare Escobedo on her new position of Chief Operating Officer of WISEPlace, an Orange County-based nonprofit leading the effort to end homelessness for unaccompanied women. They provide women with safe shelter, counseling and mental health services, case management, addiction recovery, and employment assistance to help rebuild their lives. The women served often lack the support system of a spouse, significant other, or children. Nearly half are disabled and over 80% have experienced domestic violence, and nearly all have incomes well below the poverty line. These and other factors put the women they serve at a greater risk of becoming homeless.

Tiare participated in the 2023 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

Congratulations to Greg Bradbard, the new CEO of IEHP Foundation. Greg brings over 25 years of experience in nonprofit executive leadership and has a strong commitment to addressing the needs of vulnerable populations. He most recently served as President of the Hope Through Housing Foundation and Senior Vice President for National CORE . IEHP Foundation was established by Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) in 2021 to help improve the health and wellness of all residents across the region, regardless of Medi-Cal membership. In addition to establishing the Foundation as a leading philanthropic presence in the Inland Empire, Greg will be working closely with the health plan leadership to tackle some of the broad regional issues that affect both IEHP members and the community at large.


Greg participated in the 2000 Executive Learning Group and was coached in the 2010 Executive Coaching Program.

Congratulations to Tianna Haradon on her promotion to Chief Development Officer of The Wooden Floor. Tianna has worked towards this career and professional development goal over the past two years. This new role as the Chief Development Officer is a key frontline fundraising position to help expand The Wooden Floor’s fundraising and donor relations efforts in support of the organization’s mission to break the cycle of poverty through generational change by transforming the lives of youth in low-income communities through the power of dance and access to higher education.

Tianna participated in the 2020 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group

Waymakers has a new home! On February 14th, Waymakers hosted the Mayor of Irvine, members of the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce, and various dignitaries for a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the opening of their new office space, located at 440 Exchange, Ste. 250, Irvine 92602.

Ronnetta Johnson, CEO, participated in 2017 Executive Learning Group, became a coach in the Executive Coaching Program in 2021, and is a member of the 2023 and 2024 Leadership Reading Group. Melinda Ramos, CFO, participated in 2023 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

Congratulations to Network members who were nominated by the LA Times for the 2024 Orange County Inspirational Women Forum & Leadership Award: Isabel Becerra, The Coalition of OC Community Health Centers; Alison Edwards, Groundswell; Pamela Estes, Boys & Girls Clubs of Laguna Beach; Holly Hagler, Meals on Wheels Orange County; Madelynn Hirneise, Families Forward; Jessica Hubbard, Casa Youth Shelter; Julie Hudash, Team Kids; Mara James, Extraordinary Lives Foundation; Ronnetta Johnson, Waymakers; Taryn Palumbo, Orange County Grantmakers; Julie Perlin Lee, Laguna Art Museum; Bonni Pomush, Working Wardrobes; Maricela Rios-Faust, Human Options; Angie Rowe, Beyond Blindness; and Lucy Santana, Girls Inc. of Orange County.

A complete list of the nominees can be found here.

Congratulations to Habitat for Humanity of Orange County for raising $404,000 at their annual breakfast and awards ceremony, Building Dreams Breakfast. The event was attended by over 150 Orange County community leaders, supporters, volunteers and honored Board members Charles Antis, Founder and CEO of Antis Roofing and Waterproofing and John Boyle, President and CEO of the Automobile Club of Southern California. Money raised will support a host of future home building expenses including land acquisition, architects, design fees, permits, plus interior and exterior construction materials and labor to build new homes. With rising homeownership costs across the county, Habitat homes built in Orange County are available for qualifying families at a reduced purchase price, reduced mortgage interest rate based on 30-35% of their annual income and a reduced down payment. 

Michael Valentine, President & CEO, is currently participating in the 2024 Executive Learning Group.

Congratulations to Alzheimer's Association for being the third-ranked company of Forbes' list of America's Best Midsize Employers 2024! Many of their employees have been affected personally by the disease or know someone who has. This makes the organization’s mission—a world without Alzheimer’s and other dementia—all the more meaningful to staff members. In addition to the impact employees can have by supporting neurological research, helping those caring for loved one’s with Alzheimer’s and advocating for research funding, staffers also receive a robust benefits package, which includes considerable paid time off, medical and dental insurance plans, ongoing learning, professional development opportunities, and tuition reimbursement.

You can access the complete list of organizations here.

Deborah Levy, Executive Director, participated in the 2005 Executive Learning Group, was coached in the 2006 Executive Coaching Program.

Congratulations to Working Wardrobes Chief People and Operations Officer, Derek Benson, one of three finalists to receive the NHRA Orange County 2024 HR Executive of the Year Strategic Execution award. This award program is a premier Orange County event that recognizes high-performing human resources leaders and teams making a positive impact within their organization and industry. For the last four years, Derek has led with a vision of Working Wardrobes as an Employer of Choice. He has driven efficiency across all HR functions, ensuring compliance in organizational hiring and employment practices, improving the organization’s reputation, and enhancing the candidate and new hire experience. He embraces the energy of keeping it real, keeping it fun, and keeping the mission alive. 

Derek is participating in our informal COO Lunch & Learn program.

Casa Youth Shelter welcomes their new Director of Development, Megan Day. Megan brings over nine years of extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, having previously excelled in various roles at Alzheimer's Orange County. Starting as an Administrative Assistant of Outreach and Advocacy in 2014, she quickly rose through the ranks to become the Associate Vice President of Community Engagement. As Director of Development, she is committed to fostering a culture of kindness, integrity, and heartfelt connection. Her leadership philosophy emphasizes empowerment and active inclusion, ensuring that every member of the organization feels heard and valued. Her approach to development is not just about raising funds but about cultivating genuine relationships with supporters and staff.  We hope Megan joins a learning group soon!

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

achievements in the community.

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