December 2023

Leaders in the Field

Congratulations to Families Forward and a big shoutout to CalOptima Health for being a key partner in the mission to prevent and end family homelessness in Orange County! At the CalOptima Health Board of Directors meeting, Families Forward received a $2.5 million grant that will enable them to acquire a parcel of land in Tustin and build up to eight affordable housing units for families with minor-age children who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless.

Madelynn Hirneise, CEO participated in the 2019 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, was coached in the 2020 Executive Coaching Program and was in the 2021 Executive Learning Group. Nistha Mohendra, Chief Program Officer and Michele Silva, Chief Advancement Officer, were coached in the 2023 Executive Coaching Program.

Kudos to Be Well OC! Garden Grove Mayor Steve Jones shared his support for the program, “Since the inception of Be Well OC in Garden Grove Mobile Response Team, over 8,000 individuals experiencing homelessness, mental health issues, or substance abuse have received immediate in-community assessment and stabilization, with over 1,000 individuals transported to a sobering facility, crisis stabilization unit, or shelter. Our Be Well OC program, in collaboration with other City efforts demonstrates our commitment to providing assistance and resources to our underserved communities. We are grateful for Be Well OC’s valuable support and partnership as we continue to find effective solutions for homelessness and mental illness.”

Lauren Brand, Executive Director of Operations, 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. Christina Weissmann, Executive Assistant/Project Manager, participated in this year's 2023 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

Yesenia Ochoa, CEO of Multi-Ethnic Collaborative of Community Agencies (MECCA) was featured in the Our Community Podcast on where she shares information on how MECCA operates in Orange County.

To listen to this informative podcast, click here.

Yesenia participated in the 2023 Executive Learning Group. Rhiannon Doscher, Director of Programs, participated in the 2023 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

Lina Lumme, Executive Director/CEO of The Youth Center, was interviewed by Canvas Rebel where she shared how The Youth Center serves an underserved community. They believe that every child deserves an opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive, regardless of their background or circumstances.

To read the entire interview, click here.

Lina participated in the 2018 Executive Learning Group.

As Orangewood Foundation celebrated the birthday of their visionary leader, Chris Simonsen, Chris was also featured in Modern Luxury Riviera's Modern Man issue, a well-deserved recognition of his inspiring leadership and dedication. Join us in wishing Chris the happiest of birthdays and thanking him for his exceptional commitment to empowerment and positive change!

To read the article, click here.

Chris participated in the 2017 Executive Learning Group.

Congratulations to Lia Chacon on her promotion to Legal Advocacy Director for Laura's House. In her new role she will provide training and supervision to the team of legal advocates and volunteers, develop partnerships and collaborate with community-based partners, provide support for grants, participate and collaborate with statewide agencies in policy that support aspects of intimate partner violence, and develop growth in services within the legal advocacy department. 

Lia participated in the 2023 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group.

We love when our Network members get together! Brateil Aghasi, CEO of WisePlace, Kendra Chandler, Executive Director of ULI of Orange County/Inland Empire, and Gina Cunningham, Executive Director of HomeAid Orange County attended an inspiring luncheon together to hear from Scharrell Jackson at the Leadership in Heels event. They walked out with a renewed view for 2024 - what’s YOUR endgame?

Brateil participated in the 2013 Executive Learning Group, Kendra participated 2019 Executive Learning Group, was coached in the 2023 Executive Coaching Program, and is a Creative Encounters by Fieldstone facilitator, and Gina participated in the 2002 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group, was coached in the 2014 Executive Coaching Program, was a member of the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Leadership Reading Groups and participated in the 2021 Executive Learning Group.

Becks Heyhoe, Executive Director of United to End Homelessness with Orange County United Way, was featured in the OC Register, the Daily Pilot and the LAist this past month as she shines the light on homelessness in Orange County!

To read the OC Register article highlighting the Cal State Fullerton

summit addresses affordable-housing shortage, click here.

The Daily Pilot, op ed: Commentary: Hearing from those experiencing homelessness lights the best path forward, click here.

LAist article highlighting Veterans experiencing homelessness in Orange County, click here.

Becks participated in the participating in the 2021 Nonprofit Leaders Learning Group and was coached in the 2022 Executive Coaching Program.

Congratulations to Working Wardrobes, recognized by the L.A. Times as one of the "Top Rated Workplaces in Southern California." 

This is a testament to their unwavering commitment to both their clients and their dedicated staff. One of their core principles is the care and respect they extend to their clients should mirror the support and appreciation they offer their team. The career readiness services they provide stand on the pillars of individualization and dignity, and they understand that each person who walks through their doors brings with them a unique set of skills, experiences, and needs. It's this recognition of diversity that allows them the privilege of providing a genuine hand-up to individuals from all walks of life, irrespective of gender, background, or circumstance. 

Bonni Pomush, CEO, participated in 2023 Executive Learning Group and will be coached in the 2024 Executive Coaching Program.

Congratulations to Michael Valentine, the new Acting Chief Executive Officer of Habitat of Humanity for Orange County. With over a decade of service on the board and two + years as Board Chair, Michael’s dedication is unwavering. Michael’s roots in real estate run deep with more than 40 years’ experience. But it’s not just about the buildings for Michael; it’s about the families inside them. As Acting CEO, Michael’s mission is clear: Safe and affordable housing for Orange County families.

Michael will participate in the 2024 Executive Learning Group.

The Men of the Breakfast (M.O.B.), a program of the Orange County United Way, transformed one of their signature events into a Holiday Toy Drive for local families. This powerful philanthropic group never fails to generously provide for the community. Hosted by Singleton Classics, the M.O.B thrives in providing members with special access to unique experiences in Orange County and exposing attendees to opportunities to give back by Doing More 4 OC. Their collective support empowers our community’s most vulnerable families to transition from surviving to thriving. 

Huy Do, an FLN Board Member, was an invited guest at the festive breakfast.

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.

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