Educating, connecting, and mobilizing our region’s leaders.

Betsy Brennan, the new CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, wants to make downtown streets more inviting. So she asked for ideas from 30 executives assembled at the Downtown Library. It was Day 2 of LEAD San Diego’s INFLUENCE, a three-day intensive course on the region’s top issues. Hands shot up in the auditorium, and Brennan took note.

INFLUENCE is one of five programs offered by LEAD. After 36 years of civic and community leadership development in the San Diego region, last year LEAD joined the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce as an affiliate 501 c3 – and started its new chapter.

Shaping the next leaders

As the nonpartisan, leadership development arm of the Chamber, LEAD offers a diverse suite of programs designed to mobilize leaders by enhancing knowledge of key regional issues, strengthening personal leadership skills and establishing strong community connections.

“We have this incredible, exciting opportunity to shape our up and coming leaders by giving them the knowledge, tools and connections they need to make real, lasting change,” Elizabeth Fitzsimons, Vice President of Leadership & Engagement at LEAD and the Chamber shared with Giving Back Magazine.

LEAD’s highly selective programs are tailored to address specific needs for leaders from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, with a unified focus on key leadership qualities, such as collaboration, communication, vision and business acumen.

A diverse suite of programs

• Advance – A course specifically designed to empower and elevate women in the workplace.
• IMPACT San Diego – An immersive, 10-month program focusing on the issues and industries that are part of our region’s DNA. Participants also collaborate on a service project with a nonprofit.
• INFLUENCE San Diego – A three-day crash course on San Diego’s business and civic landscape.
• Public Leadership Institute – A comprehensive training program for business people who are interested in either elected or appointed public office.
• San Diego Young Leaders – A quarterly program designed to create community awareness and connect San Diego’s emerging leaders.

LEAD Alumni: connected and at work

The rewards of LEAD San Diego’s programs do not end when the program is complete. Through the Alumni Association, program participants continue their leadership journey via events featuring key decision-makers, personal leadership development, and networking opportunities with other graduates and current program participants. “We are at a time when more people are becoming engaged in social change, and they need help channeling that passion in a productive way. LEAD is here to help,” Fitzsimons said.

LEAD is developing a volunteer matching service, which pairs eager and prepared graduates with board service or volunteer opportunities to help advance the region. By joining, Alumni Association members are able to pay it forward and help contribute financial support of LEAD San Diego’s programming for future participants.

Community and Corporate Support

To provide its high-caliber programming, LEAD relies on the support of corporate and community partners. LEAD is grateful for and proud of its long-standing relationship with Southwest Airlines. This year, LEAD is honored to recognize Lidia Martinez, Southwest’s Manager of Community Affairs & Grassroots, as its Graduate of the Year.

LEAD’s Visionary Awards

On June 14, LEAD will celebrate individuals who are making a significant impact on our region at the 16th Annual Visionary Awards. Up to 1,000 civic, community, and business leaders attend this event. Leaders are recognized for lifetime achievement, regional collaboration, economic opportunity, cross-border collaboration and LEAD graduate of the year.

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