As you read this, someone in your community is considering a program or policy that will affect you and others: perhaps a land use decision, or a tax increase or decrease, or whether or not to subsidize low-income wage earners. Every day leaders in public agencies, businesses, and institutions around us make decisions that affect us and the environment and economy we live in. These decisions will make our world more or less sustainable. 

How can these decision makers – elected, appointed, business, non-profit, or otherwise chosen – make and defend policies that are the best solutions for a sustainable future?

  • They need accurate, reliable, and current scientific and economic information
  • They need a network of colleagues and supporters who can help articulate their message
  • They need encouragement and recognition that the struggle for sustainable outcomes is worth the effort

Here is how the Leadership Institute supports our leaders:

Leadership for a Sustainable Future

Leadership for a Sustainable Future is a 10-month course that helps participants deepen their understanding of Sonoma County’s key public policy issues and opportunities. Participants clarify their vision for a more just and sustainable future, meet other concerned leaders, and discover their role in building a better community. Our goal is to inspire and enable leaders to create an environmentally friendly, economically sound, and socially equitable community.

Leadership Alumni Network 

A Network of colleagues: The Leadership Alumni Network provides ongoing education, information, and other resources to graduates of the Leadership Institute's programs. While all graduates have access to the programs of the Institute, membership in the Alumni Network has additional benefits to make your continued evolution as a leader in sustainability possible.

Sustainability Ambassadors

The Sustainability Ambassador of Sonoma County program is a certification course that trains front-line workers in the hospitality and tourism industries.  Workers who complete the course will learn about sustainable practices occurring in Sonoma County and how to communicate with customers about these issues both on a community level and from the perspective of their own business.

Speakers Series

The Leadership Institute's Speakers Series features eight evenings of networking and information intended to stimulate discussion, develop connections, and inspire work around issues related to the environment, economy, and social equity. 

Youth Education Programs

The Leadership Institute’s new youth education programs below are designed for high school and community college students to engage their capacity for leadership, help them become career ready, gain tools and resources for social change, and expand their knowledge of holistic sustainability.

Seeds of Resilience

Seeds of Resilience is a free service to teachers connecting the academics of the California Common Core State Standards with real-world examples and sustainability issues in Sonoma County and abroad. Accessing over 450 experts from the Institute’s Fellows Network, Seeds of Resilience connects classrooms with local, regional, and national experts in sustainability-related industries and fields. The Institute, essentially acting as a speakers bureau, facilitates 2 hour seminars and hands-on activities that use issues such as energy use and behavior, land use decisions, environmental conservation, and disadvantaged communities to achieve desired curriculum outcomes. High schools participating in this program deepen their students’ understanding of key public policy issues and career opportunities while gaining a clear vision for a just and sustainable future. Seeds of Resilience is part of embedding sustainability into the educational system. 

Resilience Rising: Leaders Academy for Sustainable Community

Resilience Rising: Leaders Academy for Sustainable Community is an intensive, four-week summer program, in partnership with Santa Rosa Junior College, for high school and community college students. Students receive applied leadership and career training in areas such as public speaking, advocacy, and project management while addressing key environmental justice, social equity, and economic issues in Sonoma County and abroad. Students are engaged in the decision-making process by addressing local community concerns, such as climate change and land use conflicts, identifying disadvantaged communities, and advancing community improvements such as pedestrian and bike friendly neighborhoods, local farm to table systems and alternative energy use and behaviors.