Cohort Reflections

Meditation Mount

Sheila Norman Community Education Administrator – Ventura County Fire Department The driving force behind me applying to Ventura County Leadership Academy (VCLA) was to get out of my comfort zone and expand my personal effectiveness. However, this opportunity comes with anxiety and feelings of unworthiness- not knowing what to expect or what would be expected…

Freska International Immersion

Dr. Jesus Vaca Superintendent – Somis Unified School District It was a pleasure joining Jesus “Chuy” Loza, CEO of FRESKA Produce International located in Oxnard, CA for my recent VCLA immersion activity. My biggest “aha moment” was realizing the amount of revenue made by a small, local company. Established in 2004, they made over 100…

Immersion in the Law

Waheed Akberzie Clinical Project Manager – SetPoint Medical I know nothing about the law and didn’t study to become a lawyer. So why was I in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office? As an incoming member of Ventura County Leadership Academy ‘s Cohort XXIX, we’re required to complete an immersion activity that challenges myself and…

First-Aid for Mental Illness

Michelle Rogers Community Outreach and Education Manager – Camarillo Health Care District Last fall, a friend I had known since I moved to Ventura County in 2016 was displaying signs of what I thought might be early dementia. She was forgetful, confused at times, the stories and information she shared were inconsistent and oftentimes didn’t…

Community Engagement in Public Safety

Marleen Canniff Human Services Agency, Communications Manager – County of Ventura I have no doubt that Cohort XXVIII’s recent session visiting the Todd Road Jail facility and the City of Ventura Police Department left positive impressions and maybe even gave us all a new perspective on public safety and policing in Ventura County. All too…

Daring Fearlessly

Deanna Weik Human Services Agency, HR Director – County of Ventura “High stakes. Political powerbrokers. Government insiders. Public affairs. There were multiple prominent and substantive speakers at our Sacramento session, but Jennifer Fearing’s presentation stood out the most to me. Not because she’s a fellow UC Davis alumnus, but because of why she launched Fearless…