VCLA History

A Valuable Partnership

From its inception in 1994 until 2016, Ventura County Leadership Academy (VCLA) operated as a special program under the United Way of Ventura County. Today, VCLA remains Ventura County’s only countywide leadership training organization. VCLA is a vital partner of United Way’s mission to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of the community through public and private engagement. VCLA recognizes the valuable assistance United Way of Ventura County has provided in its growth.

united way ventura county

Photo 1: VCLA Board members Pattie Braga and Mike Paule signing MOU with United Way of Ventura County President CEO Eric Harrison.

Photo 2: UWVC Board President Tom Cohen, VCLA Board Members Pattie Braga and Mike Paule and UWVC  President CEO Eric Harrison.

VCLA's Founder

Dr. Priscilla Partridge de Garcia

"Priscilla was a human tornado – she moved fast, had a lot to say, and had clear ideas about the right thing to do and, more importantly, what was right.  She was President of Casa Pacifica’s Board of Directors for a year and played a key leadership role for six years.  She had great instincts and an uncanny ability to read people.  Priscilla was prolific in bringing us Board members and supporters – many of whom subsequently moved into leadership positions on our Board or Auxiliary. She was a committed and passionate person – nothing she did was half-hearted.  She was a connector and, in many ways, VCLA embodies her passion and her spirit.  We were fortunate to have her in our lives for as long as we did."

- Steve Elson

"When you take an extended trip with someone, you really see who a person truly is; all their good and bad habits. Dr. Priscilla and I attended the International Women's Forum together in the fall of 2016 in Chicago, and this is what I learned: Priscilla is generous; with her time, her money, her knowledge, but most importantly, with her heart. She loved unconditionally.  She did not judge. She was thoughtful. She LOVED chocolate, and when she traveled, she packed the best candy.  In her day-to-day life, she was constantly in service to others, putting them before herself, as her faith guided her to.  She had an incredible sense of humor and could laugh at herself, something I wish more of us could do.  And finally, she was fun and embraced life like no one I’ve ever seen.  Dr. P was my mentor, friend, confidante, and fellow troublemaker.  Spending time with her was a joy for me, not only because of all that I was able to learn from her but because she shared so much of herself with me…including the candy."

- Pattie Braga

"Dr. P was a true renaissance woman! She lived her life with passion, humor, compassion and she cared deeply about her community. As she gathered a few other community leaders to found VCLA 26 years ago, her intention was to leave Ventura County a better place. This year, VCLA will graduate their 24th cohort, validating her dream of creating a community of future and seasoned leaders. Priscilla was an expert at getting people to do what she wanted them to do! She could pick up the telephone and tell someone to write a check, bring a couple of bottles of wine or attend an event; and they would happily comply. Dr. P was a blessing in my life. My only regret is that I lived in Camarillo for almost 20 years before I had the pleasure of meeting her. I wish I had met her the day I relocated to Ventura County; I am certain the trajectory of my life would have been much different."

- Patty Brown

Dr P
Pattie Braga
Patty and Dr. P