Housing, Oh Housing…

​Dan Hulst Preserve Director, Ventura Land Trust Housing, oh housing. Why art thou so challenging? On a particularly warm Friday in March, VCLA Cohort 27 gathered for our 7th session. Focusing on Public Health and Social Services, the day began at the Ventura County Human Service Agency where we heard from distinguished leaders in the…

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Step Up & Run


​Bev Dransfeldt Elected Director, Pleasant Valley Recreation & Parks Board Ventura County Leadership Academy has been such a moving, wonderful program filled with so much eye-opening information, inspirational speakers and a legendary cohort. I counted down the months until the Sacramento trip and had everything ready to go early on. Pattie Braga, our fearless leader,…

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Don’t Let Your Title Define Who You Are

DAnna Michelle

​Michelle D’Anna Community Relations Officer, City of Camarillo “Don’t let your title define who you are.” Let that sink in for a minute. At first, this statement struck me as an odd way to begin a conversation with a room full of professionals who are embarking on a leadership journey. Are we not a diverse cohort…

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Mexicans Don’t Sing About Their Horses

Canko Robert

Robert E. Canko NAM Sustainability & Outreach ManagerBayer – U.S. Crop Science VCLA’s Cohort 27 Legends convened at the Oxnard Union High School District for our sixth session on the first Friday of February 2022.  We enjoyed a wildly enlightening day on the topic of education in Ventura County from a wide cast of selfless…

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Learning a Little About My New Home

Gutierrez Richard

Richard Gutierrez Chief Financial Officer, Casa Pacifica VCLA Cohort XXVII Being accepted into this year’s Ventura County Leadership Academy has been such a benefit to me already.  Being new to the area in the time of Covid has made getting to know my new home very difficult. When I learned of this program, I jumped…

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Playing Our Part in Water Conservation

lagerquist kirk

Kirk Lagerquist Chief Staff Officer, US Navy VCLA Cohort XXVII We recently completed our fourth session of VCLA in early December 2021, where we focused on Water, Utilities and the Environment.  I found the day to be quite fascinating, particularly the water, refuse and utilities portions.  As a career Civil Engineer Corps officer, I have…

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Balancing Two of Ventura County’s Biggest Challenges

Peschka Darrin

Darrin Peschka Ventura County Transportation Commission, Government and Community Relations Program Manager What are two of the biggest challenges facing Ventura County? Jobs and affordable housing.That’s what I took away from the third session of the Ventura County Leadership Academy, when Cohort XXVII took a dive into housing and the local economy. If you’ve been…

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Session Review of the Economy & Transportation

Thompson meridith

Meridith Thompson Assistant Controller, The Trade Desk The November 2021 cohort 27 session was jam-packed with regional information about transportation, housing and how the two intersect. We started our day in Ventura, with a series of speakers that focused on leadership and housing-relates topics.  Tracylee Clarke lead us in a discussion of leadership styles, challenging…

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The Crisis of the Unhoused in Thousand Oaks

Reyes Atticus

Atticus Reyes Field Representative, Office of CA State Assemblymember Steve Bennett VCLA Cohort XXVII The second session of VCLA consisted of community outreach projects where we were all split into small groups and dispersed across different cities of Ventura County to learn about their issues and report back to the cohort. This was quite an…

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