Ventura County Leadership Academy (VCLA)

Cohort XX (photo)

Members of VCLA Cohort XX

The Ventura County Leadership Academy (VCLA) is an initiative of United Way of Ventura County. The purpose of VCLA is to create opportunities to develop leaders who will enhance the quality of life in Ventura County. Specific objectives of the Ventura County Leadership Academy include:

  1. To create a leadership development program incorporating business, social services, education, community, government, and cultural issues throughout Ventura County;
  2. To promote the inclusion of diverse groups of individuals; and
  3. To broaden the awareness, understanding and appreciation of a variety of issues through contacts with community leaders, participation in workshops, field studies, and related programs, and exposure to critical issues affecting life in Ventura County.
History of the VCLA

The Ventura County Leadership Academy was founded in 1994 and has the purpose of developing a diverse group of leaders whose actions enhance the quality of life throughout Ventura County. The academy is sponsored in part by the United Way of Ventura County as a special program and is a member of the California Association of Leadership Programs. Through a curriculum that exposes participants to critical issues in our region, the experience provides opportunities to enrich one’s leadership capabilities that will ultimately enhance his/her participation in the community.

The curriculum includes focus sessions on regional issues related to education, public safety, economic development, health care, agriculture, the environment, transportation, as well as state and local government. The sessions are interactive with open dialogue between presenters and participants and include site visits, group projects, and research to further the understanding of the issues. In addition to the session topic curriculum, participants also undergo a leadership development curriculum that is integrated into each session.
The participants are involved in 10, full-day sessions where subject-matter experts and top-level administrators offer presentations on specific topics. They also travel to Sacramento for a three-day overview of state government, meetings and interaction with legislators, members of the Governor’s Staff and other legislative leaders at the State Capitol and various other sites.

VCLA has had twenty successful cohorts to date. Each leadership program starts in September with about 30+ motivated participants from various communities throughout the county. With backgrounds in business, economic and employment development, education, finance, local law enforcement, nonprofit organizations and social service, and science and technology, these participants represent the diversity that is Ventura County.

For questions and information, please contact:

Jill Shaffer, Executive Director
(805) 485-6288, ext. 260


VCLA Fillable Application 2015-16

VCLA Brochure Cohort XXI (2015)


In the News

United Way program has been creating Ventura County leaders for 20 years (5/16/05)


Pattie Braga, Chair

Cynthia Alexander

Melissa Baffa

Patty Brown

Tiffany Cicolello

George Corbin

Sharon Cromartie

Olga Diaz

Terrance Dixon

Rick Eberst

Susan Englund, United Way Liaison

Genevieve Evans Taylor

Tracy Hudak

James Joyce III

Linda Catherine Le

James Mason

Scott Mastroianni

Dr. Priscilla Partridge de Garcia

Andy Pattison

Mike Paule

Jennie Pittman

Sara Rivera

David Seagraves

Ashley Wagner

Jill Shaffer, VCLA Executive Director