LEAD Impact is described as a “master’s degree on San Diego,” but it goes well beyond our city’s boundaries to connect us with the businesses, non-profits, leaders and diversity that affect us most. We even crossed over the border into Mexico! This experience taught me that our region is more interconnected than ever and showed us tools to put thoughts and ideas into action. So much resonated with me throughout the past nine months, especially as a North County resident getting a meaningful grasp on all things San Diego. I was able to give back through our LEADership Action Team (LAT) project with OG Yoga, feel a greater gratitude for our military, and discover Mexico is not just known for their margaritas.
For our LAT project, our team created a strategic plan for a thriving non-profit called OG Yoga, who provides trauma-informed yoga to heal our most vulnerable populations. This project gave us the opportunity to put our learned skills into action. Our team developed sustainable goals for fundraising, partnerships, communications and their teacher training program to advance their long-term success. We all donated many personal hours and resources to support their efforts, which inspired us all to dive deeper into our own passions.
Having the freedom to volunteer your time and follow your heart makes me feel a particularly strong sense of gratitude for our military. In February, it was military and defense day at Naval Base Coronado. Did you know that 90% of the world’s commerce comes via water? As an Oceansider, I have familiarized myself over the years with the Marines at Camp Pendleton, so I was fascinated to learn more about the lives of our sailors. The Navy is protecting us on the sea, under the sea and over the sea throughout the world every day of the year. As I sat inside the cockpit of the Sea Hawk helicopter, I was overwhelmed by all of the buttons, let alone the concepts that our military deals with every day like finding solutions to “The Great Power Competition.” I trust the capable minds of our military and walked away from base feeling more thankful than ever.
Speaking of thankful, how lucky are we to share a border with a country whose thriving culture is just a short trolley stop away? For our grand finale we headed south to Mexico, where we spent the day touring Hunter Industries, and learning what impact we have on the Baja region. Spoiler alert: San Diegans are vital to the country’s many facets including medical resources, tourism, their economy and even environmental solutions, particularly in the Tijuana River Valley.
This all wouldn’t have had the same impact if it weren’t for all of my incredibly talented and driven peers, who take the initiative every day to make a difference. My thematic summary for my LEAD experience came from Assemblyman Todd Gloria, when he described that there are many opportunities to make a positive impact and taking a leap of faith for what is right can make all the difference.
Interested in the LEAD Impact program? Get more information, including application deadlines and program dates at https://sdchamber.org/lead/.