Celebrating 20th Anniversary Class of Katherine Harvey Fellows

By Ann Pieramici   |   November 19, 2021
Members of the 2019-20 Katherine Harvey Fellows cohort. (Sarita Relis Photography photo)

The Katherine Harvey Fellows program marked its 20th anniversary in a joint celebration held recently that also honored the 2019-20 cohort, who completed the 18-month training last year but delayed the culmination ceremony because of COVID-19.

The Katherine Harvey Fellows program invests in local leaders motivated to make change in the community. Created in 1999 by the Santa Barbara Foundation, the program was later acquired by Leading From Within, where it continues to flourish with the financial support of the foundation.

“We created the Katherine Harvey Fellows program with the idea of getting for-profit leaders involved in the nonprofit sector, and over 20 years we’ve had an impressive array of graduates, who now serve in schools, government, and the legal and business sectors,” said Jim Morouse, board trustee at Leading From Within and the Santa Barbara Foundation. Morouse also served as a facilitator along with Jennifer Hooten for the 2019-20 cohort.

“This cohort is amazing, and I hope they are now feeling supercharged to continue their good work in the community,” Morouse said. “This is the beginning of their engagement in Santa Barbara, and it’s especially fulfilling for me as a teacher to see how these professionals can live out their values and benefit the communities they serve.”

“I am so proud of the work that is being done to develop the leadership network throughout our county,” Jackie Carrera, president of the Santa Barbara Foundation, said as she welcomed the 19 graduates and their supporters to her home. She credited the ongoing strength of the program to many, but in particular to the steadfast leadership of Morouse and Ken Saxon.

“I hope you take the things you learned about issues, people, and the potential that exists in our community, and connect and remain engaged in the work,” Carrera said. She also encouraged the cohort to pay it forward and help others get involved. “It takes a lot of people to deal with the big issues confronting our community.”

“We are at a significant juncture with our 20th anniversary coinciding with a post-pandemic year and the completion of our strategic plan,” said Ed France, executive director of Leading From Within. “It’s an opportune time to evaluate the needs of our community with a fresh lens to ensure that the program is best addressing the demands for volunteer leadership in community-driven organizations.”

The Katherine Harvey Fellows program supports a vibrant community of leaders who help nourish and sustain organizations that are doing some of the most important work in the community. Their causes and professional backgrounds are diverse, from addressing education and environmental issues to providing health care and financial services and more.

“I got to see the great work that others are doing in our community,” said Tara Armbruster, vice president at AppFolio. “That is what the Katherine Harvey Fellows program embodies for me — seeing great people who can come together and show what’s possible in our community.”

“I don’t often have the opportunity to interact with those outside of the medical profession,” said Angela Hsu, a pediatric physician at Cottage Hospital. “This experience opened my eyes to many of the service industries and the people behind them who are committed to improving our community.”

Thanks to the Katherine Harvey Fellows program, participant Sumit Singh, product manager at Google Cloud, was able to leverage the connections and expertise of the vast Leading From Within network to conduct two local pilots related to his nonprofit startup, GLEN World, aimed at increasing English literacy.

Katherine Harvey Fellows Holly Gil, from left, Stephanie Ramirez Zarate, Michelle Weinman and Daniel Parra Hensel. (Sarita Relis Photography photo)

“Leading From Within enabled my team to leverage the thriving community of passionate local leaders to join us and help young English learners in our community with early English literacy and school readiness,” Singh said.

The pilots reached about 35 students at both Isla Vista Youth Projects and the Lompoc Unified School District, already making an impact locally.

“There is so much local talent that exists in our community, and part of our job is to identify that talent, and provide an opportunity that allows it to grow, develop and shine,” Santa Barbara Foundation board member Michael Young said.

Members of the 2019-20 Katherine Harvey Fellows cohort are Tara Armbruster, AppFolio; Kristin Boehm, KIVA Cowork; Yvonne Castillo, Perseverance Physical Therapy; Jeff Cole, Pearly; Holly Gil, Santa Barbara Unified School District; Tyson Halseth, Pacific Pride Foundation; Cody Howen, SeaVees; Daniel Parra Hensel, SBCC Environmental Horticulture; Angela Hsu, Cottage Hospital; Briana Miller, UCSB; Samantha Onnen, Santa Barbara Airbus; Helen Perez, Berquist Wang, LLC;  Michelle Perry, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; James Rymel, Makse Group; Sasha Santillan, First Republic Bank; Ali Schiller, Accountability Works; Sumit Singh, Google Cloud; Michelle Weinman, Fauver, Large, Archbald & Spray, LLP; Stephanie Ramirez Zarate, HOPE.

Program and 20th anniversary sponsors include the Santa Barbara Foundation, AppFolio, Arlington Financial Advisors, Certis Capital, HG Insights, Kiva Cowork, Maps.com and Macfarlane, Faletti & Co.

Founded in 2008, Leading From Within invests in people who drive and create change in Santa Barbara County. Its leadership programs, alumni education and impact networks cultivate leaders who are renewed, prepared, connected and collaborating for the greater good.

Alana Walczak (CALM CEO and KHF alum), Joanne Rapp (mentor), Ken Saxon (board president/founder) and Jim Morouse (instructor).


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