Victor Garza has been named president of the Board of Trustees of Leadership Santa Barbara County after three years as a trustee working as the recruitment chair since 2010.
Garza, head of the Downtown Parking Program at the City of Santa Barbara, believes passionately in the power of developing personal relationships, one of the great benefits the Leadership Santa Barbara County program offers local aspiring leaders.
A Class of 2004 alumnus of the program himself, Garza attributes much of his success to the skills and community awareness he learned as an LSBC student, which he has continued to develop during his time as a board member.
“The Leadership Santa Barbara County program continues to provide me with opportunities to work on my own leadership skills and to network with others in the community in ways that are not possible in my regular job,” Garza said.
LSBC’s benefit to the greater Santa Barbara community is also a source of pride for Garza, who knows firsthand that connecting community leaders of all generations and sectors results in more effective working relationships and a raised awareness of pressing local issues.
“Each year, our class members team up to run focus groups and seminars — we call them Topic Awareness Days — on Santa Barbara issues. The class decides on the specific topics it needs to focus on,” Garza said. “This year, we’re opening up those seminars to the public, which will really increase networking opportunities and help raise the awareness of the wider community about what’s going on in these areas.”
Garza explains that participating in LSBC focus groups and Topic Awareness Days is a great opportunity for experts on local issues to spread the word about their important work.
“Our community also benefits when a class member, so inspired by what they hear on a Topic Awareness Day, decides to become involved with community action work in that area for years to come,” he said.
With more than 400 alumni who have benefited from the program since it was founded in 1991, new class members are connected to a wide audience of community leaders.
This year’s LSBC class includes leaders of all ages, from business owners to engineers to nonprofit directors, and recently completed its first days in the program. Relly Nadler of True North Leadership, the program’s skills trainer, along with Garza and fellow members of LSBC’s working Board of Trustees, including curriculum co-chairs Monica Ballón-Kalinowski and Michael Osborn, guided the class through a team-building ropes course at Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, followed last Friday by an intensive, full-day emotional intelligence skills workshop.
“It’s going to be another great year,” Garza said. “The Class of 2013 is going to accomplish big things. And looking forward, the Leadership Santa Barbara County program will continue to grow and improve.”
— Summers Case is a member of Leadership Santa Barbara County’s Board of Trustees and a 2012 graduate of the LSBC program.