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Program Overview


Leadership Santa Cruz County's upcoming Class 37 is a 10-month program that meets one Friday each month from September through May with graduation in June. An August orientation is scheduled to make introductions and go over the program's guidelines. 

Meet our Team


Ryan Coonerty

Executive Director

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Dave Vincent

Interim Executive Director

Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Chair:  Shaz Roth, Executive Director, Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture

Vice Chair: Lisa Murphy, Deputy City Manager, City of Santa Cruz'

Secretary: Danny Reber, Executive Director, Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce


Treasurer: Nicole Beaver, Branch

Manager, Bay Federal Credit Union'

Past Chair: Laura Owen, Director of Community Development & Learning, Santa Cruz Community Credit Union

Board Members at Large

Mary Andersen, President, San Lorenzo Valley Chamber of Commerce; Publisher, 

San Lorenzo Valley Post

Carrie Arnone, Executive Director, Capitola-Soquel Chamber of Commerce

Casey Beyer, Executive Director, Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce

Elana Solon, Philanthropic Operations, Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County

Janet Janssen, Founder/CEO, Life in Business Coach and Consultant

Jess Brown, Executive Director, Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau

Karen Hibble, Executive Director, Aptos Chamber of Commerce

Jennifer Mount, Professional and Leadership Development Consultant/Facilitator/Coach at Cabrillo College Leadership and Supervisory Academy

Phil Neuman, CEO, Cyber Ascend Technologies

Richelle Noroyan, Corporate and Community Relations Director, Second Harvest Food Bank


Class Days for 2023/2024 Class 37

For 2024/2025 Class 38 Schedule, please visit the application page

August 22


Welcome! Our new members will engage in icebreaker activities, and learn about the program. This begins interaction with leaders in the community.

October 6


Local housing and economic issues followed by a planning and design exercise.

December 1


Gain an understanding of small business and tourism issues. This day includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the Boardwalk and a field trip to a local business.

February 2


Interaction with leaders from our public schools, community college, and university

March 22


This day involves a tour of the Pajaro Valley with a focus on the history, events and resources that have shaped this part of the county.

May 10

Art & Culture

Discover the diversity and richness of the art and culture of the community which adds to the uniqueness of Santa Cruz. 

June 12


Celebrate the year’s accomplishments and the awarding of graduation certificates. The begin involvement with the LSCC Alumni Association.

September 14 & 15


A two-day retreat with challenging team-building exercises, bonding activities, and an overview of community issues, with a self-assessment exercise. 

November 3


A look at the community’s health care and human services and field trips to local human service providers.

January 12


Presentations from state, county and local political leaders and policy issues important to Santa Cruz County.

March 1


Meet leaders in law enforcement, the District Attorney, and the public defender. Visit the county jail and the Watsonville Courthouse. 

April 12


Visit agricultural sites in the Pajaro Valley.  Learn about the importance and challenges of this major industry in our community.

June 7


Exposure to issues related to the area’s natural resources. Includes examples of sustainable industries along the North Coast.


Class members get a rare opportunity to actually see, hear and experience, up close, how our community’s business and services work. You will have a chance to walk through the correctional facilities in downtown Santa Cruz and in Watsonville, tour the big trees in the San Lorenzo Valley, and hear the story of Big Creek Lumber and their mission to preserve our majestic forests, walk the fields of our county’s rich and diverse agribusinesses. And, if you’re very lucky, get a taste of a famous Gizdich Ranch pie.


Beginning with a two-day leadership retreat, class members participate in a total of 12 all-day classes throughout the year. Each class has its own specific focus and flavor. Along with valuable leadership training, you will get a clear picture of the deep commitment and affection our many community leaders have for our diverse and special community here on the Central Coast. And along the way, it is our hope that you, too, will share in the love and passion we have grown to have for Santa Cruz County.


The participants of Leadership Santa Cruz County are people who desire a broader exposure to the growing concerns of this county and who wish to discover the leaders within themselves. Class members have ranged from teenagers to seniors, and those in between. They have been newcomers and long-term residents. Class members and alumni reflect the diversity of the community: ethnically, geographically, professionally and economically.


Throughout its existence, Leadership Santa Cruz County has provided quality, non-partisan instruction and watched its alumni go on to take responsible positions throughout the community.


Our History

Ensuring the long-term stability of a community is a difficult task. It requires the creativity and vision of those people in leadership roles as well as a solid understanding of the many ingredients that make up this community. With this in mind, in September of 1985, the Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce created the Santa Cruz community’s first and finest leadership training program called Leadership Santa Cruz (LSC). Two years later, the Watsonville Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture (now the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce), joined the Santa Cruz Chamber as a co-sponsor and the program was renamed Leadership Santa Cruz County (LSCC). The Capitola Chamber of Commerce became a sponsor in 1989, followed by the Aptos and Scotts Valley Chambers in 1990, and the San Lorenzo Valley Chamber of Commerce in 1992. The chambers of commerce have been joined by numerous sponsoring business organizations and non-profits to guarantee the long-term success of its program in its fourth decade of operation.


Our Mission

The purpose of Leadership Santa Cruz County is to educate, motivate, and increase the awareness of individuals in leadership roles in Santa Cruz County, enabling them to address the issues, needs, and opportunities facing the county now and in the future.


Alumni Association

With the graduation of the approximately 1,500 LSCC class members, we have formed an Alumni Association that allows the LSCC experience to live on. The LSCC Alum Association organizes leadership forums, alumni events, and a variety of networking opportunities throughout the year.

Leadership Santa Cruz County is a great tool for learning about all different aspects of the region where we live and work. I met leaders from local government, education, hospitality, agriculture and the arts. What I gained from both my classmates and those we met each month has proven to be priceless already and I know I'll use not only that knowledge, but also the business relationships, and friendships I've made for many years to come.

Steve Bennett, Santa Cruz Sentinel Director of Operations, Class 32

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