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Investing In The Next Generation of Community Leaders

News for 10.25.18
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Investing in the Next Generation of Community Leaders

By Bryan Neider, CEO, Gatepath

In order to build thriving communities in a rapidly changing world, I believe we all have an obligation to invest in our local nonprofits and share our professional experience to help shape the next generation of leaders.

For the last three years I’ve had the honor to join other local public, private and nonprofit executives as part of the Curriculum Committee of Leadership San Mateo, a 25-year-old organization dedicated to connecting emerging leaders with top community, civic and corporate executives in San Mateo, Foster City, Burlingame and Hillsborough.

Last week I had the opportunity to co-chair Leadership San Mateo’s “Human Services Day” with Sara Larios-Mitchell, CEO of StarVista.   This is the second year Sara and I have co-chaired the program. Our aim was to create an experience that would broaden each student’s understanding of the human services challenges in our community and provide them with insights into the diverse organizations that are at the forefront of addressing critical issues, such as homelessness, food insecurity, and inclusive employment.

As part of the day-long program, members of Leadership San Mateo’s Class of 2019 had a chance to visit several different nonprofits, including Gatepath, LifeMoves, Ombudsman Services of San Mateo County, Peninsula Family Services, Pride Center, Samaritan House, StarVista, Vocational Rehabilitation Services and YMCA.

“Seeing how passionate the leaders at the sites are about their jobs, it’s clear that their hearts are in it every day,” said one student.

As the students visited with several nonprofit leaders throughout the day, they learned that solving the many complex issues they are addressing requires a great deal of collaboration and a shared vision for how to meet the needs of our community, especially when the needs consistently outstrip the funding.

One group visited Gatepath’s Learning and Employment Campus in Burlingame, where the adults participate in a rich curriculum of classes, including job readiness, life skills, and health and wellness education.

It’s always amazing to see how the students who work in the private sector are consistently impressed by the vast array of services nonprofits provide to members of our community, such as critically needed housing and mental health support. One of the students asked, “If nonprofits like Gatepath didn’t exist, what would happen?”

Over the past 15 years several members of Gatepath’s staff have graduated from Leadership San Mateo. We currently have one student who is part of the Class of 2019. The program focuses on developing impactful leadership skills for each of the students, enabling them to reach new levels of engagement, collaboration, confidence and innovation.

Effective leaders in the nonprofit and human services sector must have a strong knowledge of the services and community they serve, good interpersonal and collaboration skills, forward thinking, an eagerness to learn, and ultimately compassion.  It was incredibly encouraging to see the quality of these emerging leaders and how they invest in their careers to lead our communities in the future.

If you are interested in learning more about Leadership San Mateo, visit


About the Leadership Program:

Participants in the program develop a knowledge base and establish relationships with community leaders representing numerous sectors and issues – from health and housing to education and economic development. Local public, private and nonprofit leaders create connections between communities and constituents through a rich, cross-sector curriculum. For more than 25 years, the program has developed, engaged, empowered and connected leaders for positive community impact. The Leadership alumni network includes state and local government officials, nonprofit leaders and business executives.