Southern California Gas Company Funding Spearheads Community Leadership Program for Veterans in Pasadena

Published : Monday, September 18, 2017 | 3:29 PM

Leadership Pasadena's Cindy Bengtson with So Cal Gas's Helen Romero Shaw, Public Affairs Manager and Tina Javid, Regional Public Affairs Manager and 2017-2018 Chair of the Board of the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership.

“As author Sebastian Junger wrote in his book Tribe, “Today’s veterans often come home to find that, although they’re willing to die for their country, they’re not sure how to live for it” and “Perhaps most important, veterans need to feel that they’re just as necessary and productive back in society as they were on the battlefield.”

Leadership Pasadena (LP) is honored announce Southern California Gas Company has become the first Corporate Program Sponsor of Leadership Pasadena’s upcoming Community Leadership Course for Veterans, donating $5,000 to launch the program in May 2018.

“SoCalGas is excited to sponsor this new, special Community Leadership Course designed for Veterans. We are proud of our employees who have served in the armed forces. Our involvement is a way to honor their leadership and commitment,” states Helen Romero Shaw, Public Affairs Manager serving Pasadena.

“It is time for our community to step up and reach out to our military veterans who risked their lives for us to help them find a new purpose and make a new home in the Pasadena area. By making this generous donation, Southern California Gas Company has shown its sincere commitment to our brave veterans who are ready and eager to lead again but do not know how to do so in the civilian world. And SoCalGas’s donation will provide top-flight new leaders to Pasadena’s non-profits,” according to Leadership Pasadena Volunteer Executive Director Cindy Bengtson.

Leadership Pasadena veterans service volunteer, Lisa Raggio stated “We need these skilled, service driven veterans to strengthen the over 1,000 non-profits in the Pasadena area and become engaged in local government and community issues. This course will be a life changer for many veterans and for the Pasadena community as we will re-mission our high potential veterans for valuable community service and civic leadership. Everyone can win.”

According to Nathan Graeser, Community Affairs Administrator, at USC’s Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families and a military veteran, “Since the seminal study on the State of the American Veteran in Los Angeles in 2014, it has become increasingly clear that most veterans support organizations focused on meeting acute and chronic needs of veterans, such as homelessness, immediate or severe health issues, or acute or chronic unemployment. Very little attention is given to preventing these conditions or intervening early to prevent them from becoming chronic. In veterans own words, “we can’t get help unless we are drunk or homeless”.

In the State of the American Veteran in LA Study, we recommend that we develop a comprehensive reorientation program for separating service members that focuses on differences and similarities between the military culture and the civilian culture- providing realistic employment and housing expectations. I believe that this course can be a wonderful support to this effect- offering mentorship, guidance and a community to those who are transitioning to LA.”

Details on the Course

Leadership Pasadena is partnering with Leadership Pittsburgh, Inc. to bring Pittsburgh’s veteran leadership program, recognized by the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a “best practice” program and recognized by the National Association of Leadership Programs as the “Most Innovative Program” for community based leadership programs in the nation, to the Pasadena area.

This 6-month culturally competent, strength-based community leadership course for 15-20 military veterans (including National Guard and all Reserves) who have achieved a rank of E4 or higher, now living, working or studying in the greater Pasadena area will help them effectively transition into their new civilian lives through community leadership positions and service.

The course will

• Introduce the veterans to the vast differences between the military world and the civilian corporate and community realm and walk with them as they learn about their new life;
• Increase the veterans knowledge of their new community to anchor them;
• Sharpen and deploy existing leadership skills in service of the community;
• Open doors that will expand and diversify their social network and create ancillary benefits such as employment opportunities or career advancement;
• Offer optional life skill workshops;
• Allow veterans to interact in meaningful ways with other service veterans; and
• Help the veterans to serve again as leaders in their new community.

Educational topics/tools will include Personal Leadership in the Civilian World, History and Culture of the Pasadena Area, Sciences and Arts in Pasadena, Civilian Networking Practices, Corporate Landscape, Business Culture/Organization Savvy, Government and Political Process, Multi-Generational Leadership, Community Board and City Commissioner Training and the Non-Profit Industry.

A Community Service Project will provide direct service to the community and build a relationship with a local non-profit organization.

Professional civilian leadership assessments, community leader mentors, faith-based mentors, peer coaching and non-profit Board placements will also be offered. Workshops on personal budgeting and finances as well as interviewing, job application insights and LinkedIn profiles will be provided by veteran leaders who are subject matter experts in these areas. Leadership Pasadena will partner whenever possible with existing organizations when there is an alignment between their mission and Leadership Pasadena’s.

Leadership Pasadena is a hands-on, community leadership program that immerses you in Pasadena’s rich history, government and world renowned organizations and institutions. This is a unique program for those who want to play an active role in Pasadena’s future. The program also provides personal executive leadership training and coaching and helps you build meaningful connections with area decision-makers. With its many civic, non-profit and community organizations and its diverse communities, there is a large need for empowered and connected community leaders to address the concerns and issues of the Pasadena area together with respect and determination and results. Leadership Pasadena creates these leaders. Beginning in May 2018, Leadership Pasadena will launch a specialized community leadership course just for veterans living, working or studying in the greater Pasadena area.






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