Leadership Fellows Spotlight: Jennifer Diaz-Leon
As a recent graduate of Leadership Fellows Boulder County – a joint leadership development and networking program of the Community Foundation and the Boulder Chamber – Jennifer (Jenny) Diaz-Leon feels like things are coming full circle.
“I grew up in Longmont, having moved her from Durango, Mexico, when I was 2 years old,” says Jenny, who began volunteering at the City of Longmont’s division of Children, Youth, and Families in 2013, then proceeded to take on various roles working with local youth. Currently, she serves as program specialist with the city’s Gang Response and Intervention Program (GRIP).
"My ultimate goal has always been to make a difference in the community where I live,” she continues. Indeed, Jenny specializes in community building and assisting youth in building their leadership skills. “I grew up knowing community leaders who’ve really made a difference in our county, and I looked to them as role models. But I never thought I would be in a position to work with them.
“That’s how the Leadership Fellows experience was incredibly valuable for me. As a young professional with a lot to learn, I gained so much knowledge and understanding of how our county and our cities work. At the same time, I made a lot of important connections with people who are leading change and making a difference in our community.”
Specific curriculum topics of the 11-month Leadership Fellows program include, among others, Boulder County economics, Local Government 101, inclusive leadership, planning and development, critical human needs, health, education, and the arts and culture. Additional roundtable discussions explore a range of timely issues, and provide Fellows the opportunity to engage in conversations with current Boulder County leaders.
“Although I grew up here, there’s so much I wasn’t aware before Leadership Fellows,” Jenny says. “Now I know many more resources that are relevant to my work, and that I can share with others. And I can provide warm hand-offs to several people at other agencies and organizations who I know will treat my clients with respect. That’s important to me.”
Adds Jenny, “Leadership Fellows is a very passionate group, committed to educating ourselves to make a deeper impact in our community, and to advance greater diversity, inclusivity, and equity.
“One aspect of that is to know and understand your own leadership style. The program helped me think about that, and provided the structure to solidify the kind of leader I want to be … and how I want to invest my time.”
She concludes, “Leadership Fellows reminds us that none of us work alone, and the work that everyone is doing to improve the quality of life in Boulder is important. That realization was inspiring to me, and makes me want to do even more in my community.”
True to her word, Jenny is actively engaged with the Parents Involved in Education Task Force, the La Lucha: Social Justice Coalition, Out Boulder County – a grantee of your Community Foundation – and the Longmont Sister Cities Association. She also serves as co-vice chair of the Longmont Multicultural Action Committee, and as co-treasurer for the Boulder County Latino Task Force.
Click here to read the original blog post on the Community Foundation Boulder County website.