Leadership Fellows Spotlight: Lisa White

A Community Foundation donor, Lisa White is also a recent alumna of Leadership Fellows Boulder County, a joint leadership development and networking program of the Community Foundation and the Boulder Chamber.

“For me, the biggest value of participating in the program was how diverse the group was,” says Lisa, a software engineer at Twitter Boulder who has helped organize Twitter 101 for Nonprofits workshops. “Working for a tech company in Boulder makes it all too easy to be surrounded by other people in technology. Through Leadership Fellows, I was amazed to form friendships and connections across other sectors, too, from the nonprofit and government sectors to the business sector.”
Adds Lisa, “I left every session extremely energized.”
Graduates of the Leadership Fellows program commit to taking on local leadership roles within six months of completing the program (e.g., join a nonprofit or government board or commission, work on a candidate or initiative campaign, lead a neighborhood or school association, or run for office). Lisa hoped the program would help her narrow down how to get involved, “but it actually broadened my scope even more,” she says. 
“While I was in Leadership Fellows, I got involved with Twitter for Good [the philanthropic arm of Twitter] to help establish connections between Twitter and nonprofits, and we’ve seen lots of positive traction from our Twitter 101 for Nonprofits workshops, locally. We also brought in a couple speakers from Leadership Fellows for our employee Lunch and Learn events. 
“Leadership Fellows really helps open up connections and lines of communication, and expand knowledge about different community issues.”

Our responsive grantmaking supports a broad range of issues and organizations through general operating funding, and funding for programs like Leadership Fellows Boulder County. As 2018 draws to a close, we encourage you to consider your Community Foundation in your year-end giving!

Continues Lisa, “In Leadership Fellows, one of the topics we explored was the idea of privilege, and how we can better use our privilege to make a positive impact. In part, that means closing the gap between the business and nonprofit communities, and helping lift people out of poverty by connecting them to job opportunities.” 
Lisa also feels a personal sense of responsibility to “give back to the community that I get a lot from, just living here every day.” Indeed, among her other volunteer engagements, she’s taken her passion for environmental and transportation issues to the next level, serving on the City of Boulder’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee to revamp the pedestrian plan as part of the transportation plan – “which hasn’t been updated since the 90s,” she says.
Since her participation in Leadership Fellows and meeting with city council leaders, Lisa says she’s also become much more interested in local civic engagement. “Somehow, I even got my boyfriend hooked on watching city council meetings with me, and we read all the tweets and notes of the meetings!” she laughs. 
Concludes Lisa, “Lots of people want to make a positive impact, but many of us live in siloes. Leadership Fellows purposefully brings people together from different sectors and different experiences, and provides so many concrete ideas for ways to get involved and make a difference together.”