Leadership Fellows Spotlight: Sandra Guidicelli

For Sandra Guidicelli, participating in Leadership Fellows Boulder County – a joint leadership development and networking program of your Community Foundation and the Boulder Chamber – helped her gain confidence in advocating for herself and other families. 

“It was really amazing being in the same room with people from very different walks of life, on different career paths – and to be just a phone call away from them, even now,” says Sandra, a social worker who also participated in the People Engaged in Raising Leaders (PERL) training program, designed to increase involvement among people of color on boards and commissions countywide. 
“As a single mother and a victim of domestic violence, I ended up in Boulder to keep us safe. But I was intimidated navigating Medicaid, the Food Stamp program, and other programs. Leadership Fellows lifted me beyond my struggles, and opened many doors and opportunities for me.
“Listening to, and sharing with the other Fellows, I learned that some of their struggles were similar to mine, even though our backgrounds were different. That helped me gain understanding, strength, and confidence … and believe in my ability to successfully accomplish some of the things I’d set out to accomplish. Before Leadership Fellows, I always thought that maybe I was biting off more than I could chew.” 
Indeed, upon her Leadership Fellows graduation in 2013, Sandra went on to assume the role of Bilingual Property Manager and Transitional Housing Case Manager for the Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA), a grantee of your Community Foundation. Today, she helps other families navigate the very systems that seemed daunting to her, before. 
Previously, she worked in human resources for the City of Longmont. And her extensive volunteer experience includes board and mentorship roles with various local nonprofits (some of which are also Community Foundation grantees) – from FOCUS Reentry and Mental Health Partners to Voices for Children CASA and Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (SPAN). Additionally, Sandra has served on the foundation’s Community Trust Advisory Committee. 
“Reviewing Community Trust grants was a great experience for me,” says Sandra. “I always wanted to know how to write grants, so reviewing grants gave me a good idea of what funders are looking for. Now when I sit with someone who’s writing a grant, I can add value.”
She adds, “I’ve gone above and beyond what I ever thought was possible for someone with my background. All the mentors and allies I met through Leadership Fellows helped me see my potential. 
“I’m still amazed that I’m actually here, that I’m doing the things I’m doing, and that I can help my daughters and six grandkids gain the tools and knowledge they need to access community resources and gain confidence in themselves, too.”