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Spokes Symposium explores how to survive and thrive in times of crisis 

The discussion sections will be moderated by Spokes’interim CEO, Michael Simkins.

The discussion sections will be moderated by Spokes’ interim CEO, Michael Simkins.

–The Spokes Symposium 2021 brings together experts in the field and regional nonprofit leaders to discuss taking stock, pivoting, and building collaborations to survive and thrive during times of great change. The virtual event will take place from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on three consecutive Tuesdays, April 13, 20, and 27.

On April 20, in session two of the three-part Spokes Symposium, keynote speaker Doug Green of La Piana Consulting will share La Piana’s “Collaborative Map.” Green will be joined by a panel of nonprofit leaders who have found successful ways to collaborate before and during the current crisis.

Green will be the keynote speaker for both session one and session two. Doug works with nonprofit leaders to help them do their good work more effectively. His consulting is informed by diverse experiences with nonprofits and organizations in times of great change. In the 1980s S&L crisis, he supported the first modern interstate banking mergers with financial analysis. He also led an AIDS services organization during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and has been a consultant to nonprofits during the Great Recession and its uneven recovery. His past clients include Lotusland, the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, the California Network of Family Strengthening Networks, Kids and Families Together, San Diego Natural History Museum, and Surfrider Foundation.

Jennifer Adams is the Executive Director of Stand Strong in San Luis Obispo. She will share insights into merging two important social services organizations in our community. Adams has spent the past 25 years working in the gender-based violence field. In 2004, she became Executive Director of the Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention Center and later led the North County Women’s Shelter. In 2013, she oversaw the merger of these two agencies, thus creating RISE. She has been recognized for her work by the California State Legislature, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, and Cuesta College. She is a Cal Poly graduate and loves living on the Central Coast, where she enjoys time with her family and friends, hiking, wine tasting, and dancing.

Elida Ledesma serves as the Executive Director of the Arts for Healing and Justice Network in Long Beach, Calif., and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the organization including strategic visioning and financial sustainability. Ledesma will share how she helped form a 13-member interdisciplinary collaboration to provide arts programming for youth in the juvenile justice system. Prior to working with the Arts for Healing and Justice Network, she worked as a research assistant for the UCLA Department of Medicine on the RISE UP project, which examined adolescent risky behavior. Her peer-reviewed article, “Health Implications of Housing Assignments for Incarcerated Transgender Women,” was recently published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Samuel Duarte is the Director of Little House by the Park, a nonprofit under the Family Service Agency where he advocates for families and individuals of all ages and diversities. With over 25 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector, Duarte collaborates with local institutions to develop educational, community engagement, and leadership opportunities for underrepresented community members to be at the forefront of decision-making processes. Duarte will share the mechanics and benefits of his organization’s recent merger with the Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara County and the Santa Maria Youth and Valley Center.

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