Leadership Santa Clara

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Leading Santa Clara into the Future

The future isn’t what it used to be. What the City of Santa Clara will be like as we progress farther into the 21st century depends on the contributions of active and informed local leaders—people like yourself who make a commitment to give back to the community where they live and work. 

Leadership Santa Clara is a four-month program to prepare citizens for a leadership role in the community.  Applications are now being accepted for Leadership Santa Clara 2020.

Applications are due by January 10, 2020.  See application link below.

Leadership Santa Clara is designed to prepare current and future leaders for the many challenges that lie ahead. The four-month course presents skill-building workshops and topical presentations on the many issues influencing life in Santa Clara and the region. 

Full-day sessions are held at a variety of Santa Clara business and government sites, offering a peek behind-the-scenes of different organizations as well as convenient meeting locations.

Participants pay a modest tuition fee and some full and partial scholarships are available.


  • Santa Clara’s Past, Present and Future
  • Governance (federal, state, and local including City board and commissions)
  • Public Services
  • Media’s Impact on Silicon Valley
  • Business Climate
  • Transportation
  • Arts & Culture
  • Community Diversity
  • Environment
  • Health Care, Human/Community Services
  • Volunteerism

Special Programs

  • Public Safety Day – overview of police, fire, and emergency medical programs in Santa Clara; demonstrations of special units such as canine and SWAT; visits to the Emergency Operations Center, Fire Department Training Center, and the firing range.
  • Education Day - on-site visits to a local elementary school (where participants eat lunch with kindergartners) and high school; background briefings by school district officials; discussion of key issues with school staff and students.

Skill-Building Workshops

  • Working with the Media
  • Public Presentation Skills
  • Effective Meeting Management
  • Ethical issues for those considering Public Service

Quotes from Participants

“Participation in the Leadership Santa Clara program has helped Santa Clara residents and business members become more connected and involved in the future of their community.”

Michelle Mann, Chair
Leadership Santa Clara Advisory Committee

“Leadership Santa Clara was a life enriching process. It gave me the place and time to learn more about myself in relation to the community I live in. It was really inspiring to discuss ideas and issues with community leaders and the members in the program. I hope many others will be as fortunate as I was to experience this program.”

Esther Paek, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente Medical Center

“Leadership Santa Clara was an extremely well-run and informative course. It opened up my mind to the various sectors of public service available to me.”

Debbie Rishel


Course tuition is $750 per person ($675 may be sponsored by a company or other organization).
Student tuition is $75 per person.

Tuition costs only partially defray actual program costs. There are a limited number of scholarships available for those residents of Santa Clara who would like to participate in the program but do not have sufficient resources to pay the full tuition. If a student would like to apply for this financial assistance, please attach a separate page indicating reasons to be considered for a scholarship and include a check or money order in the amount of $75 payable to City of Santa Clara for the student’s portion; if the student does not receive a scholarship and chooses not to participate, the student’s $75 will be refunded.

Information & Application

Application and more information, including details about tuition and scheduling, is available by calling Leadership Santa Clara Program Coordinator Scott Summerfield at 510-714-4470, or email smmrfld@aol.com, or by calling the City Manager’s Office at 408-615-2210.

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