First-Ever Training for Newly Elected Leaders

The Honorable Jackie Speier shares "Lessons from the Front Lines of Civic Leadership" with Newly Elected SMC Leaders.

South San Francisco, CA—San Mateo County has a well-earned reputation for being a collaborative county and a new event was just introduced to help further strengthen the working relationships within the county. On Friday, March 3, Leadership Council San Mateo County convened newly elected county leaders at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) Community Space for a full day of dialogue, collaboration, and skill building around the role of public officials. 

The Newly Elected Leaders Training which included newly elected members of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, city council members, and the County Sheriff, was the culmination of a months-long Community Acceleration Project of the Leadership Council SMC’s Emerging Leaders Program whereby class members work with county nonprofits on a needed project. Six members of the Emerging Leaders Program, including Mandy Brown (Town of Hillsborough), Marissa Garren (City of South San Francisco), Tamiko Huey (City of South San Francisco), Julie Paping (City of Foster City), Alma Pulido (Chan Zuckerberg Initiative), and Lena Silberman (County of San Mateo) helped plan the day.

The day-long workshop focused on strengthening relationships across jurisdictions, enhancing leadership skills in managing difficult conversations, and practicing equity in governance. Participants shared their initial motivations to run for office and engaged in DEIB work (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging).

Attendees heard from influential San Mateo County leaders including Mike Callagy, County Executive, and Kalimah Salahuddin, Jefferson Union High School Trustee and Co-Founder of the REACH Coalition, who launched the day, sharing their excitement and commitment. 

National, citizen-led, Braver Angels moderators facilitated a Braver Politics Workshop about managing difficult conversations.

In the afternoon, the Honorable Congresswoman Jackie Speier shared real-life examples from her decades of public service to impart “Lessons from the Front Lines of Civic Leadership,” and Shireen Malekafzali, SMC Chief Equity Officer, and Kalimah led a session about practicing equity in governance.

The day offered a great opportunity for participants to build relationships with each other and enhance their leadership skills. Feedback from the day reflected participants’ appreciation for the thoughtful tips and practical tools they received and could put to immediate use.

Leadership County SMC's mission to connect, inspire, and educate leaders was the impetus to create this one-of-a-kind day, providing a shared experience for newly elected leaders, and building on the county’s already collaborative culture. Since its inception in 2020, Leadership County SMC’s immersive leadership programs have brought together established and emerging leaders for transformative professional development.

Leadership Council San Mateo County is grateful to our co-chairs for their partnership in this innovative event: Dave Pine, President, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, Mike Callagy, San Mateo County Executive Officer, and the REACH Coalition Executive Board; and our co-collaborators: SAMCEDA, Thrive Alliance for Nonprofits, REACH Coalition, Chamber San Mateo County, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

We’re also grateful to our additional sponsors: Burlingame/SFO Chamber of Commerce, the Coastside Chamber of Commerce, Daly City / Colma Chamber of Commerce, Foster City Chamber of Commerce, San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce, San Mateo County Central Labor Council, and the South San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

We thank our presenters for their support, time, and commitment to helping make this a rewarding day:

  • Mike Callagy, San Mateo County Executive Officer
  • Rahul Khatod and Adrienne Dooley, Transformational Coaching Team
  • Shireen Malekafzali, Chief Equity Officer, County of San Mateo
  • Kalimah Salahuddin, Jefferson Union High School Trustee and Co-Founder of REACH Coalition
  • Georgia Farooq, Thrive Alliance for Nonprofits Executive Director
  • Rosanne Foust, SAMCEDA CEO 
  • The Honorable Jackie Speier
  • Jason Thorton and Louis Zweier, Braver Politics Facilitators


Applications for Leadership Council SMC’s 2023-2024 immersion programs, Leadership CORPS and the Emerging Leaders Program, are available at Applications received after the deadline of May 1, 2023 will be added to our Wait List.

Learn more about Leadership Council SMC at