Student Leaders Learn Valuable Skills From Diverse Experts at Annual Leadership Seminar

Each year, the Panetta Institute brings together student body presidents and other elected student leaders from the twenty-three California State University campuses, Dominican University of California, Saint Mary’s College of California and Santa Clara University, to teach them about leadership principles, strategies and practices.

Secretary Panetta: “Clearly our young people have a strong desire to make their voices heard.”

These students then go back to their campuses and communities, ready to serve as more effective leaders.

The eight-day seminar, entitled Education for Leadership in Public Service, involves the students in direct interaction with a variety of visiting national, state and local leaders.

This unique educational program features classes on topics such as: leadership in Washington and California; in education; at the local, city and county level; military leadership: historical perspectives on leadership; leadership in criminal justice; media; from an ethical perspective; community and grass-roots organizing; leadership challenges in the 21st century; and a panel seminar discussion and exercise on consensus building featuring current and former elected officials from both political parties.

In 2018, among the program’s nearly two dozen presentations, events and exercises were discussions led by Institute Chairman and former Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta. Secretary Panetta spoke to the students on putting the theory of great leadership into practice, and on what he considers the top ten qualities of leadership. He also listened to the students’ leadership objectives.

The program concluded with special presentations from each of the twenty-seven participants during which the students shared their goals for their home campuses and reflected on their own definitions of leadership.

“In our recent national poll,” commented Secretary Panetta, “we found that students followed the mid-term elections much more closely than in past years. Clearly our young people are concerned about leadership in Washington and have a strong desire to make their voices heard. The purpose of the Leadership Seminar is to foster students’ interest in leadership and politics and teach them how they themselves can improve the current state of our democracy. We want to take the enthusiasm shown in our survey and convert it into lifelong participation in public service.”

Program costs for the Leadership Seminar are paid by the Panetta Institute, the affiliated universities or student body associations and the CSU Chancellor’s Office. Participating students receive four academic credits for their enrollment and successful completion of this unique program.

The class of 2018 heard from a wide variety of speakers who participate in the program. The following were some of the forums and speakers:*

  • Secretary Panetta presented a talk on the gridlock and partisanship of present-day Washington, D.C., offering insights on putting leadership theory into practice, and what he considers to be the top qualities of a great leader
  • Leadership at the state level, presented in three different sessions by Drew Liebert, former chief counsel of the California Assembly Judiciary Committee
  • A session on leadership in the military and how to apply those lessons to the challenges of working in local government, including Fred Meurer, USA (Ret.) and former city manager of the City of Monterey; Col. Danial Pick, USA (Ret.), current city manager, City of Del Rey Oaks; and Mike Ward, USN chief of staff, Naval Postgraduate School.
  • A session on leadership at the local government level, including Luis Alejo, Monterey County supervisor and former state assemblyman; Carolyn Hardy, councilmember, city of Carmel-by-the-Sea; and Joe Gunter, mayor of the city of Salinas
  • A program on leadership in education, featuring Lisa Kloppenberg, dean and professor of law, Santa Clara University School of Law; Willard Clark Lewallen, superintendent/president, Hartnell Community College District; and Erica Padilla-Chavez, member, Hartnell Community College District Board of Trustees
  • The issue of leadership at the community level, discussed by Diana Jimenez, president,  League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of North Monterey County; Helen Rucker, former city council member and former trustee of the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District; Simón Salinas, Monterey County supervisor; and Commander Paul Tanks, USN (Ret.) senior naval science instructor, Monterey High School, NJROTC
  • The ethical aspects of leadership, with insights from David DeCosse, director of campus ethics programs, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics of Santa Clara University.
  • A session on leadership in California’s criminal justice system, featuring Juliet Peck, local defense attorney; Rafael Vazquez, Santa Cruz County assistant district attorney; and Stefanie Zamora, Monterey County assistant district attorney.
  • A session on journalism and the media with Krista Almanzan, local National Public Radio (KAZU) news director; Adrian Laurent, director of news, public affairs and clinical communications, Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System; and Paul Miller, owner and publisher, The Carmel Pine Cone. 
  • A discussion of leadership in competitive sports, with Chris Dalman, former Super Bowl champion with the San Francisco 49ers and dean of students, Palma High School; and Ron Johnson, former NFL player and associate vice president for the Boys and Girls Club of Monterey County.
  • A program on cybersecurity and national security, with John Arquilla, professor and chair of the Defense Analysis Department, Naval Postgraduate School.
  • The Leadership Seminar also featured a special program on consensus building. This popular session includes a special segment with former California Assembly Members Jim Cunneen and Fred Keeley in a frank discussion on how they crossed the aisle to govern effectively during their time in office. The program wrapped up with an interactive role-playing exercise that provided a challenging situation for participants to solve.
  • A local group addressed leadership in business, with Ted Balestreri, chairman and CEO, Cannery Row Company; Mary Claypool, local business leader and former executive director, Monterey County Business Council; and George Couch III, local business leader.
  • Also participating were Co-Chair and CEO of the Panetta Institute, Sylvia Panetta, and Panetta Institute staff, Sonia Banks, Chris Haubert, Richard Kezirian and Steven Macias.

The student participants were: 

Name Institutional Affiliation Position
Melissa Arellano CSU Monterey Bay AS Vice President of External Affairs
Joshua Borjas CSU Fullerton ASI President and CEO
Alexis Bustamante Saint Mary’s College of California AS Chair
Carley Chatterly Sonoma State University AS President
Savana Doudar CSU San Marcos ASI President
Jasmin Fashami Cal Poly San Luis Obispo ASI President-elect
Jennifer Greenberg Cal Poly Pomona ASI President
Noreen Hasan Dominican University of California AS President
Juan Carlos Hernandez San Francisco State ASI President
Christian Jackson CSU Dominguez Hills ASI President-elect
Genesis Jara CSU Long Beach ASI President
Nia Johnson CSU Los Angeles ASI President
Alejandra Lopez CSU Bakersfield ASI Executive Vice President
Stefano Maffei California Maritime Academy AS President
Noel Mora CSU Sacramento ASI President
Beverly Ntagu CSU Northridge AS President
Michelle Nungaray CSU Stanislaus ASI Vice President
Prince Ogidikpe CSU San Bernardino ASI President-elect
Grace Pang San José State University AS Director of External Affairs
Atticus Reyes CSU Channel Islands ASI President
Jazmin Sandoval Humboldt State University AS President
Alisha Sharma CSU Chico AS President
Christopher Thomas San Diego State University AS President
Carolyn Tinoco California State Student Association Vice President of Finance-elect
Demetria Wack CSU Fresno ASI President
Myles Watkins CSU East Bay ASI President

* Speakers’ titles at the time of their presentations.

Please contact us for more information.