Leadership Long Beach mural

Leadership Long Beach alumni gather around a new mural Saturday at The Streets during the group's 30th anniversary party.

Leadership Long Beach is introducing it 31st institute class next week with a reception at Rancho Los Cerritos.

Executive Director Jeff Williams will preside over the introductions — likely for the last time. Williams has announced that after 10 years, he plans to leave Leadership Long Beach.

"I will be looking for opportunities," Williams said Monday. "This, nonprofits, was never my intended career path… I've been here 10 years, and after the 30th anniversary celebration, I believe the organization is in a good place."

Williams said he will stay on the job while a selection committee searches for his successor. In the meantime, he said he'd look for other opportunities in Long Beach. His children are 10 and 13, he said, and he loves the city. He is a Leadership Long Beach alumnus himself — Class of 2008.

"It's no secret we had some hard times early in my time here," Williams said. "But we were fortunate that we had people who thought this was important for our city, and we righted the ship. I'm proud that we were able to survive and thrive."

The Institute Class is Leadership Long Beach's signature program, taking people through 10 months of day-long learning sessions, plus completing service projects showing an understanding of city issues. There are 35 people in the class.

"With the great energy around our 30th anniversary celebration, we had many fantastic candidates and it was very difficult to choose just 35 local leaders for this year's class," board president Cathy Gies, director at the MemorialCare Medical Foundation, said.

The reception, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26, is open to the public with an RSVP (www.leadershiplb.org/events). Rancho Los Cerritos is at 4600 Virginia Road, near the Virginia Country Club.

The 2019-2020 class includes:

Lori Andrews, Long Beach Unified School District: Nick Arce, MemorialCare/Long Beach Medical Center; Margaret Blevins, Long Beach Day Nursery; Christina Boatwright, City of Long Beach, Department of Health & Human Services; Scott Bristol, Brascia Builders, Inc.; Jill Buczkowski Unze, community volunteer; Norma Carrillo, Long Beach Police Department; Norm Cauntay, Edward Jones; Josefina Cruz Molina, Centro CHA, Inc.; Shana Giles, Shana Giles Real Estate;

Matt Hamlett, Office of Ninth District City Councilman Rex Richardson; Cynthia Howell, Long Beach Forward; Daniel Ihlenfeldt, P2S, Inc.; Anzania Jackson, Long Beach Fire Department; Alie LeBeau, Aquarium of the Pacific; Bridget Lewis, Port of Long Beach; Anthony Lopez, Long Beach Police Department; Timothy Lott, The Boeing Company; Drew Martinez, City of Long Beach, Technology Department; Eva Melgarejo, New American Funding;

Corey Merritt, Cleveland Integrity Services; Kathryn Miles, Jewish Family & Children Services; Shefali Mistry, California State University, Office of the Chancellor; Santiago Ogradón Cortés, Keller Williams Coastal Properties; Jon Peterson, P3 Theatre Company; Desiree Rew, Desiree Eats and Travels, LLC; Phyllis Mechell Roberts, City of Long Beach, Housing Authority; Lucy Salazar, Long Beach Unified School District; Brian Savala, Nova Home Loans; Lindsay Smith, Sowing Seeds of Change;

China Thomas, Long Beach Transit; Nancy Villaseñor, City of Long Beach, Public Works Department; Trevor Wawrzynski, Long Beach Fire Department; Kaylee Weatherly, Long Beach Water Department; and Kimberly Wee, Century Villages at Cabrillo.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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