Leadership Stockton Alumni Association in the News

Leadership Stockton Alumni Association News

LSAA President Kim Miller Named as a Susan B. Anthony Award Recipient

Congratulations to LSAA President Kim Miller, LS Class of 2009 and Allison Lafferty, LS Class of 2002, and all the women honored this year at the Susan B. Anthony Awards!! Thank you for all you do to make our community a better place.  See the link below for more info.


Casino Royale in the December 2015/January 2016 Lifestyles Magazine

Pictures from the LSAA Casino Royale were featured in the December 2015/January 2016 Lifestyles Issue that was included with The Record on Saturday, December 5, 2015.  We were on page 60 of the magazine.  See below for a picture of the page and for the link to view it online!


Lifestyles Pics from the event, page 60



Letter from LSAA President Kim Miller August 2015

Dear Leadership Stockton Alumni,

I’m pleased to announce that the LSAA had a very productive and successful year!  We continued to impact our community around our three primary goals of supporting the Leadership Stockton Class, providing a unique program that fosters leadership in our community and providing an opportunity for alumni to cultivate and build relationships.

Over the past 7 years we have provided scholarships for over 100 non-profit organizations in our community.  To date, your $50 donation supported LSAA with providing more than 30 scholarships to the Non Profit Board Development training provided by University of Pacific’s Westgate Center for Leadership and Management. LSAA provided over $10,000 in financial support to local community leaders for leadership development.


This past June the LSAA hosted its 1st Annual Community Leadership Breakfast with the focus on law enforcement and public safety.  Keynote speakers and LS Alumni Sheriff Steve Moore (1990), Deputy Chief Trevor Womack (2011), and District Attorney Tori Verber-Salazar gave presentations that were both informative and impactful.  Community leaders from business, non-profit, education, and health care all appreciated the collective message of the morning:  we are all in this together and a healthy, safe city and region is everyone’s business and responsibility.

We were particularly pleased to receive such strong support from other Leadership Stockton alumni from every sector of the community.  If you weren’t able to join us at the event, a memorable moment occurred when we asked for a showing of alumni of the Leadership Stockton Program. A sea of individuals stood up in the nearly sold-out event.  A true testament to the value of the program and to the level of support for our community from its alumni.



LSAA presented Chief Eric Jones with the Distinguished Alumni Award at the LS Class of 2015 graduation on June 11th. Tracy Jones, spouse of Chief Jones accepted the award on his behalf as Chief Jones was participating in an executive leadership program in Boston.

The recipient of this award is selected for their special contribution to the Greater Stockton community, their dedication to the ideal that through community service we all have the opportunity to make Stockton a better place, and that as leaders in the Stockton community it is our responsibility as alumni of the program to participate in the ideal.

Chief Jones has worked tirelessly to keep the citizens and community of Stockton safe during one of the most difficult times in the city’s history as we struggled with economic turmoil and ultimately bankruptcy.

Now that we are finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, the City of Stockton looks to Chief Jones for leadership as he continues to address the concerns that we all share about the image and reputation of our community as “dangerous.”  Through his work and those of his officers, many of whom are also Leadership Stockton Graduates, we can truly say that Stockton is a better place and is moving in the right direction.  Congratulations to Chief Eric Jones, the Leadership Stockton Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni of 2015!


LSAA presented Erin Guy Castillo, 2015 Class Member with the Distinguished Class Member Award.  The nomination of the award originated from fellow class members who witnessed Erin’s leadership ability during a yearlong project to renovate the McKinley Community Center.  Erin’s positive attitude, eagerness to learn new tasks and ability to delegate through encouragement resulted in the ultimate success of the project.  The McKinley Community Center now has new flooring throughout, freshly painted walls, and a revamped kitchen.


In 2006, the Leadership Stockton Alumni Association established the Captain Chris Serpa Memorial Scholarship providing tuition assistance for future Leadership Stockton applicants.  Scholarships are made available for members of the community, who are accepted to attend Leadership Stockton, and require assistance to meet the cost of the tuition. This past year the LSAA provided two scholarships to energetic new leaders ready to make a difference.

This year will mark the 35th Leadership Stockton Class.  Over the past 34 years there have been 799 graduates from the Leadership Stockton program who have done so much for this community.

Included with the annual class projects is the involvement of graduates in local non-profits, seeking to serve as elected officials, and just chipping in to make the Stockton Community a better place.  The accomplishments are truly immeasurable.  We are excited to be celebrating 35 years of making a difference in the Stockton community!

Being a part of Leadership Stockton means networking!  Membership in the Leadership Stockton Alumni Association is the best way to stay in contact with past members and meet the current class.

The LSAA Board creates opportunities to strengthen past relationships and establish new ones through events like our Spring Mixer, this year held on Friday, April 10th at Casa Flores Marina. Restaurateur and Leadership Stockton 2015 Graduate Octavio Cruces welcomed us to his beautiful establishment, providing the backdrop for a great evening of fun where the current class and past graduates mixed, mingled.


(For Class Session and Mixer Photos see the link https://www.flickr.com/photos/leadershipstockton/sets/).

The LSAA Board of Directors is happy to announce our upcoming Casino Royale, Casino Night Fundraiser to support the programs and mission of the LSAA.  This promises to be a fabulous evening on Saturday, October 3, 2105.

LSAA Casino Royale Box 1.indd

Please save the date and watch for more information coming soon! You can also visit our www.lsalumni.com website for future events and programs.

The LSAA Board of Directors is made up of many wonderful people from our community. If you are interested in being part of this energetic team, I would encourage you to contact me, Board President Kim Miller, at kmiller@wcyfs.org.

To continue our success we ask you to renew your membership for the 2015/16 year.  Your $50 annual membership ensures the alumni association continues its mission of enhancing leadership in this community.  You can now pay your dues online through the link below.
Pay Your Dues Here

I look forward to seeing you at our future events and programs!

Thank you for your continued support,

Kimberly Miller
LSAA President

Community Leadership Breakfast 2015


STOCKTON — After finishing breakfast Tuesday, a group of 260 community leaders listened to a shocking recording of a 911 call.

The initial call came in at 4:29 p.m. May 25, 2014. The voice of a girl on the other line said, “Hi. I need help. I’ve been kidnapped,” before the call was dropped.

It turns out the underage girl had been forced into prostitution. She had not been fed in four days. In another recorded call, the girl sobbed, begging for help. She just wanted her mother.

Human trafficking is a serious issue in the county, one the District Attorney’s Office is tackling as part of its new focus on victim-centered services, San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar told the audience.

Verber Salazar spoke about her direction and the need for wrap-around services to help victims recover at the Community Leadership Breakfast hosted by the alumni association of Leadership Stockton, which provides leadership development to those accepted into the program.

“Today’s (Tuesday’s) breakfast was to educate our community about the initiatives and challenges and solutions that each of those departments are having and how they are positively impacting our community,” said Kimberly Miller, president of the association. “It just gave us a better perspective in terms of what they’re doing and how we could help.”

Keynote speakers were Sheriff Steve Moore, Stockton Deputy Chief of Police Trevor Womack and Verber Salazar.

Moore spoke about addressing capacity issues at the San Joaquin County Jail, including his plan to begin double-bunking inmates to increase capacity by 248 beds.

And the Sheriff’s Office has submitted an application for state funding to replace minimum-security beds at the jail with higher-security ones, as the number of riskier inmates has risen with recent changes in the state’s criminal legal system.

Moore said he also is working on a “true mental health component” for offenders needing such services. Moore provided updates on alternative jail programs, education and vocational programs for inmates and jail security, including the addition new fencing. He also gave a rundown of the agency’s myriad of services.

Womack filled in for Chief Eric Jones, who was attending an executive leadership program in Boston. Womack spoke about Jones’ three-year plan to reduce crime and build trust in the community. It includes enhancing technology and incorporating multipronged strategies such as Operation Ceasefire, launched in 2012 after two years of record homicides in Stockton, to offer identified gang associates a choice to change or face the full brunt of the law.

Womack said the department, which had its force slashed by 100 officers during Stockton’s tough economic times, is now experiencing record hiring rates and is closer to 500 officers with the help of grants and a city measure. Retaining officers, however, has been a challenge, but the force is beginning to stabilize.

The department is placing more emphasis on hiring local people with ties to the community, Womack said. That encompasses expanding career pathways for youth, such as partnering with Stockton Unified School District to start a Public Safety Academy in fall 2016.

Meanwhile, the District Attorney’s Office is in the process of establishing a Family Justice Center, a one-stop shop for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse and human trafficking. The prosecutor’s office has started fundraising in hopes of opening the center sometime in 2016.

“What we’re seeing in this society right now with AB109 and different programs available, when a defendant commits a crime, they’re allowed to be released from prison or jail. They get transitional housing, clothing, food,” Verber Salazar said. “Which is a good idea, … but in the quest to rehabilitate all these inmates, the people who inflict the harm, (lawmakers) forgot about the victims.”

It’s time to start taking care of victims, she said.

Four out of five children who are abused turn into perpetrators, Verber Salazar said. Breaking that cycle requires early intervention.

“If there is no peace in the home, there is no peace on the street,” Verber Salazar said.

2014 Alumni of the Year – Wes Rhea

Wes Recieving AwardWes is a second generation Stocktonian whose family has been in Stockton since the late 1940’s.  Wes served 10 years in the US Army in various positions on the M1A1 Abrams tanks and as an Army Recruiter. After leaving the Army in late 2001 Wes briefly worked in a local staffing agency prior to being hired at the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce in January of 2003 to coordinate the Business Education Alliance (BEA).  Wes graduated from the Leadership Stockton program in 2004, and assumed the role of Leadership Stockton Program Coordinator that same year.  In October of 2005 Wes left his position BEA Coordinator to take over the responsibilities of running the newly formed Chamber Visitor’s Bureau.  Wes continued to lead the Leadership Stockton program through the class of 2008.  Wes left the Chamber in 2011 to run the resurrected Stockton Convention & Visitors Bureau, now known as Visit Stockton. 

As the CEO of Visit Stockton it is Wes’ job to sell Stockton and get people here to spend money.  Tourism in our County accounts for more than 4 million visitors per year and that equals more than $590 million in economic impact and creates over 5,700 jobs in San Joaquin County.  Hotels in Stockton experienced a 15.4 percent increase in revenue last year, earning over $34.5 million in a city with a struggling economy over the last few years.  The Visitors Bureau hosts the largest online calendar and prints the areas Visitors Guide.  Wes recently brought the Certified Tourism Ambassador Program to Stockton to train our local residents on all the great things Stockton has to offer. Wes has been very active serving the Stockton community serving our numerous boards and committees.  Wes currently serves locally on the boards of United Way of San Joaquin (Past President), the Stockton Asparagus Festival (Past President), the Stockton Historical Maritime Museum, the Downtown Stockton Alliance and the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce (ex-officio).  Wes is also a leader in the travel and tourism industry serving on the boards of the Western Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau’s (President Elect), the California Travel Association and the Central Valley Tourism Association (Vice President).  Wes is a Certified Destination Management Executive and a Certified Tourism Ambassador.  Wes is a big supporter of the Leadership Stockton program, sponsoring sessions each year, speaking to the class each year, sometimes twice a year, and sending his employees through the program.  He is a true champion of Stockton!

Wes holds a BS in Business Management from the University of Phoenix and resides in Stockton with his wife Kristi and sons Max and Jack.