Develop the inner leader, students complete the certificate program

At a time when public agencies in Orange County must devise innovative and strategic solutions to social and economic challenges, leaders with ingenuity and commitment are needed to meet the challenge.

To prepare agencies to meet these challenges, Cal State Fullerton (CSUF) Extension & International Programs (EIP) offers the Leadership Development for Public Agencies certificate program. This program allows emerging leaders to further develop their skills and behaviors with the help of seasoned experts.

CSUF EIP works directly with OC Agencies, who nominate and sponsor an employee to participate in the coveted semester-long Leadership Development Program.

“For Spring 2022, there were 33 graduates from 12 agencies in this cohort,” said Winnie Kang-Abreu, CSUF EIP program manager. Reflecting on the program, she adds: “This is one of my favorite programs to talk about. I am proud that we have been partners with more than 30 public organizations in the region since 2007 and that we have nearly 600 graduates! We consistently receive positive feedback from participants and agencies. It is so gratifying to see the significant impact of the program on the academic and professional experience of our students.

The virtual graduation took place on Thursday, June 9 and included speakers, Debra Leahy, Dean of Extension and AVP for International Programs; Clayton Chau, MD, Ph.D., director of the Orange County Health Care Agency; and Fullerton City Manager Eric Levitt.

Here is the list of agencies and names of graduates. Congratulations to all who have completed the program and to some who have already been promoted to new positions within their respective agencies!

  • City of Anaheim: Lauren Tarzjani, Ana Straabe
  • City of Costa Mesa: Jason Pyle, Kelly Dalton, Ramin Nikoui
  • Orange County: Daniele Ogaz, Nicole LeMaire, Grace Lizardo
  • City of Fullerton: Jaime Cortes, Kent Baecker, Amanda Arbiso, Andrew Grajeda
  • City of Irvine: Isela Ruiz, Laurie Komatsu
  • Irvine Ranch Water District: Omid Rajaee, Jerry Whittaker
  • Lutheran Social Services SC: Luisa Sanchez, Christina Deaton, Sophia Encalada, Deniece Marshall
  • OC Water Municipal District: Heather Baez, Melissa Baum-Haley
  • Orange County Fire Authority: Issai Ochoa
  • OC San: Bob Tran, Angel Hernandez
  • Orange County Transportation Authority: Gina Ramirez, Christina Blanco, Charvalen Alacar, Vicente Aldana
  • Town of Tustin: Joe Cossack, Garrison DeVine, Randy Medina, Joann Wu

To learn more about leadership development for public agencies, talk to your agency’s human resources department or visit

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