Article Andy Silverman

Local Nonprofit Leaders Gather to Learn, Reflect, Share Ideas
Participants focus on strategies for successful futures

Presented by SurfMedia Communications, a Santa Barbara-based PR and marketing firm, some 60 nonprofit leaders from across the tri-counties joined forces at the Narrative Loft in Santa Barbara June 27 for an opportunity to reflect on recent challenges and plan for the future of their organizations.

International speaker, trainer and author Tai Sunnanon led the discussion at the event. Sunnanon commented on the abundance of leadership expertise in the room, and commended nonprofit leaders in the region for their resiliency and adaptability in the wake of recent disasters.

“I fully believe that 80 percent of the answers to the problems we’re trying to solve are in this room,” said Sunnanon. “It’s my job to pull that information out of you so others can benefit from your knowledge and experience.”

Sunnanon is the CEO of the strategic insights group, a mission-driven strategy firm in Los Angeles. He is an acclaimed expert in social responsibility, entrepreneurship, and adaptive leadership.

Sunnanon has consulted and guided national and international organizations, including the United Nations, MasterCard Foundation, UCLA, Silicon Valley Nonprofit Consortium, and Harvard University.

He holds a BA from UCLA and completed his doctoral coursework at Harvard University, where he also earned his MPP and EdM degrees.

After the keynote session, attendees broke into small-group discussions to address topics critical to the success and growth of nonprofit organizations, including long-term strategy, fundraising and development, strategic partnerships, and staff leadership development.

Participants in the small-group discussions were tasked with brainstorming some of the challenges they’ve faced related to the topic, creating action plans to improve the most common challenges, and presenting the highlights of their discussion to the general audience.

“It’s our hope that we can continue to create these kinds of opportunities and offer new useful information and tools for nonprofit leadership,” said Juliana Minsky, partner at SurfMedia Communications.

“When leaders at all stages of experience want to challenge themselves, share experiences and tackle problems together, everyone in the community benefits,” she said.

Adaptive Leadership in a Changing Landscape was presented by SurfMedia Communications and hosted by Marybeth Carty. The following organizations were represented at the workshop:

A Busy Woman Consulting
A Different Point of View
Art, Design & Architecture Museum at UCSB
AHA! Attitude. Harmony. Achievement
Angels Foster Care
Animal Shelter Assistance Program
Association for Women in Communication
Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara
Braille Institute
Child Abuse Listening Mediation
Camerata Pacifica
Carpinteria Arts Center
Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce
CASA of Santa Barbara County
CenCal Health
Center for Successful Aging
Coastal Housing Partnership
Doctors Without Walls
Domestic Violence Solutions
Easy Lift Transportation
El Centrito Family Learning Centers
Ensemble Theatre Company
Family Service Agency/Santa Maria Valley Youth and Family Center 
First 5 Santa Barbara
Flamenco Arts Festival
Food From The Heart
FOOD Share
Foodbank of Santa Barbara County
Friends of VADA at Santa Barbara High School
Friendship Center
Fund for Santa Barbara
Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara
Hospice of Santa Barbara
Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare     
New Beginnings Counseling Center
Northern Santa Barbara County United Way
United Way of Santa Barbara County
Rona Barrett Foundation
Ruby Road Leadership
Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
Santa Barbara Partners in Education
Santa Barbara Police Activities League
SBCC Foundation
Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation

SurfMedia Communications provides marketing and public relations services for nonprofits and companies with a commitment to society. For more information, visit or call 805-687-3322.