Group Shot

This July over summer break, forty students representing each campus convened for the first-ever Value Schools Student Leadership Conference. 

Jose Ramos

The conference focused on the qualities and characteristics of leadership Value Schools strives to develop in students. Each participant received and read the book, Mandela's Way by Richard Stengel. In it, students discovered that Nelson Mandela's reflections on leadership helped him not only help him encourage others to develop to their fullest potential, but also helped to overcome his own adversity.

With the generosity of School Board member Jody Foldesy, the conference took place on the 51st floor of Boston Consulting Group, with an extraordinary view of Downtown Los Angeles. 

Value Schools CEO David Doyle assembled local leaders from business, non-profit, community-based organizations, local government, and think tanks. These individuals took time away from their schedules, and offered clarity and inspiration to students on the topic of leadership, commitment, and focus.

The conference helped me develop my voice, to speak for myself, and to be a leader for Value Schools. This experience has given me a roadmap to develop my leadership skills."
-- James Penaloza-Martinez, 11th grade student, University Prep Value High School

  • Linda Gunn, President, Gunn-Jerkens Marketing Communications Inc.
  • Gina Doyle, Director of Development, Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Los Angeles
  • Terry McCarthy, President and CEO, Los Angeles World Affairs Council
  • John Barrett, Resident Managing Director, Aon Risk Solutions
  • Luis Gonzalez, Field Deputy for Los Angeles City Councilmember Gilbert Cedillo
  • Ned Colletti, former General Manager, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Irene De Anda Lewis, Executive Director, Los Angeles Salvation Army Red Shield Family Center

all

After seeing the passion and commitment of our students throughout the conference, Terry McCarthy, Los Angeles World Affairs Council President and CEO, invited our students to attend the Second Annual "Future of Asia Conference" held in Santa Monica in September.

Several members of the Boards of Directors of Value Schools also reflected on their experience as leaders and change-makers.

  • Jose Ramos, Children's Bureau of Southern California
  • Naya Bloom, formerly of Teach for America
  • Jeffery Garcia, Capitol Group Financial Services
  • Jody Foldesy, Boston Consulting Group
  • Dawn Nakagawa, Berggruen Institute on Governance

When a presentation came to a close, our students presented a leadership pin to each visiting speaker. Some loved their pin so much they kept it on long after the conference. Ned Colletti, formerly the Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager and co-host of Spectrum Sportsnet LA said, "I wear this pin every day on the set because it represents Value Schools students' commitment to developing leadership."

But the greatest impact was on our students. James Penaloza-Martinez, an 11th grade student at University Prep Value High School said, "The conference helped me develop my voice, to speak for myself, and to be a leader for Value Schools. This experience has given me a roadmap to develop my leadership skills."

We thank all those who participated in the Value Schools Student Leadership Conference and for changing students' perceptions about their role as leaders in the world.