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Frequently Asked Questions


What is Leadership Sunnyvale?

Leadership Sunnyvale provides the tools, knowledge and relationships for citizens to make a difference in the community. Students in the program learn how local government and non-profits work together to provide essential services and leadership for our citizens. If a person plans to run for elected office, serve on a local commission or board, or help lead a non-profit, Leadership Sunnyvale jump starts individual effectiveness and provides the means to truly make a difference!


What is it all about?

Leadership Sunnyvale’s mission is to strengthen our diverse community by empowering individuals to become effective leaders, through leadership skills training and by enhancing their knowledge and awareness of community issues. The mission guides the operational priorities and working climate of the organization.


When did this program start?

Leadership Sunnyvale’s origins date back to 1984 when then-Mayor Lynn Briody first proposed a program to train citizens for civic service patterned on a model designed by the National Association for Community Leadership (NACLO). With help from Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce President Van Freidin and Executive Director Al Reynolds, a year-long, broad-based steering committee was formed to study similar programs in other cities and their potential for the Sunnyvale community. This process started shortly after Stockton started the first California city-run civic leadership program.


How many people have completed Leadership?

Ann Hines was hired as the first Executive Director in 1985, and the first class graduated in June 1986. Including the 2015 graduates, the total number of graduates is 531. Seventeen Leadership Sunnyvale alumni have been elected to Sunnyvale City Council, seven elected to local school Boards, and many other alumni have made impressive contributions in their personal and professional lives, and many have committed to public service.


How many people will be in the Class?

Each Class has approximately 18-25 participants. The students come from the private, nonprofit, community, and public sectors.


When does Leadership Sunnyvale meet and what will be covered?

Leadership Sunnyvale is unlike any other training or educational experience. Each class has 8 Civic Affairs Seminars and 24 to 32 hours of Leadership Workshops. Each of the Civic Affair Seminars focuses on a different topic such as Education; Police Services & the Judicial System; Fire & Emergency Preparedness; Arts & Media; Health; Government; Business and Economic Development; Human Services; Planning, Housing & Transportation.


Who facilitates the Civic Affairs Seminars?

Local leaders in these fields facilitate each session. The class will make site visits to a number of important community facilities and have the opportunity to interact with leaders in each of these areas.

How will we connect with community issues and other Leadership Sunnyvale participants?

Leadership Sunnyvale includes a collaborative Community Issue & Engagement Group project. The goals of the issue group projects are to develop and enhance leadership skills; learn in depth about one community issue; and practice leadership in a voluntary, non-work setting.


When is the Class Application window?

Applications for the Class are being accepted until the class starts in September. Submit an application early in order to assure a place in the class.


Where can I find more information and the application?

Additional information and the current application are available on the Leadership Sunnyvale website: or by contacting the Leadership Sunnyvale office, at (408) 716-1866 or sending an email to:


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