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History of Leadership Sunnyvale

Leadership Sunnyvale’s origins date back to 1984 when 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.

The First Year

The inaugural Leadership Sunnyvale class was launched in fall 1985 with Ann Hines serving as the Founding Executive Director.  Sunnyvale’s program was set up to benefit from joint sponsorship being with the City of Sunnyvale and the Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce.  At the time, most programs were solely run by city Chambers of Commerce and suffered from a lack of continuity and resources.

Advancing the Program

Initially, Leadership Sunnyvale’s curriculum focused on full-day Civic Affairs Seminars with topics such as government, health services, education, the non-profit sector, business, the environment and community development.  Over the first few years, the program identified leadership as a critical skill-set and added Leadership Skills Workshops to the curriculum.  These workshops deliver practical skills that transfer directly to the volunteer sector, the workplace, public service, and participants’ personal lives.

Leadership Sunnyvale Today

 Leadership Sunnyvale now has over 750 graduates. Many of our strongest supporters come from alumni of the program and alumni of other leadership programs around the United States.  Volunteers to this program enhance our community through their involvement, networking and effective leadership. The impact flows to family life, local business, community organizations and local government.


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