Fellowship for a New California

Historically, immigrant communities have come to the United States seeking opportunities for a better life for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, today, they continue to face powerful obstacles – in local, state and federal policies – for their full participation in society.

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With California being the state with the highest proportion of immigrants in the country, the work of California immigrant rights advocates and organizers affects the larger movement for fairness and democracy across the country.

Rockwood Leadership Institute is proud to announce the fourth year of the Fellowship for a New California: Developing Leaders of Immigrant Communities with the support of the California Wellness Foundation and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund.

The Fellowship provides leaders with tools to:

  • Deal more effectively with leadership and organizational challenges
  • Create and sustain compelling visions for their organizations
  • Engage in a learning community of leaders in the immigrant rights movement working throughout the state of California

The Program

This ten-month intensive leadership program is designed to teach powerful visioning, listening, communication, coaching, team-building and feedback skills to leaders engaged in civic engagement, advocacy, and organizing to engage immigrant communities. The program includes one 5-day residential retreat, two 4-day retreats, professional and peer coaching sessions, and additional leadership support.

Program Offerings

Art of Collaborative Leadership | February 22-26, 2016, Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, Palos Verdes, CA

The Art of Collaborative Leadership is an intensive retreat workshop in which participants hone skills related to articulating vision, managing difficult conversations, and identifying personal leadership strengths and challenges. Each participant receives a 360-degree leadership evaluation from peers. The training includes time for participant-driven dialogue aimed at strengthening the California immigrant rights movement.

Session 2: June 27-30, 2016, Mayacamas Ranch, Calistoga, CA

The second Fellowship retreat builds off the tools and experience of the Art of Collaborative Leadership, and fosters more opportunities for field dialogue. It is designed for leaders to enhance their skills in areas of both leadership and collaboration, including an examination of power (personal, positional and institutional), strategy and performance, and personal and organizational sustainability.

Session 3: November 28 - December 1, 2016, Westerbeke Ranch, Sonoma, CA

The final Fellowship retreat is designed based on the feedback of the Fellows to continue to foster movement building and deepen their transformational leadership practice.

Professional and Peer Coaching

Coaching is both an important leadership skill, and a resource for social change leaders. During the Fellowship, leaders will be partnered with two other Fellows to engage in a peer coaching relationship over the course of the program. Fellows will also receive three hours of professional coaching.

Leadership Practices and Additional Leadership Resources

To reinforce the tools of the Fellowship Program, Rockwood provides leadership practice "assignments," and course materials about leadership, partnership and organizations.

The Trainers

Helen Kim is an organizational development consultant, facilitator and executive coach with over 20 years of experience working with organizations in the U.S. and internationally. She has consulted with numerous immigrant rights groups including Chinese Progressive Association, People Organized to Demand Environmental & Economic Rights (PODER), and Partnership for Immigrant Leadership and Action. She immigrated from Korea when she was 12-years-old and is bilingual in Korean.

Yeshi Neumann has been facilitating workshops about women's leadership, diversity, communication, conflict resolution, organizational development, healing family relationships, and mindfulness for over 20 years. She has worked as a midwife since 1970. In addition, Yeshi has developed a relevant and inspiring curriculum for the grandmothers of our time. She holds master's degrees in history and in public health.

Key Skills

  • Deal more effectively with leadership challenges
  • Manage relationships to increase personal and organizational effectiveness
  • Sharpen and sustain compelling visions for your work
  • Inspire and align others to work effectively towards common goals
  • Increase sustainability and engage with tools to prevent burnout
  • Build partnerships inside and outside your organization

Fellow Criteria

The ideal candidates for Rockwood's Fellowship for a New California:

  • Actively participate in the California immigrant rights movement and are recognized as a "key influencer."
  • Play a leadership role as the Executive Director, or senior leader within their organization.
  • Are committed to building partnership and collaboration across the immigrant rights movement.
  • Possess a personal/professional readiness to learn new leadership skills.
  • Represent a diversity of ethnic immigrant and refugee communities, regional foci, and change strategies.
  • Commit to full participation in the program, including attendance at all three retreats, completing required pre-work and engaging in peer and professional coaching.


With the support of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, California Wellness Foundation, California Wellness Foundation, California Endowment, and James Irvine Foundation, Rockwood will cover the majority of fees, plus room and board costs. The program has an estimated value of $15,000 per Fellow. Participants are asked to contribute a nominal fee based on the following organizational budget sliding scale:

Organizational Budget

Fellowship Participation Fee

 $2,000,000 or up


$1,000,000 to $1,999,999

 $500,000 or to $999,999


 $499,999 and under


To Apply

To nominate a leader for the 2016 Fellowship, please send an email with the name, title, organization and email address of the nominee, along with a brief description of how they meet the program's criteria to f4nc@rockwoodleadership.org by September 14, 2015.  Leaders will be selected from the nomination pool to be invited to submit an application. Thirty applicants will be invited to participate in a phone interview. Twenty-four leaders will be selected.