Staff Report

The Rotary Club of Solvang is piloting a Santa Ynez Valley Leadership Program for residents who aspire to leadership roles in municipal government, public agencies and not-for-profit organizations. This is in response to requests for such a program like Lompoc, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County have had to develop community leaders for 30-plus years. 

This program is not a copy of the other ones. It was developed by Ian Jacobsen and a Rotary Club advisory committee to tailor it to the needs of the Santa Ynez Valley community. The benefits to participants are greater community leadership skills and knowledge, greater self-confidence as a leader, and a network of other prospective community leaders.

The Santa Ynez Valley Leadership Program is scheduled for a total of eight sessions on Saturday mornings, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., running Sept. 11 through Nov. 13 (With no class Sept. 25 and Oct. 23. The program is open to residents of the Santa Ynez Valley. Participants will learn through classes and workshops, reading assignments, and participation in a team project. There is a $100 participation fee for all eight classes. The deadline to register is Aug. 27.

For more information on the program, overview of the learning modules, and for an application form, go to 

The program is endorsed by the Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Buellton Rotary Clubs, and local Chambers of Commerce. As with all Rotary programs, it is nonpolitical and nondenominational.

Ian Jacobsen, president of the Rotary Club of Solvang, is the author of “Leadership at Your Fingertips: Proven Ways to Handle Your Challenges.” He is a graduate of Stanford University, and is a certified management consultant elected a Fellow to the Institute of Management Consultants in 1997. His prior work experience included management positions with corporate and educational organizations, and founding his own consulting company in 1983. Jacobsen’s specialty is coaching managers to become more effective leaders. His clients have included high-technology companies, service organizations, city and county governments, and educational institutions.