SBC’s Sierra Leadership Institute seeks teams from Sierra communities

From Sierra Business Council

Green energy and climate change innovators on the verge of greatness listen up. A group of likeminded organizations are throwing down the gantlet to encourage Sierra Nevada community teams to take their percolating ideas to the next level at the Sierra Leadership Institute’s Energy and Climate Program 2011.

Over the past decade, 300 community leaders from Lassen County to Mariposa County have graduated from Sierra Business Council’s innovative Sierra Leadership Institute. This year the institute will shift its individual leadership focus to team-building and collaborative leadership skills with a climate change and green energy imperative.

“Individuals will apply for and attend the program as part of a community team representative of their community’s diverse interests,” says Steve Frisch, president of the Sierra Business Council (SBC).

The five-day workshops will be hosted in Auburn, Calif. and build upon SBC’s existing institute to create a model focused on energy and climate issues. In addition to the traditional leadership skill-building segment, SBC will provide energy and climate training and support team projects in these areas to demonstrate that climate change presents opportunities, not just challenges, for Sierra communities.

From biomass and solar technologies to water conservation and energy saving innovations, possible areas of concentration are limited only by the imaginations of the applicants.

Betony Jones, founder of Fourth Sector Strategies, one of the institute’s developers, explains the ethos behind its new direction.

“It’s about working with community teams and giving them the collaborative and technical skills and resources to implement projects,” she says. “Communities can turn climate change obstacles into financial savings and investment opportunities. The talent and the resources are here. We have a program to get them together and put them in action.”

The Sierra Business Council (SBC) is now accepting applications for the Sierra Leadership Institute to provide fully funded leadership training and technical project assistance to teams around the Sierra Nevada. Successful applicants will be awarded a full tuition waiver, room and board for participating.

Five teams consisting of four to six individuals will attend a week-long training workshop, April 11-15, 2011 in Auburn, Calif. Participants will learn collaborative leadership skills with special attention to the climate and energy policy landscape in California, climate and energy science, California energy regulatory agencies, energy efficiency strategic planning efforts, and opportunities and resources for clean energy transformation. Importantly, after the course program staff will provide technical assistance and guidance to turn concepts developed in the course into viable pilot projects.

SBC is partnering with a variety of state and national partners and funders on different components of training and leadership courses they refer to as the Green Prosperity Initiative. The program is primarily funded by Pacific Gas and Electric Company as an Innovator Pilot Project. The overarching regional Green Prosperity concept is part of the California Stewardship Exchange, coordinated by Collaborative Economics and funded by the Morgan Family Foundation.

Please contact Sierra Business Council at 530.582.4800 or visit for more information. Deadline for the application is March 4, 2011.