Community Leaders Selected for Fellowship

Three Community Leaders Selected for Women’s Policy Institute Fellowship; Hone Leadership and Early Childhood Development Skills

This week, the Women's Foundation of California announced three local early childhood development leaders have been accepted into the 2016 Women's Policy Institute-County (WPI-County) Fellowship

Dora McKean, Early Learning Coordinator for Monterey County Office of Education, Mayra Perez Diaz, Community Impact Manager for United Way Monterey County, and Vanessa Robinson, Impact Coordinator for United Way Monterey County, will attend the first WPI-County Retreat on March 28-30 in Los Angeles.

WPI-County is a leadership and policy training fellowship for county-level influencers. Fellows will work in small teams over multiple retreats and teleconferences to further develop advocacy and leadership skills associated with a specific area of expertise. The Monterey County fellows will focus on Early Childhood Development Skills.

The fellows’ development will directly benefit Monterey County Children’s Council’s Early Childhood Development Initiative (ECDI). ECDI aims to develop a countywide strategic vision, road map, and action plan to help our youngest children reach their full potential. Research confirms that early childhood development plays a major role in not just cognitive development, but also behavioral traits like sociability, motivation, and self-esteem. When communities invest in ECD, the results pay for themselves. Dora, Mayra and Vanessa will be well-equipped to advance ECDI though WPI-County development and training.

In preparation for the retreat, the team will host a listening session for local advocates and community members to discuss top issues and concerns regarding early childhood development within Monterey County. The three WPI leaders will take the community's top concerns to the retreat in Los Angeles and focus their continuing work on developing solutions and action plans for effecting meaningful change at the county level. 


DATE: Friday, March 18th
TIME: 1PM - 3PM 
LOCATION: Monterey County Office of Education
                     901 Blanco Circle
                     Salinas, CA 93901

The three fellowship recipients are:

Dora McKean - Team Lead
Early Learning Coordinator, Monterey County Office of Education
Dora brings a wealth of experience to the WPI-Monterey County team. She serves as the coordinator to the Monterey County Child Care Planning Council (MCCCPC). The MCCCPC is comprised of child care providers, the Monterey County Office of Education and other early learning champions. For more information please visit the website. Dora also serves as the Early Learning Coordinator for Staff Development in the MCOE Head Start & Early Head Start program.

Mayra Perez Diaz
Community Impact Manager, United Way Monterey County
Mayra wears many hats in Monterey County. Her full-time job is as Community Impact Manager at the United Way of Monterey County, however she is an active participant in her community of Greenfield. As a born and raised resident of Greenfield, she serves in various committees in the school district such as GUSD LCAP committee, Superintendent PTA Council Committee, Cesar Chavez Elementary PTA, and Unification Committee and was recently elected to the School Board of Trustees. Mayra also sits on the Leadership team for Greenfield’s Early Childhood Development Initiative Collaborative Action Team.

Vanessa Robinson
Impact Coordinator, United Way Monterey County
Vanessa is a dual-degreed professional with bachelors in Business Administration from CSUMB and master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University. Prior to her work at the United Way, Vanessa served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, teaching health education. In addition to her service in Kenya, Vanessa combated addiction in Rwanda and volunteered in Burundi building a maternity wing to a HIV/AIDS clinic. More recently, Vanessa serves as a Court Appointed Child Advocate and Secretary for the Monterey County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Being an adoptee, Vanessa is especially passionate about protecting children in the foster care system. She has high hope to implement laws that reform the system and uphold adoptees rights.