Leadership Development

2020 Rural Communities Water Managers Leadership Institute

*****Recruitment for the 2020 Rural Communities Water Managers Leadership Institute has closed. Please continue to check back for information on the next Leadership Institute taking place in 2021*****

Community water board members and staff, water leaders, and residents from rural communities are currently participating in the 2020 Rural Communities Water Managers Leadership Institute taking place in Visalia and Madera. The six-month Leadership Institute consists of trainings, workshops, and educational tours focused on building and maintaining long-term water management expertise in rural communities.

The six-month program focuses on topics including, but not limited to:

  • Local and Regional Community Water Uses, Challenges, and Solutions
  • California Water Management and Planning Programs including, Water Management Agencies, Laws and Regulations
  • Effective Community Participation in Water Management and Planning
  • Available Funding and Financing
  • Educational Water Tour
  • Sustaining Community Participation in Water Management and Planning, Building Community Networks and Recruiting/Building New Community Leaders

The Visalia Leadership Institute cohort began on March 21 and meets the third Saturday of the month through August 2020 at the Self-Help Enterprises’ office in Visalia. The Madera Leadership Institute cohort began June 13 and meets the second Saturday of the month through November 2020 at the Self-Help Enterprises’ office in Madera.

The program is free of charge thanks to the generous support from The Water Foundation, NeighborWorks America, and the United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Development.  Participation stipends will be provided to help cover costs incurred while participating in the program.

If you have any questions, please contact Eva Dominguez at (559) 802–1634 or

To date, the Leadership Institute has trained more than 60 new water leaders in rural communities from Merced County to Kern County.




2019 Leadership Institute Program Highlights

Read the 2019 Leadership Institute newsletter to learn how the Leadership Institute curriculum was developed, explore curriculum topics, get to know the participants making a difference every day in their communities, learn about the water tour, and how water managers and leaders can participate in the 2020 Leadership Institute.

2019 Leadership Institute Newsletter

Noticias del Instituto de Liderazgo 2019


Schedule from the 2019 Leadership Institute (March 2019 – August 2019)

Session 1: March 2019

Topics: Water Conditions in the Central Valley, Introduction to Water Management and Planning Programs, and Community Participation in Water Management Programs

Session 2: April 2019

Topics: State Water Management-California Water Laws and Regulations, Understanding Stakeholder Interests and Political Dimensions of Water Management, and Water Management and Planning Programs

Session 3: May 2019

Topics: Funding Programs and Requirements, Site Visit of IRWM Funded Project, Project Development and Working with Engineers and Consultants

Session 4: June 2019

Topics: Presenting Information to Your Community/Board, How to Prepare for and Participate in Meetings, and Consensus Building

Session 5: July 2019

Topics: Water Sources, Uses, and Users Water Tour

Session 6: August 2019

Topics: Policy and Legislative Advocacy, Building and Sustaining Community Power and Partnerships, Diversifying California Water Management, and Graduation


2020 Leadership Institute Funders

This Leadership Institute was offered for free to interested participants. Funding for the Institute was provided by the Central Valley Community Foundation and the United States Department of Agriculture. Additional funding for this project has been provided from the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 and through an agreement with the State Department of Water Resources. 



Leadership Development Impact

The issues facing rural disadvantaged communities San Joaquin Valley counties are complex and multifaceted.  Such communities often lack human capacity to effectively lead their communities through issues they face – usually due to lack of training, not lack of heart.

Because it takes leaders from all aspects of the community to effect change that makes a positive impact in neighborhoods, Self-Help Enterprises hosts the Joaquin Valley Rural Community Leadership Institute to address a broad range of community issues. This training experience can sharpen community leaders’ abilities, and provide the tools and techniques to become effective leaders to improve their communities.

The Institute is intended to provide residents from communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley with training sessions that include conflict management and effective communication skills. Workshops also provide guidance on how to manage change and guide their communities through those changes, budgeting, public relations, community resource development and building other skills.

Similarly, Self-Help Enterprises community development staff provide critical technical assistance to local communities, linking the community’s water and sewer needs to funding and technical resources. At the core of this effort is the empowerment of residents to take control of the development of their own community infrastructure needs. Self-Help Enterprises staff support community groups and Boards in forming Districts in assessing the community’s needs to apply for and administer government loans/grants for project financing.

Self-Help Enterprises’ commitment to providing resources and training for individuals builds the capacity for highly effective leadership in communities and at the same time promotes collaborative solutions for improving communities.

“The leadership institute training arms you with the tools you need to stay the course and win.”
~ Denise Kadara,  Allensworth


Why should I consider becoming a leader in my community? 

Community leaders make a difference in our communities and play a pivotal role in helping improve the well-being of residents.

How does the community benefit from engaged residents?

Engaged residents identify community needs and enables communities to realize their vision for a vibrant, welcoming place for all to call home.

How does Self-Help Enterprises assist with the training of water and sewer boards?

Self-Help Enterprises works to educate residents about the roles and responsibilities of a board and set the ground work for boards to function effectively.

 Interest Form

If you are interested in information about future leadership development trainings, please complete the interest form. A Self-Help Enterprises staff member will contact you.

Interest Form

Please fill out the form.

Interest Form

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