Gleason starts leadership program

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Gleason starts leadership programKern County 1st District Supervisor Mick Gleason invited community pillars to join him last week in introducing to the community “Leadership Ridgecrest,” an academy modeled after a successful Bakersfield mentoring program.

The endeavor will bring together key leaders who can instruct candidates in everything from strategy to economics to the nuances of public relations, then celebrate those achievements in a high-profile celebration.

“This is a big deal in Bakersfield,” he said, adding that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Assemblyman Vince Fong are among the notable graduates.

“We have a vacuum of leadership among our young people,” he said. He added that he tried several times to start a local program, but couldn’t get it up and running. The reason it will succeed this time, he said, is because Geri Haradon will be taking the lead.

Gleason said that he hopes to kick off a simplified program with a small number of candidates. The program will have “champions,” and candidates will meet with a different one each month to learn about that facet of the community.

He said he expected that the program would also have a component where some form of community project would be undertaken during the course of training.

Philip Peters, a field representative for Gleason, is among the candidates of the Bakersfield program.

“It’s great for bringing people together,” he said, adding that many of the candidates were in some way involved in public relations. The cost of the program is $945 per participant, typically paid for by the employer.

The projects in his cohort range from teaching foster children about financial literacy to building a healing garden for victims of human trafficking.

“We want to walk before we run,” said Gleason. “It will take years before we are recognized as a leadership development curriculum.”

For more information contact Haradon at 760-608-0798 or

Pictured: Supervisor Mick Gleason, at the head of the table, is flanked by Geri Haradon (left of Gleason) and other invited “champions” of Leadership Ridgecrest. -- Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2017-06-02