Generating ideas, connections, and action

LLC Webinar Series | LeaderSpring in Reset: rethinking leadership and risk taking

May 16, 2018

11:00 am - 12:00 pm Pacific | 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Eastern


Our thinking about leadership is evolving as is the world in which greater numbers of people are coming together to take actions that will create greater equity. To keep pace, those who are supporting leadership for racial equity and social justice must pause, reflect and reconsider our approaches to leadership development. Because most leadership programs receive positive feedback from those participating in them, it can be hard to try something different...who wants to mess with what works, even if the payoff could be more dramatic results. It takes courage to do this and we are excited to have our friends from LeaderSpring share their "reset" process and what they are learning. Please join our next webinar with Sonia Manjon, Ph.D and Safi Jiroh from LeaderSpring.

Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, PhD, Executive Director

Dr. Mañjon possesses more than 25 years of experience in higher education, nonprofit, and government administration. Sonia is a LeaderSpring Alumna, class of 2006, who returned to the Bay Area from Columbus, Ohio to become the 2nd executive director of LeaderSpring. Her focus for the organization is to re-define product and service delivery, develop a business model for leadership development, leverage the alumni network, and introduce racial equity and social justice systems change work.

Prior to returning to California, Sonia was inaugural director of the Lawrence and Isabel Barnett Center for Integrated Arts and Enterprise, Associate Professor of Arts Administration, Education and Policy, and Affiliate Faculty in Latinx Studies and The STEAM Factory at The Ohio State University (OSU). Dr. Mañjon mentored both undergraduate and graduate students whose interest led them to entrepreneurship, community collaborations, and civic engagement activities.  A cultural anthropologist, her research focus includes collecting community and individual narratives using a participatory action methodology, photography and video.

Dr. Mañjon began her academic career at the California College of the Arts (CCA) as the executive director of the Center for Art and Public Life, founding chair of the Community Arts major, former chair of Diversity Studies, and the Simpson Endowed Professor of Community Arts.  She created the Community Arts major, the first BFA program of its kind in the United States, the Center’s Visiting Artists and Scholars program, and raised over $8 million dollars for CCA initiatives.

Dr. Mañjon has completed numerous projects, video documentaries, and publications.  Including 100 Families Oakland: Art and Social Change (a community-wide collaborative program), Invisible Identity: Mujeres Dominicanas en California (a video/ photographic installation), Crafting a Vision for Art, Equity and Civic Engagement: Convening the Community Arts Field in Higher Education (a compilation of essays, narratives and workshops), and A Snap Shot: Landmarking Community Cultural Arts Organizations Nationally (case studies of national art and cultural organizations). Dr. Mañjon also directed and produced two video documentaries, Pieces of Cloth, Pieces of Culture: Tapa from Tonga and the Pacific Islands (a 50 min. DVD on Tongan Tapa making and community collaboration), and The Experience of Immigration and Acculturation of Four Generations of Dominican Women in California, (a 10 min short on four generations of Dominican women in California).

Dr. Mañjon earned a PhD in Humanities, specializing in transformative learning and change in human systems and an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Social Transformation from the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco. She received a Bachelor of Arts in World Arts and Cultures with an emphasis in Dance from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Mañjon lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her sons Zyan and Ezra.

Safi Jiroh, Deputy Director

Safi brings more than 25 years of experience in the public and nonprofit sectors as a leader, grantmaker, non-profit consultant, and certified integral coach with significant planning, facilitation, training and public speaking experience. Her Oakland-based leadership positions have included: Executive Director of the Marcus Foster Ed Fund; Community Faculty Fellow with the Center for Art and Public Life at the California College of the Arts; and Grants and Nonprofit Management Analyst for the City of Oakland’s Cultural Arts Department. In each position, Safi brought a social justice and equity lens to the work; in policy development, program design, community building and organizing, staffing, fund raising, and budgeting.


Notably, in her role as a grantmaker with the City of Oakland, Safi created several programs and initiatives; a capacity building multi-year grant and technical assistance program, a neighborhood cultural arts investment program, a youth to youth arts policy and grantmaking apprenticeship, an individual artist fellowship for established and emerging artists, an artist in education initiative and, an out of school teaching artist residency in each of Oakland’s public libraries. Her local, state and national cultural equity policy work engaged the Congressional Black Caucus to take a stand in support of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), helping members to understand the NEA’s critical partnership in sustaining art and culture development from and in communities of color across the United States. As a Community Faculty Fellow with the Center for Art and Public Life, provided vital in-service to faculty and student on cultural sensitivity, socio-economic class difference and assumptions, and mentoring public school student.  


Safi is a certified Integral Coach from New Ventures West since 1999 and served for 6 years on its coaching certification committee and as a cohort mentor. She is licensed to teach its 2-day course, Coaching to Excellence. As a 25-year nonprofit consultant some of her clients have included City of Oakland, City of Richmond, City of Berkeley, San Bernardino County Public Health Department, LA Care Health Plan, Berkeley Unified School District, Oakland Unified School District, California Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, San Francisco Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Social Justice Learning Institute, Black Women for Wellness, and Parent Voices Oakland. Safi is an alumna of 3 cohort-based leadership development fellowships, including LeaderSpring’s class of 2008, holds a BS in Organizational Management, graduating summa cum laude, and is a licensed minister practicing spiritual formation and soul care.