Though Leadership Newark helps mold and develop the leaders of the future, the organization would not exist today without the support and guidance from our network. Each one of our 600+ alumni have made contributions to Leadership Newark that continue to help guide us toward a brighter tomorrow. Below are some of our Fellows who wanted to share their experiences!

Fernando Acevedo, LN ‘08

“When I think of Leadership Newark, I think of a network of community and civic leaders who commit two years to learning and refining their leadership skills in public policy, and the rest of their lives devoted to making the greater Newark community stronger.”

Brooke Barret, LN ‘10

“Leadership Newark reignited my passion for the city and being active in it at a time when I was feeling particularly burnt out. Though LN and the family that I found in it, I was able to participate in my dream of helping to launch a collaborative local education fund to benefit Newark Public Schools and public charters, among many other initiatives citywide. Even though I am no longer living and working in Newark, I continue to be a champion for it and watch with pride my fellow beacons of hope (and other LN alums) continue to do great things in realizing the potential of the city we love. I am so grateful to everyone who makes LN possible through their hard work, engagement, and giving; Newark–and I–wouldn’t be the same without it. Thank you.”

Ingrid Belle, LN ‘17

“Leadership Newark has been instrumental in my personal development. I learned how to communicate more effectively for results. I was encouraged to go beyond my comfort zone in reference to networking and teamwork. I am able to fulfill my vision in being hands on in community involvement and I have connected with some of the most influential leaders in Newark. Though I have not had any professional advancement attributed Leadership Newark; that is not because of a lack of resources because the potential is tremendous. I have to become more aggressive in pursuing opportunities within the network. I am happy and privileged to because a Leadership Newark Fellow and I do believe I will benefit incredibly personally and be an asset to the Newark community. I would advise anyone desiring to be a Public servant to be become a part of the Leadership Newark Family.”

Irene Cooper-Basch, LN ‘05

“Leadership Newark gave me the opportunity to meet key decision makers and to think strategically about how to solve complex problems with a diverse group of Fellows all eager to see Newark emerge as a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Vaughn Crowe, LN ‘06

“Leadership Newark was my entry point to understanding the importance of civic engagement, and since completing Leadership Newark I have committed most of my life to public service. I am grateful for the education and the network of amazing professionals.”

Laureen Delance, LN ‘12

“I loved Leadership Newark so much that I found a way to work for the organization!  When I joined the Leadership Newark fellowship program, I joined because that’s exactly what I wanted to become: a leader in the Greater Newark community.  I had just completed my Master’s in Public Administration while working, but I felt unchallenged to pursue leadership roles and there’s only but so much you can develop as a graduate student and front-line staff.  Leadership Newark provided the space to engage in high-level policy discussions.  I had the opportunity to listen to policy experts, which fed my curiosity and yearning to know what entails quality community progress.  Leadership Newark also gave me my first opportunity to serve in the capacity as a consultant.  Wearing this hat, I was able to challenge myself to provide an organization some professional and expert advice.  Because of this experience, I remain grateful to the exposure Leadership Newark provided me.  And so, I never left! I remained a volunteer and served as a blogger for the Public Policy Summit Committee, right until I became a staff member!  To be on the staff side has been a remarkable experience.  To go from yearning to learn, to now yearning to inform, I couldn’t have asked for a better transition.  Indeed, I have experienced the “best of both worlds.”

Dan DeNose, LN ‘14

“My experience as a Leadership Newark Fellow was both exhilarating and life changing. As a young professional leader, the fellowship was one of the catalyst to motivate me to pursue a graduate degree, explore the lifestyle of an entrepreneur, and walk into my destiny as a founder and executive director of a nonprofit. The bond between my classmates goes beyond the two years, which transcends time and space. I will always be grateful to Leadership Newark and to my fellows for making me into a better servant to humanity.”

Matthew Frankel, LN ‘17

“Being a Fellow at Leadership Newark provides valuable shared experiences, helpful insights, deep friendships, and direct connection with some of Newark’s great community leaders, elected’s and historians.  But the passion behind the program is anchored by Celia King and her amazing, dedicated staff.  The most valuable aspect is not just the work and the learning, you also join a family.  There is great kindness and care that goes into this program.  Celia and the team are always there to help make a connection, provide career advice, or send words of encouragement.    My involvement in Leadership Newark continues to enrich my understand of Newark and my professional career in the City.  It has been an amazing opportunity and I am so grateful to have connected with Celia and the Leadership Newark team.”

Holly Kaplansky, LN ‘05

“Leadership Newark was an amazing experience.  I had the opportunity to gain inside knowledge of the largest (and greatest!) city in New Jersey from the leaders who actually work in public policy.  Through a diverse curriculum, such as criminal justice, government, economic development and education, I was able to build relationships with community leaders both inside and outside our class.   I continue to benefit from these relationships as I keep up with the fellows in my class and run into others who have been through the program.”

Stella Osemwegie, LN ‘03

“In addition to introducing me to how best to network with diverse groups of people, Leadership Newark showed me a part of Newark and its people that are not readily seen and experienced amidst the painful media coverage of what happens in many large cities across this great country. Newark is a great city but you will not know it unless you experience the passion of its people and those who work here. I have and Leadership Newark is helping to develop their leadership skills.”

Natalia Sardo, LN ‘12

“As a kid from Newark, it has been my personal mission to dispel the negative stereotypes of this great city by focusing on the amazing things Newark offers – a rich history, world class institutions, powerful learning communities, a burgeoning arts scene, delicious culinary fare and so much more.  LN does the same every day through the contributions of its alumni in their personal lives and professions. LN represents all of the good Newark offers that the media too often fails to recognize.  It embodies the true spirit of ‘community’ in Newark.  LN alumni pay it forward every day, and I have personally been the fortunate beneficiary of this generosity on many occasions.  Since my time at Link, countless LN alumni have come to the school to support the next generation of Newark’s leaders – its youth.  Some have done so organically and others have responded to my invitations without hesitation.  I am a proud alumna of the Class of 2012 (the Saviors) but my connection to LN dates back to 2002. During the course of the past 14 years, I have witnessed numerous LN alumni who graduate from the two-year program become mayors, senators, executive directors, foundation officers, social activists, corporate executives, film directors and more.  In the simplest sense, LN is a social change incubator.  I am proud of this city and I am proud of the contributions Leadership Newark and its fellows have made during the past 18 years to move Newark, NJ forward.”

Khaatim Sherrer El, LN ‘15

“Leadership Newark builds a network of professionals and civic leaders who are equally committed to doing their part to make this a greater Newark. Those selected represent the melting pot of this city in both ethnicity and vocation and made me appreciate the different ways we come at trying to solve the same problems. After Leadership Newark, I knew clearly that I wasn’t alone.”