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The Redwood Coast Region is at a critical crossroads. The complex challenges of the last few years have forever changed how we operate and highlighted some of our most challenging issues throughout Humboldt, Del Norte, and adjacent Tribal lands. Alongside these challenges, we’ve also seen some new opportunities to grow and thrive that could have a lasting positive impact for generations to come. 

Reckoning with our current reality and taking steps towards a resilient future requires an interdependent, regional approach. The catalyst for transformation often starts with dynamic leaders who see the potential within their business, organization, or industry. For this reason, the Arcata Economic Development Corporation is launching a regional leadership program to amplify the momentum of the leaders who can guide us as we navigate toward a thriving economy while prioritizing sustainability and equity. 

Leadership Redwood Coast will center on empowering diverse individuals throughout Humboldt, Del Norte, and adjacent Tribal lands with the tools, connections, and insight they need to effect equitable and innovative change. Through transformative leadership development, immersive experiences throughout our two counties, and ongoing conversations rooted in candor and optimism, participating leaders will gain the tools, connections, and insight they need to effect equitable and innovative change throughout the Redwood Coast. 

This annual program will guide a cohort of 30 diverse leaders through leadership development training as well as in-person excursions throughout our two counties.  Throughout the five months, leaders will broaden their understanding of our region’s critical opportunities and complex challenges. 

Through this Regional Leadership Program, We Will:

  • Intentionally invite diverse perspectives to the table, broadening perspectives and facilitating the shift away from the mindset of “us versus them” and towards the understanding that “together, we can.” 

  • Offer immersive experiences that highlight the unique strengths, timely opportunities, and complex problems our region faces. 

  • Lean into hard conversations, holding space for both candor and optimism 

  • Broaden leaders' understanding of how policies, industry, and infrastructure impact our shared economy and quality of life. 

  • Foster practical leadership skills in dynamic individuals that amplify their impact and drive collective progress. 

  • Strengthen collaborative ties throughout our region that will have a lasting effect on individuals, communities, and our shared future. 

  • Invest in our region’s most valuable resource—our people, in ways that foster flourishing throughout the Redwood Coast region.

This program’s success will depend on the engagement of our broader community. We want to build an interconnected network of support throughout the region from the county and municipality leadership, larger industries and small business owners, nonprofit organizations, and higher education institutions. 


Melissa Blanford

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Assistant Coordinator & Event Planner

Melissa Blanford is the assistant marketing coordinator of Illuminated Marketing. From content writing to graphic design and social media management, she works with local businesses to build their brand and help share their mission with the world. She has a background in event planning and has helped coordinate events with the Trinidad Chamber of Commerce.

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Gregg Foster

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Keith Flamer

President & Superintendent

College of the Redwoods

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Kathy Moxon

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Julia Lerma

Director of Organizing

True North Organizing Network


Nick Bown Crawford

Executive Director

Humboldt Made

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Ashley Taylor

Director of Economic Development & Recreation

City of Crescent City

Susan Seaman

Susan Seaman

Advisory Board
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