Leadership Institute


Mentoring is a known evidence-based practice that has proven effective in supporting people across the lifespan to achieve desired goals and aspirations.  The Leadership Institute is offering one year of mentoring to all Leadership Academy graduates to integrate cultural and linguistic competence and cultural diversity in their career and life goals.  The Leadership Institute has identified a stellar cadre of people from diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds to serve as mentors. 

Leadership Institute mentoring activities will embrace the following philosophy and definitions. 


Mentoring is a developmental partnership through which one person shares knowledge, skills, information, and perspectives to foster personal and professional growth of someone else.1 Mentoring is used to assist individuals at specific stages of their development or during transitions.  Mentoring relationships may be defined by their purpose and intensity and they vary in the commitment of time. The mentoring relationship provides a developmental opportunity for both parties and can thus be of mutual benefit.2

Culture and Mentoring

All interactions are cross-cultural.  The capacity to acknowledge, understand, and respond positively to cultural differences are key components of mentoring.


A mentor facilitates personal and professional growth in an individual by sharing the knowledge and insights they learned through the years.3


A mentee is an achiever - groomed for advancement by being provided opportunities to excel beyond the limits of his or her position.1

Diana Autin, Esq.
Executive Co-Director for Health and Family Support,
Statewide Parent Advocacy Network of New Jersey (SPANNJ)
National Field Co-Coordinator, Family Voices

Maria Mercedes Avila, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Multicultural Director VT-LEND Program
University of Vermont College of Medicine

Fabricio Balcazar, Ph.D.
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Disability & Human Development

Harolyn M.E. Belcher, MD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Department of Mental Health
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Director of Research, The Family Center at Kennedy Krieger Institute

Diana Denboba
Retired Branch Chief and Program Director of the Integrated Services Branch,
Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration,
Dept. of Health and Human Services

Goulda Downer, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor
Howard University College of Medicine, Capitol Region Telehealth Training Center

Jacy Farkas, MA
UCEDD Manager
Project Director, Person-Centered Initiative
Sonoran UCEDD | Department of Family & Community Medicine
University of Arizona, College of Medicine

W. Henry Gregory Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, School of Nursing
Department of Family & Community Health
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Specialty
Clinical Director, Rafiki Consortium, LLC

Sharonlyn Harrison, Ph.D.
Public Research and Evaluation Services (PRES)

Judith Holt, Ph.D.
Director of Interdisciplinary Training
Center for Persons with Disabilities
Utah State University,
Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND)

Angel Love Miles
Women's Studies Doctoral Candidate, University of Maryland College Park
American Association of People with Disabilities Intern, 2013 

James L. Mason, Ph.D.
Chief Diversity Officer
Providence Health and Services Oregon Region

Mathew McCollough, MPA
Executive Director
DC Developmental Disabilities Planning Council

John Sanford, Esq.
Director of the Office of Recipient Rights for the
State of Michigan's Department of Community Health

Deborah Spitalnik, Ph.D.
Professor of Pediatrics
Executive Director, The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities
Director, LEND
Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Sheryl White Scott, MD
Medical Specialist
New York State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Association for the Help of Retarded Children New York City (AHRCNYC) National Disability Rights Network

Nachama Wilker
Deputy Executive Director for Training and Technical Assistance
National Disabilities Rights Network

Rick Ybarra
Program Officer
Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

The Leadership Institute is partnering with six organizations to support their journeys related to CLC and cultural diversity.  Partners will receive organizational mentoring that is tailored to their unique interests and needs and driven by their stage of organizational development. Lessons learned from the Mentor Partner Organizations over the five-year project period will be collected and shared on this web page and in other dissemination activities.

1 Definition of mentoring. Retrieved on 3/2/15 from http://alumni.calstatela.edu/mentoringprogram.

2 Zachary, L. J.  The role of teacher as mentor: New directions for adult and continuing education. No. 93, Spring 2002. Wiley Online Library. Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

3 U.S. Department of Transportation, Departmental Office of Human Resource Management, Mentoring Handbook, p2. Retrieved on 2/25/15 from http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/mentor/mentorhb.htm).