A group of Leadership San Juan Members cheering on a member of Leadership San Juan

Leadership San Juan

Leadership San Juan identifies, enlightens, and encourages emerging leaders of diverse backgrounds, occupations and cultures. Designed to elevate the standard of leadership in San Juan County by enhancing participants’ understanding and expertise regarding matters that influence the region.

With more than 2,000 similar programs across the United States, each tailored to the specific requirements of the communities they engage with, Leadership San Juan stands as a distinct program among them. 

Areas of Study

  • Vital issues impacting San Juan County.
  • Avenues to promote networking.
  • The functions of government at various levels and how to lobby each effectively.
  • The characteristics of leadership and methods to identify leaders within the county.
  • Group dynamics and methods used to promote teamwork in any community.
  • The identification and observation of special interest groups within the county.
  • How San Juan County is affected by and contributes to national and international trends.
  • How a strong vision for San Juan County can be created.
  • Methods of identifying and soliciting resources for assistance.
  • Methods of dealing with public opinion and the media.

What Leadership San Juan Is:

  • A ten-month program beginning with an orientation in August, a three-day retreat in September and eight Friday sessions through May along with some activities outside the regular class days.
  • An informational program designed to expose emerging and current San Juan County leaders to the challenges and opportunities that organizations, businesses and governmental entities in the county are experiencing. You will learn about education, healthcare, media, criminal justice, government, business, and multicultural issues as they pertain to San Juan County.
  • A program that has very strict attendance requirements to graduate. (If you are not present for almost all of the hours during the year, you are not receiving the benefit of the information and will not graduate.)
  • A group which has been in existence for 35 years and has more than 800 graduates.
  • An organization that can provide you networking capabilities that are far-reaching and invaluable.

What Leadership San Juan Is Not:

  • A casual commitment on your part. It requires attendance, attention, involvement, and dedication.
  • A chance to engage speakers in strong debate. It is an exposure to issues in our county and an opportunity to view those issues from different perspectives and then decide how you will act upon them. You may hear speakers whose perspectives are very different from yours. We ask that you listen and present respectful questions but allow everyone to come to their own conclusions.
  • A leadership skills training program. You will not learn how to negotiate, how to communicate effectively, how to lead a team, or how to deal with difficult people. Those skills are taught in many other places and are not our direct focus.
  • Something you can learn anywhere else in such a condensed and targeted format.

2024-2025 Class Schedule

September 6-8, 2024 Retreat
October 11, 2024 Health & Human Services Day
November 8, 2024 Education Day
December 13, 2024 Business Day 
January 10, 2025 Multicultural Day
February 14, 2025 Criminal Justice Day
March 14, 2025 Media Day
April 11, 2025 Government Day
May 2, 2025 Last Class Day/Graduation
A group of the recent Leadership San Juan cohort

Join Leadership San Juan!

Impact San Juan County by exploring sectors like education, healthcare, media, and more. Passionate about community change? Enjoy networking? Apply for our next class. Tuition help is possible.

In 1988, San Juan College’s Dr. Henderson, Marjorie Black and Nancy Shepherd investigated the possibility of establishing a leadership program for San Juan County.  The belief was that many individuals living in the county could step into leadership roles if they were identified and encouraged to do so. 

The National Association of Community Leadership was contacted for information on starting a program and Leadership San Juan was soon born. The Leadership San Juan program is designed to identify and assist talented citizens who want not only to learn more about community challenges, but want to find ways to become involved, help make better decisions and improve their community. 

The initial steering committee members were : Dr. James Henderson, Marjorie Black, Nancy Shepherd, Joyce Donald, Tucker Bayless, Craig Walling, Don Carlson, Carol Cloer, Jim Miller, Frank Reed, Peggy Warren, Conn Brown, Bettie Cleveland, Vern Cohoe, Jess May, Eliot O’Brien, and Shirley Willis.

Once a curriculum was approved, the steering committee interviewed and chose candidates for the first class of Leadership San Juan! The class began in September 1989 and graduated in May of 1990. Leadership San Juan continues to grow and evolve and to make a positive impact in the community. To date, more than 800 individuals have graduated from Leadership San Juan since its 1988 beginnings.

Board Officers

  • President – Nate Duckett – Kysar Millennium Leavitt Insurance Agency
  • Vice President – Tina Pacheco-White – The First Tee of San Juan County New Mexico
  • Treasurer – Melanie Lewis – Retired, San Juan College
  • Secretary – Dr. Nancy Shepherd -Structure by Design

Board Members

  • Crystal Arellano – San Juan County Communications Authority
  • Marjorie Black – Black Oil
  • Ruth Brooks – San Juan Regional Medical Center
  • Kristine Carlson-Werito – Totah Behavioral Health
  • Liesl Dees – San Juan College
  • Nathan Duckett – Kysar Millenium Leavitt Insurance
  • Scott Eckstein – City of Bloomfield
  • Keri Gonzalez – MTM Solutions LLC
  • Michael Heal – Retired, Aztec Police Dept.
  • Vince Mitchell – San Juan Regional Medical Center
  • Vince Moffitt - Basin Health Companies
  • Steve Neville – NVest, Inc.
  • Toni Hopper Pendergrass – San Juan College
  • Diane Schmidt – San Juan County Sheriff's Office
  • Stephanie Thompson - Raytheon Technologies
  • Bonita Tillerson – Citizens Bank


Leadership San Juan Board Members

Pictured is a group of Leadership San Juan Alumni

After LSJ – Join the Alumni Association!

You’ve gone through the class, so now what? Now it’s time to join the Leadership San Juan Alumni Association (LSJAA). Stay active as you continue to promote leadership in San Juan County and communicate and network with other alumni. 


Nancy Shepherd
(505) 320-2236

Liesl Dees