Couple says Leadership York was the ‘catalyst’ that set them up to give back

Jose and Joyce Santiago have taken part in Leadership York programs since the late 2000s. The experience showed them what it takes to be connected to the community and understand what’s needed, they say.

Paid for by: Leadership York
Story by: Anthony Machcinski
After Jose Santiago returned to York with his wife, Joyce, in 2002, the couple sought to get more involved in the community. Not long after, they discovered Leadership York. (Photo by Paul Chaplin for Our York Media)

Jose Santiago never realized his underlying biases. Leadership for Diverse Schools, a training class he took with Leadership York while he was a school board member, opened his eyes.

“It gave me a whole different outlook on the world,” he says. He thought differently about the people he passed on the street and stopped judging them based on what they wore.

The class helped him speak at an even level with others, he says, which made him a better leader.

“They bring you out of your comfort zone,” says Jose, the Director of the YMCA’s New American Welcoming Center. “They helped lay the foundation for the choices I make personally and professionally.”

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After returning to York with his wife, Joyce, in 2002, the couple sought to get more involved in the community. Not long after, they discovered Leadership York.

The organization formed in 1978 as a way to train, connect, and inspire nonprofit leaders of York County. Its programs include Leadership Training, Future Leaders of York and Mentorship York.

(Leadership York) helped lay the foundation for the choices I make personally and professionally.

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Jose Santiago

Joyce, who serves as the Executive Director of the York Area Housing Group, has gone through Leadership Training, Mentorship and the Nonprofit Leadership Academy with Leadership York.

“They showed me what it takes to be connected to the community and understand what’s needed,” Joyce says. “When Leadership York asks me to do things now, it’s hard to tell them no because they’ve done so much for me.”

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Leadership York isn’t just a networking opportunity. The organization equips individuals with the tools needed for success as a leader in the community, and the evidence is found across the county.

Joyce says when the York Area Housing Group took on new board members recently, all of them took at least one Leadership York class.

Leadership York’s core mission, Joyce says, is to help people do what they can for their community.

“Whatever you can do in the community to give back, you should,” Joyce says. “Leadership York is the catalyst that gets you that start.”

Paid for by Leadership York

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