Fifteen years ago, a group interested in solving the philosophic question of what it takes to build strong leaders in a community was the catalyst that eventually sparked the formation of Cascadia Center for Leadership.

As a result, Humboldt Area Foundation spearheaded an out-of-the-box effort to develop organizational and community leaders and created Cascadia Center for Leadership. The effort was led by Julie Fulkerson. A fundamental goal of the program was to develop effective communicators capable of engaging the community across the invisible divides between business, government, nonprofits, and educational organizations.

Cascadia’s co-directors, Mary Gelinas and Roger James, joined the organization in 2002 taking the reins over from Fulkerson who directed the organization until that time. Gelinas and James left the fast-paced life of corporate organizational change consulting for the quieter realities of life beyond the redwood curtain. Gelinas and James both earned their doctorates in organizational development from the University of Massachusetts, and in 1989 co-founded Gelinas-James, Inc. in the SF Bay Area. Some of the clients they have consulted for include Intel, Kaiser Permanente, PG&E, Levi Strauss, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Genentech.

"Cascadia gave me the tools to be a more effective leader and a better person in my community. I am eternally grateful."

— Cassandra Hesseltine, Humboldt-Del Norte Film Commissioner


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