Local Leader Spotlight: Corby Gage

Nonprofit Resource Network of Santa Barbara County is proud to announce the launch of our Local Leader Spotlight Series. These spotlights aim to recognize and showcase standout individuals for their commitment to our social sector.

Today we are featuring Corby Gage, who has spent nearly 25 years helping local workers realize their dream of homeownership as executive director of local nonprofit Coastal Housing Partnership. Corby is incredibly passionate about Coastal Housing Partnership’s mission, and even ran the organization out of her garage during the nonprofit’s early days.

Corby earned a BA (Economics) and an MBA from UCLA. While at UCLA, she competed on the Co-Ed Sailing Team and started the school’s first women’s team. Corby spent 10 years in acquisitions and development of commercial real estate. During that time, she founded CREW LA, a network for women in commercial real estate and was also instrumental in establishing the organization nationwide.

Corby spent 4 years as an organizational development consultant before accepting the position of executive director of Coastal Housing Partnership. She is a Certified Financial Planner and real estate broker.

NPRN is pleased to have had the opportunity to ask Corby a few questions about leadership and the path she’s taken to lead her to where she is today.

What does “leadership” mean to you? What characteristics do you admire in a leader?

To me, leadership is seeing a need and acting to meet that need in an organizational capacity. One of my core leadership principles is valuing the people I work with. The characteristics I admire in a leader are passion, desire to contribute, and willingness to give credit where credit is due.

Who is a person that has influenced your leadership style?

John Wooden. I admire his leadership philosophy which includes really listening to those under your supervision and making sure all members of the team feel valued.  “The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example” – John Wooden.

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

To me, the key is listening to the people that we help at Coastal Housing Partnership: employers and employees, as well as those who support the work of Coastal Housing – the network service partners, board members and community partners. Listening to all these valuable resources fuels the innovation we need to continue our work. Being willing to implement suggestions and feedback helps me grow as a leader.

How do you lead in a way that allows for creativity and innovation?

By knowing when to lead and when to let others take the lead. Also, I enjoy taking on projects that I haven’t done before – such as the Home Buying Fair. Coastal Housing Partnership’s 2012 Path to Home Ownership Home Buying Fair was the first Home Buying Fair in our area.  This will be our 6th year producing this Fair for the benefit of our community.

Any current projects you are excited about that you would like to share with the NPRN community?

We are currently working on a rental venture, which we anticipate to be of great value in our local community.

What motivates/ inspires you most about your work?

I am motivated to work hard because I believe in what I do. I’m inspired every day by the gratitude of those we’ve helped become homeowners. Each individual story is heartwarming and inspires me to do more.

What do you most value in others?

Integrity, sincerity and a sense of humor

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

The opportunity to shepherd my two children as they find their passions. Witnessing my kids grow into responsible servant leaders is pure joy.

When and where were you happiest?

Anywhere and anytime I’m with my family – that makes my heart sing.

Celebrating its 30th Anniversary Year, Coastal Housing Partnership continues to help the South Coast’s workforce become home owners. Those they have helped include health professionals, first responders, educators and many others from local nonprofits, and public and private companies – large and small.

Coastal Housing introduced its popular annual Home Buying Fairs in 2012 to benefit the community, and this year is producing three Fairs. The remaining Fairs include:

Tuesday, Sept. 19, 5 pm – 8 pm at the Deckers Rotunda, Goleta

Saturday, Oct. 28, 10 am – 3 pm at the Ventura Beach Marriott, Ventura

More info at www.coastalhousing.org

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