Leslie Medine, John Esterle, and Ellen Schneider

Creating Bi-Cultural Youth-Led Change in Napa, CA

Join Michael Lerner in this conversation with three thought partners in social change talking about what it takes to make a difference.


Leslie Medine

Leslie is one of Northern California’s most respected public sector leaders. She has created youth-led innovative schools and community programs for young people. Now she is organizing the first Democracy Zone in the country located in Napa where Latino and Anglo young people are making decisions and taking action on behalf of 2000 children and youth in their neighborhood. Find out more about her work on her website.

John Esterle

John is the executive director of The Whitman Institute, a San Francisco Foundation that supports Leslie’s work and is the only foundation in America with a pure focus on dialogue, critical thinking, and civic engagement. In 2004 he led TWI’s transition from an operating to a grantmaking foundation. John is a board member of Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement, which he chaired from 2008-2010, as well as The Germanacos Foundation.

Ellen Schneider

Ellen created Active Voice, an organization that tackles social issues through the creative use of film. She founded the organization in 2001 and was its first executive director. As of July 2012 she is heading up the Active Voice Lab for Story & Strategy (AVLab), the organization’s incubator for new models for “engaged storytelling.” Ellen was the executive producer of P.O.V., PBS’s longest running independent documentary series. She lectures widely about the role of story in public life, and has served on juries ranging from the Sundance Film Festival to the RioCine Festival in Brazil.