Leila has served as Director of the North Coast Small Business Development Center since August 2016. Since then the Center has grown consulting clients 209%, training participation 440%, and its operating budget by 157%. Clients are reporting 381% more access to financing, 236% more successful start-ups, and 214% more employees hired and retained. Leila is especially proud of co-founding our community’s first ever Worker Ownership program with partner Cooperation Humboldt, launching new local co-operative enterprises for the first time in 40 years.
Leila brought to SBDC lessons learned from a 20-year career growing strong community institutions—from Philadelphia to D.C., Vermont to Bangladesh. In twelve years with the global arm of United Way, Leila guided local business and community leaders in 45 countries who wanted to start up homegrown community service organizations. Right out of college, she ran a small town Planned Parenthood clinic. Before coming to Humboldt to settle with her family, she consulted with small business and nonprofit clients across California on strategic marketing, public relations, sales, and fundraising.
She serves on the boards of the Crescent City / Del Norte Chamber of Commerce and Cooperation Humboldt. She has a master’s degree in the management of sustainable development. The daughter and granddaughter of immigrants from England and Morocco, Leila lives in Eureka with her husband John Richmond, Publisher of the Times-Standard newspaper, and their pointy-eared dog Benny.
Leila believes thriving small independent local businesses are the heart of our economy and the key to our prosperity.