Alumni Spotlight: Needra Jenkins

Senior Counsel

Los Angeles County Counsel

(Cal Conn '16)

SCLN connected with recent graduate, Needra Jenkins to discuss the benefits of California Connections programming for businesses and community leaders. Here’s what Needra has to say: 

“The curse of myopia affects you, especially when problem solving in your areas of expertise. By working in siloed environments, it is easy to: Develop linear solutions without thinking about impact to other sectors; Favor the status quo over forging atypical partnerships; and Skip opportunities to avoid reinventing wheels, by not identifying viable solutions from other sectors, and adapting them.

During the 2015-16 California Connections fellowship, we saw the benefit of breaking the curse from statewide and regional perspectives. For example, Statewide, recidivism is reduced by connecting the creative economy to inmates through incarceration arts programs. 

In San Diego, the U.S. and Mexican federal governments, the city and county, and private sector partnered to develop Cross Border Xpress, a privately-funded terminal to the Tijuana airport on U.S. soil.  In the Central Valley, the farm-to-table dialogue includes housing, Proposition 47, water conservation, smelt fish, EPA laws and the grocery industry. In Northern California, juvenile probationers’ cycle of incarceration is broken by creating a restaurant, The Old Skool Cafe, to foster empowerment and job readiness. In Los Angeles, the Skid Row Housing Trust uses pies to combat homelessness by partnering with The Pie Hole, a pie shop.

Avoid easy, increase your problem solving effectiveness and break the curse.”