The Silicon Valley Urban Debate League is pleased to announce that Monica M. Spear is joining the organization as its new Executive Director. The former long-time Executive Director of Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara, Ms. Spear has dedicated her professional life to empowering young people through top-notch co-curricular educational and skills enrichment programs. She began her leadership of the SVUDL team on August 30, 2016.
In her 12 years as Executive Director of Girls Inc., Ms. Spear grew a visionary organization into a $3 million per year powerhouse with a staff of 100 employees, serving over 1,500 girls per year at two main sites. The wealth of executive experience and personal qualities that make her the right fit for SVUDL have also earned her wide recognition as a nonprofit leader. She was chosen by the Pacific Coast Business Times as a “Top Leader in Non-Profits” eight out of nine years from 2006 to 2014 and was selected as a "Local Hero" by The Santa Barbara Independent.
In addition, South Coast Beacon named her one of “40 People Under 40 You Should Know” and Soroptimist International awarded her the “Woman Making a Difference for Women” prize. Ms. Spear also received the Santa Barbara County’s Commission for Women’s 2006 Annual Service Award and the “Good Neighbor Award” from the Santa Barbara Realtors Association for her contributions and dedication to the girls of the Santa Barbara Community.
She looks forward to using her experience growing an organization whose clientele align with the demographics of SVUDL "to lead this life-changing organization with the vision, dedication, innovation and collaboration necessary to broaden and deepen the scope of our vital work and meaningful mission. I am grateful to Dmitri Seals for his founding and shepherding SVUDL and ensuring a graceful transition as I take the reins. As we increase and strengthen community outreach and support, we are well poised to expand into the far reaches of our service area, build our award-winning legal mentorship program for students, and deliver a vast range of unparalleled educational services that enable our students to become not only high school leaders but highly skilled contributors in this 21st century economy."
With the addition of three new school partnerships this year and a full complement of five staff, SVUDL has entered a new phase of its growth, and Ms. Spear is the ideal Executive Director to lead the charge. "SVUDL is well poised for organizational advancement, and I am excited to spearhead those endeavors and help ensure every student may benefit from the life-changing experiences SVUDL affords them."