Goodness Report

Inside the Heart of Community Leadership with Sara Sloan

April 25, 2024

In this week’s Goodness Report, we sat down with fellow Idea Hall Champion, Sara Sloan, Vice President of Integrated Communications, to talk about getting involved in community leadership. Sara’s personal journey exemplifies the essence of community leadership — a continuous evolution driven by passion and purpose.  


Below is an edited transcript of our conversation with Sara.   


Tell us about your journey with community leadership.  

My journey started at UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) in AmeriCorps, tutoring elementary students and volunteering in various community projects. That experience instilled in me the desire to live a life of service.  

As a communications professional, I was lucky enough to work on cause-related marketing and CSR with P&G, which filled my cup and were tremendous learning opportunities with one of the best marketers in the world. Fast forward, 14 years post-UCLA, I still felt the calling to do more. That’s when I came to Idea Hall.  

What I wasn’t expecting as I began my journey with Idea Hall, was how connected the agency and Rebecca were in the local community, and how much she valued her team being connected. Not only did I start supporting more purpose driven work in my day-to-day role, but I was also encouraged to get more involved in my community and industry, as well as pursue passion areas.  

It’s vital to have people that can open doors for you and support you as you pursue greater community engagement. It takes time! It means attending meetings, going to events, networking with people, getting out of your comfort zone. That can sometimes pull away from time at work, or time at home. Without family and colleagues to support you, it can be challenging. No one steps into leadership alone. They do so with a community of support and encouragement behind them. 


What does a modern community leader look like? 

Leaders in any context do the following:  

  • Lead by example  
  • Act with integrity  
  • Identify and remove obstacles and barriers to success 
  • Listen, empower, and provide opportunity to others 
  • Speak truth to power
  • Inspire and engage 
  • Foster trust and relationships 
  • A desire to serve others and the community 

Leaders are not defined by their title or position. People who have titles and authority may not be great leaders. Those without title and authority, may be fantastic leaders. Ultimately, a great leader will recognize these qualities in others regardless of the position they hold

The Leadership Tomorrow Class of 2022.

What has been the most rewarding part of becoming involved in community leadership? 

The most rewarding thing for me has been the connections and friendships I’ve made along the way, and the feeling of making an impact on my community.  

When I applied and was accepted to Leadership Tomorrow’s Class of 2022, I came to find that what I craved and needed – perhaps even unconsciously – was connection. I wanted to feel connected in a community of people around a shared cause or interest. I went from dreading being in person post-pandemic, to embracing that it was something I loved and was good at. I remember telling Jenny Dinnen of MacKenzie Corp. this on the last day of class. She shouted in excitement and gave me a big hug. I’ll never forget that moment.  

I didn’t set out to achieve that, or even know that it was what I wanted. I just took a chance to try something new, to get involved, to learn more, and found something I didn’t know I was looking for. 


What advice would you give to anyone considering getting more involved in community leadership? 

Being a leader in your community can take many forms. To start, you have to get involved and be engaged. Your community could be based in place, purpose or cause, identity, or even skillset or interest.  

You also must understand the community you’re engaged in. Perhaps you care about food insecurity, or homelessness, or you’re passionate about justice reform. Perhaps you’re passionate about connecting with other members of a cultural community you or your family is part of. Educate yourself on the topic, but don’t wait until you’re well-versed to get involved. Just jump in and start; part of that education can happen as you go. 

When I have the opportunity to get into discussion with people on the topic of homelessness for example, which can diverge into a myriad of streams of conversation – from mental health to substance use disorder, to economics, workforce development and so on – I get inspired by the passion, goodness, and work of other people. 

Find the things that light you up and pursue that. You never know where it might lead. Just keep taking the right next step. Standing on the sidelines isn’t going to get you anywhere interesting.  

If you’re interested in getting more involved, or finding service or leadership opportunities, reach out to Sara directly at, or on LinkedIn. 


Sara Sloan, Vice President of Integrated Communications

This week’s article comes from Idea Hall Vice President of Integrated Communications, Sara Sloan. A senior communications strategist, Sara has a demonstrated history of developing and leading high-impact, integrated campaigns for some of the world’s most trusted brands. She is skilled in creative, integrated marketing communications, brand partnerships, influencer and media relations, social media and experiential.  

A graduate of the Leadership Tomorrow Program, Sara now serves on the board of directors for Leadership Tomorrow Orange County, taking part in the planning and execution of Education Day, Business Day, and Arts Day. She is also a former board member of the Orange County Public Relations Society of America (PRSA-OC), and an active member of the HomeAid Orange County Board Recruitment Committee. A resident of Orange County, Sara also regularly volunteers with organizations in the community, including the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.