Ismael D. Herrera, Jr. is CA Fwd’s Director of Regional Stewardship. He will be responsible for coordinating the collective impact activities of members of the California Stewardship Network (CSN) and to advance the policy initiatives of CA Fwd through the California Economic Summit.
Prior to joining California Forward, Herrera spent 10 years at the Office of Community and Economic Development at California State University, Fresno (OCED), most recently as its Executive Director. While at OCED, he contributed to the development of university-led activities that aligned Fresno State’s assets to regional initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life and economic competitiveness of the 8-county San Joaquin Valley. Herrera served as the Lead Executive for the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, an unprecedented public-private partnership sharply focused on establishing the region as California’s 21st Century Opportunity through three overarching goals of developing a prosperous economy, sustaining a quality environment, and achieving social equity. In 2010, he also helped launch the nationally-recognized San Joaquin Valley Rural Development Center that serves as a “one-stop hub” for rural local governments, nonprofits, school districts, entrepreneurs and small businesses, and residents to access a wide range of technical assistance, training, specialized services, and resources to ensure their needs are met efficiently, effectively, and affordably.
Herrera is currently one of twenty-five people in North America participating in the 2018-2019 Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) Local Economy Fellowship. He is also a 2019-2020 California Stewardship Network Steward Leadership Program Fellow.
Herrera has dedicated almost a decade to public service. He has served on the Mendota Unified School District Board of Trustees (Fresno County), the Fresno County Board of Education, and is currently serving on the City of Kerman's (Fresno County) City Council and Recreation & Community Services Commission.
Herrera earned two Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Chicano/Latino Studies from the University of California, Irvine and a Master’s degree in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.