President & Chief Executive Officer, CALED
Executive Director, CA Academy For Economic Development
Gurbax Sahota is an experienced association professional who believes in the importance and need to collaborate and create meaningful partnerships in order to accomplish the goal of creating healthy, wealthy communities. As President & CEO, Gurbax turns this belief into action by bringing together and leading multiple organizations aligned with the goal of helping businesses thrive in California. Gurbax holds leadership positions with CALED, the California Enterprise Development Authority, and the California Academy for Economic Development. Gurbax is using her experience in association leadership, knowledge of organizational studies, and her communications background to support the missions of all three organizations while ensuring that their operations are sustainable.
Gurbax is Currently Active in the Following Organizations:
- California Enterprise Development Authority, Chair of the Board of Directors
- California Academy for Economic Development, Executive Director
- Agricultural Technology Innovation Partnership Foundation, Member of the Board of Managers and Founding Member
- Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA), Member of the Board of Directors
- Center for Strategic Policy Innovation – Smart Grid Infrastructure Buildout Initiative, Expert Advisory Panel Member
As Program Manager, Helen contributes to CALED’s team on promoting and managing our economic development financing tools including tax-exempt bonds (for 501c3 non-profit organizations and small- to medium-sized manufacturers) and the PACE financing program through the California Enterprise Development Authority (CEDA). Helen administers these programs, ensuring policy and government requirements are met, and markets these tools to the CALED membership as well as other applicable audiences throughout California. Helen brings a mix of local non-profit and private sector experience to her role from her prior positions within a large technology company and supporting local economic development as a senior researcher within an economic development corporation.
Economic Development Manager
Michelle is the Economic Development Manager for CALED and its affiliates. As the Economic Development Manager, she is the lead on the Annual Conference and many of CALED’s technical assistance programs such as the LEAPs and LEOs. She is also the staff liaison to the Economic Development Finance & Real Estate Committee, the Rural Exchange, and CALED’s federal grants.
Additionally, she is the Business Outreach Specialist in Calaveras County as part of an EDA grant to which CALED is a partner. In that role, she performs one-on-one outreach to help the businesses in Calaveras County stay successful and grow to meet the needs of their customers.
Michelle was the Farmbudsman for Solano and Yolo Counties. As the Farmbudsman, she was a liaison between agricultural businesses in Solano & Yolo Counties and the local government with the goal of facilitating projects and helping to add value to agricultural endeavors.
After completing her Master’s in Community & Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin, Michelle interned with the International Economic Development Council in Washington DC before moving back to her native California to work on improving the economic opportunities for communities.
Assistant Program Manager
Alphonse Wilfred is the Assistant Program Manager for the California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED). In this role, Alphonse supports CALED’s Legislative Action Committee (LAC) and provides communication and outreach to CALED members and the public. For the LAC, Alphonse provides help and support on policies and issues that aligns with CALED’s legislative priorities. For communications and outreach, Alphonse shares information with CALED members through social media and other communication vehicles that highlight CALED’s successes, educational materials, and other work that CALED has been doing throughout the years.
Alphonse has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and minor in Political Science from Temple University in Philadelphia. He has experience in business management, financial planning, and nonprofit work. Prior to joining CALED, Alphonse worked for the Sacramento Promise Zone as the Team Coordinator for the Jobs & Economic Development Teams. He was tasked with marketing and outreach support to businesses and residents about the workforce and small business resources in their community.
As Membership/Events Coordinator, Laura maintains CALED’s membership operations and outreach, and coordinates specific events for the benefit of the membership. Laura brings a wealth of experience in local economic development having served as executive director and a consultant for cities, non-profit foundations and downtown associations for more than 30 years.