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Center for
Social Innovation

Center for Social Innovation

Michael DeLapa (MBA '85)

An interview with Michael DeLapa (MBA '85)

What are your causes?

Environmental health, land use policy, ocean conservation, energy and climate, Monterey County politics, public participation in policy-making, youth sports, in particular beach volleyball.

How do you contribute?

I co-founded three environmental nonprofits: LandWatch Monterey County, a land use and social advocacy group; the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, a "community foundation" for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary; and Sea Studios Foundation, an environmental film, video, and social media organization. I also launched Environmental Defense Fund's California Fisheries Fund, serving as it's first fund director, and served on the board of directors of Save Our Shores. I'm currently an executive coach and strategic advisor to the new Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute.

What are important lessons you learned?

Have fun. Be challenged. Start a business or nonprofit with people you enjoy spending time with. Give generously of yourself. Coach kids sports as much as possible. Be persistent, but be patient. Don't do anything just for money. Love what you do.

What are your favorite social innovation resources?

Other social and private sector entrepreneurs. They're always thinking.

Any last thought you would like to share?

Stanford Business School and the Public Management Program provided a great educational foundation and professional network. It gave me the confidence to try a lot of different things in my career without fear of failure. I'm also thrilled that the new business school left the two sand volleyball courts alone. I continue to enjoy competitive games there a couple times a week.