Leaders Inspiring Leaders 2022

Leaders Inspiring Leaders 2022 is a WRAP, and we are incredibly grateful to each person who supported Helping Hands to make it happen. To every sponsor, ticket holder, and volunteer, you helped us shine, and we are deeply appreciative.

And, in case you missed it but still want to make an impact, we are keeping FUND-A-NEED and our MATCH open for donations until November 1st.

We had a blast at Leaders Inspiring Leaders this year and want to share a piece of it with you, our supporters!

If you have any questions, call our office at (360) 856-2211.

Special Guest: Dr. Robert Gates

061212-A-5590K-001 Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates.  DoD photo by Monica King, U.S. Army.  (Released)

Dr. Gates is an American intelligence analyst and university president who served as the 22nd United States secretary of defense from 2006 to 2011 under the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration. Dr. Gates began his career as an officer in the United States Air Force but was quickly recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Dr. Gates served for 26 years in the CIA and the National Security Council and was Director of Central Intelligence under President George H. W. Bush. After leaving the CIA, Dr. Gates became president of Texas A&M University. He was then nominated and sworn in as secretary of defense in 2006. Dr. Gates was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, by President Obama during his retirement ceremony in 2011. After retiring, Dr. Gates was elected President of the Boy Scouts of America, served as Chancellor of the College of William & Mary, and served as a member of several corporate boards.

Women in Leadership – Panel Discussion

Erin Long – Women’s Panel Moderator

Erin Long manages the Volunteer Services Department at Hospice of the Northwest, ensuring that patients and their circles of support receive compassion and dignity every moment of life. In 2018 Erin founded and now serves as CEO of WE Ignite, an educational non-profit with a mission to connect, inspire and empower women and those who identify as female. Erin brings possibility to her life coaching clients and loves hosting the “Being in Possibility” podcast. Her unshakeable belief that by sharing stories we can change the world has brought her amazing opportunities and the gift of listening to thousands of stories. Erin is a Leadership Skagit Graduate, 2008: the best class ever, serving as coach and challenge day coordinator until 2018. In 2021 Erin was accepted as a leader in the training of a prestigious and strenuous life coaching program. Erin firmly believes that “leadership is equal parts support, enrollment, partnership, and co-creating possibility.” 

Laura Flores-Cailloux – Women’s Panel

Laura Flores Cailloux credits her parents for setting the expectation for engagement in justice-seeking community service. She continued the work of her father, Allan Cayous (Cahuilla descent) addressing health disparities in tribal communities while working in a tribally-controlled health advocacy organization. She followed the footsteps of her mother, Adela Flores Cayous, a first-generation Mexican-American community organizer and educator, by becoming a community college faculty member and administrator. Laura was instrumental in the development of Leadership Skagit, the Latino Business Retention and Expansion program, Leadership Whidbey, and the Latino Leadership program. Her volunteer service as a board member for the Mount Vernon School District led her to pursue a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington with a dissertation focused on creating welcoming and inclusive cultures in higher education for Latino students. She believes increased community leadership capacity should be considered necessary infrastructure for creating a more just and flourishing community.

Becky Skrinde – Women’s Panel

Rebecca Skrinde spent eleven years on active duty in the United States Air Force. After completing her time there, she returned to Skagit County, working in logistics and heavy construction. In 2015, she was hired at Helping Hands Food Bank and has grown into the CEO, a position she is humbled and proud to hold. During her time there, Rebecca has helped grow the organization from 500 individuals served a week to 11,000 individuals a week at the peak of COVID. Seeing the increased community need, Rebecca was instrumental, from concept to construction, as Helping Hands built their new Solution Center. Rebecca’s goals are to serve her community with integrity, a humble heart, and a focus on how to help its members who are in survival mode shift to thriving.

About the Venue

In 1996 the Heritage Flight Museum was founded by William and Valerie Anders in Bellingham, Washington. The Museum’s vintage aircraft collection began with the P-51 Mustang “Val-Halla” and has steadily grown. In 2014, HFM moved to its new home at Skagit Regional Airport in Burlington, Washington. The museum currently houses 15 aircraft, several antique military vehicles, a library, and many artifacts donated by veterans. Recent facilities upgrades have helped pave the way for new acquisitions and additional exhibits.

Two of William Anders’ sons joined him in the Puget Sound area to help run the museum.  The photograph used in the Museum’s logo depicts Anders in the P-51, and his son Greg in the F-15, taken during a photo sortie at the first Gathering of Mustangs and Legends.


Janicki Industries
Skagit Publishing
Dimensional Communications
Landed Gentry
Puget Sound Energy
Swinomish Casino & Lodge
Peace Health
Dwayne Lane's Skagit Subaru
Chad FIsher Construction
Banner Bank
Lemley Chapel
Foss Heating + Cooling
Umpqua Bank
Fisher Construction Group
Skagit Transporation
Flexure Group
Smiley Insurance Services
Wild Valley Apothecary
Port of Skagit
United General District 304
Carl's Towing
Sara Fish Group
WIN Home Inspection
Solar Barron Heating & Cooling
Scholten's Equipment, Inc.

WE Ignite | Carletti Architects P.S. | Low Auto Sales | Alpha Home Health and Hospice