Welcome to the EmpowerLA Leadership Academy’s Online Classroom!

Here you will find training videos on a variety of topics that will help you in your Neighborhood Council work. Click on the Leadership Icons below to find out about current workshops.

What is the EmpowerLA Leadership Academy?

The EmpowerLA Leadership Academy is designed to help Neighborhood Council Board members and stakeholders within the community be more effective in making their voices heard and making a difference in their neighborhoods. Inspired by Carol Baker Tharp, past General Manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, the Academy provides opportunities to learn the information, hone the skills, and nurture the relationships that lead to success for Neighborhood Councils. Ms. Tharp maintained the belief that civic engagement is the cornerstone of democracy and that empowering individuals can empower neighborhoods and improve quality of life for all residents of the City of Los Angeles. Through the EmpowerLA Leadership Academy you can receive free training on leadership, cross-cultural skills, the nuts and bolts of City government processes, conflict resolution, communications and in-depth understanding about issues from planning and development, to sustainability, education and development. The Academy is composed of classes taught by City officials, community colleges, academic institutions, community based organizations, thought leaders from various disciplines and professionals. In addition, you will have the opportunity to learn from other Neighborhood Councils about what works and what doesn’t in their community. A variety of venues and technologies make attending easy. Start empowering yourself and your community today.

Why attend the EmpowerLA Leadership Academy?
  • It is a safe, supportive learning environment
  • A variety of courses and topics that will fit your personal and organizational needs.
  • Online courses and local workshops make it convenient and easy to integrate into your busy schedule.
  • Multi-lingual, multi-cultural students are encouraged and supported.
  • The tools and skills you learn can help you in your personal and professional development outside the Neighborhood Council system.
  • They are free.
  • Because you shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel when other Neighborhood Councils are facing similar challenges.

The Academy also maintains a Reference Library of important operational and legal documents affecting the Neighborhood Council system.


20 minute funding training
This is the 20 Minute Funding training for all Neighborhood Council Board Members.

To register as a new Neighborhood Council Board Member, please click here. 

This is an overview of the Monthly expenditure report. It will go over the types of documents that should be included in the report as well as all of the different sections of the report individually.

To get a the Monthly Expenditure Report (MER) PowerPoint (PDF), please click here.

Conflicts and Recusals Video
Neighborhood Council Board members are subject to local and state conflicts of interest training because they administer public funds. City Attorney Tom Griego reviews the types of conflicts of interest and when Board members need to recuse themselves from Neighborhood Council discussions and actions on issues that may create a conflict of interest.

To learn more about Conflict of Interest laws, please click here. 

To see a Conflict of Interest example, please click here.


Brown Act Video
Neighborhood Councils are subject to the state Ralph M. Brown Act requiring open and transparent public meetings. Learn when the Brown Act applies, how to ensure that your Neighborhood Council is providing proper notification to the public about your meetings and how to avoid unintentional serial meetings.

Related Documents to Brown Act:

Public Records Act Video
Neighborhood Councils must make their records available to the public for review. Members of the public can make requests for the records under the California Public Records Act (PRA). City Attorney Tom Griego teaches what Neighborhood Councils need to do to comply with the time lines and requirements of the PRA.

Public Records Act related document:

Public Records Act & NCs

Liability Training Video
Even though Neighborhood Council Board members are volunteers for the City, they can still be held personally liable for actions resulting from their bad behavior towards one another or the community during Neighborhood Council business. City Attorney Vivienne Swanigan teaches you how to avoid liability for problematic issues, such as libel, slander and work place violence, in her training, “Serving your NC while Protecting your Assets.”

Related Document:

Liability Training Handout

Leadership Training - Safe Environment
Neighborhood Councils often deal with topics that create a lot of passionate responses in the community. Continuing where Liability Training for Neighborhood Council Board Members left off, learn tools and techniques to maintain a safe and healthy environment in your Neighborhood Council so all can participate. Patrick Prince of Prince and Phelps will show you how to determine potentially volatile situations and people and how to use effective leadership to de-escalate heated situations.


Outreach and Marketing

Leadership Training - Safe Environment
EmpowerLA’s Outreach Boot Camp removes the mystery from effective outreach plans and breaks it down to the six essential and familiar elements of effective communication, starting with a foundation of Know Yourself.
TUX Boot Camp - Secrets of the Universe
Our greatest opportunity to engage is to embrace technology and focus on user experience!
TUX Boot Camp - Amplify Your Klout
Stephen Box presents Digital Tools for engaging your community – how they work, how to measure your performance, and how to Amplify your Klout. The workshop was recorded at the Congress of Neighborhoods at LA’s City Hall on September 20, 2014. For more information, visit EmpowerLA.org or get social by friending, following, and likeing EmpowerLA.
Get Connected - Social Media Training Part 1
If you are new to social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Enci and Stephen Box will help you understand the basics of these free outreach tools in their training, “Get Connected – Building Networks and Plugging into Power.” They will give you techniques to help your Neighborhood Council keep your community informed and connected.
Get Connected - Social Media Training Part 2
In this more advanced social media training, “Get Connected – Using New Media for Community Outreach and Strategies,” Enci and Stephen Box show you seven strategies to use social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to create community and outreach to them in an effective manner.
Outreach Plan
Part of a Neighborhood Council’s work is outreaching to their communities. Tarzana Neighborhood Council Board member, Lisa Cerda, teaches you how to put together an outreach plan that is effective and measurable so you can gauge your success.
Branding and Marketing
Learn how to brand and market your Neighborhood Council! Send a consistent and memorable message to the community when you do outreach. Brandon Shamim of Beacon Management Group in Pasadena will teach you the difference between branding and marketing and how to deliver the value of your Neighborhood Council to the community.
Council File Management
The LACityClerk Connect is the Council File Management System for the City of Los Angeles. Tracking important Council Files is crucial for Neighborhood Councils wanting to submit Community Impact Statements. Ron Galpern and Shannon Hoppes teach you how to use the Council File Management System and how to write Community Impact Statements.


Leadership Development
The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and the Alliance of River Communities partnered to present this Leadership Development Workshop featuring Darren Martinez and Alois Phillips of the City Attorney’s Office.
Effective Meetings
Running an effective Neighborhood Council meeting is challenging. Learn the necessary basics to make your meeting operations successful. This short video covers the following topics:

  • Setting the Agenda
  • Running the Meeting
  • Board Member Roles and Responsibilities
  • Parliamentary Procedures, Meeting Safety Issues
Sexual Harassment
Neighborhood Council Board members and the City of Los Angeles can be held liable for acts of sexual harassment. This City training video on sexual harassment will teach you how to recognize and prevent sexual harassment in your Neighborhood Council.