New York Film Academy instructor and NYFA Podcast Host Eric Conner was recently honored as a graduate of the Burbank Leadership Program. The Mission of Leadership Burbank is to identify, educate, and motivate current and emerging leaders in Burbank to develop ideas and solutions that make Burbank a strong, sustainable and vibrant community.
Conner recently stepped down as Dean to spend more time with his growing family. “This was something a little bit different. I wanted to serve the whole community not just a piece of it,” said Conner.
As a citizen of Burbank, he began looking around and seeing an opportunities to connect more with the community. As VP of Education for the Temple Emanu El, he started building relationships with individual citizens. Conner MC’d the platinum anniversary, which included esteemed guests U.S. Representative Adam Shiff, Senator Anthony Portantino, Former Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes, and Councilman Bob Frutos.
Leadership Burbank was, in essence, a class. I’ve taken classes once a month since September. The class was two-dozen people representing the Police Department, Fire Department, Clergy, local school district, and Salvation Army. A veterinarian, it’s a cross section of Burbank.
“I think what they’re trying to do is cultivate the next batch of civil leaders. For me, since I grew up in Delaware, which is so small, it didn’t take much to get involved in things. Delaware has one congressman and my mother was his treasurer. She helped raise money for a retirement board while still working a full-time job.” Community Outreach runs in Conner’s blood.
Classes were held all over town including the Burbank airport and churches in order to introduce members to key organizations in Burbank. “There are so many elements of an airport that you don’t think about until you’re in there,” Conner stated. A few years ago there was an accident at the airport. A plane skidded off the runway and through a gate. “We studied what changes were made to make the airport safer. I really liked that class.”
Part of his leadership included building a Wellness Center for Burrow’s High School. “The Wellness Center is a place where high school students with mental health issues, gender identity issues, anxiety, or depression can congregate and seek help. The space is conducive to helping mental health victims through art therapy.”
The New York Film Academy donated Summer Camp experiences to both the Emanu El 75th Anniversary Celebration and the Gala to support the Wellness Center. Conner was touched at the gesture. “This is something I sought on my own. To have NYFA to two separate organizations was really cool. The school’s been doing a lot to connect to the community.”
Conner intends to use the lessons learned from this course to one day apply for a cabinet seat or chair a board in the near future. “Burbank has its foot in Mayberry. There are two VCR repair shops within walking distance of my house and they advertise themselves that way. Burbank Leadership is trying to push and expand Burbank. These are things I’ve started to think about after I became a homeowner here.”