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Education director for Sonoma County’s Becoming Independent wins North Bay Forty Under 40 award

Kaela Talafili

Director of Education

Becoming Independent

Santa Rosa

Age: 30

Read more profiles of this year's Forty Under 40 winners here: nbbj.news/forty22.

Her mom once told Talafili, “don’t own other peoples’ emotion.”

“For me it means, keeping everyone happy is a fight I’ll never win - it’s essential to step back, let people have their own reactions and make their own choices.”

In the 12 years she has worked for the Sonoma County organization which is committed to serving the need of the disabled, while educating the public about their abilities, she’s gone from a Day Program Direct Support Professional and then spending the last 10 years in various management and leadership positions.

“I focus on developing programs that support people in leading self-directed lives. I also support our training and development program for our Direct Support Professionals. Most recently, I have become an adjunct faculty member for the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities leadership training.”

She adds, “One of my favorite topics is sharing best practices when engaging with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and most importantly the value they contribute to our community.

In a business sense, what is the greatest things about being under 40; and then what is the worst?

“The greatest thing about being under 40 in the business sense is building cross generational networks. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from industry leaders and self-advocates that had firsthand experience of the lessons learned from the time of state-sanctioned sterilizations, institutional overcrowding and the implementation of the Lanterman Act.

The worst thing about being under 40, in a business sense, is the assumption that expertise and knowledge comes with age.”

Kaela Talafili

Director of Education

Becoming Independent

Santa Rosa

Age: 30

Read more profiles of this year's Forty Under 40 winners here: nbbj.news/forty22.

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