Dr. Britt Yamamoto
Executive Director and Founder
Some years ago, Britt came upon a quote by Raymond Williams: “To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing.” Along these lines, iLEAP was created as a radical ideal, a welcome home amidst all the social and ecological ill that surrounds us, firm in the belief that we need more inspired and renewed social leaders who have the capacity to unify the separated in the world.
Britt was shaped and weathered on the beaches and in the coastal sage scrub of southern California, eventually finding his way along a career path in sustainable agriculture and community development. This winding road led all over the world and to stops with different non-profit organizations and social businesses. On that journey, Britt learned a thing or two about failure, frustration and the large gap that often exists between rhetoric and reality when it comes to leadership and social change, regardless of whether you are in Nicaragua, India, Uganda or Stockton.
At the same time, Britt was humbled by all of the remarkable people around the world – social leaders and ordinary citizens he had met who had committed their lives to the betterment of others. People who embodied the Reinhold Niebuhr quote stating that “Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope. … Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love.” For Britt, iLEAP is a calling to work with others to create the conditions for deeper personal awareness and to ignite a social transformation of connection and possibility.
Britt’s formal degrees are a veritable salad bar of academic inquiry. A B.A. from the University of Michigan in English Literature, an M.S. from the University of California at Davis in Community Development, and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Washington. He is currently on the faculties of the University of Washington Department of Global Health and the University of Vermont in the Leadership of Sustainability program in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. He has been a Fulbright Fellow and the recipient of a number of awards, including the highly prestigious and ultra-competitive ‘Nice Papa’ award from an obscure Japanese mothering magazine, and for his blue ribbon kimchee.