Press Release

Lauren Macmadu, Head of External Relations at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Selected as 2024 Presidential Leadership Scholar

Joins a unique network of leaders making a difference in the world; will learn from the leadership legacies of Presidents George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson

San Francisco (January 30, 2024) – Lauren Macmadu, Head of External Relations at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), has been selected as one of 60 Scholars in the ninth class of the Presidential Leadership Scholars’ (PLS) program. Recognized for her leadership and commitment to social impact, Macmadu will embark on a transformative six-month journey, learning from the experiences of Presidents George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson and their administrations.

For nearly a decade, PLS has served as a catalyst for a diverse network of leaders brought together to collaborate and create meaningful change in the United States and around the world. The class was selected after a rigorous application and review process. Scholars were chosen based on their leadership growth potential and the strength of their personal leadership projects aimed at improving civic engagement or social good by addressing a problem or need in their community, the country, or the world.

Lauren Macmadu, a seasoned marketing executive and former professional ballet dancer, brings more than two decades of experience to her role at YBCA. At YBCA, Macmadu manages all external relations, overseeing the marketing, communications, community experience and development teams. Prior to joining YBCA, Macmadu served as the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Donor Network West, the federally designated non-profit organ procurement organization for northern California and northern Nevada. She holds a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Golden Gate University and a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with a minor in Education from the University of California at Berkeley.

“I am truly honored to be selected as a Presidential Leadership Scholar,” said Lauren Macmadu, Head of External Relations at YBCA. “The opportunity to learn from the diverse experiences of Presidents George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson is both inspiring and humbling. I eagerly anticipate translating these invaluable lessons into meaningful action, working towards positive change in my community and contributing to the well-being of lives locally and globally.”

During the PLS program, Macmadu will develop her initiative focused on uniting the creative spirits of youth and emerging artists from across San Francisco, in partnership with local arts organizations and the San Francisco Unified School District, to develop a plan to revitalize downtown San Francisco. 

“It brings me great joy to welcome Lauren to the PLS family–I was honored to be a part of the class of 2022. Since Joining YBCA last spring, Lauren has brought tremendous vision and professionalism to her role, helping to align all of the public facing aspects of YBCA with our institutional mission and goals,” said Sara Fenske Bahat, CEO of YBCA. “Lauren is a natural leader and is well positioned to immediately benefit from all that PLS offers– truly best in class leadership lessons. I’m excited to see how this incredible experience will help support Lauren in her leadership journey and in YBCA’s efforts to fill an essential role in downtown San Francisco and offer much needed support to our community.”

Over the next six months, Scholars will visit each participating presidential center to learn from key former administration officials, business and civic leaders, and leading academics. They will study and put into practice varying approaches to leadership and exchange ideas to help strengthen their impact in the communities they serve. 

Scholars have consistently reported remarkable growth in skills, responsibilities, and opportunities for impact since the program began in 2015. For example, 91% of Scholars said their confidence in how they lead social change has improved as a result of the PLS program.

The 2024 program kicked off on Jan. 24 in Washington, D.C. 


About Presidential Leadership Scholars 

The Presidential Leadership Scholars program is a partnership among the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson. To learn more, visit For updates about the Presidential Leadership Scholars, use #PLScholars and follow @PLSprogram on Twitter and Instagram. 

About Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Opened to the public in 1993, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) was founded as the cultural anchor of San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens neighborhood. Our work spans the realms of contemporary art, performance, film, civic engagement, and public life. By centering artists as essential to social and cultural movement, YBCA is reimagining the role an arts institution can play in the communities it serves. For more information, visit

YBCA is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00am to 5:00pm. YBCA will be open every third Thursday from 11:00am to 8:00pm. Admission is $9 and can be purchased in person or reserved in advance at Admission is free every Wednesday and on the second Sunday of each month.


Abby Margulies
[email protected]