Leadership Studies Alumni Spotlight: Stella Tupas-Isbell

Stella Tupas-Isbell

Role: Program Management
Industry/Sector: Solar/Energy Industry
Year graduated from Cal Poly Humboldt: 2023

Please tell us about yourself.

I am a functional support manager for a global distribution company. I have been in the solar and energy industry since 2002, starting my career with a retail company out of Irvine, California. Eventually I went on to work in solar distribution in 2004, progressing to electrical and renewables distribution in 2014. I’ve held positions in sales, operations, management, and now I’m part of a program management group focusing solely on renewables sales.

I started a family early, so I’ve managed to climb into my current career while being a mom. I’m really thankful for my kids and for the relationship we have. They let me be the best mom (and grandmother) I can be, and the dedicated employee I am today.

I live on a small farm with my very supportive best friend and partner. We enjoy spending time with our animals, kids, and grandson.

What motivated you to enroll in the Leadership Studies program?

I wanted to have options in employment, including the ability to gain responsibility with my current employer. The end goal is a higher rate of pay; but I also really just like to be challenged. I spoke with a counselor at American River College, and she saw right through me. After looking at my work history in business and my academic background in communications, she instinctively told me about Cal Poly Humboldt’s Leadership Studies program. I think about her often. I hope one day my instincts are good enough to cause positive effects in others!

How has the Leadership Program positively impacted your personal and/or professional life?

I see the value in working as a team/cohort with vivid, brighter colors. I’m using these communication skills to seek out positive relationships with my fellow co-workers. I’m looking for opportunities to contribute and lead. I now participate in a Women’s Business Resource Group, as well as a BLIPOC Business Resource Group. These diverse programs help me network within the company and support social responsibility and community involvement. I am a stronger leader with every new lesson in this program. Every project, paper, discussion, chapter is relevant in my day-to-day work. 

What are your goals after completing the Leadership Studies degree program?

I have a feeling that completion of this program is just the beginning of something greater than I can even imagine. New opportunities, new connections, new options. I’m pretty optimistic about the future!

What do you think people who are considering this program should know before they start? Any advice for prospective students? 

It’s not as scary as you think it is. You just have to start! Everyone at Cal Poly Humboldt wants you to succeed. Every advisor, every professor, counselor, aid, receptionist. Everyone is there to offer time and help. This program is designed to magnify your strengths, and introduce you to some you never knew you had within. It’s designed to work around your busy life. All you have to do is take those first few steps and you’ve begun!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Cal Poly Humboldt staff is amazing and the classes are flexible. I’m learning so much from professors who are very engaged with their work and with the students. Many classes are available online or are hybrid, so I’ve been able to include a minor in religious studies to add to my Leadership Studies classes. I can’t stress enough that Cal Poly Humboldt is a true village. Everyone works together to ensure the safety and success of the students.