Luana Vaetoe

Luana Vaetoe is the Chief Executive Officer for Becoming Independent, one of California’s most progressive and successful service agencies for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. With a staff of nearly 200 and an annual operating budget of $14 million, Becoming Independent (BI) serves over 1,000 individuals each year in San Francisco’s North Bay, with a continuum of services based on best practices in the field.

Since Luana assumed her role in 2013, BI has experienced significant organizational growth accompanied by a variety of positive outcomes for the clients it serves. Luana’s innovative mindset, program, and business expansions have inspired individuals, foundations, and businesses to invest in Becoming Independent. Since Luana assumed the role of CEO, BI has experienced annual double-digit increases in fundraising, helping to further fuel program growth and innovation. Luana’s most recent accomplishments include working with program staff during COVID to completely re-imagine a 54-year-old business model that relied primarily on face-to-face services and stewarding the sale of one of the two commercial buildings that comprised BI’s Santa Rosa campus. Luana will now focus her energies on a campaign that will rapidly transform the agency’s one remaining large industrial building, turning it into a home for its Social Enterprise Division, Administrative and Program functions, and a welcoming space where people with IDD can collaborate, engage, and contribute.


Luana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and is also a graduate of the University of Delaware’s National Leadership Institute on Developmental Disabilities. She is a recipient of The North Bay Business Journal’s (NBBJ) Nonprofit Leadership Award as well as their 40 Under 40 Award. Most recently, she was awarded the Jefferson Award for civic duty and engagement. Luana is a member of the North Bay Leadership Council and Santa Rosa Metro Chamber’s Leadership Santa Rosa Class 37. Luana lives in Sonoma County with her husband Sefa, their two younger children, and the family dog Theo; the Vaetoe’s eldest son currently serves in the U.S. Air Force