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  • December 23, 2019 10:58 AM | Gayle Adamowicz Bray (Administrator)

    Planning Day provided an understanding of the steps required to develop a project proposal and submit to the community decision-makers for approval.  Sponsored by Sustainable Napa County and RSA+, LNV participants were provided with basic tools and guidelines to construct a presentation before a “mock planning commission”, comprised of three current county and city planning commissioners.  We learned about the 2040 General Plan, the Master Plan tool for larger projects, affordable housing issues, a developer’s viewpoint, ADUs, and the downtown specific plan.

    Break-out sessions in the morning with planning staff and an architect, distribution of guidelines for land use, zoning, transportation, and historic building considerations were used to sculpt each team’s presentation in the afternoon.  A site walk of the historic post office was conducted as a physical review of the project location before each team prepared its presentation.  Though actual projects often involve thousands of hours by many to assemble, our team was an exercise in working together, exercising our DISC styles, and presenting a proposal in a short period of time.

    The team agrees that the day was very informative, interactive, fun, and a great learning experience.  Many thanks to the planning staff and commissioners, architect, and developer for their time and efforts to give us insights into the planning process.  You have given LNV Class 33 a greater sense of how all the planning pieces fit together. Your mentorship is greatly appreciated and will have lasting value as we see and read about projects developing in our community.  

    Gratitude Team: Linsey Gallagher, Kevin Hansen, Woody Hedderman

  • November 27, 2019 3:34 PM | Gayle Adamowicz Bray (Administrator)

    Background: GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world on December 3, 2019 and every day.

    Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

    LNV's 2019 Giving Tuesday Event: The Board of Directors is seeking at least 100 alumni to donate $20 in recognition of Giving Tuesday. Please join us in supporting this program that provides leadership development for community-minded individuals who want to make Napa Valley a better place to live, work and do business. 

    Facebook link: https://bit.ly/2DmegNB

    Comment on the Facebook post after donating and we'll give you and your class a shout-out. 

    #bestclassever #lnvalumni #givingtuesday

    And..a BIG SHOUT OUT to Molly Rattigan, Class 31, for creating this event!

  • November 12, 2019 11:48 AM | Gayle Adamowicz Bray (Administrator)

    Leadership Napa Valley Class 33 would like to take this opportunity to graciously thank each and every person who was instrumental in making the Health and Human Services Day on Friday November 1st such a resounding success!! 

    A feeling that permeates through our entire class is that it was a day that truly defies description.  Such an eye-opening and heart-felt day for ALL of us to see first-hand what each and every person does for the betterment of our community; for PEOPLE!!  What better ambition in life than to serve others as you folks so graciously do.  

    We are most humbled.

    To all the members of HHSA and all the other represented agencies, we want to express our sincerest gratitude for the kind participation of each of you who spent time out of your busy schedules to mentor us, to lead us, and to show us what you deal with on a daily basis.  We are so appreciative and want to thank each person (and there were MANY) who gave of themselves and their time in sharing knowledge & expertise.  You have all helped us better understand the importance of your particular departments, agencies, and service to our community.  And a special “hats-off” to Jen Cantrell and Karen Collins for such an outstanding day! Please do pass on to fellow staff that it was noted and appreciated all the work that went into this touching and inspiring day.

    We want you to know how much we value your work and all that you did for us as a class, and for each of us individually!

    Kindest regards,

    Leadership Napa Valley - Class 33

    Blog Contributors: Matthew Garcia, Carolyn Hamilton, Lon Gallagher

  • October 29, 2019 8:50 AM | Gayle Adamowicz Bray (Administrator)

    While deeply committed to their winemaking roots, Napa Valley’s farmers are more than just grape growers - they are visionaries, sustainability experts, human rights activists and are at the forefront of adapting the industry to meet an ever changing climate.

    On Friday, October 4th members of LNV Class 33 rose early to start Agriculture Day with a harvest “ride-along” at three Napa Valley wineries, Frogs Leap, Quintessa, and Nickel & Nickel.  As we walked through the vineyards, we listened to winemakers and vineyardists speak from the heart about what it takes to produce world-class wine.  We learned that it is a precarious dance every day to figure out what the vines need.  As Rory Williams of Frog’s Leap Winery put it, “We try to think like a grape vine” to figure out what his team can do to work with the vine and help it along. That help comes in many forms, be it applying compost, growing nutrient rich cover crops and cutting off a vine’s water supply to help it build resiliency and produce grapes.

    “Weather is no longer predictable these days,” says Dan Petroski of Larkmead Vineyard and Winery.  He explained that no two years are identical and climate change will inevitably transform the way wine is produced in Napa.  From fires, floods and droughts, grape growers are learning how to deal regularly with these once-rare devastations.  The accelerating effects of climate change are forcing the industry to take decisive steps to counter or adapt to the shifts and many are doing this with an eye towards sustainability, while also turning a profit.

    Ana Britton of Napa Green, a comprehensive sustainability certification program for vineyards and wineries, detailed the “soil-to-bottle stewardship” elements that not only benefit vineyards, but help sustain the Valley’s precious ecosystems. In a partnership with the Napa County Resource Conservation District and other third-party agencies, Napa Green promotes protecting the Napa River watershed, keeping harmful chemicals out of the Valley’s soil and monitoring energy and water usage.  Britton was proud to inform us that Napa Green has successfully certified 60% of all wineries in the Valley and counting.

    Sustainability is not just about the land, but also about the people who work tirelessly to keep the vineyards and wineries operating.  Social and gender equity and caring for farmworkers is paramount to growing and sustaining the industry. Paul Goldberg of Napa’s Farmworker Foundation presented the work the organization does to support and grow individuals through their education and professional development.  We heard from Roberto Juarez and Adriana Zamodia who have benefited from these programs, which have allowed them to improve their English literacy and management skills and become invaluable employees of the Renteria Vineyard Management team.

    In order for us to understand the current and future threats to the Napa County Agricultural Preserve, Supervisor Diane Dillon and Ag Commissioner Humberto Izquierdo gave us an overview of the landmark land use policy.  We learned the Agricultural Preserve, which was adopted by Napa County’s voters, has enabled the County to maintain its scenic beauty and rural character while other California counties have sacrificed those qualities to development. As the towns within Napa continue to grow and fill in, the pressure to allow development of agricultural lands will likely continue to grow.  This process is already underway in St. Helena, Yountville, American Canyon and Napa. Ted Hall, winemaker, owner of Farmstead Restaurant and one of the nation’s leaders in the farm-to-fork movement, echoed the sentiments of Ms. Dillon and Mr. Izquierdo while we feasted on a delicious lunch made from produce grown and meat raised on his local organic farms.  According to Hall, “if we protect our Ag Preserve, we protect the wonderful quality of life that it enables all of us to enjoy.”  

    We also heard from individuals whose missions support Napa County’s Agricultural Preserve. The Napa County Farm Bureau, Napa Valley Grapegrowers and the Napa Valley Vintners work individually and together to promote, protect and move forward initiatives that enhance the Napa Valley and preserve its winemaking heritage.

    Agriculture Day not only helped LNV Class 33 gain a greater understanding of the complexities of making wine in the Napa Valley, we gained insight on the many challenges impacting the preservation of our agricultural sanctuary.  Above all, we learned that many passionate people are behind this effort.  Their love for Napa County extends far beyond the terroir and benefits the whole community.

    Submitted by Bailie, Jami Castro and Nelson Cortez



  • September 24, 2019 11:15 AM | Gayle Adamowicz Bray (Administrator)

    The Leadership Seminar for Leadership Napa Valley Class 33 was held on September 20, 2019, which was highlighted by a riveting presentation from John Glaser and Ashley Halliday. Both presenters demonstrated masterful command of a key leadership skill; problem solving through collaborative negotiations. They were both extremely knowledgeable, amicable, and driven to help others develop their own leadership skills. The fact that Mr. Glaser showed up to present – and did a tremendous job – with a recently broken arm is a testament tthe Leadership Seminar team’s dedication to serving others.

    Perhaps the most impactful lesson learned during the day relates to problem solving and specifically how essential and powerful it is to bring all interested parties to the table to collaboratively discuss shared interests, data, options, and tasks. If this step is skipped, trust erodes and negotiated agreements are far less likely to be reached. Absent negotiated agreements, we fall back onto our BATNAs (Best Alternatives to Negotiated Agreements) which are oftentimes poor choices or simply chosen poorly. For example, war is the BATNA when international agreements are not reached, and we all know how that story ends. 

    We want to sincerely thank Mr. Glaser and Mr. Halliday for their insightful and impactful presentation. These gentlemen are an inspiration to LNV Class 33’s group of aspiring leaders. It would be an honor to take what we learned from Mr. Glaser and Mr. Halliday, and turn that into benefits for the entire Napa Valley community and beyond. 

    Submitted by members of Class 33: Katelyn Duarte, Norma Ferriz, and Brendon Freeman

  • April 09, 2019 9:50 AM | Gayle Adamowicz Bray (Administrator)

    LNV Class 32 was hosted at the beautiful Hall Winery for Ag Day. That glass of wine that you had? Don’t take it for granted. Did you know that it takes an entire community of people to produce that for you in a way that makes money, stewards the land, and meets regulations. We heard from groups of people with skin in the game including, but not limited to, the Agricultural Commissioner, District 3 Supervisor, Planning Building and Environmental Services, Napa Green, Fish Friendly Farming, Land Smart, Renteria Vineyard management, The Farmworker Foundation, Napa Valley Growers, Napa Valley Vintners, Napa County Farm Bureau, Wine Growers, California Land Stewardship Institute, and Napa County Resource Conservation District. While not always on the same side of an issue, they work collaboratively to ensure that the Napa Valley brand is upheld to the highest standards and that stewardship of the land is a priority. “Hot topics” such as vintners versus conservationists, women working in primarily male dominated careers, and farmworkers provided thoughtful conversation during the day. 

    We learned a lot about regenerative farming practices which not only improves the land but improves productivity.  There are not only grapevines being planted but planting of flower, clover and other plants to improve insect life.  Napa Valley benefits from the wineries not just economically but with the ecosystem improvements that are made to benefit the community overall.  The goal of many farmers is to leave the land in better shape than they found it.

    Submitted by Joy Riesenberg, participant Class 32

  • April 09, 2019 9:34 AM | Gayle Adamowicz Bray (Administrator)

    First, Government day was one of my favorite days so far, and not just because we got to put on firefighter gear, play with a firehose, and climb a 100 foot fire ladder, although that was pretty swell. I think it was because we got to learn about some of the most important and difficult jobs that go on behind the scenes in our great community.  It made me realize how well we/they work together in Napa, and while we are not perfect, we are very fortunate to have such great collaboration and respect for one another.  Maybe it is because we are a small(er) town, or because we have quality leadership, but I also think it’s the people that want to live and work here. There is a sense of pride and dedication to the community in this beautiful place we call home.  

    Second, I have to say sitting on (mock) city council was pretty awesome! Being a bit of a political junkie it was really fun to sit front and center rather than work behind the scenes.  It gave me a new appreciation for how much time and energy our council members, mayor, and other elected’s spend working on all the varied interests of this city and county. It’s a tedious process at times so they have to be pretty committed and passionate for our community to take it on.

    Submitted by Valerie O’Pry, participant Class 32

    I feel like every time we have a Leadership Napa Valley day I say it's my favorite, but Government Day really was. I have been excited for this day since the start of the program. In the last couple of years I have felt the urge to run for elected office and this day just solidified that feeling.  It was inspiring to get to sit down to lunch with Scott Sedgley and hear about how much he cares about this community and how much he KNOWS about this community. We spent the lunch talking about old Napa haunts and what it really means to be an elected official in a small town. By the end of the lunch my desire to run for office was even stronger than it was before.

    My other take away from Government Day was that sometimes the unexpected happens. I was assigned to be on the “pro chicken” team for our mock city council meeting. Going into our strategy session my whole team didn’t believe we had a shot to win it. Once we started to brainstorm some ideas we actually started to think that maybe we could win the council vote. Once we got up and did our piece we knew we had done a great job to convince council that we were in the right! It was a great learning experience that sometimes all it takes is a little teamwork and you can accomplish anything. 

    Submitted by Jessica Penman, participant Class 32

    Government day provided a valuable day for our class to have a unique perspective inside the infrastructure of our County and meet many of the industry leaders across various departments and segments of the County. The camaraderie and respect that these officials have for one another is really unique and a breath of fresh air compared to the news we read in the paper and on television.  Touring the Fire Station and the inside look there was a lot of fun.

    The simulated Town Council was one of the most enjoyable activities of class. Individuals unique personalities came thru and gave a true real life experience to our group. Government is a very proud topic and it was a very good and informative day.

    Submitted by Matt McEvoy, participant Class 32

  • February 18, 2019 1:23 PM | Holly Krassner Dawson

    Leadership Napa Valley is seeking a part-time contract membership and community relations director. Interested applicants should review the contracted responsibilities and submit their qualifications and letter of interest to LNV Board President Desiree Brun by March 7, 2019. Click here to learn more.

  • January 17, 2019 8:26 PM | Holly Krassner Dawson

    Criminal Justice Day was an extremely enlightening day. Lieutenant Pitkin’s and Detective Kvamme’s presentation on Human Trafficking was especially informative exposing an entire culture that surrounds us, almost in secret.

    Sergeant Jenny’s presentation on Body Warn Cameras (BWC) was interesting in that I had assumed that all police have been using the cameras for years but come to find out that the technology is still relatively new and being refined to more efficiently meet the needs of the police force.

    Learning about the Re-entry Program and facility was very intriguing.  Just the concept of this program shows the forward thinking of our leaders in Napa County.

    Criminal Justice Day was an extremely enlightening day.  Lieutenant Pitkin’s and Detective Kvamme’s presentation on Human Trafficking was especially informative exposing an entire culture that surrounds us, almost in secret.

    Sergeant Jenny’s presentation on Body Warn Cameras (BWC) was interesting in that I had assumed that all police have been using the cameras for years but come to find out that the technology is still relatively new and being refined to more efficiently meet the needs of the police force.

    Learning about the Re-entry Program and facility was very intriguing.  Just the concept of this program shows the forward thinking of our leaders in Napa County.

    Submitted by Tammy Manning, participant in LNV Class 32.

  • December 10, 2018 9:56 AM | Holly Krassner Dawson

    I was not expecting LNV Planning Day to be as enjoyable as it was. Lucky Class #32 was ensconced in a cozy room at the Westin Verasa where we were treated to the expertise of a dozen enthusiastic, dynamic and diverse individuals involved in Napa city planning. From transportation to waterways to housing to economics, we learned the basics of how city projects go from idea to reality (or not).

    After a healthy and delicious fall lunch by Chef Ken Frank at the hotel’s La Toque restaurant (did I mention lucky?), we broke into small groups and ventured into the late autumn sunshine to check out the former Cinedome and skate park sites. Each group used what we had learned in the morning about site restrictions and the needs of the community to brainstorm a project to present to Gordon Heuther, Jeri Hansen and Terry Scott, our “Planning Commission” for the afternoon.

    Listening to each group’s pitch was entertaining and enlightening. Although there were a lot of similarities in the plans (underground parking, multi-story buildings, residential units) there were significant differences too. One group gave dog owner’s lots of consideration with a dog park and restaurants with outdoor seating. Another had roof top gardens as part of its plan. And another featured an art alley with roll up doors into artist live/work spaces that looked onto the historic stone buildings across the way.

    The “Planning Commissioners” offered thoughtful and positive comments, pointing out items that wouldn’t fly with a real planning commission as well as ideas they thought were creative and solved the problems of the site in an original way. The entire day was a terrific blend of education and play. Personally I came away feeling like I had an enormously improved understanding of how city planning works. 

    Submitted by Angela Hoxsey, a participant in LNV Class 32.

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