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  • September 28, 2021 9:31 AM | Anonymous

    Leadership Day is for us to explore how we can use our strengths to lead others.

    Our first activity involved using pictures to frame the story of what we each had learned about ourselves so far with LNV. We spent the rest of the morning identifying good and bad leadership and what makes people want to follow leaders. I (Susan) enjoyed watching others’ reactions to the lists. Every groan, laugh, or nod of the head seemed to have a story behind it.

    Our delicious lunch was provided by
    Trini’s Catering. Thanks to the owner and member of our own cohort, Cristian! Check the website or their Facebook page to find information on their food or pop-up shops in Napa!

    We are grateful that Matthew (33) Kathy (28) Carolyn (33) Jon (32) Bailie (33) and Katherine (21) graciously took time to share their wisdom and process for their practicum projects. With the assignment of our practicum groups, we are ready to go!

    Extreme gratitude goes out to Mary Rezek, who has invested so much time and expertise in our leadership development and self-knowledge. Thanks to our amazing program team, Jill, Katherine, and Carolyn (Martha Stewardess) for your leadership, problem solving and tasty snacks!

    Last, but not least, THANK YOU cohort 34 for your openness, enthusiasm, and authenticity. Each one of us brings something unique and valuable to our class. Best class ever...and ever!

    Class 34 - Leadership Day Gratitude
    Program Day 3: Friday, September 24, 2021
    Susan Larson-Bouwer, Owner, Larson Bouwer & Company
    Katie Anderson, Asset Manager, Melchor Corporation

    About this post:
    The purpose of the Attitude of Gratitude program is (1) to thank those who provide the information and experiences that make each of the program days exceptional, and (2) to reflect on what has changed for the class members as a result of their participation in Leadership Napa Valley. For each of the class program days, a gratitude team is assigned to make sure all the individuals responsible for coordinating, facilitating, and presenting the day are thanked.

  • September 16, 2021 3:20 PM | Anonymous

    Leadership Napa Valley (LNV) announces its 2021-2022 Board of Directors. The Executive Committee includes President Danielle Barreca (Class 29), Hedgerow Property Management; Vice President Molly Rattigan (Class 31), Assistant to the Napa City Manager; Secretary Natalie Griffin Scott (Class 32), Development Director, Napa Humane; and Treasurer Katarina Mezeiova (Class 31), Director of Finance, The Westin Verasa Napa.

    The Board welcomes new members Jon Crawford (Class 32) former Napa County Undersheriff; Kate Miller (Class 29), Executive Director, Napa Valley Transit Authority; Jessica Penman (Class 32), Director of Community Relations, Yountville Chamber of Commerce; and Robert Van Der Velde (Class 32), Senior Dean, Arts & Sciences, Napa Valley College. 

    The Board expresses its gratitude to members retiring from the Board: Kristine Haataja (Class 30), Margaret Niland (Class 31), Catherine Heywood (Class 28), and Betsy Van Dyne (Class 30).

    Class 34 began September 10, and is pleased to announce the selected class participants:
    Katherine Anderson, Asset Manager, Melchor Corporation
    Brenda Burke, Community Investment and Strategic Partnerships Manager, Jameson Humane
    Kathy Cruz, Partner, G & J Seiberlich & Co. LLP
    Chris Cutler, Principal, Stoic Technologies
    Marlen De La Cruz Torres, H.R. Administrador, A.P. Administrative Assistant, La Morenita Market Inc.
    Chuck Dell’Ario, Attorney, Alan Charles Dell’Ario, Attorney at Law
    Craig Finster, President and CFO, Versus Systems
    Patty Friesen, Retired Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa Water District
    Alma Fuentes, Owner, Celebrity Haven Senior Care
    Justin Gomez, Financial Advisor, Edward Jones
    James Hall, Real Estate Associate, Corcoran Global Living
    Molly Hodgins, Instructor of Viticulture, Napa Valley College
    Sara Hutchens, Job Placement Specialist, Napa Unified School District
    Nancy Kerson, Administrator, Vine Village, Inc.
    Celia King, Finance Director, Town of Yountville
    Susan Larson-Bouwer, Owner, Larson Bouwer & Company
    Amy Linn, Owner/Creative Director, Linn Design Studio
    Sonya Luisoni, Senior Risk Services Manager, Safety National
    Cristian Maldonado, Owner, Trini’s Catering
    Laura Meltzer, Accounting and Benefits Specialist, Turnbull Wine
    Lee Miller, Realtor, Avenue8
    Emma Moyer, Homeless Programs Manager, County of Napa
    Ryan O’Connell, Marketing Director, Inspired ADUs
    Matt Reid, Winemaker, Benessere Vineyards
    Rebecca Rowan, Owner, Devaux Ranch
    Liz Russell, Self Employed, Consultant in Communications, Public Relations and Issue Advocacy
    Isly San Pedro, Retired
    Rebecca Schenck, Program Manager, Public Transit, Napa Valley Transportation Authority
    Jill Wallace Cooper, Communication and Development Manager, Buckelew Programs

    About Leadership Napa Valley
    Now starting its 34th year, LNV began in 1987. The program annually selects class members from a diverse cross-section of Napa Valley applicants. During the nine-month program, class members develop leadership skills, learn teamwork, and experience the many different pieces, from government to nonprofits that make Napa County such a special place to live. In the practicum portion of the program, they work in teams to develop meaningful projects intended to have a lasting positive impact on the community. Award winning, LNV is recognized as one of the best leadership training experiences in the county. To date, more than 800 people have graduated from the program with a deeper commitment to making Napa Valley a better place to live, work and grow. Former Napa City Mayor, Jill Techel, has been the program director since 1996 and continues to evolve the program with current leadership tools and experiences. LNV is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that relies on support from community. To find out more about how to get involved, visit leadershipnapavalley.org.

    Applications for Class 35 will be available February 2022, please contact info@leadershipnapavalley.org for more information.

  • June 08, 2020 2:26 PM | Gayle Adamowicz Bray

    June 8, 2020

    Greetings LNV Alumni,

    The LNV Board would like to give you an update on the current and upcoming classes, the status of our organization, and our plans to navigate the future.

    LNV Class 33 became a unique group, with the Covid-19 Shelter in Place (SIP) disrupting the leadership program year. Business Day, Arts Day, Practicum Night and Graduation have not occurred. Nevertheless, Class 33 members demonstrated their leadership skills, keeping in touch with each other and meeting via Zoom. A couple of practicum groups modified their projects and responding to community needs, jumped into action to create initiatives specific to SIP. The class was surveyed and gave Jill and the LNV Board feedback on the class expectations and hopes for completing the missed classes and final elements of the program. With flexibility and creativity, we hope the class can complete unfinished business.

    Applications for Class 34 have been received and the LNV recruiting team will conduct interviews via Zoom over the summer. With the ongoing SIP order, the Board is working with the recruiting committee on the timing and logistics of the class, intent on maintaining the integrity of the robust content. Conversations with curriculum Day Coordinators are in progress to ensure satisfaction of the participants and providers alike.

    The SIP has required significant modifications to our Alumni engagement plans and fundraising activities. Our various committees continue to consider alternatives sensitive to today’s circumstances. We recognize that the pandemic has presented hardship for many in our community; hardships that may impact our revenue and our ability to deliver the leadership program we all know and love.

    This is where your commitment to Alumni dues is critical. Tuition, sponsorships, grants, alumni dues and events make our programming possible. The leadership development and connectivity gleaned through participation in LNV helps to make community leaders more effective in response and recovery in times of crisis. We know LNV makes our community stronger. If you are in a position to renew your dues, we hope we can count on you to do so. As we embrace creative engagement and fundraising opportunities, we hope you will do so, as well.

    Thank you for your support of this program, your fellow alumni and our awesome community!


    Catherine Heywood

    Board President, Leadership Napa Valley

    On behalf of the Board of Directors

  • March 12, 2020 10:42 AM | Gayle Adamowicz Bray

    By Andrea Metro Leister, Mary Rezek, and Josh Schultz

    In the heart of our the 2020 political season, it was a breath of fresh air to take in a day to learn about and experience local government committed to working together. Our day began with touring the water treatment plant in Jamieson Ranch.  We visited the Yountville Fire station and learned about fire and rescue in the Napa Valley. We had lunch with the mayors and city officials of Napa Valley’s great cities and towns: Yountville, Saint Helena, Calistoga, Napa, American Canyon, NVTA, and Napa County.  We wrapped up our day with a mock city council meeting that left some of many of us in tears from laughing so hard. It was definitely a day for the books!

    We walked away smarter (definitely learned a lot about our water system and now have some true converts to tap water!), we walked away friendlier (we all know we’ll never forget how chickens are family to some) and we walked away with a greater awareness about what it takes to keep Napa Valley running. We are grateful for the officials who gave us their time in the middle of the political season, and we are one step tighter as a class (the best class ever, obviously) through experiencing the Government Day together. 

    About This Post:
    This is a Class 33 Attitude of Gratitude post. The purpose of the Attitude of Gratitude program is (1) to thank those who provide the information and experiences that make each of the program days exceptional, and (2) to reflect on what has changed for the class members as a result of their participation in Leadership Napa Valley. For each of the class program days, a gratitude team is assigned to make sure all of the individuals responsible for coordinating, facilitating and presenting the day are thanked.

  • January 31, 2020 10:09 AM | Gayle Adamowicz Bray

    By Tiffany Iverson, Heather Maloney, Julissa Marcencia

    Leading from the heart! We were inspired by how everyone from the Criminal Justice Day is absolutely leading from the heart - their commitment to community was infectious. 

    Commitment to Community” was the theme of the day coupled with collaboration. A couple of experiences that made a mark on us was that of the juvenile hall walk-through and conversation, along with the learnings from the Napa County Sheriffs’ Office. The approach of our Napa County juvenile system is rather progressive where they focus on taking the troubled youth and rehabilitate them to be functioning and successful adults in society. They give them the education they need to keep up with their schooling, as well as the support from mentors and other agencies for a more healthy and productive rehabilitation techniques. At the Napa County Sheriffs’ Office we were able to chat with different departments, including the EOD and K9 Teams. Here we witnessed strong collaboration and trust - even the K9’s were part of the circle of trust! Hearing the stories of how these teams put their lives on the line when going into unknown situations is impressively courageous.

                Heart-led leadership is a tremendously respectable leadership style. All the day’s speakers have an interest for the greater well-being of our community and the desire to connect and elevate us all to safety. 

  • January 21, 2020 4:53 PM | Gayle Adamowicz Bray

    By Kate Mulligan, Leslie Myers, Nora McAuley 

    Did you know that in 2018 visitors to Napa Valley spent $2.23 billion and the tax revenue for the Valley’s tourism industry generated more than $85 million in local services? In addition, the tourist industry supported 15,872 jobs in Napa Valley in 2018.

    Those numbers represent just some of the benefits the tourism industry brings to Napa Valley residents every year. 

    During the day focused on Napa Valley’s tourism industry, Class 33 learned how tourism and the hospitality industry contributes to the economic well-being of the Valley’s communities. At the same time, we experienced a sampling of the Valley’s bountiful offerings to tourists and locals alike.

    The Napa Valley Welcome Center is the go-to resource for Napa Valley knowledge, including information on activities, restaurants, shopping and of course, wine tour/tasting information. It’s a starting place for many visitors who receive wonderful hospitality and personal attention by staff and 75+ volunteers. One of our classmates mentioned the Welcome Center is his first stop for Napa Valley-related gifts. 

    Many historic landmarks serve as destinations in Napa Valley, several of which are in the downtown Napa area. The Napa River Inn, the White House Inn and Ackerman Heritage House are beautifully restored buildings that welcome guests with options such as overnight accommodation in cozy fireplace rooms overlooking the Napa River to bespoke cooking classes and artisanal afternoon teas. All are said to have friendly ghosts.

    CIA at Copia is a showplace in the Oxbow area and a destination for everyone. From the restaurants to the Chuck Williams Museum and a visual showcase on Julia Child to demonstration kitchens, shopping and a theater, it is a place for all things food.  

    In addition to attractions in downtown Napa, the Valley’s cities and towns of American Canyon, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga impress with their wide range of delightful attractions that all can enjoy. 

    To end the delightful day, two of Napa Valley’s wineries gave the group a taste of sparkling wine at Domain Carneros and a look at the new visitor experiences at Cakebread Cellars.

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

    Gratitude Team: Linsey Gallagher, Kevin Hansen, Woody Hedderman

    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.  

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

    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

    Blog Contributors: Matthew Garcia, Carolyn Hamilton, Lon Gallagher

    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

    Submitted by Bailie, Jami Castro and Nelson Cortez

    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.

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