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  • May 23, 2018 3:00 PM | Holly Krassner Dawson (Administrator)

    Leadership Napa Valley Class 31 was fortunate enough to experience the Agricultural and Wine Industry just a few days shy of the 50th Anniversary of the Napa County Agricultural Preserve. The implementation of the Agricultural Preserve was monumental for Napa County and it was clear throughout that much of the quality of life we in experience in Napa is a direct result of the vision to protect agriculture as the highest and best use of the land.

    Leadership Napa Valley Agricultural/Wine Industry Day 1 was held at Regusci Winery. The class had the opportunity to hear about the Napa Agricultural Preserve directly from Supervisor Diane Dillon and Ren Harris—both have a deep personal connection. Afterwards, and in the pouring rain, the class had the opportunity to take a vineyard walk with the Regusci Family and their staff.  The class was particularly impressed with the Regusci’s dedication to good farming practices and their dedication to their industry and how that industry fits in to Napa’s greater community. The day ended with a wine blending session with Opus One winemaker Michael Silacci. It was an incredible opportunity to learn what is required to create the incredible wines produced in the Napa Valley.

    Day 2 began at the Mondavi Farmworker Center where the class had the opportunity to learn how the agricultural community and vineyard owners support farmworkers by providing safe and clean living facilities.  The class then met with the Farmworker Foundation and learned more about the industry’s commitment to the safety and wellbeing of farmworkers. We were particularly impressed by Armando Hurtado, the first recipient of a scholarship from the Farmworker Foundation to provide educational opportunities for the children of Napa County’s critical agricultural workforce. We were also surprised to learn that women are emerging as leaders in vineyard and farming operations and we had the opportunity to hear firsthand experiences from three women breaking down that barrier.

    Day 2 ended at Connolly Ranch where Class 31 experienced life on a working farm that also offers outdoor education to children and families.  Connolly Ranch is housed in Napa’s beautiful Browns Valley neighborhood and is equipped with a pond, hiking trails, a beautiful garden, chickens, pigs, and other farm animals.  This majestic place supports summer camps, birthday parties, an outdoor playschool for children  and public events such as movies under the stars and nature walks.  The staff is friendly, sharp, and is incredibly passionate about Connolly Ranch and how it fits in with Napa and the outdoors.

    Overall, Agricultural and Wine day was an absolute hit for the Class 31 as it brought us even closer to Napa’s origin and all that it has accomplished as the premier wine growing region of the world. 

    Submitted by Wes Salter and Molly Rattigan,  participants in LNV Class 31.

  • February 16, 2018 1:41 PM | Holly Krassner Dawson (Administrator)

      Education Day began at the Elks Club with the State of Schools presentation from the District.  Patrick Sweeney, the NVUSD Superintendent, gave a report and shared success stories on the four academic goals of NVUSD. 

    Goal #1: Increase rates of college and career readiness
    Goal #2: Provide equitable access and opportunities to all
    Goal #3: Expand access to 21st century skills
    Goal #4: Develop educational programs that support healthy lifestyles

    We then had a chance to observe a class at Redwood Middle School and I chose 7th grade math.  It was fascinating to see inquiry-based learning in action.  The strategy works by giving the students a real-world problem and allowing them to ask questions in order to come to a conclusion – rather than teaching the content first.  The classroom was full of activity and students seemed very engaged.

    In the afternoon, we met the new Director of Food Services, Brandy Dreibelbis.  She told us about the positive changes she’s made to school meals in 2018.  Some of the new things include: fresh fruit and vegetables at lunch every day, local 1% milk at all schools, a vegetarian option every day, salad bars at all schools, homemade granola and many main course dishes being made from scratch.  Unfortunately, out of the 8,868 NVUSD students that qualify for free or reduced lunch, only 20% of them are eating the meals (so shocking!).

    After lunch, we had the opportunity to visit one Career Technical Education (CTE) class at Vintage High School.  CTE pathways allow students to explore their interests and hopefully find a potential career path simultaneously.  I observed a multimedia production class where most of the students were busy designing video games. 

    Growing up, my mom was always involved in education, but having attended high school in Ireland, it was great to be exposed to the American secondary school system.

    Submitted by participants in LNV Class 31.

  • December 21, 2017 11:14 AM | Holly Krassner Dawson (Administrator)

    Everyone from Leadership Napa Valley Class 31 who attended Health and Human Services Day heard stories: stories of loss and stories of help; stories of fear and stories of hope; stories of regret and stories of redemption. Each class member was assigned to a mentor or mentors, who spent the morning providing us with glimpses into their daily work. We met many people who care greatly about helping everyone in Napa County live healthy. Whether they are involved in Mental Health, Public Health, Child Welfare, Services for Older Adults, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services, or Self-Sufficiency, they all work to bring security and help to those in need.

    One of the most enthusiastic staffers we saw at the South Napa Shelter was Beta, a therapy dog who works with Reverend Linda Powers at Abode Services. Beta does a great job of bringing comfort and joy to all those that meet her.

    Abode is built on the principle of Housing First. They work with the homeless to not only find housing, but also to provide services to help them sustain that home. Assistance may include anything from connecting a person with mental health services to educating them on PG&E programs to help them with their utility bills.

    One of the most impressive things to witness is how groups are working together. The Hope Center is a drop-in facility that provides showers, restrooms, mail, phones, and laundry for homeless adults throughout the day. When we walked in with three workers from the Mental Health Division, it was obvious that the HHS staffers are well known because several people came over to say hello. The HHS staffers come to them, providing a “one-stop” place to receive help. Dr. Jennifer from Ole Health visits once a week to address medical and mental health issues. Being able to deliver immediate response and continuous coaching when someone is ready to make a change in their life is valuable to these individuals and to the health and development of Napa County.

    During the presentation by Dr. Karen Relucio and the panel, it was clear that we all need to work together to build community capacity and resilience. All of the pieces of the puzzle have to come together so that individuals can be successful and healthy, which helps the entire community. We can all help in ways big and small. Everyone has a story and everyone has value.

    Some of us were surprised to learn the scope of the homeless and food insecurity issues facing Napa County.  Some wondered how people in the community even learn about the services available to them.  We all left feeling much better informed about the invaluable role that Health and Human Services and the many area nonprofits with which they partner provide to our most vulnerable citizens.  We were humbled by their efforts.

    Thank you very much to all of the mentors, the speakers, the facilitators, the Health and Human Services Agency, and the day’s sponsor, Napa Valley Vintners. As always, thank you to Jill and Holly for their leadership of the program through which we learn so much.

    Submitted by participants in LNV Class 31.

  • November 15, 2017 6:14 PM | Holly Krassner Dawson (Administrator)

    Arts Day had a packed agenda and so many great highlights from meeting some key art entrepreneurs to taking a backstage tour of the production Shrek at Napa Valley College. We even got to see Shrek himself. Learning the importance of the Arts through leaders in the Arts community really showed how art truly changes people which in turn helps grow our community.

    The second half of the day was just as impactful as the first half. Visiting Vine Village and learning about how their program is helping those with disabilities either live independently or enjoy a day of arts and activities was very touching. That lead to us experiencing learning through music with Marie Butler. We then became our own Arts leaders and had to present an idea to the Arts Council. Finally the day ended with a creative way of approaching a problem – by creating a persona and addressing the problem as this persona.

    Eight hours flew by on Friday, Nov. 3, and we were all truly grateful for the subject matter given it was our first time coming together as a group after the fires. This is an amazing group of people and we’re proud to be part of Leadership Napa Valley.

    Here is a slideshow of our day: http://bit.ly/2j537XY

    Submitted by members of Class 31.

  • October 25, 2017 6:16 PM | Holly Krassner Dawson (Administrator)

    Allowable land use, zoning, development standards, design guidelines, transportation, circulation, parking, housing, economic development – just a few of things that are considered for every project presented to the Planning Commission. It’s a challenge being tasked with keeping all of those things in balance.

    Our experience as Planners for a Day gave us a glimpse into those challenges and new respect for commissioners, City and County staff who keep development moving forward. When tackling the Cinedome project we naturally gravitated to the problem or concern that was most relevant and important to us – traffic, parking, more retail, less retail, housing – but, as we discovered, Planners have to juggle those needs and more while thinking about the present as well as the future (an interesting combination of multi-tasking and multiple personalities). All of which means that each decision about each project is unique. The decision to move forward or not DEPENDS on:

    D – the Developer. Is the project financially viable. We all agreed that underground parking at the Cinedome site would be a great solution for downtown parking woes but is that really an option given the cost (as Gordon so eloquently pointed out to us).

    E – Everyone. Buy-in is key. All stakeholders should have input. On-going conversations will provide everyone the opportunity to see how the project fits into the future vision and plans for the community

    P – the Plans. What is the purpose of the project. Who will benefit from the project. Is the goal to provide affordable housing, a sports complex, shopping, parking.

    E – the Environment. How does it fit into the existing environment. Does the design complement the existing architecture.

    N – the Need. Does the project fulfill a desired need in the community.

    D – the Design. Is the project designed with an eye to the future, will it stand the test of time.

    S – Sustainability. Is the project financially and environmentally sustainable and does it provide a lasting benefit to the community.

    Submitted by members of Class 31.

  • October 04, 2017 6:23 PM | Holly Krassner Dawson (Administrator)

    September 22 was the Leadership Seminar for Leadership Napa Valley Class 31. In the morning, John Glaser presented on “Leading Through Collaboration.” This was a great introduction to negotiations and how to use collaborative negotiation strategies to reach an outcome that helps everyone. John advocates focusing on interests, not positions, so that you can get to the heart of what people want and avoid counterproductive posturing. This approach tends to create better outcomes for all parties and helps preserve relationships. John also shared a few “war stories” from his time as Superintendent of the Napa Valley Unified School District, which gave a real world feel to the negotiation theory he was teaching.

    The class particularly enjoyed the mock negotiation that John led. In the negotiation, half the students played the role of university administrators and the other half were members of the student government. We had to work together to figure out how to address the dire financial situation of the university’s book store. In the end, there were a number of ideas and it’s safe to say the book store will keep running for years to come! It was great to see the different solutions people discovered when presented with the same problem, and our class definitely found some creative ways to make the bookstore prosper.

    What impressed us most about John’s presentation was that he managed to impart so much knowledge, while still keeping things light and entertaining. He had a great feel for when to sprinkle in a cartoon or a clip from Golden Balls. (For those of you who have not seen “Golden Balls,” the British game show/short course in game theory, we highly recommend you watch here.)

    After a delicious lunch from Foodshed, Jill introduced us to the practicum program and most of the afternoon was spent learning about the practicum program and getting to know our practicum groups. It was inspiring to see all of the great projects of past classes and Class 31 is ready and willing to carry on this legacy!

    Submitted by members of Class 31: Lorna Barker & Quinn Arntsen, Gratitude Ambassadors.

  • September 11, 2017 6:29 PM | Holly Krassner Dawson (Administrator)

    Leadership Napa Valley (LNV) announces members of Class 31, which began this month. Those selected include: 

    Jarret Anderson, Napa Fire Department Battalion Chief; Quinn Arntsen, Farella Braun + Martel Senior Associate; Lorna Barker, Director of Infinite Possibilities, Let the Magic Unfold; David Busby, Director, The Table; Elizabeth Cabell, Finance Manager, City of Napa; Roland Cavanagh, President, Roland R. Cavanagh, PE Inc.; Miryam Chae, Director – Direct Marketing, Constellation Brands; Jerry Curiel, General Manager, La Morenita Market; Michele Dahlberg, President, Friends of Scientopia; Linda Fine, Nonprofit Development and Communications Consultant; Jennifer Goodrich,  Director of Sales & Account Management, Wineshipping;  Marcia Hadeler, Realtor, Coldwell Banker; Allison Haley, Napa County District Attorney; Shannon Halikas, Promotions Manager, Treasury Wine Estates; Gary Hercules, Outreach Marketing Manager, Autodesk Inc.; Choolwe Kalulu, Director of Media, Napa Valley College; Peg Maddocks, Executive Director, NapaLearns; Liz Marks, Development Director, Mentis; Paul Martinez-Everett, Real Estate Agent, Windemere Napa Valley; Marie Matz, Farmworker Foundation Program, Napa Valley Grapegrowers; Christine McMillan, Owner, CM Destinations & Consulting; Becky Merry-Barrango, Senior Sales Manager, Leisure Sales, Visit Napa Valley; Katarina Mezeiova, Director of Finance, The Westin Verasa Napa; Courtney Murray, Director of Business Operations, Stony Hill Vineyard; Margaret Niland, Retired, Medtronic PLC; Scott Owens, Executive Assistant to the President & CEO, California Health Care Foundation; Molly Rattigan, Napa County Deputy County Executive Officer; Wes Salter, Mortgage Loan Originator/Loan Officer, Mortgage Solutions Incorporated; Shawn Smith, Staff Services Analyst – ITS, Napa County; and Corinne Weaver, Supervising Psychiatric Social Worker I, Napa State Hospital. 

    LNV is a nine-month program to identify, train and motivate current and future leaders. Participants come from many backgrounds including business, government, the professions, the arts, and the academic world. Participants strengthen their leadership and teamwork skills, learn ways to get involved in community life, and get a behind the scenes look at business and industry, government, education, social services, criminal justice, the arts, and hospitality.

  • August 16, 2017 6:27 PM | Holly Krassner Dawson (Administrator)

    The executive committee includes President Steve Rogers, Town of Yountville; Vice President Desiree Brun, City of Napa; Past President Sandy Re Sims, Retired, Bank of Napa; Secretary Catherine Heywood, Visit Napa Valley; and Treasurer Brian Teaff, Foley Family Wines. 

    The other members of the board include Melinda Adams, State Farm Insurance; David Avina, self-employed; Mike Basayne, Platypus Tours; Kristi Blasky, Napa County; Charlie Bogue, Coldwell Banker; Brian Dodd, The Doctors Company; Lissa Gibbs, Strategic Communications and Nonprofit Consultant; Tiffany Kenny, Hyde Wines; Steve Potter, City of Napa Police Chief; Betsy Van Dyne, Schramsberg Vineyards; and Kristine Youngberg, Bently Enterprises. 

    Holly Krassner Dawson is the executive director. Mayor Jill Techel serves as program coordinator.

    LNV is a nine-month program that identifies, trains, and motivates current and future leaders. Participants come from many backgrounds including business, government, the professions, the arts, and the academic world.

    Participants strengthen their leadership and teamwork skills, learn ways to get involved in community life, and get a behind-the-scenes look at business and industry, government, education, social services, criminal justice, the arts, and hospitality. 

  • June 20, 2017 6:34 PM | Holly Krassner Dawson (Administrator)

    Our group met at the fantastic Connolly Ranch. Here, Jennifer Fotherby showed us a brief video about how the Ranch was started, the history of the property and what it has come to represent. This gave us a history about Connolly Ranch. With a mission to “Connect children and families to nature through farm based education,” the awesome staff do their very best to help kids and adults alike, learn about various ways in which they can farm and create sustaining gardens.  Connolly Ranch has 10,000 adults and children that visit per year and many activities available for Napa and its surrounding communities.  Jennifer’s passion for reaching out to young children and teaching them about the animals and farming was clearly evident in her talk. We would like to encourage everyone to check out their website for fun and interesting activities as well as to learn how you can help. We were all introduced to the animals and enjoyed this experience.

    Next, we were off to Ag 4 Youth, where we met with Paul Tarap.  This is a program that focuses on providing a positive outlet for disadvantaged and at-risk youth.  Those accepted to the program are set up with an investment to purchase an animal. They are responsible for the care of the animal and for selling it at the Napa County fair. We got a first hand look at the amount of work these kids put into caring for their animals and were surprised to learn that the money earned from the sale of their animal goes into a private account for the student to put towards their education. This is a worthwhile program for youth who need and want this type of help in our community.

    After a look at the cute Pygmy goats, we went inside the Horsemen Association building for lunch and listened to the history of the Napa Valley Horsemen Association.

    What a great day, despite the rain, to learn about our different community agriculture programs for children. We strongly recommend checking out both of these fantastic places and lending your support in whatever way you can. Let’s help maintain good agricultural practices and programs for our sustainable farming communities.

    Submitted by Stacy Preiser and Thwani Satten, members of Class 30.

  • May 10, 2017 6:32 PM | Holly Krassner Dawson (Administrator)

    We met on Friday, May 4 for a bittersweet day, as it was our last official Program Element Day. We met for Planning and Development Day with our leader for the day, Jeri Gill. Jeri is the CEO for Sustainable Napa County and serves on the Planning Commission as well. Jeri started off the day with a quick catch up on the plans for the day and then we were broken up into groups to hear about planning from those in various agencies and businesses throughout the county who are responsible for planning and development functions.

    The groups met with Kate Miller, Executive Director of NVTA, Robin Klingbeil, Senior Development Project Coordinator from the City of Napa, Phil Miller, Napa County Deputy Director of Public Works for Flood Control and Water, Hugh Linn with RSA+, Howard Siegel, Former Director Napa County Housing and Government Affairs, Andrew Mazotti, Acquisitions Director, Zapolski Real Estate, Mike Basayne, Napa County Planning Commissioner and Brian Bordona, Supervising Planner, County of Napa. All were able to share development, planning and policy from their own perspective and experience. It was a great opportunity to view the challenging land use issues from local professionals.

    The highlight of the day was our own chance to view a site (the old Cinedome property) and bring a development plan before the planning commissioners as a body. To help guide us and give us a foundation for that task, we had Rick Tooker the Community Development Director for the City of Napa. Rick gave us some very helpful materials and guidance in the development and planning process. In the end, though there were five different groups presenting, each group brought forward a mix of housing, parking, and retail for that beautiful site on the river.

    This was the culmination of many months of similar tasks with similar deadlines that helped us prepare for the final delivery. We all felt well prepared and enjoyed our final Element Day with Leadership Napa Valley Class 30 (Best Class Ever)! A big thanks to all of those who volunteered their time to lead us on our last day !

    Submitted by members of Class 30.

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