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  • April 29, 2022 3:25 PM | Anonymous

    We are so grateful to our Day Coordinators Dr. Rosanna Mucetti, Dr. Barbara Nemko and Holly Dawson for a very “educational” day!

    We started our morning at Napa Junction Magnet School where Dr. Nemko gave us an overview of NCOE preschool education and the many recent changes that have been implemented. We divided into small groups and observed Kindergarten and 4th grade classes while also admiring their beautiful new campus. Our visit ended with a tour of the Family Resource Center which serves both student families as well as members of the community.

    After arriving at American Canyon Middle School, Dr. Mucetti gave us a review of NVUSD including discussion about the changing population of Napa and recent difficult decisions regarding school closures. In small groups we toured of the ongoing new construction projects, and observed science classes and the Robotics Lab.

    Our next stop was the beautiful American Canyon HS campus where we enjoyed a great lunch including some extra treats prepared by ACHS culinary students. During lunch Dr. Nemko gave us an overview of NCOE and described its relationship with NVUSD. In small groups, we observed an English class, the AVID program, a rehearsal for the upcoming musical performance, and their very popular Robotics program.

    Our day ended with an overview and tour of Napa Community College.  We visited the Health Occupations Skills Lab, the Machine Technology program, and the Viticulture Winery Technology facility. A glass of wine produced at the College winery was the perfect finish to our very busy day.

    The strong partnerships within the structure of Napa County Education from early education through Community College were evident. Napa County is clearly invested in the success of every student and highly supportive of their staff. We were very impressed with the level of Technology that has been provided to each student and classroom within the district.

    We were especially fortunate to interact directly with students and really appreciated their willingness to share their thoughts with us – so inspiring!

    An additional note from class member Cristian: Education Day meant a lot to me because my grade school teachers are some of the most influential people in my life and I was very inspired by Dr. Mucetti’s leadership abilities. I’m still in touch with my 5th/6th and 3rd/4th  grade teachers to this day and appreciate  how they spun many plates by teaching two grade levels in the same classroom while giving every student and subject great attention. I know the teachers at American Canyon Elementary are having the same impact on many kids like me growing up and that’s invaluable for a child’s development. Dr. Mucetti’s stories inspired me to always persevere and make the right decisions regardless of any external circumstances. She embodies what a true leader is and I’m very grateful we had her as a day coordinator.

    Class 34 Education Day Gratitude members:
    Sonya Luisoni, Senior Risk Services Manager, Safety National
    Cristian Maldonado, Owner, Trini’s Catering
    Laura Meltzer, Accounting and Benefits Specialist, Turnbull Wine

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    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.

  • April 01, 2022 3:23 PM | Anonymous

    Arts Day was yet another great Leadership Day for Class 34. I heard many classmates call it their favorite day yet. Our morning in Napa's downtown was informative and the gallery visit revealed the wide range of artists working here. Most exciting for me was the time at di Rossa Center for Contemporary Arts. Many of our class had not visited before and the art in galleries and throughout the beautiful grounds is quite special.

    It was nice to get a private tour of the sculpture garden and Gallery 2, but the real standouts of the day had nothing to do with Di Rosa itself. Aimee Guillot of Cafeteria Kids Theater led us (kicking and screaming, for me) through several theater exercises that pulled me far from my comfort zone. We had to make ourselves vulnerable, think quickly, and act decisively. Hey, those are all leadership skills! It was fun, if a bit terrifying, to approach these from a different perspective.

    The icing on the cake had to have been the performance by the Napa High School Vocal Workshop. Wow, those kids are talented! Seeing them perform was a treat, and it was inspiring to see their evident dedication.

    Class 34 Arts Day Gratitude members:
    Matt Reid, Winemaker, Benessere Vineyards
    Rebecca Rowan, Owner, Devaux Ranch
    Liz Russell, Self Employed, Consultant in Communications, Public Relations and Issue Advocacy

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    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.

  • March 18, 2022 3:19 PM | Anonymous

    Attending a city council meeting is something that every citizen should do…at least once. It derives a perspective and appreciation of the many facets of and the numerous individual inputs required to fairly and equitably implement policies of the city. It’s also something that is free to anyone who wishes to avail themselves to such a privilege.
     
    On the other hand, learning the ingenious complexities of our community’s composting and recycling facilities is a treat that is likely available only to Leadership Napa Valley classes. What a unique opportunity it is to witness first hand, via a hosted tour that explains the inner workings of the massive and intricately designed process. How else would one learn how Napa is being such a stellar steward of community resources? It was a genuine treat! It’s even more impressive when learning that the complex operation is actually earning the county funds, not ‘costing’ money. Exceptional ‘kudos’ to our leaders!

    Class 34 Government Day Gratitude members:
    Lee Miller, Realtor, Avenue8
    Emma Moyer, Homeless Programs Manager, County of Napa
    Ryan O’Connell, Marketing Director, Inspired ADUs

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    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.

  • December 13, 2021 5:06 PM | Anonymous

    On Friday, December 3rd LNV Class 34 put on their hard hats and learned from local leaders about planning and development. We kicked off the day at the historic Hatt building with a belated birthday celebration for Jill Techel.  Jeri Hansen followed the birthday celebration providing us a detailed 360 view of the public and private effort to complete a new planning and development project. After the overview, the class was divided into planning day groups to get a crash course in local issues with a round table discussion with local leaders.

    Stephanie Gaul, Assistant Housing Manger with the City of Napa, started the round table to discuss reviewing the many housing challenges the community faces due to the high cost of living within the Napa Valley. She focused on the need for planning to consider where their workforce is housed as well as the true cost of commuting in each day. Diana Meehan, Senior Program Planner with the Napa Valley Transportation Authority, discussed how transportation in the community evolves when we change where people work and live. She encouraged the group to think about the bigger picture of infrastructure need when we consider new development. Neal Harrison, Development Project Coordinator with the City of Napa, also participated in the round table discussion and encouraged LNV Class 34 to anticipate the needs of the community a decade into the future.

    We finished the morning with a very informative presentation from Andrew Mazotti, Director of Zapolski Real Estate LLC. Andrew taught us how to think like a real estate developer and how Cap Rate is only part of the real estate development process. He humored the group when he went over the challenges that can occur when a development seeks out public comment and provided color with the benefits a new development can bring to a community.

    After a delicious lunch from Sweetie Pies, we went on a field trip.  We were given a checklist to help us assess the proposed development site and we were asked to consider all planning elements. It was interesting to see our groups look at different site features and explore options for various buildings and open spaces.

    Each team was given an hour to develop a proposal and it was great to see the different approaches taken.  The LNV “Planning Commission” members were very courteous and thoughtful.  It seemed that they took our proposals very seriously and provided real life feedback even if it was in the form of constructive criticism. I also appreciated the fact that Andrew Mazotti, the developer, returned to hear our proposals and was cheered to learn that LNV Class 34 all believed our ideas were so good that we should consider some sort of compensation!

    Class 34 - Planning Day Gratitude
    Program Day 6: Friday, December 3, 2021

    Pattie Friesen, Retired Dir of Public Affairs, Contra Costa Water District
    Justin Gomez, Financial Advisor, Edward Jones

    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.

  • November 24, 2021 4:29 PM | Anonymous

    Health & Human Services Day - Friday, November 5, 2021

    Members of LNV Class 34 got an inside look at the workings of Napa County’s Health and Human Services Department on Friday, November 5. The day kicked off with an inspiring address by director Jennifer Yasamoto who emphasized the department’s successes in treating all it serves with empathy, passion and respect despite the enormous challenges the recent disasters and pandemic presented.

    Classmates then individually joined the various members of the HHS team to see first-hand the wonderful work that HHS does. From the homeless shelter to foster youth to mental health, each class member returned to report how inspired the work was and how little news of it the public received.

    The during the fine lunch provided by the Salvation Army's Provisions Cafe, assistant director Jim Diel, presented an HHS overview and mission. Then,  a panel of deputy directors and officers described their specific division work and shared their own leadership challenges in terms of the leadership models the class members had themselves experienced.  Kristin James-Bowe, Employee Support Unit Services Manager, led an open discussion with the class on their field experiences.

    The day closed with a round-the-circle evaluation and enthusiastic preview of next month’s planning day.

    Class 34 - Health & Human Services Day Gratitude
    HHS Day 5: Friday, November 5, 2021

    Marlen De La Cruz, H.R. Adminstrator, A.P. Adminstrative Assistant, La Morenita Market Inc.    
    Chuck Dell’Ario, Attorney, Alan Charles Dell’Ario, Attorney at Law
    Craig Finster, President and CFO, Versus Systems

    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.

  • October 19, 2021 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    On October 1st, LNV Class 34 had the opportunity to take a peek "behind the curtain", as a variety of wineries, vintners, grapegrowers, and other local industry leaders hosted the 2021 "Ag Day" in the field and at Farmstead Restaurant in St Helena.

    At sunrise, three groups met with production staff at Nickel & Nickel, Quixote and Napa Wine Company to witness Harvest first hand. At Quixote, Vineyard Manager Mike Wolf answered questions pertaining to staffing, housing, organic farming, pesticides, drought, and vineyard economics. The group saw grapes being picked first hand in the vineyard, then brought to the crush pad for processing. Winemaker Robert Smith explained to the group, “We are lucky to be controlling a lot of variables here” since they grow, process, store and age right on the estate, unlike other wineries who may not have the facilities for all parts of the production process. The two other Groups saw similar examples at other wineries, had the opportunity to discuss sales, marketing, and even an early morning wine tasting!

    Just after 9am until mid-afternoon, the three groups convened at Farmstead Restaurant in St Helena for three sessions covering topics from the AG Preserve and Environmental Stewardship to Personal Perspectives from female and migrant farmworkers. Each topic was covered in great detail and created eye-opening moments and heart-warming memories for the Class 34 Attendees.

    To kickoff the sessions, Ag Commissioner Tracy Cleveland discussed general facts and figures pertaining to California agriculture, and Napa winegrowing in particular. She covered some of the services her office provides such as advocacy and support for growers, passes and access to crops during fires, and masks for migrant workers during covid.

    Other leaders and representatives of the Ag Community such as Michelle Novy from Napa Valley Vintners, Molly Morán Williams from NV Grape Growers, Michelle Benvenuto from Winegrowers of Napa County, and Peter Nissan from Napa County Farm Bureau shared how their organizations support agriculture, farmers and preserve, protect and promote the brand of the Napa Valley.

    We heard from a 4th Generation grape grower named Andrew Hoxsey who shared colorful stories of Napa when it was dairy farmers and rogue pioneers. It was, in part, due to his family's contributions that set up the AG Preserve so that the Napa Valley would never become suburban tract homes like the ones popping up in Santa Clara and Los Angeles.

    Molly and Michelle led a discussion on climate change and environmental stewardship that broke LNV34 participants out into teams presenting the variables they would control in order to decrease their carbon footprint by 20%.

    A panel including Concerned Environmentalist, Martin Reyes MW, Soil Expert, Ben Mackie, and Viticulturist and Activist, Caleb Mosley presented a serious situation and what is being done in the vineyard to mitigate global warming.

    Paul Goldberg, President of the NV Farmworker Foundation, shared success stories of community integration, education and professional development programs they have brought to the farmworker communities. He introduced a young hispanic worker named Roberto Juarez who was thankful to learn English, gain professional experience and now has a successful career in Napa that can support his family due to the efforts of the Farmworker Foundation.

    The afternoon closed with Perspectives from three women representing Female Vineyard Leadership - Brittany Pederson, Marlene Qintana and Ana Sierra. The audience was able to ask questions and learn about some of the challenges of being a female and heard a touching story from Ana Sierra about being a non-English speaker and how she has overcome challenges on the job in Napa.

    At the end of the program, the group agreed it was a lot to process, but a truly mind-shifting experience.

    When asked what the group most appreciated, LNV 34 attendee Craig Finster said, "I have lived in the Valley for years and never seen or learned as much behind the scenes as I did today. And for that, I am thankful."

    Class 34 - Agriculture Day Gratitude
    Program Day 4: Friday, October 1, 2021

    Brenda Burke, Community Investment and Strategic Partnerships Manager, Jameson Humane
    Chris Cutler, Principal, Stoic Technologies
    Kathy Cruz, Partner, G & J Seiberlich & Co. LLP

    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 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 | Deleted user

    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!

    Best,

    Catherine Heywood

    Board President, Leadership Napa Valley

    On behalf of the Board of Directors

  • March 12, 2020 10:42 AM | Deleted user

    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.

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