First of all, we would like to thank Leadership Napa Valley, its volunteers, and Mayor Jill Techel for arranging health and human services day (HHS). We were really surprised by the numbers of employees who took on the task of mentoring each and every one of us for the day.
These mentors occupy a much needed but much underappreciated role in our community. One of our mentors, Gianna Thompson, is a certified MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist). Her daily routine includes visiting individuals in public housing who are suffering from various mental disorders, including alcoholism and depression. She was nice enough to take one of us along with her while she paid visits to her clients. They were happy to see her; on most days, she is likely their only social contact.
Aside from being able to see clients, we visited the new senior daytime activity center on Jefferson Street, by Imola Street. We were surprised by the number of senior citizens who spent their afternoons there. Many of them could not afford full time senior care and therefore spent their time at the center, under professional supervision with various planned activities to help pass the time.
Ironically, after seeing so many good deeds, we felt saddened by what we saw. Perhaps because happiness and sadness are relative. What we saw and deemed depressing others find comforting or enjoyable. It reminded us that without these programs and living arrangements, which appeared to us seemed dreary, these individuals would be living under much poorer circumstances, or maybe not living at all.
In terms of leadership, we learned that one does not have to be an elected official, a powerful person, or even well-known to make a difference in someone’s life and to inspire others to action. We consider the mentors and others at HHS to be notable leaders in our community, despite their relative anonymity. Their decision to work for the public instead of going into private practice is the purest example of dedication and sacrifice for the benefit of others. All leaders should put others first, just like our friends and fellows at HHS.
All in all, the day was a very humbling experience for both of us.
Submitted by members of Class 30.
“Creating, Inspiring & Implementing a Vision” was the theme for Business Day held on the October 7th session of Leadership Napa Valley Class 30. We had an amazing tour of the historic Borreo building, soon to be Stone Brewery, as well as the Wet-Dry By-Pass which was envisioned and completed through the dedication of our Mayor Jill Techel, as well as other local leaders. Our tour continued through projects still in planning and others completed courtesy of Michael Holcomb, George Nielson and Barry McComic. Listening to how these projects have been and will be achieved was eye-opening. The vision of these community leaders is inspiring.
After a delicious lunch prepared by Chef Ken Frank and his team, we listened to Don Shindle, General Manager of the Westin Verasa. Perseverance, team building and inspiration were the key take-aways from his experience in balancing guests, employees, clean up and perceptions after the 2014 earthquake.
Facilitators Pamela Gleeson and Brian Kelly led us through a spirited business simulation in the afternoon before leading us to the new Kitchen Collective. There we heard of the experiences of four Napa business leaders, through the trials and tribulations of continuing with their businesses after a natural disaster, PR challenges and working in a family business.
This was an enlightening and inspirational day. The main theme running through the course of the day was to not give up. Don’t give up on your vision, speak with passion and move forward.
Submitted by Julie Baldia, Carlos Barragan, and Lisa Augustine, members of Class 30.
Finding Direction to Collaborate with our Fellow Leaders (Leadership Seminar Day)
The day started with a brief overview by Mayor Jill Techel and an introduction to Ann Navarro former mayor of St. Helena and LNV Alum. Ann shared her LNV experience and professional background and provided tips on how to approach our LNV Practicum groups. Both Jill and Ann introduced our class to our presenter for the day, John Glaser.
The stage was set to learn more about “Leading through Collaboration,” with John Glaser, former NVUSD Superintendent. John and his wife Carol provide instrumental personal and organizational development, team building education, and conflict resolution through their company, Glaser and Associates.
Following a class discussion about our LPI results, relating to one another, and strengths, biases and norms, our class was divided into groups where we were given a conflict and resolution case study. We referred to our booklet to guide us through the process from the beginning to understand both sides of the problem, all the way through the final stages of conflict resolution. This was great preparation for forming and collaborating on our practicum projects.
We were assigned to our practicum groups and spent some time getting better acquainted. Each team established one Lead who will provide future progress updates, then we formulated a method to communicate, set-up our first bonding activity, and briefly brainstormed our shared interests. We also gathered information to help integrate our missing team-mates. Before our day concluded, Brian Kelly shared what to expect at our next LNV class – Business Day. The class will pick up where we left off, to help inspire, create, and implement a shared vision.
We appreciated the time and resources that John Glaser provided to help guide us into our Practicum projects. It was helpful to have the opportunity to apply some of the techniques on a simulated conflict within our teams. Our minds are swirling with ideas as we find ourselves heading into our next steps as a team – filled with excitement, unknowns, and thoughtful consideration – to be open to possibilities that are ahead of us.
Submitted by Keri Akemi-Bezayiff and Ely Aguayo, Gratitude Ambassadors and members of Class 30.
How often do we get an insider look into planning and the community development process? Fortunately for us, we got an entire day of it. We listened to developers and the various issues that come up on a given project in a community. We were also able to look at the tools and policies used to guide decisions and how to get involved and influence the planning decisions that shape our community.
After a morning session filled with great information from Rick Tooker, Community Development Director, for the City of Napa, we were tasked with creating project proposals for a piece of property. After getting into small groups we physically went to the site and assessed how we could best utilize the space for our local community. After some time to review and come up with a strategy, we presented to our Mike Basayne – County of Napa Planning Commissioner, Gordan Huether – City of Napa Planning Commissioner and Beth Painter – City of Napa Planning Commissioner.
What a great day of learning the importance of getting involved, how to be a part of these vital community boards and commissions, and how it makes a difference in the community in which we live.
Submitted by the Doug Wilson/Chardonneighbors Practicum Group, members of Class 30.
What a great day to get back to the land! From down-to-earth ranchers with lambs bleating nearby to the unfiltered reality of farmworker life upvalley to vegetables starting to peek out in the spring sunshine, we saw the true lifeblood of agriculture in Napa County.
Every time I step foot in a garden or farm, I am always amazed at how much life pulses through the land. When Paul Tarap mentioned that school children sometimes say that milk comes from a carton and food comes from a store, it is easy to see how they have become so disconnected from the realities of food production. Modern life encapsulates society away from the gritty reality that is agriculture. The importance of farmers markets, the food-to-table movement and Agriculture Day is to remind us to take it slow, breathe in the aromas of rosemary and oregano, and remember that without farmers tilling the soil, none of us would be possible.
Submitted by members of Class 31.
What would the world look like without art? This is the question that our class was asked at the start of the day. My first thought was, “I’m going to need another cup of coffee.” Then I really had to think about it – much like most of our class did. How important is art really? It didn’t take long to realize that art is of paramount importance bringing an increased quality of life to all, whether we want to acknowledge its presence or not. It is all around us – both in organized form as well as raw and in nature. As a class, we then discovered that right under our noses there were people working every day to enrich our community with art – at Arts Council Napa Valley.
The day went on to educate and help us reflect upon different ways art is expressed in our community. From the fine art galleries at di Rosa to the public art scene in Napa County with its politics, and from the Community Arts Center “Cinderella” story to the long-established Lincoln Theater in Yountville – it seems the goal of the arts in Napa County is to engage the community and enrich their lives. The arts community, as represented by our presenters, has done that in a big way.
A highlight of the morning was when Miki, our di Rosa docent, led us in a group conversation about a painting. Simple at first glance, the story of the painting and its painter took on a complex range of possibilities through the guided conversation. Three questions were asked: what’s going on in this, what do you see that makes you say that, and what more do you see. Answers came, were confirmed to the group and became fuel to the conversation’s fire. By the end of our group discussion, I felt like a cultured critic of fine art – a description I have never used for myself.
A highlight of the midday was getting to know the differences between the Community Arts Center and a more established venue like Lincoln Theater. The stories of their beginnings and the shows that they put on are quite different, while their missions seem aligned. Both venues bring the community together to celebrate and showcase performing arts, all while supporting their fellow nonprofits when they can in their search for event venues. The last highlight of the day was getting into groups at Lincoln Theater and working through community issues focusing on the arts for an “out of the box” solution. It was eye opening experience being in the driver seat for that type of planning.
I doubt any of us will look at art ever again without thinking about our LNV Arts Day experience.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” – Thomas Merton
Miki @ di Rosa:
Public Art Talk:
Our arts leaders @ Lincoln Theater: https://goo.gl/photos/9K1ckTSLhgzZU7rh8
8 hours with the Napa Valley Health & Human Services Agency: What I learned
Not having spent much time on Napa County’s Health & Human Services Agency south campus, I realized how little I knew about the programs, support and resources available to the individuals, families and neighborhoods in our larger community. The stated mission of the agency is to, “foster a partnership of clients, community members and staff to create leadership, vision and advocacy for the evolving health and human service needs of the people of Napa County,” Without providing an exhaustive list, the following is a brief sampling of the services provided, programs offered and populations served by the Agency: Alcohol and Drug Services, Child Welfare, Older Adults, Mental Health, Public Health and Employment.
After spending a day with a variety of dedicated individuals who assist and advocate for the above mentioned populations, here is what I learned:
Adult Protective Services are not only provided to those who are being abused or neglected. They are also for those who are neglecting themselves.
Public Conservatorship can happen to once strong and vital individuals who through a series of circumstances that are often no fault of their own, they are now in need of assistance in organizing and maintaining their finances on a long term basis.
There are specific neighborhoods in Napa that due to specific social determinants, like lack of access to good education and poor living conditions, have statistically been shown to shorten the life span of the individuals living in those areas.
Homelessness is a not homogeneous issue. Each homeless individual or family have their own reasons for coming into the system. We need to change our perceptions of the homeless individuals living and working in our county if we want to work together to eradicate homelessness.
When we focus on the strengths of our county’s individuals, families and neighborhoods and choose to involve ourselves in helping to create solutions to assist the most vulnerable members of our society, we honor each other as human beings and can begin to work together as a whole community, with shared motivations and concerns.
Submitted by Heather of Class 30.
On September 18th Class 29 of Leadership Napa Valley had the pleasure of learning about “Leading Through Collaboration” with John Glaser. John helped us understand how to create a community of problem solvers and how to understand different sides of any problem. We also learned how a group of problem solvers needs to have people filling different roles while working together toward a common goal. We worked in small groups on solving a simulated problem that involved the roles of two different groups with two very distinct interest.
The simulation, facilitated by John Glaser, encouraged our LNV class to think about the common interest and build on them to arrive at a common solution. It is easy for groups to approach a conflict with only their problems in mind. It is the duty of each side to understand what the interest of each other are and solve the most urgent and important matters first.
The conflict simulation was put forth as follows: one group took on the role of University officials who were concerned about the financial well-being of a book store. This concern was tied to the book store’s sustainability along with the potential future inability of students to get their books for the upcoming school year. The University officials were prepared to take control and remove students from management if nothing was done.
The other group was an alliance of students that operated the book store and wanted to make books and materials affordable to all university students. However, as we learned more details about the problem we realized that the student group was not doing a good job at managing the bookstore which gave rise to their current problems. We found that if the bookstore lost any more money the book store would close down. The common interest then from both sides was not to allow this to happen.
Our solution was to reorganize the student group with the help of the University officials and make the bookstore sustainable once again. In this way there was no need to remove students from the book store’s management and would achieve the solution both sides wanted.
We also had the pleasure of meeting Suzanne Shiff who is the Practicum Coordinator for Leadership Napa Valley. Suzanne introduced us to our group which we will be working with for the next several months. Suzanne shared her experiences and best practices when working within our practicum groups. She shared examples of previous classes and how they were successfully collaborating along with what not to do.
This day was a very productive one because after learning about collaboration and conflict resolution, we were introduced to our practicum group. We will take all the learnings from our conflict resolution simulation to our practicum group and apply them there. Wish us luck!
Submitted by David Avina and Danielle Barreca, members of Class 29.
What decisions we make as a community will impact our long term, and that was evident during Class 29’s Business Day education. While we had the opportunity to step into the shoes of business owners during the simulation, the reality of those decisions was experienced during our tour of the historic Borreo building. As Mr. Holcomb described his vision to further the vibrancy we all know in Downtown Napa, creating that successful and exciting environment for locals and tourists to enjoy does not come without its risks. We heard similar stories of relentlessness and elbow grease from Chef Ken Frank and Indra Fortney. These local leaders tapped into personal experiences to propel themselves forward and created avenues because they wouldn’t take no for an answer.
We learned how local businesses aren’t just focused on profit — rather, how can innovation translate into success for the entire community? How does each business fit into the overall puzzle? And once all those pieces come together, how do they form a cohesive picture woven into Napa’s overall fabric?
Success doesn’t happen by chance. It’s when leadership collides with resiliency and a North Star highlights the right path.
Submitted by Kristi Jourdan, Lisa Blackmon, and Melinda Adams, members of Class 29.
Leadership Napa Valley is thrilled to introduce the new students of Class 29. For the next nine months, Class 29 will embark on a special journey together, learning leadership skills, teamwork and experience – the many different pieces that make Napa County such a special place to live. Congratulations on being selected!
Melinda Adams, Heather Alfaro, David Avina, Danielle Barreca, Lisa Blackmon, Kristine Blasky, Keely Dervin, Brian Dodd, Kelly Dressler, Holly Finkelstein, Catherine George, James Gunther, Elizabeth Hawkins, Jocelyn Hoar, Alisa Jacobo, Lucas LeGate, Elizabeth Mercer, Catherine Miller, Donald Moore, John Moreno, Jennifer Olsen, Rodolfo Perez-Arroyo, David Schloss, Chris Shoop, Eva Simonsson, Anya Stubbs, Daniel Vermillion, Sarah Wallin, Douglas Wilson, and Vincent Xeus.
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