NBLC CEO Interviewed on Nation State of Play Podcast

Cynthia Murray – Business in the Bay

Cynthia Murray, President and CEO of the North Bay Leadership Council joins Bryan to discuss the unique needs of the Bay Area, a global destination for wine and tourism.

(Originally aired 30Nov21)

Podcast description on their website:
“On each episode of Nation State of Play, we explore the political stories that are driving public policy in California at the federal, state, and local levels. We don’t just cover what politicians are doing—we cover how they’re doing it, and why they’re doing it. We explore these stories with political insiders, business leaders, journalists, and policy-makers themselves to get below the surface of the headlines, and show you the true forces shaping our nation state.”

North Bay Leadership Council Welcomes MarinHealth as New Board Member

Petaluma, CA  North Bay Leadership Council (NBLC) announces that MarinHealth is joining the organization as a board member.  MarinHealth is a nonprofit organization consisting of three major entities – a hospital, foundation, and network of expert clinicians – and their combined offering provides North Bay residents with a wide spectrum of high-quality services from health and wellness education to diagnosis to advanced treatment and beyond for injuries and illness of all kinds.  MarinHealth Medical Center, located in Greenbrae, has more than 1,600 employees and 327 hospital beds.

Patty Garbarino, Board Chair of NBLC, said “The importance of healthcare has been driven home during the pandemic.  We are pleased to have MarinHealth, who plays a fundamental role in the health of the North Bay, joining us in our work to improve public policy and make the North Bay a great place to live and work.”

MarinHealth Medical Center

MarinHealth Medical Center is an award-winning, full-service, independent, not-for-profit hospital with deep roots in the community . And it has been meeting the healthcare needs of the North Bay since first opening its doors as Marin General Hospital in 1952. The hospital was a founding member of North Bay Leadership Council in 1990.

MarinHealth’s philosophy of care is very much in tune with Marin’s residents embrace of healthy living. They are dedicated to treating the whole patient — mind, body and spirit, and their patient-centric approach to care focuses on each patient’s needs, goals, and satisfaction.

MarinHealth Medical Center offers advanced medical expertise, state-of-the-art technology, and treatments in an exceptionally healing environment. Patients are offered the opportunity to complement their medical treatment with Integrative Wellness services.  In Fall 2020, they opened the state-of-the-art Oak Pavilion, a best-practices environment that enables their medical teams to do their best work and improve patient outcomes.

MarinHealth Medical Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of ApprovalTM for its Hospital Services, Advanced Inpatient Diabetes Care Program, and its Behavioral Health Services. The Gold Seal is a symbol of quality that reflects a healthcare organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care. In addition, MarinHealth Medical Center is Certified by The Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center for demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards.

MarinHealth Medical Network

MarinHealth Medical Network is the medical foundation that represents the expert clinicians and physicians who practice at primary and specialty care MarinHealth | UCSF Health Clinics throughout the North Bay.

MarinHealth Foundation

This essential fundraising organization works tirelessly to inspire philanthropy from donors large and small. The Foundation’s important work provided for the construction of the new hospital building, Oak Pavilion, and supports key hospital service lines.

The NBLC board member representative is Dr. David Klein, Chief Executive Officer of MarinHealth.  Dr. Klein said, “MarinHealth serves the North Bay and we are excited to work with other North Bay leaders on public policy issues like housing, education, healthcare, and the environment for the betterment of all.  Hospitals have a crucial role to play in the health of the people and economy of this region. We look forward to partnering with NBLC members to strengthen our region’s vitality.”

Dr. Klein brings an informed perspective to his position as CEO of MarinHealth, having spent the first fourteen years of his career working as a general surgeon. Since leaving the operating room, Dr. Klein has built a long, successful career as a healthcare executive and hospital CEO. His open leadership style fosters communication and collaboration between the hospital staff, the administration, and the community at large.

Prior to his position at MarinHealth, Dr. Klein served as President and CEO of Dignity Health’s two San Francisco-based hospitals: Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center. At Dignity Health, he oversaw a great deal of positive change, including a turnaround to profitability, multiple Healthgrades Five Star and Excellence Awards, the development of a Transgender Health Program, the establishment 14 Bay-Area based urgent care centers, and the launch of the new Bothin Burn Center, the largest burn unit in Northern California.

Dr. Klein has sat on numerous community boards, from the American Heart Association, March of Dimes, and American Cancer Society to the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. He is the current Chair of the San Francisco Section of the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California and a member of the San Francisco Marin Medical Society.  Dr. Klein received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, his medical degree from the University of New Mexico, and his master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Irvine.

Child Care or a Job: Professional Women Face a Tough Choice in the Pandemic

In “Child Care or a Job: Professional Women Face a Tough Choice in the Pandemic” by Kathryn Reed (Link), Reed says, “It’s being called the “she-session,” the “mom penalty” and the “mom-demic.”’

Reed says, “According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the number of women in the workplace has dropped by 1.8 million since the start of the pandemic, with the number of women working hitting its lowest level since 1988.”

“The reasons include a lack of child care, including changes in policies at those facilities, and increased fees,” said Reed.

For the full article, follow the link below.


Sonoma County Supervisors Discussing Redistricting on November 2nd

In “Controversial proposed redistricting map headed to Sonoma County BOS (and nobody’s really happy)” by Amie Windsor (Link), Windsor says, “sometimes you get stuck between a rock and a hard place, even when you have the best of intentions.”

Windsor says, “That’s the position the Sonoma County Advisory Redistricting Commission – known as the ARC — will find itself on Tuesday, Nov. 2 when it presents the proposed map for establishing new supervisorial districts for Sonoma County.”

“The proposed map offers major changes to Districts 3 and 5. Placing Roseland and Moorland into the third district and the entirety of Rohnert Park into District 5,” said Windsor.

For the full article, follow the link below.


North Bay Leadership Council Urges Mandatory Vaccinations

NBLC Employer-Mandated Vaccination Policy


  • We have effective, safe, free, FDA-approved vaccines widely available to the entire community, except for children younger than 12, with vaccines soon to be approved for the 5 – 12 year olds.       At this point, any employee who is not yet vaccinated has ample options and opportunities to       get vaccinated.
  • The longer we do not have a community that is as close to fully vaccinated as possible, the longer we put people’s lives and the health of our economy at risk.
  • The notion of requiring vaccines has long been accepted legally and medically – we receive vaccines to travel, to go to public school, to participate in athletic leagues, for employment in certain sectors, and in many other settings.
  • We support the State’s actions that all state employees, as well as staff of all childcare facilities and preK-12 schools statewide, must receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 9/27.               Those who do not get vaccinated due to certain exemptions will be required to be tested for              COVID-19 on a weekly basis. We support local governments mandating vaccinations for their               public employees. We applaud every employer who has educated, encouraged, and incentivized        their employees to receive a COVID vaccine voluntarily.
  • While we recognize there are potential legal questions, and potential workforce impacts, North Bay Leadership Council supports employers who require their employees to get vaccinated – or have employees take routine tests if a vaccine is not feasible. Further, we support our local       government’s efforts to strongly encourage and incentivize this of employers, and we support         the State and Federal government’s move toward requiring a COVID vaccine of everyone          eligible.

NBLC Policy:

The rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant should be a clear and dangerous reminder that we continue to be in a race against the spread and constant mutation of this virus. Vaccination rates are not uniform across the country, and our region has done better than most, but high-risk areas remain and ongoing surges will eventually stretch or break through hospital capacity.

Interventions such as stay-at-home orders and social distancing can slow the tide of infections, but they are disruptive, difficult to sustain, and will further hamstring our economic recovery. Restarting mask mandates will help but cannot be as effective as vaccination. Testing, isolation, and contact tracing of infected individuals all have a role in reducing infections but our collective experience to this point clearly shows these approaches are not sufficient to stop the spread and mutation of the virus. We must continue to trust the science and public health officials and make sound, evidence-based decisions.

In the absence of a legal, public mandate to vaccinate, the next and necessary step is for employers in private businesses, and nonprofit institutions to require vaccination among employees returning to in-person work and customers for whom vaccination is a medically safe choice. Health care organizations like Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health have taken this step, and private businesses such as Google, United Airlines, and Facebook have followed.

As leaders that have a stake in the health of our region and economy, it is time for us to stand unified and support requiring vaccination against COVID-19, excluding those with religious or medical exceptions, as a condition of on-site employment or receiving services. NBLC has been a leading and trusted voice in the community. While this statement does not represent an endorsement of specific legislation at any level of government, making such a recommendation demonstrates that employers across the region understand that a flourishing economy relies on a healthy population.  The choice is ours, we can and must follow the example of prior leadership that led our nation out of harm’s way through vaccination. It is the surest path to a return to prosperity, health, and security.

Housing Crisis, Labor Shortage Handicap Marin’s Recovery

As Marin attempts to recover from the pandemic shutdown and its economic shock, there are two major obstacles to the recovery being speedy and full: Marin’s shrinking workforce and the failure to build workforce housing. The pandemic accelerated the shrinkage of the workforce and the housing crisis has grown. Solutions to both issues are not easy fixes.

Marin’s workforce participation rate is declining, with only about 60% of the working-eligible participating in the workforce. Marin  has an outsized aging population, with many choosing to retire during the pandemic and others soon-to-be retired. The number of millennials living in Marin is the reverse – there is a shrinking number of millennials in Marin compared with the national average for this area, Population has been decreasing in Marin, one major factor being the high cost of housing. Those leaving tend to be millennials in search of workforce housing.

Most families need two incomes to live in Marin, but women were disproportionately pushed out of the workforce primarily due to a lack of childcare. During the pandemic about 50% of the childcare slots were lost while costs increased. We need to help women return to the workforce to help ease the labor shortage.

These factors – high number of older workers, shrinking number of younger workers, low workforce participation and cuts to childcare – greatly impact the availability of the workforce to meet the job demands of Marin’s employers. And when the lack of workforce housing is added to the mix, it is easy to see the recovery of Marin’s economy will be challenging. Marin has not built new houjsing for the workforce and it fighting the housing units it has been assigned to be built by the state. The cost of this failure to build new workforce housing is employers’ inability to attract and retain employees for positions of all types.

The solutions are there if recovery is desired. Build the workforce housing so Marin’s workforce can live and work in Marin. Be more competitive in pay and benefits for in-demands workers and offer remote working options. Provide more job training to workers to fix the skills mismatch. Support the expansion of childcare, To spur recovery, Marin should be a magnet for the top talent in the Bay Area – let’s make it so!


Teen Hollis Belger Selected to Do Keynote Speech at Leaders of the North Bay Awards Luncheon

The teen Keynote Speaker is Hollis Belger, a rising high school senior.  You are in for a treat to hear her speech!  Hollis Belger, a California native, is a philanthropy advocate, public speaker, and researcher. At the age of nine, Hollis founded Juggling for Jude, a soccer juggling fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In addition to raising more than $500,000 so far, she has raised awareness worldwide about the hospital and the fight against pediatric cancer. Hollis speaks to students and athletes around the Bay Area, encouraging them to find causes they care about and to make use of passions, talents, and interests as avenues for giving.

She will be giving a TED talk through TEDx Marin in September 2021. Hollis is currently working with renowned market researcher, Dr. Howard Moskowitz, using his artificial intelligence technology to support St. Jude market research and training other young people to research areas of their own passion.

Hollis says, “The pandemic has shown us the importance of connecting with, and helping, each other. It has also exposed a lack of purpose in adolescents. Sadly, many of us were lost with the cancelation of typical pursuits. In places like Marin, with our hyper-focus on the outcome-driven path of achievement, we haven’t paid enough attention to developing purpose in teens, helping my generation sustain interest and engagement in something meaningful to us and beneficial to our community and society as a whole.”

“My personal story is one of an earlier-than-usual discovery of personal purpose, through a combination of outside support and personal tenacity, drive, and ability,” says Hollis. “My experiences as a young philanthropist in the world of childhood cancer and an advocate for youth in philanthropy have allowed me to continue generating new avenues for contribution and exploration, even during the pandemic. I’m constantly forging new paths of meaning and contribution and am passionate about spreading the message of the importance of this kind of pursuit for teens like me. I hope that we become inspired by the possibilities and excited about supporting off-the-path exploration as much as we do the typical achievement-oriented course.” Hollis says, “It is my goal to show that these are not mutually exclusive, and civic engagement/social impact inspire purpose.”

Hollis has won a number of international, national, and regional awards for service, including the Diana Award, the Prudential Spirit of Community Award, the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award, the President’s Volunteer Service Award (Gold), the US Soccer SheBelieves Hero Award, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Golden Gate Chapter Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, and the Carson Scholar Award. Recently named as one of People Magazine’s Teens Changing the World. Hollis has been featured in countless TV and print news outlets, including NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt Inspiring Kids, as well as Sports Illustrated Kids Magazine, A Mighty Girl, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, 60Second Docs, and more. Outside of her fundraising, research, and public speaking, Hollis is an avid dancer and instructor at Roco Dance in Mill Valley, with a specialty in hip hop. She enjoys spending time with her friends, her family, and her two small dogs.

We are excited to be showcasing this inspiring teen and our terrific honorees at our Leaders of the North Bay Awards event.  We hope you will join us on December 10th and get to meet them!

REMINDER: Vote in the California Recall Election by September 14, 2021

Don’t forget to mail in your ballot on or before September 14th in order to have your vote counted!

Announcing the 2021 Leaders of the North Bay Honorees!

North Bay Leadership Council is proud to announce the honorees for this year’s Leaders of the North Bay and the teen chosen to give the Keynote address at the awards luncheon.  The Leaders of the North Bay Awards luncheon is a signature event for NBLC.  This year it is being held at the Embassy Suites in San Rafael on December 10th.  The Leaders event was designed to recognize leadership in the North Bay, while the Teen Speech contest is a way for us to help grow leadership in our youth.  NBLC seeks to foster leadership at a time when it is sorely needed. 

Here are the 2021 Honorees:

  • Murray Legacy Leadership, Leadership over a Lifetime:  Steve Page, Retired

A leader with integrity, the North Bay is a better place because of Steve Page.  Steve Page was President and General Manager of Sonoma Raceway for almost three decades.  With Steve at the helm, Sonoma Raceway’s campground housed evacuees from several of the wildfires. The Raceway has raised nearly $7 million for charity. Food drives, blood drives, charity rides, training grounds for disaster response — the track has been made available to help better the community. Steve gives back to the community in numerous ways, always making time for worthy causes.  He serves on or has served on:  Speedway Children’s Charities, Redwood Empire Food Bank, Social Advocates for Youth, Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation, 10,000 Degrees and the Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation. NBLC is especially proud to honor Steve’s dedication to our organization where he has served the greatest number of years as chair of the Board.

Steve has lived his life by successfully following these two rules: “Have fun and help people.” Steve Page is known for his inclusive leadership style, sharp wit and big heart. Whether it be taking the raceway through all kinds of innovations and improvements, helping local charities, leading community efforts or embracing change, Steve is the “go to” guy in the North Bay.

  • United We Stand, Community Building:  Keith Woods, North Coast Builders Exchange

Keith Woods, CEO of North Coast Builders Exchange, exemplifies extraordinary leadership skills and a fierce dedication to community-building in the North Bay. Keith has been a catalyst for making the community better through his work helping rebuild after the devastating fires in the region; partnering with the CTE Foundation, SCOE, and SRJC to launch the North Bay Construction Corps; implementing CHOICES, a high school dropout prevention program; and serving as “Sonoma County’s MC,” where he has volunteered hundreds of hours helping nonprofits raise money. Keith makes the “building” in community building an everyday effort.

  • Paint the Community Green, Environmental Stewardship: The Climate Center

The Climate Center stands out for its leadership in climate adaption and mitigation. They have a track record of reducing greenhouse gas emissions: they played a key role in the tremendous growth of Community Choice Agencies (CCAs) in the state over the past 6 years, with 24 CCAs now providing on average 88% greenhouse gas-free electricity to over 11 million residents in more than 200 cities/counties. The Climate Center has a powerful theory of change (strategy). It describes the optimum way to deliver rapid greenhouse gas reductions at scale. And they have a bold, comprehensive Climate-Safe California campaign that details how California can respond with urgency to the climate crisis. More important than ever, the Climate Center continues to double down on its investments for a climate-safe future by broadening and deepening it local, regional and statewide policy efforts.

  • The “Light Bulb” Went On, Innovative/Entrepreneurial Spirit: Steve Dutton, Dutton Ranch

Steve Dutton is a stand-out leader in the local agriculture industry.  He has proven his ability to innovate in providing housing for his employees without public financial support; creating training programs to provide ESL workers with information needed to work safely on local farms; and leading the charge for more visa allotments for farming.  He and his family were named the 2017 Sustainable Farmers by the Sonoma County Harvest Fair for their leadership on sustainable farming practices which demonstrated his entrepreneurial spirit to bring more resiliency to farming.  Steve is respected for his problem-solving and creative thinking with an emphasis on looking out for his community and the people in it.

  • Empowering the Latino Community, Leadership within the Latino Community: Canal WiFi Team

The Canal neighborhood of San Rafael had very limited Wi Fi which was very detrimental when the pandemic hit as it was difficult for students and workers to use the internet to learn and/or work. As part of a collaborative approach with the City of San Rafael, San Rafael City Schools, The Canal Alliance, Marin Community Foundation and the Marin County Free Library, the County of Marin lead a project to address digital equity in the Canal neighborhood.  With the financial support of local donors, the team built a free outdoor wireless network and community COVID-19 website for e-learning services and for residents accessing critical information and services.  With the leadership of the core group, design, communication, installation and digital literacy was combined to provide not only access, but also Chromebooks and digital literacy training.  The empowered Latino community leapt at this opportunity with the daily use of the network climbing, with 43% of users accessing the network for school, 33% for general internet use, and 21% for work-related activities. This project represents how much collaborators can achieve when they work in concert to meet the needs of the community’s residents through the empowerment of access.

  • From Red Tape to Red Carpet, Leadership in Government: David Wain Coon, College of Marin

College of Marin (COM) Superintendent/President David Wain Coon is the epitome of a collaborative leader who skillfully cuts through red tape and finds innovative solutions that improve the campus climate. The result is a host of best practices which seek to eliminate barriers to COM’s services and offerings. Highlights include completion of Measure C modernization projects and passage of Measure B for funding of campus renewal; earning the prestigious 2020 Dr. John W. Rice Diversity and Equity Award—celebrating the community college that has made the greatest strides toward faculty and staff diversity or student equity; LGBTQ Caucus Leadership for CCLC; and creating COM’s first Equity Summit, held in 2021.  During his 10+ years as COM’s president, Dr. Coon has worked extensively to engage with the local community and businesses including supporting numerous nonprofits like North Bay Leadership Council, 10,000 Degrees, Marin Promise Partnership, SchoolsRule-Marin, League of Women Voters, American Association of University Women, Novato and San Rafael Chambers of Commerce, Marin Brain Injury Network, and others.

We hope you will be able to join us on December 10th to celebrate the leadership of these six amazing honorees.  Sponsorships are available which not only help underwrite the luncheon but provide the funding for 7 college scholarships that we give out to the teens who submitted entries into the speech competition.  For sponsorship information, please contact info@northbayleadership.org.

Close to Home: Workforce Housing Shortage is Already Here

There was a statement in Pete Golis’ otherwise insightful and well-written column last Sunday that I can’t let go unchallenged. He cited Ketchum, Idaho as a community having a serious problem providing housing for their lower-wage tourism industry workers.

After noting correctly that Sonoma County isn’t Ketchum, he went on to say “But it’s not too soon for business and community leaders to begin to worry.”

Begin to worry? I can assure Pete and all Press Democrat readers that the shortage of housing in the North Bay and the impact it has on the ability of business, agriculture, government, education and nonprofit organizations to attract and keep employees has been the No. 1 topic of concern for most leaders for a decade, if not longer.

In fact, during my 20-plus years as CEO at the North Coast Builders Exchange, I have participated in countless forums, workshops, study sessions, government meetings and lobbying efforts with one topic — where will our workers live and what are we going to do about it?

The general consensus among business and community leaders is that the housing shortage is no longer just a problem — it is a full-fledged crisis. The fires over the past five years and the deadly pandemic in the past 18 months have only exacerbated a problem that has been getting worse, even in non-disaster years.

Fortunately, organizations and associations that represent business, agriculture, construction, high-tech and tourism in particular have been tackling the issue head-on for a long time. For example:

Several years ago the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber took the lead in creating an Employers Housing Council, comprised of the heads of large employers in business and government. That group is providing startup funding for developers of affordable housing projects to ease their burden.

A relatively new group, Generation Housing, is laser-focused on educating the general public on the desperate need for housing in our area, in case there are still any doubters. The group also effectively marshals support at public meetings for affordable housing projects to help elected officials develop the political will to vote for these badly needed projects, even in the face of all-too-frequent small but vocal opposition.

The North Bay Leadership Council, Sonoma County Alliance, Sonoma County Farm Bureau, North Bay Association of Realtors, Engineering Contractors Association and the Builders Exchange are examples of groups that are shining a bright light on the housing crisis and that regularly support efforts to spur both affordable and market-rate housing.

Economists have estimated that the North Bay needs to build 30,000 new housing units (that’s not just homes, but multifamily units as well) in the next 5-10 years, and that number could even be called conservative. Business and community leaders have known the magnitude of the housing shortage for decades and understand the effect it has on our community’s ability to have a stable workforce that can afford to live here.

I just want to assure people that even though there is still much to be done, local leaders have been deeply involved in seeking housing solutions for years and years, and we’re not just “beginning to worry.”

Keith Woods is chief executive officer of the North Coast Builders Exchange.