Portrait of Sonoma Reveals Inequities

The recently released Portrait of Sonoma has revealed where we need to do more work to have equity.  Writing in 2021 Portrait of Sonoma County: Well-being study finds new successes, ongoing challenges along race, ethnicity, gender and geographic lines (Link), Nashelly Chavez says, Since the 2014 Portrait of Sonoma County was released, local residents’ median earnings have increased by about $7,000 and life expectancy rose by 1.2 years to 82.2 years. The rate of Sonoma County adults who are at least 25 years old and who hold bachelor’s degrees also increased 6 percentage points to 37.8%, the new 44-page report finds.  But a breakdown of those well-being scores by race, ethnicity, gender and geography reveals disparities in several areas, the newest Portrait of Sonoma County shows.”

Chavez says, “Those issues are compounded, according to the report, by both long-standing and new challenges within the county, such as an affordable housing shortage, recurring wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic. Those issues also disproportionately harm residents who are Black, Latino, or members of other racial minorities, inequities that are the result of local policies, the report adds.”

“The inequalities that exist today are not natural or inevitable, nor are they a product of chance; they are the result of policy decisions made by people in power,” the report states. “Different decisions, made through different, more inclusive decision-making processes, can lead to better, fairer outcomes.”

Pointing out the inequities, Chavez says, “While men and women in Sonoma County have similar well-being scores, despite women earning $11,500 less than men, metrics used to evaluate the health, wealth and education of local racial and ethnic groups vary, the portrait finds.

One of the most glaring changes is in the Black community.  Chavez says, “The most notable change is in Sonoma County’s Black community, whose Human Development Index (HDI) score dipped to 3.99 in 2021, down from 4.68 in 2014.This group has a life expectancy of 71 years, which is 10 years shorter than any other racial and ethnic group in the county, according to 2021’s findings. In the 2014 report, the life expectancy of Black residents in Sonoma County was 77.7 years.”

She adds, “among local adults 25 years or older who have a college degree, only 32.1% of Black community members have undergraduate degrees compared to the county average of 37.8%.

“Asian residents continued to have the highest HDI scores among the largest racial and ethnic groups locally, though their scores dropped from 7.10 to 6.86, the latest report finds. The well-being of white and Latino residents, overall, has improved slightly since the 2014 report. The data from the 2021 Portrait of Sonoma County noted, however, that Latino residents still have significantly lower educational attainment rates. More than a third of all Latino adults age 25 or older are without a high school diploma,” says Chavez.

Another key finding in the report is “While 52% of all renters in Sonoma County use 30% or more of their income to pay rent, that average is higher in some minority communities — 59% of Latino renters and 68% of Black renters use 30% or more of their income to pay for housing.”

To begin to address the inequities revealed in the report, the Board of Supervisors will consider how to invest roughly $35 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds allocated for community investments later this year.

State Senator Bill Dodd Revives Highway 37 Toll Road Plan

In “State Senator Bill Dodd Revives Highway 37 Toll Road Plan” by Colin Atagi (Link), Atagi says, “State Sen. Bill Dodd is reviving his pre-pandemic proposal to turn Highway 37 into a toll road in order to raise funds that would be used to protect the vital North Bay artery from encroaching San Pablo Bay waters.”

Atagi goes on to explain, “On Tuesday, the Napa Democrat announced he will reintroduce Senate Bill 1050. Originally proposed in Jan. 2020, it was withdrawn following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic two months later.

If state lawmakers approve Dodd’s proposal, it would mean drivers will have to pay to travel between Sears Point and Mare Island.

Dodd added that he’ll introduce a second measure, Senate Bill 1049, which would earmark $1.9 billion in federal funds for transportation projects, including Highway 37, that need to withstand the effects of climate change.

Stretching along San Pablo Bay through Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties, Highway 37, experts believe, could be underwater in 20 years.”

Atagi goes on to quote Dodd, “‘We must take action if we want to preserve this vital link to jobs and family,’ Dodd said in a statement. ‘This legislation creates a dedicated funding stream and leverages federal dollars, which is the only way we can afford these critical improvements that will keep this artery working, while reducing daily commute times.’”

Atagi goes on to remark, “The toll bill could go before lawmakers — and possibly Gov. Gavin Newsom for final approval — by the end of the year. Officials would then need to determine the toll amount, the toll plaza locations and other potential projects needed to save the 21-mile roadway.

Prone to flooding, it has even been affected by inclement weather. In 2017, it had to be shut down for several weeks due to heavy rainfall.

There have been a number of efforts to fix the troubled highway.

Last month, Caltrans presented a series of alternate routes that could be considered for the highway, which links Highway 101 to Interstate 80, which is traveled by about 40,000 vehicles daily.

Short-term initiatives include the Sears Point to Mare Island Improvement Project, a widening effort that would reduce congestion on a 10.4-mile stretch of Highway 37 in Sonoma and Napa counties.

A toll, if approved, also would make it easier for regional governments to acquire federal funding for Highway 37 improvements, said Solano Transportation Authority Executive Director Daryl Halls.

‘Right now, we hardly have any dollars for this project,’ Halls said, adding that approval of a toll would be ‘an important first step.’

Dodd previously estimated a $5 to $6 toll could generate up to $650 million over 20 years. This week, his staff said that projection still stands.”

Atagi closes the article with a message from Cynthia Murray, “Cynthia Murray, president of the North Bay Leadership Council, which advocates for better education, infrastructure and governance to maintain quality of life in the North Bay, said Wednesday that she supported Dodd’s proposal in 2020 and continues to support it.

Most Highway 37 drivers, she added, would be willing to pay a toll to benefit this ‘huge commuter artery.’

Recalling the roadway’s 2017 closure Murray said, ‘People were absolutely frustrated and it was a huge impact economically.’”


North Bay Leadership Council Welcomes Sonoma Valley Hospital as a Member

North Bay Leadership Council (NBLC) is pleased to announce that Sonoma Valley Hospital is a new member of the organization. Sonoma Valley Hospital (SVH) is a full-service acute care district hospital located in the city of Sonoma, providing compassionate expert care to the 42,000 residents of the Sonoma Valley Health Care District. The Hospital has 24 acute care beds and maintains a 27-bed Skilled Nursing Facility. SVH is the sole provider of acute inpatient care in the Sonoma Valley and offers a 24-hour emergency room, inpatient services with an ICU, surgical services and outpatient clinical testing and treatment. In 2018, the Hospital announced an affiliation with UCSF Health to better serve the community.

NLBC’s Board Chair, Patty Garbarino, who is President of Marin Sanitary Services, said “NBLC is proud to have Sonoma Valley Hospital join us in our work to advocate for employers like them to support the healthcare system in the North Bay, and seek more workforce housing, better transportation, improved education and training of the workforce, and adapting to the impacts of climate change to lessen the fires, drought and storms that are wreaking havoc in our region.”

In recent years, SVH has undergone extensive renovation including completing seismic structural upgrades and opening a new wing with a modern Emergency Department and Surgery Center. In 2020, the Hospital opened the first phase of a new Outpatient Diagnostic Center which, when completed, will contain a state-of-the-art CT scanner and MRI. The Hospital is fully accredited by the Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality (CIHQ), meeting national standards for healthcare quality and safety.

John Hennelly, president and CEO of SVH will be the NBLC member representative. Hennelly said, “The pandemic has underscored how important a robust healthcare system is to the North Bay.  We are looking forward to working with other members of NBLC to ensure the high quality of our healthcare providers is maintained and supported as we continue through and beyond these challenging times.  We are strong proponents of collaboration and appreciate that the members of NBLC are, too.”

In November, the voters approved a renewal of the district’s parcel tax measure, a great accomplishment in Hennelly’s first year.  Prior to leading SVH, he served as CEO of St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy, where he led a financial and operational turnaround, overseeing the 93-bed hospital’s 2019 sale to Santa Clara County. His prior experience includes executive positions at hospitals in Chicago, including at Presence Health, an 11-hospital system, and Saint Anthony Hospital. Hennelly holds a BA from American University in Washington, DC, and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is fluent in Spanish.

SVH works closely with many healthcare providers to provide patients with a seamless continuum of care. They are affiliated with UCSF Health, the top-rated medical center in California and one of the top five hospitals in the nation according to U. S. News & World Report.  This affiliation strives to improve healthcare for Sonoma Valley residents by combining the specialized expertise and resources of UCSF Health with the community care focus of SVH.

They also maintain service agreements with other hospitals and healthcare providers in the region including MarinHealth Medical Network, Meritage Medical Network, MarinHealth Medical Center, St Joseph’s Heath, California Pacific Medical Center, and Sonoma Valley Community Health Center.

Welcome to 2022!

As we enter the third year of the pandemic, which started off with a huge surge from the Omicron variant, most if not all of us, are feeling the fatigue and stress from dealing with impacts and effects of a crisis going on far longer than we anticipated.  And as we experience more people we know getting COVID, or dealing with exposures, or new restrictions, it is not surprising that it is taking a toll on our mental health as well as physical well-being.

One good piece of advice to improve our coping skills is in Chief Executive’s To Win In 2022, Remember The Stockdale Paradox by Dan Bigman (Link)

Bigman recommends that we embrace the Stockdale Paradox, which is a term “coined by author Jim Collins in his bestselling classic Good to Great. It stems from a life-changing conversation Collins had one afternoon with Admiral Jim Stockdale, the highest-ranking U.S. officer held prisoner during the Vietnam War.”

Bigman says, “Repeatedly tortured during nearly eight years in captivity, Stockdale survived it all, despite unimaginable hardships and no sense of when his privations would end. How, Collins wondered, did he do it? How did he find a way through?”

“As Collins recounts in the book, when he got a chance to ask Stockdale those questions, Stockdale told him that he ‘never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.’”

“So, Collins asked, who didn’t make it out?”  Bigman shares, ‘Oh, that’s easy,’ said Stockdale. ‘The optimists…Oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.’”

Bigman asks, “Sound familiar? In normal times, the uncanny optimism exhibited by so many business leaders I know is a tremendous benefit. It bucks them up, it lets them take the kinds of risks they need to build a successful business in the first place.”

He goes on to caution, “But in Covid times, I’ve come to see it can also be a dangerous blindspot. Not because it creates some kind of health risk or puts a company in economic jeopardy. But because, in a situation that has proven to be beyond anyone’s control, one that has exceeded the duration and imagination of nearly everyone except the most pessimistic among us, the continued belief that the end is just around each and every corner is a psychological bear trap—not just for them, but for their teams.”

Bigman says, “Is Omicron—as at least one eternal optimist I spent time with over the holiday told me repeatedly—the last gasp of Covid? Maybe. Is it not as bad as many first feared? Maybe. Is the media making too big a deal of it? Maybe. Is it just ‘Omnicold as one company president with a large operation in Europe told me definitively? Again, maybe.”

“The brutal fact, as Collins might put it, is this: We don’t know. No one knows,” says Bigman. “It’s out of our control. It always has been. But Covid itself isn’t what’s getting to so many of us—it’s the continued trashing of our best hopes for escape by Easter, by summer, by Christmas. Expectation and disappointment taxing our staffs, taxing us. I see it in our company, you see it in yours.”

Bigman recommends, “As we head into our third year of Covid, perhaps it’s time to get the team together and embrace a new way of thinking: We don’t know what will happen next, or how long this will last, and it doesn’t matter. We will get through it, step by step, day by day, by coming together and dealing with what’s in front of us, in the same way Stockdale did, under much worse circumstances than anything we’re facing today.”

“This is a very important lesson,” Stockdale tells Collins. “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Let’s see if this wise advice helps make it a better year. For more understanding of what we are up against check out How Year 3 Of Covid-19 Will Mess With Our Minds by Robert Pearl, (Link) Here we learn we are going to need help coping this year.  Pearl says, “As Americans embark on year three of Covid-19, there’s mounting evidence to suggest that most of us are struggling with the pandemic more than we might think. Polling paints a fuzzy picture of the American psyche after nearly two years of pandemic stress. On one hand, people are going about their lives despite the looming threat of the Omicron variant. On the other hand, 41% of adults say they’ve experienced symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder more than half the days of the week, a significant increase from 11% in 2019.”

Pearl says, “Most likely, people’s frustrations and anxieties are far worse than self-reported surveys indicate. It’s one thing to say or even think we’re feeling fine—as if two years of seesawing social restrictions could simply be taken in stride—but how we feel on the inside is something else entirely. Our mood is a complicated mixture of biochemistry, psychology and environment.”

“That last factor, environment, has influenced our lives greatly throughout the pandemic,” says Pearl. “Twenty-four months after the first U.S. case of Covid-19 was reported, we still have to wear masks at airports, in some public arenas and whenever cases spike. Our news feeds continue to overflow with dire warnings about new variants, breakthrough cases and misinformation campaigns. Meanwhile, almost every activity—from birthdays and anniversaries to grocery shopping and television watching—comes with the joy-sapping reminder that we are still smack dab in the middle of a public-health crisis and that almost nothing is as it was before.  If you have any doubt that our environment weighs heavy on our mood, consider how much Covid-19 has changed the ways we work, communicate, celebrate, educate our children, spend our money and even sleep.”

Pearl says, “Sometimes, our brains and bodies fail to give us early and sufficient warning when things are off. As an example, high blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart attack and stroke, yet people with hypertension can go years without experiencing signs or symptoms, even when their blood-pressure readings are dangerously high. Anxiety works much the same way. We can dismiss or not even notice distressing symptoms: trouble sleeping, loss of energy, overeating or relationship issues. But what starts as an annoyance can escalate over time and become an internal crisis.”

An important point is the need to grieve.  Pearl says, “Take disenfranchised grief, a kind of mourning that isn’t routinely acknowledged because it doesn’t stack up to the type of trauma others have undergone. Comparing ourselves to others—say, those who’ve lost a loved one to the virus—leads us to perceive our own difficulties as trivial. The reality is that all Americans have endured restrictions, experienced frustrations and missed out on milestone events like weddings and graduations. None of these alone feel as painful as a death, but together they erode our sense of well-being. They need to be acknowledged and grieved. Psychologists say that doing so is a cathartic and healthy way of coping. Failing to do so, however, can create long-lasting psychological scars.”

“In the early days of the pandemic, during lockdowns and school closures, much was made of the effects that social isolation had on people,” says Pearl. “Researchers quickly observed upticks in substance abuse, domestic violence and suicidal ideation. Those threats haven’t disappeared, they’ve just become the ‘new normal’ and no longer seem newsworthy. That’s a dangerous societal oversight. Two years of disappointment, frustration and loneliness have produced an odd combination of boredom, malaise and dread. Psychologists call this languishing, a disturbing sense of stagnation and emptiness.”

Pearl says, “The past year, especially, has featured the bizarre and unsettling sensation of being stuck: 2021 began with fears and uncertainty over the Delta variant and ended with fears and uncertainty over Omicron. It started with President Biden calling for all Americans to get vaccinated and ended the same way—with those calls going unheeded by roughly 30-40% of the U.S. population. The coming year brings with it the impending threats of business lockdowns, school closings, event cancellations and travel restrictions; the same way 2021 began.”

Invoking the Stockdale paradox, Pearl says, “Every time we think the finish line is in sight, a new viral threat or sudden surge of cases comes along, dashing our optimism and ushering in fresh waves of anxiety, frustration and fear. If 2022 were to end in a similar fashion as 2021, we’ll have lived under siege for more than 1,000 days. And the impact of an additional year would be even worse when it comes to our mental state and well-being.”

Pearl says, “Untold amounts of money, energy and scientific resource have been hurled at the virus in hopes of mitigating the obvious medical threat.”  More vaccination sites, testing, masks, public education, research on treatments and new vaccines, National Guard helping fill in at hospitals and schools, and more.  But Pearl says we are missing the mark on the “need to address the mental- and behavioral-health risks of a prolonged pandemic. Nowhere in Biden’s plan is there a guarantee that health insurance will fully cover treatment for mood disorders or ensure that out-of-pocket costs won’t limit access to counseling. Nor is there any mention of requiring a paid time-off benefits for workers who experience psychological difficulties or require professional help.”

Pearl says, “Someday, our nation will put this terrible disease behind us. But if we continue to ignore our psychological problems in the third and (possibly) fourth or fifth years of Covid-19, then our nation’s health problems won’t end when the pandemic does. For those whose anxiety has become unmanageable, now is the time to get professional help. But even for those of us who think we’re coping well, let’s make 2022 the year we address our growing anxieties and daily frustrations.” Wise advice – let’s hope we have enough capacity to meet the needs of those who seek help.

1 in 4 COVID Patients in it for Long Haul. That’s Worrying North Bay Employers

In “1 in 4 COVID Patients in it for Long Haul. That’s Worrying North Bay Employers” by Susan Wood (Link), Wood says, “Calvin Sandeen got COVID-19 and is still living with it.”

Wood goes on to explain, “The Forestville resident wonders when he gets the common cold now whether the muscle aches that go with it will turn into joint pain from the virus. He wonders whether a slight headache will turn into a migraine, his most common symptom after contracting COVID-19.”

Wood says, “Vaccinated and athletic, the Sonoma County Economic Development broadband analyst is considered a “long hauler,” someone who continues to suffer the effects of the virus after the initial infection. Health experts say these long haulers endure symptoms for an average of four to six months after contracting COVID-19.”

Wood goes on to quote, “’It’s still early to tell, but my hunch is it seems logical to assume there will be some long-haul impacts, with some burden on our health care system,’ Sonoma State University economics professor Robert Eyler said.”

Wood also quotes, “’As we move from a pandemic to an endemic, this is a huge question when we have millions more disabled people. We’re going to need to increase medical care, and they’ll need support,’ North Bay Leadership Council CEO Cynthia Murray said.”


Power Shift, Why Workers Next Year Might Have the Upper Hand

In “Power shift, why workers next year might have the upper hand” by Kathryn Reed (Link), Reed says, “Money, the traditional incentive to attract and retain workers, is no longer enough. Employees want more than cash.”’

Reed says, “They seek flexibility with their schedule, they want bosses who care about them as a person and not merely as a worker, they crave being valued, and to join a workplace culture that is human driven and not profit centric.”

Reed goes on to quote, “Cynthia Murray, president/CEO of North Bay Leadership Council, told the Business Journal, ‘What we saw and heard from employers is that there is an increasing concern about the struggle to fill jobs. It is resulting in the need to recognize workers have more bargaining power and employers need to make some adjustments.’”

For the full article, follow the link below.


Outlook for 2022: VUCA Time Continues

Moving from Pandemic to Endemic

VUCA – which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity – has been a defining way to describe the time in which we are living.  It captures not only the effects of the pandemic, but also the economic shock, supply chain issues, climate change acceleration, inflation, and social justice issues that we are experiencing in the last two years.  Lots of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity!  It is a difficult time to predict what might happen tomorrow, let alone in the coming year, but we have been gathering ideas and want to shed light where we can on what to expect in 2022.  Key takeaway:  Keep your seatbelts fastened, it’s going to be another bumpy year.

Foremost is looking ahead to what is predicted for the pandemic.  Many scientists see us moving from a pandemic to an endemic, as variants arise, and we continue to learn how to live with the virus among us.  The New York Times’ Covid deaths surpass 800,000 (Link)  provides a stark picture of where we are at the end of 2021 and what 2022 may bring.  “Coronavirus deaths in the United States surpassed 800,000 on December 15th, according to a New York Times database, as the pandemic neared the end of a second year and as known virus cases in this country rose above 50 million.”

“The new death toll — the highest known number of any country — comes a year after vaccines against the coronavirus began rolling out in the United States. It also comes at a tenuous moment in the pandemic: Cases are rising once again, hospitals in some parts of the country are stretched to their limits with Covid patients and the threat and uncertainties of a new variant loom. More than 1,200 people in the United States are dying from Covid-19 each day.”

“The last 100,000 deaths occurred in less than 11 weeks as the pace of death has picked up, moving faster than at any time other than last winter’s surge. The current uptick is being driven by the Delta variant. It is not yet known how the Omicron variant, which continues to emerge in more states, might affect those trends in the coming weeks and months.”

“Some 75 percent of the 800,000 Covid-19 deaths have involved people 65 or older. One in 100 older Americans has died. Countless others have found themselves isolated.  By now, Covid-19 has become the third leading cause of death among Americans 65 and older, after heart disease and cancer. It is responsible for about 13 percent of all deaths in that age group since the beginning of 2020, more than diabetes, accidents, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.”

Dr. Peter Hotez makes a grim prediction: “Looking at our twin epidemic of delta/omicron as we head into the new year, we have a real prospect of reaching one million American deaths by the end of Q1 in 2022. FYI all preventable.”

Supply Chain Issues Continue

In The year of the endemic phase? 7 predictions for 2022, (Link), experts from Northwestern University make their predictions that “After a year filled with unprecedented challenges and uncertainty, experts hope lessons learned from 2021 can prepare us for a stabler 2022.  One of their predictions is that supply chains will continue to suffer.  Tarek Abdallah, assistant professor of operations, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, said “We are experiencing shortages and delays in supply chains since every entity is highly utilized. The global shipping industry is not able to keep up with the surge in the demand, the ports are congested, companies are struggling with labor shortages, and some are shutting down due to workers protesting work conditions. In normal conditions supply chains can possibly absorb these shocks if they occur sporadically, but when these disruptions happen simultaneously even the best-in-class supply chains will suffer. With highly utilized supply chains or processes, even the smallest shock to the system can lead to disproportionate consequences that ripple throughout the chain. Add to that the uncertainty due to the emerging COVID-19 variants, and it is easy to see that we are in for a rough ride.”

Democracy v autocracy

In 10 Trends to watch in the coming year, by Tom Standage, The World Ahead 2022, (Link), he predicts “If 2021 was the year the world turned the tide against the pandemic, 2022 will be dominated by the need to adjust to new realities, both in areas reshaped by the crisis (the new world of work, the future of travel) and as deeper trends reassert themselves (the rise of China, accelerating climate change). Here are some themes and trends to watch in the year ahead, for the full list go to the link.

Standage’s first prediction is: “Democracy v autocracy. America’s mid-term elections and China’s Communist Party congress will vividly contrast their rival political systems. Which is better at delivering stability, growth and innovation? This rivalry will play out in everything from trade to tech regulation, vaccinations to space stations. As President Joe Biden tries to rally the free world under the flag of democracy, his dysfunctional, divided country is a poor advertisement for its merits.”

And this prediction: “Political footballs. The Winter Olympics in Beijing and the football World Cup in Qatar will be reminders of how sport can bring the world together—but also of how big sporting events often end up being political footballs. Expect protests directed at both host countries, though boycotts by national teams seem unlikely.”

Climate Change Gets Real

In 2021, the fact that climate change was occurring now and not in the distant future was inescapable. Polling shows that it has risen as a concern for most people.  There are lots of predictions on climate adaption actions and the urgent need to address climate change.  One action getting more traction is the need to decarbonize.  NBLC has joined many other organizations in supporting the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, legislation to put a price on carbon and return 100% of the net revenue as a rebate to American families.

In Grist’s Fix, 22 Predictions for 2022, (Link) one compelling one is by Bob Inglis, ED at republicEn.org, who predicts the U.S. will follow the E.U. on carbon policy.  He says, “The biggest advance in carbon pricing is the expectation that the European Union will impose a carbon border adjustment. The E.U. plans to collect a tax on the entry of goods into its market from countries that don’t have a price on carbon dioxide. This won’t occur until 2023, but the fact that it is moving and seems undeterred — though it had some pushback — is going to have an impact on the rest of the world. Even Russia is contemplating a carbon tax because of what the E.U. is doing. It’s going to affect the U.S. as well, because we do an awful lot of trade with the E.U. It is in trading partners’ interests to follow the lead of a country that’s imposing a carbon border adjustment. Why pay the tax to them when you could’ve collected it yourself?”

Inglis wants “to show conservatives how the power of their free-market idea of accountability is the solution to climate change. We’re all about showing conservatives the strength of their own ideas, that this is a natural for them. Once we build that constituency on the right, then politicians on the right will be able to support smart, market-based policies like a price on carbon dioxide.”

Another climate prediction is from Catrina Rorke, vice president for policy at the Climate Leadership Council, who predicts climate goals and trade goals will intersect. Rorke says, “We’ve been doing research at the Council [on what we call] the U.S. carbon advantage. What we have found is that the U.S. economy on average is much cleaner than the vast majority of our trading partners. It takes 80 percent more carbon emissions to create the same dollar value anywhere else in the world — in China, India, and Russia, we’re talking three to four times the amount of emissions to create the same kinds of goods. So our starting point is that the U.S. economy is very clean compared to our competitors. If we price those emissions, if we price the emissions associated with trade, we give a leg up to a U.S. industry that is clean. That’s a competitive advantage. And we decarbonize our supply chains — that’s a climate advantage.”

Rorke says, “We are going to see a proliferation of policies that connect climate goals with trade goals, because this relationship is absolutely necessary to support decarbonization. Addressing climate change is going to require a whole lot of policy efforts in a whole lot of places. We should never take our most effective tools off the table. So I want to manifest reinvigorated support for the most effective tools to fight climate change, which always come back to a price on carbon.”

And Tom Standage also weighs in on what he calls the “Climate crunch. Even as wildfires, heatwaves and floods increase in frequency, a striking lack of urgency prevails among policymakers when it comes to tackling climate change. Moreover, decarbonisation requires the West and China to co-operate, just as their geopolitical rivalry is deepening. Keep an eye on the solar-geoengineering research team at Harvard. In 2022, they want to test the use of a high-altitude balloon to release dust to dim sunlight—a technique that may, at this rate, be needed to buy the world more time to decarbonise.”

Daniel E. Horton, Northwestern University’s assistant professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and principal investigator, Climate Change Research Group, wraps it up with his prediction that we are on the precipice of transitions in energy. Horton said, “It’s been several decades since climate scientists first identified the fingerprints of human influence on global climate. And it’s been about a decade since we’ve been able to quantify the human contribution to the occurrence and severity of individual extreme meteorological events. At this stage, human-influenced changes to our climate system are inevitable. Human-caused climate change is here, and society must choose a path forward – mitigate, adapt or suffer. In 2022, I’m most excited to see what paths of action are adopted by the U.S. federal government. The Biden administration is poised to revolutionize our country’s fight against climate change via their two-tiered infrastructure package. We sit on the precipice of federally-backed transitions in energy and transportation infrastructure – actions that are critical for transitioning our society away from fossil fuels, reducing our carbon emissions and reducing the impacts of climate change.”

Year of the Worker

Josh Bersin makes some interesting predictions in his Predictions for 2022: Everything Is About to Change (Link). Bersin summarizes where we are well: “It’s time to talk about predictions for 2022, and the number one theme is change.  And in a sense, everything is about to change.”

“If you think back about where we are, it has been 14 years since the 2008 financial crisis, and we’ve been through digital transformation, economic hyper-growth, a stock market boom, extremely low interest rates, and an enormous availability of capital. We’ve witnessed huge investments in the tech industry, the emergence of cryptocurrency and blockchain, the birth of 5G telecommunications, widespread use of electric vehicles and charging stations, and mobile devices more powerful than supercomputers.”

“Personally, we have video cameras on every device and our homes have become movie studios. On the downside, we’ve lived through disruptions to our political system, threats to our sense of inclusion and belonging, a growing problem of homelessness, and a sense that income inequality may be worse than ever (three billionaires flew into space for fun this year.)”

“On the positive side, we’re seeing an increase in the standard of living as flexible work and new employment models go mainstream, and wages are definitely rising. Companies are discovering that paying people more does not reduce profits. Even penny-pinching companies like Amazon.com are raising wages.”

Bersin makes some predictions from an HR focus. “First, it’s clear to me that we’re going to be in a very tight labor market.  Today there are close to 14 million jobs open in the United States and there could be 20 million open in 2022. It’s going to be very hard to hire and you will be focusing your recruiting efforts on internal hiring, redeployment of people inside the company, upskilling, and what I call ‘human-centered recruiting.’ You’ll be hiring people based on skills and fit, not just experience.”

“The labor market will change. The massive number of opportunities will draw people into the labor market, driving the labor participation rate up. And that means you’ll have a more diverse range of candidates to source from. That doesn’t mean hiring will be easy because people feel very empowered.”

“Remember also that training is more important than ever. New EMSI research shows that even for essential workers, over the last two years there was a 40% increase in the share of postings offering on-the-job training. You will need to hire for fit and capability, then train people as they arrive. (A 330% increase in supply chain jobs that require no experience at all.)”  As Craig Nelson, Nelson Family of Companies says, “Now people are hiring for what employees will do, not just what they can do.”

Bersin predicts “We are about to witness the unleashing of the most incredible technology I’ve ever seen. Not only do we have AI under the covers of every HR too, but Talent Intelligence systems are also getting incredibly good at matching, predicting, and selecting people. We have virtual reality and augmented reality tools, avatars, microlearning, and an entire industry of online AI-powered coaching.”

“The third big change is a new conversation about culture. I believe we’re going to have a stock market correction, a series of interest rate rises, and a lot of angst about inflation,” said Bersin. “For me, we’ve been in an inflationary period for a long time. I’ve always felt that the Bureau of Labor Statistics data about inflation is incorrect. Where I live in California, we’ve been an inflationary economy for a decade. Housing prices are at a ridiculously high level and so is everything else.”

Bersin says, “And thanks to the media, inflation is becoming something people are talking about a lot. What inflation does is reduce people’s sense of security. It gives you this feeling that everything you base your decisions on is suddenly changing under your feet. It’s like living on shifting sand … something you wanted to buy yesterday became more expensive today, and maybe you can’t buy it tomorrow. And that creates a sense of uncertainty added to the continuing lagging problem of the pandemic.”

“So we’re going to see a work and business environment where employees look for predictability,” says Bersin. “They’re looking for safety. They’re looking for security. They’re looking for a company they can trust.”

Bersin sums up, “And there’s even more. Employees want to work for a company that cares about global climate change, environmental issues, and sustainability. They’re looking for a company that cares about its people. So the issues of culture, trust, and employment brand are going to be huge in 2022. And the stress of the pandemic is not over: new research by Mercer points out that almost 40% of workers are using mental health or coaching benefits. (The Global Wellness Institute believes workplace mental health will grow at 9.8% annually over the next five years.) So I think 2022 will be a big year of talking about culture, trust, human-centered leadership, and your employment brand.”

Need for Equity in All Things

The recognition of the need for equity in all things will continue in 2022.  Nina Vaca, Chairman and CEO, Pinnacle Group (Link), says “At Pinnacle Group, we have been deeply committed to DE&I since the beginning, but it has taken center stage more recently as an absolute must-have value. We have seen talent increasingly seeking companies that not only declare their support for DE&I initiatives, but act upon it and can show a track record of success. As leaders are growing their companies and redefining their brands, it is important to ensure that DE&I is part of the conversion by investing in authentic initiatives that include and engage internal and external stakeholders.”

Forrester reports in 2022 Predictions on Employee Experience (Link), “Sure, executives have been comfortable talking about Employee Experience (EX) for a few years now. Even the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US has mandated that quarterly and annual reports include details of how a company plans to approach human capital.

“But none of this rising focus has prepared them for the commensurate rise of employee power. The very turbulence that your employees just survived has now placed them in a different state of mind. They want different things, they expect improved resources to enable their success at work, and they may even want different outcomes for their careers. And, looking around, they see evidence suggesting that they can ask for and receive the reasonable things that they want.”

In their annual annual EX Predictions report, they predict “things large and small for 2022, from the bold claim that 100% of companies will fail at adjusting compensation during the post-pandemic surge to the smaller but meaningful prediction that employee recognition programs will get a boost from 1% of total compensation to as much as 2%. The predictions all arise from the same tension: Companies have a lot of decisions to make — about where people can work, what tools they should have available for work, and how managers can shift to becoming more like coaches than supervisors. Today, just 48% of large organizations in the US have a dedicated program for EX. That number will rise to 65% as more executives watching their monthly quit rates go as high as 2% will suddenly become EX advocates of the highest order.”

Knowledge @ Wharton’s Beyond Business: Humanizing ESG (Link) talks about the need to humanize and prioritize the “S” in ESG – an acronym that stands for environmental, social, and corporate governance. “The S or the social factor is really about people,” Wharton management professor Witold Henisz said. Employees, supply chain partners, customers, and the larger community are all affected by the operations of a firm, so prioritizing them depends on which group is most important. “It’s really the salience of these different groups that’s going to drive the allocation of resources at the corporate level,” he said.

Andrew D. Plepler, global head of ESG for Bank of America, said the events of 2020, especially the pandemic and social justice movement resulting from the murder of George Floyd, “touched off conversations inside the company from employees who wanted BOA to do better. They demanded the bank close its pay gap and improve its track record on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). As a result, BOA raised its minimum wage to $21 an hour, kept health insurance premiums flat for the lowest-paid associates, and increased its diversity hires.”

Creating a more equitable workplace isn’t just the right thing to do, Plepler said, it’s the practical thing to do.  “When you talk about attracting and retaining the best people, you are not going to do it today if you don’t have a good answer to the question” about how the company treats its workers, he said. “Employee satisfaction is a real driver of the success of companies these days.”

In 3 Predictions that will instantly highlight who has good leadership skills by Marshall Schwantes,(Link), it reinforces the integration of how organizations treat employees carries over to customers.  Schwantes says, “They predict that the employee and customer experiences will align more.  Traditionally, employee and customer experiences have been managed separately, with businesses establishing different frameworks and requirements for each. However, the pandemic and the Great Resignation have made it increasingly clear that these two business priorities are intrinsically intertwined.”

Faisal Pandit, president of Panasonic System Solutions Company of North America, says, “The shift in customer expectations and workforce demands has challenged today’s leaders to rethink how work is done and offer solutions that break down organizational silos. It’s more important than ever for leaders to make a conscious effort to build a positive culture within their own organization so the workforce feels empowered to bring the best experience to customers.”

Schwantes says, “That means businesses that invest in their employees to achieve great employee experience are investing in their own future. To achieve this, strong communication, inclusion across the organization, opportunities for professional development, empathy, and autonomy at all levels are needed so employees can feel ownership of the function or business for which they are responsible.”

Pandit adds, “It’s also important for leaders to build a collaborative culture where customer-centricity feeds into every aspect of the business. This gives employees the skills and tools they need to meet customers where they are and in a way that best resonates with them with conversations focused on outcomes and solving their challenges over individual products. In turn, employees become trusted advisers to help solve customer pain points and bring more value to every touch point.” Schwantes says, “The end result? When employees feel valued, it fosters great customer experiences and business outcomes.”

Stop Waiting for the Return to Normal

Of the many lessons learned in 2021, one of the foremost is that there will be no return to normal.  For those who hope to see normal again, it is akin to plot of Waiting for Godot. Normal isn’t coming back.

CEOs across the market, economy agree on one 2022 prediction: More volatility, no end to Covid by Eric Rosenbaum (Link), who said, “Damola Adamolekun, CEO at restaurant company P.F. Chang’s. “There’s basically two camps of thought in the restaurant business, some folks who saw this as a temporary issue that they needed to get through so they can get back to the way things were … let’s figure out delivery for this period of time, so we can go back to not having to deal with it. And there’s folks who I think saw it as more of an acceleration of the way things were already going. And we just arrived at the future sooner.”

Rosenbaum says, “Adamolekun said in the next year, the companies in the latter camp are going to outperform because the changes are permanent. The use of QR codes in its restaurants has proven successful even in areas where the consumer demographic is much older. And the companies ‘still hoping to go back to the way things were,’ will find themselves in a losing position.”

Simplification is a Key VUCA Strategy

Another great lesson is the need to simplify.  Or as Adamolekun said, “Do more with less,” he said. “We have a saying here now: do less better.” With so much volatility, the simpler your operations are, the easier it is to manage them and be flexible.  Simplification is a great VUCA strategy.

Decision Fatigue

Perhaps, one of the most significant lessons learned is the need to cope with Decision Fatigue. Making decisions in a time of VUCA is difficult and challenging.  Even if you’ve never heard of decision fatigue, you have probably experienced it, especially during the pandemic, which has added a new layer of complexity to the everyday choices we face. In Decision fatigue: Why it’s so hard to make up your mind these days, and how to make it easier by Stacey Colino, (Link), “There’s no aspect of the pandemic that has not thrown decisions at us that we haven’t had to make before,” says psychologist Barry Schwartz, a visiting professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley and author of “The Paradox of Choice.” “Things that used to require no thought or effort now require a lot of planning. In the covid world so much is uncertain — we haven’t had practice making decisions under these circumstances.”

“The more complicated a decision is, the more it wears you out,” Schwartz says. Colino explains, “When decision fatigue kicks in, you may feel like you just don’t have the mental bandwidth to deal with more decisions. This can lead to decisional paralysis or depleted self-control, causing you to avoid making certain choices entirely, to go with the default option or to make ones that aren’t in line with your goals or values, experts say.”

To ease decision fatigue, Colino advises getting more sleep, pacing yourself, limiting the decisions that need to be made, and giving your expectations a reality check.  Tuning in to your mental state is a good thing to do.

Driving home the need for good decision-making is found In Forbes’  Predictions 2022: The Ideas That Will Drive Decisive Leaders (Link), who shares that Doug Merritt, CEO, Splunk, says “I think we’re at a point where decisiveness is going to be at a premium It’s perhaps the essential quality of leadership. Every other virtue, from empathy and integrity to courage and problem-solving skills, is in service of the leader’s ultimate job: to make the right decision.”

CEOs’ Confidence for 2022

And last prediction is from the Conference Board’s survey of US CEOs, CEO Confidence Slipped Further in Q4, but CEOs Remain Optimistic Entering 2022. (Link)

Employment, Recruiting, Wages, and Capital Spending
The survey gauged CEOs’ expectations about four key actions their companies plan on taking over the next 12 months.

  • Employment: 69% of CEOs expect to expand their workforce, up from 60% in Q3.
  • Hiring Qualified People:79% of CEOs report some problems attracting qualified workers, up from 74% in Q3. Notably, 64% report difficulties that cut across the organization, rather than concentrated in a few key areas—up from 55% in Q3.
  • Wages: 79% of CEOs expect to increase wages by 3% or more over the next year, up from 66% in Q3.
  • Capital Spending: 57% of CEOs expect to increase their capital budgets in the year ahead, up from 49% in Q3.

As we started, fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be another bumpy year.  But not as bumpy as the last two years!

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.