California Rising

California Rising

We live on coasts and forests, deserts and mountains. In cities and suburbs.
We are farmers and teachers. Scientists and schoolkids.
We come from Germany, Mexico, Vietnam, Kenya and beyond.
We are Californians.

We believe in the potential of every child in our state. Every single one.
We know that immigrants make us stronger, not weaker.
We believe in the power of art to inspire.
And the power of nature to awe.
We believe free speech connects us, not divides us.

We have become what we are by welcoming new people and new ideas.
This will never change.

We are Californians. Wir sind Kalifornier. Somos Californianos.
Chúng tôi là cư dân California.
Sisi ni Californians.

And never prouder to say so.
California Rising

“California Rising”, created by San Francisco artist Eric Rewitzer,
is available at 3 Fish Studios in San Francisco, and at

Taking a stand to protect the rights of every student

As the leaders of the three major educational sectors in Marin, we are proud to serve a diverse array of students, support a diverse community of faculty and staff, and foster an inclusive and safe environment on our campuses.

As educational leaders, we are committed to the dissemination and creation of knowledge. Beyond this, our institutions honor human dignity and believe in the value of every student.

In this capacity, there are certain things that we believe.

We believe education is more than the accumulation of facts; it is the ability to think, communicate, inspire, and understand our world. We believe this opportunity benefits not only the individual student, but also our community, our nation and the world. We believe our diversity is a strength, and our responsibility is to provide opportunity for all students.

And, as educational leaders, there are things we know.

We know education is the single most effective path to personal and social opportunity. We know that students learn best when they are in an environment that provides support, safety and high expectations. We know that students learn from difference — difference of backgrounds, personal experiences, life choices, opinions and political perspectives.

Education is the foundation of our democracy. However, recent national political decisions, including President Donald Trump’s executive order travel ban and the uncertainty surrounding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), are having a negative effect on our campuses, and on our students’ ability to focus on their education.

We hear from students facing fear and racism in the greater community. We know of students concerned about their futures and the possibility of being deported or torn apart from their loved ones. We watch students fighting to defend their faith against stereotypes. We share concern about the detrimental effects of the executive order policy on faculty and students pursuing academic studies and research overseas.

The strengths and contributions of immigrants enrich the educational setting and we want to reassure students, staff, faculty and our greater community that we are unwavering in our commitment to our students.

Last month, the Marin County Office of Education board adopted a resolution that preserves the protections of immigrant families and affirms the right of undocumented children to a public education.

This right also has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case called Plyler v. Doe.

The board believes it is imperative that our schools send the message that we are committed to protecting the right of every student to attend our schools and institutions regardless of the immigration status of a student or of a student’s family members.

Marin Community College District is providing a united front on behalf of students and their families and the community. Specifically, the district will not cooperate with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on any protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race or sexual orientation.

Confidential student records will not be released without a judicial warrant, subpoena or court order unless authorized by the student or required by law. District police will not detain, question, or arrest any individual solely on the basis of suspected undocumented immigration status.

Dominican University of California has underscored its historic commitment to human rights and human dignity and will use the full resources of the University to protect its faculty, staff and students.

The university has created a Google site providing facts and resources. Facts include information about fundamental rights, the assurance that the university supports all members of the community, and briefings from university legal counsel about the specifics of any change in law or policy. Resources include convenings on campus in association with community partners.

Recently, Dominican hosted a public event with Canal Alliance to discuss the implications of DACA.

Both Dominican and COM are among the more than 600 universities and colleges across the nation that have signed a statement supporting DACA. This statement urges business, civic, religious, and nonprofit sectors to join in protecting the opportunity for those undocumented students who have been raised and educated in the United States to pursue their educational and career goals.

We know we are fortunate to lead educational work in Marin, where we have a strong community and teams of faculty and staff dedicated to the same vision. Together, we are dedicated to creating safe spaces in Marin where that learning can happen.

Keep SMART Going to Larkspur Landing

SMART train service will begin in a few months and we couldn’t be more excited!  The start of the new passenger rail service has seen its challenges but the big day is almost here.  The latest challenge is to delay the extension of the SMART route to Larkspur Landing.  There is a group looking to hold up the completion of the railway to SMART’s southern terminal that must not prevail.  Please write or call SMART to let them know that you voted for SMART to go to Larkspur Landing and you want construction to start right away so train service can begin by the end of 2018! We can’t afford to risk losing the $41 million in federal funding due to delays.
The promise to the voters of Marin and Sonoma Counties was a 70 mile SMART train route from Larkspur Landing to Cloverdale.  The voters were especially keen on having SMART connect to the ferry as they wanted a transit system with multimodal capability, including train, bike, pedestrian and ferry modes.  NBLC is proud that SMART is upholding the trust of the voters and keeping its promise to go to Larkspur Ferry, and appreciates the hard work that was needed to secure the funding to do that phase.  Getting this leg of the train service in place will have North Bay commuters going to San Francisco as well as open up new opportunities for businesses in the North Bay to attract workers from San Francisco to our region.  There is an increasing amount of job openings in our region. The connectivity with San Francisco will help companies hire people for hard-to-fill positions.  We look forward to the day that the train will also complete the phase to go to Cloverdale.
NBLC is aware that there will be some impact on street traffic along the train’s railway as the train starts running its regular schedule.  Those impacts are mitigated by things like having trainsets that fit within city blocks and synchronizing traffic lights.  Traffic will also be reduced as commuters opt to take the train to work rather than drive.  NBLC is pleased that the cities and counties along the railway are working collaboratively to create “quiet zones” so that SMART will no longer be required to blow its horns at crossings and other designated areas.
Having a transportation alternative that allows people to commute to work in a more environmentally-friendly way and be more productive with less stress, is a great new option for North Bay workers.  NBLC is a big champion of SMART and the upwards of 20,000 employees that our organization represents are eager to get out of their cars.
SMART will also aid in making the North Bay more economically competitive.  We are seeing an increasing concern of employers about attracting and retaining employees who are tired of the long commute times.  Having an alternative to Highway 101 will be a blessing.  The big storms of January pointed out that being able to commute and not worry about flooded roadways and car accidents is another reason to welcome the advent of SMART service.
Restoring train service to the North Bay and utilizing the public rail right-of-way is great addition to the economic ecosystem in our region.  And for companies watching their triple bottom line, SMART’s green transportation solution will give you another way to meet those goals, too!  All aboard!

Longtime Marin political force Gary Giacomini dies at 77

It is with great sadness I inform you that our friend and long time NBLC member, Gary Giacomini, passed away in his sleep Friday night.  An tribute to him is below.

Gary was a political force and a lion in fighting for what he believed.  He shaped the future of Marin and NBLC.  Gary always knew how to find true North and the way to make the right things happen.

He was my mentor and my friend.  I know we share this loss and will want to celebrate Gary’s life and contributions to the world, and NBLC.

Former Marin County supervisor Gary T. Giacomini, a lion-like defender of West Marin’s ranchlands against suburban sprawl and an outspoken champion in Marin’s defense of the Buck Trust bequest, died late Friday night at his home in San Geronimo Valley.

Mr. Giacomini, in and out of political office, was a political force in Marin for more than 50 years.

He died in his sleep, his son Andrew Giacomini said Saturday. He was 77.

The 52-year San Geronimo Valley resident is well-known for wearing a poppy pin in his lapel and for preferring cows over condos.

He is also known for his steadfast defense of planning protections aimed at keeping West Marin’s ranchlands free from market-driven growth.

“West Marin would have a four-lane highway right through it if it weren’t for Gary,” said David Freitas, a former business partner of Mr. Giacomini and a lifelong friend.

A 1,500-acre property in the San Geronimo area in West Marin was named the Gary Giacomini Open Space Preserve, honoring him for being instrumental in orchestrating the deal that saved the land from development.

Mr. Giacomini served on the Marin County Board of Supervisors for 24 years. He was the longest-serving county supervisor in the history of California upon his retirement.

In addition to his time served as a county supervisor, Mr. Giacomini served as a member of 25 other state and regional boards and commissions, among them the Golden Gate Bridge District board of directors and the California Coastal Commission.

Mr. Giacomini was born April 4, 1939, in San Francisco. He was raised in Marin.

His father, Noel Giacomini, served for many years as county clerk.


Mr. Giacomini’s childhood was spent in Belvedere, where he attended Belvedere School, until he transferred to Saint Raphael School in San Rafael when he was in fifth-grade.

He graduated from Marin Catholic High School, where he was a class and student body president.

In 1962, he graduated from St. Mary’s College, in Moraga, and he earned his law degree at San Francisco’s Hasting College of the Law in 1965 as an honor student.

Mr. Giacomini practiced law in Marin for more than a decade as a partner with the firm Freitas, Allen, McCarthy, Bettini and MacMahon in San Rafael. He was an associate with Roth and Thorner of San Rafael.

His political career was launched after he won a seat on the Lagunitas School Board in 1968.

In 1972, he was elected to represent Marin’s 4th District on the Board of Supervisors, where he served until 1996.

Mr. Giacomini was a progressive, conservation-oriented Republican when he ran for supervisor on a platform of fighting “over development” in Marin.

In 1978, he was the Republican nominee for Marin’s seat in the state Senate but lost to Democrat Barry Keene.

Mr. Giacomini changed political parties as a Democrat in the 1980s.


In 1985, he was an outspoken critic of the San Francisco Foundation’s plan to rewrite the then-$500 million Buck Trust, bequeathed to Marin needs and programs by Ross philanthropist Beryl Buck.

The foundation sought to modify the trust so its multi-million dollar bequest could be split among several Bay Area counties.

The county took the foundation to court, challenging its right to alter the bequest of Buck and the foundation’s contention that the trust had outgrown Marin’s need.

Mr. Giacomini’s fiery defense of the so-called “Marin-only” provision in the will resulted in a 1986 settlement and the creation of the Marin Community Foundation. The newly formed foundation was named as the shepherd of the trust.

In 1991, Mr. Giacomini opposed plans to turn 1,254 acres of coastline property north of Dillon Beach into an ocean-front golf course and resort.

“I can’t countenance how we could ever forfeit several thousand acres of ag land into a golf course and start a domino effect up and down the state,” Mr. Giacomini said.


In 1989, when Mr. Giacomini was named to the coastal commission, the IJ wrote: “Giacomini is a respected environmentalist. He has established himself as a politician with the ability to simultaneously represent the interests of Marin’s diverse agricultural community and preservationists.”

After Mr. Giacomini left office in 1996, he served two terms on the board of the Marin Community Foundation. He also served as the board chairman.

Foundation president Thomas Peters said Mr. Giacomini was “a mountain” of a man. “His wife has lost a loving husband; the family has lost a devoted patriarch; Marin County has lost its most fierce protector; and I’ve lost my best friend,” Peters said in an emailed statement. “He’ll always be remembered with respect and love.”

Mr. Giacomini called his 24 years in office “an unbelievable honor to be a steward for a wonderful place and people.”

Mr. Giacomini resumed his law career after he bowed out as a county supervisor. He joined the firm of Hanson Bridgett and helped establish the firm’s Marin practices.

A Marin Magazine story in 2007 named Mr. Giacomini on the list of the 13 most influential individuals in Marin County history.


Gary Ragghianti, a former attorney for the city of San Rafael, met Mr. Giacomini roughly 40 years ago when the lawyers’ paths crossed.

Ragghianti said Mr. Giacomini will forever remain a part of the county he shaped so heavily.

“I think Gary was an absolute iconic giant in the history of the development of the county of Marin,” he said. “And the work he did over the years to save West Marin from development is and will remain historic. He just was a person who had a way with things. He’ll live forever here in Marin.”

Supervisor Damon Connolly said Mr. Giacomini will be missed across the county.

“I share our community’s sense of loss in the passing of a true legend,” he said in an emailed statement. “It is hard to overstate Gary’s impact on the history of Marin and the many aspects of our county that we cherish.”

Mr. Giacomini is survived by his wife, Linda, of San Geronimo; his sons, Andrew and Antony, both of San Geronimo, and grandchildren Rakanui, Giovanni, Dante, Nicolo, and Andrea. He is also survived by his sister, Roberta Powers of Larkspur.

His first wife, Andrea Giacomini, herself a Lagunitas School District trustee, died in 1978.

Giacomini’s daughter-in-law Susi Giacomini also served on the Lagunitas school board.

Services are pending.

For the article


Arrow Benefits Group Joins North Bay Leadership Council

Petaluma, CA  North Bay Leadership Council  (NBLC) is pleased to announce that Arrow Benefits Group is their newest member.  Arrow Benefits Group is the third largest HR/benefits company in the North Bay, with 38 employees.  Patty Garbarino, Board Chair of NBLC, said, “Arrow Benefits Group will be a great addition to our membership because they are a leading insurance broker that shares NBLC’s values to be a top employer, and contribute to our efforts to improve workforce attraction and retention.”

Arrow Benefits Group is the North Bay office of United Benefit Advisors (UBA), one of the largest benefits consulting and brokerage firms in the country.  United Benefit Advisors (UBA) is the third largest employee benefits brokerage and consultant group in North America with over 220 offices around the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom.  Jordan Shields previously served on their national board and for one year as Chairman of that Board.

The member representative is Jordan Shields, co-founder and partner with Keith McNeil.  Shields said, “We think being a member of NBLC will be a terrific way to gain knowledge of the issues affecting the business climate in the North Bay and provide us with new ways to make a difference in making this region a better place to work and live.”  Jordan Shields also sits on the advisory boards for North Bay Children’s Center and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay.

The company is family based, with children from both partners’ sides working at the company together.  Keith McNeil says that the younger generation brings fresh ideas, different perspectives and a better understanding of technology issues.  Prinicipals Mariah Shields, daughter of Jordan Shields, and Andrew McNeil, son of Keith McNeil, will be the alternates.  Andrew McNeil was a North Bay Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Professionals winner.   Mariah Shields is board member of 100 Sonoma People Who Care, North Bay Children’s Center and United Cerebral Palsy North Bay.

Arrow Benefits Group has been innovative, such as launching the “Arrow Umbrella Program,” offering experienced, dedicated brokers the opportunity to withstand competitive threats, expand client services, and provide a viable, guaranteed exit strategy and protection to brokers. The program, developed by founders Jordan Shields and Keith McNeil, includes numerous new partnerships that expand Arrow’s reach throughout California. The program facilitates the partnership with smaller brokers that often lack resources and are often highly vulnerable to changing market conditions. Shields and McNeil see this as an urgent need right now in the industry.

The company also does community outreach with numerous organizations, such as Committee on the Shelterless in Sonoma County, along with Big Brothers Big Sisters, United Cerebral Palsy, Mentor Me and North Bay Children’s Center, among others.  Arrow has also been honored to be a Best Place to Work in 2016 and 2015.  Andrew McNeil was North Bay Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Professionals winner.  Arrow Benefits Group won the North Bay Business Journal Community Philanthropy Award.  Karen Alary, Managing Partner at The Personnel Perspective – HR division at Arrow Benefits Group, won a Women in Business Award in 2016.

Another community service Arrow provides is a Community Wellness Series. They are the first local business to partner with healthcare industry leaders to donate trainings and lectures on health and wellbeing. Their goal is to offer a variety of tools and techniques that will vastly improve the lives of the attendees. They’ve partnered with St. Joseph Health for the one-of- a-kind Work@Health® lectures focused on teaching a variety of proven methods for vastly improving overall health at work.

NBLC is an employer-led public policy advocacy organization committed to providing leadership in ways to make the North Bay sustainable, prosperous and innovative.  The Council includes 50 leading employers in Marin, Sonoma and Napa Counties.  Our members represent a wide variety of businesses, non-profits and educational institutions, with a workforce in excess of 25,000. 

NBLC’s Endorsements for November 2016 Election

The election in November ends a contentious Presidential campaign and some hotly contested races in the North Bay.  The volume of propositions requires voters to do a lot of homework to decide what is best.  NBLC urges you to vote this year and resist voter fatigue and/or dismay.  Your vote counts – never more so then this election cycle!

Here is who/what NBLC is endorsing:

State Senate:

3rd District:  Bill Dodd 


10th District:  Marc Levine

Marin County Supervisor:

4th District:  Dominic Grossi

Sonoma County Supervisor:

5th District:  Lynda Hopkins

City of Santa Rosa:

Ernesto Olivares

Chris Rogers

Don Taylor

City of Petaluma:

Mike Healy

Kathy Miller

Ballot Measures:

Marin County

Measure A – Marin Strong Starts for Children (PreK and Services):   SUPPORT

Sonoma County

Measure J:  Regional Parks and Water Improvement Tax:  SUPPORT

Measure M:  Transgenic Contamination Prevention Ordinance/Anti-GMO:  OPPOSE


Prop 51 Schools Bonds:  K-12 and Community College:  SUPPORT

Prop 52 State Fees on Hospitals. Federal Medi-Cal Matching Funds:  SUPPORT

Prop 53 Revenue Bonds – Requires Statewide Voter Approval – Initiative Constitutional Amendment:  OPPOSE

Prop 54 California Legislative Transparency Act:  SUPPORT

Prop 55 Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare:  Extends temporary tax enacted during the recession for 12 more years.  Taxes higher income people: SUPPORT

Prop 64 Marijuana Legalization:  SUPPORT

“I believe that voting is the first act of building a community as well as building a country,” said John Ensign.  It would be a great sign of healthy civic engagement if the North Bay has a very high voter turnout this election.  Let’s be the leaders!

Why SEIU’s pledge is wrong no matter what’s in it – By Ken Kreischer and Keith Woods

We’ve been wondering when the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) would feel the public pressure to defend its onerous practice of demanding that candidates for local offices sign a Pledge before earning money and support from their public employees union.

SEIU’s overdue defense of Pledges appeared in last Sunday’s Press Democrat in the form of a “Close to Home” column by union spokespersons Jack Buckhorn and Maddy Hirshfield. They really had no choice but to respond since the practice of special interest groups requiring commitments by candidates during campaigns has been so roundly criticized in recent years.

Groups like the North Coast Builders Exchange, the Sonoma County Alliance, Engineering Contractors Association, and North Bay Leadership Council took a firm stand two years ago against the practice of forcing candidates to pre-commit their actions and votes to earn support, and we all remain steadfast in that opposition. The very concept of demanding that a candidate sign any kind of Pledge, no matter how benign, is indefensible at face value.

Let us be clear: our opposition is not just to SEIU’s insistence on a Pledge being signed when a candidate is running for office. We oppose Pledges whether they are sought by business groups, taxpayer associations, environmental organizations, unions, or anyone else. The entire concept of a Pledge is abhorrent, no matter what group makes their support contingent on a pre-commitment of votes or actions.

SEIU – and any group involved in local elections – certainly should have gotten the message two years ago that the concept of demanding Pledges is held in low esteem by the general voting public. Voters want independent-minded candidates whose only commitment is to represent all citizens on all issues, not just special interest supporters.

A look at the Deb Fudge vs. James Gore race in 2014 for the 4th District Sonoma County Supervisor’s seat clearly reflected the public’s growing disdain for Pledges.  Fudge openly acknowledged making Pledges to unions and other organizations while Gore did not.  Fudge was labeled the “Pledged Candidate” while Gore remained the “Independent Candidate.”

Gore won the election in a landslide by 18 points. We believe the Pledge issue was certainly a factor.

The 2016 election season currently underway has encouraged the Builders Exchange and other business organizations that we have successfully put the brakes once and for all on any momentum toward candidates signing Pledges.

For example, NCBE and four other business groups held joint interviews recently with City Council candidates from all nine Sonoma County cities. We do this for the convenience of the candidates and then we make our own separate endorsement decisions.

What stood out this year versus past elections is that of the 27 candidates we interviewed, NOT ONE had signed any kind of Pledge – including Deb Fudge.

And we were heartened by the comments about the practice by several of the candidates: “Circumstances change and new data emerge, so locking myself into any one position is irrational; “I want to be completely independent if I get elected”; “I have a fundamental disagreement with this practice”; and “Why would I do something like that?”

SEIU certainly has a lot at stake in who gets elected to local offices since their public employee members’ salaries, pensions, medical benefits, and more depend on who gets elected. Protecting and enhancing their compensation is why they exist.

But what’s good for the public employees may not be good for the rest of us. Our only protection as citizens is independent-minded candidates whose only pledge is to look out for the public’s best interests.  

Automation predicted to cut workforce in half, but education could decide who stays

Do you see yourself partnering with robots to do your job? Many people already are finding that working with robots and other technologies has greatly improved their ability to do their jobs. For some, partnering with a robot partner has given them superpowers.

Take the case of a women with leukemia who wasn’t responding to treatment. To solve the mystery, doctors asked IBM’s Watson, a supercomputer loaded with artificial intelligence, to figure it out. In just 10 minutes, Watson diagnosed the right type of leukemia, which required a different type of treatment. Watson did in 10 minutes what doctors couldn’t do in many months. Because of partnering with a machine, a woman’s life was saved and she was spared from more treatments that didn’t work.

The future of work, and living, will be where humans and machines share the burden. The future is filled with machines doing more than previously thought possible. Today’s artificial intelligence, augmented reality, robots, “Internet of things” and other technologies can drive cars, write fiction and annual reports, do legal research and accounting, act as caregivers to the elderly, serve food in restaurants, and 3-D print houses. The challenge is not what more machines can do, but figuring out how to partner with these new assistants.

As we navigate a world that is increasingly automated and hyperconnected, we need to determine what it means to be human in a digital world. Technology will not only affect how we do our work, but the very definition of what work is. We need to start preparing and planning for the disruptions that we are beginning to glimpse today.

What kinds of disruptions? In the report “Four Fundamentals of Workplace Automation” by McKinsey Global Institute, the authors ask: “What will be the impact of automation efforts like these, multiplied many times across different sectors of the economy? Can we look forward to vast improvements in productivity, freedom from boring work, and improved quality of life? Should we fear threats to jobs, disruptions to organizations, and strains on the social fabric?”

McKinsey analysts think many job functions will be automated, but few jobs eliminated. Other researchers predict that 50 percent of today’s jobs will be gone by 2025–2030. In our competitive economy, as long as technology offers ways to get work done that is cheaper, faster, more efficient and reliable, we will see companies adopting new technologies, or perish in a losing battle for profitability.

Coupled with the speed of technological development are other reasons for business to embrace new technologies such as the increased labor costs, globalization of the economy, talent shortage and failure to educate the workforce with “in demand” skills.

In a World Economic Forum report, “The Future of Jobs,” Klaus Schwab and Richard Samans wrote, “We are at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution. Developments in genetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing and biotechnology, to name just a few, are all building on and amplifying one another. This will lay the foundation for a revolution more comprehensive and all-encompassing than anything we have ever seen. Smart systems — homes, factories, farms, grids or cities — will help tackle problems ranging from supply chain management to climate change. While the impending change holds great promise, the patterns of consumption, production and employment created by it also pose major challenges requiring proactive adaptation by corporations, governments and individuals.”

The fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us. We need to change our educational system to provide the skills needed to do things machines cannot do. This means new ways of marrying critical thinking with creativity. Of solving problems innovatively by utilizing the new tools at our disposal. Of truly capitalizing on being able to partner with machines that have vast access to data and knowledge.

Knowing that new jobs being created in the fourth Industrial Revolution require higher skill sets, we need the education of our current and future workforce to meet that skills demand. Now is the time to invest in workforce training so that we have the workforce able to take advantage of the assists that machines can, and will, provide.

How this new age of automation plays out is in our hands. There is no doubt that robots are here to stay. Now is the time to prepare, so we can minimize the job displacements and ensure that the North Bay retains its competitive edge.

Marin Sales Tax Measure For Child Care Headed to November Ballot

Cynthia Murray, CEO of the North Bay Leadership Council, said, “We are so excited that again the county of Marin is leading the way in how to do things right to take care of the youngest residents and our future workforce. When you invest in children you will get the best return for every dollar invested.”

Murray added, “You’ll increase high school graduation by 31 percent, college attendance by more than 80 percent, and employment by 23 percent.”

Link to the full article

Star Staffing Join North Bay Leadership Council

North Bay Leadership Council (NBLC) is pleased to announce the addition of a new member, Star Staffing.  Founded in 1998, Star Staffing is one of the North Bay’s premier staffing providers, with offices in Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Cloverdale, Napa, Fairfield and Elk Grove and satellite offices in Sonoma and Ukiah. NBLC’s Board Chair, Patty Garbarino said, “We are very excited to welcome this women-owned, fast-growing company to our membership.  NBLC represents the leading employers in the North Bay and Star Staffing adds value with their knowledge of the workforce and staffing challenges.  They will be a great contributor to our public policy work!”

Star Staffing offers recruiting and screening, payroll and time attendance management, on-site management, risk reduction programs, employee rewards and benefits, and knock-your-socks-off service to a multitude of companies, including manufacturing, industrial, clerical, administrative, accounting, finance, information technology, and professional services.  Because of their North Bay location, Star Staffing has become one of the leading providers of staffing solutions to the Wine and Manufacturing Industries in the Northern San Francisco Bay Area.

Star Staffing currently has 33 employees and will be adding more recruiters to each branch, including three at their new Elk Grove location. The company is led by co-owners, Nicole Smartt and Lisa Lichty.  Star Staffing has been honored as a Best Place to Work and named Best Job Placement Service in the North Bay.   The firm was recognized as one of the 2015 Largest Diversity Staffing Firms.

One of Star Staffing’s fundamental values is dedication to supporting the community. They’re locally owned and operated, and hire local talent. They also take great pride in supporting local non-profits, such as the Boys & Girls Club, United Way, Volunteer Center, Redwood Empire Food Bank, and more.

The member representative to NBLC is Nicole Smartt, Owner and Vice President.  Nicole manages the company’s day-to-day operations throughout the North Bay area.  “Being a member of NBLC is a great fit for Star Staffing.  Both organizations are focused on meeting the needs of employers and assuring that the North Bay has the workforce needed to be productive and economically competitive,” says Nicole.  “We are looking forward to making the North Bay an even better place to live and work!”

Nicole is active in the local community and a recognized member of several chamber of commerce and community organizations. She is co-founder of the Petaluma Young Professionals Network, and sits on the board for Santa Rosa’s Wednesday Night Market.  Nicole is also a board member for the Active 20–30 Service Club, a service organization helping young men and women, and serves on the Young Professionals Entrepreneur Council. Nicole is the youngest person to be awarded the Forty

Under 40 award by the North Bay Business Journal. She just released her first book, From Receptionist to Boss, and has been featured in Forbes Women, The Washington Post, Fox Business, and American Express Business Forum, among others.

NBLC is an employer-led public policy advocacy organization committed to providing leadership in ways to make the North Bay sustainable, prosperous and innovative.  The Council includes 49 leading employers in Marin, Sonoma and Napa Counties.  Our members represent a wide variety of businesses, non-profits and educational institutions, with a workforce in excess of 25,000.  __________________________________________________________________

For more information, please contact:

Cynthia Murray


North Bay Leadership

(707) 283-0028