It’s been a little more than 30 days on the job as the new president/CEO of the Napa Chamber of Commerce. During that period I’ve really taken the time to ease my way into the role and try to get to know Napa on an “up close and personal” level. I figured it would bring a much different perspective from that of the picturesque rolling vineyard hillsides, but it did not, and while I still admire that splendor, I also see a different kind of beauty in our community.
This bigger, more beautiful picture of Napa has been painted for me through impromptu history lessons over breakfast (thank you Michael Holcomb, Harry Price and JB Leamer), invitations to witness so many open their philanthropic hearts and wallets (thank you Nielson family, John Schwartz, John and Amy Nichols, to name a few), and my firsthand observations of the local commerce community standing strong to show support of the Archer hotel and the Downtown Specific Plan, despite the uncertainty of their own business futures caused by the much-anticipated project.
My many conversations with board members (thank you Ken, Kevin, Jeri, Elizabeth and others) as they urge me to guide the Chamber back on course to better serving its members and re-staking its place in supporting the growth of the community. Fellow Michigander Mark Pope constantly reminds me to “aim high, maintain personal integrity and anything is possible.” A very special “thank you”to civic leaders, members (past and present), neighbors (Stonecrest rocks), friends and citizens of Napa — all expressing their support and well wishes.
From the inside looking out, Napa is even more attractive than the postcard image the world captures from the outside looking in.
Napa is full of very proud, hardworking people trying to do all they can to make it a better place to live in. They, of course, want to also make sure that our millions of annual visitors have the opportunity to discover what we already know, but at the forefront of the minds of everyone I speak to, it’s always, “What’s best for the people of Napa?”
I absolutely cannot fail in my quest to make the Chamber prominent again with that kind of support and inspiration. One last special shoutout after our recent “Fly a Leader” day to Napa Jet Center CEO Mark Willey and pilot Malcolm Lenson for the breathtaking birds-eye view and reminder of just why “Ag(riculture) is King” here in the valley. Simply majestic!
So we all have to come together and work as partners — businesses, government, nonprofits, education, hotels/hospitality, wineries and others — to continue to make this place special. Working together, we can ensure Napa continues to be the place where we want to live and work and the place where other individuals and businesses choose to come to live and operate.
I’m humbled, thankful and also very proud for this opportunity to play a small role in Napa’s future growth.
Thank you Napa … you are beautiful beyond words.