Family Services ‘Rocks’ and Leads Over Lunch

I had a chance to visit Family Service of Napa Valley last week. I’d heard great things about the organization and the valuable services it provides, but it was very insightful to get a firsthand account from Executive Director Rob Weiss and Clinical Director Marti Palmer.

I was the invited guest of board VP Elizabeth Healy (the Doctors Co.), who also serves on the Napa Chamber board and Legislative Action Committee, and met board president Kathryn Winter. Like other Napa nonprofits I’ve visited, they receive strong support from a great staff and engaged board of directors.

There was also a very cool NapaRocks art display, a result of an art therapy project partnership with New Tech High. My own art collection now includes a black-painted rock from the rubble of the earthquake by a young artist named Zaira and includes a dedication to her classmate Nicholas Dillon (aka Earthquake Boy). Thank you, Zaira. I am also a big fan of Nicholas and helped arrange his visit to spend a day getting to know the Golden State Warriors up close and personal this past October.

We are busy at the chamber as we evaluate programs and events in our increased effort to promote connection, engagement and collaboration among members, including our monthly Leads Over Lunch – a fast-moving networking opportunity for a small group – with lunch included.

We’ve made some changes to encourage more informal two-way discussions in addition to a member presentation. No more PowerPoint presentations; instead a more engaged conversation about how one chamber member could benefit from the use of goods/services of another.

In the past, the event was held in the chamber’s conference room with a box lunch but we’ve moved the meetings to a much nicer ambience with a three-course lunch. The price has remained the same — $25. We are talking to the Napa Valley Wine Train, which has been so impressed with the results of the new format, they have expressed interest in a 12-month agreement to host the lunches. Stay tuned!

This month, our thanks go to Yusuf Topal of Tarla Restaurant, our most recent host, and Mary Steinbacher Photography, the presenting member. Mary did a great job, and I can attest to the quality of her work as I connected with her to take my own family Christmas card photos after meeting her at a previous Leads Over Lunch.

Andreas Mueller-Schubert of WSI Next Gen Marketing has attended the Leads over Lunch meetings a couple of times and presented at last month’s luncheon.

“These meetings always provide a great opportunity to network with other business leaders, and every time I attended I leave with concrete business leads,” he said. “The new format for these meetings will foster the networking and interactions even more.”

It really works.