Nearly Half of Millennials Consider Leaving Bay Area Over Housing Costs

For decades the San Francisco Bay Area has drawn young people from around the world to its mix of industry, culture and environment. Now almost half of the region’s millennials, the generation aged 18-39, are considering leaving because of the high cost of living and traffic, according to a new poll.

Forty percent of all Bay Area adults — and 46 percent of millennials ­— are considering relocating to more affordable regions in the next few years, according to a survey by the Bay Area Council, a business-sponsored advocacy organization.

Uncertainty about the future has eroded economic confidence. The Bay Area Council study found that only 42 percent of people think the economy is “headed in the right direction” today, as opposed to 57 percent in 2014.

This sentiment rings true for 27-year-old Dan Norton, who earns around $50,000 a year ferrying passengers from Sebastopol and Santa Rosa for Sonoma County Transit’s route 22 bus line. Norton, a Rohnert Park resident, likes his job but finds housing costs in the county prohibitively expensive for his family.

He’s considering taking his two young children, fiancee and mother with him to Oregon, where he believes rents and property values are more in line with what people earn.

“Things are just a little wacky here right now,” said Norton, who pays $1,725 a month for a “not so nice” two-bedroom apartment.

While some are contemplating leaving an area that saw average rent prices increase by 7.6 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to Novato-based analytics firm Real Answers, others have already left.

In the summer of 2016, Kristy Lindley and her husband moved to southern Oregon after spending the better part of a decade in Sonoma County. They left because neither could see themselves being able to purchase a house in the area.

“I miss Sonoma County, and would move back in a heartbeat if the real estate market was such that we had increased access, or even just more affordable rent,” Lindley wrote in an email.

For Ben Stone, executive director of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, the sentiment expressed by people in surveys and their later actions don’t always match.

Stone points out that people are still coming to Sonoma County. In 2015, there was a net migration of 1,121 people into the county, but that is down significantly from 3,594 in 2014, according to an economic report issued by the board this winter.

“We’re still gaining people because we are so affordable relative to the rest of the Bay Area in our housing,” Stone said. “But some of what millennials are saying is true. Many are moving to places like Salt Lake City.”

High housing costs and the desire of many millennials to move to cheaper regions has others concerned.

“I do take the survey seriously and there is some evidence that this is a trend,” said Cynthia Murray, president and CEO of the North Bay Leadership Council.

“There has been a push to go where pastures are greener.”

Millennials and older generations are at odds over what to do about steadily increasing rents — up 50 percent in Sonoma County since 2011 — and property values. The Bay Area Council survey of 1,000 registered voters from nine Bay Area counties found 70 percent of the younger generation support housing projects in their neighborhoods, while roughly 57 percent of those 40 and older support housing projects near their residences.

“We failed for decades to keep building enough to match the jobs,” Murray said. “If the workforce leaves, then the companies leave too.”

Thanks To State Legislators For Passing SB 1

NBLC thanks all who contributed to the passing the Road Repair and Accountability Act- SB1 with a historic vote of 54 to 26 in the Assembly and 27 to 11 in the Senate. This bill has been a decade in the making and it is a victory for our state, especially for our commuters.  NBLC is pleased that the legislators passed a bill that is fiscally sound, does not rely on borrowing, provides $52.4 billion to repair our crumbling transportation infrastructure.

NBLC is especially appreciative of Senator Jim Beall, D-San Jose and Assembly member Jim Frazier, D-Oakley for their efforts in crafting the bills and leading the efforts to pass them in their respective houses.  We also praise the North Bay delegation for their determination to get this long overdue bill passed, including Sen. McGuire (a co-sponsor of the bill), Sen. Dodd, and Assembly members Aguiar-Curry, Levine and Wood.  Kudos to Governor Brown, Senate pro Tem De Leon and Assembly Speaker Rendon for all their leadership in passing the bill.

And finally, to our colleagues who fought so hard to ensure that our elected representatives knew that passing SB1 was a top priority in the North Bay and kept the pressure on – we are delighted that our teamwork achieved our goal and we look forward to working together in the future.

North Bay Leadership Council Supports State Transportation Improvement Package

PETALUMA, CA — North Bay Leadership Council (NBLC) President and CEO Cynthia Murray announced NBLC’s strong support for the $5.2 billion transportation and road repair investment package agreed by the Governor and legislative leaders:

“One of the state’s most important assets is its transportation infrastructure.  The state’s economic competitiveness will be enhanced by passing this bill which funds long deferred road maintenance and improves the mobility of people and goods.   North Bay Leadership Council (NBLC) recognizes the need for new revenue sources to fund making roadways safer, reducing commutes, increasing transit use and lessening pollution.  The heavy traffic in the North Bay impairs companies’ ability to attract and retain talent, increases costs of doing business and decreases productivity.”

“NBLC strongly urges our elected state representatives to support this bill.  It is not easy to raise taxes, but in this case, not doing so, will be a failure of leadership. We can’t afford the growing costs of repairs of the crumbling infrastructure and need to keep people and goods moving for a healthier economy and environment.  NBLC stands ready to partner with the Governor and the Legislature to get this much needed, and long overdue, bill passed.”

North Bay Leadership Council Announces Comerica Bank as New Member

Petaluma, CA   North Bay Leadership Council (NBLC) announces the addition of Comerica Bank as a new member.  As one of the 25th largest banking companies in the U.S., Comerica Bank has been serving businesses for more than 165 years. Patty Garbarino, Chair of NBLC, said, “Comerica is a good fit for NBLC as it serves businesses throughout the North Bay, especially those in the wine business.  Comerica’s high standing on corporate social responsibility makes them very aligned with NBLC’s members values.”

Comerica’s San Francisco and North Bay Regional President Mike Silva is the member representative serving on NBLC.  Silva has more than 30 years of experience in banking and currently oversees Comerica’s Northern California Middle Market teams in San Francisco, San Jose, Walnut Creek, Sacramento and Fresno. Silva’s responsibilities include supporting the bank’s customer initiatives and overall business and community development efforts across all three business segments.

Silva’s team provides growth financing to mid-size businesses including working capital, equipment, real estate and recapitalizations.  The group also provides clients with leasing services, comprehensive treasury management as well as personal wealth management. Silva works with variety of companies that include wine and wine related businesses, natural and organic foods, consumer products and manufacturing and distribution.  Comerica’s Northern California regional offices have been an important source of lending and financial service solutions for premium wineries since 1987 and Silva currently oversees the Wine Industry Specialty Group.

Silva said, “Comerica likes to work closely with the communities we serve and joining NBLC is a great way to make connections with all aspects of the region so we can help improve living and working in the North Bay.”

Through a range of market conditions, Comerica has been consistently raising expectations of what a bank can be.  Comerica, with 97 banking centers in the key California markets, is a subsidiary of Comerica Incorporated and headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Comerica is strategically aligned into three major business segments: Business Bank, Retail Bank, and Wealth Management. The bank reported total assets of $73 billion at December 31, 2016.

Comerica has earned a third consecutive perfect rating of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) 2017 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.  Comerica joins the ranks of 517 major U.S. businesses which also earned top marks this year.

Comerica Bank’s call centers ranked #1 for the second half of 2016, according to the latest benchmarking survey of O’Connor & Associates, a New Jersey-based research firm.  Comerica has now placed first in the twice-annual survey for eight consecutive years. The survey measures several call center attributes among 10 national and regional banks.

Comerica was recognized as one of the most community-minded companies in the nation as part of The Civic 50, an initiative of Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. The Civic 50 honors the 50 most community-minded companies in the nation each year.

North Bay Leadership Council 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 the region.  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 at 707.283.0028 or visit us at www.northbayleadership.org

North Bay Leadership Council Welcomes The Dutra Group

Petaluma, CA   North Bay Leadership Council (NBLC) welcomes The Dutra Group as its newest member.  Board Chair, Patty Garbarino, said “NBLC is pleased to have The Dutra Group join because they represent an important sector of the North Bay economy, create much needed new jobs and improve the economic vitality of the region.”   In its over 100 year history, The Dutra Group has been a leader in dredging, marine construction and aggregates on the West Coast.  It has provided essential construction materials to the North Bay and beyond, as well as emergency response in times of disasters such as the levee failures in Novato, hillside slides in Fairfax, and flooding in San Anselmo.

The company representative is Aimi Dutra Krause, Community Relations and Government Affiars Director.  “The Dutra Group joined NBLC to help with improving education, economic competitiveness and transportation,” said Krause.  “We want to play a part in shaping sound public policy so the North Bay will thrive for the next 100 years.”  Bill Dutra, President and CEO, will be the alternate.

Aimi Dutra Krause is the Community Relations and Government Affairs Director for The Dutra Group, overseeing all corporate communications, government relations and community outreach programs for the Dutra Materials Division. As a result of her vision, The Dutra Group has become a leading contributor toward important local causes and non-profits throughout the North Bay. She serves as President of the Marin Builders Association.  She is a graduate of the University of the Pacific with a degree in Psychology.

Bill Dutra received the prestigious Management Award from the Beavers at its Annual Awards ceremony.  This award recognized Dutra’s leadership in building The Dutra Group into the West Coast leader in aggregates, dredging and marine construction services.  A graduate of Oregon Institute of Technology, Dutra started his own construction business with 3 employees which he grew into a company that now employs 175 people.

Headquartered in San Rafael, The Dutra Group consists of four integrated companies:  Dredging, Construction, Materials and Equipment.  The company has strategic locations that allow for transportation options by either land or sea.  The Dutra Group also is recognized for its emergency response capabilities which are critical in the event of flooding or earthquakes.

North Bay Leadership Council 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 the region.  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 at 707.283.0028 or visit us at www.northbayleadership.org.

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 3fishstudios.com

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.

PRACTICED LAW

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.

BUCK TRUST ROLE

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.

GLOWING TRIBUTE

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.

GIANT IN MARIN

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 http://www.marinij.com/obituaries/20161203/longtime-marin-political-force-gary-giacomini-dies-at-77

 

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.