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  • Leadership Testimonials

  • Brent Ainsworth
    My experience with Leadership Novato was more rewarding than I believed it would be. I bet the LN team hears that often -- that prospective candidates are worried about what they'll get out of it and whether it's worth the time. Those are legit worries.

    I admit that I embarked on the journey with some reluctance, feeling a little bit pressured and stressed out about a new job -- a very public job. The time commitment scared the daylights out of me, and I was afraid of letting down my LN teammates.

    But my doubts were alleviated right away by the August barbecue at the Pacheco vineyard. That was a first-rate bash. I had never been in a fraternity (I spent more time trying to infiltrate sororities!), but the LN alumni made me feel as if I'd joined a club for cool people -- not a snooty club but one that is on a mission to make Novato a better place to live. Everyone can get behind a campaign like that, right?

    The spirit was addictive and the pressure was a joyful challenge. As the program got going, the information I gathered from each meeting and the connections I made all year helped my work as well as my personal life. I really felt as if I were getting a Ph.D. in All Things Novato.

    I can't measure how much it helped me as a person and in my work -- it's off the charts.

    Other than my college degree, my LN certificate is the most important credential I have. It's a reminder of hard work done and good times had. It's a reminder of my personal commitment to my town and my vow to be a contributor rather than a spectator. Best of all, many of the friendships I made are going to be lifelong. So if you're on the fence about signing up, use my story as a testimonial and dive in. You will not regret it.


    Andrei Jigalin
    The most impactful moment for me in Leadership Novato was finding out how revenue is generated  and how Novato’s budget is managed. I shop Novato whenever I can. If my family has a choice to get to a restaurant in Novato versus San Rafael, we choose Novato. For big ticket items, as long as the price is close, we choose Novato. 


    Bill Tyler
    Aha Moment
    My ‘aha’ moment came as I realized that outcomes from the group effort was far greater than anything I could do myself and that communication was key to getting things done.
    Life enhanced
    I always try to get more people involved at the take off of a project so that they are also supportive at the landing.
    Pitch to doubting recruit
    This is an investment in yourself and well worth the time required. It far exceeded my expectations.


    Candra Canning
    Participating in Leadership Novato was a perfect jump start for a newcomer to the area. In a matter of months, the Leadership Novato class is introduced to the movers and shakers of Novato.

    I was thrilled to learn of all the hidden gems of Novato. From the Miwok museum to the Pacheco Winery, Novato is rich with history and charm that makes me a proud resident. The quality of the presentations and influential community leaders that fill the course agenda is impressive, interesting and highly educational.

    Having friends in leadership roles in Novato companies has helped me build my business and my network faster than I ever could have on my own. Sometimes in order to grow, you have to make a commitment of time and money. The benefits of Leadership Novato far  outweigh the investment and the relationships and learning will last a lifetime. Just do it.


    Brian Finnegan
    After attending the retreat that kicked off the program back in September 2007, I knew the Leadership Program was going to be a valuable experience.  What we learned over the next 9 sessions, coupled with the outside team projects, has better equiped us to be involved and to be leaders in our community.  As a lifelongNovatoresident, I’m amazed at the amount of knowledge garnered from this program.  If you’re someone who is passionate about your community, want to learn how best to get involved, and want to have fun learning and meeting new people, I’d recommend the Leadership Novato program.


    Gerald McCarthy
    You can’t put a price on the wisdom gained from those who have come before us. Leadership Novato gave me a greater understanding of the geopolitical forces as work locally to Novato and across Marin.


    Rafelina Maglio
    “Leadership Novato is a great experience, providing education in the areas of city government, development and economic issues unique to our City.”


    Marie Borders Testimonial
    At the Leadership Retreat, as the class members were introducing themselves, I got the sense here sat the people in our business community who have the drive, ability and commitment to actually affect change in Novato – to make a difference.

    Over the years since this class of 1998 graduated, I’ve formed valuable associations, affiliations and even friendships that have helped make me more effective as a member of the Novato business community.

    For those who think they don’t have the time to participate in Leadership Novato, I would say the program will enable you to actually do business while being of service to the community and developing personal and professional relationships. It’s the whole package!


    Regina Bianucci Rus, CPA
    Leadership Novato gave me the skills and confidence to think about the bigger, global issues, but act locally in the best way possible.  You can be an educated parent of children is Novato schools, become a board member of the many non-profit organizations in town, or participate in one of the many City commissions or committees to make this a great place to live and raise kids, run a business, and retire someday.  Our town has changed so much over the past few decades and will continue to evolve as the world changes, and I want to be a part of that change.


    Annan Paterson
    I have lived in Novato for more than 10 years and in Marin for more than 35 years. I thought I knew everything about Novato. The experiences and education were well worth my time.

    The tour of Novato along with a history lesson from Diet Stroeh (was when) I realized the rich multi-cultural and ranching history of our town for the first time. In my work on diversity issues in Novato, the historical perspective has given me a deeper understanding of how past influences the present.

    The investment in time and energy will be repaid to you ten-fold. New relationships, collaborations and connections will be great resources to you professional and personally.


    Seth Shorett, Leadership Novato Graduate 2010
    I received a transfer from my employer, Presidio Bank, to the Walnut Creek location shortly after Leadership Novato (LN) graduation. This move was good for my career, and I was placed there due to my good leadership skills, which I owe in part to the LN program.

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  • Is creating a strong local economy

    Works to advocating business' interest to government

    Fosters a competitive edge through education

    Helps build business relationships

    Influences political action

    Serves as the region's principle tourism promoter through VisitNovato