BARBARA LESLIE is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Leslie has over 20 years experience working in local, state, and federal advocacy on behalf of business in Oakland, and is a long-time advocate to elected leaders on the business climate. Leslie most recently worked as the Director of Government Affairs at AT&T in Alameda County and previously was the head of the Oakland Realtors Association. Leslie was previously involved with the Oakland Chamber as the Executive Director of the Leadership Oakland program.
Barry Broome is the first President and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council. He is responsible for leading community-driven efforts to retain, attract, grow, and scale new businesses; develop advanced industries; and guide new job-creation strategies throughout a six-county region. In his role, he has established the first ever public/private partnership economic development organization led by Chief Executive Officers in in the State of California; the organization comprises 37 CEO’s and 19 communities in the Greater Sacramento region.
Previously, Broome was the President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC). He delivered more than 50,000 jobs and 250 company locates into the Phoenix Region. Under his leadership, for six out of the ten years, GPEC was named one of the top economic organizations in North America by Site Selection Magazine. In 2013 he was also named Arizona Economic Developer of the Year, Arizona Real Estate Executive of the Year, and received the Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce award.
Prior to Arizona, Barry was the CEO of Southwest Michigan First (SMF), where he built an organization from the ground up, which was later listen in the top 20 companies in North America by Site Selection Magazine. In 2006, SMF was named one of the fastest 50 companies in Inc. Magazine- the first nonprofit to have that honor. Barry built and co-developed venture funds, angel networks, and 31 new ventures 0 primarily in the life science space in the Kalamazoo region. Barry was named Michigan Economic Developer of the Year in 2001. Preceding Michigan, Barry led the economic development in Toledo, Ohio, where he completed the largest industrial deal in the history of the United States called Project Jeep; which was built on 450 acres of brownfields in the North Central Toledo area.
Barry’s been featured and interviewed for his work in global and national media outlets including LA Times, Bloomberg, Forbes, and CNBC among other publications. In addition, he was the keynote speaker at Arizona State University’s 2009 graduation and has been a guest lecturer at the University of Chicago, Notre Dame, Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Kalamazoo College, and Western Michigan University
BILL ALLEN is the Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation and its subsidiary, the World Trade Center Los Angeles. Mr. Allen is also Co-Chair of the California Stewardship Network, a Vice Chair of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley and a member of the Board of Directors of the Weingart Foundation, Regional Economic Association Leaders of California Coalition, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy and Jobs, FilmL.A., Unite L.A., and Sister Cities
CARL GUARDINO is the President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. His work at the Leadership Group has included leading or co-leading several county transportation measures that together have raised more than $10 billion in local funding for regional transportation infrastructure improvements, and co-creating Housing Trust Silicon Valley, which since 2000 has helped 20,000 families afford homes in high-cost Silicon Valley by raising more than $70 million in voluntary contributions. Guardino current serves as Chair of the California Transportation Commission, and as a member of the boards of California Forward and the California League of Conservation Voters. In 2000, the San Jose Mercury News named Guardino one of the “Five Most Powerful” people in Silicon Valley in a once-per-decade study.
CASEY BEYE was appointed the President & CEO of the Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce in March 2017. Prior to that, he served as executive director for the Santa Cruz County Business Council and was also a senior advisor to the president of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group from 2011-2017. His leadership is credited with creating the collaboration that led to passage of Santa Cruz County’s Measure D a 1/2 cent sales tax for transportation improvements in Santa Cruz County. He has worked on public policy issues at the local, regional, state, and national levels for members of Congress, U.S. Senate, California and Nevada state senators, and the California Secretary of State. In 2015-2016 he chaired the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), having been appointed to the board in 2009 by California’s governor. Beyer continues to serve on the TRPA Board and serves on various community boards in the Santa Cruz region.
CYNTHIA MURRAY is President/CEO of North Bay Leadership Council (NBLC). She serves on the boards of many organizations including the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, First 5 Sonoma County Commission, Sonoma County Health Action Council, Marin School to Careers Partnership and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Policy Advisory Council. Murray received the 2010 Women in Business award from the North Bay Business Journal for her achievements in economic development. Prior to becoming CEO at NBLC, she served eight years on the Marin County Board of Supervisors and seven years on the Novato City Council, including one term as Mayor.
DARIEN LOUIE has over 40 years of experience in program development, fund development, economic development and community investment. Her background includes work in community non-profit, public sector and corporate partnership settings, and also experience as an entrepreneur. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Alameda County Workforce Development Board, the Oakland Workforce Development Board, ICA Fund Good Jobs, and the Jefferson Awards Foundation. he has been recognized as Alameda County’s Woman of the Year for Assembly District 16, Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and received a City of Oakland Proclamation for “Darien Louie Day” from then Mayor Jerry Brown. Darien is a Bay Area native and resides in Oakland with her husband Michael Fong. Her son, Ryan, is a recent graduate from her alma mater, UC Berkeley.
GARY TOEBBEN has been the President and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce since July 1, 2006. The private-nonprofit organization was founded in 1888 and is the largest business organization in the largest county in America. Its 1650 member companies employ 650,000 people in Los Angeles County. Toebben served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives in 2003. He is a past chairman of Mobility 21, a seven county coalition for transportation funding in Southern California and has served on blue ribbon committees for L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the California Endowment, the Metropolitan Water District and Los Angeles Unified School District. Under his leadership, the Chamber has played a statewide leadership role by co- sponsoring two successful state ballot initiatives on Legislative Redistricting and Term Limits Reform and being a major proponent of the Top-Two Primary ballot proposition. In 2016 & 2017, Toebben and the LA Chamber championed four successful ballot measures in the city and county of Los Angeles that resulted in $140 billion for transportation projects, $3.4 billion for community college physical improvements, $1.2 billion for housing for the homeless and $350 million per year for housing and support services for the homeless. The Chamber also led the campaign to defeat Measure S which would have forced a two year construction moratorium in the City of Los Angeles. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Toebben served as President of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce for seven years. Toebben began his chamber career in 1975 at the North Platte, Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and from 1981 to 1999; he served as President of the Lawrence, Kansas Chamber of Commerce. Gary is a native of Nebraska and holds a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He and his wife Janice have four children and eight grandchildren.
JEFF ALLRED is the President & CEO of SGVEP, prior to his appointment he served as the city manager of Rosemead for seven years. As city manager, he oversaw an aggressive building program, completing a new civic center downtown plaza and two state-of-the-art aquatic centers without tax increases or new assessments on residents or businesses. Economic development was a key priority during Mr. Allred’s tenure as city manager, with substantial new businesses opening in Rosemead along with major infrastructure and aesthetic improvements. Prior to joining Rosemead, Mr. Allred spent five years as the city manager of Norco in Riverside County. He has had a long and distinguished career in local government in the San Gabriel Valley, previously serving in key administrative roles with the cities of La Verne, Downey, El Monte, and West Covina. He served as president of the San Gabriel Valley City Managers Association in 2013-14 and as a member of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments City Managers Steering Committee. Mr. Allred has also taught strategic planning and management courses as an adjunct professor at the University of La Verne, where he currently serves as a member of the MPA Advisory Board. Jeff Allred graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree cum laude from the University of La Verne in 1978 and received his MPA from California State University, Los Angeles in 1986. He lives in La Verne with his wife Karen. They are the parents of five children and 16 grandchildren.
JERRY SANDERS Jerry Sanders began his lifelong career in public service when he joined the San Diego Police Department at the age of 22, fulfilling his dream of becoming a police officer. He ascended the police department ranks and became one of the youngest police chiefs in the city's history. In 1999, Sanders retired as Chief of Police and became CEO of the United Way of San Diego, where he reduced the organization's costs and increased fundraising by 20 percent. Three years later, he chaired the board of the local chapter of the American Red Cross. In 2005, with his reputation as a successful turn-around executive, civic leaders urged Sanders to run for mayor. Under Mayor Sanders, city financial staff completed six years’ worth of back-logged audits, allowing the city to return to the public bond markets in January 2009-- helping to fund the mayor's commitment to repair San Diego's long-neglected water, sewer and transportation infrastructure. In addition to his broad reform agenda, Sanders placed a high priority on economic growth and job creation during his time in office. Sanders completed his second and final term as Mayor in December 2012, and now currently serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. At the Chamber, Sanders leads the organization’s efforts to make San Diego a place where business can succeed and grow while creating jobs, supporting infrastructure and enriching neighborhoods.
JIM WUNDERMAN is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bay Area Council. In this role, Wunderman has led the Council’s efforts to advocate for billions of dollars in federal, state and regional funding for major transportation projects completed or currently under construction. He has worked to expand the Council’s leadership outside the region, including opening an office in Sacramento and overseas offices in SHanghai, Hangzhou and Nanjing, and partnering with the state to reopen the California-China Trade Office. Wunderman positioned the council to lead in developing an innovative early education program - Talk, Read, Sing -- and partnering with the Clinton Foundation to introduce it nationally. Since becoming CEO in 2004, Wunderman hashoned the Council’s regionalist approach to advocacy in key areas that impact the Bay Area’s economy and competitiveness, including: housing, transportation, workforce, water and resiliency, carbon reduction and renewable energy, gender equality & diversity, and healthcare reform. in 2015, 2016, and 2017 he was named one of the TOp 100 movers and shakers in California politics. Wunderman serves on numerous boards and commissions including the University of California Business Executive Council, is Vice CHair of the Water Emergency TRansportation Authority (WETA) Board, and the State of California International Trade and Investment Advisory Council.
KATE ROBERTS has been the President of the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership since September 2015. Prior to joining MBEP, Ms. Roberts spent seven years running her own independent management consultancy, The Wired Woman, and helped organizations solidify strategies and accelerate growth. Over her 25 years in the high-tech industry Ms. Roberts held leadership positions in sales, marketing, partner management, and corporate social responsibility. She spent a decade at Cisco Systems, Inc. leading strategic initiatives and creating successful partnerships with the United Nations, USAID and other global partners to further tech education and workforce development in the developing world.
Kate’s varied nonprofit board experience spans both the social and environmental spectrum at the regional and national level. As a volunteer ambassador with Save the Children, she led a women's empowerment delegation to Ethiopia and Uganda, and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with CARE to raise funds and awareness for their community-based programs in Tanzania and Zanzibar. She is an active community member, supporting a number of social and environmental causes.
Kate graduated with honors from the University of California at Irvine and received a post-graduate certificate in cross-sector partnership from Cambridge University in England. She is an avid traveler, speaks 4 languages, is an award-winning photographer, an accomplished knitter, and an intrepid hiker. A native Californian, Kate lives in Santa Cruz, California with her husband of 26 years, Buz Roberts.
KRISTIN CONNELLY is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the East Bay Leadership Council and the Executive Director of the Contra Costa Economic Partnership. Previously, Connelly was the Executive Director for California Forward. Earlier in her career, Connelly practiced employment law at Sidley Austin LLP. Connelly’s areas of expertise include education reform, public health, hunger and the environment. Connelly has previous experience working as a policy advisor and advocate for many non-profit organizations that provided services to families affected by HIV/AIDS.
In 2018, she was named one of The Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business by the San Francisco Business Times.
LUCY DUNN is president and CEO of the Orange County Business Council, where she leads a dynamic organization of business members, working with academia and government, to assure the county’s economic prosperity and high quality of life. Before joining the Business Council, Lucy served as Director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development in 2004. In 2008, she was appointed to the California Transportation Commission by Governor Schwarzenegger, re-appointed twice by Governor Brown, and in 2015 was elected its chair. She also serves on the California Economic Summit, Mobility 21, Pacific Symphony, Bolsa Chica Conservancy, and UCI Foundation boards.
She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including Orange County Business Journal’s “Women in Business” award, Women in Transportation’s “Woman of the Year” award, Southern California Leadership Network’s Public Sector Leader of the Year, and the prestigious “Vision and Visionaries” Award from Cal-State University, Fullerton. She was twice named as “Woman of the Year” by the California Legislature. OC Register named her as one of “Orange County’s 100 Most Influential.” She was honored by the Endangered Habitats League with its Award of Excellence for her work in advancing settlement of 15 years of litigation, protection of habitat and cultural resources, while providing for mobility solutions.
Lucy is an attorney and loves travel, music with her proudest role as mother of two adult sons (and one accomplished daughter-in-law) who reside in the Bay Area.
MATTHEW MAHOOD (pronounced May-hood) is the President & CEO of what local media call ‘Silicon Valley’s flagship business lobby’ The Silicon Valley Organization (The SVO). he nonprofit business association represents nearly 1,400 member businesses that employ roughly 300,000 employees throughout the region. Under his leadership since July 2011, The Silicon Valley Organization, formerly the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, has re-engineered its scope of work to focus all efforts around regional economic development. Mahood has increased member value and community relevance by becoming a leader in the regional discussions of key issues that impact the business community’s ability to attract and retain a talented workforce while growing their business. With his leadership, The VO has become the region’s connector, convener, collaborator and champion on issues that affect business and the community’s prosperity. He has served as the co-chair for both a countywide task force focused on solving the homeless housing crisis and a City of San Jose-focused jobs initiative for at-risk youth called SJ Works. Additionally, with Mahood’s guidance The VO launched Silicon alley IDEA, the evolution of his five-year effort to grow and promote the region. Through Silicon Valley IDEA, The SVO engages in public policy advocacy and lobbying efforts at the local, regional, state and federal level to address Business Velocity, Quality of Life and Regional Branding challenges. He earned a B.S. in Business Administration – Organizational Communication and Public Relations.
In addition to being President of the SCLC, MIKE ROOS is also the Founder and President of his own public affairs management company, Mike Roos & Co., which he created in 1999. His previous roles include President and CEO of LEARN, a coalition of leaders who aimed to implement reform and restructuring within the Los Angeles Unified School District, and serving as an Assemblyman from 1977 to 1991. Mike’s major achievements include the Robert-Roos Weapons Control Act of 1989 which banned assault weapons and the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act in 1982, which provided local government with alternative financing for their public facilities. Other policies and programs he has worked on include prohibiting sex discrimination, teaching children about genocide and human rights, early childhood development programs, and housing and shelters for low-income senior citizens.
Mike is from Memphis, TN. He has a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Southern California.
PAUL GRANILLO, “With 27,000 square miles and California’s fastest growing population, we are truly building an empire.Railroads have helped catalyze this growth and will continue to foster it as they invest substantially in the rail network that connects Inland Empire to the world.” -IEEP President and CEO Paul Granillo Paul Granillo became President and CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership in 2010. He serves on the board of Mobility 21, a coalition that pursues regional solutions to transportation challenges. Additionally, Granillo serves on the Southern California Association of Governments Global Land Use and Economics Committee, the Board of Directors for The Community Foundation serving Riverside and San Bernardino counties, Cal State San Bernardino’s Foundation Board, the Leonard Transportation Center Advisory Board and Regional Economic Alliance Leaders of California. A native of the Inland Empire, Granillo was born and raised in Redlands. He received a B.A. from California State University San Bernardino, a Master of Divinity from St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo and a Licentiate in Canon Law from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
President & CEO, Santa Rosa Metro Chamber
Peter Rumble became President and CEO of the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber in February of this year. Prior to that appointment he was the Deputy County Administrator for the County of Sonoma for almost 2 years. Other previous roles include Planning Commissioner for the City of Santa Rosa, CEO of California Clean Power, and various other roles for the County of Sonoma. Throughout his public service to the County of Sonoma, he established the first community engagement plan, oversaw intergovernmental affairs and legislative advocacy programs, managed media relations, and established the Healthy Policy Division to prepare for and implement the Health Care Reform. Peter and the Metro chamber are focusing on creating new business opportunities, connections, and growth for their city, the 5th largest in the San Francisco Bay Area 26th largest in California. Peter has a Master’s in Public Administration from San Francisco State University.
President & CEO, The Hourglass Project
Melissa James is the first President and CEO of the Hourglass Project, a regional economic development organization established in January of 2019 to create jobs and opportunity across the Central Coast - a region that stretches from Vandenberg Air Force Base to Camp Roberts representing nearly half a million people in northern Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County. Melissa has a decade of experience in public policy and strategic communications having served as a Capitol Director in the California State Senate and later as an Account Executive for a nationally recognized public affairs, media and polling firm in Sacramento, where she worked with Fortune 500 companies and trade associations to navigate complex public policy debates. She gained start-up experience as a core member of the team that founded the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy, a nonpartisan think tank at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo that developed, deployed and scaled technology-based innovations to impact real world problems. From there, Melissa went on to develop and champion regional economic development initiatives, for the Economic Vitality Corporation and later the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, in the areas of housing, infrastructure planning, regional collaboration and civility where she earned a reputation for building highly effective coalitions and teams. Melissa is a recipient of the Pacific Coast Business Times 40 under 40 award as well as the SLO Tribune’s Top 20 under 20 award.