Last May, the Business Journal asked readers to tell us who they thought were the Most Influential Leaders in the North Bay.
You responded, and here are the first of more than 40 people you wrote to tell us about.
Responding to questions from the Business Journal, 11 leaders offer sage advice and insight on business today in the pages that follow.
But we are not stopping here.
In addition to those in this inaugural section, you told us about many other men and women leaders we plan to feature in future issues.
We think you will be struck, as we were, by the depth and genuineness of these most influential business leaders.
Just as important, we want to keep this process open to new leaders, and we invite you to use our online form at www.northbaybusinessjournal.com to tell us about them.
Thank you to all of you who participated in this project. Because of you, we can now all benefit from the knowledge and experience of these outstanding individuals as we navigate these turbulent times.
Brad Bollinger, Editor in chief
Profiles are presented in alphabetical order.
James "Jim" A. AndersenTitle: Founding partner of Andersen & Company LLP, now partner in the consulting business valuation and litigation practice area of Burr Pilger Mayer in Santa Rosa
Company: Burr Pilger Mayer
Company address: 110 Stony Point Road Ste. 210, Santa Rosa 95401
Staff: 38 in the North Bay; 408 companywide
Residence: Santa Rosa
Professional background: Jim was the founding partner of Andersen & Company LLP. Over the last 20 years, he has been involved in more than 700 business valuation and litigation assignments.
Education: M.B.A. Taxation, Golden Gate University; B.S. Accounting, CSU Chico; Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV); Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF); Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA)
What do you see as the essential role of a leader in the current environment? Staying positive, focusing on the opportunities (clients/employees are really relying on your expertise to guide them through), wisdom from having been through tough times ('70s, early '80s and early '90s).
What are the biggest changes you've seen in your industry? Specialization/consulting, etc. Consolidation of firms, etc.
What advice would you give to young emerging leaders? Specialize, continue with your education - life-long learning - get involved in your industry/community, become a great marketer. Client service is No. 1.
What's the best advice for weathering today's economic environment? You need to stay "lean and mean"-minimize or eliminate debt.
How do you think your business will change in the next five years? People with high-end consulting skills and specializations will be at a premium. Tax and assurance services will be even more of a commodity than they are today.