Economic DevelopmentTaking North Bay Leadership Council to new levelCynthia Murray
President and CEO
North Bay Leadership Council
775 Baywood Drive, Suite 101
PETALUMA -- Receiving the Women in Business Award in 2010 on the 10th anniversary of these awards seems somehow appropriate for Cynthia Murray, CEO and president of the North Bay Leadership Council, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. As the current leader and visionary of that organization, Ms. Murray is fluent in thinking in terms of decades.
“Cynthia sees our region as well as our world as it is now, but she also clearly sees the endless effects and possibilities of our future,” observed Patricia Kendall of Kaiser Permanente in San Rafael, a member company of the NBLC and former chairwoman. In her four years as head of the organization, Ms. Murray “has made an indelible mark on Marin and Sonoma counties, reaching far and wide across the disciplines recognized in the Women in Business categories.”
Return to the list of Women in Business 2010 video remarks and profiles.
Founded in 1991, the NBLC represents leading employers in the North Bay both in crafting and advocating for sound, regionally focused public policy. The organization now includes more than 30 employers in Marin and Sonoma counties from a broad cross section of industries, professional services, nonprofits and educational institutions, representing a work force of more than 20,000.
Ms. Murray is well-known and respected for her leadership in tackling complex issues with a practical, collaborative approach focused on quality of life while balancing the immediate and long-term needs of business, the environment and people. The most recent and prominent example of this is SMART, the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit, made possible by the passage of the Measure Q sales tax in the November 2009 election by a two-thirds majority in both Marin and Sonoma counties. The NBLC was a key leader of the SMART campaign.
“Transportation has been one of NBLC’s main issues historically because this is a big issue for attracting and retaining employees,” said Ms. Murray, who served as co-chair for the campaign. “Although Marin doesn’t have the connection to the need for a train like Sonoma does, Marin employers have always supported SMART.”
The NBLC has taken a lead advocacy role in other major transportation issues during Ms. Murray’s tenure, successfully ensuring $82 million in funding to widening the Highway 101 “Novato Narrows” and $20 million to add a second connector lane to the 580/101 interchange. Ms. Murray worked with the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) to secure this funding.
Another example of Ms. Murray’s cross-pollinating approach to economic development is getting the NBLC involved through the Bay Area Council in creating a “landing pad” for companies that want to do business in China and companies in China that want to do business here. Ms. Murray participated in a delegation of North Bay companies on a trip to Shanghai, China, this month. Because of explosive business growth in China, Ms. Murray sees this exchange as an opportunity to influence Chinese companies on the need to balance innovation, sustainability and health.
Convening public and private stakeholders is a hallmark of Ms. Murray’s leadership. It stems from a career that began with 20 years in the private sector – sales and marketing in the computer industry – and then took a turn into public service for 15 years. She served on the Novato City Council from 1991 to 1998, including one year as mayor, and on the Marin County Board of Supervisors from 1999 to 2006.