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Business leaders tell us frequently that supporting outstanding young people is critical not just to the health of our companies, but to our economy and community. That point was driven home recently when a young businesswoman said that if it were not groups that have sprung up to support her and others like her, she would have left the community to start her career.

Now, for the sixth consecutive year, the winners of these Forty Under 40 awards reflect an inspiring and substantial pool of young talent across the North Bay. It is our privilege to honor them, support them and shine a light on them for the whole community to see.  [read more]Young professionals to watch

These 2012 Forty under 40 nominees, though not winners this year, have proven to be successful young professionals to keep an eye on. [read more]Forty Under 40 alumni network on LinkedIn

The Business Journal has created an exclusive forum for winners of its Forty Under 40 awards over the years. [read more]2012 winners

(Listed alphabetically after profiles of three high-profile winners)High-profile winnersAmy Berliner, 24

Co-owner and Marketing Manager, Amy's Kitchen, Inc., Petaluma

With responsibility for marketing, advertising, public relations and packaging sales in the U.S. and the EU, Amy Berliner brings the entrepreneurial spirit of her family to her job. "I always dream of the possible, instead of the barriers to success."

Working with a small team, she successfully launched the company's presence in England. Understanding the UK culture and then adapting Amy's Kitchen's marketing approach to it was her greatest professional challenge.

Single most important event in your professional life: Being instrumental in acquiring the Tesco retail food distribution agreement in the U.K.

Steps the company is taking to sustain the organization and morale in the current economy: "Because we are dedicated to providing high quality food that people value and purchase even when money is scarce, we are still growing rapidly despite the current economy."

Community and nonprofit activities: Amy's Kitchen works with the Redwood Empire Food Bank, gives over $1 million in food donations annually to Kidstreet, provides lunch every Wednesday for an entire school and is involved with a genetically modified food labeling campaign, the Red Cross, United Way and Canine Companions.

In addition, her company sponsors the Amy's College Scholarship Program for employees' children, participates in a school garden program and supports Tomorrow's Leaders Today.

She also finds time to be a voluntary assistant in women's leadership workshops and works with Landpaths: a partnership of landowners and experts in land management and restoration.

Mentor/admired businessperson: "My father, Andy Berliner."

Best advice received: An old Yiddish proverb: The heart sees better than the eye, so listen to your intuition.

First job: Taster of Amy's Kitchen's kid-friendly products at age 5.Ariel Ceja, 28

Owner, Bistro Sabor restaurant; President, "Salud! Napa," a culinary website

"My goal is to be on 'hugging terms' with every guest that leaves our fast, casual-style eatery, Bistro Sabor," said Ariel Ceja.

He sets the overall tone and pace of the restaurant and works closely with his house staff to ensure that all patrons have a memorable experience.

"I collaborate with our chef, Jeff Murphy, on dishes representative of the spirit we wish to convey -- delicious street and comfort foods from all over Latin America."

This spring he will launch an online cooking show, called Salud! Napa (www.saludnapa.com), a website run by a small group of passionate individuals who believe that sharing recipes, cooking tips and wine pairings can make the world a better place.

Single most important event in your professional life: "Realizing that I wanted to spend the rest of my life creating businesses that reach the consumer both online (through software or entertaining content), and offline, (through restaurants and retail environments), while bringing them both together."

Greatest professional achievement: "Creating a work culture that makes my employees happy. They are the heart and soul of the establishment."

Community/non-profit activities: "I was involved with Summer Search, and through Ceja Vineyards and Bistro Sabor, we raised funds for Clinic Ole, CASA, Alden Children and Family Services and a number of elementary schools."

Best advice received: From Derek Silvers (formerly of CDBaby.com), when deciding whether to commit to something: "If you feel anything less than WOW… That would be amazing! -- the answer is no."

Hobbies: Salsa dancing, running, food photography, film, and reading -- as a student of life.

Favorite movie: Eat Drink Man Woman by Ang Lee.

Last vacation: "What's that?" Dan Kosta, 39

Founder, Kosta Browne Winery, Sebastopol

Co-creating a brand with national and international acclaim has been a tremendous accomplishment for Dan Kosta.

"In the wine world, longevity and ongoing market approval are quite elusive. My biggest challenge is to create initiatives that exceed conventional wisdom by keeping our product fresh and finding ways to engage our customers."

Achieving meaningful goals during the first half of his life has been his dream. "I've never wanted to wait until retirement to look back at my successes."

Single most important event in your professional life: The development of a new winery home for Kosta Browne in the Barlow development of downtown Sebastopol has been a great learning experience, and a chance to become more involved in the community. 

Steps taken to sustain the company: "Being sensitive to adverse market conditions has allowed us to retain our solid customer base. Having a winery where demand far exceeds supply is an enviable position, but that does not mean that we don't try for long-term successes and relationships."

"Maintaining reasonable and fair pricing, participating in charitable organizations throughout the country and simply making ourselves accessible -- despite the scarce nature of our product -- has proven to be a positive influence internally and externally."

Community/non-profit activities: He is a member of the board of directors of the Sonoma County Vintners, the Schultz Celebrity Golf Classic (benefiting Sonoma County childrens' charities), and the Make a Wish Foundation Croquet Classic and Charity Auction. Kosta Browne also supports the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, the San Francisco 49er's Foundation and Destin Children's Charities, among many others.

Best advice received: "Don't get too slick. It is important to remain genuine, honest and approachable."

Mentor/admired businessperson: Richard Branson.

Favorite after-work drink: "Since wine is the during-the-week-drink, I tend to gravitate toward a cold, lighter beer." Nicole Arnone, 31

Marketing Director, Cipolla Financial and Insurance Services, Santa Rosa.

Building visibility for her firm through community involvement is a priority for Nicole Arnone.

"Our clients turn to us for financial reassurance and advice. Since the onset of the recession, our business has grown 20 percent. It's a challenging economy, but people can still be successful in it."

Greatest professional achievements: "For the firm, it was helping Anthony Cipolla obtain Court of the Table membership in the Million Dollar Round Table. I'm also proud to be the founding president of the New Generations Rotary Club of Santa Rosa and current chair of the Young Professionals Network."

Best advice received: "Don't take anything personally. You don't know what's going on in other people's lives."

Last vacation: Visiting Bogota, Colombia, with her grandmother to meet relatives for the first time.Lorna Brown, 38

Owner and Fitness Teacher, My Gym Children's Fitness Center, Santa Rosa.

[caption id="attachment_54122" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="Lorna Brown"][/caption]

With a passion for children's fitness, Lorna Brown oversees all operations at My Gym for more than 300 families who bring their kids, ages three to nine years, each week for fitness classes, camps and birthday parties.

She also takes her program on the road to schools and daycare centers and volunteers for the My Gym Franchise Advisory Board, representing 280 gyms worldwide.

Greatest professional achievement: "I'm doing what I can to fight childhood obesity and to inspire families to live active lifestyles."

Best advice received: Anything is possible when you break a project down into small pieces.

Next professional goal: Expand operations to incorporate a wider variety of classes and reach more children in Sonoma County through My Gym Mobile.Alicia Cerruti, 30

Tax Supervisor, Pisenti & Brinker LLP, Petaluma.

Working diligently for the best interests of her corporate, partnership and individual tax clients is what motivates Alicia Cerruti. She seeks opportunities to develop connections and better the community through volunteering.

She is also a Creative Memories consultant, assisting clients in preserving their photos in scrapbooks and digital albums. Many clients enjoy earning products through hosted parties and by starting their own businesses.

Greatest professional achievement: "Earning my CPA. The test is rigorous, but once you pass, you feel great!"

Community and nonprofit activities: Leadership Petaluma Class of 2012; Petaluma Sunrise Rotary Club; Petaluma Chamber of Commerce; Young Professional Network, and the Sonoma County Back Road Challenge 2012.

Best advice received: Be a sponge! Soak up all the knowledge you can.Scott Cheeseman, 37

President and Chief Executive Officer, Phillips Tile Company, Fairfield.

Returning his firm to profitability after the recession, and without the loss of a single key employee, is Scott Cheeseman's greatest professional accomplishment.

He refocused his firm beyond new home construction and implemented a variety of technology innovations in one year (cloud document storage, wireless tablets, CAD controlled machinery, etc.) that reduced costs and helped him grow a tile and stone business in a down economy.

Best advice received: Be a risk taker.

Next professional goal: Adopt "tenants of ownership" thinking and create a culture of accountability and purpose at all levels.

Mentor/admired businessperson: "My parents. They owned their own company and built a great life."

First job: Roughneck on an offshore oil platform. The foreman said: "Boy, I'm going to make you appreciate a desk job." Anthony Cinquini, 37

Principal and Chief Financial Officer, Cinquini & Passarino, Inc., Santa Rosa.

As a partner in a small business, Tony Cinquini wears many hats and leads by example. He embraces change and encourages the staff to get involved, stay involved, be innovative and go the extra mile to make sure clients are happy.

"I take part in business development, marketing, project management and public outreach activities and represent the company in many professional organizations."

Greatest professional achievement: Having dual professional licenses as a Professional Civil Engineer and as a Professional Land Surveyor.

Next professional goal: Continue to develop and grow the firm's laser scanning business line.

Single most important event: Successfully completing his term as President of the San Francisco Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Favorite movie: "I cannot lie, I've always been a Star Wars fan."Maureen Cottingham, 29

Executive Director, Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance, Sonoma.

Maureen Cottingham's mission includes promoting the superior quality of Sonoma Valley grapes and wines, while emphasizing the importance of these products to the local economy.

"Opening lines of communication and interaction with the community to create a healthy social and political environment that supports the quality of life in the valley is important to me."

Being results oriented, she is committed to excellence, intelligent planning and maintaining a focused effort.

Greatest professional challenge: Getting all stakeholders on board to develop and implement a unified message for the Sonoma Valley wine region.

Next steps to sustain your organization: "Offer educational seminars to our members while also building the foundation for re-launching Sonoma Valley as a strong consumer brand."

First job: Internship with Gills Onions, Oxnard, California.Michelle Crosbie, 33

Senior Tax Manager, Dal Poggetto & Company, LLP, Santa Rosa.

When managing the work of the professional staff as well as clients and partners, Michelle Crosbie has to be flexible.

"We face new challenges every day and have to provide the best solutions for everyone."

As a CPA, her greatest professional challenge is in determining where to focus her attention when it comes to industry and tax compliance issues.

Best advice received: Be true to yourself and follow your heart.

Next steps to sustain your organization: "We increased internal education efforts and introduced new technology, while continuing to provide activities for our staff to help maintain positive morale. We also adopted a reduced hours schedule to help employees balance work and family responsibilities."

Next professional goal: To grow the firm through new client relationships.Zack Darling, 36

Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director, Zack Darling Creative Associates, Santa Rosa

Zack Darling has been called "a Zack of all trades" for founding a number of enterprises, including the Mystic Beat Lounge, Decadance, MashStep.com and Greefield Graphics, in addition to Zack Darling Creative Associates.

ZDCA provides a wide range of services, such as creative graphics, web development, branding, marketing, programming, e-commerce and product development.

He also works as a concert, nightclub and festival producer and DJ.

Greatest Professional Achievement: "The widespread positive reputation of our company and goodwill within the community."

Single most important recent event: "We recently developed the www.tintin.com website to coincide with the premier of the Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson animated film, The Adventures of TinTin. The project was brought to us by Euro RSCG, the largest advertising agency in the world."Jennielynn Holmes-Davis, 26

Manager of Shelter and Housing Programs, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa

Managing shelter operations serving the homeless, career employment readiness programs, affordable housing, credit and foreclosure counseling -- along with after school and summer programs for young people -- keeps Jennielynn Holmes-Davis engaged.

"I work to provide new opportunities for those in need and offer innovative ways to build safety and security for the vulnerable in our community."

Greatest professional achievement: The creation of the Coach 2 Career employment readiness program.  

Greatest professional challenge: Providing leadership and effective solutions for those in need while experiencing reduced and uncertain funding.

Mentor/admired businessperson: Chuck Fernandez, executive director of Catholic Charities.

Favorite book: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, by Anne Fadiman.Steve Distler, 33

Owner and Wine Director, Carpe Diem Wine Bar, Napa

Having the courage to open his own wine bar, keep it open and maintaining it, was the greatest achievement for Steve Distler. His next challenge was successfully making it past the one-year mark for the restaurant.

"I emphasize listening and responding whole-heartedly to customer feedback, while engaging in frequent staff communications and planning outings to other wineries and restaurants to learn how to be the absolute best."

Next professional goal: To expand Carpe Diem Wine Bar and have his own wine label.

Mentor/admired businesspersons: August Cardona, CEO, Epicurian Management, and Tim Martin, partner with Tusk Estates.

Hobbies: Wine, food and travel -- and running to work off the wine and food.

Favorite after-work drink: A glass of Keever Sauvignon Blanc or Azur Cabernet Blend. Aleisha Dobbins, Ph.D., 39

Senior Manager, Clinical Training and Quality, BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., Novato

Dr. Dobbins ensures compliance with regulations, quality controls, technical requirements and good clinical practices for pharmaceuticals intended for human use.

She is also responsible for providing leadership, oversight and supervision of the direct and functional reporting staff, in addition to the clinical development training needs of internal and external partners.

Single most important recent event: Earning an MBA from Sonoma State University in 2011.

Greatest professional achievement: Mentoring over 10 fellows (locally and abroad) and seeing them transition from doctoral students to pharma-biotech, healthcare and various other industry professionals.

Best advice received: Never doubt yourself, your talents, your strengths or your ability to succeed.

Favorite book: In the Spirit by Susan L. Taylor.Roger Farrell, 34

Director of Operations, Integrity Construction Maintenance, Inc., Sebastopol

As second in command in charge of day-to-day operations, Roger Farrell's personal job description includes doing what is necessary to achieve the company's goals, while serving in a manner that reflects the Integrity name.

He provides division managers with the support and encouragement to be successful as he becomes familiar with each client's needs and the firm's network of resources to meet them.

Greatest professional challenge: "Improving myself so I am always able to help my team improve."

Single most important recent event: Helping a valued employee overcome a problem impeding his professional and personal development.

Favorite book: The New Testament Book of Romans.

Community and non-profit activities: Teaching in the Children's Ministries division at Calvary The Rock Church, and mentoring men at the Redwood Gospel Mission.Jason Glazier, 38

Financial Advisor and Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor, Wells Fargo Advisors LLC, Santa Rosa

Jason Glazier is responsible for some 100 client households and 200 accounts. He is the only Accredited Domestic Partnership AdvisorSM in the North Bay.

"A big part of my business revolves around the LGBT community, so I attended an Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Dallas to learn how to understand the needs of, and learn a greater appreciation for, this community and who they are."

Next professional goal: "I want to be known in the Bay Area as the 'go to' financial advisor for the LGBT community."

Best advice received: No one cares who you know until they know that you care.

First job: "I don't miss delivering 325 Sunday papers in the dead of winter in Milwaukee, WI!"

Last vacation: In Hong Kong and Southern China visiting his wife's family.Anna Guhin, 34

Owner and Studio Director, Three Dog Yoga, Santa Rosa

With a focus on community, Anna Guhin created a thriving business and generated a growing market for yoga in Santa Rosa.

Watching students transform their bodies, minds and lives through physical Asana practice, meditation and community connection is her greatest accomplishment.

"Our community 'karma projects' have sent $50,000 to local and global non-profits since we opened."

Best advice received: Have a clear vision and stick to it.

Greatest professional challenge: Creating work/life balance.

Next professional goal: "This year we will add at least eight classes to our weekly schedule, graduate 13 new yoga teachers and launch our Project Play program (which partners with community organizations) to bring free yoga to those who would not otherwise have the opportunity."

Favorite after-hours drink: Water. "After sweating through a few power yoga classes, it is all you want."Keith Hitman, 26

President, Summit Technology Group, Inc., Santa Rosa

Keith Hitman is responsible for operational efficiencies, managing 54 employees and the ultimate profitability of all four Summit divisions -- electric, electronics, solar and service.

"My challenge is to ignite a profitable and positive culture in a negative economic time by putting greater emphasis on communication and transparency. I take every opportunity to bring our people together, make every voice part of the solution and openly face existing challenges."

Best advice received: Never get too high or low based on the current circumstances.

Next professional goal: Grow and expand the business with an eye to perfecting the Summit brand and expanding Summit's market share.

Mentor/admired businesspersons: Del Norby, owner of C&D Solutions, and Larry Dashiell, owner of Summit Technology Group.

Hobbies: Golf, fishing and athletics.Robert Jacob, 34

President and Executive Director, Peace in Medicine, Sebastopol

Robert Jacob's greatest professional accomplishment was developing a model retail medical cannabis dispensary from conception to reality. "Given the law's limited clarity, this model defines the professional standard in the field."

As head of Peace in Medicine, he manages a staff of 40 full-time employees that serve 16,000 patients.

Single most important recent event: Being appointed to the Planning Commission of Sebastopol by a unanimous vote of the City Council.

Next professional goal: Use the lessons learned in his success with Peace in Medicine to help other government entities and non-profits establish model retail medical cannabis dispensaries and healing centers in their communities.

Mentor/admired businessperson: Donna Zapata, executive director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Sonoma County.

Favorite book: The 360 Degree Leader.Shawn Jensen, 38

Senior Manager, Moss Adams, LLP, Santa Rosa

As the manager in charge of college campus recruiting, Shawn Jensen, also recruits experienced audit candidates while leading the Greater Bay Area's Food Industry Group.

The firm provides accounting, assurance, tax and consulting services to public and private middle-market enterprises.

Single most important recent event: Landing several significant clients during the past year.

Greatest professional challenge: Knowing when to stop working.

Steps the company is taking to sustain the organization: "Our partners are positive and inspire our team atmosphere."

Next professional goal: To gain admission to the partnership.

Community/non-profit activities: "I volunteer with Astia, an organization committed to supporting women leaders and accelerating the funding and growth of high potential, high-growth, women-led startups. I also coach recreational and competitive girl's softball."Kelly Steele-Jordan, 31

Account Executive, Nelson Staffing, Santa Rosa

Since starting with Nelson in 2006, Kelly Steele-Jordan has doubled her territory by going after target accounts through marketing, cold calling and networking.

After her first year with the company, she was named "Rookie of the Year" and has been a perennial recipient of "Chairman's Club" honors for top performers.

Greatest professional challenge: Increasing her ability to foresee customer needs in an industry where it is difficult to predict the future.

Single most important recent event: Participating in the MAP 360-degree peer assessment program. "I listened to co-worker insights and strengthened my relationships with others."

Hobbies: Cooking, reading and "accessorizing" -- adding flair to life by arranging flowers, making gift baskets and finding unique jewelry online.

Favorite book: Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr. Suess. Mike Kallhoff, 38

President and Chief Executive Officer, United Way of the Wine Country, Santa Rosa

Overseeing a budget of $3 million, a staff of 21, and providing support for human services in Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, is a 24/7 job for Mike Kallhoff.

"We're improving the lives of local children, families and individuals by mobilizing the caring power of our community."

Greatest professional challenge: "When resources are limited, the need for community services is the highest. I seek out new opportunities and strategic ways to use our limited funds to bring new partners to the table, and new dollars to our community."

Best advice received: Be yourself, no one can do that better than you.  

Favorite after-work drink: Diet Mt. Dew -- "Yep, seriously."Stephanie Kendall, 28

Co-owner and Restaurant Manager, Carpe Diem Wine Bar, Napa

Responsible for accounting, payroll and marketing functions for the company, Stephanie Kendall also manages event and menu planning for restaurant with husband, Scott. "I also bus tables, carry food, help in the kitchen or wash dishes as needed."

Her greatest accomplishment was starting a restaurant from scratch. "I believe the amount of work you put into something you can get back. When customers say they had a great experience, all the blood, sweat and tears fade away."

Best advice: This, too, shall pass. Don't dwell on the bad, just breathe deep and move on.

Single most important event: Being voted "Best Restaurant" by the local community.

Mentor/admired businessperson: Jill Techel, Mayor of Napa.

Favorite movie: Sleepless in Seattle, "I'm a hopeless romantic."Karissa Kruse, 36

Co-founder, Argot Wines; Founder, Onit Consulting, LLC, Santa Rosa

Karissa Kruse is involved with everything from harvesting grapes and selling Argot Wines, to leading executives in industry-wide task forces and facilitating think tanks, to developing strategic and marketing plans to drive innovation and build consumer interest in different brands.

"We were founded in 2007, and 2011 was a benchmark year for Argot with our first 1,000 case vintage and first crop from our estate vineyard in Sonoma County's Bennett Valley AVA."

Through Onit Consulting, LLC, she provides marketing and business development services leveraging her Wharton MBA and 15+ years of experience in packaged goods, entertainment, toys, dairy, athletics and nonprofits.

First job: Marketing General Mills Honey Nut Cherrios after college. "I danced in a bee costume with the O'Jays at an annual meeting."Naveen Kumar, M.D., 36

Physician, Permanente Medical Group, San Rafael

 As the first interventional radiologist at the Kaiser hospital in San Rafael, Dr. Naveen Kumar heads a department he started from the ground up.

This is a relatively new field where minimally invasive surgical procedures are performed using imaging guidance and new technology to treat diseases. These outpatient procedures are typically performed under conscious sedation through tiny incisions.

Greatest professional achievement: "Every life I am able to save."

Best advice received: Importance of balancing confidence with humility, without becoming overconfident.

Steps being taken to sustain the company: "We will continue to offer superior quality and service in a timely manner while focusing on both the health of patients and our employees -- who are our biggest asset."

Favorite movie: Avatar.Ethan Lee, 32

Manager, Burr Pilger Mayer, Santa Rosa

Working effectively within a litigious environment to provide forensic accounting litigation consulting, business valuation and business succession planning -- while assisting business owners develop their own succession plans -- is what Ethan Lee does best.

Community/non-profit activities: He volunteers as an assistant Scoutmaster and serves on the board of the business valuation section of the CalCPA Forensic Services group. He is also president of the young men's organization at his church and is a T-ball assistant coach.

Greatest professional achievement: Being named 2010 Young & Emerging Professional of the Year in the CalCPA San Francisco Chapter.

Best advice received: Plan, simplify and be bold.

Steps taken by the company to sustain itself: "We implemented a wellness program, and give all employees an opportunity for ownership."

Mentor/admired Businesspersons: Cindy Craig and Jim Andersen.

Hobbies: Playing with my three sons and fishing, hunting, running and surfing.

Favorite after-work drink: A&W Root Beer.Eric Lucan, 30

Councilmember, City of Novato; Director of Customer Relationship Management Strategy, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

For Eric Lucan, the single most important event in his professional life was becoming the youngest person elected to the Novato City Council in the city's 50-year history.

His greatest challenge is coping with the city's ongoing structural budget deficit of $2.5 million.

With Kimpton, he leverages customer information and analysis to develop marketing strategies and enhance the guest experience. 

He launched an electronic, reloadable, closed-loop gift card for the enterprise that can be used at any hotel location -- resulting in a 400 percent increase in sales over paper gift certificates in one year.

Mentor/admired businessperson: Judy Arnold, Marin County Supervisor.

Favorite after-work drink: Jamba Juice (Strawberry Surf Rider).Heather Mackin, 39

Marketing Director, Trope Group, Santa Rosa

Using her education and 16 years of interior design experience to market Trope Group's strategic partnership with the North Bay business community, Heather Mackin has contributed to the creation of highly functional workspaces at Medtronic, the Buck Institute, Dominican University and for the County of Sonoma, among other clients.

Next professional goal: "As a member of the International Interior Design Association, I want to create a City Center for the IIDA's Northern California Chapter in the North Bay to promote the profession and keep client/service/vendor relationships sourced from local companies."

Best advice received: Work hard, play hard.

Mentor/admired businessperson: Trope Group President Christina Pratt.

What you wanted to be when you grew up: A math teacher.

Favorite movie: The Royal Tennenbaums, sheer comedic brilliance!Conor Massey, 35

Partner, Gaw Van Male, Napa

As a partner in the firm's Business and Real Estate Department, Conor Massey assists clients in the purchase or sale of properties, commercial leases, land use, business formation and general counsel with regard to wine and vineyard law, financing, etc.

Greatest professional achievement: Working with a client on a time sensitive lot line adjustment and conservation easement project that resulted in a significant tax break.

"My goal is to establish long-term relationships with clients and local business leaders while also being active in the community and with my family."

Best advice received: Effective communication involves responding to clients in a timely manner and returning calls the same day, whenever possible.

Mentor/admired businesspersons: Wyman Smith and Dave Gaw.

First job: Basketball referee.

Favorite after-work drink: Homemade beer.Jana McClelland, 32

Partner, McClelland's Dairy, Petaluma

Managing a dairy with 950 organic milking cows, including the milking process, feeding, caring for cows with special needs and calves in the nursery, is part of Jana McClelland's daily routine. 

She also manages employee relations for all 28 workers, the safety program, marketing and sales for their European Style Organic Artisan Butter, farm tours and ongoing customer relations using social networking.

Greatest professional challenge: Continue to develop her business and to stay focused and achieve success.

Mentor/admired businessperson: My father, George McClelland.

Greatest professional achievement: Receiving the A.J. Quist Memorial Award for achievements in the dairy industry with Holstein dairy cattle by individuals under 40.

Best advice received: Never give up if you believe in what you're doing.

Favorite book: Cheesemonger -- Life on the Wedge. Laura Norton, M.D., 36

Breast Surgeon, Redwood Regional Medical Group, Santa Rosa

Dr. Laura Norton donates her time and skills to provide women without insurance necessary consultations and outpatient surgery for breast disease through Operation Access.

Single most important recent event: Medi-Cal state insurance now covers genetic testing for BRCA 1 and 2 gene mutations, which cause breast and ovarian cancer.

Greatest professional achievement: Completing my breast surgery fellowship with Dr. Armando Giuliano.

Next professional goal: To bring breast surgery clinical trials to Santa Rosa.

Steps your company is taking to sustain your organization and improve morale: Creation of a Work Wellness Program and starting the North Bay's only Cancer Survivorship Program.

Best advice received: Quality work always wins.

First job: "De-tasseling corn in Indiana and finding I was allergic to corn husks!"Danielle O'Leary, 35

Economic Development Manager, City of Santa Rosa

With a passion to make a difference and positively touch the lives of others, Danielle O'Leary manages programs that welcome new businesses into Santa Rosa, provides support services to existing firms and promotes local amenities to residents and visitors.

Single most important recent event: Partnering with Santa Rosa's Community Development Department to re-calibrate business zoning regulations to be responsive to economic conditions, and encouraging local investment and much needed job growth.

Steps your company is taking to sustain your organization and improve morale: "We communicate budget impacts clearly and work with employees to reduce costs and find service delivery efficiencies. Good morale comes from working together as a team to find sustainable solutions."

Hobbies: Avid food blogger, flea market aficionado, weekend hiker, runner and wine tasting explorer.

Last vacation: Dublin, Ireland -- of course!Oscar Pardo, 39

Attorney, with Perry, Johnson, Anderson, Miller & Moskowitz, LLP, Santa Rosa

Entrusted with handling civil litigation matters, attorney Oscar Pardo represents clients at conferences, court hearings, mediations and arbitrations.

He drafts pleadings, motions, discovery and settlement documents. He keeps clients informed while providing sound and prudent advice.

Greatest professional achievements: Passing the California Bar Exam and winning his first case at trial.

Steps the company is taking to sustain the organization and improve morale: Being supportive during tough economic times and sharing a meal helps maintain positive morale.

What you wanted to be when you grew up: "I was raised in Chicago's south side, so the only thing I wanted to be was alive!"

Favorite after-work drink: A refreshing local ale.

Last vacation: In San Diego with my wife and our three children.Bryce Pattison, 34

Principal and Chief Financial Officer, Royal Petroleum, Santa Rosa

Streamlining his company's six divisions to maximize efficiency as it emerges from the economic downturn is the next professional goal for Bryce Pattison.

As CFO, he is charged with strategic planning, budgeting and forecasting, financial statement signoff and business development.

Greatest professional achievement: Diversifying the firm's services portfolio through the creation of new business units and mergers and acquisitions to counteract seasonal cash flow problems common in the industry.

Single most important recent event: Building and operating the Golf Course 76 gas station and a Circle K convenience store in Rohnert Park.

Greatest professional challenges: Motivating staff and maintaining morale. "All we are is our people."

First job: Selling luggage in the family business. 

Last vacation: Remodeling a house in Petaluma.  Lino Ramos, 35

Director of Facilities, Infineon Raceway, Sonoma

Managing the facilities team and maintaining the property are just two of many assignments for Lino Ramos. He also coordinates with internationally sanctioned bodies to set up the track for races.

Being promoted to director of facilities means he must now lead co-workers who have the same responsibilities he once had. His first job was with Infineon 17 years ago.

Single most important recent event: Bringing "Drifting" to the Bay Area and making it a successful sport.

Drifting calls for drivers to control a high-horsepower car while it slides sideways at high speed through a marked course. 

Best advice received: Don't feel pressured to give an answer when there is a lack of information.

Mentor/admired businessperson: Jake Stark, VP of Operations at Infineon.

Favorite movie: Fast and Furious.Sara Randall, 29

Director of Communications with PDI Surgery Center, Windsor

In addition to managing and organizing events, Sara Randall also handles external communications and community outreach as well as printed and online materials.

She works to provide on-point messaging, excels at organizing board meetings and also serves as the office horticulturalist.

Greatest professional challenge: Staying on top of social media trends while utilizing the best media for PDI.

Single most important recent event: "Coordinating our annual fundraiser, the Make Kids Smile award and dinner. We surpassed our goal by 20 percent."

Best advice received: Take the time to find a great mentor.

Next professional goal: Sharing PDI's story with a national audience.

Hobbies: She enjoys hiking, regular weekend wine tasting, pumping iron, gardening and anything involving food.

Mentor/admired businessperson: Lynne Doll with the Rogers Group.

Last Vacation: Spending New Year's in Colorado.Heather Resseger, R.N., 36

Nurse Manager, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital

Providing quality patient care and monitoring outcomes are all in a day's work for Heather Resseger. She also mentors her staff and provides them with tools and knowledge to do their jobs.

Greatest professional challenge: Advocating for a culture of change and accountability.

Best advice received: Listen to your staff and don't try to solve all of their problems. Empower them to develop their own solutions and create positive change.

Steps your company is taking to sustain your organization and improve morale: "We developed the Sonoma Way, a system of shared governance to engage and enable staff to improve processes in their own spheres of influence."

Mentor/admired businessperson: Todd Salnas, COO at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

Favorite book: The New Leadership Challenge: Creating the Future of Nursing.

Favorite movie: Family Man.Michael Riel, 39

Chief Operating Officer, M.A. Silva USA, Santa Rosa

Always looking for ways to inspire his team, Michael Riel leads by example and constantly seeks viable solutions for getting things done right at this leading manufacturer of premium natural corks and glass containers for North American markets.

Greatest professional achievement: Successfully launching a new product division with annual growth rates over 100 percent in subsequent years -- and building high performing teams that enjoy what they do.

Best advice received: Look at the big picture and make decisions based on what's right in the long run.

Single most important recent event: Reorganizing several departments with positive effects on morale and productivity.

Mentor/admired businessperson: Guenter Frommel, former CEO of Fujitsu Siemens N.A.

Favorite after-work drink: Bavarian style Hefeweizen Beer.

Last vacation: Visiting friends and family in Bavaria.Edward Rosa, 39

President, Insight Computing, LLC, and Shed Ligbt Technology, Novato

Edward Rosa serves as a technology adviser to Insight Computing's clients throughout the North Bay while directing and managing company employees. He also founded Shed Light Technology to focus on legal issues, such as computer forensic, e-discovery and trial technology support.

Greatest professional achievement: He successfully operated and grew a small business without layoffs over a 12-year period that included two economic collapses.

Best advice received: It's not a sprint, it's a marathon, and you're in it for the long haul.

Steps taken by the company to sustain itself and improve morale: Avoiding layoffs and maintaining benefits, while continuing to sponsor fun events for employees and their families.

Favorite book: Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Favorite after-work drink: Jagermeister with Sprite.Anthony Truchard, 36

General Manager, Truchard Vineyards, Napa

Bringing creativity, passion and dedication to all aspects of his life, Anthony Truchard believes in taking these attributes to the office and community.

Within a year after becoming general manager, he doubled company sales and has consistently grown the family business every year, while increasing quality and improving company morale.

Greatest professional challenge: "Weaving family dynamics with day-to-day decisions is not always easy. Coming back to the family business has brought my father and me closer than we have ever been."

Best advice received: "Act with integrity and purpose" from law professor Justin Hughes.

Single most important recent event: Getting married.

Next professional goal: Taking our products to international markets, especially Asia.

Favorite movie: It's a Wonderful Life.

Last vacation: "Our honeymoon sailing through the Greek isles."Olivia Walton-Travis, 34

Chief Executive Officer, Liv Fashion Boutique, Santa Rosa

"As a child I knew I wanted to work in fashion," said Olivia Walton-Travis, who with sister, Jillian, has opened three retail outlets since 2006.

"We plan an annual Mother's Day fashion show in Ukiah, called Mamas and Tatas, benefiting the local cancer resource center, and a February Puppy Love fashion show in Santa Rosa that raised $1,700 to help pay for Noah's Bark animal rescue center vet expenses."

They also host shows at SRJC and St. Vincent's High School and give clothing to foster youth through Threads for Teens, and to a women and children's shelter for domestic violence in Ukiah, called Project Sanctuary.

Mentor/admired businessperson: "My sister is the rock of our business."

Favorite book: My Sister's Keeper.

Last vacation: Honeymoon in the Dominican Republic.Rick Wells, 38

President and CEO, San Rafael Chamber of Commerce

Bringing together a variety of visions personalities and work styles to benefit the chamber and community is Rick Wells' greatest professional challenge.

His most significant accomplishment was building an exceptional, dedicated staff based on integrity, respect, results and fun.

"We are committed to one another and our members and care deeply about the long-term viability of our organization. We engage in team building sessions that challenge us to improve our effectiveness."

Greatest professional achievement: Forming a cohesive team responsible for the chamber's financial turnaround, and its increased relevance to businesses.

Best advice received: Just be yourself, good things will happen.

Mentor/admired businessperson: Kate King, former CEO of the Napa Chamber.

Last vacation: "In Minnesota to celebrate my wife, Elie's, grandparent's 70th wedding anniversary.'Anita Wiglesworth, 37

Director of Programming, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa

Managing the arts center's arts, entertainment performances and special events are only part of Anita Wiglesworth's responsibilities. 

She also oversees the center's education & outreach programs such as in-school artist residencies, master classes, lecture-demonstrations, pre/post performance activities and professional development programs for teachers -- as well as the Music For Schools instrument lending library and campus art initiatives.

Greatest professional achievement: Growing Wells Fargo Center for the Arts' educational and outreach activities into a nationally recognized program serving over 30,000 students and teachers through hands-on arts experiences and live performances.

Single most important recent event: Launching a successful statewide mentorship program for presenting organizations and next generation leaders in this field.

Hobbies: Sculpting, welding, cooking kayaking, hiking and travel.

Favorite after-work drink: Champagne.Tim Zahner, 36

Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Sonoma County Tourism Bureau, Santa Rosa

With unbridled enthusiasm for extolling the amenities and attractions of Sonoma County, Tim Zahner heads a marketing group that promotes a robust hospitality and tourism industry.

"My team is one of the best in the business. They are incredibly fond of Sonoma County as a place to visit and live."

Greatest professional challenge: Showing that the hospitality industry is more than just fancy hotels, dinners and wine. "It's populated with interesting people from all walks of life with fascinating stories to tell."

Greatest personal achievement: Completing the Executive MBA program at Sonoma State University.

Best advice received: "Shut up, show up and wear clean underwear -- Dad's advice when I was getting married."

Favorite after-work drink: Water first, then Sonoma County wine.