651 Yolanda Ave., Santa Rosa 95404; 707-523-0550; gire.org
Residence: Santa Rosa
Professional background: 27 years with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, retiring as elected Sheriff-Coroner in 1997. Since retirement, I have worked in the title insurance and mortgage industries and as a management consultant prior to joining Goodwill--Redwood Empire as president and CEO.
Education: Sacramento State College, numerous law enforcement management courses, graduate of the FBI law enforcement executive development course, POST law enforcement executive certificate
Staff size: 340
Describe your organization
Goodwill is known for thrift retail, but our motto is, "A Hand Up, not a handout." Goodwill of the Redwood Empire is focused on providing employment and training to those in our community -- Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties -- who have barriers to employment. For 38 years, Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire has worked with the counties of Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino, California Department of Rehabilitation, Santa Rosa Junior College and others to offer skill-development and support services to individuals.
With 300-plus employees, we currently manage 15 workforce-development programs and operate 13 retail training centers in four counties. The agency has been recognized for providing service excellence by many organizations, including Sonoma County Mayors’ Committee on Employment of People With Disabilities, North Bay Leadership Council, NAMI Sonoma County. Goodwill received a Jefferson Award for Public Service from the county of Sonoma.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am a native Californian who has never lived outside the state. Local politics fascinate me, although I have no interest in running for office -- again!
What is your role in the organization?
As president and chief executive officer for Goodwill, I am in touch with every aspect of the organization. Working closely with staff at all levels I get an opportunity to learn from them and hear what is important to all of our employees. Some days I am focused on our thrift retail, other days I get to negotiate with the county regarding e-waste, then there are the many social-service training and support programs that keep us striving for more. Goodwill is a complex business, and it keeps me on my toes!
What achievement are you most proud of?
In my nonprofit organization life, I've been part of a team who restored financial stability and enhanced the reputation of the local Goodwill. In an economy of downsizing, we increased the number of employees in our agency from 140 to 340.
What is your biggest challenge today?
Positioning Goodwill for the future. Recruiting qualified staff, planning for new stores and preparing for the increased demand for mission services are as challenging as they have ever been. The world has changed on the employment front in the past three to five years, and I'm learning how to navigate through the changes to ensure that we are hiring the best qualified applicants is tricky.
Revenue growth through our thrift retail is essential to continue to offer the mission services that our community expects. Creative thinking is an absolute requirement for future success.
What the next major project either under way or on the horizon?
At Goodwill--Redwood Empire we have any number of new initiatives to get excited about right now. One I am personally very enthusiastic about -- the Donate Local campaign -- was launched last spring. Community fundraising donation drives are a collaboration with other nonprofit organizations in the community that challenge the group to take action in their own fundraising success by hosting a community donation drive.