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Judy James

Director of government affairs, North Bay region

Comcast

1300 Valley House Drive, Rohnert Park 94928

707-772-6433

Read more profiles of 2018 Women in Business winners: nbbj.news/wib18winners

www.comcast.com

Professional background: I’ve worked in advocacy, public relations and government and community relations my entire career. My first public relations job was with the California Farm Bureau Federation in Sacramento right out of Cal Poly, SLO. After a couple of promotions with that organization, I was able to come back home to Sonoma County when I earned the position of executive director for the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, the largest membership organization in Sonoma County.

My career with Farm Bureau spanned 17 years during which I earned several national awards. I had some amazing experiences and developed deep friendships with so many wonderful, hardworking agricultural families!

Over the next eight years, I worked in community and government relations for Clover Stornetta Farms and Republic Services.

During this time, I was also an adjunct instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College. I have been the North Bay Director of Government Affairs at Comcast for almost four years.

Whether it has been lobbying on agricultural issues, promoting Clo the Cow and local dairies, teaching students, working on multi-million dollar environmental contracts or helping to bridge the digital divide - I have been fortunate enough to have loved what I have been doing throughout my entire career.

It’s been fulfilling to wear multiple hats and advocate for such diverse industries while also being involved in our community and feeling that I have helped make a difference.

I am the immediate past board chair of the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber of Commerce, an associate board member of the Redwood Credit Union, board member of the Sonoma County Alliance, alternate board member of the North Bay Leadership Council, member of the San Rafael Chamber Governmental Affairs Committee and Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation’s Ag Trust Committee.

Education: Proud alumni of Santa Rosa Junior College and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Earned my bachelor of arts in Ag business management with a minor in marketing and crop science.

Tell us about yourself and your company: I am a third generation Sonoma County farm girl who grew up in west Petaluma. I attended a two-room elementary school where the principal was also my 4th, 5th, and 6th grade teacher.

In addition to my professional career, and in staying true to my agricultural roots, my husband Jeff, and I founded Stony Point Vineyards and James Family Cellars – our two sons are vice presidents of the winery. We produce fabulous pinot noir in the Russian River Valley and have received numerous awards.

Comcast is a Fortune 50 company in the technology, media and communications industry. I have the pleasure of working with community and elected officials in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Mendocino and Solano counties.

My area is the envy of my colleagues across the nation!

Because technology is constantly changing, I learn and stretch my knowledge every day. I’m surrounded with talented, intelligent, and diverse people who care about each other’s success. The culture at Comcast is amazing and I enjoy and respect the people I work with.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?

I was able to help our friends and our community during the wildfires on both a personal and a professional level.

Judy James

Director of government affairs, North Bay region

Comcast

1300 Valley House Drive, Rohnert Park 94928

707-772-6433

Read more profiles of 2018 Women in Business winners: nbbj.news/wib18winners

www.comcast.com

Personally, we had 15 evacuees at our home the night of the fires and professionally I was able to support our community by getting evacuation centers connected with free, high speed Wi-Fi so people could stay in contact with their families and friends, assisting elected officials with connectivity for community meetings and helping make sure the Emergency Operations Centers had the communication services they needed.

I also helped coordinate a $1.5 million contribution by Comcast to the North Bay Fire Relief Fund and a $300,000 donation to the Santa Rosa City School’s Integrated Wellness Center.

What is the achievement you are most proud of?

In addition to my family, I am proud of starting our own family businesses, James Family Cellars and Stony Point Vineyards. Not only have we created a wonderful product in our pinot noir, but we have been able to work together as a family.

What is your biggest challenge today?

Keeping all of the balls in the air! It’s challenging to manage a demanding career, family obligations, half marathon trainings and volunteer commitments. I have a wonderful life and I have to try harder to take the time to enjoy each and every day. Being empty nesters has really helped!

Words that best describe you: Grateful, family oriented, conscientious and driven.

As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

Trying to find the work/life balance. I tried to integrate my young family into my career by involving them in some of my events and projects. I often took them with me to fundraisers and meetings and occasionally gave them a job to do. My husband’s support and partnership have been extremely important to my successes. Even though we are now empty nesters, we find that we are spending more time supporting my parents who are in their 90’s and still living on their ranch. The quest for balance continues!

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

It will be necessary to adapt to technological advances and changing regulations at an ever increasing pace. In light of this, the value of building and developing professional relationships will be even more essential.

Who was your most important mentor?

Steve Olson, former Ag Department Chairman and instructor at SRJC. Mr. Olson gave me my first professional job when I was the student assistant in the Agriculture/Natural Resources Department. He also encouraged me to further my college education and helped me create a career path in agriculture.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?

Get involved in your community and volunteer! Volunteering will help build your network and develop your leadership skills.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Brett Martinez, president and CEO of Redwood Credit Union. I have been impressed by his ability to grow the credit union at an industry-leading pace and his increasing prominence in the national and international credit union industry. I admire how he has earned the respect of his employees and has enriched our community through his leadership.

Typical day at the office: Review my emails and add to my daily to-do list. Hold meetings with community leaders, nonprofits and elected officials. Communicate local issues and activities to our regional office and participate in internal conference calls to keep up to date on current initiatives. Collaborate with our management team to solve problems. Review my area community investment playbook and check on the progress of our infrastructure build-outs and work with municipalities to move forward through the permitting and regulatory processes. I usually end the day by attending an event or fundraiser to support our community.

Best place to work outside of your office: At home - looking out the window at our beautiful vineyard.

Current reading: “Origin” by Dan Brown. Love his books!

Most want to meet: Ronald Reagan

Social media you most use: Facebook and LinkedIn

Stress relievers: Running

Favorite hobbies: Running with my Fleet Feet Group, hosting wine club events, and spending time with family and friends.

Is there something we didn’t ask that you would like to add?

I am very thankful that I’ve been able to build a career and raise a family in the same community where I grew up. Not only is this a very beautiful part of the world, but the wonderful people and very strong sense of community are inspiring!