(Winners are listed by size category and then alphabetically by company name.)
More than 1,000 employees
How the winners were chosen
PDF of Best Places to Work special SectionBank of MarinSeven-time winner
NOVATO -- After nearly a quarter century in business, Bank of Marin continues to delivery legendary service due to the positive energy of its 254 employees combined with sound lending practices and superb customer relations.
"Customers think we're great. I can proudly say I work here. Training is excellent and we all can express ourselves freely and openly while being rewarded for our efforts through the incentive program and recognition from senior management," employees said.
The bank embraces a collaborative team approach for accomplishing the company's mission, and has a welcoming community culture characterized by integrity, trust, accountability and commitment.
"We are passionate about supporting our local communities and partner with hundreds of non-profits, schools and civic organizations," said President and CEO Russell Colombo. "Our employees donate over 10,000 hours a year in volunteer service, and we have representatives serving on more than 80 non-profit boards."
"Some of our customers have been challenged by the economic slump. We've worked closely with them, particularly from the loan side, to be flexible and accommodating."
An employee noted, "We are taking increased regulation in stride and making significant advances in our technology use and accessibility so we can continue to be a strong, profitable bank -- while also maintaining customer and employee loyalty."Becoming IndependentFour-time winner
SANTA ROSA -- Becoming Independent is the North Bay's largest nonprofit human services organization dedicated to helping people with developmental and physical disabilities seek their own paths to personal fulfillment.
"We help people make better lives for themselves. It's nice to see the smiles on people's faces when we help them," an employee said. "Management is constantly striving to create a happy, healthy work environment."
Under new leadership, BI has stepped up efforts to create more robust, updated programs to promote community inclusion and participation for over 1,300 clients.
"Becoming Independent is an amazing community resource serving adults with disabilities on many levels. Our 330 employees assist with life skills training that allow a very dependent population gain the foundation and skills to move toward independence," said CEO Luana Vaetoe.
Another employee said, "The BI culture of compassion and advocacy is excellent, and employees are constantly recognized for their efforts. I leave work feeling inspired every day."
To help sustain the organization, management invested in employee wellness, which has paid forward in terms of both morale and cost savings for benefit renewals.
"Our key to success is having a positive, optimistic and supportive outlook, despite state budget cuts," another employee said.
BI has increased its fund development efforts, from an employee-giving program and art sales to seeking legacy gifts and community donations.Bradley Real EstateFive-time winner
SAN RAFAEL -- With 400 agents and 12 offices, Bradley Real Estate is one of the largest brokerages in the Bay Area.
"I don't feel alone when there is a major decision. There's always someone to encourage you. The owners offer training, technology tools (Top Producer, Docusign, etc.), and managerial support while keeping us abreast of the market," an agent said. "We've grown despite a tough market and are heads above other real estate companies in terms of benefits and compensation. We hired new agents and support staff that helped increase business over 30 percent last year."
Owner Melissa and Robert Bradley said, "We enable and empower our realtors and employees to exercise their entrepreneurial spirit to improve and grow their own business. We have great retention among our agents."
What makes this company great? "For me, it's the generosity of the owners in sharing their time and expertise in an effort to support us in accomplishing our goals, an employee said. "They focus on employee success, which in turn, makes the company successful."
Bradley Real Estate supports local volunteer efforts and events through Chambers of Commerce, local schools, recreation departments and non-profits. In recent years the brokerage has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Marin charities as cash donations, sponsorships or in-kind contributions.Exchange BankEight-time winner