Ariel Kelley, 36, acting CEO and board chair of nonprofit Corazon Healdsburg and a Sonoma County Planning Commission member, is one of North Bay Business Journal's Forty Under 40 notable young professionals for 2019.
Responsibilities with your company: Acting CEO for nonprofit Corazon Healdsburg, dedicated to ending cycles of poverty and bridging the racial divide in Healdsburg. I am responsible for fundraising $1 million annually, managing an active board of directors, supporting a staff of three, overseeing 10 programs that serve low-income families in northern Sonoma County.
My role on the county Planning Commission is a quasi-judicial role reviewing land use permits and legislation for the county’s Planning Department. We hold public hearings and review the findings of the county staff and vote on specific applications or policy impacting land use in the County such as housing, winery use permits, cannabis and mining/timber rights.
How do you exemplify the spirit of being a top Forty Under 40 professional?: Be prepared, be educated, and be bold.
Years with company: 2
Length of time in current position: 18 months
Number who report to you: 5
Greatest professional accomplishment: As the chair of the board of Corazon Healdsburg, we were selected non-profit of the year in the state Assembly and nominated by Assembly member Jim Wood.
Greatest professional challenge: Whether it is in my county government role or in my role as a non-profit CEO, we have to work alongside or in partnership with institutional “systems” that are broken or very cumbersome. As I see it, my role is to identify where these breakdowns are stifling progress and determine what barriers exist to improve or change those broken systems. Some of these barriers are massive and institutionalized and require intense focus and persistence to repair and improve them.
Best advice received: Don’t ever work for free.
Single most important event in your professional life in the last 12 months: Being elected as an assembly district delegate to the state Democratic Party.
What steps is your company taking to sustain your organization and morale in the current economy?
We have seen tremendous growth at Corazon Healdsburg, as our community’s support for our work in ending cycles of poverty in northern Sonoma County. We are investing resources into staff trainings around resiliency, shared learning experiences and being trauma informed in our work supporting sensitive populations.
Next professional goal: Running for local office
Education: Juris Doctorate, Golden Gate University; masters of business administration, Golden Gate University; bachelor of science in business administration, University of Oregon
Hometown: Eugene, Oregon
Community/nonprofit activities: Board Chair, Corazan Healdsburg; board member, Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County*; chapter representative, Health Action Sonoma County
Mentor/admired businessperson: State Senator Mike McGuire Lisa Wittke Schaffner Dr. David Lawrence, CEO Kaiser Permanente (Ret) Supervisor James Gore
What is your most disliked buzzword?: Overconcentration
Typical day at the office: Everyday is a new adventure. I work in both Healdsburg and Santa Rosa while attending meetings all over the county. My office is housed out of the Healdsburg Community Center and we operate a family resource center. It is a great place to work to get to see community members that our organization serves, while I am raising funds or strategizing for the growth and sustainability of our organization.
Forty Under 40 winner
CEO and board chair
1557 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 95448