Regional leaders take on new roles in California Stewardship Network

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California Forward (CA FWD) and the California Stewardship Network – an alliance of regional leaders throughout the state – welcomed new leaders on July 1, 2021.

The network welcomes Kate Roberts, president and CEO of the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership as new co-chair to serve alongside Heidi Hill Drum, CEO of the Tahoe Prosperity Center. Roberts will replace outgoing co-chair Oscar Chavez, who served from 2018-2021 and is the assistant director of the Sonoma County Department of Human Services.

Additionally, CEO Evan Schmidt of Valley Vision and President and CEO Nick Ortiz of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber will serve as vice-chairs.

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Kate, Evan and Nick to leadership roles within the California Stewardship Network,” said Micah Weinberg, CEO of CA FWD. “These leaders are moving their regions forward in tremendous ways and the Network and California will greatly benefit from their experience, thought-leadership and civic stewardship.”

First launched in 2008 by the Morgan Family Foundation — and after an integration with CA FWD in 2019 – the network started with 14 foundational organizations and now contains more than 30 organizations representing a diverse array of economies and regions covering all regions of California.

From top to bottom, east to west, coastal and inland, urban and rural – the Network is built upon a foundation of collaboration to move triple-bottom-line solutions that balance equity, the environment and the economy. While each of California’s regions are distinct, there are also many things that bind these regions together. It is through sharing resources, ideas, innovations and best practices that the Network lifts up solutions that can be implemented throughout the state.

Kate Roberts
It’s an honor to serve as co-chair of the Network — an alliance of regional organizations that are addressing the state’s most pressing economic, environmental, and equity challenges through innovative regions-up solutions. I’ve learned so much from the other leaders in the Network over the years, and look forward to continuing to broaden our reach and impact to help all Californians thrive.

Evan Schmidt
“I first got involved with the California Stewardship Network in 2017 as a fellow in the Becky Morgan Steward Leadership Program. Since that time, I have not only admired the members of the Network but I have also gained the perspective that the CSN is the values-driven, triple-bottom line, steward leadership group that California needs to meet the challenges at hand. I am humbled to be elected into the role of vice-chair and greatly value and appreciate the opportunity to take on a leadership role. I am looking forward to learning from the Network community and helping to crystalize and activate strategies that support equity, prosperity, and sustainability for regions across the state.”

Nick Ortiz
“Being selected as vice-chair of the Network is really an incredible opportunity, to not just grow personally or promote my region’s contributions to the state, but also to expand the thought-leadership around equitable economic growth. As a Latino, from a relatively small part of the state, it’s truly an honor to serve alongside such respected regional leaders and organizations. The Network and CA FWD have been pivotal partners in helping our region lift up our inclusive economic planning initiative – a Better Bakersfield and Boundless Kern or B3K Prosperity. I’m looking forward to working with the Network to not only continue learning from other regions, but advocate for this level of community engagement throughout California. This is not only important to the state but also vital to the future of inland California. From the energy we use, to the food we eat, to the packages that magically arrive on our doorsteps – all Californians need to appreciate that inland California is essential. Additionally, I really want to try and close the gaps between the perceived interests of businesses and the communities where they reside. I believe that as we emerge and recover from the pandemic, they are actually more aligned than ever.”