The California Economic Summit, produced by California Forward (CA FWD) and members of its California Stewardship Network, is built upon the principle that regional approaches to economic problem solving are critical to ensuring all Californians, regardless of zip code, have the opportunity to claim their California Dream.

The Summit’s priorities are directly responsive to and scaled to meet the challenges of today. Focusing on a set of specific proposals and positions where collaboratively we can make the biggest impact, the Summit develops triple-bottom-line solutions that balance racial and geographic equity, environmental sustainability and economic growth. From expanding homeownership and empowering resilient and productive landscapes, to bridging the digital divide and providing meaningful career pathways, the Summit is the only event of its kind where leaders across all sectors, industries and regions can come together to propel solution-oriented bipartisan collaboration to move the state forward.

The Summit influences CA FWD’s ongoing movement to improve government and create inclusive, sustainable growth. The event has been held in Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Ontario, San Diego, Santa Rosa, and Fresno.

You can read stories from the 2022 Summit here.

Sponsorship Opportunities 

We’d love to partner, learn here how your organization can contribute to this vital effort.

Summit Leadership and Partners

2022 Summit Regional Host Committee

Nick Ambrosini, Valley Strong Credit Union
Nick Ortiz, Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce
Connie Perez-Andreesen, National Vice President United Farm Workers
Mary Barlow, Kern County Superintendent of Schools
Greg Bielli, Tejon Ranch Company
Raji Brar, Countryside Corportation
Dana Brennan, Grimmway Farms
Andres Chavez, National Chavez Center
Camila Chavez, Dolores Huerta Foundation
Sonya Christian, Kern County Community District
Aaron Falk, Kern Community Foundation
Karen Goh, City of Bakersfield
Andrae Gonzelez, City of Bakersfield
Jennifer Haley, Kern Oil Refining
Brian Holt, IBEW
Ariana Joven, The Wonderful Company
Harveen Kaur, Jakara Movement
Ken Keller, Bakersfield Memorial Hospital – Dignity Health
Shawn Kerns, California Resources Corportation
Todd Lindner, Mojave Air & Space Port
Leticia Perez, Kern County Board of Supervisors
Mari Pérez-Dowling, United Way of Kern County
Zack Scrivner, Kern County Board of Supervisors
John Spaulding, KIM Central Labor Council
Scott Thayer, Castle & Cooke, Inc.
Amy Thelen, Bitwise
Jeremy Tobias, Community Action Partnership of Kern County
Lynette Zelezny, California State University, Bakersfield

Honorary Summit Chairs

Gavin Newsom, Governor of California
Leon Panetta, The Panetta Institute for Public Policy
Dianne Feinstein, United States Senator

Summit Committee

Jacqueline Martinez Garcel (Co-Chair), California Latino Community Foundation
Kate Roberts (Co-Chair), Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
Bill Allen, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
Matt Bogoshian, American Manufacturing Communities Collaborative
Oscar Chavez, Sonoma County
Kristin Connelly, East Bay Leadership Council
Lisa Downey, Morgan Family Foundation
Heidi Hill Drum, Tahoe Prosperity Center
Lucy Dunn, Orange County Business Council
Paul Granillo, Inland Empire Economic Partnership
Jennifer Hernandez, Holland & Knight
Glenda Humiston, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources
Jim Mayer, California Forward (Emeritus)
Kathleen Moxon, Redwood Coast Rural Action
Cynthia Murray, North Bay Leadership Council
Deborah Nankivell, Fresno Business Council
Pete Peterson, Pepperdine University
Mark Pisano, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy
Sean Randolph, Bay Area Council Economic Institute
Bruce Stenslie, Economic Development Collaborative – Ventura County
Duf Sundheim, GPS Mediation
Ashley Swearengin, Central Valley
Van Ton-Quinlivan, Futuro Health
Kate Meis Wright, CivicWell
Greg Wendt, Stakeholders Capital

Summit Work Group Leads

Increasing Community Investment
The Increasing Community Investment work group continues to focus on rethinking the process for making equitable infrastructure investments for economic revitalization through the development of state, regional and local funding tools. Building on last year’s white paper, the group works to identify steps the state can take to invest locally with immediate economic impact and advocates for legislation that would provide economic stimulus through place-based economic development tools.

Matt Horton, Milken Institute
Larry Kosmont, Kosmont Companies
Mark Pisano, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

Expanding Homeownership
Wealth creation through homeownership has been largely inaccessible to communities of color and marginalized and disenfranchised populations due to historical and ongoing systemic discrimination in the housing market. The work group is focused on developing scalable and sustainable place-based solutions to increase ownership of homes by middle- and lower-income communities and communities of color as part of CA FWD’s broader efforts to increase the state’s overall supply of housing.

Jennifer LeSar, LeSar Development Consultants
Timothy Hsu, California Housing Finance Agency
Adam Briones/John Gamboa, California Community Builders

Ensuring Broadband for All
During 2021, California made historic investments and policy commitments aimed at resolving California’s digital crisis. These accomplishments included $6 billion in broadband infrastructure improvements approved through budget legislation, and passage of two companion bills (AB 14 and SB4) authorizing extension of the surcharge on intrastate telecommunications services to support the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) through 2032. The Ensuring Broadband for All work group, along with other California Economic Summit partners, actively advocated for these state-level investments and policy achievements.

Trish Kelly, Valley Vision
Eduardo González, CSU Fresno Office of Community & Economic Development
Jason Schwenkler North State Planning and Development Collective

Providing Meaningful Career Pathways
The shifting policy and economic landscape post-COVID presents an opportunity to think about how we better align state resources to meet the workforce needs of a range of industries that offer good-paying jobs and will help California build back more equitably. As we look toward meeting the growing demand for skilled workers, this group is focused on helping employers, education institutions and regional intermediary organizations leverage historic state investments and integrate efforts that support better learner outcomes.

Jessica Ku Kim, Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation
Heddy Nam, UNITE-LA
Su Jin Jez, California State University, Sacramento
Michael Wiafe, CA FWD Young Leaders Advisory Council

Empowering Resilient and Productive Landscapes
During 2021, California lawmakers made notable investments and policy decisions to advance forest and community resiliency in the face of wildfires and a changing climate. While the investments were significant, the wildfire crisis continues with its steep toll on people, landscapes, water and other natural resources and communities. The Resilient Landscapes work group, along with other partners and stakeholders, are continuing to advocate for investments and solutions to the crisis.

Glenda Humiston, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources
Steve Frisch, Sierra Business Council
Bill Tripp, Karuk Tribe Department of Natural resources

Investing in Small Businesses Owned by People of Color
Numerous studies have shown the economic benefits of supporting and investing in local and small businesses owned by people of color, which often serve as the main catalyst behind employment growth and help attract new investment opportunities in underserved communities. This group seeks to achieve an inclusive economic recovery by focusing on lending practices to better support inclusion, lender-readiness and technical assistance offerings.

Josaline Cuesta, Small Business Majority
Tara Lynn Gray, California Office of the Small Business Advocate
Pat Fong Kushida, CalAsian Chamber