Page 1

Women in Business an

annual Overview Of Business & PrOfessiOnal wOmen - PuBlished OctOBer 2013






From finance, to health, to government to retail and more, local women are thriving in diverse industries. See inside this issue for more than 30 success stories.

The Healdsburg Tribune


Women securing leadership roles

Photo by Matthew Hall

christine tevini is the ceO of the windsor chamber of commerce and one of many women who have risen to the top of thier respective organizations. by Rollie Atkinson The debate and social analysis about the “glass ceiling,” women’s access to the corner office and the gender gap in salary, work assignments and leadership roles were all recently reignited by the publication of a new book written by Facebook’s female CEO. Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” has been at the top of the nation’s bestseller list since early summer. But it also has been the subject of much criticism and quarrelling. Some say her advice to “lean in” is too aggressive. Others have complained her view from her top post at the mercurial social media corporation is not in touch with the majority of women professionals seeking just to balance work with home. But she also has won high praise. Her main message is that despite the many

gender biases that are still operating all over the workplace, excuses and justifications won’t get women anywhere. “I still face situations that I fear are beyond my capabilities,” she writes. “I still have days when I feel like a fraud. And I still sometimes find myself spoken over and discounted while men sitting next to me are not. But now I know how to take a deep breath and keep my hand up. I have learned to sit at the table.” This annual special Women In Business publication offers a series of profiles of local women who have done just that. They not only have learned to sit at the table, but many now sit at the head of the table. Represented in these pages are CEOs, law, healthcare and financial professionals, sole proprietors, working moms and accomplished daughters. This Women In Business publication

has been published annually since the founding of the county’s Commission on the Status of Women in 1975. Lots has changed over those decades. Lots has not changed. And, based on recent employment and pay level statistics, more still needs to be done for women to gain equal access to corporate board rooms, salary levels and leadership roles. It’s not all about money and power. Many women, like some men, seek different balances between work, careers and homelife. But in a recent study conducted by the University of California at Davis, California women wage earners were still earning 85 cents less an hour than their male counterparts doing the same jobs. Almost half (46 percent) of the California workforce is female, but there is only one woman for every nine men among directors and highest-paid execuwOmen continues on page 10

Community First Credit Union • (707) 546-6000 •

Local Lady Lenders


ommunity First Credit Union has an all-women Real Estate Lending Department. The Sonoma County-based not-for-profit financial cooperative didn’t set out to hire only women, but as it grew to fulfill a growing lending demand by its 16,200 local members, it just happened. “We always look to hire the most experienced, ethical, loan professional who has deep roots in the local community,” explained Monika Besancon, Real Estate Loan Manager of Community First. “All four of our Loan Officers fit our criteria perfectly, and they all just happen to be women,” she added. Additionally, each of the financial cooperative’s four Loan Processors is also female. “There again, we sought the highest skill-set and we became the accidental one-gender loan shop,” mused Besancon. But there may be some advantages. “Stereotypically, finance seems to be dominated by men,” said Beth Rudometkin, who works from the company’s Guerneville branch. “I think a lot of Realtors and home buyers are often pleasantly surprised when they find they have a woman putting together the financial side of their deal.” According to the National Association of Realtors®, the average agent is 56 years old, and 60 percent are female. Moreover, on the buyer’s side of the equation, women direct the purchase of a new home 74 percent of the time. After homebuying couples, single-women are the largest group of homebuyers and the fastest growing home-buyer demographic. “Putting together a real estate transaction is all about numbers, communication and building relationships. Women tend to be pretty good at those things,” said Lorie McBeth, who operates from Community First’s Healdsburg office. “We can often make a solid bond with the borrower quickly,” she added. Is the all-woman real estate team working for Community First and its Membership? “We made $60,219,049 in local real estate loans last year, a gain of 94 percent from the previous year,” said Besancon. So far, through August of this year, the financial cooperative is funding home loans ahead of last year’s record pace. Last month alone, Community First funded nearly $6 million in real estate

left to right. top row: monika Besancon, real estate manager; Karen Kawana, loan Processor; sheryl Orndorff, loan Officer; catherine Brunner, loan Processor; alicia Burns, loan Officer; lorie mcBeth, loan Officer. Bottom row: annalisa Gunderson, loan Processor; sabrina silva, loan Processor; Beth rudometikin, loan Officer, and amanda Jamison, loan Processor. loans, with $2 million of that in home equity lines of credit. Community First differentiates itself with more than gender. As a not-for-profit, it only has to meet the costs it incurs to produce a loan. Therefore, out-of-pocket funds required from borrowers are usually much less than the big banks, often saving borrowers thousands of dollars. Also, because Community First is a depository institution, it can keep some of the loans it makes. This means Community First can do loans that others won’t touch, such as a rural property with an unfinished home, or an un-permitted second unit, or a home with agricultural income. “If the loan makes sense to us we can put it in our loan portfolio. This frees us up to find cre-

2 Women in Business • October 10, 2013

ative ways to make the loan work for an unconventional borrower or unconventional property,” said Alicia Burns, Loan Officer at the financial cooperative’s flagship branch at 501 College Ave., in Santa Rosa. Unlike the big banks that hire and fire loan officers depending on the refinance market (earlier this month, Wells Fargo announced the firing of 4,100 mortgage workers, and Bank of America is shedding 2,100 home loan employees), Community First concentrates on the home purchases and equity lines of credit. “There are many more parts to a purchase transaction,” said Sheryl Orndorff, who works from the company’s Sebastopol office. “You have a buyer, a seller, an agent, inspectors, and more, and all

racing against an escrow clock. It takes an experienced hand to manage all those moving parts,” she added. Together, the Loan Officers of Community First have more than a century of local, hands-on, home loan experience. “All of us have been in this business a long time, and we really appreciate working for a lender that puts people before profit. Our only concern is to do what’s right for the borrower,” summarized Besancon. Community First is a not-for-profit, full-service financial cooperative founded in 1961. It has six branches, including five in Sonoma County: Guerneville, Healdsburg, Santa Rosa (central and west) and Sebastopol.

Beach House Candles, LLC 418 Healdsburg Avenue • Healdsburg • 1-800-664-7610 •

A coastal boutique closer to home


tepping into Beach House Candles on Healdsburg Avenue, a potential shopper is whisked away to a homey cottage on the shore. Shelves are stocked with many varieties of candles, as you might expect but also prevalent are all the accoutrements that evoke the sea air, the cry of a gull, and overall, the calming scent of Olivia Spatz’s handmade candles. Spatz clearly loves what she does, making and selling her own line of environmentally friendly candles. She got her start as a farmers market vendor in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the business was born. “I really started the company for myself,” Spatz said. “I was just pouring candles for myself, and then it turned into a business. And in that process I created this extremely clean-burning recipe.” Beach House Candles are all vegan, made from 100 percent soy wax, with no aniline color dyes, no additives, all elements that Spatz, as a self-professed candle-lover, found that she prefers. “I would purchase about $50 of candles a week and I would always get headaches,” she said. So she went to work on a new recipe, finally landing on the present Beach House Candle, augmented by phthalate-free fragrance and essential oils and a cotton wick to minimize mushrooming, soot and smoke. With the realization that she now had a superior product to what she could find for sale, Spatz took the

Olivia spatz recently opened her Beach house candles boutique on the healdsburg Plaza where she sells 100 percent soy wax candles. farmers market by storm, amassing a huge following in Las Vegas. Eventually, however, Spatz, a California-native, decided she was

ready to expand the business and in the summer of 2013, opened up Beach House Candles, a new Healdsburg Avenue boutique. She can still be found in Las Vegas, however, where she still drives to the markets once a month, a nine-hour odyssey to bring her candles to her loyal customers. Some have proven so loyal that they’ve driven out find her candles in Healdsburg. Already, Beach House Candles is making its mark on the local scene. Currently Spatz is pursuing 34 different Whole Foods Markets, as well as having her candles in Molsberry Market and Pacific Market in Santa Rosa as well as Andy’s Produce Market in Sebastopol. Toad Hollow Tasting Room also carries Beach House Candles wine pillars. Beach House Candles has its heart in community spirit and giving back, too. A portion of every sale goes to Miracle Flights for Kids, a Nevada-based charity that helps fly children with cancer and other debilitating diseases to specialized medical treatment centers across the US.

“I started doing that the second that I was out doing farmers markets,” she said. “It’s just grown with us. It’s so exciting, it gives me chills. I told them, ‘Some day my checks to you will be really big!’” Even closer to home, Spatz is helping out Shone Farm, Santa Rosa Junior College’s outdoor education laboratory run by the Agriculture/Nature Resources Department. On one shelf she points out a number of colorful horse shoes. “Shone Farm donates their old horseshoes which we then sand down and paint,” she said. “Shone Farm then receives a portion of each of the sales of these good luck charms.” Even with the boutique being open only a couple of months, interest and demand in Beach House Candles is very high, meaning that Olivia’s husband, Kevin has come on board, helping with production. Spatz sees her company going far. “I want to see my candles all across the country,” she said. “I’m looking for a distributor to work with, someone who’s into clean products, to help me get them out there.”

Women in Business • October 10, 2013 3

Women in Business 2013 2013 Index Beach House Candles, LLC . .3 Carolyn Kelly, Attorney . . . . . 5 Chavez Family Cellars . . . . . . 6 Cloverdale Chamber . . . . . . . 5 Coffee Catz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Community First Credit Union . .2 Diva Salon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Elephant Ear Systems, Inc. . . 8 Earth Color Painting . . . . . . . 9 Gondola-Kinne Insurance . . . 9 Healdsburg Chamber . . . . . 10 Healdsburg District Hospital . .11 K-Tech Automotive . . . . . . . 12 KG Phillips, Key Properties . .13 Life Journey Coaching . . . . . 4 Mermaids Incognito Yoga . . 13

Rete / ereloom . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Sandy Mays . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Sebastopol Chamber . . . . . 15 Sonoma Coast Real Estate . .19 Sonoma Life Stories . . . . . . 15 Sonoma West Publishers . . 16 Soroptimist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Strong Financial Services . . 17 Summit State Bank . . . . . . . 18 The Hart Group . . . . . . . . . . 19 The UPS Store . . . . . . . . . . 20 Vanguard Property . . . . . . . 21 Vesta Publishing . . . . . . . . . 22 Windsor Chamber . . . . . . . . 22 Zizi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

WomEn in buSinESS 2013 is a special advertising supplement to the October 10, 2013 edition of: SONOMA WES

The Healdsburg Tribune







The Windsor Times All contents are copyrighted by ©Sonoma West Publishers, inc. Po box 518, Healdsburg, CA 95448 For additional copies call 433-4451

Publication Staff Production Ruby Reed Jim Schaefer Administration Rollie Atkinson Sarah Bradbury Penny Chambers Grace Garner

Editorial Kerrie Lindecker Matthew Hall David Abbott Laura McCutcheon Brandon Daubs Rollie Atkinson Lynda Hopkins

Advertising Sales Cherie Kelsay Lacey Burdette Steve Pedersen Paula Wise Sara Braun Neena Hanchett

Women in Business 2013 An annual collection of business and community leader profiles

Women at the forefront of business


onoma County has been at the forefront of women’s rights and has been an important place in the advancement and ongoing march for equal rights and professional development, at least since the founding in 1980 of the National Women’s History Project in Santa Rosa. That “march” does not seem to make the same large newspaper headlines it once did, but the historical reminders about how far women have advanced into new career fields, and arriving at the very top of many professions, can never be too few. Our annual Women in Business publication is nearly as old as the National Women’s History Project itself. Since the decade of the 1980s, we have chronicled the changes in our local professions, among our government leadership, throughout our communities and beyond with each year’s edition of Women In Business. And each year, we continue to be impressed by the diverse backgrounds of these women professionals, business owners and managers. Unlike others who might, we do not take their time-changing contributions and service for granted.

4 Women in Business • October 10, 2013

The breadth of these collected profiles is a tribute to both individual hard work and determination and an ongoing social advancement that was not made available to women before the last half of the last century. The women featured in this collection of profiles have come forward to share their stories as working mothers, family business partners and as community leaders. These profiles tell of hard labor, leadership, creativity and perseverance. Like most of us, these women juggle the hectic demands of wearing many hats and of perfecting multi-tasking. Represented in these pages are real estate and health care professionals, bankers and financial firms, retail and others. More important and common to just about every profile is a list of community contributions and leadership roles these women fill. Another common thread to these profiles is a sense of pride and belief in turning their business and professional successes into additional contributions back into the community. They take time to mention how much they appreciate their local customers and working with their fellow businesses in supporting a prosperous local

economy. When Molly Murphy MacGregor, Mary Ruthsdotter and others came together in 1980 to create the National Women’s History Project, there was a shortage of strong female role models for young girls. The National Women’s History Project soon formed a multicultural coalition of other organizations to expand the understanding of women’s contributions to U.S. history. From their efforts, Congress first declared an International Women’s Day (March 8), then a National Women’s History Week and finally a National Women’s History Month (March.) Have we finally arrived to a time where all women are welcome and recognized as full equals in all professions and leadership roles? So long as these and other women continue to make unique contributions to our community, their professions and our country, our annual publication, just like the National Women’s History Project itself, will consider it a privilege to chronicle both their work and spirit that has become an essential part of our local business community. And, we say thank you.

Carolyn Kelly, Attorney at Law 37 Old Courthouse Square, Suite 100 • Santa Rosa • 526-7466

Working with clients one-on-one


ince October of 2011, Attorney at Law Carolyn Kelly has offered estate planning, will, trust and probate services in a comfortable, one-on-one environment in her office on Santa Rosa’s Old Courthouse Square. Carolyn has been an attorney admitted in California since 1984, working part time in both California and Vermont, as well as full-time for a large firm in San Diego from 20032007 focusing on trust and estate litigation. In the fall of 2010, she made the decision to move to Sonoma County to practice as a solo attorney. “As a solo attorney, the quality of service I am able to provide to my clients is much higher now that I’m my own boss,” Carolyn said. “My agenda is just one client at a time. Everybody’s family is different; everybody’s circumstances are different. It is essential, being able to take that time to craft the plan or strategize the trust (or probate) administration that is just right

carolyn Kelly adds a personal touch to estate planning in her office on Old courthouse square. for them.” As an added bonus, Carolyn said,

“I was looking for a place in California that I thought was beauti-

ful. And with more trees, too.” Carolyn’s experience with litigation in San Diego has assisted her in advising clients — why not to have co-trustees, why not to have a trust go on too long, and more. “If you don’t do any estate planning either for your disability or death,” said Carolyn, “your family is thrown into chaos when one of those things happens. It’s very unpleasant. To spare your family the trouble and expense, come to an experienced estate planner and you’ll never have to think about it again.” For the future, Carolyn plans to continue providing personal, face-toface service to new and existing clients alike. She tries to take the unpleasantness out of estate planning by offering flat rates, free consultation and as much one-on-one time as people need. “Most people need estate planning but haven’t taken the next step,” said Carolyn. “I try to convince them that it’s not as scary as they think.”

Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce 126 N Cloverdale Blvd. • Cloverdale • 894-4470 •

Promoting local business and the community


obin Wilkerson, manager of the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce, is a native of Cloverdale. Her first experience with the Chamber came right out of high school, when she worked until leaving for college. After graduating from St. Mary’s college in Moraga, Robin began a long, illustrious career in business. From jobs in public relations and advertising in the early 90s, to aquaculture and even business management of an abalone facility on Kona, Hawaii, Robin brings an abundance of experience to her current position managing the Chamber. During her time running the Chamber, Robin plans to increase local business by increasing tourist attraction, installing a new “Welcome to Cloverdale” sign south of town on highway 101, and promoting Chamber members. She also has high hopes for Cloverdale’s burgeoning arts program. “We are starting to hone in on the

robin wilkerson promotes local business and events from her office at the cloverdale chamber of commerce. arts,” said Robin. “We have the Cloverdale Performing Arts Center, which puts on a season of plays as

well as other live entertainment throughout the year. We have the Cloverdale Arts Alliance, who puts

on our Friday night music series in conjunction with the farmers market, which has become very successful throughout the summer months. We have live music at a number of venues in town on a weekly basis year-round.” In addition to a renaissance of the arts, Robin is also excited for the Chamber to host more traditional events as well. “We just had our 20th anniversary Cloverdale Car and Motorcycle Show,” Robin said. “We had over 200 cars this year, including our best of show 1955 Nomad and our Harley Davidson Motorcycle. We had a cruise on Friday night, which was a parade of the cars headed through town, and we had the car show itself which drew people from all over the region. We will definitely continue the show.” More information on the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce can be found on the new website,

Women in Business • October 10, 2013 5

Chavez Family Cellars Healdsburg • • • (707) 431-9920

Artisan winery focused on giving back


havez Family Cellars is a small artisan winery in Healdsburg with its roots based firmly in family, community and a deep belief in helping others. Linda Mayberry-Chavez and her husband Carlos Chavez began their winery while owning a risk management and human resources company, helping vineyard owners and wineries comply with the law and ensure the health and safety of their employees. Linda appreciates the way her winery business can help others. She regularly volunteers the winery to help raise money for important causes. “It’s a labor of love. I've had a passion for volunteer work since I was a little kid,” Linda says. Linda has been an active member of Soroptimist International of Healdsburg for 9 years and is a Past President and a current Board Member and Grant Committee Member of CFSC-HA. Selected to pour at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Sonoma County 25th Anniversary of its scholarship program, as well as other events, including the launch of Scholarship Sonoma County, Chavez Family Cellars has become a much-sought-after winery for community events. Linda poured their Carlin’s Blend Cabernet Sauvignon and Elsa’s Blend Sauvignon Blanc at Taste of Sonoma this summer, which raises funds for multiple charities. She was also selected to pour at the successful Wine, Women & Shoes event, where local philanthropists gathered to raise funds for Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County. “We were honored to be a part of such a special event.” Despite her focus on philanthropy, Linda recognizes that Chavez Family Cellars is a business. Her goal is to grow it and assure that it will be here for years to come, so the family can continue to help others. In May, the Sonoma County Economic Development Board created the inaugural Business Appreciation Week to acknowledge successful local businesses. In Healdsburg, Chavez Family Cellars was selected by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Sonoma County to receive that recognition. “We’re starting to realize that this little dream is going somewhere.” Linda says. Linda and Carlos created the “Cha-Cha-Cha” Wine Club as a direct way to introduce their wines to people who want to make a connection with their family business. They are happy to announce that their 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Carlin’s Blend Alexander Valley won a Gold Medal at the 2013 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. "I have so much gratitude for so many people who have been instrumental in helping us fulfill our dream.” Linda says. "First, and foremost, Ray and Lori Teldeschi. We are eternally grateful for their years of friendship and for helping us plant a stake in Healdsburg as a newly married couple. It was because of them that our primary business, SECA, LLC flourished. They opened their doors to us and introduced us to key people in Dry Creek Valley, but were clear we had to do the work on our own. No one gets anywhere all by themselves and the gratitude we have for them is immense." “There are so many people who helped us along the way. I wish I could name them all! I would like to extend a special thanks to people I admire in the

6 Women in Business • October 10, 2013

linda mayberry chavez and her husband carlos own and operate chavez family cellars and take every opportunity to support the community that supports them. wine industry, like Susie Selby, Jim Murphy, and the Ellis Alden Family." Perseverance is important to the Chavez Family. Linda and Carlos were the first in their immediate families to graduate from college and currently maintain a successful risk management firm while cultivating the growth of their artisan winery. Their initial passion of caring for the people who tend the vines and those who make the wine is still very relevant. And that fortitude gives Linda the courage to pour wine with already established Alexander Valley wineries at events, to build on that momen-

tum and be recognized. She says, "OK, we can be at that table. We have a quality product and we can help people along the way.” They are also creating a second label, Lupe Luna, after her grandmother and portion of the proceeds will be given to charity. “You get these moments in time and you have to grab them or they may not come again, and I think we’re at one of those moments now and you’d better believe we're grabbing it. We know there are going to be setbacks, but if you just have that belief, that starts with yourself, great things can happen.”

Coffee Catz 6761 Sebastopol Ave. • Sebastopol • 829-6600 •

A beautiful frame for your canvas inspires creativity


ebby Meagher, owner of Coffee Catz for the past 21 years along with her daughter Keli, have made a unique, fun filled gathering place, not only for Sebastopol, but for the entire West County. Over the past two-plus decades, Coffee Catz has become a place to enjoy great coffee, food, music, art and special events. In addition to providing a venue for community gatherings and consciousness raising activities, Coffee Catz has been roasting coffee for 21 years. “We were the first roastery in Sebastopol,” Debby said. “It’s fantastic to serve fresh roasted organic coffee and homemade delicious food, just like your mom would make.” To show her appreciation for the bounty of Sonoma County, Debby offers Coffee Catz as a venue for special events, such as holiday parties, birthdays, anniversaries, music recitals, fund-raising benefits

for 21 years, debby meagher (standing), owner of coffee catz, and her daughter Keli have offered freshly roasted coffee in sebastopol’s original roastery. and even for living celebrations of life. When you walk into Coffee Catz

— which has been called Sebastopol’s living room — you immediately feel warm, cozy and

welcomed. And Debby does her best to inspire those around her. In July, she brought home a World Class Gold Medal from the International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA) that took place in Zakynthos, Greece. She began competing to get over her fear of public speaking. To get to Greece, Debby had to win three competitions. In all, she won four gold medals. “My message is: Don’t let anything stop you. Be unstoppable. Follow your dreams and go through your fears.” “But the heart of Coffee Catz is you, the customer.” Debby’s mission is to provide world-class coffee in a place where the community can be inspired and love through life. Coffee Catz is open every day 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Check out the calendar online at or stop by for a fresh cup of coffee and some inspiration.

Diva Salon 910 McClelland Drive • Windsor • 837-9663 •

An upbeat salon with proven style


iva Salon is a cut above the rest, when it comes to providing clients a positive experience and salon services they want to come back for. Windsor’s upscale but fun, comfortable but luxurious salon, houses a team of stylists, two aestheticians, and a manicurist who believe in making their clients feel pampered. Owners Sheri Perezchica and Angela Gobbi have made it a point since they went into business together 12 years ago, to see that their salon focuses on making clients look and feel their best, catering to their individual needs, whether that means a cutting edge haircut, a timeless look, or a natural or no-fuss style. “Our hair stylists are comfortable working with all types of hair and listen carefully to the preferences and desires of their clientele,” Perezchica said, noting, Diva Salon also carries the products that help give clients the look they want, including Enjoy and Bumble and Bumble.

the owners of diva salon: angela Gobbi and sheri Perezchica.

In addition to hairstyling, Diva Salon offers personalized facials, makeup consultations and application, manicures and pedicures, waxing services and spray tanning. Massages may also be scheduled on Fridays. But that’s not all. Diva Salon also provides a wide range of wedding services, including but not limited to, professional makeup and hair artists who work on location the day of the wedding, practicing hair styles ahead of time, applying photography-ready makeup, and creating up-dos that will last all day. “So whether you need a trim, a new look, or a special style for a special day, Diva’s professional staff can provide it. People always say there is such a great energy here. And we always try to have a friendly, welcoming atmosphere,” Gobbi said. To make an appointment call 8379663 or visit, where you can schedule your own appointment, and then receive an email reminder the day before.

Women in Business • October 10, 2013 7

Elephant Ear Systems, Inc. 6934 Burnett St. • Sebastopol • 829-8418 •

Working for you with help from cyberspace

the ladies of elephant ear systems, inc. Pictured from left to right: President Geni houston, and her staff Karin anderson, and deanna mcclellan.


ith today’s technology advancing at a rapid rate, it’s never been easier for Geni Houston and her staff at Elephant Ear Systems to accommodate their clients. Elephant Ear Systems, Inc., founded by Houston in 1991, installs, customizes and trains on QuickBooks, and also contract bookkeeping or controller services. The Elephant Ear staff can even advise you on your file system structure. With almost 200 clients, Houston is thrilled to be working in the industry at a time when cloud computing simplifies working with QuickBooks, Microsoft, and so forth. “In many cases, you aren’t buying the software and putting it on your computer, instead you purchase a license through the Web, which you don’t have to buy updates for, doesn’t take up your computer space, and you can access it from anywhere,” Houston said. Virtual file maintenance and storage goes along with cloud computing, she said, noting people are scanning documents and using virtual files instead of printing them out. Programs like Basecamp and Dropbox allow users to share documents without mailing, or faxing, or having to give them paper. And then there is online banking. Many people have been using online banking for years, but now

8 Women in Business • October 10, 2013

QuickBooks integrates online banking into its own pending,” she said pointing to her computer screen. program. So instead of going to your bank website “This won’t take the place of your contracts or and paying it through your bank, and then turning your calendar, but it’s just a wonderful place to put around and reentering it into your information for sharing with my accounting software, you enter it “The bottom line is, whole staff. … It’s a fun time to be once in your QuickBooks and send in this business,” Houston said. virtual accounting it directly there, so you are not Elephant Ear also offers its doing double entry. using the integrated clients remote access. Meaning “The bottom line is, virtual clients don’t need to physically be programs, saves accounting using the integrated in Houston’s office to use her servprograms, saves time and money time and money for ices; they simply need to have their for our clients and keeps us workcomputer turned on. She just logs our clients.” ing on our own equipment, which onto a website on her computer — we keep at the top of the technology — Geni Houston she has already installed the same edge,” Houston said. “We can work software on her client’s computer in our own setting where we have our tools and that and she just dials in and takes control of their comis much more efficient.” puter. Clients can watch her, but they don’t have to For example, Elephant Ear does licensing work be there, she said, noting this service is used by for wineries and uses software that can access established clients who know and trust her. monthly or quarterly reporting that integrates In addition to new virtual tools, Elephant Ear directly with its ecommerce. Systems, Inc., has a new home. The business recentAnd then there’s Microsoft OneNote, which is just ly moved to 6934 Burnett St. an excellent tool for information sharing, Houston To learn how you can spend less time on our booksaid. “If I wanted to know when a task was complete, keeping and more time on increasing your bottom then I can, without asking or looking it up, simply line, Call 829-8418, or email Houston at genihouslook here and see that any task is completed, or

Earth Colors Painting 70 Commerce Lane • Cloverdale • 894-4342 •

Environmentally friendly paint services


or nearly 20 years, Earth Colors Painting owner Diana Schraner has offered interior paint and finishing services to Cloverdale residents, and hopes to expand her business into Healdsburg and Windsor as well. She said the name of her shop, Earth Colors Painting, comes from her desire to use eco-friendly paints and materials. “I like to stay on top of the newest paints,” she said. “Milk paint, chalk paint, stuff that is biodegradable.” Diana grew up in Switzerland, where she completed an apprenticeship in painting in 1987. “In Switzerland you learn wallpapering, gold leafing and plastering as well as painting,” she said. “Everything. Not just painting, everything.” After moving back to Cloverdale in 1992, Diana earned her contractor’s license and began work as a decorative interior contractor. Her experience in the area includes work on private residences as well as commercial hotels and tasting rooms, such as the Hampton in

Professional painter diana schraner at home in her workshop at 70 commerce lane, cloverdale. Windsor, the Asti and Topel wineries, and even the Cloverdale Boys and Girls Club, to name a few. Diana is proud to say that in addi-

tion to interior painting and patterning with both straight color and special finish paints, she also restores the finish on old furniture– even some fur-

niture that people might refer to as “junk.” “Right now I’m working on a part of a piano,” said Schraner. “I like to take junk furniture that people are about to throw out and upcycle it. I also offer workshops where people can bring their old furniture in, and then using my supplies and expertise, they can refinish it here.” According to Schraner, she would like to see more customers participate in these workshops– to bring in their old worn-out furniture, make use of the facilities and materials already available, and maybe learn a thing or two about refinishing while they’re at it. Diana also hopes to someday attract enough business to be able to hire some help at the shop. “I want to create jobs for kids that want to learn a trade that for me has been a lot of fun,” she said. “I’d like to teach someone. Like an apprenticeship.” More information on Diana and Earth Colors Painting can be found at her website,

Gondola-Kinne Insurance Agency, Inc. 1241 Grove Street • Healdsburg • 433-3344 •

Providing personal customer service for your insurance needs


ennifer Waddington has been a Healdsburg resident almost all her life, and brings that small-town attention to each of her clients in the Sonoma County area. With 12 years of experience working with Gondola-Kinne and eight years as an agent, as well as a degree in human development, Jennifer provides a personal level of service and strives to understand each individual client’s needs. “Our office rea lly values customer service,” Jennifer said. “It allows me to really work closely with my clients.” Jennifer sells property and causality insurance including but not limited to: home, auto, umbrella, business owners, winery, workers compensation, and professional liability. Her primary client base is small businesses as well as individuals. In the eight years she has spent as an agent, her business continues to grow, mostly through referrals. “Helping people is my priority,” Jennifer said. “Providing personal service and understanding each individual client’s needs is essential. I don’t want to sell them something they don’t need, but I also don’t want them to be underinsured.” Jennifer’s goal is to expand her client base while continuing to provide the best possible customer service. While growing her business is important,

Jennifer waddington has been serving sonoma county’s insurance needs for almost eight years. so to is giving back to the community. Jennifer hopes to be able to give back more as her business

grows. Jennifer has been a member of the Healdsburg Soroptimists for four years, is a former member of the Healdsburg Active 20-30 club, and even assisted the Rotary Club with their Choices program for the Healdsburg High School in 2011 and 2012. In addition to helping coordinate the Soroptimist annual fundraiser Beer in the Plaza, Jennifer will also be taking over the distribution of Soroptimist scholarships this year. According to Jennifer, experience helps her to better serve customers, both in Healdsburg and the rest of Sonoma County. “It allows me to know what companies will write particular risks,” she said, “so if somebody brings me something unusual, I’ll know where to go to give a n estimated value immediately instead of waiting three weeks to do research.” “When my clients buy insurance, they get me,” she said. “My clients do not have to contact the carriers directly with their questions rather I prefer to be contracted directly so I can assist them to the best of my ability. There are many avenues for individuals and businesses to purchase insurance (including the internet) so when people decide to work with a local agent it is my belief that it is MY JOB to provide each client with outstanding customer service.”

Women in Business • October 10, 2013 9

Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau 217 Healdsburg Avenue • Healdsburg • 433-6935 •

Your business partner and Healdsburg’s front door


he Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau wants to be your business partner. And who better than its competent staff housed in the 1,000 square foot administration building adjacent to the Visitors Bureau. Working with Executive Director Carla Howell are Business and Membership Development Director Jennifer LeBrett, Finance and Operations Manager Charlene Staton, and Administrative Assistant Aleena Conway. The Chamber’s Board of Directors is made up of community business leaders, and representatives from the school district and city council on rotating terms. The Healdsburg Visitors Bureau operates as the front door to Healdsburg. Currently staffed with 15 community volunteers, the bureau is the first stop for hundreds of the visitors each year. Services and programs at the Chamber include “Business Builders,” a series of educational workshops

the women of the healdsburg chamber of commerce (pictured left to right): charlene staton holding chamber dog Juliette, Jennifer le Brett, and carla howell. not pictured aleena conway. intended to address business trends and issues including such topics as social media, and remaining competi-

tive in an ever changing market. The Chamber also sponsors a number of events each year including the annual

wOmen from page 1 tives. In California, only 13 of the 400 largest companies have a woman CEO. But it is also true that California has two female U.S. Senators, five female members of U.S. Congress and 32 female state legislators. “We might be getting close to 50/50 in the workplace,” said one of the study’s commentators, “but it is still 90/10 at home.” In Sonoma County, since the inception of the Commission on the Status of Women, more and more women have assumed leadership of local non-profits, government agencies and business leadership groups such as local chambers of commerce. Some of the statistics — especially in Sonoma County — are influenced by personal lifestyle choices. Healdsburg District Hospital’s new Image provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics CEO Nancy Schmid explains it this way: “Women like Sue Campbell (hos- women’s earnings as a percent of men’s, full-time wage and salary workers, pital trustee) and I chose to live in a california and the united states, 1997 – 2011 annual averages. small community for a variety of reasons and work in healthcare. We could have decided to work in bigger cities to clients, perhaps sacrificing a higher, trust (or probate) administration that is like San Francisco or Santa Rosa, but big city hourly rate. just right for them,” she said. we made a conscientious choice to live “My agenda is just one client at a Business and finance consultant here instead.” time. Everybody’s family is different; Geni Houston, owner of Elephant Ear Attorney Carolyn Kelly, of Santa everybody’s circumstances are different. Systems in Sebastopol has grown her Rosa prefers to work in a setting where It is essential, being able to take that business at her own pace since 1991. she can provide more personal attention time to craft the plan or strategize the She now serves 200 clients but can still

10 Women in Business • October 10, 2013

Harvest Century Bike Tour, the Home and Garden Show and the newly revamped Tradeshow, called the Healdsburg Business Showcase and Community Resource Fair, happening from 3 to 7 p.m., Oct. 9 in the Plaza. The Chamber is also the business arm of the Downtown Business District and the newly formed Healdsburg Tourism Improvement District. “The Healdsburg Chamber plays two distinct roles in the community: One, as a voice for the business community and the other as the face of the community through the Visitor Bureau. Though distinctly different, these two roles work together because tourism provides a number of jobs and income into the community and in turn, supports local businesses,” Howell said, noting, her goal is to keep the Chamber playing a vital and active role in the Healdsburg community. “A community is only as strong as its businesses. If businesses are vital, the community will reflect that vitality … it will be a better place to live.”

“we could have decided to work in bigger cities like san francisco or santa rosa, but we made a conscientious choice to live here instead” — Nancy Schmid, Healdsburg District Hospital CEO

carefully match her services with new clients, rather than seek to be overly competitive or growth-oriented. Among this year’s Women In Business profiles, some readers might suspect a “Superwoman” or two, but more likely they will encounter a successful working mother or partner, who measures success by more than just payscale. At the same time, it is these local female business managers and owners who have led the professional and financial advances for all working women. “I have always assisted others and invested in my own community. It is imbedded in my character to give back,” said Healdsburg’s Loretta Strong, a financial advisor who changed career at the age of 43 and has never had to look back.

Healdsburg District Hospital 1375 University Avenue • Healdsburg • 473-4400 •

Top quality care within the community


ancy Schmid, the new CEO of Healdsburg District Hospital (HDH) knows how essential minutes can be. Just prior to moving to Healdsburg, she was faced with a family emergency that reinforced her career commitment to rural health care. “One of my children was at a swimming pool when she collapsed. Fortunately, there is a hospital in the tiny rural town where we lived and the ambulance took her directly to the Emergency Department within minutes. Shortly after arriving at the hospital she collapsed again and was treated immediately and put on telemetry (heart monitoring),” Schmid recalled. In an emergency situation, health outcomes are directly linked to how long a patient waits prior to receiving hospital care. For north county residents, the services that HDH provides can literally mean the difference between living life fully or as each minute passes increase related health disability and even death. “If the rural hospital had not been there, critical time would have passed before she was treated and the outcome may not have been positive,” Schmid said. Schmid recently moved to Healdsburg from Oklahoma where she was CEO of Kingfisher Regional Hospital for the past three years. Prior to that, from 2008 to 2010, Schmid was CEO of East Morgan County Hospital in Brush, Colorado. “My passion has been to advocate

nancy schmid (left) is the new ceO of healdsburg distric hospital. sue campbell is the newest board member of the north sonoma county healthcare district. keeping rural hospitals open. Critical access hospitals are in danger of going out of business or taken

over by big hospitals. The truth is, we need rural hospitals so that people have good health outcomes,” Schmid said. Schmid’s depth of experience in rural community hospitals is well matched to the extensi ve experience another new female leader brings to HDH: board member Sue Campbell, who has spent decades immersed in the world of healthcare information systems management. While Schmid is looking forward to ensuring that HDH maintains its own financial health while providing top-quality medical care to its patients; Campbell is looking forward to assisting the hospital’s transition to an electronic medical record system. “It’s very important for the hospital to install an electronic medical record system before 2015, which is a point in time where federal funding will stop and the hospital will be penalized if they don’t have this. There are millions of dollars at stake,” Campbell said.

Although Schmid is newly arrived in Sonoma County, she has already fallen in love with the community and is looking forw ard to getting to know her fellow residents. “People like Sue Campbell and I chose to live in a small community for a variety of reasons and work in healthcare. We could have decided to work in bigger cities like San Francisco or Santa Rosa, but we made a conscientious choice to live here instead. Sonoma County provides a wonderful life style,” Schmid said. Schmid and Campbell plan to ensure that in additi on to appreciating all that Sonoma County has to offer, north county residents have access to top-quality, communitybased health care -- a hospital that is ready to serve residents when minutes count. “The door to physician time at HDH averages 13-minutes. The average wait time in the hospitals to the south of HDH is four or more hours,” said Schmid.

Women in Business • October 10, 2013 11

K-Tech Automotive 198 South High Street • Sebastopol • 824-6881 •

Caring for your community: Kate’s compassion “My staff and I are so happy that we are able to gift a quality vehicle to a deserving individual and make their life easier.” — Kate Jonasse


uto repair is more than just turning nuts and bolts and fixing a car, it’s also about expressing personal values, caring for others transportation and keeping the roads safe. Kate Jonasse, the owner of K-Tech Automotive, has spent the last fourteen years providing her expertise as a mechanic and has become legendary in the local community for her outstanding honest service and devotion to her customers. Last year, Kate expanded K-Tech Automotive by moving to a new facility in Sebastopol. By doing this, Kate has been able to keep up with her ever growing customer demand and has continued to give amazing service and advice to her customers. Kate, a certified ASE Master Technician, discovered a passion for auto repair at age 17 when she purchased her first vehicle, a piece of junk pick-up truck that would never start. Kate commented, “It was my responsibility to keep it running. I saw it as a challenge to learn something new.” Kate soon became an expert at diagnostic work and her compassion for people helped her grow a following of friends and customers. Kate truly cares about her customers and their safety on the road. Her work ethic and compassion for people has created a lot of good will toward her and K-Tech Automotive. She said, “It’s sometimes a tough job to deal with all of the responsibilities in this business and one has to be able to dissipate the negative energy that may come in. I want to radiate positive energy and I want positive energy to come back to me. This way I can make a living for myself, provide a living for my fantastic team, and deliver a necessary service to better my community.” Kate supports and serves her community through her business by doing the best repairs on her customers’ vehicles and through her Annual Car Giveaway. This year Kate’s giveaway will be held at K-Tech Automotive on October 5th. She will be giving away a beautiful, up to date, safety inspected 2002 Buick Regal with a one-year service package through K-Tech Automotive. Kate is excited to be able to give away another car this year. “My staff and I are so happy that we are able to gift a quality vehicle to a deserving individual and make their life easier.” Last year Kate’s car giveaway brightened the life of Dani Burlison, a single mother of two children, a writer and local activist. The blue ’95 Honda Civic that Kate gave to Dani has improved Dani’s ability to get to work, donate her time, spend time with her children and participate in more workshops that help the local community. The blessing of getting a reliable car with a year of free maintenance has allowed Dani to add even more value to the community and

12 Women in Business • October 10, 2013

Kate Jonasse supports and serves her community through her business K-tech automotive. has had such a positive impact on her life and that of her children as well. Kate is an integral part of the community she lives and works in. She works hard to make sure her customers travel safely and are in good

hands by coming to K-Tech Automotive. By providing good quality repairs with a 2-year warranty, Kate backs up her work fully and is always happy to take a look under the hood just to make sure you are safe too.

Katherine ‘K.G.’ Phillips of Key Properties 4908 Sonoma Highway • Santa Rosa • 538-5115 •

We open doors!


elling real estate is a passion for Katherine ‘K.G.’ Phillips, broker and owner of Key Properties in Santa Rosa, and she brings her enthusiasm to every transaction with new and existing clients. “There is no glass ceiling in real estate,” said K.G. “It’s a good thing. You can go as far as you want. Nobody’s to tell you that you can’t do it.” K.G. first began her career in real estate in 1976 with RJV Realty, and has since worked with Centennial, Town & Country, and Platinum Properties before moving on to a partnership in Key Properties in 1988. Soon after that, she acquired full ownership of the business and has been serving the real estate needs of Sonoma County with her dedicated team for 25 years. The staff at Key Properties brings over 100 years of combined real estate experience to each transaction. “It takes a dedicated group of

the professional women at Key Properties wear many hats. associates who don’t know the meaning of slowing down,” she said. “We work together and bring our best to

our clients, no matter what they need.” In addition to buying and selling,

Key Properties also offers services in property management of single-family homes, apartments, mobile homes, condominiums, multi-unit complexes and even some commercial leases. According to K.G., Key Properties is always looking for new clients while they continue to maintain an ongoing relationship with past clients. The staff at Key Properties is also actively involved in giving back to the community, working with organizations such as Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, the American Legion, the Yountville Veteran’s Home in Santa Rosa and the Italian Catholic Federation, just to name a few. K.G. said there is never a bad time to invest in real estate. “Values have gone up within the first six months of this year,” she said. “It has increased business. Finally people are realizing they missed the bottom. You never wait…you go and you see something you want, and buy it.”

The Mermaids Incognito Yoga 172 B. North Main St. • Sebastopol • (707) 537-5746 •

The Mermaids Incognito Yoga unifies body, mind and spirit


egistered yoga instructor Elizabeth Rakestraw, of the Mermaids Incognito Yoga, will meet you at your comfort level, and teach you all you need to know about healing your body, quieting your mind, and building core strength. Elizabeth started practicing martial arts in the basement at her school when she was just 9-years-old, and from there got heavily involved in Krav Maga (street fighting). The experience transformed her life, but with the positive aspects came regular injuries from sparing with men twice her size. Hence she started yoga therapy at the age of 13, and has never stopped. She is still dedicated to martial arts, but these days Elizabeth mainly focuses on the healing qualities of yoga. “Yoga is my method of healing my body. It keeps me grounded and strengthens me from the inside out,” said Elizabeth, who has been teaching since 2009. Yoga is for everybody, she said. “Yoga therapy is about meeting someone where they are. I teach classes

Yoga is the vessel for instructor elizabeth rakestraw’s biggest passion: the ocean. you can take wherever you want. If you are at a beginning level, I will modify it for that, if you have been practicing for a while, you will also feel challenged

and comfortable,” she said, noting she is most passionate about restorative yoga. She is equally passionate about ocean conservation work, which is

where the name for her business comes in. “I created, organized and accomplished a statewide beach cleanup, which began June 1 at Imperial Beach and ended in Florence, Ore., in September. I invited communities to join me for a day of yoga, open discussion, and action. We brought forth ideas for living symbiotically with nature, and information about marine life, habitats and the things that are affecting our ocean’s health. In all, with the help of family and friends we cleaned a total of 52 beaches, collected over 1,000 pounds of trash from the coastline, and donated over $1,000 to the Marine Mammal Center,” Elizabeth said. “Martial arts gave me my strength and my courage, but ocean conservation is my spirits calling and my biggest passion. Yoga therapy is the vessel,” she said. Elizabeth teaches yoga from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays, at the Downtown Dance/Art Space. She is also available for personal sessions.

Women in Business • October 10, 2013 13

Life Journey Coaching, LLC Patricia J. London 120 Pleasant Hill Avenue #160 • Sebastopol • (707) 477-8231 •

Helping you access your intuition


atricia J. London, certified life coach and spiritual mentor, has decades of experience helping individuals achieve their goals and dreams. She shares her knowledge and experience at her Life Journey Coaching studio in Sebastopol. “My studio is a calming, safe place for people to engage in a life visioning process, listen to their inner wisdom, and learn to follow it,” she says. “I don’t tell my clients whi ch pathway to take. I see myself as a perceptive listener and trusted guide who asks the right questions along the way.” One client writes: “Patricia is a spiritual force field who models the methods she encourages her clients to apply. Along with gentle compassion, she is strong, solid, and clear in both her intuitive observations and her carefully considered counsel.” Patricia has a wealth of tools in h er pocket to help clients differentiate between rational thinking, emotional feeling, and intuitive wisdom. She started meditating at the age of 16. Her career as a teacher and mentor began right out of high school, at an orphanage in Germany. Patricia has been an elementary school teacher, a Brain Gym practitioner, an educational tutor, a minister and a counselor. Her meditation practice has evolved and deepened over more than three and a half decades and is

Patricia J. london is a certified life coach who is hoping to make the world a better place by helping her clients reach thier full potential. a vital foundation of her life and work today. “Besides being regularly engaged

the life Journey coaching studio is designed to be a sanctuary and a safe place for clients to find comfort while Patricia helps them find their paths.

14 Women in Business • October 10, 2013

in my own meditation practice, I start each coaching session with a centering meditation,” she explains. “I teach my clients the value of sitting in silence and listening from within. In the 1990s, when I worked extensively with children with dyslexia, I found that if we did some brain/body movement followed by a few minutes of meditation, the children could fully focus for the balance of the hour.” She enjoyed helping the children discover their sense of connection to self and see their challenges as opportunities instead of problems, which, in part, led her to life coaching. In 2002 Patricia earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Education and Human Dev elopment. She completed a two-year life and business coaching training course and became a certified life coach in May 2010. Two months later she launched Life Journey Coaching LLC and she and her work have thrived ever since. While she occasionally coaches couples, Patricia’s work is mainly with individuals. Her clients come to her seeking greater clarity about a

career or relationship, to explore spirituality, for help taking the next step on their journey, or because they want to discover how to live a more meaningful and purposeful life. They are in transition and often don’t know where they are headed. Patricia helps them navigate these transitions, infusing them each session with a sense of hope and possibility. Patricia is also passionate about leading groups. She facilitates several women’s groups, a grief support group, spiritual inquiry groups, oneday retreats, and classes on meditation and developing intuition. The value of working with Patricia has benefits beyond the personal, too. As she says, “When a person feels profoundly heard and seen, an opening to their authentic self can emerge and they can live in alignment with their own truth. The more we can cultivate compassion and see ourse lves and our truth as part of a much greater, interconnected web of life, the better off our world will be.” For a free one-hour consultation, call Patricia at Life Journey Coaching, 707-477-8231, or visit

Sebastopol Area Chamber of Commerce 265 S. Main Street • Sebastopol • 823-3032 •

Sebastopol’s hub


he Sebastopol Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, also known as the “hub” for business and community, has an energetic group of board members working on its behalf. The Board, a diverse group of men and women, work together to enhance a strong local economy and to build community. Many of the women at the Chamber serve in leadership roles or in their own sole proprietorships. The women all work in the community and participate in numerous activities and organizations, and as a result each brings something unique to the table. “As the “hub” we are building relationships with government, other nonprofits, visitors, big and small business, other business associations and community,” said Sebastopol’s Westamerica Bank Vice President Linda Collins. A membership-based organization, businesses and individuals are encouraged to join in the mission and vision of the Chamber and Visitor

women of the sebastopol area chamber of commerce. Pictured from left to right: Board vice President linda collins, Board director lu frazier, and chamber executive director teresa ramondo. Board director sue ungewitter is not pictured.

Center, which offers many benefits to its members and provides many services to the public at large. In addition to serving as the business and community hub, the Sebastopol Area Chamber of Commerce also coordinates and financially supports the annual Apple Blossom Festival, the annual Holiday Tree Lighting and the Community Awards to mention a few. The Chamber serves as the promotional arm for the town, utilizing the popular brand “Local Flavor. Global Vision.” at every opportunity. With a membership of about 350 businesses and individuals it hosts two websites and promoting the town and the businesses; participates in social media, Facebook and manages local community calendars. The hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. In addition to our website, we can be reached at 823-3032.

Sonoma LifeStories Healdsburg • 431-2445 •

Personal memoirs and local family histories


honnie Brown, longtime author of the Neighbors column in the Healdsburg Tribune, writes personal memoirs as well as local family and winery histories through her business, Sonoma LifeStories. Besides working as a writer, memoir teacher, freelance editor, ghostwriter and columnist, Shonnie brings to Sonoma LifeStories 20 years of interviewing and listening skills as a psychotherapist. “It’s a joy to write about local people,” notes Shonnie. “I have gotten to know so many through my interviews and through the memoir classes I teach at the Healdsburg Senior Center. Sonoma LifeStories branches from book-length and brief memoirs to website writing and editing of written work. I especially love working with local businesses, seniors, veterans and viticulturists, and researching historical data. “One of the benefits of hiring me as a memoir author or consultant is that I allow you to choose the length memoir you can afford and it will be thoroughly organized and complete. Some people enjoy writing all or parts of their own stories and others want me to write the memoir in its entirety. My job

is always to end up with a great finished product and to provide excellent service.” Shonnie feels infinitely fortunate to live in a town with such rich history and with so many fascinating people. Over the past year she has written three brief personal memoirs, a book-length family memoir and the history of a local family-owned vineyard. Besides editing projects for private clients, she has edited three books authored by her writing students. Shonnie organized and edited the Healdsburg Senior Center anthology Tuesday Morning Memories, which has sold over 500 copies locally and on She is currently writing her own book entitled Healdsburg’s Immigrants. “I love all aspects of writing,” Shonnie says. “I’m committed to helping both new and experienced authors fulfill their own writing goals. I organize and edit for grammar, punctuation and flow, offering encouragement to my students as well as guiding them through to publication. And I am happy to provide references from my many satisfied customers.” shonnie Brown writes personal memoirs as well as local family and winery histories.

Women in Business • October 10, 2013 15

Sonoma West Publishers, Inc.

230 Center Street Healdsburg (707) 433-4451 • 9025 Old Redwood Highway Windsor (707) 838-9211 137 South Main Street Sebastopol (707) 823-7845 207 N. Cloverdale Blvd. Cloverdale (707) 894-3339

Partners in the local communities and shared economy


hen it comes to women doing business, the local community newspaper takes a leadership role by working alongside the many locally-owned businesses and vital community organizations. Most of the staff at Sonoma West Publishers are women, including all departmetn heads. The newspaper women work closely with hundreds of clients in advertising, group promotions and a busy schedule of community projects. Historically, newspapers were one of the early professions that welcomed women to all ranks of the business, including ownership. At Sonoma West Publishers, women fill every role, including editor, reporter, advertising director, graphics and production, sales representatives, circulation, office manager, bookkeeper and website coordinator. Sonoma West Publishers is the family-owned corporation that purchased the Sebastopol Times and Russian River News in 1995, continuing today as Sonoma West Times & News. The Healdsburg Tribune and Windsor Times were added to the company’s ownership in 2000. This past July, The Cloverdale Reveille was added to the group, taking over ownership from the Hanchett family while retaining Neena Hanchett as an associate publisher. Sonoma West Publishers also publishes Discoveries, a quarterly mag-

some of the women of sonoma west Publishers: Kerrie lindecker, cherie Kelsay, sara Braun, Penny chambers, Paula wise, eileen mateo and ruby reed. azine serving visitors and locals alike as an “ownership manual” to the many special events and attractions of northern and western Sonoma County. Sarah Bradbury, one of the copany’s owners, is the

16 Women in Business • October 10, 2013

managing editor for the magazine and is also the associate publisher for the company. “We are pleased to be continuing a century-old tradition of local ownership of these newspapers,” said publisher Rollie Atkinson. “Being a locally-owned business provides us an important perspective on local issues and economic challenges our advertisers and families also encounter.” The community-focused newspaper company employs 28 men and women. The news team includes three editors with Kerrie Lindecker serving as editor for The Healdsburg Tribune and Reveille. Three other women serve as news reporters. They are Laura McCutcheon, Kim Kaido-Alvarez and Robin Hug. Lifestyles editor Patti Roth, joined the company this year to lead an expansion effort for the Discoveries magazine and weekly lifestyles coverage The combined weekly readership of Sonoma West’s newspapers is just over 14,500 households in western and northern Sonoma County. “We are very appreciative of the

advertising and business support our newspapers enjoy,” said Cherie Kelsay, advertising director. “We work hard to provide an effective and affordable advertising and marketing resource for all local businesses.” Through cycles of growth and economic challenges the locally-owned newspapers have continued to steadily grow, improving their news pages and many special publications. Most of the advertising representatives are women. Joining Advertising Director Kelsay, is Paula Wise and Sara Braun. The three business offices are also led by a woman. Penny Chambers joined the company earlier this year as bookkeeper, working in the Windsor office. Circulation coordinator Grace Garner is also manager of the Sebastopol location. Ruby Reed, a Guerneville resident, is the veteran graphics and production coordinator on the newspaper staff. Eileen Mateo is the company’s website coordinator, working on many expanding projects for the digital platforms of the company.

Strong Financial Strategies 133 North Street • Healdsburg • 473-8033 •

Full Service Financial Advisor and Community Investor


oretta Petersen Strong is a 4th generation native of Healdsburg whose immigrant forebears from Denmark and Italy settled in the Dry Creek Valley in the late 1800s. Raised in the lap of two large farming families, Loretta’s love of the land and ties to her Healdsburg roots run deep. She attended Healdsburg schools K-12 and graduated from Healdsburg High in 1970. At age 17, she entered San Jose State University and earned her B.A. and then her Master’s Degree from the University of Santa Clara, graduating summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA. Loretta’s first career was spent in public education where she worked for 22 years as a bilingual teacher and district level administrator. During her tenure with San Jose Unified and Healdsburg Schools, she developed and implemented model programs of bilingual and immersion education throughout the United States. Loretta is fluent in Spanish and speaks and reads four other foreign languages. In 1995, Loretta left public education and transitioned into financial services, starting her career in insurance at New York Life. “Most people would be hesitant to switch careers at that point,” she said. “I was 43 years old and basically re-invented myself. I have no regrets regarding that decision.” She spent the next 6 years as an investment adviser at Westamerica Bank and then 8 years at Edward Jones in Healdsburg where she was a limited partner.

healdsburg native loretta strong is the President of strong financial strategies. Loretta joined Raymond James Financial Services in December of 2010 and launched her own independent firm Strong Financial Strategies in February, 2013. Loretta offers securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. “In many ways serving as a financial advisor is just a natural extension of who I am,” said Strong. “I have always assisted others and invested in my own community. It is imbedded in my character to give back.” Loretta is a c t i v e l y involved at the local level and has spent many years

with the Chamber of Commerce community. My clientele is a mosaic Board of Directors, serving as Board of former teachers, past employers Chair in 2008. In 2010, Loretta was and transplants from all over the named Business Person of the Year country. My door is open and not by the Healdsburg Chamber and restricted to a client’s net worth.” Loretta’s approach to financial received the annual Spirit of Sonoma award. Loretta is planning is grounded actively engaged in in her unwavering “I have always the Healdsburg commitment to proKiwanis Club and vide each client a assisted others served as the 2nd personally tailored and invested in only woman presisolution to a wide my own dent of the 90-yearrange of financial old club. She is curgoals and objectives community. It rently completing for retirement, is imbedded in her 2nd term as presinvestment and legaident and is the local cy planning. my character chairperson of the Loretta’s practice to give back.” K i w a n i s offers retail as well International as fee-based solu— Loretta Strong humanitarian relief tions and specializes Project Eliminate in wealth accumulascheduled to eradition and income cate Maternal Neo-natal Tetanus management. from 30 developing countries by “I always remind clients that this 2015. is a journey of active participation,” “It is an honor and a pleasure to said Strong. “Excellent results are by do business in the city of my birth,” design, not by default.” said Strong. “I represent the old and Loretta can be reached at 707the new Healdsburg and my practice 473-8033, 133 North Street in has evolved and grown with the ever- Healdsburg. Or visit her website at changing economic landscape of this

Women in Business • October 10, 2013 17

Summit State Bank 1001 Vine Street • Healdsburg • 433-5959 •

Community spirit, customer service


alking into Summit State Bank is a bit like dropping by a friend’s house: a house belonging to a group of friends who are capable of taking care of your every financial need. “When you walk in our branch, you are not just an account number. We greet you by name, we know your account needs, but we also probably know your dog’s name and that your child is singing in the school play,” branch manager Candy Yandell said. Yandell, Penny Ottmer and Tori Lewis make up the core of the team at the Healdsburg branch. Their commitment to knowing and caring about each individual customer reflects a greater commitment to the local community. The three women, as parents, residents, and business women, are committed to the Healdsburg community, and together they represent three of the many reasons to bank local with Summit State Bank. Other reasons include Summit’s Small Business Lending Program, with a deep well of $50 million set aside to aid the small businesses in the area. Nonprofits receive annual donations based on the amount of their deposits through its Nonprofit Partner Donation Program. Summit was the first community bank in California to offer Mobile Deposit in 2011 and also offers additional remote banking options. Yandell has taken on a leadership role in the local business community as the VP of the Healdsburg Young Professionals Network (HYPE) and as a board member with the Chamber of Commerce. Attending Chamber mixers and volunteering her time has enabled her to get to know the Healdsburg community better. Yandell also has a very personal tie to Healdsburg: her husband, Todd Yandell, graduated from Healdsburg High School. Their daughter Bailee is six years old and just started the first grade. “We can provide a unique level of service I simply couldn’t when I worked for a bigger bank. We feel honored by the customer loyalty here,” Yandell said. Operations manager Tori Lewis came from the west county but settled in Healdsburg with her husband Tony eight years ago. In 2011, she was the Chamber’s Ambassador of the Year — perhaps because her warm and welcoming personality matches Summit State Bank’s

the women of summit state Bank, healdsburg: Penny Ottmer, tori lewis and candy Yandell. munity on foot — as a runner racever going back,” Lewis said. style. Penny Ottmer also raised her ing along local pathways and trails. “We don’t have teller windows or She noted that, in addition lines,” Lewis said. Instead, to being co-workers, the customers sit down at a desk three women who work the and receive personal atten“Being a community bank, we Healdsburg branch also tion, even for simple transachave so many advantages and became fast friends. tions. “I love working with all “It was at the direction of are able to help our clients more the women that I work with. our president and CEO, Tom than a big bank.” We all get along, and we Duryea, to help provide a more sit-down community — Tori Lewis have a camaraderie that makes working fun. I think banking feel. Being a comcustomers see that when munity bank, we have local decisions makers and keep our cus- family in Healdsburg. All three of they come in. We've had customers tomers and community top of mind her children have graduated from say ‘wow, this is such a fun place to in everything we do. Having come Healdsburg schools, giving her a be, a fun place to work,’” Ottmer from a big bank, I can’t imagine little more time to explore the com- said.

18 Women in Business • October 10, 2013

The Hart Group 5213 El Mercado Parkway, Suite F • Santa Rosa • 528-3010 •

Providing financial planning services to Sonoma County


he Hart Group has been offering financial services in Sonoma County for 17 years. Their range of services include: investment, retirement and estate planning as well as insurance and college planning. The company is led by CFP® and founder Janet G. Hart and her dedicated staff of professional women. Janet has been in the financial planning industry for 24 years. Since its founding in 1996, The Hart Group has grown primarily on referrals, according to Janet, and now serves over 300 clients in the Sonoma County area. The Hart Group’s plans for the future include accepting new clients while continuing to support their current client base with a high level of service. “We strive to maintain the highest level of service – aboveand-beyond what our industry requires,” said Janet. The staff of the Hart Group operates as a close team, including registered principal Paula Smith, who has been with the company 13 years, reg-

the professional businesswomen of the hart Group. from left to right are: sarah Gentner, Paula smith, Janet G. hart, Kelly soria and shannon mcfetridge. istered representative Kelly Soria, who has been serving clients for 6

years, office manager Shannon McFetridge who has kept the office

running smoothly for 2 years, and administrative assistant Sarah Gentner who joined The Hart Group 7 months ago with extensive accounting experience. Paula became a partner of the firm in 2000, with financial experience from the City of Santa Rosa. Registered representative Kelly earned her business degree from Sonoma State University with an emphasis in Finance, and is currently a CFP® candidate. “Following the team approach, there are always two advisors in every client meeting,” said Kelly. “We stress teamwork here,” said Paula. “It allows us to provide the client with a greater level of service. When they work with us, they don’t just get one person, they get the whole, talented team.” Securities & Investment Advisory Offered Through FOOTHILL SECURITIES, INC. Registered Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC The Hart Group and Foothill Securities are not affiliated companies.

Sonoma Coast Real Estate 575 Hwy. 1 • Bodega Bay • 875-2500 •

The last woman standing


omeone recently told Thera Buttaro that she was “the last woman standing” in Sonoma Coast Real Estate. “Well, not exactly,” Buttaro said. “But I can always say I have a vision and a goal and I work to make the goal a reality.” She believes that if she puts clients’ interests first, they will always respect and work with her for “a group effort in everything.” “The biggest thing is still being here,” she said. “The market has come back — finally come back to the coast.” For the past six years, the real estate business has been about survival and Buttaro has not only survived, she has adapted. And she’s done it by remaining in contact with her clients. “It’s an asset for these people 10, 15, 20 years after purchase,” she said. “Over the past five to six years, I’ve told more of them not to sell rather than selling at a bad time.”

thera Buttaro has weathered the storm and is still serving her clients with integrity and style on the sonoma coast. Buttaro has the tools and the knowledge to navigate fluctuating markets. Through longevity — she has been in realty since 1977 and

created Bodega Bay & Beyond Vacation Home Rentals in 1992 with her husband Don — she understands how the coast has developed and its

history and always shares that knowledge with her clients. Flexibility and longevity are important, but so is stability. Along with Don, Buttaro works with her son Kris Lepore, who is coming into his seventh year of real estate in the Sonoma Coast office. The trio offers good real estate advice as well as an ethical approach to business. “The difference is, everyone is who they are at the core,” Buttaro said. “You cannot teach or train ethics.” In addition to surviving and maintaining her ethical standards, Buttaro is thriving and was even invited to participate in The Legends and Heroes of Real Estate Fall Fashion Show 2013 put on by the Wine Country Women's Council of Realtors. So not only will she be standing, she’ll also be showing off her sense of fashion for her peers. “It’s nice to know I’m not standing alone,” she concluded.

Women in Business • October 10, 2013 19

The UPS Store — Healdsburg and Cloverdale 1083 Vine Street • Healdsburg • 433-0396 • 1123 S Cloverdale Boulevard • Cloverdale • 894-8560 •

For all your shipping and packaging needs

the uPs store owner laura cinollo with her staff in healdsburg. left to right are Jonathan earl, laura cinollo, Jessi laughlin and Brad cott.


aura Cinollo has been a small business owner in Sonoma County since 1991, and brings a small-town charm and service to both of her UPS Store locations in Healdsburg and Cloverdale. She has been the owner of the Healdsburg UPS Store for five years and also opened the Cloverdale UPS Store this year. Prior to her ownership of The UPS Store, Laura owned Buns & Burgers in Larkfield for 17 years and Mainstreet Bar & Grill in Geyserville for 4 years, and brings an extensive amount of small-business ownership experience to her current position with The UPS Store. According to Laura, her experience growing up around the wine industry, in addition to her history of small-business ownership, made her choice of The UPS Store in Healdsburg simple. “I know so many of the customers and I have so much in common with them,” she said. “It’s

laura with her staff at the uPs store in cloverdale. left to right are laura cinollo, nicole Kallen and eric Gonzalez.

a nice community and it’s nice to in Cloverdale and Healdsburg, can wine glasses. We’ve shipped tasting know the people you’re working purchase packing supplies, make room treasures, antiques and artiwith.” copies, fax documents, laminate, facts, and even grapevines, both In addition to her store in the take advantage of a public-use com- dead and alive.” Other items The Healdsburg location, Laura UPS store has shipped also recently opened The include a valuable art sculp“We’ve packaged everything from UPS Store in the Furber ture from Healdsburg and an Ranch Plaza in Cloverdale. grandfather clocks to sets of china. antique giant Buddha. “I still get people coming to “We’ve packaged everything We ship medical supplies and we the Healdsburg store from from grandfather clocks to Cloverdale,” she said. “I sets of china. We ship medship wine ... lots of wine.” would like to let them know ical supplies and we ship — Laura Cinollo wine ... lots of wine.” that I have a new store closer to them, as well.” With a wide variety of Laura has owned The UPS Store puter and have their documents shipping options available for almost in Cloverdale for a little over eight notarized. They can also bring in any type of item, Laura encourages months, since the Furber Ranch items to be packaged and shipped– customers to come by The UPS Store Plaza shopping center approached even some items, according to Laura, in Healdsburg or Cloverdale with her with the idea to re-open the that customers might not have real- anything they need shipped and store. Because many of her cus- ized The UPS Store could take. packaged professionally. The UPS tomers in Healdsburg come in from “Really we can ship anything of Store in Healdsburg is open Monday Cloverdale, Laura thought having a any size,” said Laura. “If it’s too big – Friday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and UPS Store closer to home would for UPS, we are able to ship it Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The UPS make shipping and packaging more freight. We do international ship- Store in Cloverdale is open Monday convenient for them. ping. We’re really pretty busy when – Friday 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Customers at the UPS store, both it comes to artwork, and gifts, and Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

20 Women in Business • October 10, 2013

Vanguard Properties 978 Gravenstein Hwy. S. • Sebastopol • 481-9102 •

Mother/Daughter real estate team has deep West County roots


ue Bonzell and her mother Barbara Paul are the mother/daughter team working together to give the best possible real estate advice in the Sebastopol area. Paul, who has a background in agriculture, finance and accounting, has been in the business 20 years. Bonzell was born and raised on the family’s Graton Ridge Cellars property, which has been in the family for 65 years. So it just seemed natural for Bonzell, who’s background includes business management, marketing, design, promotions and public relations, to get into the business with her mother. “People often ask me what it’s like to work with my mother,” Bonzell said. “It’s great. I’m personable and I love to talk to people and it helps that we work well together to help people realize their personal goals.” Not only have they had their ears to the ground in real estate for two decades, but their connection to

with more than 40 years of real estate experience between them and extensive knowledge of the west county, sue Bonzell (left) and her mother Barbara Paul are working together to make dreams come true. West County has deep family roots. Paul graduated from Analy High School and Bonzell from El Molino, adding to their strong Sonoma County bonafides.

“I come from a farm and agricultural background, so I understand the needs of West County residents,” Paul said. “I love doing what I do in such a beautiful place, making other

peoples’ dreams come true. The ag roots really help.” Growing up in an agricultural family has given Paul an understanding of wells, soils and other aspects of country living from crops to septic systems. She too enjoys the familial aspect of their business. “I’m very fortunate to work with my daughter,” Paul said. “We work very well together.” Bonzell transitioned into the real estate business because she’s always had an interest in interior design, even considering a career in that field for a time. “I love seeing houses fulfill their potential,” she said. “But the biggest draw is people.” The pair has recently begun an affiliation with Vanguard Properties, the newest real estate firm in Sebastopol. “We love the company because it’s marketing focused,” Bonzell said. “They’ve been a great company to work with.”

Sandy Mays — Vanguard Properties Sonoma 978 Gravenstein Highway S. • Sebastopol • 486-5748 •

My affiliation has changed, but not my dedication


orking in Sonoma County Real Estate for over 20 years, and living in west county for over 30 years, Sandy Mays is a familiar face to the communities of Sebastopol and the west county. She is pleased to announce that she has recently moved to Vanguard Properties Sonoma, to better serve her clients’ residential, land, and investment real estate needs. Vanguard Properties has distinguished themselves as an industry leader in marketing, technology, and providing all clients with unparralled expertise and uncompromising service. “I have built my business on good customer service and referrals. Working with my clients as a team and anticipating their needs, potential problems and requirements of each sale, we can make every transaction as stress free and effortless as possible, and maybe even have some fun in the process. Sandy has extensive knowledge of

sandy mays has worked in local real estate for more than 20 years and recently starting working with vanguard Properties sonoma.

the community and its resources. She keeps up to date on local politics, land use issues, school and community events and how they effect home ownership and values. She is involved with several non profit community organizations, including past Board member of the Sebastopol Downtown Association, fundraising committee of the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, leader of the Slow Food Russian River chapter, and an Adult Mentor chef at the Ceres project. This volunteer work fulfills her passion for the environment, food justice, children, and a healthy community. From valuable up to date information on the current local home sales activity and values, tips on getting your home ready for the market, or to get on her client mailing or email list, give Sandy a call and let her put her skills, knowledge, and experience to work for you. As one of her past clients wrote, “using Sandy as our real estate agent was one of the best decisions we have ever made.”

Women in Business • October 10, 2013 21

Vesta Copestakes, publisher of The Sonoma County Gazette 6490 Front Street #300 • Forestville • (707) 887-0253 • •

Written by Readers ~ Connecting Sonoma County Communities


local entrepreneurs to produce and deliver the Gazette to newsstands, coffee shops, restaurants and stores throughout Sonoma County. The Gazette website has become an essential element for keeping readers informed between print editions and is updated almost daily. The CALEnDAR is the most comprehensive source in Sonoma County for local events from classes & hikes to live music & theater. Stay in Touch all-month-long on our website www.SonomaCounty — on Facebook — and FIND a copy of the Gazette print edition at almost 900 locations CounTY-WiDE — see our list of distribution locations on the website … or SubSCRibE! Everyone is encouraged to Reach our Readers by emailing Vesta at or calling 707-887-0253.

onoma County is a remarkably diverse community of people, terrain and culture. Vesta Copestakes publishes the Sonoma County Gazette to connect our communities through the pages of her paper and website. This FREE monthly magazine features 20 Community Columns, articles Written by Readers, Resource Guides to locally-owned business, and topics as broad-ranging as Sonoma County itself. Both print and on-line media are essential for keeping people connected to issues within their communities. By being focused on 100 percent Sonoma County, the Gazette provides a forum for local news, issues that impact our lives and communities, and a place for people to voice their opinions on local issues. It doesn’t get any more LoCAL than the Gazette. Family owned, Vesta is partnering with her daughter Aleta Copestakes – assisted by granddaughter Destiny Taylor – and hires

the sonoma county Gazette, written by readers.

Windsor Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center 9001 Windsor Road • Windsor • 838-7285 •

The Trusted Voice for Business


urrently leading the Windsor Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center is President and CEO Christine Tevini, who has held the position now for a little over a year. Prior to her current position, Christine worked as the Office Manager for the Chamber and before coming to the Chamber she worked locally in Real Estate and Healthcare Administration. She has lived in Windsor for 16 years and is dedicated to the promotion and support of businesses in Windsor. “Our biggest goal for the Chamber this year is to grow membership”, Christine said. “We are also working to promote our members to tourists and locals alike.” In addition to Christine, The Windsor Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center boasts a leadership team of strong local women, including: Beth Henry, who has been the Office Administrator with the Chamber for over a year and a Windsor resident for 16 years; Edna Honsa, the Visitors

christine tevini with some of her chamber associates. left to right are: Beth henry, christine tevini, edna honsa, amanda Pearson, lorene romero, dawn leandro, and debby hendershot. Center Receptionist, who has been a Windsor resident all her life; Gay

22 Women in Business • October 10, 2013

Salisbury, also a Visitors Center Receptionist; Amanda Lee Pearson,

who has owned Okini Design for 17 years; Lorene Romero, the owner of Sharp Tongued Consulting for eight years and a Windsor resident for 19 years; Dawn Leandro, the Windsor Branch Manager for Redwood Credit Union, who has been a Windsor resident for nine years; and Debby Hendershot, a Realtor with the Wine Country Group by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate for the past eight years, who has been a Windsor resident for 25 years. Amanda, Lorene, Dawn, and Debbie all currently serve on the Board of Directors. “These women work in Windsor, live in Windsor, and support Windsor in many different ways,” said Christine. “It is with their leadership that the Windsor Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center is stronger than ever and is making leaps and bounds forward.” For more information on the Windsor Chamber of Commerce, visit their website at

Soroptimist International of Healdsburg Healdsburg •

Dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls


oroptimist International of Healdsburg is a charitable organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls locally and throughout the world. In Healdsburg, the organization takes the form of 28 passionate women who aren’t afraid to roll their sleeves up and get to work. Soroptimist International of Healdsburg was chartered in 1956, thirty-five years after Soroptimist International was founded in Oakland in 1921. Currently, the global organization has about 95,000 members worldwide. Locally, the Soroptimists are perhaps best known for the annual Beer Festival, which this year celebrated 27 years of fundraising. “Beer in the Plaza” sponsors: -DAAC Perinatal programs. -Woman’s Opportunity Award: funds to a single parent woman reentering the educational system. -Founder Region Fellowship scholarships to women in their last year of doctoral studies. -Desserts for the Healdsburg Senior Center’s Christmas Celebration. -International project of “Stop Human Trafficking Campaign.” Other activities of the Soroptimists include:

soroptimist international of healdsburg is a dedicated local service club.

-Annual recognition of the achievements of the local elementary students at a “Most Improved Student” luncheon. -$1,000 college scholarships awarded to Healdsburg High School and Marce Becerra High School students. The club also sponsors a room at the Safe House. “Our club recognizes that there’s a lot of women turning their lives around, and they deserve to be helped,” Linda Chavez said. “Our scholarships help get them training and education to support themselves,” Janice Torres added. “A lot of them are in abusive relationships, and they’re trying to break the cycle.” -The “Shannon Boaz Scholarship” funded by the Girlfriends on the Green golf tournament supports ‘Active Girls Scholarships.’ This past year this event was able to sponsor swim lessons for any mothers or daughters that applied. If you find yourself inspired by the cause and interested in joining Soroptimist of Healdsburg, the ladies invite you to drop in on a meeting. Call 431-1070/433-5353 or email for more information.

Zizi 334 Healdsburg Avenue • Healdsburg • 431-2209 •

Creatively casual clothing for women


eptember marks the 15th anniversary of Zizi in Healdsburg. Owner Cynthia Zizzi and her daughter Julianna fondly recalled those first days. Laughing, they describe how they would climb the scaffolding, attempting to paint the ceiling themselves. “We would always forget to bring the phone up with us,” Cynthia said with a smile. With the help and encouragement of friends, the store opened Labor Day weekend. “The first 30 minutes were agonizing,” Cynthia said. “No-one came in and I was starting to panic when in walked Rip and Ellie, my first customers. And the wonderful thing is they’re still customers, but most importantly they became friends.” The early store was a mixture of both clothing and home decor. Gradually clothing and accessories became the focus. Zizi currently features more than 30 well-known clothing brands as well as several lines of distinctive jewelry and accessories.

cynthia Zizzi and her daughter Julianna at the healdsburg avenue boutique. Favored brands include Porto, Christopher Blue, Cut Loose, Johnny

Was, Komarov, Neesh, Indigenous, Ronen Chen, Three Dots, Weston

Wear, Audrey Daniels Jewelry, Zina Kao, Whitley, and Streets Ahead Belts, just to name a few. The mother and daughter team agree that the goal of Zizi is to send customers away happy with their purchases. “We are lucky to have a good local customer base,” Cynthia said. “That’s what I enjoy about my business … all the wonderful people I’ve met over the years.” Aside from the customer relationships that they’ve formed over the years, the two reflect on their own strengthened bond. Both agree that a lot has changed since the store’s beginning, both for the business, as well as personally. Julianna has been working at Zizi alongside her mother since she was in high school, but now has a degree in business and marketing. “We’re so fortunate in our relationship that we work so well together,” Julianna said. “The store has evolved so much over the years. It’s exciting to see what the future will bring.”

Women in Business • October 10, 2013 23

Rete 114 Matheson Street • Healdsburg • 431-4200 •

ereloom 110 Matheson Street • Healdsburg • 395-0550 •

Discover a new and different ereloom with designer roots


ust a few weeks ago, ereloom opened its doors and finally gave Sonoma County men a reason to want to go shopping again. Realizing there was a void that needed to be filled, Merete Wimmer, owner of Rete, decided to step up her already great menswear presentation by adding ereloom, an all exclusive men’s designer shop. As soon as you step foot inside, you know you are in a different world. From the masculine decor to the trend right brands featured — this shop is a “must see.” Indeed the boys have arrived in town, from Todd Snyder, named one of the top menswear designers in the US, to Vince and John Varvatos ... looking smart and well groomed just got easier. “I had been playing with the idea for a while,” Merete says, “but timing is everything and when the space became available two doors from Rete — I had to jump on it. One of my very good customers had given me an earful complaining that I wasn’t giving the guys enough space or wardrobe choices at Rete and I am very happy to report that the reviews of ereloom have already been amazing.” Premium denim seekers of Sonoma County have now for more than 11 years found their favorite jeans and designer

Pictured above from left to right: rete store manager Katie ward, sales associate darlene mcarthur, rete & ereloom owner merete wimmer.

ereloom - designer apparel and accessories for guys.

casuals at Rete. Catering to both guys and gals this boutique offers the art of handcrafted quality goods primarily made in the US. Well-known denim makers such as A.G., Citizens, Hudson, True Religion and 7 for all Mankind have your rear covered and for above the belt you will find great shirts, sweaters and outerwear from contemporary designer brands such as Ella Moss, Michael Stars, Splendid, Velvet, Robert Graham, Ben Sherman, Victorinox and baseball apparel by Red Jacket. Merete Wimmer has an extensive background in design and merchandising. Her passion for apparel started at a very young age, and after immigrating to the US in her early 20’s, she decided to pursue her dream by earning a degree in Advanced Apparel Design from FIDM in Los Angeles. “I believe my experience of having worked in all areas of the apparel manufacturing process has taught me not only to stay humble, but to seek and find the most innovative brands in the market. I am very excited to showcase our new men’s store ereloom and to continue to offer both our guys and gals the best of the best in designer brands at both stores.”

Women in Business • October 10, 2013 24

Profile for Sonoma West Publishers

Women in business 2013  

Women in business 2013