Executive Board of Directors

Haden Ongaro – Board Chair

SVP, Newmark Cornish and Carey

ongaro-haden-200pxHaden has been in commercial real estate for the past 27 years. He began his career in 1986 where he worked in the Marin office of Grubb & Ellis. In 1995, he was a founding member of Orion Partners, Ltd, a commercial real estate firm which focused in the North Bay markets. During his tenure with Orion Partners, Haden was the company’s Top Producer and helped Orion Partners grow into the largest commercial real estate services provider in the North Bay.

In 2010, Haden joined Cornish & Carey Newmark Knight Frank as a Senior Vice President and Managing Director where he was instrumental in establishing their new offices in Marin and Santa Rosa. Haden’s career has been focused on the successful negotiations of major commercial real estate sales and leases which includes many of Marin County’s highest profile transactions – Hamilton Landing, Belvedere Place, 4000-4040 Civic Center Drive, 75-88 Rowland Way, 100 Wood Hollow and Fireman’s Fund.

Supervisor Judy Arnold – Board Vice Chair

Marin County Supervisor, District 5

Judy ArnoldJudy Arnold was elected to serve on the Marin County Board of Supervisors representing District 5 (Novato) in 2006. Prior to that Judy served on the Novato City Council from 2003-2006 and was involved in many civic and non-profit organizations. As Supervisor, Judy founded the Marin Economic Forum to focus on a local sustainable economy, authored a resolution adding Education to the Board’s goals of sustainability, preserved the 56 acres of Miramonte for SMART to restore for wetland preservation and mitigation, and led the charge for government transparency and meaningful pension reform. Judy is Chair of SMART and serves as an advisory board member to the Novato Theater. Judy lives in Novato with her husband Bruce and is a proud mother and grandmother.

For a more detailed biography and a list of all boards and commissions Judy sits on please go to: marincounty.org/depts/bs/district-5/bio

Garry Lion – Board Secretary

Mill Valley City Council Member

lion-garry-200pxGarry serves as the Secretary on the Board of the Marin Economic Forum. Garry is a two-time former Mayor of Mill Valley and current City Council member. Garry has been a long-term advocate for business interests including being a CEO member of the Bay Area Council, creating a Business Task Force and Business Advisory Board in Mill Valley to improve economic vitality and serving on the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce board for over a decade.

Garry is the co-founder and a partner with Lion Associates LLC, a strategic website development firm, since 1999. Previously, Garry was a senior executive and practice leader for 27 years with global management consulting practices at A.T. Kearney, Arthur D. Little Inc. and Arthur Young & Co.  He is a graduate of Stanford University (BSME), Harvard Business School (MBA) and Stanford’s Advanced Management College.

Chris Cook, Board Treasurer

Strategic Financial Consultant, RSF Social Finance

Chris Cook

Chris Cook is a strategic financial consultant providing strategic input in the areas of Treasury and Asset & Liability Management. Chris is a CPA, formerly with Price Waterhouse Coopers and is a seasoned executive in the banking industry. She received her degree in Accounting from DePaul University.

Jacqueline F. Christensen, Member at Large

Senior Commercial Relationship Manager

Jacqueline recently accepted the Senior Commercial Relationship Manager position for the Commercial Banking Group of Exchange Bank. In her new position she primarily works the Bank’s large companies supporting their credit needs. Jacqueline moved from City National Bank to Exchange Bank to again work with her former and new clients in the North Bay. In addition; she also accepts new clients for commercial business throughout the great Bay Area market primarily for commercial real estate and construction requests. As the Senior Vice President and Senior Commercial Relationship Manager for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and City National Bank respectively; Jacqueline supported Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties. She managed a seasoned portfolio of commercial clients with annual revenues of $10 million to $200 million, covering a broad range of industries that included agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, professional services, technology and commercial construction to name a few. Jacqueline’s commercial career has spanned over 38 years with Bank of America, City National Bank and now Exchange Bank. Her positions have included management and sales positions in Consumer Banking, Private Banking and Wealth Management, Corporate Real Estate and Commercial Banking. She is involved in her community by volunteering her time as a Board Member on the Executive Committee and Chair of the Nominating Committee for the Marin Economic Forum and Solano-Napa Habitat for Humanity. Jacqueline enjoys outdoor activities; cooking, tennis, travel and her favorite is playing a weekly round of golf with her husband, Bob.

John F. Harty, AIF

Director of Wealth Management, Sterling Wealth Management

John leads the Wealth Management Group for Sterling Bank & Trust providing investment and insurance solutions to individuals, small businesses and nonprofits. Prior to joining Sterling, John served as Vice President of Institutional Sales at Forward Management LLC where he managed the institutional sales and distribution of Forwards public and private funds in the Western U.S. He also served as the Director of National Accounts at GE Asset Management and Highland Capital Management LP.

In addition to his work at Sterling, John also volunteers with Junior Achievement, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting important real-world concepts in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship to students in kindergarten through high school. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business & Finance from Mount. St. Mary’s University. He lives in Tiburon with his wife and daughter.


Pat Kendall – Member at Large

Medical Group Administrator, Kaiser Permanente

kendall-patricia-200pxPat is the Medical Group Administrator for Kaiser Permanente in Marin and Southern Sonoma County. Pat’s leadership position is operational, strategic, financial, quality, care, service, people and community. She often speaks of working in the Intimacy Business believing that seeking Health Care is one of the most intimate things we do in life. In addition, Pat believes in building a healthy community with an upstream emphasis focused across the spectrum of Prevention, recognizing the impact of the social determinants on health.

Pat holds degrees in Nursing, Business, Organizational Development, Human Resources and Leadership.   She has completed post graduate work at UC Berkeley and Stanford University. Pat is the recent recipient of the North Bay Leadership Award for Leadership for 2012 and San Rafael Citizen of the Year, 2013.


Carlo Serafini

Senior Vice President/Senior Portfolio Management Officer – Global Commercial Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Carlo is a Senior Vice President / Senior Portfolio Management Officer in Global Commercial Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch supporting San Francisco, Marin, Napa and Sonoma Counties. He is responsible for underwriting, structuring and consulting commercial clients on their financing needs. Carlo has single signing credit approval authority which has served as a strategic advantage in expediting the underwriting process for his clients.

Prior to joining Bank of America Merrill Lynch, he was a Director / Senior Relationship Manager in the Corporate Banking Group at Union Bank, and Vice President / Senior Relationship Manager in the Credit Resolution Group with Wells Fargo Bank. Carlo’s portfolios consisted of relationships from the Corporate, Capital Markets, Middle Market Commercial, and Global Banking groups in the Pacific Northwest Regions. He has a B.S. in Business Administration from Saint Mary’s College of Moraga, and an MBA from CSUEB.

Coy Smith – Member at Large

CEO Novato Chamber of Commerce

smith-coy-200pxA long and successful history of fundraising and working with non-profit businesses, plus management experience are among the talents that Coy Smith brings to his position as CEO of the Novato Chamber of Commerce. He has been the CEO of the Novato Chamber since 2004. He received his credential as an Accredited Chamber Executive Graduate in 2007 from the Western Association of Chamber Executives. Coy serves on the Economic Development Commission for the City of Novato, and on the Board of Directors of the Marin Economic Forum and the Board of Superior Chamber Executives of Northern California.

Prior to work in the Chamber field, Coy was employed in several capacities in the recycling industry of over 25 years where he received several state and national awards for his work. Coy was one of fifty individuals in the United States to be selected by President Bill Clinton to serve on a task force to develop a National Recycling Policy. He is one of the founders of the Novato Charter School and has served on numerous local state and national Boards of Directors over the past thirty years.

Coy has a BS degree from San Jose State University in Environmental Studies with a minor in Communications. He is married and lives in Petaluma with his two sons.

Jay Strauss – Member at Large

Attorney, Winton Strauss Law Group

strauss-jay-200pxJay is a business, employment, real estate and personal injury attorney with Winton Strauss Law Group, P.C. handling transactions and litigation throughout the Bay Area. He also represents a number of non-profit organizations. He has extensive business experience, having started and/or run a number of companies from small to publicly traded status.

Jay is a former Mayor of Lafayette, California and now serves on: the Novato Planning Commission, the Novato Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and the Marin Economic Forum Board of Directors and Executive Committee.

Jay lives in Novato with his wife, Stephanie Bennett-Strauss MD, a behavioral and developmental pediatrician. He has 3 kids and 2 grandkids, all above average. He will play golf or poker with anyone, enjoys literature and history, and loves to get angry about politics.