Marin Economic Forum Hires New CEO

Marin Economic Forum Hires New CEO

Robin Sternberg

Robin Sternberg

By Adrian Rodriguez, Marin Independent Journal

A local expert on economic development and job growth strategies has been selected to lead the Marin Economic Forum as its fourth chief executive officer since 2011.

Robin Sternberg, a 54-year-old Kentfield resident, has been named CEO of the San Rafael nonprofit, a public-private partnership created in 2010 to foster economic growth in the county while also enhancing social equity and protecting the environment.

Sternberg replaces Michael Kadel, who has served as interim CEO since May after Jim Cordeiro, the forum’s third chief executive, resigned in January after serving less than a year in the position. Sternberg will earn $125,000 annually.

Picked from four candidates, Sternberg stood out because “she had such a terrific background in government, politics and fundraising,” said Haden Ongaro, chairman of the 36-member board governing the forum.

Her resume includes a stint as executive director of the Governor’s Job Creation Initiative for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, and another as a member of the finance committee for the Obama campaign in 2007-08. She was also elected as a state delegate for the Democratic National Convention in 2008 in Denver.

“And it was important for us that she lived in Marin,” Ongaro said. Although living outside of the county wasn’t necessarily a disqualifier for consideration, “We felt that Marin is a unique place: it’s dynamic, it’s expensive to live here, it’s not easy to break into the Marin market. We wanted someone who was familiar with the community.”

The forum is an outgrowth of the Marin Economic Commission. It operates on a $454,000 annual budget supported by $150,000 matching grants from the county of Marin.

Professor Robert Eyler, head of the economics department at Sonoma State University, is the forum’s chief economist and has filled in as CEO for long stretches of time.

Ongaro, who is executive vice president for Newmark Knight Frank overseeing the commercial real estate firm’s North Bay offices in Marin and Sonoma counties, said the forum is refocused on “delivering a clear message to the community, our mission,” working to build partnerships and fundraising.

He said, “everyone thought that (Sternberg) was going to work well not with just the board but with the community as well.”

It’s a challenge that Sternberg said she has been waiting for.

A Minnesota native, Sternberg moved to Marin in 2015 with her husband and three teenage sons. She most recently worked as the senior economic development adviser on the American Jobs Project at the University of California at Berkeley. There she was lead adviser and author of a report focused on job creation in the clean energy efficiency sector.

“It was interesting work, but I really wanted to be working in the community where I lived,” she said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to work with so many community leaders and to make a contribution in a role where I can apply the knowledge and skills I’ve learned from previous roles.”

From 2012 to 2015, Sternberg was deputy commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development for the state of Minnesota where she managed $180 million in programs. Previously she served as the national director of business development and marketing for Minnesota Public Radio, based in St. Paul.

Sternberg also served as board member and chairwoman of community groups such as the Minnesota Children’s Museum, YMCA-Minneapolis and the Women Winning Annual Fundraiser.

As CEO, Sternberg will manage committees and volunteer working groups organized by the forum that focus on economic issues in Marin. Her duties include fundraising, administration and event planning for the organization.

Sternberg said while the life sciences and tech industries have a part in the fabric of Marin’s economy, those won’t necessarily be an immediate centerpiece of the forum’s mission.

“The Marin Economic Forum has been through a lot of change, and the first step is to reintroduce the organization to make sure everybody knows what we are here to do,” she said. And that is “to help businesses succeed here.”

There are many facets to making a strong economy, such as solving social and environmental issues, she said.

She said she wants to work with business and community leaders to “arrive at a unified voice of how we want to shape our economic future” and that with the creative talent in Marin, “we can highlight, showcase that to build a brand for Marin as a place where innovative companies could thrive.”

Marin Independent Journal – Marin Economic Forum Hires New CEO

About the Author: Adrian Rodriguez covers Mill Valley, Belvedere, Tiburon, Corte Madera and Larkspur for the Marin IJ. He also writes the weekly business column Movers & Shakers, which appears in Friday’s paper. Reach the author at or follow Adrian on Twitter: @adrianrrodri. Reach the author at .

MEF Newsletter June 2017

MEF Newsletter

June 2017

Interim Chief Executive Officer, Mike Kadel
Greetings from your Interim CEO

As we enter into the last month of the second quarter of the year, the staff at Marin Economic Forum has been focused on providing economic vitality to Marin County by focusing on fundraising, engaging the Board, and re-invigorating the working groups. I am excited to report that through these activities, and your support, MEF is poised to provide value in terms of ensuring Marin County’s economy continues to thrive.

Our revenues are increasing due to additional sponsorship monies, and our working groups are busy tackling some key initiatives for the organization. Here are some key highlights we have accomplished since the beginning of this year:

  • • Both Glassdoor and Sterling Bank have joined our organization. Zachary Kushel, head of Business Development for Glass Door, and John Harty, Head of Wealth Management for Sterling Bank, have recently been invited to join our Board of Directors. Both John and Zachary are Marin County residents and are extremely well versed in the economic attributes of our County. I would like to welcome them to Marin Economic Forum.
  • • In terms of Advocacy, at the March Board meeting, our Board approved support of the City of Novato’s General Plan update for the Bel Marin Key’s Bio Life Science Campus Amendment. This proposed amendment to the General Plan is needed in order to increase the height limit from 35 feet to 64 feet on commercial buildings; these changes are necessary to keep Bio Marin and Ultragenyx in particular to continue to have a strong footprint in the County, but also to attract other life-science companies. Both companies expect to increase life-science jobs for Marin County from the current count of 2,000 jobs to 4,000 jobs over the next twenty years.
  • • Our Innovation/Entrepreneurial Working Group is also in the process of partnering with Dominican University to create a Small Business Service Portal. Primarily this portal will be able to provide support and vital resources to the 46,000 plus small businesses that currently consider Marin as their location. In essence, the portal will exist on MEF’s website that will provide a list of entrepreneurs and small business owners and service providers (business planning, finance, Internet providers, legal advice, etc.) Each service provider will be able to enter a brief summary of each of their services. When a small business owner later submits a request for a particular service completed with a subject matter, the portal is expected to provide a listing of all offerings. Stay tuned as we provide more information as this portal is being developed.
  • Lastly, I am happy to report that Dr. Rob Eyler and I presented an annual update to the County Supervisors on the successes Marin Economic Forum has had this past fiscal year. As a result, MEF received its $150,000 annual matching contribution from the County based on a unanimous vote in favor by the County supervisors. A special thank-you to Judy Arnold and Damon Connolly for helping us in this effort.

    In closing, I want to personally wish you and your families a very safe and happy summer. Please let me know if there is anything I or MEF can do to support your business.

    The Marin Economic Forum (MEF) is a public-private partnership, serving as the platform for collaborative efforts on improving Marin County’s economic vitality while seeking to enhance social equity and environmental protection.

    Chief Economist, Dr. Robert Eyler
    Preparing for SMART Travel: Expectations and Efficiency

    We need to ride the SMART train when it starts to make it a success. SMART is expected to announce on June 7 when they will be taking passengers. After years of debate, an election, planning, construction, car purchases, sales tax rates rising and falling, and economic recession and recovery, the North Bay is about to get a train to move people. I was fortunate enough to be asked my opinion many times along the way by proponents, pessimists and all kinds of people, and I am still asked regularly. The economics of public transportation systems should not have the same expectations as private systems (which rarely exist for mass transit) or of a private market setting. Three tenets exist:

    • The train must provide riders with an incentive to take the train, either through price or time saved or both;
    • The train must solve “last-mile” problems in Marin and Sonoma counties due to the dispersion of the population from the train stations; and
    • The public needs to recognize this is a public good, with a large cost of exclusion and a small cost of inclusion.

    Being a public good means there is a tradeoff of equity and efficiency. Because prices are subsidized to remain low and provide an incentive to ride for all income levels as possible, the efficiency of the system may not be perfect. We need to form expectations that there may be delays now and then, just like when we use a taxi or Uber, versus our expectations.

    One of the new markets that act as both a substitute and a complement for SMART that arrived on the scene after the 2008 election and approval was the “sharing” economy taking off with businesses like Uber and Lyft. Potential riders of the SMART train may be torn at times between Uber, Lyft, a taxi, the train, a bus, or driving by themselves. The beauty is that such a sharing business could solve the last mile problem or at least mitigate it in such a way that a private market acts as a complement to the public one. The SMART leadership has seen this and we hear that such partnerships may be coming. This is a classic business move: partner with competition or be undermined by it when there are few players in town.

    We also need to keep our expectations in check in terms of traffic flows and reducing the number of cars on the road due to ridership levels on the SMART train. Traffic conditions are an economic phenomenon: we supply roadway space that is demanded by drivers. We live in a single-driver car culture in the North Bay due to the spaces between major towns and cities, and a lack of historic options. It is ok that traffic will still exist; riders of the SMART train will create open space on the road and while economic conditions are good, people moving from Sonoma County south will fill the space along with Marin County commuters.

    We need the trains full; there is now an option of tourism as well. Where we may see a traffic reduction is on weekends, which now mirror commute traffic almost every Saturday going north and Sunday going south. Sonoma and Napa counties draw a lot of tourism through Marin County; the SMART train could bring more tourism to Marin as well.

    Ride the trains and enjoy the experience. The train helps many riders moving north to south, and needs to be supported.

    *Update: Based upon the June 7th announcement, SMART is almost ready to perform a "soft opening" once the Federal Rail Authority completes its audit and certifies that SMART is safe to transport passengers. Supervisor Judy Arnold has offered a ride for any organization or individual that would like to ride the SMART train during this time, so please let us know. We will forward your contact information over to Judy's office so you can ride SMART!

    Board Corner
    MEF Board Director, Frank Borodic, Roundstone Inn
    Marconi Conference Center and Historic State Park

    Frank Borodic, MEF Board director and owner of Rounstone Inn (, is working to preserve a state historic landmark. The Marconi Conference Center ( and State Historic Park has a rich human history that dates back hundreds of years. From the pre-historic villages of the coastal Miwok to the farming communities of today, the Tomales Bay ecosystem has supported the livelihoods of thousands of people.

    As a treasure to the Marin community, Marconi Conference Center offers a distraction-free environment, professional-caliber meeting space, comfortable lodging, delicious and healthful meals and a conference staff that is skillful. Accommodating and guest-oriented, the lodging buildings are nestled around a garden courtyard that offers an ideal spot guests to relax.

    This historic state park is in need of renovations and the Marin Economic Forum is pleased to provide our services to assess the economic benefit and recommendation towards keeping this treasure alive for future generations to enjoy.

    Next time you find yourself on the Point Reyes coast in Marshall, stop by the Marconi Conference Center and Historic Park for a unique and beautiful west Marin experience.

    Upcoming Events
    Executive Committee
    Friday, June 16 & 21, 2017, 8:30—10:00am
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903
    Better Ways to Close More Deals - Special 2 hour Workshop with Linda Palermo
    VenturePad: 1020 B Street, San Rafael, 94901
    Ticket link: click here
    Board Meeting
    Friday, July 28, 2016, 8:30—10:30am
    College of Marin – Indian Valley Campus, Novato
    SchoolsRule Marin
    Friday, June 28th
    5:30-6:30 Social hour and Reception
    6:30-9:00 Dinner & Entertainment
    Marin County Fairgrounds, under the pavilion tent
    Purchase Tickets at or call 415-491-6680
    Tuesday, September 19, 4:30pm-7:30pm
    Details TBA

    Click Here To View Past Newsletters

    MEF Newsletter January 2017

    MEF Newsletter

    January 2017

    Chief Executive Officer, Jim Cordeiro
    Concentration, Focus and Habits

    Happy New Year! This month we discuss concentration, maintaining focus, and the habits to achieve our objectives.

    Concentration is awareness, the calling of attention and awakening of a motive. Focus is the fundamental resource used to arrive at an established goal. Habits develop at the intersection of knowledge, skill and desire.

    Knowledge is the theoretical paradigm, what to do, and the why. Skill is how to do. And desire is the motivation, the want to do.

    Ask yourself, what is the one thing I can do, that in doing it , the rest becomes easier or unnecessary? Developing focus leads to discipline and good habits. The Organization of activities and establishment of priorities (important and urgent) are key factors in a strong plan towards a vital economy.

    As seen below in the Chief Economist perspective, Marin is an affluent place, but poverty is a factor to watch. MEF strives to support a vital economy through engaging Marin’s key stakeholders to develop focus and the discipline of good habits. Change must be motivated by a higher purpose, by a willingness to subordinate what we think we want now for what we want later.

    As the saying goes, “The distance between the dream and the reality is called discipline.”

    Until next month, let us all develop focus through discipline and good habits to do that one thing, that in doing it, the rest becomes easier or unnecessary.

    The Marin Economic Forum (MEF) is a public-private partnership, serving as the platform for collaborative efforts on improving Marin County’s economic vitality, while seeking to enhance social equity and environmental protection. Visit to learn more about our collaborative efforts.

    Chief Economist, Dr. Robert Eyler
    Marin County and Post-Recession Demography: Part 1

    Every year, the Census Bureau updates its database with a survey called the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is meant to be the Census before the Census, a rolling five-year window of Census-like data in summary form. The surveys are shorter and focused on major data items in four categories:

  • 1. Household Composition
  • 2. Economic Characteristics
  • 3. Housing Characteristics
  • 4. Demographics
  • This month, I look at some of the standout data that are in this survey for Marin County versus California overall, and also discuss what is missing. These data are an average from 2011 to 2015, the post-recession era to date. The data can be found at MEF is working on these data as quick graphs on our website; please see soon for our data pages. This is part one of a two-part series.


    These data describe how households (people living in a home) form that household. Some households are married people, some are a person living alone, some are people living together unmarried. In Marin County, 50 percent of households are married couples, 0.9 percentage points above the state average. 31 percent of Marin County households are someone living alone; for California, that number is 24.1 percent. 30 percent of households have a child under 18 years old in Marin County, where the state average is 36.1 percent of households. 33.9 percent of Marin County households have someone over 65 years old in the home versus only 26.3 for California.

    Economic Status

    Approximately 65 percent of Marin County’s population is in the labor force (working or looking for work). For California, it is 63.6 percent of the population. Marin County has 60.3 percent of the female population in the labor force, where California is 57.3 percent. A standout data point is that 10.1 percent of workers work from home in Marin County versus 5.3 percent for California overall; this data helps corroborate a long-standing hypothesis that Marin County has a large amount of home-based businesses versus the state. Further, 15.3 percent of Marin County’s working population is self-employed versus just 8.3 percent in California on average. Over 41 percent of Marin County’s working population works in professional or business services or education or health care versus just 34 percent for California overall.

    Two data points that lead to a lot of questions for me include median income and poverty data. For Marin County, median household income is estimated at $93,257 as an average of 2011 to 2015. California is $61,818. Marin County is among the highest median household incomes in the United States by county. In terms of poverty, 8.3 percent of Marin County’s population is in federal poverty conditions, while 16.3 percent of California’s population is estimated to be in federal poverty conditions. Marin County has the lowest poverty rate of any county in California with at least 250,000 residents.

    Final Takes

    These data are snapshots and should be compared to history. My intention here was to provide the current snapshot, as stated by the Census Bureau, but also provide a flavor of what is reported annually. Advocates, elected officials, government staff workers, local businesses, and some residents in Marin County have asked for these data over time, and the data are not comprehensive. There is more depth and comparisons available from the Census Bureau.

    The household composition and economic data suggest that Marin is an affluent place, but poverty is a factor to watch. While relatively low, 8.3 percent of the population living under the federal poverty line suggests that there are even more people living marginally in Marin County due to the high local cost of living. The federal poverty line in 2015 was an annual income of $24,250 for a household of four people. Poverty likely includes some older residents, and an aging population is something we will look at next month as we add housing unit characteristics and demographics.

    Board Corner
    MEF Board Director, Frank Borodic, Roundstone Inn
    Marconi Conference Center and Historic State Park

    Frank Borodic, MEF Board director and owner of Rounstone Inn (, is working to preserve a state historic landmark. The Marconi Conference Center ( and State Historic Park has a rich human history that dates back hundreds of years. From the pre-historic villages of the coastal Miwok to the farming communities of today, the Tomales Bay ecosystem has supported the livelihoods of thousands of people.

    As a treasure to the Marin community, Marconi Conference Center offers a distraction-free environment, professional-caliber meeting space, comfortable lodging, delicious and healthful meals and a conference staff that is skillful. Accommodating and guest-oriented, the lodging buildings are nestled around a garden courtyard that offers an ideal spot guests to relax.

    This historic state park is in need of renovations and the Marin Economic Forum is pleased to provide our services to assess the economic benefit and recommendation towards keeping this treasure alive for future generations to enjoy.

    Next time you find yourself on the Point Reyes coast in Marshall, stop by the Marconi Conference Center and Historic Park for a unique and beautiful west Marin experience.

    Upcoming Events
    Construction Development/Commercial Real Estate Working Group
    Wednesday, January 11, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Finance Industry Working Group
    Wednesday, January 11, 2:30pm - 3:30pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Board Meeting
    Friday, January 27, 2016, 8:30—11:30am
    Buck Institute, 8001 Redwood Blvd, Novato

    Visit for details.

    MEF Business Professional’s Collaboration and Education Group
    Thursday, January 19, 2017, 5:00pm—7:00pm
    Community Room, Drake’s Landing, Larkspur
    Visit for details.
    Annual Economic Forecast 2017
    Friday January 20, 2017, 8:00am—11:00am
    Yellen Conference Center, 101 Market St, San Francisco 94105
    Visit for details.

    Destination Management Working Group
    Wednesday February 1, 2017, 1:00—2:00pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Innovation Working Group
    Wednesday February 1, 2017, 2:30—3:30pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Finance Committee
    Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 10:30—11:30am
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Issues Committee
    Friday, February 10, 2017, 8:30—9:30am, 10:30—11:30am
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Visit for details.

    Click Here To View Past Newsletters

    Marin financial experts eye rising stock market, Trump impact

    Robert Eyler, Ph.D

    By Adrian Rodriguez
    Marin Independent Journal

    Financial advisers in Marin say it’s a good time to review investments, as Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election appears to be signaling a strong stock market.

    “If you’re not investing, you should be putting your toe in,” said Neil Hennessy, CIO of Hennessy Funds in Novato.

    Since Nov. 8, the stock market has seen some ups and downs, rising to record numbers last week. Investors nationwide have been betting that with Trump in office, and with a Republican-led Congress, there will be a push to deregulate energy and banking, cut taxes and increase government spending on infrastructure, making it the opportune time to invest and buy stock in the financial and commodities sectors.

    However, Hennessy said investors should pay less attention to what might happen in a Trump administration and focus on the fact that “business is very resilient,” and that “everything points to a higher market” because of that.

    “The most important thing is there is no euphoria in the market place today, either on the greed side or the fear side,” he said. “As that continues, business will continue to do well.”

    Hennessy recommends that investors trade out of fixed-income investments and focus on high-quality dividend-paying stocks, which he thinks will be rewarding. If there are tax cuts, the benefits could be greater, he said.

    Robert Eyler, chief economist for the Marin Economic Forum, said it makes sense in the short-term to invest in commodities, such as energy, specifically oil, and in finances.

    “That’s where you’ve seen all the activity in the past three weeks,” he said, “because those are the kind of industries that got a boost.”


    Stocks have slowed since hitting record numbers just before Thanksgiving. Stocks moved mostly lower Wednesday as gains in blue-chip energy companies and banks were not enough to make up for losses in the broader market.

    The bond market took heavy losses, with the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rising to its highest level in a year and a half. The higher yields sent bond substitutes like utilities, telecommunications and real estate stocks sharply lower.

    Oil stocks climbed after OPEC nations, which collectively produce more than one-third of the world’s oil, agreed to trim production for the first time in eight years.

    Trump’s election has sent investors fleeing out of safe-play assets like bonds, gold and dividend-paying stocks this month and into riskier investments like small companies, which would benefit the most from a growing domestic economy.

    The Russell 2000 index, which is made up of mostly small- to mid-sized companies, soared 11 percent in November. That’s the biggest one-month gain for that index in five years.

    Investors believe Trump’s promises to cut taxes, invest heavily in infrastructure and cut back regulation will help grow the economy and might even cause inflation, which has been almost non-existent since the financial crisis. U.S. government bonds quickly become less appealing to investors in a healthy, growing economy and in an inflationary environment.


    “We have elected a pro-growth president who is going to move very quickly to make some drastic changes, and investors are trying to figure out what to do with that,” said Tom di Galoma, head of Treasury trading at Seaport Global Holdings.

    Di Galoma said he sees the 10-year note’s yield hitting 3 percent by year end, a level not seen in nearly three years.

    But for those investing for the long term, classic technology and biotechnology could be the way to go, Eyler said.

    He warned that some of the potential for profit in the commodities and financial sectors may have already been eaten up with the excitement since the November election. He also advised investors to note that the economy has been on a demand-side growth pattern for nearly seven years, which he says “is almost the longest economic recovery in the last 100 years,” and that the economy is still waiting for a “supply-side boost.”

    James E. Demmert, founder and managing partner at Main Street Research, a Sausalito-based investment and wealth management firm, said “Trump came along at the right time,” because “his presidency coincides with the beginning of a new business cycle or a re-acceleration of corporate profits.”

    Demmert agrees that investment in materials and the financial sector — including local banks — is wise, adding that industrial and health care would be good strategies as well.

    “One thing I think investors should think about is what they do about interest rates and bonds,” he said. “Interest rates are headed up and investors should be very careful when that happens — as they will teeter-totter. If you own bond funds, that can be devastating on maturity dates.”


    Bob Hunter, principal and founder of Marin Wealth Advisors in San Rafael, said in an email on behalf of his firm that expectations of a more favorable corporate regulatory and tax environment should be an incentive for companies to invest in plants and equipment, further boosting the economy, and again helping jobs and wages.

    “Given our sense that economic activity could accelerate, resulting in higher wages and commodity prices, we are reviewing our bond holdings, especially maturities, as increased inflation usually leads to lower bond prices,” he wrote. “Regarding equities, we feel stocks in general are historically in the fully valued range on an earnings basis, but expectations of higher earnings and money flowing out of bonds should help to support current stock prices. It’s a good time for investors of all sizes to review their investments, including 401(k) plans, for under performers and duplication.”

    Geoff Hakim, founder of Marin Capital Management, a Novato-based firm specializing in alternative investments, is skeptical of the recent stock market activity.

    “The stock market is rarely based on reality and it’s always based on expectations,” he said. “What we’re seeing from this last month or so is basically people hoping that having Trump in there will improve the economy. We are going to have to wait and see.”

    Hakim argued that the bond market is in the worst place it’s been for years and that “instead of being subject to all of the massive volatility that stocks go through,” he and his firm recommend hedge fund investment.

    “The client ends up with a lot more money in their pocket when they go that route,” he said.

    MEF Newsletter December 2016

    Michael Kadel

    MEF Newsletter

    December 2016

    Chief Executive Officer, Jim Cordeiro
    Knowledge Age, Planning + Hope

    The late 20th century was a period of major social, economic and political changes. It was also a time in which there were big changes in knowledge – in how people see knowledge and how they use it. This period is now widely known as the beginning of the Knowledge Age – to distinguish it from the Industrial Age.

    The Knowledge Age is a new, advanced form of capitalism in which knowledge and ideas are the main source of economic growth (more important than land, labour, money, or other ‘tangible resources). New patterns of work and new business practices have developed, and, as a result, new kinds of workers, with new and different skills, are required.

    As well as this (and this is very important for education), knowledge’s meaning is changing. Knowledge is no longer being thought of as ‘stuff’ that is developed (and stored) in the minds of experts, represented in books, and classified into disciplines. Instead, it is now thought of as being like a form of energy, as a system of networks and flows – something that does things, or makes things happen. Knowledge Age knowledge is defined—and valued—not for what it is, but for what it can do. It is produced, not by individual experts, but by ‘collectivising intelligence’ – that is, groups of people with complementary expertise who collaborate for specific purposes. These changes have major implications for our education system.

    As schools prepare young people for successful lives in the 21st century, new skills and dispositions are being developed. This can’t be done simply by adding these ‘new’ skills and dispositions to the existing curriculum. To build a 21st century system, a new mindset is required that can take account of the new meaning of knowledge and the new contexts and purposes for learning this knowledge. ‘21st century learning’ is a shorthand term that draws together the ingredients of this new mindset.

    The changes discussed earlier are primarily economic and work-related. Education is, of course, about much more than simply preparing people for work. It has other important goals: for example, developing social and citizenship skills, providing equal opportunity, and building social cohesion. Expressed this way, these are 20th century goals.

    What might these goals look like in the 21st century context?

    The shift to 21st century society involves much more than the economic changes outlined earlier – major social and political changes are also happening.

    Guidance by Hope is good. Guidance by Planning is better. Guidance by Planning + Hope is best.

    The Marin Economic Forum (MEF) is a public-private partnership, serving as the platform for collaborative efforts on improving Marin County’s economic vitality, while seeking to enhance social equity and environmental protection.

    Visit to learn more about our collaborative efforts.

    Until next month, MEF wishes you a new year full of good health and prosperity.

    Chief Economist, Dr. Robert Eyler
    What Next?

    While you may feel beat up from the September and October election rush, and worse due to the election results, it is now time to plan for what is coming. Generally, the economy is not affected by presidential elections alone or over the long-term; the combination of presidential and congressional elections resulting in consolidation of Republican control is concerning the Democratic party and many Americans on both sides of the aisle as to how the economy reacts and the long-term effects on national debt and our labor markets. Concerns are due mainly to uncertainty, and we have heard a lot of promises. With 2017 just around the corner, here are the key things I am watching (for now) as an economist.

    ACA unwind/De-regulation of Health Care

    After years of set-up, beta testing, preparing for change, and now living under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there are rumblings that the Trump administration plans to engage in a “repeal and replace” agenda in health care. This may be part of a broader framework to change health insurance conditions for many Americans by reducing the current system’s availability and revert to a more market-driven system. How this allows insurance companies to reduce their costs, how it begins steps toward reducing regulations in health care and financial markets, and also exacerbates the actual, patient costs of medications and medical care generally depends on how the ACA is replaced. The implications could drastically change the economics of health care and how people use American health systems (or do not use them at all due to a lack of affordability).

    Immigration and internal labor markets

    One of the other marginally controversial topics from the Trump camp was what to do about immigration. From the election season, the idea that the United States needs immigration reform was generally accepted. The way that happens, how it changes family and labor dynamics, and its ability to be enforced well, are all open questions. As economists, the labor-market interference such a process begins -- even before any change based on actual legislation – can change the way in which small businesses hire, wages they face, and all this coming in California at the same time as new minimum wage legislation is to go into effect. The flow of people over US borders for work purposes is likely the first battleground: will companies be penalized for not using Americans as a workforce for goods sold in America? Recent events suggest a disconnect between rhetoric and reality here.


    Taxes were one of the major debate topics in 2016, and are a great way to buy political victories in the short term. Much like a tax cut’s cousin, more fiscal spending, there are both short and long term effects. In the short term, a reduction of tax rates and a “broadening of the base” (more entities, corporate or households) paying taxes increase fiscal deficits. Over time, if the base is broadened in such a way as to not detract the economic activity from which the tax is derived (for example, a national sales or services tax), tax revenues may rise. However, the risk that tax revenues may fall with lower taxes, that investment (the goal of lowering taxes if corporate taxes were to fall) would fall, and deficits and debt would rise, is high. Tax cuts do not have the same multiplicative effects on the economy as increasing spending specific to infrastructure, but are attractive political pawns to move.

    Infrastructure investment

    This is another point that both sides of the aisle and many economists feel is a way to sustain our current growth and prepare for two more generations of growth. The key to infrastructure investment by our federal government is the focus of that investment. The rhetoric has been to look at building a wall, or something that has the effect of an impermeable border, versus roads, bridges and dams as examples. Both would have the same, basic short-term effect; depending on the longer-term labor market effects of immigration reform. A focus on repairing and expanding infrastructure may also be regional and supporting older technologies (driving) versus new ones (wireless). Hence, how this would affect a place like Marin County is likely to be small, short of speeding up funding for the Novato Narrows, or more support for the SMART rail project.

    Child care

    Due to Measure A’s defeat in Marin County’s election, and Donald Trump’s victory in the national election, child care support from the public sector has a strange future. I was shocked that Marin County did not see itself wanting to subsidize this activity, where children under five years old would have an environment as envisioned in “Strong Start”. Will the Trump administration see child care as a priority and complement to working mothers? We do not know, but if the vote in Marin County did not make it through, it is tricky to see a congressional deal happening on federal child care soon.

    In short, we have an election result we did not expect from a candidate that has no set agenda or political experience to date. The latter is coming soon, the former will need to come soon also if the American economy is to move forward less tentatively and guided by planning versus hope.

    Board Corner
    MEF Board Director, Chris Stewart, North Bay Life Science Alliance

    The North Bay Life Science Alliance ( was established by economic development and life science professionals, educators and public leaders across the region. Backed by an initial investment by the City of Novato and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, the initiative will promote the region’s capabilities for advancing life sciences.

    Anchored by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and BioMarin, the North Bay is home to more than 200 life science organizations and hundreds of acclaimed researchers. In 2012, the Buck Institute alone attracted $40 million in national grants and the region drew in more than $10 million in National Institute of Health (NIH) grants.

    California is the top destination for venture capital in life sciences, attracting more than the next eight ranked states combined. Not surprisingly, the industry is expanding beyond its traditional strongholds in the East Bay, the South Bay and the Peninsula. Providing access to the same resources as our neighbors, the North Bay has already emerged as an attractive alternative. More than 200 companies have chosen to base themselves in the region. In Marin County, life-science revenues are surging past $750 million and associated jobs are climbing toward 2,000. That activity is expected to grow and spread west on the basis of local success stories like these.

    Visit for more details.

    Upcoming Events
    Destination Management Working Group
    Wednesday, December 7, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903

    Innovation Working Group
    Wednesday, December 7, 2:30pm - 3:30pm
    555 Northgate Dr, San Rafael 94903
    Visit for details.

    MEF Business Professional’s Collaboration and Education Group
    Thursday, January 19, 2017, 5:00pm—7:00pm
    Community Room, Drake’s Landing, Larkspur
    Visit for details.
    Annual Economic Forecast 2017
    Friday January 20, 2017, 8:00am—11:00am
    Yellen Conference Center, 101 Market St, San Francisco 94105
    Visit for details.

    Click Here To View Past Newsletters

    MEF Newsletter November 2016

    MEF Newsletter

    November 2016

    Chief Executive Officer, Jim Cordeiro
    The Concept of Wisdom, part 3 of a 3 part series

    Autumn is the time of year to harvest what has been sown through the past winter, spring and summer. The cycle of change is upon us and festive celebrations such as Halloween, All Saints Day, Dia de Los Muertos and Election day mark this transition.

    In any traditions or organizations, there is a need to pass on not only the knowledge but also the wisdom to the younger generation in order to secure growth or at least survival of the traditions/ organizations. When a martial art master passes his knowledge on to his disciple, it’s not only about the technique of how to use a sword! You can always learn the technique easily by e.g. reading a book. But what makes the disciple able to carry out the work of the master is always about his ability to internalise the lessons from the master, reflect upon it, use it, gain experience with it and thereby achieve his own wisdom with the lessons! In this way, information to knowledge to wisdom is interconnected and consciously managed by the master himself!

    How do we transform information into knowledge into wisdom?

    In one word, it’s experience. The information can be stored, it can be useful and become knowledge when it has been used. In essence, we take the information, contextualize it and thereby achieve a whole new meaning with it, thereby becoming knowledge. Between knowledge and wisdom is a bridge called “knowing”. Knowing is deeper, and it comes when knowledge has been reflected and internalized.

    Let us recap what we have learned over this 3-part series:
    – Information is new material communicated.
    – Knowledge is learning transfer and the ability to teach this new material.
    – Wisdom is our ability to internalise, reflect, use and gain experience

    The Marin Economic Forum (MEF) is a public-private partnership, serving as a platform for collaborative efforts on improving Marin County’s economic vitality, while seeking to enhance social equity and environmental protection. Here at MEF we speak about the 4 E’s: economy, equity, environment and education. Let us take this new learned material, practice learning transfer and achieve our own wisdom with these lessons to educate Marin about its economy and communities.

    We hope you enjoyed this 3-part series on information, knowledge and wisdom. Please visit to learn more about our collaborative efforts towards a sustainable and vital economy.

    Until next month, I leave you with the following quote:

    “The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.” —Brian Herbert

    Chief Economist, Dr. Robert Eyler
    Knowledge and Job Marketing Matching

    Many of the economic forecasts, for both the California and national economies, are for continued growth through 2019 and perhaps 2020. This continued “recovery” will be the longest growth period in American history, if the forecasts are correct. Our previous two newsletters focused on information and knowledge. This one is about wisdom. Has this recovery made us wiser as consumers and savers? What does being wiser economically really mean?

    In some ways, the answer is simple. Saving is a “wiser” act than consumption because saving conserves resources and is a reaction to an inevitable future. For example, we all know at some point we individually cannot work like we do now. We save for the time of no longer working -- like taxes and death, an inevitability. Saving is triggered by how people see a return on saving money, or how interest rates provide such a return. One of the lingering effects of the recent recession is that interest rates across most of the advanced world economy were driven historically low by policy and remain there. Why is there an incentive to save with interest rates that low?

    But we have seen savings rate recover, partially due to people paying off past debts and also slowing down their household’s consumption. Consumption is rising again. Incomes are rising and home and equity values are also rising. There is an income and wealth effect that drives consumption, and as the economy grows and recovers, we should expect increases in consumption.

    Is this a wise move? Millennials, people between 25 and 34 years old in 2016, are considered the epicenter of a debt crisis of their own in student debt. They also saw a generation before lose on housing bets. One of the wisest moves, given the data, is to gain access to education based on education’s return to investment versus not having more education. However, repaying that debt means shifting consumption or investment in other goods and services.

    Education is an act of investment versus consumption. This distinction is subtle: buying a new iPhone for business is an investment; buying an iPhone for a 14 year-old is consumption. However, both are likely used in similar ways. Generating income later from purchases today can be seen as a wise form of spending or investment; buying a house is an investment where renting is consumption. The home purchase circumvents rent (which in the current tax code does not allow for deductions against part or all of the home payment) while generating wealth for the owner. Housing wealth losses sustained during the Great Recession have been made up since 2010. buying and holding assets has also been seen as a wise choice.

    Our experience in the 2008-10 “Great” Recession remains with us in good ways. Have we gained any wisdom about how our economy works the need to save parallel to consumption, and shifting spending in the form of investment? How we enter and exit the next recession reveals many answers to these questions.

    Two ways that we seem to have little wisdom is in our national debt and the reality that without rules changes, social security and Medicare (as just two examples of archaic, pension or related systems) may not survive the generation to retire between 2029 and 2045. One piece of wisdom is that there is no fountain of youth, and we save (both intuitively and with the help of financial planners) based on actuarial tables that describe our statistical life span. Will we continue to retire at the same age? What if we live longer than we expected? Are we wise enough to save now and consume less tomorrow for that, or do we care? What is on the other side of that choice if wrong? If only we had that amount of wisdom, but the information and knowledge is not there, just statistics.

    Board Corner
    MEF Board Director, Chris Stewart, Economic Development Manager, City of Novato

    The City of Novato, the North Bay Life Science Alliance and the Marin Economic Forum collaborated to generate the city’s 2016 Annual Report. One highlight is the economic impact of the Life Science Industry in Novato. Jobs created and the multiplier effect continues to benefit Novato following the 2008 Great Recession. Visit for details

    Upcoming Events
    2016 Leaders of the North Bay Awards Luncheon
    Friday, November 4, 11:30am - 1:30pm
    Embassy Suites, 101 McInnis Parkway, San Rafael, CA
    Visit for details.
    Election Day
    Tuesday, November 8
    Your polling place
    Measure A
    The leaders of Marin’s business-related organizations urge a Yes vote on Measure A – Strong Starts for Kids.

    Marin Equity Summit
    Thursday, November 10, 8:00 – 5:00pm
    The Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael, CA
    Visit for details.

    Click Here To View Past Newsletters

    MEF Newsletter October 2016

    MEF Newsletter

    October 2016

    Chief Executive Officer Jim Cordeiro
    The Concept of Knowledge

    Elon Musk is good at a very specific type of learning that most of us aren’t even aware of — learning transfer.

    Learning transfer is taking what we learn in one context and applying it to another. It can be taking a kernel of what we learn in school or in a book and applying it to the “real world.” It can also be taking what we learn in one industry and applying it to another.

    Most people can learn a lot more than they think they can. They sell themselves short without trying. Musk has a unique process for fostering learning transfer. First, he deconstructs knowledge into fundamental principles. It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree. Make sure you understand the fundamental principles — i.e. the trunk and big branches — before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang onto. The second involves reconstructing the foundational principles he’s learned in artificial intelligence, technology, physics, and engineering into separate fields.

    The concept of knowledge has a logical structure to it and you need to understand the foundations before moving to the extremities. Musk’s emphasis on “fundamental principles” mirrors another healthy habit of mind he adheres to: first principles thinking. Musk says that with first principles, “you boil things down to the most fundamental truths … and then reason up from there.

    The approach goes all the way back to Ancient Greece, which was the start of Western civilization’s attempts to systematize knowledge. Over 2,300 years ago, Aristotle said that a first principle is the “first basis from which a thing is known” and that pursuing first principles is the key to doing any sort of systemic inquiry — whether in philosophy as he did, or in business as Musk does. In other words, you have to get to know the tree’s trunk, then branch out from there.

    The Marin Economic Forum (MEF) is a public-private partnership, serving as a platform for collaborative efforts on improving Marin County’s economic vitality, while seeking to enhance social equity and environmental protection. As MEF builds up our reservoir of “first principles” and associates these principles with different fields, we gain the superpower of being able to go into a new field we’ve never learned before and quickly make unique contributions.

    Part 3 of this 3 part series will explore the concept of wisdom and how we transform knowledge. Until next month, we leave you with the following quote:

    We are in an age that assumes that the narrowing trends of specialization to be logical, natural, and desirable… In the meantime, humanity has been deprived of comprehensive understanding. Specialization has bred feelings of isolation, futility, and confusion in individuals. It has also resulted in the individual’s leaving responsibility for thinking and social action to others. Specialization breeds biases that ultimately aggregate as international and ideological discord, which in turn leads to war.” —Buckminster Fuller

    Chief Economist Dr. Robert Eyler
    Knowledge and Job Marketing Matching

    Economists have struggled with knowledge acquisition and its transformation to worker productivity since economics started as a social science. In the 1960’'s, a soon-to-be Nobel Laureate economist, Kenneth Arrow, wrote a paper called "The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing." The idea of learning by doing, or the acquisition of job knowledge by doing the job, slowly transformed the way economists looked at training programs. Previous to this study, economists assumed the worker’'s knowledge base was determined outside the job area and brought to their job (and really not changed without formal education). What if workers gained knowledge at their jobs and became more productive by doing their work or something similar?

    In many ways, workforce development programs, apprenticeships, and other “"on-the-job”" training employ this learning-by-doing concept. For the past two years, a six-county initiative in the North Bay has been looking at career pathways, or how to turn knowledge into a career for students in high schools and community colleges. This is part of a state-wide initiative to pair vocational training and education programs with possible jobs in the future. The educational facilities, and a wide variety of partner organizations (workforce development organizations, such as WIOA run by counties funded nationally by the Department of Labor, are part of this also), attempt to provide third-party training.

    Can the career pathways lead to training programs? Many movements, such as the Maker movement, suggest that hands-on training can help people (especially kids) more easily acquire science and math foundations and critical thinking, but does training convert to knowledge. We are making such a wager through our North Bay educational institutions expanding training and apprenticeships and internships for students. These are all variations on a learning-by-doing theme: by actually doing the job you acquire the knowledge to do the job better.

    Communication with employers is the bridge to make any third-party, training program work. For the job market, a challenge is to provide those skills in a timely way to match labor demand. Some of that challenge is to foresee what skills may be needed four to five years in the distance. In economics, markets are a place where labor trades its skills for wages and salaries. Does it trade knowledge? Going to college has a regal goal of acquiring knowledge in many cases. Does that mean a fresh graduate from a CSU or UC campus is work ready? That subtle difference is sorted on the job market in ways that can be very painful for new entrants if they have knowledge but not job skills.

    In the end, the learning-by-doing concept is taking a worker and adding skills, or knowledge of how to get a job done. Credential programs have a "practicum" component where students practice teaching (learning-by-doing); I am sure many of us have stories of professors that have amazing knowledge, but struggled with teaching. Part of that is the dichotomy of skills versus knowledge. When both are in place, they become powerful allies in the labor market.

    We have job matching problems throughout the United States with a labor supply that has plenty of knowledge, but perhaps not the correct skills. We need to stay up with our employers in what knowledge is needed for coming jobs, and how specific skills can fine tune that knowledge in a productive worker. This is why developing career pathways and transition programs is so important: we need support for changing employer needs, as well as a wide breadth of worker background to minimize the time someone is unemployed who wants to work.

    If we solve this, we have taken our knowledge of labor market dynamics and done the best we can to provide economic opportunity.

    Board Corner
    MEF Board Director, Vivien Strauss, Cheese Trail Founder

    The California Cheese Trail project, created by MEF Board member Vivien Straus, showcases California’s 70+ cheesemakers - most of whom are farmers - who craft their artisan and farmstead cheeses using milk from cows, goats, sheep and even water buffalo. The project’s aim is two-fold: to promote cheesemakers - thereby helping small farms - as well as connect consumers who wish to visit cheesemakers. The North Bay, with its productive pasturelands, has 25 cheesemakers, many of whom are open for visits.

    Through the website,, a free app and a printed map, you can find suggested driving tours to cheesemakers (with integrated Google mapping), farm tours, cheese-making classes, events and details as to which cheesemakers are open to the public.

    On Sunday, October 30th, there will be a benefit for the project at Straus Home Ranch with cheese tasting, drinking and meeting a couple of calves. A raffle for a 2-night stay at the farm is also an option.

    Upcoming Events
    MEF Business Professional’s Networking Group
    Thursday, October 13, 2016, 5:00pm—7:00pm
    300A Drake’s Landing Road in Greenbrae, 94904
    visit for details.
    MEF Co-Presents Forecasting The Future
    Wednesday, October 27, 2016, 7:30am—10:00am
    Embassy Suites, San Rafael
    visit for details

    For the Love of Cheese, Cows and Farm Life
    Saturday, October 30, 2016, 2:00-5:00pm
    Straus Home Ranch, Marshall
    visit for details

    Click Here To View Past Newsletters

    Brexit is an example that it is a small world after all

    Robert Eyler, Ph.D

    By Robert Eyler
    Marin Independent Journal

    The recent passage of Brexit by voters in the United Kingdom raised many questions and had far-reaching consequences. And despite our small footprint, Marin County potentially will feel the repercussions.

    Some good; some not so good.

    Nonetheless, whatever the local outcomes, they should make us realize that this is an interdependent financial world that we live in.

    And all the more reason that such organizations as the Marin Economic Forum continue to be an important informational, networking and idea exchange.

    Because we (and the North Bay region) have several companies that compete on a global basis, there are three immediate issues to contemplate: housing and financial market performance, shifts in tourism flows, and trade links to the UK as either a marketplace or a gateway to mainland Europe.

    The Brexit decision assures that we are likely to remember 2016 as one of the most politically intense years of the century.

    While our presidential election is slowly building to a crescendo in November, the UK vote to leave the European Union has already changed the scenario that whomever we elect will have to face.

    Because the UK’s currency is the pound sterling and not the Euro used in EU countries, the unwind will be more about how currencies are trading for each other and less about compliance.

    But the disconnect from trade and financial infrastructure based on EU membership will be a large enough headache.

    Marin County, housing may be positively affected for two reasons.

    First, the outflow of capital toward the United States from the UK will further reduce pressure on interest rates; the Federal Reserve knows this and may now further delay interest rate increases to prevent the U.S. from becoming a magnet for UK wealth seeking the slightest of interest rate gains.

    Mortgage rates should remain stable and low, and housing demand will remain supported.

    Those residents with global investments may find losses from emerging markets that have ties to the UK (e.g., Indonesia and Malaysia); countries like Japan may be financial beneficiaries although auto sales to the UK (and wine sales there for the North Bay region) may suffer.

    For Marin County businesses, trade and labor connections to the UK may be delayed or hampered.

    U.S. trade relations otherwise should be little affected.

    Businesses such as Autodesk and BioMarin may need to consider the size and scope of offices and business branches in the UK if they are utilized to service Europe more completely.

    This may slow progress in life sciences generally, especially if global uncertainty is exacerbated by this situation.

    For tourism, we may see a flip of British tourism for Americans.

    Marin County residents may now plan trips to London that they have delayed if the pound’s value falls significantly. For UK travelers, the opposite might be the case, reducing their visits to Marin County, wine country and the greater Bay Area.

    Businesses in Marin County, such as hotels and B&Bs and restaurants, may hear fewer UK accents.

    Under the assumption that global uncertainty ebbs a bit after the tidal wave of opinions and concerns is done crashing over news channels, Marin County should be economically good after this is all said and done.

    The UK has multiple reasons to sort the aftermath out quickly, and allow us to prepare for November and more political zaniness.

    Robert Eyler is dean of the School of Extended and International Education at Sonoma State University as well as the chief economist for the Marin Economic Forum.

    MEF Newsletter August 2016

    MEF Newsletter

    August 2016


    by MEF CEO Jim Cordeiro

    Year of the Entrepreneur

    North Bay iHub celebrates the second annual North Bay Innovation Week highlighting innovation in the North Bay the week of Sept 12 – 16, 2016. In collaboration with iHub, Marin Economic Forum is hosting our 4th annual Marinnovation event on September 13.

    iHub is a collaborative of partners dedicated to building a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties thru the promotion of innovation as a community building and job creation tool by providing entrepreneurs with resources to enable them to build successful businesses.

    The information economy has impacted the way we currently work and will continue to impact the way we work. This economy values knowledge workers and our future depends on the workforce development strategies towards a sustainable economy. There are many ways to discover your value in our economy. One question to ask is, “Could the vast majority of your work responsibilities be automated by a “kludged together” Excel script?”

    America is the wealthiest country on earth because for most of our history we have followed the basic principles of economic freedom. Said differently, our wealth is not preordained; it is not coincidence and is it not guaranteed to endure. Instead, our wealth is the direct result of deliberate action to abide by certain economic principles, laws, and freedoms, many of which are now slipping away.

    Some portion of the persistent unemployment in our economy is structural in nature: There is a gap between the skills of the unemployed and the capabilities that are being sought by employers with unfilled job openings. Much of the structural unemployment we see is being caused by rapid technological innovation and the evolution of our economy, which increasingly demands workers with technical skills and experience. Conventional thinking might look at this problem and say that this phenomenon happens constantly; as economies grow, skilled workers are in increasing demand. We now face a situation in which technological innovation is altering the economy so rapidly that many workers are unable to make the adjustment and gain the retraining necessary to evolve with it.

    A simple thought experiment: Let’s pretend you won $10 million in the lottery and you could only do one of the following two things with your windfall:

  • Option #1: Invest in a conservative portfolio of stocks and bonds and live comfortably on $300,000 – $400,000 per year in income.
  • Option #2: Start-up a new business that is creative and innovative and hires new employees to try and become successful.
  • Which option would you choose? There is no right or wrong answer here. Both options might benefit you, but only the second option is capable of being beneficial to the broader economy and society at large. New business formation and the creation, innovation, and job opportunities that come with it are the foundation of economic growth and prosperity.

    MEF Chief Economist Update

    by Dr. Robert Eyler

    Entrepreneurship and Sustainability

    Entrepreneurship and sustainability have a similar history in terms of how economists look at their definitions. Initially, we looked at entrepreneurship as “ideas”; economists think about four factors of production or inputs including labor, land, physical capital, and entrepreneurship. These ideas are paid profits, profits earned by the idea owner or ultimately the owner of a business that springs from intellectual capital (the idea). The entrepreneur’s role in our economy became more important as the economy began to monetize ideas more rapidly, and with large sums of money. There is a magazine with the title of “Entrepreneur” like “People” or “Time”; like sustainability, entrepreneurship has become a generalized term and no longer associated directly with its original meaning. Generally, we think of a smart person who started a business that was successful as an entrepreneur now. Economists still consider entrepreneurship an input to any and all businesses.

    Successful businesses are the heart of every economy and all businesses began technically with an entrepreneur. We teach this subject throughout business school curricula; Dominican University of California has its MBA programs wrapped around the entrepreneur; Babson College has a satellite campus in San Francisco on the Embarcadero and Folsom Street, a college made famous for its focus on entrepreneurship as a core idea taught in its classes. The concept is everywhere, and everyone has some ideas about new products or innovations. Not all these ideas are commercial; television programs like Shark Tank provide a quick lens into the decision making that links financial markets to new ideas.

    Marin County is a place where famous entrepreneurs have flourished. Lucasfilm, Fair Issac, BioMarin, EO Products, and many others started and grew here. Many lessons can be learned from these businesses growing from a couple ideas or concepts or products; many other businesses fail to make it here in Marin County, as in other places as starting a business is tough. Marin Economic Forum’s work is to stimulate entrepreneurs in Marin County and beyond to see Marin County as a place to do business. The history is here, but is the community support?

    Marin County has been resistant to business growth generally, under the supposition that growth means change which has many “bads” that come with it. Ironically, climate change will likely be solved or mitigated by entrepreneurship: science made commercial to help people and the earth. Everything in your home, the restaurant meals you enjoy, the phone you may be reading this on right now is a by-product of supported entrepreneurship. Our community is supported by businesses and new ideas; without them, there is no change and nothing new, fewer jobs and societal devolution.

    Click Here To View Past Newsletters

    Board Corner

    MEF Board Director, Laurie O’ Hara, Working Solutions

    Congratulations to Working Solutions. On Friday, July 8, they funded their 400th microloan! The loan was made to Firebrand Artisan Breads, a local bakery in Oakland that is taking the Bay Area by storm with its signature breads and delicious pastries.

    Working Solutions began in 1999 as a workforce development program under the auspices of TMC Financing. By 2005, the organization had commenced its own microlending program. Since then, they have provided over $9.8 million in lending capital to Bay Area businesses and perfected their holistic approach to community economic development by blending their lending services with business coaching and mentoring programs. In 2009, Working Solutions was officially designated a United States Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

    MEF Board Director, Michael Leifer, Digital Candy

    Congratulations to Michael Leifer and the launch of Digital Candy. Digital Candy offers advanced artificial intelligence searches on the web to identify counterfeit products and misused logos, domains, images and video.



    Marinnovation — Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016
    4:30pm – 7:30pm, Marin Commons, San Rafael
    visit to register

    North Bay Innovation Week
    September 12-16, 2016

    Throughout Sonoma and Marin counties

    100MARIN — Wednesday, September 28, 2016
    block party outside of Il Davide, San Rafael
    6:00pm – 8:00pm
    visit: to register