In 2022 the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation launched an innovative new Leadership Academy to support the professional development of our local vineyard employees. The Leadership Academy provides leadership training to vineyard employees and informs them about the resources and services available to them within the community. This program is not about farming skills, but rather about advancing the skills needed for vineyard employees to be promoted into leadership roles within their organization or as an enhancement to their current leadership skills and responsibilities. The knowledge learned from this Academy is not only shared with fellow colleagues, but with friends, family, and the local community which provides an additional benefit.
The Leadership Academy is limited to a select number of participants each year who are nominated by their employer and undergo a selection process. To be eligible, employees must be a previous Employee Recognition Award Recipient. Each class size is between 15 – 25 participants to ensure a high-quality experience and an opportunity for individuals to ask questions and to build a professional network.
About the Program
Leadership Academy Highlights:
- Leadership program meets eight times throughout the year while avoiding the busy season of harvest.
- Vineyard Owners/Management companies can nominate one Employee Recognition recipient for each Academy class.
- Program topics will provide a better understanding of Sonoma County, opportunities and resources for local vineyard employees and their families, and leadership training. Experts will present to these leadership classes.
Topics will include:
- Overview of Sonoma County Agricultural
- Vineyard & Winery Business Day
- Financial Literacy
- Human Resources
- Disaster Preparedness
- Communications & Media Training
- Other hot topics as relevant
The Leadership Academy class concludes every year with a graduation ceremony that honors each student’s achievement. Graduating students are able to bring their friends and family to attend the graduation.
Here is what a few 2022 Leadership Academy students have said about their experience in the inaugural Academy:
- Gustavo Rico, Seghesio Family Vineyards. “My favorite day of the Leadership Academy was Human Resources and Compliance Day because I learned the importance of respect and a good working environment for my colleagues.”
- Ricardo Corona, Munselle Vineyards. “I feel more prepared as a leader within my company because of the knowledge and resources I learned about while in the Leadership Academy.”
- Juan Alcantara, Skipstone. “I learned how to become a better leader and the importance of respect at the workplace.”
- Helmer Cruz, Tri-Valley Vineyard Management. “I enjoyed connecting and building relationships with people from different companies within Sonoma County and that having respect for people will always benefit you professionally and personally.”
- Felipe Hernandez, Atlas Vineyard Management. “My favorite day of the Leadership Academy class was being able to attend the Latinos in the Workplace Conference at the Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa. I realized how important and valued my work is in Sonoma County.”