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Valley Vision Leaders Win Half of the Metro Chamber Annual Awards This Year

In a show of regional unity and strength, four of the eight major achievements handed out by the Sacramento Metro Chamber at its 125th Annual Dinner in January went to people who have been part of Valley Vision’s leadership in recent years.

Trish Rodriguez was recognized as Businesswoman of the Year for her passion in delivering high quality healthcare as Kaiser Permanente’s senior vice president and area manager, and her engagement in many community organizations and change efforts.  She is on Valley Vision’s executive committee and will be Chairwoman in 2022.

James Beckwith was recognized as Businessman of the Year for the success at Five Star Bank as its long-time CEO, his volunteer leadership roles with various nonprofits, including serving as Chairman of the Board for Valley Vision, and the local banks’ generosity in philanthropic causes that build wealth and create opportunity.

This year the small business of the year award went to the boutique creative agency Honey, led by Valley Vision board member Meghan Phillips, who is a driving force helping nonprofits grow stronger and is one of the region’s biggest promoters our farm-to-table heritage.

Former Valley Vision CEO Bill Mueller won the Peter McCuen Award for Civic Entrepreneurs.

Bill Mueller won the Peter McCuen Award for Civic Entrepreneurs for the economic, social, and environmental change efforts he championed with others and sometimes led while Valley Vision’s CEO over the past decade.

“We are so proud of each of these leaders and how each of them, in their own way, continue to collaborate with others to build a better future for our communities, especially those most in need,” said Meg Arnold, Valley Vision’s Interim CEO.  “We were thrilled to have our volunteer and executive leadership so well represented this year.” To learn more about the awards, visit

Photo Credit: Tia Gemmell

Stepping In

At the beginning of this month, I moved into the role of Interim CEO for Valley Vision, as the inestimable Bill Mueller moved on. It’s an honor and a pleasure to serve in this capacity for the period of time until the next permanent CEO of the organization is identified by our Board of Directors – and it’s also been a relatively easy transition, for four important reasons.

Most significantly, because of the Valley Vision team, all of whom show up every day with focus, energy, integrity, compassion, and great teamwork, delivering on our purpose of helping our communities become the most livable in the nation.

Equally importantly, because of the support and confidence of the regional leaders on the Valley Vision Board, who represent both themselves and the organizations that they lead, and provide guidance, strategic direction, and oversight to our work.

Also, because I’m fortunate that Valley Vision is so familiar to me. I’ve worked with, or around, or for Valley Vision since 2005, beginning back in my days at the UC Davis Office of Research, to my first consulting stint here in 2009 managing Valley Vision’s Green Capital Alliance work, through my tenure as CEO at SARTA as a co-lead on the Next Economy project, and finally to my last five years as a consultant here primarily focused on our Clean Economy work.

And, of course, because Bill was just as thoughtful and thorough as you’d expect him to be, in the way that he managed his transition out after twelve years of leadership and fifteen years overall at Valley Vision. He prepared the ground well, and I’m benefiting from his advance work.

In closing, I want to share the best advice I’ve received from the Board thus far, which was “don’t act like an interim.” That seems an important commitment to make out loud: I will not act like an interim for the time that I’m here. You’ll see Valley Vision continue in all that we do – focusing on livable, inclusive, and resilient communities, engaging with our many partners across the region, and moving ahead with our entire range of work – so that my own hand-off to the new Valley Vision CEO will be as well-executed as was Bill’s hand-off to me.

Meg Arnold is Interim CEO of Valley Vision.