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Seven Leaders Join Valley Vision Board in 2021

By Evan Schmidt

I am thrilled to share the news that seven truly outstanding local leaders have joined our organization’s Board of Directors in recent months, each who uniquely compliments Valley Vision’s core focus areas of workforce, innovation, food systems, civic engagement, and healthy communities. These individuals join an already impressive slate of directors who are committed to helping build a better future for our region.

Valley Vision is a unique organization with a special purpose: to make our communities the most livable in the nation. That’s why our board is composed of a diverse set of dynamic leaders who rely on Valley Vision’s independent research to identify current and future opportunities and to help solve complicated issues affecting quality of life through regional action. Their priority is to place the region’s future first and I am pleased to introduce you to them.

Meet Valley Vision’s 2021 slate of board members:

Chelsea Minor is Corporate Director of Public Affairs for Raley’s, an innovative, regional, family-owned grocery chain with stores founded and headquartered in Sacramento that operates stores across Northern California and Nevada. Chelsea is Raley’s lead spokesperson and oversees the company’s public affairs and brand reputation strategies. Her breadth of knowledge and industry connections will be instrumental in guiding Valley Vision’s important work in the food system space.

Clay Nutting is the owner and operator of Canon, among only a small handful of local restaurants recognized last year in California’s Michelin Guide. Clay co-founded a grassroots effort called Family Meal at the onset of the pandemic, which involved over two-dozen local and independent restaurants that provided over 250,000 meals to vulnerable residents across Sacramento County. His efforts in the community centered on food insecurity are tightly aligned with Valley Vision’s food insecurity and food equity strategies.

Gina Lujan is a social entrepreneur with 28 years of experience focused on building community, business development, innovation, strategy, and economic development. She co-founded Sacramento’s Hacker Lab in 2012, one of the city’s first local maker and coworking spaces that supports innovation through community-driven education and maintains a commitment to tangible access for all. Gina’s energetic entrepreneurial spirit and passion for education, opportunity, and advancement within underserved communities gives Valley Vision’s board a means for broader conversations and planning for strategies that support vulnerable populations.

James Jordan is a seasoned public service leader with a career in the transportation industry that spans over 25 years. He currently serves in the Federal Railroad Administration as Railroad Administrator and is responsible for the safety and operational oversight for every commuter railway located west of the Mississippi River. As an integral leader in the FRA, James works with the US Department of Transportation to promote and enforce safety throughout the U.S., including the rehabilitation of rail passenger services, supporting research and development, and advancing transportation for passengers and the general public. James’ boundary-breaking leadership at the FRA as well as his long-term commitment to the Sacramento region will support Valley Vision’s mission of equity, prosperity, and sustainability.

Jeff Dorso is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the Sacramento Kings, overseeing all legal and real estate development-related matters for the Sacramento Kings and its related companies, including the LEED Platinum Golden 1 Center, all real estate and media holdings, Sacramento Kings Guard (the NBA 2K eSports team), the Sacramento Kings Foundation, and the Stockton Kings (the NBA G League team). Jeff’s leadership in shaping development in Sacramento as well as his action-oriented mindset will help push Valley Vision towards effective and responsive action that supports the prosperity of our region.

John Costa, Senior Manager of Government Relations & Local Public Affairs for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Company in Northern California, works with community leaders and organizations throughout California, supporting PG&E lines of business and overseeing the day-to-day operations of various projects and company initiatives. John’s long history of engagement with government agencies and community based organizations as well as his commitment to healthy and sustainable communities will help Valley Vision support clean and sustainable communities for our region.

Michael Lynch, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Improve Your Tomorrow, is a social entrepreneur and certified professional fundraiser. As Valley Vision continues to seek workforce development solutions that answer a growing inequity gap across our most vulnerable communities, Michael’s work to improve academic outcomes for “at-promise” young people and transform systems that have historically failed communities of color will be especially valuable.

To keep up with Valley Vision’s work to advance livability in the Sacramento region, subscribe to our Vantage Point email newsletter!


Evan Schmidt is Valley Vision’s Chief Executive Officer.

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