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Blake steps down from Sierra Business Council

Staff reports

The Sierra Business Council will be changing leadership next month as Lucy Blake, founder and president of the non-profit organization, will be stepping down to give birth to her first child, due in May.

In Spring 1994, Blake teamed up with Sierra business owners to launch the council, an association of businesses working to ensure the economic and environmental health of the Sierra Nevada.

Jim Sayer will be joining the council as president in March.

Sayer’s background includes 20 years in the public policy arena. For more than a decade he worked for California’s premier land planning non-profit, the Greenbelt Alliance, first as research and communications director and later as executive director.

During his time at the Alliance, the organization joined with the Bank of America, the California Department of Resources and the Low Income Housing Fund to prepare “Beyond Sprawl,” a report on how different interests can work together to preserve California’s quality of life and economic vitality.

The organization also catalyzed new relationships with business associations, such as the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group, to advance progressive solutions to transportation, housing and open space problems in the Bay Area.

“Although Lucy’s shoes will be hard to fill, we’re confident that Jim Sayer will do a great job,” said SBC Chairwoman Janice Forbes, publisher of Sierra Heritage magazine.

“In addition to his remarkable skills and experience, Jim grew up in the Southern Sierra and is looking forward to returning to the region. We’re lucky to have him.”

The council has grown from 12 members at its start to more than 575 member businesses throughout the Sierra. Sierra Business Council has members in fourteen California counties and three Nevada counties.

The council’s first product was the Sierra Nevada Wealth Index, an analysis of the social, natural and financial capital that sustain the Sierra region. The council released the first index in 1996 and an update of the publication in 1999.

The index helps business owners and other community leaders track important trends region-wide, from the quality of schools to health care access, water and air quality, job growth and personal incomes.

The council’s second major initiative was “Planning for Prosperity,” a reference guide to rural planning that won the prestigious Daniel Burnham award from the national American Planning Association in 1998. “Planning for Prosperity” outlines a vision for growth in the Sierra that encourages attractively designed town-based development rather than rural sprawl.

More recently the council has launched a number of partnerships with communities around the Sierra to implement aspects of the Planning for Prosperity vision.

For more information on the Sierra Business Council, call 582-4800.


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