Regional Leadership Forum

Monterey Marriott Hotel   •    March 29 to 31

Regions. It's what we do!  Every year, leaders from regions across California gather in Monterey for the Regional Leadership Forum.  This is a special event that combines a focus on current issues  with deeper level discussions about the role of regional governance in California.  Its an intimate setting. The speakers are accessible.  The subjects are sometimes unexpected, but always on point.  And the relationships are real.  Join our conversation. 

Register for the Leadership Forum





Sessions & Speakers (so far)

  • Leadership Lessons from An Unconventionally Sustainable Community, Harley K. Dubois.  Harley Dubois is a founding member of Black Rock City LLC and has over 25 years of project management, art, and city planning.  As the City Manager of Black Rock City (which you may think of as Burning Man), Harley oversaw the Playa Safety Council and Community Services departments.  She originated theme camp placement, the Greeters, Playa Info, and Burning Man Information Radio.  Harley also created and maintains a comprehensive training and self-development program for the Burning Man staff, fostering volunteerism and cross-departmental communication.  She was also founding member of the Black Rock Arts Foundation.  She is passionate about volunteerism.  Harley has an extensive background in the visual and performing arts and is a director on the board of Illuminate, which rallies large groups to create impossible works of public art.  In 2016, Harley was named one of four Founding Board Members of the Nation of Makers independent nonprofit, whose mission is to provide more Americans access to the spaces, communities, and tools to make more and consume less.  She has been a fitness director and a San Francisco fire fighter. 

  • The In(fill)s and Outs of Meaningful Housing Policies.  Meea Kang is a distinguished entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in for-profit and non profit leadership.  She is currently the President of Domus Development.  Meea combines her passion for environmentally sustainable design with a commitment to helping communities grow stronger.  Meea is an expert in navigating California’s complex land use entitlement processes, forging innovative public-private partnerships, and structuring complex public and private financing, to bring difficult projects to fruition.  Under Meea’s leadership, Domus has invested approximately $300 million in new affordable and market rate infill housing in California.  Domus projects have been honored with national accolades from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, American Institute of Architects, U.S. Green Building Council and the 2014 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, California's highest environmental honor.  Meea received the 2014 LOCUS Leadership award from Smart Growth America, the 2013 Housing Innovator of the Year award from the Sacramento Housing Alliance and the 2010 Sierra Business Council’s Visionary 2020 Award.  In 2016, Meea was appointed to the California Commission on Aging by Governor Brown.  She also serves on the Board of Directors for the California Housing Consortium, the Council of Infill Builders, Rail~Volution and the Board of Trustees for the California Museum.
  • Transportation Funding: Are We There Yet?.  Are we edging closer to a real transportation funding solution?  We have invited a key partner of the Fix Our Roads Coalition to provide a "fully-dimensional" perspective.  Felipe Fuentes is a General Partner with The Apex Group.  He is a tested leader with nearly twenty years of experience in state and local government.  He was elected in 2013 to the Los Angeles City Council.  There he chaired the Energy & Environment Committee, which oversees the Department of Water & Power.  Felipe also served on Housing and & Planning and Land Use committees.  In 2007, Felipe was elected to the California State Assembly where he chaired the Utilities & Commerce, Revenue & Taxation, and Appropriations Committees.  Prior to running for office, Felipe served various roles in the City of Los Angeles, including Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff to the City Council President.  Felipe received his Master of Business Administration from the Graziadio School of Business and Management, Pepperdine University, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. 
  • Regional Innovations.  Short presentations from the staff and elected officials at the forefront of innovative regional policies.  We don't want to say "TED Talk" because it would be a copyright infringement, but the idea is to have short, focused conversations on efforts that result in real benefit and change. 

  • Structuring Policies for All.  Katie Valenzuela Garcia is passionate about helping neighborhood leaders be active participants in decision-making, specializing in organic engagement processes that focus on collaboration, shared ownership, and social equity.  She founded Valenzuela Garcia Consulting to better partner with advocates and community groups to advance systems change.  In 2015, Katie was appointed to the the California Air Resources Board's AB 32 Environmental Justice Advisory Committee and California Office of Health Equity's Advisory Committee.  Katie has held positions at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change, Public Advocates, Inc., the Sacramento Housing Alliance's Coalition on Regional Equity, Ubuntu Green, and Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails.  Katie has successfully launched community-lead planning efforts and designing large-scale inclusive community outreach efforts.  Katie holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Community Development from UC Davis, is a Leadership Fellow with the Sierra Health Foundation, and is certified in Charrette management and facilitation by the National Charrette Institute.  
  • Breaking Down A Successful Tax Measure.  A behind the scenes look at the messaging and cost-effective digital campaign that helped carry the day for the local sales tax measures in Stanislaus and Merced Counties.  Vince Duffy and Mark Capitolo, Principles, Duffy and Capitolo.  Including Kendall Flint, Director of Communications and Strategic Planning at Regional Government Services and moderated by Stanislaus County Supervisor, Vito Chiesa.

  • Regional Governance: Two Case Studies.  A tale of two COGs will explore how regions structure themselves to best serve their member agencies.  While MTC and ABAG have started to share a staff and are exploring an actual merger, SANBAG recently separated its transportation agency and council of governments functions.  What were the factors that have driven these seemingly opposite decisions?  What were the primary considerations for each?  (Finalizing speakers)

  • Elements of A Successful Regional Grant Program.  This session will feature a closer look at three innovative regional grant programs.  We will start with Hasan Ihkrata, Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Governments, who will discuss their Sustainable Planning Grant Program.  Andy Chelsey, Executive Director of San Joaquin Council of Governments, will discuss SJCOG's jobs incentive grant program.  Finally, Steve Heminger, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Planning Commission, will outline the One Bay Area Grant Program.  A facilitated question and answer will follow with the intent of identifying elements that can be applied more generally. 
  • Plus A Lot More!  Sessions are in the works on Community Aggregation, Share Economy and Ride Sharing, Economic Development, and a whole lot more.   


FORUM Schedule

Wednesday Afternoon, March 29 

  • 12:00 pm:  Check-In Begins
  • 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm:  Business Meeting, CALCOG Board of Directors
  • 3:00 pm to 5:15 pm:   Now What? A Workshop for new Appointees To Regional Agency Boards 
  • 5:30 pm:   Welcoming Reception & Super Competitive California Trivia Contest

Thursday, March 30

  • 7:30 am:    Buffet Breakfast
  • 8:30 am to 12:00 pm:  Morning sessions with networking break
  • 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm:  Lunch with a spectacular view (assumes no fog)
  • 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm:   Afternoon Sessions
  • 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm   Reception (Jellyfish Exhibit) & Dinner (Open Sea Exhibit), Monterey Bay Aquarium

Friday Morning, March 31

  • 7:30 am    Breakfast (buffet)
  • 8:30 am to 12:00 pm  Morning sessions with networking break
  • 12:00 pm   Afternoon free to explore the area.  

 Leadership Smack Down

We draw lessons from unlikely places.  The reception Thursday evening at the jellyfish exhibit affords such an opportunity.  To most, Jellyfish are "mere drifters" floating in large blooms (called “smacks").  But remarkably, Jellyfish do the impossible for an invertabrate: they detect and intentionally swim against forceful ocean currents without a visual reference point.  Jellyfish also have an extremely efficient mode of travel.  Scientists calculating their "cost of transport" found that their unconventional swim stroke includes a “snap back” motion that requires no additional energy.  The result is that Jellyfish get 30% more out of each stroke.  Who knew?  Together, these traits allow these "blind spineless blobs" (as Jellyfish are often disparaged) to navigate against strong ocean currents to reach their objective.  So here is a metaphorical conversation starter for a Leadership Forum reception: just how much more can we accomplish with some vision and a backbone?  


 Registration Fees

  • Full conference fee (including special event dinner at Monterey Bay Aquarium): $475
  • Thursday ONLY fee (dinner included): $345
  • Thursday ONLY fee (dinner NOT included): $275
  • Friday ONLY fee: $175

Note: There are a limited number of seats available for the Thursday night dinner at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Once all conference attendees are accounted for, additional dinner tickets for guests or spouses may be purchased for a $100 fee.   


We have reserved block of rooms at the Monterey Marriott.  A regular room rate of $189 for single/double occupancy and a government rate of $134 are both available.  The deadline to book a hotel room under the discounted room rate is Friday, March 10.  To reserve a room at the Monterey Marriott under the CALCOG room block, please contact the hotel directly at  (831) 649-4234.  Please contact us if you have any issues reserving a hotel room.  

Hotel Information:

Monterey Marriott
350 Calle Principal
Monterey, CA 93940