Let no one think that flexibility and a predisposition to compromise is a sign of weakness or a sell-out.        Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda

In my triathlon training days, my focus was on being lean, strong, flexible and balanced.  Holding this focus moved me toward my athletic goals.  Today that focus still serves me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  I watch the flexibility of my grandchildren with envy as I age and my body stiffens with routine movements and behaviors.  Unfortunately, we also tend to stiffen into our mental, emotional, and spiritual habits as well.  Can we learn to be flexible in our thinking?  Being lean of expression is a great term that translates to speaking only when it is true, kind and necessary.  To me, being strong mentally, emotionally and spiritually means that I am confident in my values and remain true to them while also honoring others for their carefully considered positions.  Balance is necessary in our physical body as well as in our personal work.  Have we mastered work-life balance?

Lean, strong, flexible and balanced translates to our business community as well.  Flexible work arrangements are becoming the norm.  The Sonoma County Alliance is a wonderful example of commitment to flexibility, adaptability and compromise.  We have been on a journey to become more diverse, inclusive, and equitable and to flex with the needs of our membership.   Our Board and Advisory Council is committed to this path as a sign of the strength of our organization.  We continue to support the business community as we learn to navigate an ever-changing environment.  This flexibility is not a sign of weakness or a sell-out.  It is a necessary adaptation to the cultural shifts currently taking shape.

This month, the Alliance leadership and several of our members are participating in the 21 Day Race Equity Challenge provided by United Way of the Wine Country.  For me, the education and exposure to this topic of equity has been personally rewarding and educational.  I encourage you to find books, articles, videos, or podcasts to expand your own awareness and challenge the flexibility in your own thinking.  There are many amazing resources available for life-long-learning.

SCA’s May General Membership Meeting was an example of flexibility by providing both the Zoom format and the traditional Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club breakfast meeting.  Continuing the Zoom format allowed members to participate as they have in past months.   Thank you to Don Mills and Alejandro Torres with Sound Ideas Media for making this hybrid meeting work.  Next month we plan to tap into the club’s sound system to improve audio delivery to the Zoom participants.  If you have any feedback for future meetings, please reach out.  By our July meeting the state and county might further loosen meeting protocols, so we’ll stay flexible and remain compliant.

Our GMM was held on Cinco de Mayo and May is also Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.  The DEI Committee provided facts and statistics to educate us about AAPI Business in our community.  Our presentation was on the state of water in Sonoma County and California.  On April 27, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors declared a local drought emergency and Governor Newsom signed a State of Emergency Proclamation for Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

Pamela Jean with Sonoma Water and Jennifer Burke with the Santa Rosa Water Department shared facts and statistics about our water supply levels and the urgencies that are already in front of us.  Lack of rainfall for 2 years and the increase in dry, hot windy weather has water levels at record lows throughout our reservoir system.

The Russian River watershed is in a historic drought and has experienced extremely dry weather conditions this year, our second consecutive dry water year.   Reservoir capacities are lower than they were during the last drought, which was 2013/2014. Residents are encouraged to continue using water wisely and eliminate water wasting activities.  You can learn more water saving tips at savingwaterpartnership.org.

It is clear that we will need to remain flexible and lean in our water use to retain as much of this precious resource, to balance water needs, and to keep our community healthy.      I thank you for doing your part.  And thank you for being a Sonoma County Alliance member and for all the work each of you do in our community.  Have a great month.

What are you grateful for today?

Marlene Soiland, 2021 President

Sonoma County Alliance

May 20, 2021


The boldness of asking deep questions may require unforeseen flexibility if we are to accept the answers. 

Brian Greene, American theoretical physicist