On March 24, the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF) launched a brand-new professional development program – a Women’s Leadership Workshop – focused on supporting new and aspiring female supervisors. The one-day workshop at Napa Valley College supported a full classroom of 40 supervisors from winery and vineyard management businesses across the Napa Valley.
“It’s important for women to know their avenues of growth, and the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation was the perfect space to share this information,” said Mary Maher, director of company culture for Silverado Farming Company and president for the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, “Women are hungry for these opportunities, and to be at the workshop, watching shy women feel comfortable raising their hands…it was inspiring.”
The morning began with a panel featuring highly regarded senior supervisors, Dolores Torres of Harlan Estate, Carina de la Cruz of Renteria Vineyard Management, and Celia Perez of V.Sattui Winery, and Daniela Bazán of Bazán Vineyard Management moderated. The panelists shared their career experiences, their love for the industry, and advice for newly appointed supervisors, which included meaningful mentorship, job challenges, and the qualities that led to their success. Dolores Torres counseled, “We grow stronger when we can teach those who come to us. By teaching them, we open doors. We strive together and we achieve together.”
Erika Velazquez with Pan American Insurance followed the panel with a presentation on why Women Make Great Supervisors. She set the tone by acknowledging that agriculture has historically been a male dominated world, but today, women, and especially women of color, have new opportunities; they are trailblazers in agriculture. Their communication skills, preference for teamwork, resilience, and ability to multi-task make them successful when given the opportunity to lead. As a trailblazer herself, Erika is a single mom of three, who works full-time and just completed a master’s program in Occupational Health & Safety. Her story inspired the women to have faith in themselves and what they can accomplish.
In the session called, Speaking Up, attendees were asked to make a short presentation in front of their peers on a microphone. Approximately three quarters of the women in the room raised their hand indicating it was the first time they had ever had the opportunity.
Following lunch, Devorah and Claudia from Devorah Allen Solorio Consulting, led the discussion on creating opportunity for leadership by taking a 360 perspective on the company and understanding how the different parts contribute to the overall success of the whole. Continuing to learn and building a network of support were also important themes that emerged. The day concluded with a presentation from Napa County Health on women’s wellness and the opportunity to practice relaxation techniques for healthy stress management.
Starting in 2023, the FWF launched a new supervisor development series, including the Women’s Leadership Workshop, based on the results from last year’s University of California Cooperative Extension Job Satisfaction Survey. The results were used by the FWF Education Committee to meet the needs of farmworkers and their employers.
About the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation
Founded by the Napa Valley Grapegrowers in 2011, the mission of the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation is to support and promote Napa Valley’s vineyard workers through education and professional development. The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation is the only one of its kind in the United States, providing educational opportunities, advanced training programs, leadership and management classes, English literacy programs, and much more. To date, the Farmworker Foundation has offered education and professional development opportunities to more than 21,000 vineyard workers and their families. For more information, visit our website at Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation