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The global impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is making headlines everywhere—on-air, on-line and in print. Heart-wrenching stories of stolen futures are interspersed with our collective political, financial and social reactions. We’re months from resolution, more than a year from inoculation and a generation away before fully measuring all the implications. How it touches us in the North Bay is our job at NorthBay biz, and you’ll find coverage here each month within the pages of the magazine.

This is our fifth annual “Women in Business” issue, and one we enjoy producing each year. One local business leader, who has become a household name in recent weeks, is Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County’s newly appointed health officer, featured this month in an “In Focus” story. Only days into her new post, Dr. Mase issued a shelter-in-place order to ban all but the most essential travel and business activities, and protect ourselves and others from this viral scourge. On April 13, as we were preparing to send this issue to the printer, she issued a new health order requiring that everyone wear facial coverings as an additional measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 locally. While the full story of how we will have battled this invisible terror has yet to be written, no doubt Dr. Mase’s decisive moves will prove that her courage saved countless lives.

Instinctive decision-making is the expression of a mind well prepared through training, experience, failure and success. If you ever had the opportunity to watch Danica Patrick navigate a field of Indy racecars, you’d agree she wields the same decisiveness we’re seeing in Dr. Mase today.

Before Danica came onto the scene, Indy racing was completely dominated by men. How wrong I was to ever presume that Danica’s role among her Indy racing peers was to merely promote interest in the sport! As my wife and I watched her weave through the field at the Indy 500 race so many years ago, we immediately knew Danica was on that track because she earned that spot on the track. It was the way the other racers reacted to her car’s presence that made it so clear to us. When Danica made her moves, “the boys” knew they had better cede to her demands. We loved watching her then, and you’ll love reading about her second act these days as she focuses her passions and abilities on winemaking.

Another personal hero of mine is also featured this month. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility, and KSRO Morning News-Talk radio host Pat Kerrigan is a pro in the business, who inspires those around her. Pat connects with her radio listeners and guests as few can. Pat feels every joy, aspiration, frustration and pain with her audience in a way that helps her listeners understand the importance of the moment. She proved it during our 2017 firestorm and she’s proving it again as we search for answers amidst this pandemic. Perhaps this beautiful empathy and sensitivity has been, at times, her undoing? After a lengthy absence from the KSRO News studio, Pat returned to her seat in January and made a startling announcement to her listeners. In a very special feature, editor Karen Hart sits down with Pat to find out what she has to say about life, alcoholism and what she’s learned along the way through the process.

On a final note, last month I wrote that things in the North Bay were certainly not “business as usual.” Reporting on the pandemic while navigating through it when so much is still unknown is a challenging and impressive feat. Our great team of writers remains hard at work to provide more in-depth coverage we’ve planned for our next issue in June. Local medical experts will share what they’ve learned in recent weeks about COVID-19, the progress being made for a vaccine, what’s happening on the front lines in health care, and how local business leaders and companies are boldly stepping up to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

In the meantime, be safe and stay healthy!  Please drop me a note at Lawrence@northbaybiz.com to fill us all in on what you’re learning as we move through this immense challenge, together.


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