Carolyn Stark’s passion is focused on giving back to her community by promoting economic growth through her leadership in trade associations, higher education, and in public private partnerships. She has led four different trade associations and economic development initiatives and participated as a director on a variety of community and nonprofit boards. In these roles, her primary responsibility has been to create enabling factors that promote the economic prosperity and quality of life of the region.
Ms. Stark was the founding executive director of the Sonoma County BEST initiative, an economic development program created in 2011 as a public-private partnership. Under Ms. Stark’s leadership, BEST actively engaged business, education, and government leaders in the formation of Sonoma County’s post-recession economy. The North Bay Food Industry Group, aka “FIG” was formed in 2012 as an initiative of BEST to support the growth of the specialty food and beverage industry in the region. Now an independent non-profit, FIG has brought together companies, entrepreneurs and industry supporters to work together to foster a thriving specialty foods and natural products community in the North Bay. Over 50 companies with nearly 3,500 employees are members of FIG. Ms. Stark is also working to establish Naturally Network, a national organization of regional affiliates which currently includes San Francisco, San Diego, Austin, Chicago and Boulder.
Fun fact: Carolyn participates regularly in long distance horseback racing throughout the West and has taken part in the Tevis Cup 100 mile 24 hour race from Truckee to Auburn three times.