10:45am | Collaborative Strategy: Anchor Institutions

Panel Description: The role of government in creating anchor institutions to help develop community based economic development. This panel will unpack existing and potential policies local and state governments can enact to foster an ethical and sustainable local economy. We'll dive into questions like "How can local government pair investors with social impact projects?" and "what fiscal policies favor local business growth?"


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Sharon Cornu is a proven strategist and respected leader providing high-quality communications and community engagement services to advocacy, non-profit and social enterprise organizations.

Cornu is known for innovative, effective strategies, communications and collective impact in housing, transit and workforce. Two decades’ experience in advocacy on economic security and equity provide deep insight into winning while building stronger organizations. Cornu structures services to deliver impact while building clients’ leadership capacity.

Cornu is a magna cum laude graduate of Brown University, and earned her Masters in Human Services at the College of Public and Community Studies, University of Massachusetts / Boston. She is proud to teach organizational efficacy in the public policy graduate program at Mills College.



Arturo Noriega is the founder and executive director of Centro Community Partners, an innovative technology-based non-profit that provides entrepreneurship education, financial literacy, and access to capital to bring about social equality and economic stability in underserved communities.

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Patti Castro, Director of the Alameda County Workforce Development Board (CA), leads a cross section of business, labor, education, and economic development partners focused on the region’s most challenging workforce issues.  She is a skilled workforce architect with extensive experience in building innovative public-private partnerships benefiting a variety of industries and target groups.  She has a wealth of knowledge and a deep understanding of complex workforce issues, extensive experience in program and policy development, and considered a peer expert in large-scale worker transitions.  Patti is a California Workforce Association (CWA) board member, sits on the East Bay Economic Development Council, and is a member on a number of industry advisory councils in the community college and K-12 systems.  She co-founded the Greater Bay Area Rapid Response Roundtable dedicated to ensuring that job loss and worker dislocations are mitigated through strategic economic development, education, and business/labor partnerships. Patti looks forward to developing and nurturing innovative programs with industry while continuing the collaboration with human service organizations.


Claudia Flores, Senior Community Development Specialist at SF Planning Department


Dairo Romero, Community Organizer at Mission Economic Development Agency. Dairo Romero, who emigrated from Colombia, brings 10 years of experience in community planning and organizing. His expertise and passion for his work translates to community members feeling part of the development process, leading to the support of such projects.

Dairo wears many hats in his current role at MEDA, most notably being an integral part of the facilitation team for United to Save the Mission and having been responsible for the facilitation of meetings for the November 2015 Proposition A affordable-housing measure. The latter was a $310 bond, passed by San Francisco voters, with $50 million later earmarked specifically to address the housing crisis in the Mission District of San Francisco.