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“ ALF is not just about making friends , it ’ s about building trust and connections to remove barriers and solve problems .”

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“ ALF is not just about making friends , it ’ s about building trust and connections to remove barriers and solve problems .”
Academy for Coaching Excellence
The Coach ’ s Coach Finds Vitality


Christi Black-Davis Executive Vice President , Edelman Class XXIII

Maria Nemeth ’ s myriad accomplishments span 52 years of working with people as a PhD psychologist and as a Master Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation . Internationally recognized and sought-after , she ’ s been featured in magazines and on television and has authored several of her own books . As founder and director of the Academy for Coaching Excellence , she and her team train people worldwide in professional coaching skills . What can such a longtime expert in coaching glean from the American Leadership Forum ? Plenty ! “ The key to remaining young is to keep learning new perspectives and mindsets ,” Nemeth says . A Fellow of ALF ’ s Class XX , Nemeth learned how to increase her capacity to lead with compassion , certainty and clarity . “ I am also honored to experience people who are making significant differences , not only locally but nationally ,” she says . “ I ’ ve formed cherished friendships and gained fresh outlooks on leadership while discovering renewed personal vitality through ALF !”

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Blumenstock , the chapter ’ s founding executive director and principal of Connections Consulting . “ If you have that shared experience , you can start conversations from G or H instead of from A . Countless things that have taken place in this region would not have happened if it weren ’ t for the bone structure of ALF .”
In the Beginning In the mid-1990s , transportation executive Will Kempton had recently moved back to Sacramento when he got a phone call from McClatchy executive Bill Honeysett . Honeysett knew that Kempton had graduated from ALF Silicon Valley and asked if he was interested in helping found a chapter in Sacramento along with a handful of other regional leaders .
“ I thought at the time — and still do — that ALF has a very unique approach to doing business ,” Kempton says . “ It creates active chapters that provide great services to the areas in which they operate and takes established leaders and applies their skills , contacts and capabilities to solving regional issues and problems . We thought the Sacramento region could benefit from that kind of collaborative approach .”
Since the founding of ALF Mountain Valley ( so named to include geography in Sacramento and beyond ), the chapter ’ s board of directors fields nominations each year for ethnically , geographically and professionally diverse candidates and selects up to 26 class members , or Fellows , to participate in a yearlong program that includes monthly meetings to discuss complex challenges facing the region , networking events , in-depth readings and seminars , a wilderness excursion and a class project that improves a regional community . “ You find yourself around the best of the best when you participate in ALF ,” says Martha Lofgren , a partner in the Brewer Lofgren Law Firm and graduate of Class IX . “ It gives you the ability to connect with people one-on-one on issues of concern . As you go through the program , you learn a variety of leadership and conflict resolution models and you debate issues in a collaborative , nonpartisan , constructive manner .”
Making Connections “ ALF is a very useful network to be part of because it connects you to many , many people of all forms , shapes , sizes , colors and geographies in the region — it ’ s a diversity that is real ,” says Bill Mueller , a partner in Integrated Communications Strategies who was serving as the CEO of Valley Vision when he went through Class XII . “ You ’ re not just with people from the private and public
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