Tim Russel, Chair
Tim is the founder and owner of Valley Oak Wealth Management, an independent financial consulting firm specializing in retirement planning. Since 2002, Tim has been affiliated with LPL financial and provides access to independent financial planning services, investment advice and asset management services to over 225 clients throughout the country. Tim is an avid salmon fisherman and accomplish sailor. He has competed in countless sailing championships throughout the country. Giving back to the community has always been important to Tim. When asked to donate, sponsor, or attend a local charity event Tim and his wife Anne answer the call. Tim also serves on the Board of the Novato Chamber of Commerce.
Mike Smylie, Treasurer
Mike has worked as an environmental consultant for over 40 years. After retiring from full-time employment, Mike has committed himself to community service and volunteer activities. Currently, Mike volunteers in the education, animal care, and rescue departments at The Marine Mammal Center (TMMC), the world’s largest marine mammal rehabilitation and research center. In addition, Mike works with MentorMe, an organization that empowers youth in need to achieve their highest potential by matching them with an adult mentor. For two years, Mike has been mentoring a student at Novato High School and helps coach the boys basketball team at Hamilton Middle School. Mike also serves as the president and board chair of San Francisco Nature Education, which provides interactive environmental education programs that develop leadership and stewardship in underprivileged youth in San Francisco. Mike and his wife Beth have lived in Marin County for almost 35 years.
Cindy Eisenhower, Secretary
Cindy Eisenhower is a successful Long-Term Care sales professional. Cindy owns and operates her own long-term care brokerage and she is a Principal with Synergy Marketing Corporation. Cindy works with all traditional and hybrid long-term care solutions. Cindy developed the first suitability training module approved by the State of California to comply with Assembly Bill 281. The training is approved for 4 hours of continuing education. Cindy previously represented John Hancock as a National Training Director, Metlife as the Director of Long Term Care for their Western Region and New York Life Insurance Company as their Pacific Zone Wholesaler for Long Term Care. She is a board member of Gilead House in Novato, CA and sits on the Board of the Caregivers Foundation of America.
David R. Ambrose
David is a San Francisco native and with his wife Sherie, made Novato home 35years ago. He coached Novato Recreation League basketball, volunteered at local fund raising events and is a parishioner at Our Lady of Loretto Catholic Church. He retired as a San Francisco Police Inspector after serving at that agency for over 33 years. Currently employed by PG&E as an Executive Protection Security Investigator, he enjoys spending down time at his home away from home in Truckee, hiking, golfing and cooking.
David is a graduate of the University of San Francisco and has a JD from San Francisco Law School. He is Member of the Advisory Board of the International Institute of Criminal Justice Leadership at USF. David and Sherie have two adult children, Bryan and Monica.
Joe is the owner of The Investment And Philanthropy Corporation located in Sausalito, CA. He is the editor of “The Fed Journal,” an email newsletter and author of Mr. Perfect’s Protégé™, How Creator Christ Appoints and Empowers Mr. Right.
Alison lives in Novato with her husband and three children and is a long-term resident of Marin, growing up in Tiburon and attending San Domenico High School. She currently works for LEAN Energy U.S., a non-profit organization that assists local governments develop long-term clean energy programs for their communities. Current clients include the counties of Alameda, Yolo, Santa Cruz, Monterey and Riverside. She also works with The Belvedere Cove Foundation, a non-profit that provides grants and scholarships to young Bay Area sailors. In addition, Alison teaches Spin classes several times a week at the Marin YMCA.
Alison has a B.A. in Communications from The University of Southern California and has experience in project management, advertising, website development, event coordination, book keeping / administrative functions and social media strategy. She has worked with a wide range of organizations, including advertising, technology, online retail, and government agencies. In her spare time, Alison loves hiking, sailing, baking, reading and keeping up with her three teenagers.
Keeley is a professional singer/songwriter, musician, and teacher as well as a proud Novato native. Before returning home ten years ago, she lived in Nashville and Los Angeles, where she attended Vanderbilt University and Musician’s Institute and released several independent records. Some highlights include performing at the Shoreline Amphitheater with the Zac Brown Band and seeing her original songs reach over 14 million listens on Spotify. Keeley is owner/operator of 101 North Music and teaches piano and guitar out of her studio space in downtown Novato. She also volunteers as a coordinator for Children of Strength, a non-profit that empowers orphans living in Kenya, and is an active board member for the Rossi Family Foundation. She is a member of the worship team at Hillside Church in Corte Madera and spends her days raising two beautiful kids, Henry (2.5) and Mary Lou (5 months), with her sweet husband Jeremy.
Theo brings four generations of Marin County blood to the Chamber and with that a sense of North Bay pride and culture. Theo is also the grandson of Greek immigrants who settled in Novato after World War II. He grew up in Novato and was heavily involved in several volunteer organizations. He left Marin in order to attend university, but after graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a BA in Global Studies and focuses in economics, environmental sustainability, and human development he decided to return to his native North Bay.
It was during his time as a youth volunteer when Theo began to cultivate his marketing skills. One of the groups he was heavily involved with was the Boy Scouts of America. He utilized his marketing materials to help raise awareness, increase participation and spur interest in events and trainings. These skills along with his extensive connection to Marin County and his love for academics earned him a spot on the Marin County Green Team. Theo was chosen to lead an internal county marketing campaign aimed at increasing the sustainability of the Marin County Offices. In 2015, Theo was recognized for his efforts as Marin County’s Volunteer of the Year by the Marin County Board of Supervisors.
He began working for the Chamber of Commerce in 2015 and brings a strong sense of pride to his work. As a proud Novato native, he brings a sense of North Bay pride to his work and is especially excited about increasing the visibility of Novato as an amazing place to do business and live. His willingness to help others and their businesses stems from his long involvement in charity organizations, and is never of short supply here at the Chamber.
If you come in to the Chamber of Commerce office to meet with Theo, you most likely will meet a cute four-legged assistant. During his spare time, Theo and his family train service dogs with Guide Dogs for the Blind. Outside of the office, he is very much into being outside. He enjoys trips to the city, wine country, the coast and is often relaxing in Tahoe. When he decides to stick around Novato you can often find him hiking or in his backyard tending to his garden—though no matter where he and his Guide Dog puppy are, they are always accompanied by his camera and his love of photography.
I was born in Marin County to Thomas and Marion Schalich on January 18,1958 as the youngest of 8 children in 9 1/2 years. I attended Blessed Sacrament Grade School in San Rafael from 1st grade in 1964 through 8th grade in 1971 and then onto Marin Catholic from 1971 through 1976. I graduated from Chico State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and started working with two of my brothers, Jim and John, in construction where I still work today. The company’s name is Schalich Brothers Construction Inc.
On October 5, 1985, I married my high school sweetheart, Grace Barry, and our love continues to grow stronger every year. We have three wonderful children, Marion (Mimi) 30 years old, Austin 28 years old, and James 26 years old. All three attended St. Isabella’s grade school then to St Vincent High School in Petaluma and then to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where all three graduated. Our daughter works for Marin County Office of Education as a special needs teacher in Novato and both our sons work for Schalich Brothers Construction Inc. They all live in Marin.
As our children grew, I volunteered my time coaching each of them in various sports. Sometimes I had three teams during the same season. It was some of my most memorable times. This took place for 16 years. During those years, I found time to be on the St. Isabella Parent Board and helped build the Baseball and Soccer Fields at St. Isabella’s as well. I also helped the Facilities Manager then and still today on various projects for the church and school. As our children attended High School and College, I focused on spending time working with Habitat for Humanity. This is a great way to give back to the community and get to know the people that will be living in the neighborhood.