As COTS’ CEO, each month I take a moment to consider what I want our community to know about our organization and our progress in serving Sonoma County’s homeless. I look forward to sharing these thoughts with you in this Virtual Cup of Coffee – my monthly communique about the business and mission moments of COTS (Committee On The Shelterless).

My best,


This is my last Virtual Coffee. I am retiring at the end of December, or as I prefer to say, redirecting my energies and passions. My goal in starting these Coffees in January, 2019, was to raise awareness and educate all of us about those experiencing homelessness. In doing so, I tried to go inside these wonderful humans to better understand who they are and how they became homeless. There is goodness in each one of their souls. I also tried to share the inner workings of COTS, and the homeless systems of care in our government. I have learned so much from writing these Coffees – from research, reading volumes of data, and most importantly, listening to and asking many questions of our fellow team members at COTS. They are the true experts. In return, I hope they learned a little something from me.

I would like to briefly thank some people for making my four years at COTS the best and most rewarding professional experience ever.

Bill Gabbert, our fabulous board president, and genuine soul. Thank you for being the best board president a CEO could ask for. Bill and I met formally every week, and then often again on the phone. Nothing ever happened unless Bill was first informed. We had an amazing trust and faith in each other. We also had an agreement – no surprises. Bill supported me in all the crazy and necessary changes we made to make COTS a better place to be. He also supported me during my mistakes. Of course, as a smart businessman and human, he also wanted to know why, and always had questions so he could better understand. Thank you, Bill, for always being there for me.

To our many fabulous community members and leaders in Sonoma County and beyond – our donors, friends, investors, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and businesses – thank you for always supporting COTS. Petaluma has it going and if one wants to know what a close-knit, progressive, and caring community looks and feels like, and also how a community rallies around each other, then come to Petaluma. Petalumans rock.

And to our dear COTS team members who make the magic happen…every single day. You are the most kind, loving, professional, competent, fun, and caring humans I have every worked with. I will be forever grateful for what you taught me over the last four years. I love you all.

And finally, on a personal note. I am native Hawaiian, born and raised in the Islands. Many of us know the word Aloha as a greeting – hi or how are you. But to the Islanders, Aloha is so much more than a greeting. It’s how you live your life. It’s a North Star. The authentic meaning of Aloha is to live a life full of love, with a heart full of gratitude and joy…for yourself and for those around you. It means having respect for others, and to live with grace, kindness, truthfulness, and patience. To work for unity, goodness, and an understanding of others…and to do all that with an abundance of humility.

Our world has become polarized, divided, and even angry. Being mean spirited is almost a sport. What happened to truth, respect for our differences, a grace filled and compassionate society, and the common good? Our world needs more Aloha. Of course, we are all human and sometimes we don’t show up as our best selves. But we can certainly strive to Live Aloha – with ourselves, with each other, and with those experiencing homelessness.

With so much love, hope, and Aloha,


Mission Moment

Welcome Chris Cabral. I am so happy that you are our next CEO at COTS. I can speak for our COTS team and board of directors that we are thrilled to have you. I will be cheering you on every step of the way.