Cheryl Paddack headshot_DKellyPhotography
Cheryl Paddack

Cheryl Paddack, Chief Executive Officer of North Marin Community Services, is a nonprofit executive and fund development professional who has dedicated over 25 years to advancing community wellbeing. She is a compassionate and courageous leader, and through building effective teams, has increased access to critical human services, independence for the visually impaired, expanded energy efficient products and services, and increased environmental action.

“From the time she was young, Cheryl had an inkling that helping others was her destiny. She grew up in Victoria, British Columbia where her father was CEO of Tourism Victoria for 25 years and founder of the TerrifVic Jazz Festival. Cheryl began volunteering as a teenager. That experience set the foundation for her future career by instilling in her the value of participating in the community and taking responsibility for caring for it.” (NorthBay biz, “Like Father Like Daughter”, May 2021). Both her dad and mom modeled community engagement through their participation in civic and volunteer groups, and Cheryl started her career working in Tourism at age 14.

Cheryl holds a Bachelor of Business Administration, with a double major in Marketing and Economics, from Simon Fraser University. In 1990, she moved to Whitehorse, Yukon to intern with the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. Cheryl administered environmental clean-up grants to mining companies to address and prevent environmental pollution, and return land to its natural setting.

She then worked six years in Vancouver as BC Hydro’s Delivery and Operations Manager to distribute Power Smart energy-efficient products and services in residential, commercial and industrial markets.

Her family then emigrated and settled together in California in 2001 for career opportunities. Since then, Novato has been their home to raise their two daughters. Both children are also committed to the health and wellness of others, with her eldest as a school psychologist in Vancouver, B.C. and youngest as an ICU nurse in Raleigh, North Carolina. Cheryl and her husband of 30 years reside in Novato with their two dogs, and she is now a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada. Cheryl attributes her large and blended family, close friends, and work teams as important support networks.

In 2001 she transitioned her career to the nonprofit sector. For the next 7.5 years, Cheryl worked at Guide Dogs for the Blind leading administrative staff and fundraising teams of over 200 through the Puppy Raising Department and fundraising Friends Committees. She directed fundraising events across four states (California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington), and thrived on connecting people for the greater good.

For the past 15 years, she has led efforts in Novato to enhance the health and well-being of all residents through equitable access to services. In 2008, Cheryl became the Executive Director of Novato Youth Center. This post was especially meaningful as her two children attended the childcare program (and volunteered later there in their teen years). Under Cheryl’s leadership, she and her team made significant strategic decisions to restructure staff programs in order to ensure fiscal sustainability to best meet community needs during a lengthy recession. In 2016, Cheryl led the board and management team through strategic and merger discussions to expand programs and capacity to break the cycle of poverty for underserved families. In 2018, the Novato Youth Center and Novato Human Needs Center successfully merged and renamed to North Marin Community Services (NMCS). Since January 2018, Cheryl has served as their Chief Executive Officer, and post-merger the organization is now the largest human services nonprofit serving North Marin.

NMCS now delivers trauma informed, integrated, and culturally appropriate services to more than 10,000 participants annually. Their whole family approach ensures everyone has access to comprehensive, trauma informed support designed to foster resiliency and strengthen community. The pathways to programs ensure that participants will be assessed for all programs and services, no matter which door they enter through. The team of 320 staff and volunteers met the increased demand for services through the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted the social, economic, and environmental well-being of the most vulnerable people in North Marin. These impacts are also increased for participants who have been adversely affected by intergenerational poverty, trauma, and lack of access to opportunity.

Cheryl and her team have been on a decade long journey to build a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace and community. Through this commitment, NMCS is now operating and being governed under the most diverse team in its 50-year history of the merged organization. Her management team and board completed Epoch Education’s Equity Learning in Action Services, and she, along with Latine Program staff completed Impact Launch’s Radical Transformational Leadership for Social Impact (RTL Impact). As a women- and immigrant-led organization, Cheryl values her 14-year work partnership with CFO Vanshika Nachnani, who was honored with North Bay Business Journal’s 2019 CFO Recognition Award.

Cheryl strives for excellence and has received prestigious awards such as Soroptimist International of Novato 2022 Women of Vision, the  Jefferson Silver Award 2021/KPIX and Multiplying GoodKPIX Jefferson Award/January 2020Excellence in Leadership 2018/CVNL Heart of Marin, Pivotal People, Novato Proud/Sept 2017. Her organization was honored by Achievement in Nonprofit Excellence 2022/CVNL Heart of Marin, Large Business of the Year/Novato Chamber of Commerce and Spirit of Marin/Bank of Marin. 

As part of their strategic direction, NMCS’s team is committed to advocating for policies and services that benefit underserved communities, repair systems of inequity, and promote racial, gender and economic justice. Stronger together, Cheryl and her management team advocate for policy change and partner with dozens of collaboratives including Healthy Marin Partnership, Novato Community Response Team, and Healthy Novato Initiative to name a few. Personal advocacy affinity areas close to her heart also include prevention and interventions to support Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, substance use, and mental health.

In service of strengthening communities, Cheryl has moderated the Novato Chamber’s Leadership Novato Nonprofit Day since 2010 to inspire others to engage with nonprofits. Cheryl is committed to advocating for policies and services that build an equitable Marin County with opportunities for all.