Judith Iglehart, Mayor Tom Bates’ new chief of staff, should have had by now a solid 10 days to be comfortable in her new post. But she had jury duty starting her second day, so has only had a few days in city hall. That doesn’t seem to have slowed down a buoyant Iglehart.
“This is a very exciting place to be,” she said. “We have a great team and working together they can bring me up to speed.”
“A lot of the issues are the same over the years,” Iglehart said. “A lot of the responsibilities of local government are generic to local government. But Berkeley is a unique city in terms of giving voice to everyone that needs to have a voice.”
Iglehart said she has known Bates for more than 40 years, and has lived most of her life in the East Bay. She currently lives in Oakland’s Jack London Square.
Iglehart has extensive experience in start-up culture, having spent the last eight years working with Keiretsu Forum, a global network of angel investors. But she doesn’t want to be pigeonholed as just an economic development maven.
“I’m following Tom’s agenda. That’s why I’m here. To support him,” she said. “I’m hopeful that I can add to what he’s doing because of my expertise.” In addition to economic development, she cited job creation and education as key parts of the mayor’s agenda. In addition to her angel investing experience, Iglehart has an education doctorate from Mills College.
Iglehart, however, does have a strong belief that Berkeley can do better in attracting the kind of start-up activity she has helped foster in other places. She points out that angel investors provide vastly more start-up capital than the more-ballyhooed venture capitalists.
“There are lots and lots of angels in the area, even though most of them live the other side of the hill,” she said. “The goal for Berkeley, one would think, is to attract business angels to the area and to showcase the [city’s] intellectual activity and resources, which are extraordinary.”