Chris Nelle

Meet Chris Nelle, WACSC Board Member

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Chris Nelle joined our Board in 2021 and is exploring a particularly exciting program, new for WACSC: Academic World Quest, the flagship youth education program of the World Affairs Councils of America. It is a fun, fast-paced team competition for high school students, testing players’ knowledge of current international politics, geography, global economics, history, and world cultures. Chris writes:

As the newest member of the Board, I am enjoying getting to know my fellow Board members. It appears that I am unique in that I am the only native Californian!

In fact, I am a third-generation native. My paternal grandfather, born in 1892, was raised in San Francisco, and my maternal grandfather, born in 1895, was raised in Middletown. I grew up in Sacramento, went to school there, then attended UC Berkeley where I received my B.S. in Business Administration. Upon graduation I entered the Management Training Program at Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco — and never looked back.

I spent my career in commercial banking, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I spent my last 16 years as Senior Vice President and Regional Manager of BTM-Union Bank’s Central Valley Region, based in Sacramento. After 40 years, my wife Nancy and I decided to slow down a bit, and we retired to beautiful Sonoma County in 2014.

Nancy was born in Belvedere and moved to Sacramento when she was five. We met in junior high, and both graduated from C.K. McClatchy High School. She then attended UC Davis when I was at Berkeley, after which we reunited at a mutual friend’s wedding. We married in 1976.

We remember fondly our early married life in Walnut Creek, and commuting to San Francisco. I had joined Wells Fargo, and Nancy was a trading assistant, first with Mitsui Trading and then Ishihara Trading. One exciting thing about her job at Ishihara was that her office was on the third from the top floor of the Transamerica Pyramid building. What a view!

We have two children, Joanna and Patrick, and they have blessed us with three grandchildren.

As for international travel, Nancy and I have enjoyed trips to Ireland, Canada, Scotland, England and Italy. Yet that hardly matches the travel exploits of our daughter Joanna, whose job as Managing Director of Cal Discoveries Travel (the travel program operated by the California Alumni Association) has taken her to over 30 countries on seven continents.

My passions include golf — I played all four years at Cal and now coach the boys’ golf team at Maria Carrillo High School. Next in line is my passion for animals. I love them and want to protect them. I volunteer three days a week at the Humane Society of Sonoma County, and have been a long-time supporter of PAWS (Performing Animal Welfare Society). Nancy is devoted to music, using it in early childhood development. She is involved in the music program at the Children’s Museum of Sonoma in Santa Rosa, and does music therapy at Hospice by the Bay in Sonoma. Plus, she teaches ukulele at the Earle Baum Center of the Blind in Santa Rosa.

I think, with the World Affairs Council programs, people can become better informed and acquire a greater understanding of the world we live in and share. Whatever I might be able to contribute to help with those goals excites me, as WACSC endeavors to bring more of our neighbors into the light of awareness.


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