Upcoming Events

Thu 10/29

Image - Who Runs the World? Women with Power and Purpose

Who Runs the World? Women with Power and Purpose

Date: Thu, October 29, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Melanne Verveer, Kim Azzarelli and Andrea Jung

Melanne Verveer, Co-Founder, Seneca Point Global; Executive Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security
Kim Azzarelli, Co-Founder, Seneca Point Global; Chair and Co-founder, Avon Global Center for Women and Justice
Andrea Jung, President and CEO, Grameen; Former CEO, Avon Products, Inc.

Today, women are fast emerging as one of the most powerful and influential demographics the world has ever seen. From 1997 to 2014, women-owned businesses in America grew one and half times faster than the national average. In 2012, it was estimated that as many as a billion women would enter the world economy over the following decade. Yet, the subject of women serving as the key role in today’s global economy still has not gained much traction. Recognizing the need for change, Verveer and Azzarelli co-founded Seneca Point Global, an organization dedicated to developing a global strategy to unlock opportunities for women across the globe. Now, they’re coming out with Fast Forward, a book unfolding how some of the world’s most powerful women, such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Salma Hayek, Christine Lagarde, Ursula Burns, and Diane von Furstenberg, are using their growing economic power to achieve success and how you can do the same.

Join us for a conversation with Melanne Vereer, Kim Azzarelli and Andrea Jung, the president and CEO of Grameen America, who is committed to supporting low-income women through microfinancing and financial education.

Fri 10/30

Image - Baseball Legend Dusty Baker

Baseball Legend Dusty Baker: Reflections on Rock Music, Baseball and Life

Date: Fri, October 30, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
The personal journey of this sports legend

Dusty Baker, Former Manager, San Francisco Giants; Author, Kiss The Sky: My Weekend in Monterey for the Greatest Rock Concert Ever
In conversation with Greg Dalton, Vice President, Climate One, The Commonwealth Club

Part of The Good Lit Series underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

Dusty Baker enjoyed a 19-year career as a hard-hitting outfielder, primarily with the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers, and then 20 years as a manager with the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. He led the Giants to the 2002 National League pennant, and his 671 wins as a manager rank 16th all time. But that’s only part of his story.

For his 18th birthday, Dusty Baker's parents gave him a great present: Two tickets to the Monterey Pop Festival of June 1967, a three-day event featuring more than 30 bands. Baker's lifelong love of music was set in motion, from country to hip-hop to Jimi Hendrix, whom Baker calls the most exciting performer he's ever seen. He went on to years of friendship with musicians from B.B. King and John Lee Hooker to Elvin Bishop and Carlos Santana. Come hear the rockin’ personal journey of this sports legend.

Mon 11/2

Book Discussion: The Money Changers, by Upton Sinclair

Date: Mon, November 02, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
A tangled web of unscrupulous power brokers!

Sinclair’s novel about the 1907 stock panic explores the inner workings of Wall Street at the time. In the novel, a prosperous New York lawyer, Montague, tries to help an old friend from Mississippi, who’s just moved to the city, sell a block of stock. Lucy, whose beauty makes men's hearts skip a beat, is eager to move forward and establish herself in the right social circles. But with that one transaction, they unwittingly became tangled in a web of unscrupulous power brokers who’ve concocted a daring scheme to manipulate the stock market for personal gain. Could such greed and corruption have modern parallels?

Image - The 49ers Champion Levi’s® Stadium: The First LEED Gold New Stadiu

The 49ers Champion Levi’s® Stadium: The First LEED Gold New Stadium and Venue

Date: Mon, November 02, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Learn about sustainable management, design, function and construction

Jim Mercurio, Vice President of Stadium Management and General Manager of Levi's® Stadium
Pat Rogan, Director of Engineering Operations, 49ers Stadium Management Company

Achieving the LEED gold certification for the 49ers new home field is the first such championship achievement for a new stadium. Its builders hope it will serve as a model for sports leadership in environmental design and construction worldwide. Join us to learn about the sustainable management, design, function and construction of the Levi's Stadium — home to the 49ers and host of Super Bowl 50 in February 2016. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design [LEED] gold rating is determined by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Image - Power Drive

Power Drive

Date: Mon, November 02, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
The future of cars in California.

Alexandre Bayen, Liao-Cho Professor of Engineering and Director, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley
Diarmuid O’Connell, Vice President of Business Development, Tesla

Tesla’s provocative cars have insanely fast acceleration while electric cars overall have been slow out of the gate—stubborn high costs, range anxiety, and cheap gas are all factors. While Tesla is all-in on batteries, Toyota is bullish on hydrogen cars and California is spending millions of dollars to support them. Chevrolet is racing Tesla to the middle market with its Chevy Bolt, a new battery electric car that promises a range of 200 miles for about $30,000.

Are auto dealers also putting speed bumps in the way of EVs? Is their business model challenged by cars with fewer parts and fluids to fix and replace? Transit advocates say Californians need to go in a different direction and get out of their cars, using transit to avoid more gridlock and reduce emissions that are driving severe weather. That may be a challenge when autonomous cars promise the allure of legally surfing the web while cruising the highways. Join us for a conversation about the future of cars in California in the era of high technology and high carbon pollution.

Tue 11/3

Image - Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester: The Pacific

Date: Tue, November 03, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Our relationship with largest ocean of the planet

Simon Winchester, Historian & Author, A Crack in the Edge of the World and Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World’s Superpowers

It is said that we have more knowledge of our solar system than of our oceans, though people navigate, fish and swim along the shores of the Pacific every day. Winchester offers an enthralling biography of the Pacific Ocean and its role in the modern world. He explores our relationship with largest ocean of the planet and discusses how the unmapped depths will define our future.

Winchester traces our geological history and describes his personal journey down the Alaskan highway, Yangtze River, Panama Canal, Philippines, northern Queensland and his time jailed in Tierra del Fuego, the land at the end of the world. He will share what he has learned and what we can look forward to.

Image - Ted Koppel

Ted Koppel

Date: Tue, November 03, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
Former ABC News Anchor Ted Koppel

Ted Koppel, Former Anchor, ABC News; Author, Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath

Imagine a blackout lasting not days, but weeks or months. Tens of millions of people left in the dark without running water or access to grocery stores, banks, or medical facilities. How will we survive?

According to veteran journalist Koppel, this isn’t just a story line from a movie but a realistic scenario. A well-designed attack on just one of our nation’s three electric power grids could cripple much of our existing infrastructure. And while our federal government is well prepared for natural disasters, there is no plan for the aftermath of an attack on our power system.

Koppel examines this potential threat and advises on the best ways to avoid a cyberattack catastrophe.

Wed 11/4

Image - Travels in France with Terrance

Travels in France with Terrance

Date: Wed, November 04, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Sample the varied richness of France

Terrance Gelenter, Author, Travels in France with Terrance and Paris par Hasard: from Bagels to Brioches

Join Terrance Gelenter to sample the varied richness of France – food, wine and culture. His travels have taken him from the green, rain-soaked pastures of Normandy, providing cheese and butter for both eating and cooking, to the confit de canard and goose fat of the southwest, to Provence where olive oil is king. Gelenter often has a smile on his face when he pinches himself to make sure that his life isn’t a dream.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 11/4/15

Date: Wed, November 04, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
An election-time political roundtable!

Josh Richman, State and National Politics Reporter, Bay Area News Group; Political Blogger, ibabuzz.com/politics; Twitter  
Debra J. Saunders, Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle; "Token Conservative" Blogger, SFGate.com; Twitter  
Additional Panelists TBA

For the day after Election Day, join us as we explore the biggest, most controversial, and sometimes the surprising political issues with expert commentary by panelists who are smart, are civil, and have a good sense of humor. Join our panelists for informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news, audience discussion of the week’s events, and our live news quiz!

And stay after the program to meet other smart and engaged individuals and discuss the news over snacks and wine at our member social (open to all attendees).

Image - Your Health, Your Wealth: Seven Steps to Planning Ahead for Long-Term Care

Your Health, Your Wealth: Seven Steps to Planning Ahead for Long-Term Care

Date: Wed, November 04, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM

Denise Michaud, CLTC, Independent Insurance Broker

Most people used to rely upon family for their long-term care. In the 1960s, insurance for nursing home and home care was developed, later called LTC insurance, to provide funds for professional caregivers. Over time there have been many changes to LTC insurance, and new types of products have been introduced. Learn how to decide how much LTC insurance to buy versus relying upon your own assets, your family members or MediCal.

Image - Tom Steyer and Ellen Tauscher

Climate Change: Front and Center

Date: Wed, November 04, 2015
Time: 7:45 PM
The political solution for climate change

Tom Steyer, California Business Leader, Philanthropist; Clean Energy Advocate
In conversation with Ellen Tauscher, Former Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security; Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

Sponsored by Relevant Wealth Advisors and Anonymous Donor

Today’s Congress seems set on ignoring science and placing any discussion of climate change off-limits. California business leader Tom Steyer is determined to change this nonsensical approach. Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher spent much of her tenure on Capitol Hill working on national security issues and maintained a strong moderate Democrat record.

They will be in conversation about how to address climate change through the political process, how it can be changed and what we can do to support science-based approaches to policy making.

Fri 11/6

Image - Marion Nestle: Soda Politics

Marion Nestle: Soda Politics

Date: Fri, November 06, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Pressure on Big Soda to build healthier food systems

Dr. Marion Nestle, Professor, New York University; Author, Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning); Twitter
Alice Huan-mei Chen, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, San Francisco Health Network; Co-Director, Center for Innovation in Access and Quality at San Francisco General Hospital; Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco—Moderator

Sodas are remarkable products. Little more than flavored sugar water, these drinks cost practically nothing to produce or buy, yet have turned their makers—principally Coca-Cola and PepsiCo—into a multibillion-dollar industry with global recognition, distribution and political power. Billed as “refreshing,” “tasty,” “crisp” and “the real thing,” sodas are also so well established as contributing factors to poor dental hygiene, higher calorie intake, obesity and type-2 diabetes that critics say the first line of defense against any of these conditions is to simply stop drinking them. Habitually drinking large volumes of soda is proven to not only harm individual health, but also burden society with runaway healthcare costs.

Join us as Dr. Nestle addresses the tools she says the public needs to keep up pressure on Big Soda to build healthier and more sustainable food systems.


Mon 11/9

Challenges in Covering International News

Date: Mon, November 09, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With former CNN VP Parisa Khosravi

Parisa Khosravi, Former Vice President for Global Relations and News Gathering, CNN
Robert Rosenthal, Executive Director, Center for Investigative Reporting – Moderator

CNN has said that no one has played a greater role in the emergence and dominance of CNN international news gathering than Parisa Khosravi. Khosravi, a journalist and expert in crisis risk management, has covered some of the world's most dangerous places. She will now discuss her experiences relating to important world leaders and covering historic events such as the Iraqi War, the Arab Spring and Syria.

Image - America's Future Role in Global Security

America's Future Role in Global Security

Date: Mon, November 09, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Monday Night Philosophy revisits America’s foreign policy

Eugene Gholz, Stanley Kaplan Visiting Professor of American Foreign Policy, Williams College
David M. Kennedy, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History Emeritus, Stanford University; Author, Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War (Pulitzer Prize)
Kori Schake, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution

Monday Night Philosophy revisits America’s foreign policy. The United States a neutral nation for 150 years after its inception, observing George Washington’s “Great Rule.” Following the Truman Doctrine, some argue that the U.S. has acted as the world's policeman for the past 70 years. Are we ready for a third phase of American history? Is the global community ready? The panelists will debate questions and possibilities regarding the U.S. as an empire or an umpire for the rest of the world, raised in the forthcoming PBS documentary, American Umpire, based upon the book by Elizabeth Cobbs.

Activist/Philanthropist Jacob Lief: How to Help Society’s Most Vulnerable

Date: Mon, November 09, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Addressing challenges throughout the world

Jacob Lief, Founder and CEO, Ubuntu; Author, I Am Because You Are Here
In conversation with Daniel Lurie, CEO and Founder, Tipping Point Community

When Jacob Lief cofounded Ubuntu Education Fund in 1999, it started small, trying to address a single aspect of the educational crisis in South Africa. He quickly realized that even when students had books, pencils and notebooks, many continued to struggle in the classroom, distracted by hunger, issues at home and HIV/AIDS. As Ubuntu grew, he discovered that a traditional development model does not have the capacity to address the complex challenges that the community faces. Redefining the theory of “going to scale,” Ubuntu targets comprehensive household stability, health and educational services to a community of 400,000 people, focusing on the depth rather than the breadth of their impact.

Daniel Lurie’s Tipping Point Community has raised more than $80 million and reached more than 365,000 people in need in the Bay Area. Join Lief and Lurie for a conversation that challenges status-quo ideas about philanthropy and education and offers a unique approach to helping vulnerable populations throughout the world.

Image - 12 Mind-Blowing Success Secrets for Small Businesses

12 Mind-Blowing Success Secrets for Small Businesses

Date: Mon, November 09, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

Rick Gilbert, Founder, PowerSpeaking, Inc; Author, Speaking Up: Surviving Executive Presentations

After starting his business from scratch – literally, a rolodex and telephone in the bedroom – Rick Gilbert and his partner, Mary McGlynn, built PowerSpeaking, Inc., into a Silicon Valley legend with 30 employees and a worldwide footprint. Along the way, he found that the standard motivational slogans like "winners never quit" and "have a positive mental attitude" were not helpful. These success tips were learned by screwing up a lot. Be forewarned, this is not advice you will read in The Harvard Business Review.

Working for or running a small business? Come and learn the uncommon wisdom of why being a quitter and a pessimist is good for business, why "work/life balance" is nonsense; why you should be more like a jazz musician than a classical musician. And why you should fire the consultants.

Tue 11/10

Patient Safety: Get the Diagnosis Right

Date: Tue, November 10, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Join the discussion with medical experts

Elizabeth McGlynn, Ph.D., Director, Center for Effectiveness and Safety Research, Kaiser Permanente
Urmimala Sarkar, M.D., MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, UCSF
Kathryn McDonald, M.M., Executive Director, Center for Health Policy and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, Stanford University
George Lundberg, M.D., Professor, Pathology, Health Research Policy, Stanford University; Editor-at-Large, Medscape; Founder, The Lundberg Institute – Moderator

Modern medical science accepts it as fact that no one can know absolute medical truth. It is understood that diagnoses act as shortcuts for quickly conveying a common understanding of what certain symptoms imply about a body's state of health. But diagnostic errors can be as lethal as therapeutic errors. The fifth annual Lundberg Institute Lecture welcomes three panelists from the National Academy of Medicine's Committee on Diagnostic Error in Health Care. They will discuss current knowledge of the dangers of false diagnoses in terms of its economic and personal costs. Join the discussion with medical experts focusing on how to improve diagnostic clarity and effectiveness.

Image - Atmosphere of Hope

Atmosphere of Hope

Date: Tue, November 10, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Tim Flannery, Author, Atmosphere of Hope
Ben Santer, Climate Scientist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Rebecca Shaw, Senior Lead Scientist, Environmental Defense Fund

People concerned about climate disruption sometimes mope around like the fictional character Eeyore, convinced that humanity is doomed. But cause for hope is everywhere. Clean energy is advancing rapidly and people around the world are realizing the benefits of moving away from fossil fuels. Citizens are also learning to live with severe weather and the fires, floods and droughts that it brings.

When Tim Flannery, an Australian scientist, came to Climate One several years ago, he said California’s future happens first in Australia. He was right. Our current drought is so similar to Australia’s Big Dry that Sacramento officials last year sent a delegation down under to learn from it. What else can California learn from Australia? Can Australia’s carbon price come back from the dead? What does the latest science tell us about how the climate is changing?

Join us for a conversation about science, hope, and solutions.

Wed 11/11

Image - Robert Reich: Saving Capitalism

Robert Reich: Saving Capitalism

Date: Wed, November 11, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
A broad indictment of the economic status quo and a call to civic action

Robert Reich, Former U.S. Secretary of Labor; Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, UC Berkeley; Author, Saving Capitalism: For the Many, not the Few; Twitter
Judge LaDoris Cordell (ret) — Moderator

Reich argues that power and influence have created a new American oligarchy, a shrinking middle class, and the greatest income inequality and wealth disparity in 80 years. He says the veneration of the “free market” has masked the power of moneyed interests to tilt the market to their benefit.

Reich exposes what he calls the false myths that have been bolstered by huge corporations and the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street: that all workers are paid what they’re “worth,” that a higher minimum wage equals fewer jobs, and that corporations must serve shareholders before employees. To him, the critical choices ahead are about who government is for: that we must choose between a market organized for broad-based prosperity and one designed to deliver the most gains to the top. Reich presents a broad indictment of the economic status quo and a call to civic action.

Thu 11/12

Image - North Beach Walking Tour

North Beach Walking Tour

Date: Thu, November 12, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans

Join another Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure! Explore vibrant North Beach with Rick Evans during a two-hour walk through this neighborhood with a colorful past, where food, culture, history and unexpected views all intersect in an Italian “urban village.” In addition to learning about Beat generation hangouts, you’ll discover authentic Italian cathedrals and coffee shops.