Upcoming Events

Mon 4/3

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Jane Goodall in Conversation with Jeff Horowitz and Greg Dalton

Date: Mon, April 03, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Protecting animals and their habitats

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute; U.N. Messenger of Peace
Jeff Horowitz, Co-producer, "Years of Living Dangerously"
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One

Perhaps the world’s most well-known advocate for the environment, Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and U.N. Messenger of Peace, has for much of her nearly six-decade-long career worked to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our planet. The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) is a global, community conservation organization operating in more than 30 countries worldwide with a strong presence in Africa’s chimpanzee range. JGI’s approach to species conservation improves the lives of people, animals and the environment by honoring their interconnectedness. Goodall spends her time traveling around the world nearly 300 days a year, inspiring and mobilizing people with her twin messages of hope and action. 

Jeff Horowitz is founder of Avoided Deforestation Partners, a global nonprofit network dedicated to healing the climate by protecting forests, which absorb carbon pollution. He is also a co-executive producer of "Years of Living Dangerously," a National Geographic television series focused on the risks and opportunities of global climate change. In 2014, Horowitz accepted an Emmy for season one of "Years of Living Dangerously." The series was founded by legendary producers James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the late Jerry Weintraub. 

Join us for a conversation about reasons for hope, thoughts about the connection between deforestation and climate change, and the threat to environmental protection coming from Washington, D.C. 

Mon 4/10

Go to Longevity Explorers Discussion Group: Better Aging. You. Your Parents.

Longevity Explorers Discussion Group: Better Aging. You. Your Parents.

Date: Mon, April 10, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM
Discussion group

Dr. Richard G. Caro, Facilitator

This regular discussion group explores new and emerging solutions to the challenges of growing older. Not only do we uncover interesting new products at the intersection of aging and technology, we also conduct a series of ongoing deep-dive discussions into topics such as brain health, apps for seniors, hearing and wearables for seniors. The results of our discussions will be shared with a larger community of older adults interested in improving their quality of life through our partner in this initiative, Tech-enhanced Life, PBC. The discussions are facilitated by Dr. Richard Caro, whom many of you have heard speak at prior Grownups forum events.

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A Vision of the Eco-Village as the Future of Self-Sustaining Neighborhoods

Date: Mon, April 10, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Eco-living for the future

James Ehrlich, Founder, ReGen Villages; Senior Technologist, Stanford University; Senior Fellow, Opus Novum; Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Stanford H-STAR Institute; DesignX Resiliency Team Member, Stanford Center for Design Research

After over 12 years of case study research on organic and biodynamic family farms, intentional communities, and resilient and regenerative design thinking, James Ehrlich founded ReGen Villages. At the forefront of automating thriving abundance for healthy families, ReGen is a Stanford University spin-off company which develops technology-integrated residential areas. Starting with pilot communities—one in Almere, Netherlands and the other at Summit Powder Mountain in Eden, Utah—ReGen Villages intends to reduce burdens on municipal and national governments, creating self-reliant neighborhoods that can power, feed, hydrate and digest their own organic waste. Ehrlich will discuss his inspirational research on farm-to-table communities, detailing his greater vision and plans to realize solutions for the next 2–3 billion people who will live on Earth by 2050.

As a serial entrepreneur in Silicon Valley for 25 years, primarily in the video game and entertainment technology area, Ehrlich designed worlds that made sense. Recently appointed to the U.S. State Department’s joint task force on the nexus of food, water, energy and waste, the genesis of Ehrlich’s personal research came from over a decade of case studies on organic and biodynamic family farms and their connection to the strongest communities around the world.

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Week to Week Politics Roundtable and Social Hour 4/10/17

Date: Mon, April 10, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Insight into political issues, delivered with expertise and wit

Bob Butler, Journalist; Executive Director, Butler Media; Twitter  
Joe Garofoli, Senior Political Writer, San Francisco Chronicle; Twitter  
Additional Panelist TBA

It's an important year for all things political, so 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 come early before 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).

Go to SFDebate

SFDebate

Date: Mon, April 10, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Biweekly debate

The SFDebate is an open forum for discussion on the events of our time. It is a place where you will not only be exposed to opposing points of view, but a safe place where you will be encouraged to find and speak up for yours. SFDebate is also a meeting of minds, and we follow every meeting with continued debate and conversation at a nearby bar/restaurant.

 

Tue 4/11

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Trump Advisor Roger Stone: The Making of the President

Date: Tue, April 11, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM

Roger Stone, Former Advisor to Donald Trump; Author, The Making of the President 2016: How Donald Trump Orchestrated a Revolution

On November 8, one of the most contentious and polarizing presidential elections in American history came to an abrupt end when heavily favored presidential candidate Hillary Clinton conceded to Donald J. Trump. Many Americans were left asking: “How did this happen?”

Roger Stone, a veteran Republican strategist and former Trump advisor, gives us an insider look on how the Trump campaign appealed to “forgotten Americans” and performed the greatest upset in American political history. Join us for an intriguing conversation on how a grassroots guerrilla campaign competed against the Clinton political machine and won. 

Wed 4/12

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Amory Lovins: Peak Car Ownership

Date: Wed, April 12, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
The future of driving

Amory Lovins, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One
Additional Speakers TBA

Will the rapid arrival of robotic cars lead to the blissful end of traffic? Or will autonomous cars merely put drivers out of work and clog our streets even more than before? No one knows for sure if the utopian or dystopian vision will arrive at your front door. What is clear is that the convergence of automobiles and information technology promises one of the biggest industrial and cultural disruptions we have ever seen. It is also happening faster than even the most rabid supporters expected. Will that upheaval help or hurt the need to move away from oil and other fossil fuels to protect the climate that supports our economy?

Join us for a conversation about this revolution in personal mobility.

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Inheriting Cancer: When Risks Are in Your Genes

Date: Wed, April 12, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
How to handle inherited cancer

Evan Goldberg, Executive Vice President of Development, Oracle NetSuite Global Business Unit; Founder, BRCA Foundation
Alan Ashworth, Ph.D., FRS, President, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; Senior Vice President for Cancer Services, UCSF Health; Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, UCSF
Allison Kurian, M.D., M.S., Associate Professor of Medicine and of Health Research and Policy, Stanford University School of Medicine
Dorene Kastelman, Late-Stage Ovarian Cancer Survivor, BRCA Awareness Advocate

Cancer might be in your DNA. Cancer-causing mutations in the BRCA gene came roaring into our collective consciousness when Angelina Jolie candidly shared her decision to undergo a double mastectomy to prevent inherited cancer. How does a BRCA mutation affect the risk of cancer for both men and women? How are genetic cancers different than other cancers, and who should be tested? Join us for a panel discussion on genetic cancer, treatment and prevention. Genetic counselors from Color Genomics will be on hand to demonstrate how testing works.

Thu 4/13

Go to Tracking Silicon Valley's Ups and Downs

Tracking Silicon Valley's Ups and Downs

Date: Thu, April 13, 2017
Time: 12:30 PM
How Silicon Valley is faring

Russ Hancock, President and CEO, Joint Venture Silicon Valley

Since 1995, Joint Venture Silicon Valley has released its annual Silicon Valley Index, a report that has tracked Silicon Valley's ups and downs during booms and busts. At the beginning of a new year, what trends are emerging and what social and economic challenges are most critical to tackle? Come hear about how Silicon Valley's economy is faring amidst another economic boom.

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How Leaders Can Gain Competitive Advantage Through Lessons from History

Date: Thu, April 13, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Lessons from generals throughout history

Barry Strauss, Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor in Humanistic Studies, Department of History at Cornell University; Visiting Scholar, Hoover Institution; Author

In his book, Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership, Strauss draws lessons from the experiences of history’s greatest generals. Strauss explains that a key component of these leaders’ successes was their ability to inspire loyalty from their troops. They did so by leading by example and, in turn, earned their soldiers’ trust and respect. In this program, Strauss will apply these lessons to today’s executives who strive to outperform competition and create an engaged, high-achieving workforce.

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This event is Sold Out

Sam Altman: Social Change and Startups

Date: Thu, April 13, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Sam Altman and social change

Sam Altman, President, Y Combinator; Co-chairman of OpenAI
Nellie Bowles, Silicon Valley Correspondent; Moderator, Vice News Tonight

Sam Altman, 31, has been one of Silicon Valley’s brightest stars for years as a founder, investor and president of Y Combinator. But, more recently, Sam and Y Combinator have both been making headlines for their involvement in some of today’s most contentious political and social issues.

Y Combinator’s new "basic income project," based in Oakland, will give 100 families a minimum wage with the goal of exploring alternatives to the existing social safety net. Sam has also been an outspoken critic of the Trump administration and has backed "track Trump," an online tool that monitors the promises President Trump delivers on, and those on which he comes up short. Y Combinator also recently welcomed the ACLU into their winter 2017 class and will help the ACLU turn its recent $24 million donation haul into concrete actions and organizational growth. Finally, Sam is in the beginning stages of a new project focused on finding a way to reduce housing costs through the creation of a smart city prototype.

Sam was named president of Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s largest startup incubator, in 2014. Y Combinator’s portfolio includes heavyweights, such as Airbnb, Dropbox and Stripe. Sam began his tech career as CEO of Loopt, which was acquired in 2012 and was included in Y Combinator’s first round of funded companies in 2005. Sam is also a personal investor in several of today’s most successful startups, including Airbnb, Stripe, Reddit, Asana and Pinterest.

Join INFORUM, Sam and moderator Nellie Bowles of Vice for an insightful and timely conversation about tech, politics and everything in between.

Mon 4/17

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Digging Deep into Philanthropy—the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Date: Mon, April 17, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Getting ahead in the modern era

David Callahan, Ph.D., Princeton; Founder, Demos Think Tank; Founder, Insidephilanthropy.com; Author, The Givers: Money, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age
Emmett Carson, President, Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Nick Tedesco, Senior Philanthropic Adviser, J.P. Morgan Private Bank Philanthropy Centre—Moderator

David Callahan holds a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton and is the author of seven previous nonfiction books, including The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead and Fortunes of Change: The Rise of the Liberal Rich and the Remaking America. Callahan’s latest investigation focuses on what he calls the secretive world of elite philanthropists—and how they're quietly wielding ever more power to shape American life in ways both good and bad.

While media attention focuses on famous philanthropists, such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Charles Koch, Callahan says thousands of donors are at work below the radar promoting a wide range of causes, converting fortunes into influence, with deep impact on government policy.

Emmett Carson, president of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, now with $8 billion in assets, has become a major player in Bay Area and national philanthropy, especially for tech givers, and will give his perspective on the philanthropic world.

Come hear about a power shift in American society that Callahan says has implications for us all.

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Socrates Café

Date: Mon, April 17, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Ongoing Socrates forum

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Wed 4/19

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Vicente Fox, Former President of Mexico

Date: Wed, April 19, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Fox on U.S.–Mexican relations

Immigration, the Wall, and the Future of U.S.–Mexican Relations

Vicente Fox, President of Mexico, 2000–2006
Dr. Gloria Duffy, President and CEO, The Commonwealth Club—Moderator

To the American public, Vicente Fox may be Mexico’s most well-known, modern politician. Prior to becoming president, he received a top management diploma from Harvard Business School and went on to become president of Coca-Cola for Mexico and Latin America. He has most recently made national headlines by telling President Trump that Mexico “will not pay for that [expletive] wall,” and continues to engage President Trump on social media.

Fox was the first candidate from an opposition party to be elected president. Currently, he is actively involved in encouraging leadership and creating opportunities for less favored people through his organization Centro Fox. What are the realities and possibilities for the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico? Here’s a rare chance to get a unique perspective from one of Mexico’s most prominent and outspoken thought leaders.

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Let's Talk About Death: Get Ready, Get Set, Go

Date: Wed, April 19, 2017
Time: 5:15 PM
Topics related to end of life

Suzette Sherman, End of Life Speaker; CEO, Founder and Blogger, SevenPonds
Sally Shannon, End of Life Coach and Consultant; Home Funeral Guide, Threshold Coaching and Consulting

Historically, Americans have been culturally conditioned to avoid the subject of death. We are reluctant to talk about it, and many of us have not even thought about how we want to live at the end of our lives. As a result, the vast majority of people approaching the end of life are completely unprepared to die. 

In this presentation, Sherman and Shannon will review ways that participants can plan appropriately for the end of life. Topics covered will include: advance directives; Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST); home funerals; and options for disposition, including cremation and green burial. They will also discuss dying at home, voluntarily stopping eating and drinking, and California’s recently enacted End of Life Options Act.

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#Resist with Annie Leonard and Shannon Coulter

Date: Wed, April 19, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
How to create a cleaner economy

Shannon Coulter, Co-Founder, #GrabYourWallet Boycott
Annie Leonard, Executive Director, Greenpeace USA; Founder, Story of Stuff
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One

The campaign to pressure retail companies to distance themselves from Trump brands claimed victory when Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump’s brand and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigned from the president’s business advisory council. But what did the campaign really accomplish other than a “gotcha moment"? Isn’t it good for Trump to be influenced by business leaders grounded in reality?

Research shows some of the campaigns designed to pressure companies have mixed results. Some win, a few get traction and then fizzle, and many never go anywhere. Have you heard of a campaign to pressure banks financing the Dakota Access Pipeline opposed by Native Americans? We didn’t think so. In one success story, Facebook was pressured to run its data centers on clean energy rather than coal. Greenpeace cleverly used Facebook for its "unfriend coal" campaign, and ultimately the tech giant pledged to gradually move to 100 percent clean power.

Join a conversation on pressuring companies and personal brands. What works, what doesn’t and what can you do if you care about putting your money to work in the move to a cleaner economy.

Thu 4/20

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Our Toxic World: Is It Making Us Sick?

Date: Thu, April 20, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Toxins in our daily lives

Andrew Campbell, M.D., Former Medical Director, Medical Center for Immune and Toxic Disorders; Former Medical Director, Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Center; Editor-in-Chief, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, The International Journal of Complementary and Alternative MedicineNatural Solutions

Toxins are everywhere. They're in our personal care and cleaning products, sofas, carpets, and clothes. Before some women leave the house, they may put on over a hundred toxic products. Most of these toxins have not been studied for their safety and cause harm at doses lower than previously thought. They are synergistic, causing greater harm when combined. Dr. Campbell points out that certain countries will not import American meat or food due to the high level of harmful substances fed to our animals or used on our crops. Come to this forum and learn more about toxins.

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San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, April 20, 2017
Time: 1:45 PM
Walking tour

Explore San Francisco’s Financial District with historian Rick Evans and learn the history and stories behind some of our city’s remarkable structures, streets and public squares. Hear about the famous architects who influenced the building of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. Discover hard-to-find rooftop gardens, Art Deco lobbies, unique open spaces and historic landmarks. This is a tour for locals, with hidden gems you can only find on foot!

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Dangers of a Digitized World: Combating Technology Run Amok

Date: Thu, April 20, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Technology changing our world

Ian I. Mitroff, Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California; Senior Research Associate, Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, University of California, Berkeley
In conversation with Gerald Harris, Member-Led Forum Leader, Science & Technology Forum, the Commmonwealth Club

Technology has made our lives incomparably better, but it is also one of the greatest threats facing humankind. All of the marvelous gadgets we’ve invented are not only thoroughly reinventing us, but they are also doing it in ways in which we have no idea of their full impact. In short, we are undergoing a transformation that affects every aspect of our being—our brains, bodies, institutions and the entire world. 

Ian Mitroff, currently developing ideas for an upcoming book, will discuss these topics and more. According to Mitroff, we cannot continue to dump the latest technologies on the world without doing a better job of forecasting their negative and positive aspects; we need to do everything we can to mitigate potential negative impacts in order to avoid an immense backlash against technology. 

Mitroff is a professor emeritus at the University of Southern California where he was the Harold Quinton distinguished professor of business policy at the Marshall School of Business and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He is currently a senior investigator for the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Management. He holds a bachelor's of science in engineering physics, a master's in structural engineering, and a Ph.D. in industrial engineering and the philosophy of social systems science from the University of California, Berkeley. He has published 37 books and hundreds of articles and op-eds. He is a regular blogger for The Huffington Post. He lives in Oakland, CA, where he is president of Mitroff Crisis Management. He is generally regarded as one of the principal founders of the crisis management field.

Gerald Harris leads the Club's science and technology member-led forum and has over 20 years experience as a strategy consultant for energy and high technology companies.

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Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal: Getting Big Business out of Health Care

Date: Thu, April 20, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Keeping health care and big business separate

Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, Editor-in-Chief, Kaiser Health News; Former Correspondent, The New York Times; Author, An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back, Twitter

Elisabeth Rosenthal will reveal the dark details of the American health-care system. Breaking down the monolithic business into its individual industries—the hospitals, doctors, insurance companies and drug manufacturers—that together constitute our health-care system, Rosenthal will divulge a history of American medicine that’s never been told before. She will also tell patients exactly how they can fight back.

After 22 years as a correspondent at The New York Times (where she covered a variety of beats from health care to environment), Rosenthal joined Kaiser Health News last September. She is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Medical School and briefly practiced medicine in a New York City emergency room before converting to journalism.