Upcoming Events

Thu 3/23

Image - The White House

Trump's First 100 Days: Part Two

Date: Thu, March 23, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Evaluating the crucial first few months of the new administration

Panelists TBA

Marisa Lagos, Reporter, California Politics and Government, KQED—Moderator

How will President Trump’s 100-day action plan impact our domestic and foreign affairs, health care, education, environment, immigration, economic and trade policies? Who are the new people leading the country and how will they impact public policy? What role will all forms of media play as they cover the new administration? Join The Commonwealth Club and KQED for part two of a four-part series of programs that address the first 100 days of the Trump administration and how this period will shape America over the next four years and beyond. 

Mon 3/27

Image - Middle East

Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, March 27, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM
Discussion group

The Middle East Forum discussion group, which primarily covers the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan, has been meeting monthly for about nine years. We are not a debate group.

The Spring 2017 Report on the Sierra Nevada's Rain, Snowpack, Trees, Water, Ecosystems and Climate Change

Date: Mon, March 27, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Environmental check-in

Scott Tangenberg, Acting Forest Supervisor, Stanislaus National Forest
Patrick Koepele, Executive Director, Tuolumne River Trust
Michael Carlin, Deputy General Manager, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Bob Kingman, Assistant Executive Officer, Sierra Nevada Conservancy

Join our distinguished panel for an up-to-date report on the Sierra Nevada mountains, habitats, water, rivers, trees, ground cover and the harsh economic impacts caused by fire, degradation and the cycle of climate changes. After the 2016-17 winter of rain and snowfall, where are we now in the climate cycle and the cycle of destruction, renewal and regrowth for our mountains, valleys, rivers and economies?

Image - P.J. O'Rourke
This event is Sold Out

P.J. O'Rourke: Has America Gone Crazy?

Date: Mon, March 27, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Making sense of the 2016 election

P.J. O’Rourke, H.L. Mencken Research Fellow, Cato Institute; Author, How the Hell Did This Happen?: The Election of 2016; Twitter
Melissa Caen, Political Analyst, CBS San Francisco; Twitter —Moderator 

P.J. O'Rourke says no comedian could have written the joke that the recent election cycle has been. As celebrated political satirist, journalist, and diehard Republican O’Rourke put it in his endorsement of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, “America is experiencing the most severe outbreak of mass psychosis since the Salem witch trials of 1692.” Come hear O'Rourke's uniquely humorous take on the election, on Donald Trump (whom he calls "Landlord of the Flies") and on America in 2017.

Tue 3/28

Image - Marty Brounstein

The Courage and Compassion to Do the Right Thing

Date: Tue, March 28, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM

Marty Brounstein, Author, Two Among the Righteous Few: A Story of Courage in the Holocaust

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Come hear a true interfaith story of courage, compassion and rescue during the Holocaust. A Catholic couple in the Netherlands, despite great risk and danger, helped save the lives of at least two dozen Jews from certain death during World War II. Brounstein will also explain the meaningful personal connection that inspires him to tell and retell the story of their heroic actions.

Image - Chris Hayes

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes: The Two Americas

Date: Tue, March 28, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
The colony and the nation

Chris Hayes, MSNBC Host, "All in with Chris Hayes"; Editor at Large, The Nation; Author, A Colony in a Nation; Twitter

Emmy Award–winning news anchor and New York Times best-selling author Chris Hayes argues that there are really two Americas: a colony and a nation. He says America likes to tell itself that it inhabits a post-racial world, but nearly every empirical measure—wealth, unemployment, incarceration, school segregation—reveals that racial inequality hasn’t improved since 1968. Hayes contends that our country has fractured in two: the colony and the nation. In the nation, we venerate the law. In the colony, we obsess over order, fear trumps civil rights, and aggressive policing resembles occupation. He asks how and why did Americans build a system where conditions in Ferguson and West Baltimore mirror those that sparked the American Revolution? Come hear Hayes’ insights on the threats to American democracy and how to preserve justice.

Wed 3/29

Image - Georgia

Inside the Country of Georgia: Meet Leaders Who Advocate Democracy on Russia’s Border

Date: Wed, March 29, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Learn about the country of Georgia

David Bakradze, Georgian Ambassador to the United States; Former State Minister, European and Euro-Atlantic Integration
Keti Bochorishvili, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainability
Dr. David Saganelidze, Head, Georgian Partnership Fund (Sovereign Wealth Fund); Former Majority Leader, Georgian Parliament; Member, Georgian Dream Party
Mikheil Janelidze, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Georgia (Invited)
Dr. Gloria Duffy, President and CEO, The Commonwealth Club—Moderator

Located in the Caucasus region of Eurasia, Georgia is bordered to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, and to the south by Turkey and Armenia. Though formerly part of the former Soviet Union, it declared independence in 1991, and for more than 25 years, its government has been a representative democracy.

In 2008, Georgia had a five-day military confrontation with Russia over two provinces supported by Russia, which ended in a cease-fire agreement. Today, Georgia seeks strong economic ties with Silicon Valley and the U.S. Come hear from Georgia’s government representatives about this unique country as well as their thoughts on Russia, the region and the future of the Euro-Atlantic Alliance.

Image - LGBTQ photo

LGBTQ Rights: What's at Stake?

Date: Wed, March 29, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Religious freedom laws and minority rights

Mia Satya, Community Organizer, Social Justice Advocate, 2016 San Francisco Pride Grand Marshal
Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell (Ret.), Chair, Santa Clara County Jail Commission—Moderator 
Additional Panelists TBA

What are the implications of potential executive orders and religious freedom legislation on the LGBTQ community and beyond? Hear from a diverse panel of leaders, including Mia Satya, community organizer, on what lies ahead in the current administration. This conversation is in partnership with San Francisco Pride.

Thu 3/30

Image - R. Paul Herman and Chinwe Onyeagoro

What Do Millennials Want in Their Portfolios, 401(k)s and Workplaces?

Date: Thu, March 30, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Millennials and investing

R. Paul Herman, CEO, HIP Investor Ratings + Portfolios; Author, The HIP Investor, Make Bigger Profits by Building a Better World
In conversation with Chinwe Onyeagoro, President, Great Place to Work Institute

With 70 million Millennials now the largest segment of the U.S. workforce, how do they stay satisfied in the workplace, while the company builds its bottom line? With a trust-based workplace, Millennials thrive in their jobs, while companies can also outperform financially, according to Chinwe Onyeagoro, Great Places to Work.

With a sustainable, fossil-free 401(k), Millennials are more engaged, innovative and can build a better world while saving for their future. Going beyond traditional investing, Millennials can use their forthcoming $40 trillion of inherited wealth to improve the health, wealth, earth, equality and trust of the world via their investing, according to Paul Herman, HIP Investor. Learn how to unleash the excitement of Millennials in the workplace.

R. Paul Herman is a globally recognized leader in impact investing, impact ratings and impact-themed portfolios. Herman founded HIP Investor 10 years ago to show that investments in companies that solve human, social and environmental problems can be more profitable and less risky than those that are extractive of people, natural resources and trust. HIP Investor rates more than 30,000 global issuers of stocks and bonds, and it also enables ratings of thousands of mutual funds and 401(k) plan fund choices. Herman is an alumni of Wharton, McKinsey, CSC Index, Ashoka and Omidyar Network. Herman is an advisor to SASB, Net Impact and Sustainable Brands. Herman authored The HIP Investor book, which is part of the curricula for 26 global MBA, MPA and university programs in finance, capital markets and innovation.

Chinwe Onyeagoro serves as president of Great Place to Work. She works with executives in successfully executing business strategy through developing high-trust, high performance cultures. Her executive advisory work with Great Place to Work includes multi-billion dollar technology, telecom, financial services, and bio-pharma companies. She has worked for two top management consultancies (McKinsey & Company and The Monitor Group). She serves on the boards of private equity firms and lending institutions that have invested over $1 billion in small and medium enterprises. She holds an A.B. in economics and East Asian studies from Harvard University and is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.

Mon 4/3

Image - Waiting for Electricity

Reading Californians Book Discussion Group: Waiting for the Electricity by Christina Nichol

Date: Mon, April 03, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Book discussion group

Waiting for the Electricity by Christina Nichol begins in the republic of Georgia. The novel is about a humble maritime lawyer, Slims Achmed Makahvili. The Communists are long gone, but there are no jobs in the cities—and when there are jobs, employees aren’t compensated. When they are compensated, it’s because the jobs are . . . not strictly scrupulous.

Makahvili discovers an application for a small internship program sponsored by Hillary Clinton. His letters to her describe his eagerness to bring efficiency and opportunity to his homeland, replacing his friends’ and relatives’ decadence, lethargy and unsavory business practices. After Makahvili is chosen for the internship and finally arrives in America—in a utopian San Francisco—he decides his loud, bickering family and his anguished, joyful country no longer seem so grim.

The book has been described by author Norman Rush as a “triumphant, sustained, comic performance.” He adds: “I can’t recall a contemporary American novel anywhere near as funny.” The Wall Street Journal describes the book as “endearing and dryly hilarious.”

Tue 4/4

Image - Grace Cathedral

Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Tue, April 04, 2017
Time: 1:45 PM
Walking tour

Explore one of San Francisco’s 44 hills, and one of its original “Seven Hills”. Because of great views and its central position, Nob Hill became an exclusive enclave of the rich and famous on the west coast who built large mansions in the neighborhood. This included prominent tycoons such as Leland Stanford, and other members of the Big Four. Highlights include the history of four landmark hotels: The Fairmont, Mark Hopkins, Stanford Court, and Huntington Hotel. Visit the city’s largest house of worship, Grace Cathedral, and discover architectural tidbits and anecdotes about the railroad barons and silver kings. A true San Francisco experience of elegance, urbanity, scandals and fabulous views.

Image - Annie Jacobsen

Journalist Annie Jacobsen: ESP and the U.S. Government

Date: Tue, April 04, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
The 40-year secret project to use psychics

Annie Jacobsen, Former Contributing Editor, Los Angeles Times Magazine; Author, Phenomena: The Secret History of the U.S. Government’s Investigations into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis; Twitter

Annie Jacobsen is an investigative journalist and bestselling author who writes about war, weapons, U.S. national security and government secrecy. Her Area 51 was an international best seller and The Pentagon’s Brain was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Now, she has written what she says is the definitive history of the military's decades-long investigation into mental powers and phenomena. Jacobsen says that for more than 40 years, the U.S. government has researched extrasensory perception, using it in attempts to locate hostages, fugitives, secret bases and downed fighter jets; to divine other nations' secrets; and even to predict future threats to national security. The agencies involved include the CIA, DIA, NSA, DEA, Navy, Air Force, Army and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Now, for the first time, Jacobsen tells the story of these radical, controversial programs, using never-before-seen declassified documents as well as exclusive interviews with more than 50 former CIA and Defense Department scientists, analysts and program managers, as well as the government psychics themselves. Come hear this unusual program that may challenge your own perceptions of reality.

Image - Jane Mayer

Jane Mayer: Behind Dark Money

Date: Tue, April 04, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
An examination of conservative political financial power

Jane Mayer, Staff Writer, The New Yorker; Author, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right; Twitter

Who are the people bankrolling our political system?

Mayer takes us behind the scenes and exposes the powerful group of individuals who are shaping our country. She traces the billions of dollars spent by the Kochs, the Scaifes, the Olins, and the Bradleys and uncovers their influences on policies related to climate change, the economy and more.

Mayer also discusses the results of the 2016 election and what the future might entail if these elite billionaires continue to drive decisions at the state and federal levels.

Wed 4/5

Image - Gallin

Love Letters: Not a Lost Art At All

Date: Wed, April 05, 2017
Time: 5:15 PM
Love letters as art

Janet Gallin, Host, Love Letters Live; Columnist, Examiner.com

In this two-thumb era of texting, we often gain the joy of immediacy, and sometimes the passion embedded in urgency. But we also lose something—from answering machines to a whole other world of snags.

The speaker will touch on the gripping history of letter writing and talk about why handwritten letters have unmatched power for the short term and for generations to come (as part of your history and legacy to your descendants). She will also discuss what counts as a love letter and how it feels to write and receive one.

Remember: What comes from the heart, enters the heart. Every love letter changes a life in some way. Dive in and let Gallin show you how to use the power lurking within.

Image - White House

Alyssa Mastromonaco: Running the Obama White House

Date: Wed, April 05, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Mastromonaco's life in politics

Alyssa Mastromonaco, Former Deputy White House Chief of Staff for Operations for President Barack Obama; Author, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House; President of Global Communications Strategy and Talent, A+E Networks; Contributing Editor, Marie Claire; Former Chief Operating Officer, Vice Media

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Join INFORUM for a candid discussion with Alyssa Mastromonaco—and learn what it’s like to be an insider in the competitive world of politics and media. Mastromonaco will answer questions about Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House, her memoir documenting her career to date as a national political operative and communications expert.

Mastromonaco spent nine years working for President Barack Obama, where she oversaw the planning and setup of presidential events, the hiring of presidential personnel and all Oval Office operations. Early in President Obama’s political rise, Mastromonaco established herself as an integral member of President Obama’s inner circle, helping Obama with key decisions (such as selecting Joe Biden as his running mate)—with lots of lessons learned along the way.

After leaving the White House, Mastromonaco shifted her focus to the global media landscape as COO of Vice Media, helping the company grow its powerhouse brand. Mastromonaco’s book includes stories about her ascension to Washington, D.C.’s political power list and also provides insightful advice for young women who are looking to make their mark on the world.

Made in Marin: Cowgirl Creamery and Rustic Bakery

Date: Wed, April 05, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Savor the tasty story of Marin foodie success

Sue Conley, Co-founder, Cowgirl Creamery
Carol Levalley, Co-founder and Co-owner, Rustic Bakery
Patricia Unterman, Owner, Hayes Street Grill; Food Writer; Founding Board Member, Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market—Moderator

This program is sponsored by Relevant Wealth Advisors and an anonymous donor.

Having built a robust local following, Cowgirl Creamery and Rustic Bakery exemplify what Marin foodies seek: socially and environmentally responsible, organic, artisanal, locally sourced food.

Join us as we hear the backstories of why Marin became home to these food craftswomen, how they built their businesses, and what they see coming for their industry. What are some of their favorite Marin purveyors? What’s the potential for food-focused growth in the county and beyond?

Tastings of Cowgirl Creamery cheese and Rustic Bakery breads, crackers and baked goods will precede the conversation from 7:00-7:45pm. Conversation begins at 7:45 p.m. and ends promptly at 9 p.m.

Thu 4/6

Image - The White House

Trump's First 100 Days: Part Three

Date: Thu, April 06, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Evaluating the crucial first few months of the new administration

Panelists TBA

Brian Watt, Morning News Anchor, KQED—Moderator

How will President Trump’s 100-day action plan impact our domestic and foreign affairs, health care, education, environment, immigration, economic and trade policies? Who are the new people leading the country and how will they impact public policy? What role will all forms of media play as they cover the new administration? Join The Commonwealth Club and KQED for part three of a four-part series of programs that address the first 100 days of the Trump administration and how this period will shape America over the next four years and beyond. 

Mon 4/10

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.

Image - Week to Week

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

Panelists 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).

Tue 4/11

Image - Stone

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.