Upcoming Events

Mon 6/26

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Kim Scott: Radical Candor

Date: Mon, June 26, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Leading with “radical candor"

Kim Scott, Author, Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
Jenny Dearborn, Chief Learning Officer, SAP; Author, Data Driven: How Performance Analytics Delivers Extraordinary Sales Results—Moderator

Great bosses have strong relationships with their employees. Kim Scott has identified three simple principles for building better relationships. She will share the framework to help build, lead and inspire others to do their best. Learn more about “radical candor,” the effective management method that Scott developed from her years working at Google and Apple and from serving as a coaching executive at Twitter and Dropbox.

Tue 6/27

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Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Tue, June 27, 2017
Time: 2:00 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.

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This event is Sold Out

There Is No Good Card for This

Date: Tue, June 27, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
How to master empathy

Kelsey Crowe, Ph.D., Author; Speaker; Founder, Help Each Other Out
B.J. Miller Jr., M.D., Hospice and Palliative Care Specialist, UCSF Medical Center

When someone you know is hurting, you want to let her know you care. But many people don’t know the exact words to use—or are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. This thoughtful, instructive guide, from empathy expert Kelsey Crowe, blends well-researched, actionable advice with the no-nonsense humor and immensely popular empathy cards to help you feel confident in connecting with anyone experiencing grief, loss, illness or any other difficult situation.

Whether it’s a co-worker whose mother has died, a neighbor whose husband has been in a car accident or a friend who is seriously ill, Crowe advises you how to be the best friend you can be to someone in need.

Crowe is the founder of Help Each Other Out, which offers empathy boot camp workshops to give people tools for building relationships when it really counts. She earned her Ph.D. in social work at the UC Berkeley and is a faculty member at the School of Social Work at California State University.

Miller is a hospice and palliative care specialist who treats hospitalized patients with terminal or life-altering illnesses at UCSF Medical Center. He also sees patients in a palliative care clinic and at the cancer symptom management service at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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U.S. Health Care Under Trump: Former Medicaid/Medicare Chiefs Square Off

Date: Tue, June 27, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Two health-care officials square off

Gail Wilensky, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Project HOPE; Former Administrator Under President George H.W. Bush, Health Care Financing Administration 
Andy Slavitt, Senior Advisor, Bipartisan Policy Center; Former Acting Administrator President Barack Obama, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Mark Zitter, Chair, the Zetema Project—Moderator

Where is health care in the U.S. headed under the Trump administration? What do recent changes mean, and how will they affect consumers? Where should we be heading and why?

Now that the American Health Care Act (AHCA) has passed in the House, health care reform remains a hotter topic than ever. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has proposed turning Medicare into a voucher program and funding Medicaid through block grants to states. Congress continues to discuss eliminating the individual mandate and providing more flexibility in terms of which benefits insurers must offer. Conservatives claim these changes would provide greater choice to consumers and more value to the federal budget, while progressives argue that these changes would reduce access to care and worsen health outcomes.

We’ll hear from two former senior officials on the ongoing efforts to repeal or repair the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Andy Slavitt recently stepped down as acting administrator for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Barack Obama. Gail Wilensky held the same post under President George H.W. Bush. Both experts continue to speak out from differing perspectives on Medicare and Medicaid as well as broader reform issues. Join us for a spirited discussion on the problems and prospects of U.S. health care.

Thu 6/29

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Merola Opera: Sparking the Future

Date: Thu, June 29, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Promoting opera to youth

Jean Kellogg, Executive Director, Merola Opera

Some say opera is dying due to younger generations’ lack of interest. Merola Opera Program proves opera is thriving, with a growing interest in and increased competition among its young singers. Jean Kellogg, Merola's executive director, will trace the program's history, providing photographs, anecdotes and a preview of Merola's 60th Anniversary Summer Festival. Come learn about this unique Bay Area opera company.

Fri 6/30

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A Brighter Day

Date: Fri, June 30, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Helping teenagers who are suffering from depression

Elliot Kallen, Financial Accountant; Wealth Manager; Founder, A Brighter Day
Rona Hu, M.D., Medical Director, Acute Psychiatric Inpatient Unit at Stanford Hospital; Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University
Patrick O'Reilly, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist; Assistant Clinical Professor, UC San Francisco; Chair, Member-Led Psychology Forum—Moderator

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among teens in the U.S. In this program, Elliot Kallen, who founded A Brighter Day in honor of his late son, Jake, will discuss depression and teen suicide; Dr. Patrick O'Reilly, a clinical psychologist specializing in anxiety disorders, and Dr. Rona Hu, the medical director of the Acute Psychiatric Inpatient Unit at Stanford Hospital, will join him. A Brighter Day reaches out to teens suffering from depression and other related issues while allowing them to maintain their dignity. The charity connects teens to the resources they need, showcasing local bands in a way that helps teens learn about depression and its risk factors.

Wed 7/5

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Ben Franklin Circles

Date: Wed, July 05, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Ongoing Ben Franklin forum

Join us monthly, every first Wednesday, for a 21st-century version of Ben Franklin’s mutual improvement club. One evening a week, for more than 40 years, the founding father discussed and debated with his friends the 13 virtues that he felt formed the basis for personal and civic improvement, a list he created when he was 20 years old. The virtues to which he aspired included justice, resolution and humility. (But don't misunderstand Ben on that one—his explanation of humility was "imitate Jesus and Socrates.")

The Ben Franklin Circles program brings people together to discuss the most pressing philosophical and ethical issues of our time with the goal of improving ourselves and our world. 

Mon 7/10

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Lefty O'Doul: Baseball's Forgotten Ambassador

Date: Mon, July 10, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Baseball and Japanese–U.S. relations

Dennis Snelling, Author, Lefty O'Doul: Baseball's Forgotten Ambassador

Monday Night Philosophy goes beyond ping-pong diplomacy and delves deep into the foreign policy role baseball played in US–Japan relations before and after World War II. Dennis Snelling reviews the roles played by Horace Wilson, Mike Fisher and Lefty O'Doul in making baseball popular in Japan. Horace Wilson, a Civil War veteran who had settled in San Francisco, taught English (and baseball) in Japan in the 1870s. Mike Fisher, a San Francisco entrepreneur, organized the first tour of Japan by professional ballplayers in 1908. Lefty O'Doul, a San Francisco native, played in Japan in 1931 and then brought Babe Ruth and others with him in 1934, where he helped found the Tokyo Giants. After the war, General MacArthur arranged for O'Doul to bring a baseball team over to help repair relations, which he successfully did in many ways on and off the field.

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Date: Mon, July 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.

Click here to sign up for this program via Meetup. 

Tue 7/11

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The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty: The Extraordinary Rise and Fall of Actor M.B. Curtis

Date: Tue, July 11, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The Jewish Jackie Robinson of the stage

Richard Schwartz, Historian; Author, The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty: The Extraordinary Rise and Fall of Actor M.B. Curtis

Richard Schwartz captures the life of M.B. Curtis, an incredibly influential immigrant actor of the late 19th century. It is a story of immigration, assimilation, the theater and the invisible wings of comedy. It is about how one play became the way a nation examined its feelings and attitudes towards immigrants and gave audiences a chance to walk in shoes they would never have worn. Curtis was the Jewish Jackie Robinson of the stage—the first Jewish male actor who was allowed to portray a Jewish male on stage in America. His talent, creativity, fame, suffering, perseverance, dreaming and overnight rise to stardom linked him intimately with the Statue of Liberty, Mark Twain, New York, San Francisco, murder and the greatest African-American entertainment troupe of its time. 

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How to Fall in Love with Anyone

Date: Tue, July 11, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
On falling in love and sustaining relationships

Mandy Len Catron, Author, How to Fall In Love with Anyone; Professor of English and Creative Writing, the University of British Columbia; Editor, The Love Story Project
Moira Weigel, Author, Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating; Editor, Logic; Ph.D. Candidate, Yale University—Moderator

Remember Mandy Len Catron’s viral New York Times Modern Love column: “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This”? In the column, she and an acquaintance followed a less than scientific version of a psychology study comprised of answering 36 increasingly personal questions. The experiment ended with the two staring silently into each other’s eyes for four minutes. Mandy and her partner went on to actually fall in love. After reading her column, millions of people became invested in the future of her relationship. Now, in her new book, How to Fall in Love with Anyone, Catron explores the romantic myths we create and talks frankly about how they limit our ability to achieve and sustain intimacy.

Whether you’re dating and dubious about love or deep in a relationship, Catron’s mix of history, science, theory and personal experience will make you question the unwritten scripts we follow in love and relationships. Catron will be in conversation with Moira Weigel, author of Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating, a fellow academic and writer entranced by the complexity of love.

Originally from Appalachian Virginia, Catron is a writer living and working in Vancouver, British Columbia. She writes about love at The Love Story Project. She also teaches English and creative writing at the University of British Columbia.

Wed 7/12

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I'm Not Blind, But I Can't See: Resources for Those with Low Vision

Date: Wed, July 12, 2017
Time: 5:15 PM
A guide to low vision

Marlena A. Chu, O.D., FAAO, Low Vision Diplomate, American Academy of Optometry; Chief of Low Vision Services, UC Berkeley School of Optometry

Low vision occurs when a person's vision cannot be corrected with contact lenses or glasses. This talk will briefly review common conditions that may result in low vision, what is involved in a low vision evaluation, and what supportive services and resources are available in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Nirvana Through Technology

Date: Wed, July 12, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Using meditation to change the structure of our brains

Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry, UCSF; Director, UCSF Neuroscience Imaging Center; Founder and Executive Director, Neuroscape; Co-Founder and Chief Science Advisor, Akili Interactive Labs; Co-Founder and Chief Scientist, Jazz Venture Partners
Jack Kornfield, Ph.D., Co-Founder, Spirit Rock Center; Buddhist Monk; Author; Teacher
Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., Science Director, Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley—Moderator

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

New studies show that meditation can change the structure of our brains in ways that might boost concentration, memory and positive emotions. How does learning, focus and emotional regulation lead to a more fulfilling life? Can technology make it easier to learn mindfulness techniques and therefore improve brain health?

Dr. Adam Gazzaley, renowned neuroscientist, entrepreneur and inventor, and Dr. Jack Kornfield, author, Buddhist practitioner and one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness to the west, are working to build bridges between technology and the contemplative arts. Join us as we learn about this groundbreaking scientific research and how we can apply it to our personal and professional lives.

Thu 7/13

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San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, July 13, 2017
Time: 2:00 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 that 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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Richard Harris and Mary Roach: Is Sloppy Science Killing Us?

Date: Thu, July 13, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Funding biomedical research

Richard Harris, Science Correspondent, NPR; Author, Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hopes, and Wastes Billions; Twitter  
In Conversation with Mary Roach

Richard Harris says that American taxpayers spend more than $30 billion every year to fund biomedical research and that half of all the studies funded cannot be replicated elsewhere. He says this biomedical research, anchored in a system that often rewards wrong behaviors, is needlessly slowing the search for new treatments and cures. To get and keep a job in research or in academia, Harris says, scientists need to publish results rather than get the right answers. It’s simply too easy for these scientists to use bad ingredients, poor experimental designs or improper methods in analyzing their results. Join us for a startling discussion on how sloppy science has dangerous consequences for all of us.

Harris is one of the nation’s most celebrated science journalists, covering science, medicine and the environment. Now in his 30th year at NPR, his latest research concerns medical science, or the lack thereof.

Mon 7/17

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Begin with the End in Mind: The Impact of Trauma on Children’s Brains and Bodies

Date: Mon, July 17, 2017
Time: 5:15 PM
Combating the effects of poverty and violence

Christine Stoner-Mertz, LCSW, President and CEO, Lincoln

Evolving brain science has taught us much about the impact of trauma on developing brains. As a foster parent and as CEO of Lincoln, a Bay Area nonprofit serving children and youth, Christine Stoner-Mertz brings a deep understanding of the many ways trauma associated with poverty, community violence and mental health challenges impact children’s growth and development. She will discuss these impacts and the urgency to develop policies that support early screening and interventions for at-risk children.

Stoner-Mertz is driven by the belief that every young person deserves a family, and every parent wants his or her child to succeed despite the challenges of poverty, trauma, substance use and limited educational resources. She received her MSW from the University of Michigan and is a licensed clinical social worker. She has served on several state and local association boards and was a recipient of the Exemplar Award from the National Network for Social Work Managers. Stoner-Mertz currently serves on the board of the National Council of Behavioral Health and the California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies.

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Ancestry’s Catherine Ball: Who Do You Think You Are?

Date: Mon, July 17, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Ancestry and our place in the world

Catherine Ball, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Ancestry

Perceived identity has been a discussion for centuries because of its crucial and diverse psychological implications. Culture, social roles, relationships and family structure have been known to make up and create one’s sense of self. This need rests deep inside every human—to feel connected to something bigger than ourselves and to find our place in the world.  

Catherine Ball will discuss how the combination of DNA and family history data provides us with better sense of identity—a deeper and empowering understanding of who we are, how we connect to society and how we’ve been shaped by human history.

Recently published research enables an unprecedented look at ancestral migration patterns, including 500 million genetic relationships, and ties these groups to historical events of the past 400 years. Ball will discuss these incredibly valuable insights into our history and the forces that continue to shape our beliefs, giving us a more granular look at how immigration, geography, politics, religion and economics have shaped the world.

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Socrates Café

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

Tue 7/18

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For-Profit Punishment? The Private Prison Question

Date: Tue, July 18, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Reporting on criminal justice reform

Shane Bauer, Senior Reporter, Mother Jones; Co-Author, A Sliver of Light
Alysia Santo, Staff Reporter, the Marshall Project
Mina Kim, News Anchor and Friday's "Forum" Host, KQED—Moderator
Additional Panelists TBA

In 2016, the Obama administration declared that the federal government would begin phasing out the use of private, for-profit prisons in the justice system. This move came in response to a Justice Department report that showed private prisons did not save money and were less safe than public facilities. In early 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded this decision. Today, the debate continues: Should the American criminal justice system include private, for-profit entities? Or should the prison system at the state and federal levels be run by the government?

Mother Jones senior reporter Shane Bauer, who reported on his four-month stint as a private prison guard, will join us for this discussion. We will also hear from Alysia Santo, a staff reporter at the Marshall Project, a nonprofit outlet that features journalism on criminal justice reform. Santo recently exposed the deadly conditions on board a private prisoner transportation van. Join us for a conversation about the state of the American criminal justice system and private prisons.

Wed 7/19

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Creating Moments of Joy in Caregiving

Date: Wed, July 19, 2017
Time: 5:15 PM
Creating cherished memories through caregiving

Esther Koch, Gerontologist; Founder, Encore Management

The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. A scarce commodity for you, it is even more precious for an aging parent or loved one. Yet far too many people embrace their caregiver role too late and see it only in negative terms. Esther Koch will explain how becoming a "facilitator of experiences" is not only the best prescription for caregiver stress, but it will also provide you with some of life’s most cherished memories.