The Commonwealth Club's INFORUM Named Best Speaker Series by San Francisco Magazine

SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 9, 2015) – The Commonwealth Club announced today that INFORUM, the Club’s division that connects young professionals with dynamic leaders and cutting-edge events, has been named San Francisco Magazine’s 2015 “Best of SF - Speaker Series.”

INFORUM was recognized for making “a habit of programming insightful, celebrity-status speakers to discuss today’s crucial issues.”

According to San Francisco magazine, their “editors spend the whole year testing out new businesses, checking in on old ones, soliciting experts’ opinions, and scouring social media in search of the unquestionably great.”

In its July 2015 issue, the magazine praised INFORUM, noting that:

“It’s not every day that Bruce Bochy and Larry Baer openly discuss their bromance, or that Talib Kweli sits down for an honest conversation about hip-hop at the Fox, or that Marissa Mayer and Marc Benioff kibitz in public about the future of tech,” wrote San Francisco. “All of which has happened in the Bay Area within the last year, thanks to the Commonwealth Club’s Inforum series . . .”

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SF Magazine editors compile an exhaustive list that is published every July—“the ultimate guide to the Bay Area’s most excellent shops, eateries, bars, hangouts, spas, hotels, apps, and more.”

This is the third time INFORUM has been singled out as the best lecture series in the Bay Area.   The San Francisco Chronicle named INFORUM the Best Lecture Series in The Bay Area in 2006, and the now-defunct San Francisco Bay Guardian called INFORUM "the best brainiac bonanza... for those wanting to cram more thinking under their caps."

The Commonwealth Club has been hosting speakers and events in the Bay Area since 1903, making it the nation’s largest and oldest public forum. Its radio broadcast, aired nationwide every week on 230 stations, has a large listenership and has been continuously broadcasting since 1924.

INFORUM, by contrast, is a relative upstart, founded in the early 2000s. The Club noticed the number of young professionals whose careers and lives were upended by the dot-com bust. To be of service and engage younger people more in politics, the arts, the environment, business, technology, and culture, the Club began to host programming, including job fairs, oriented to this age group. This blossomed into a distinct group within the Club that in 2002 was christened INFORUM. 

Remarking on the advent of INFORUM, on the Club’s anniversary in 2003 the Los Angeles Times noted, “San Francisco's Commonwealth Club was founded in 1903 as an arena for spirited public debate. It's still at it, but with a decidedly un-stodgy youth contingent.”

INFORUM also annually gives the 21st Century Visionary Award.  Recipients have included Sal Khan, Tavi Gevinson, Spike Lee, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and the founders of YouTube.

A community of civically engaged young people has grown up around INFORUM. An INFORUM board is led by co-presidents Carlo Almendral and Courtland Alves. Its members work at new companies like Truition and Inner Circle Labs, as well as at more established Bay Area entities like UCSF, Adobe Systems and Delta Dental.

INFORUM has hosted a number of events to connect young professionals in the Bay Area while supporting inspiring talks with leaders in tech, food, culture, design, business, and social issues. This past summer, INFORUM hosted a benefit party, INFORUM Informal, at Chambers SF as a part of its first ever fundraiser. The evening was complete with live music, cocktails, live paintings, and insightful conversations.

INFORUM has its own radio program, broadcast weekly on San Francisco public radio station KALW. See http://kalw.org/programs/inforum  Podcasts of the program can be found on the Club’s website, and videos on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCdyLxhNfcx0S6oAvH_D2hw

“It’s an honor to be recognized by San Francisco magazine and our community,” said Caroline Moriarity Sacks, INFORUM’s director. “INFORUM and The Commonwealth Club are dedicated to inviting a range of guests and curating meaningful and timely conversations that matter to San Francisco and beyond.”

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