Get a front-row seat to the diverse minds of the most forward thinking innovators in Sonoma, and hear their perspective on THIS IS US.
Why the Word Yes is Holding You Back
Dia Bondi is a Communications Catalyst helping high-reaching professionals speak powerfully to advance their goals. She has worked with CEOs, innovators and ambitious professionals and led workshops at corporations including Quartz, Salesforce, Google’s X team, and Dropbox. She helped Rio secure the 2016 Summer Olympics and has spoken at influential events across the globe. After attending auctioneering school for fun, she translated the techniques she learned into a program that prepares women to ask for more and leave nothing on the table, called Ask Like an Auctioneer. That project produced a mission- to put more money and decision making power in the hands of women so we can change everything for all of us. She’s been featured on CNBC Make It, Forbes and Fast Company. Her book Ask Like an Auctioneer will be published in 2023. Listen to her podcast Lead With Who You Are.
The Future of AI
Dr. Peter Graf is the Chief Strategy and Operations Officer at Genesys. In his role, he’s responsible for developing, communicating, sustaining and executing the Genesys strategy, ensuring operational excellence as a SaaS business. He oversees strategy management, business development, M&A, business operations, IT, sustainability, and executive and employee communications. Peter joined Genesys in 2017 and served as Chief Product Officer (CPO) until 2019, responsible for product management, engineering and cloud operations.
Prior to joining Genesys, Peter held a variety of executive leadership positions in operations, development, sales, marketing and services throughout his more than 25 years in the global enterprise software industry. His extensive background includes deep expertise on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence. Earlier in his career, Peter held multiple senior leadership roles with multinational software corporation SAP, including serving as the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Sustainability Software. Peter earned a doctorate in computer science from Universität des Saarlandes and a master’s degree in computer science and economics from Technische Universität Kaiserslautern in Germany.
Let Go and Collaborate
Gary Hirsch spends his time focusing on how humans can work (and play) better together. He is a visual artist, and an early pioneer in the field of Applied Improvisation. For the past twenty eight years, Gary has been using the art of improvisation (with his consultancy On Your Feet) as an organizational catalyst to accelerate deep creativity, more human connection, and fluidity with uncertainty with organizations such as Nike, Apple, Intel, The British Ministry of Defense, Xprise and others.
As a visual artist, Gary is the creator of Botjoy, a global art movement that uses thousands of hand-painted robots as a driving force for building community. Gary uses is deep passion for the arts to help communities connect, celebrate and heal. His public artworks can be seen in New Orleans, Madrid, Boulder, Dallas, Melbourne and in his hometown of Portland, Oregon.
The $200 That Could Save Your Life
Tara Jasper’s passion is distilling gin for her distillery Sipsong Spirits and improving the lives of others in her community. The meaning of Sipsong is “Intuition, Inner Wisdom and Generosity.” Through following her Sipsong and curiosity into culinary arts, Tara found her love of distilling. She founded Sipsong in 2016 and began selling her first Gin, Indira at the end of April 2018. Right away her love of philanthropy became a focus with the distillery.
Her life took an unpredictable turn in 2019 when she found out she was a BRCA gene carrier only after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Knowing she was BRCA saved her life. Now with her distillery, she focuses on raising awareness about genetic testing and breast/ovarian cancers. Her first Gin and Gene’s event, along with the “Fight Like A Girl” cocktail raised $100,000 in 2021. She doesn’t want another woman to suffer her fate. When cancer can be prevented, it should be. Her opinion is, “Every woman has a right to know if she is BRCA.” We need to fight breast cancer with our smarts, we need to fight it like a girl!!!!
Moving Beyond Boundaries
Diana Elizabeth Jordan (Actor, Solo Artist, Theater & Filmmaker Disability & IDEA Influencer) She is a living example of conquering adversity and cultivating resiliency. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy (which mildly affects her speech and gait) around age two, Diana grew up determined not to let limiting stigmas and barriers stop her from pursuing her dream of being an actor Diana has realized that dream and has been cast in over sixty theater productions, over eighteen films and television including CBS’s S.W.A.T, Diana has refused to be limited to only being cast in disability specific roles but also cast in roles where her disability is incidental to the character or storyline. Her 10 Tools To Consider When Cultivating Resiliency, are featured in Janine Conway’s new book Healing Our Sisters. Diana runs her own entertainment production company Dreaming Big On A Swing Entertainment and The Edutainment Production Company The Rainbow Butterfly Café that creates content to “Nourish” The Mind, Heart & Soul including the weekly vlog A Morning Cup of Joy. The R.B.C combines the transformative power of performances, speaking and custom designed expressive arts-based workshops to eradicate ableism, racism, and othering stigmas, celebrate disability intersectionality history and culture, and offers tools, strategies, and ideas to strengthen DEIA (disability focused) personal growth and professional development initiatives. Whether Diana is portraying a character, sharing one of her personal stories or facilitating one of her custom designed expressive arts workshops; she touches the hearts of audiences with her humor, creativity, vulnerability, and honesty. Diana is living her possible dreams and loving it.
Dance is US
UPside Dance Company was co-founded in 2012 by Tanya Tolmasoff Knippelmeir and Kate Vazzoler and is known for bringing contemporary dance to unconventional spaces. Their concept introduces dance to those who are curious in a supportive and adventurous environment, creates more performance opportunities for the developing dancer and fosters collaborations with local designers, artists, and musicians of Northern California and the Bay Area. Since 2012 UPside has created over 50 dance pieces (including 8 full productions), several artists in residencies, choreographed and performed in 5 films, and toured in Sonoma County, Bay Area, and Boulder Colorado. UPside has become known for performing in unique spaces and always include an aspect of interactive choreography to their work. UPside feels that these non-traditional performances bring dance to unpredictable and tangible ways of communicating to new audiences. Some of these site-specific performances include: romping thru Rose Perfume fields, dancing in the town square, in a long narrow brick street Alley, dancing on top of large piles of soil, splashing each other with buckets of paint, floating on a 10ft raft in the middle of a pond, running and rolling down a mountainside, wrapping dancers with bolts of paper and post-its, or guiding a moving audience throughout different spaces of an old warehouse, and even (literally) dancing on the ceiling.
UPside Dance, with its beaming optimism and embrace of the unordinary, creates choreography to bring joy, provoke discourse, unearth memories, embrace flaws, brighten the ‘everyday’, nourish the community, and to celebrate being a human.
Protecting Earth: An Astronaut’s Perspective
Rusty is an American aeronautical engineer, and a former NASA astronaut, U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, as well as a retired business executive and co-founder of B612 Foundation and Asteroid Day. Rusty is retired these days but he is possibly best known as the Lunar Module Pilot on the 1969 Apollo 9 mission, the first manned flight test of the Lunar Module, on which he performed the first in-space test of the Portable Life Support System used by the Apollo astronauts who walked on the Moon. Rusty served for two years as California governor Jerry Brown’s assistant for science and technology, then was appointed by Brown to California’s Energy Commission. In 1984 Rusty co-founded the Association of Space Explorers.
Native Hands, Native Lands
A Native ecologist with a Ph.D. in Ecology, Melissa’s work is dedicated to Indigenous rights and revitalization, biocultural heritage and environmental justice, intercultural solidarity, and the renewal of community health and cultural arts. For over two decades Melissa has worked in the Native American food movement and since 2006 in international Indigenous food sovereignty. Melissa was the first Native American executive director of The Cultural Conservancy where she helped transition the organization to more global work, served as CEO and continues her active role with the Heron Shadow farm, Native Seed Pod podcast, and curating TCC’s history of revitalizing Indigenous lands and cultures.
An NDN Collective Changemaker and Switzer Environmental Fellow, she has received awards for films, teaching, research, community engagement, social justice, sustainable agriculture, and experiential education. Anishinaabe, Cree, Métis, and Norwegian, Melissa is a proud member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.
Fostering Differences on Common Ground
Larkin O’Leary has been a credentialed general education teacher for 18 years. Before resigning from teaching to care for her son, she taught a variety of grades ranging from pre-K to middle school. Her son, James, was born with Down syndrome, hearing loss and a whole host of medical issues. She has since dedicated her life to educating the world about how to be inclusive through her fast growing nonprofit Common Ground Society (CGS). CGS shares inclusive tips and ideas daily to their over 14K followers on Instagram and Facebook. She has presented to over 26,000 K-12 students and spoken at over 60 other college and community events including Kaiser Grand Rounds, CA SELPA, the Good Teaching Conference, Sonoma State and Dominican Universities. Larkin was a finalist in San Francisco Bay Area’s news channel KRON 4’s Remarkable Woman award and has won several other awards including: 4 C’s Champion for Children, Santa Rosa City Merit Award, Comcast/Press Democrat “Spirit of the North Bay” award and the Sonoma County Commission on Status of Women Spirit award.
The Happiness Factor
Jonah Paquette, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist and author specializing in the science of well-being. He is the author of four books including Happily Even After, Awestruck, The Happiness Toolbox, and Real Happiness. Jonah’s writing aims to provide readers with practical, research-backed strategies to foster greater well-being and connection in our everyday lives.
In addition to his clinical work and writing, Jonah offers training and consultation to organizations on the promotion of well-being and conducts professional workshops for clinicians around the country and abroad. He is a sought-after media contributor, having been featured regularly in print, online, radio, and podcast outlets. Jonah’s clinical experiences as a psychologist have spanned a range of settings including outpatient mental health clinics, Veterans hospitals, and private practice. He has a passion for imparting the key findings related to happiness with the public, and he is honored to share these with you. To learn more about Jonah and his work, visit www.jonahpaquette.com.
Burning Man: Art on Fire
Jennifer Raiser divides her roles as an author and management innovator. The author of the bestseller, Burning Man: Art on Fire, 2014/2016/2023, (Quarto Publishers,) she also oversees a $50M annual budget as Treasurer of the nonprofit Burning Man Project. She is the author of In the Spirit of Napa Valley, 2015, (Assouline) The Art of Being Bill Murray: The Many Faces of Awesome, 2018, (Quarto) and has written extensively for the San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, and numerous publications. Raiser has served on twelve nonprofit boards and also works in corporate communications. Previously, she founded Raiser Senior Services to provide continuing care for luxury retirement communities described in her book Designing Retirement Communities for the Future, 1998, (John Wiley and Sons.) A San Francisco native, she earned a B.A. in English Literature and a Masters of Business Administration, both from Harvard University.
The Gaming Connection
For more than 30 years, Angela Roseboro has been a recognized leader in building human capital strategies. She has held positions leading diversity and inclusion, talent management, and leadership development, implementing impactful strategies that achieve sustainable results for Fortune 500 (Whirlpool Corporation, Manpower International, T. Rowe Price, Jones Lang LaSalle) and mid-stage technology companies (Dropbox, Riot Games) across multiple industries including manufacturing, financial services, commercial real estate, entertainment, and gaming. Ms. Roseboro is known for successfully navigating companies through challenges with her forward thinking and pragmatic approach to problem solving. In her most recent role as Chief Diversity Officer at Riot Games, she has been credited as being the driving force behind the gaming giant’s cultural evolution, from the company being at the center of what became a cultural reckoning around bad behavior in the gaming industry to the later being certified as a “Great Place to Work” by the Great Place to Work Institute within three years. Ms. Roseboro has received numerous honors for her leadership and DEI work, being named Black Enterprise’s 150 Top D&I Executives, Los Angeles Business Journal’s Diversity Executive of the Year, Savoy Magazine’s Most Influential Black Corporate Executives, Move Magazine’s Power Women, and Diversity Global’s 100 Leaders in Diversity. She has also been featured in Forbes, The Chicago Tribune, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal.
She is currently a board member for Cresa, an international commercial real estate firm and on the advisory board for the Black Collegiate Gaming Association and the National Heart Association. She previously served on the Teach for America Advisory Board and the Diversity MBA Advisory Board. She earned a bachelor’s degree in human resource management from Roosevelt University.
Music is US
Formed in October 1959, as the Sonoma County Junior Symphony, under the direction of founding conductor Eugene Shepherd, the orchestra’s name was changed, in 1994, to the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra and is currently led by Bobby Rogers, previously Conductor of the Aspirante Youth Orchestra since 2011. A graduate of Sonoma State University (B.A. in Music Education and Jazz Performance) and Sacramento State University (M.A. in Wind Conducting), he has earned many top awards and honors for outstanding teaching. Rogers is currently the Music Director at Pioneer High School in Woodland, Director of Jazz Program at Solano Community College, adjunct Professor of Band at Woodland Community College and Artistic Director of the Yolo Community Band. He serves on the California Teachers Association State Council of Education.
The SRS Youth Orchestra has helped prepare musicians who have pursued a professional music career with numerous professional ensembles throughout California, including the Santa Rosa Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, San Francisco Opera Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Oakland Symphony, Musica Angelica, Sacramento Symphony and Napa Valley Symphony.