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Forum First Person [Series]

Jennifer Rodriguez

In her teens, Jennifer Rodriguez bounced between foster group homes, youth shelters and juvenile hall. Today, she has a law degree and runs a nonprofit that works to improve foster care. Rodriguez joins us to share her story and the lessons she’s learned from a lifetime of involvement in the system. We talk to her as part of Forum’s series on foster care in California.

George Zimmer

Best known for his TV commercials and the catch phrase,”You’re Gonna Like The Way You Look … I Guarantee It,” George Zimmer founded Men’s Wearhouse in 1973 and built it into a multibillion-dollar company. In 2013, after decades as CEO and spokesperson, Zimmer was fired by the company. But Zimmer is not done with the apparel business — he recently launched two online clothing firms. Zimmer is also very active in efforts to legalize marijuana and supports the therapeutic use of the psychoactive drug MDMA. He joins us as part of our “First Person” series on the leaders, innovators, and others who make the Bay Area unique.

A head shot of Stewart Butterfield

After selling Flickr to Yahoo! in 2005, co-founder Stewart Butterfield was on the lookout for his next big thing. While trying to develop an online video game, he discovered an easy way to coordinate his team’s messages and files all in one place. This tool became the workplace messaging platform Slack, a fast-growing business app that was valued at $2.8 billion in April. Butterfield, who studied philosophy at Cambridge, joins us to talk about his career as part of our First Person series on local leaders and innovators.

Jennifer Rodriguez

In her teens, Jennifer Rodriguez bounced between foster group homes, youth shelters and juvenile hall. Today, she has a law degree and runs a nonprofit that works to improve foster care. Rodriguez joins us to share her story and the lessons she’s learned from a lifetime of involvement in the system. We talk to her as part of Forum’s series on foster care in California.

Internet Archive Founder Brewster Kahle

Brewster Kahle wants all knowledge to be accessible digitally. He has worked for over 25 years to make that dream a reality. Kahle is the founder of the Internet Archive, a free online library that preserves books, movies, music, software and even websites via its Wayback Machine. Today, Kahle is also trying to apply open source principles to ease the Bay Area housing crisis. He joins us as part of our First Person series, which highlights the leaders and innovators who make the Bay Area unique.

Rev. Philip Cousin

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church is the largest and oldest African-American church in San Francisco. Founded in 1852, it plays an integral role in the community, with its own credit union, a shelter for homeless women and an affordable housing complex. The church’s leader, Rev. Philip Cousin, increasingly finds himself addressing hate crimes and race issues from the pulpit, especially in the wake of the Charleston church shooting in June. Cousin joins us as part of our First Person series, which highlights the leaders and innovators who make the Bay Area unique.

Helen and John Meyer

Have you felt the bone-rattling bass of a rock concert or the thrum of sound effects in a movie theater? Chances are you were experiencing the influence of John and Helen Meyer, founders of Berkeley-based Meyer Sound Laboratories. Since 1979 the two have worked with clients ranging from the Grateful Dead to Francis Ford Coppola to Oliveto Restaurant, providing innovative fixes to tough acoustic problems. We’ll talk to the Meyers as part of Forum’s First Person series profiling the leaders, innovators and others who make the Bay Area unique.

Clarence Walker

We talk about Baltimore, Ferguson and the history of U.S. race relations with historian Clarence Walker. He recently won the top prize for teaching and scholarly achievement at UC Davis, where he has taught for nearly 30 years. Walker was a critic of Afrocentrism during its heyday, a position he argued in his book “We Can’t Go Home Again.” He’ll join us as part of Forum’s First Person series profiling the leaders, innovators and others who make our region unique.

LovinQuestions

Back in January, a New York Times “Modern Love” column went viral after the author claimed she fell in love after she and her date asked each other 36 soul-probing questions. Those 36 questions were the brainchild of psychologist Arthur Aron. In examining what increases human intimacy, he came up with 36 questions for couples to ask one another to build closeness — not just romantically, but between family and friends. He joins us as part of Forum’s First Person series, profiling the leaders, innovators and others who make the Bay Area unique. Have you tried asking the 36 questions? How did it go? What are your tips for building emotional closeness with your partner?

Dr. Philip Sunshine

For Dr. Philip Sunshine, holding a baby weighing less than two pounds is nothing out of the ordinary. The Stanford doctor has been saving the lives of premature babies for more than 50 years. He was one of the first doctors to put babies on ventilators and to let parents spend time with premature babies. When Sunshine first started, most premature infants had less than a 50 percent chance of survival — today their survival rate is over 90 percent. Dr. Sunshine joins us to talk about the changing field of neonatal and developmental medicine.

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Favianna Rodriguez

Favianna Rodriguez’s art is as colorful as it is political. Rodriguez uses prints to speak out about immigration, women’s rights, racism and gentrification, among other issues. She joins us as part of our First Person series, which features the local innovators, leaders, and notable characters who make the Bay Area unique.

Dr. BJ Miller (L)

While an undergraduate at Princeton University, BJ Miller was electrocuted and nearly died, and the accident left him a triple amputee. Today, as executive director of the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco, he has built his life work around the care of others who are approaching death. Miller joins us as part of our First Person series on local leaders and innovators.

daledougherty

On Wednesday, President Obama hosted the White House’s first Maker Faire, where he played with a 17-foot robotic giraffe and a 3D pancake printer. Obama said he hoped reviving the spirit of making stuff by hand would help spur manufacturing and innovation in America. The first Maker Faire was held in the Bay Area in 2006, founded by Dale Dougherty. Dougherty joins us in-studio to talk about the future of the Maker Movement as part of Forum’s First Person series profiling Bay Area innovators and leaders who make our region unique.

Ramona Pierson

Ramona Pierson was a 22-year-old Marine when she was hit by a drunk driver and landed in a coma. When she woke up 18 months later, she was blind and unable to walk or speak. She went on to become a champion cyclist and rock climber, while still blind. She later regained her sight and became CEO of a startup, Declara, which develops technology for customized learning tools. We talk to Pierson as part of our First Person series profiling Bay Area innovators and leaders who make our region unique.

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