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Career Curves

Business & Economics Podcasts

Real people telling real stories of real careers. A common perception is that careers move in straight lines, from first job to last, yet this is rarely true. Real careers have highs and lows, planned changes and unexpected ones. On each episode of Career Curves, we talk to someone who has had an interesting, curvy career to find out how they navigated the twists and turns. We focus on the opportunities and challenges that came their way, digging into key decisions they faced and how they made them. Listen in and walk away with inspiration and ideas to help you maneuver through the curves in your own career.


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Real people telling real stories of real careers. A common perception is that careers move in straight lines, from first job to last, yet this is rarely true. Real careers have highs and lows, planned changes and unexpected ones. On each episode of Career Curves, we talk to someone who has had an interesting, curvy career to find out how they navigated the twists and turns. We focus on the opportunities and challenges that came their way, digging into key decisions they faced and how they made them. Listen in and walk away with inspiration and ideas to help you maneuver through the curves in your own career.




The Power of And with Neda Cvijetic

Do you ever feel boxed in or typecasted based on your current role or what you've studied? Dr. Neda Cvijetic has made it her mission to break down false barriers throughout her life and career. She's a senior engineering leader AND she has her own fashion business on the side called Hautefit. She has a strong intellect AND strong emotional intelligence. She has a thriving career AND a very fulfilling personal and family life. She has worked for some of the hottest technology and innovation leaders in the world, including NEC, Tesla and Nvidia, AND recently started a new role as Senior Vice President -- Head of Artificial Intelligence at Stellantis, the parent company of some of the biggest car brands in the world. So how does she do it? Listen to this inspiring episode to find out! Meet the Guest Neda Cvijetic is Senior Vice President – Head of Artificial Intelligence at Stellantis, where she leads AI software that will create breakthrough capabilities for all Stellantis brands. Prior to Stellantis, Neda worked on autonomous vehicles, AI, and computer vision at NVIDIA and was also the producer and host of DRIVE Labs, a video and blog series that provides a behind-the-scenes look at a range of AI and AV technologies under development at NVIDIA. Prior to NVIDIA, Neda worked on advanced projects in Autopilot and Infotainment systems at Tesla, served on the adjunct faculty of Columbia University, and held senior research positions at NEC Labs America. She holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia, as well as over 20 granted U.S. patents and peer-reviewed conference and journal publications with more than 4,000 Google scholar citations. Links LinkedIn profile NVIDIA DRIVE Labs AI podcast episode Hautefit website Hautefit instagram: @hautefitofficial Ava Astro episode: Neda Cvijetic Fashion & Engineering


Beyond Financial Success with Brenden Mulligan

“I’ve never had a job. And as soon as I stop liking what I'm doing, I generally try to change course.” Throughout his career, Brenden Mulligan, founder of Podpage and head of product at Commonstock, has been driven by more than just financial success. From the music industry to startups, his passion has focused on solving problems and building products that customers love. He’s been fortunate to have a number of companies he created get acquired. Contrary to popular belief, this didn’t mean he became wealthy. Sometimes it simply meant he left the experience with no debt. On this episode, he shares how he has built a career that keeps him challenged, growing, and satisfied. Listen and leave inspired. Meet the Guest Brenden Mulligan is founder of, which thousands of podcasters use to build and host their podcast websites. He's been working with creative people for over 15 years, including musicians, artists, software developers, and podcasters. He's founded and sold 3 other startups, most recently to Google.


Doing What You Love with Tamara Lewis

When Tamara Lewis was growing up in Jamaica, there were only two versions of what future "career success" might look like. She could become a doctor, or she could become a lawyer. She started college as a pre-med student ....and proceeded to change her major 14 times. She later was accepted into law school ....and ended up dropping out early in her first semester. The moral of this story? She was driven by what she "should" be doing versus following her passions, and she didn't find career fulfillment until she did just that. Tamara ultimately learned that she was drawn to non-profit work and organizations, and she currently serves as the Vice President of Talent & Culture at The Conrad Hilton Foundation. Her advice to everyone is to DO WHAT YOU LOVE, and career success will follow. Her story is inspirational and a perfect listen before students go back to school. Meet the Guest Tamara has held senior leadership roles with both national and global organizations in her 20 plus years in human resources. In her current role, Tamara leads the Hilton Foundation’s efforts to create an inspiring and engaging atmosphere for its employees with a particular focus on establishing the strategic framework for the organization’s first global diversity and inclusion program. Additionally, Tamara serves on the board of Social Accountability International, a global non-governmental organization advancing human rights at work and Los Robles Regional Medical Center. Prior to joining the Hilton Foundation Tamara lead human resource teams at Gentiva Health Services and directed global human resources and talent management for CARE, the global relief organization based in Atlanta. At CARE, Tamara she was responsible for directing the organization’s long-term vision, strategy and operational initiatives in the area of global compensation, recruitment, talent management, leadership succession and inclusion. Tamara holds a master’s in business administration from Dowling College and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hunter College. Links Feeling burned out at work? It doesn’t have to be that way LA Times December 1, 2020


Breaking News with Laura Meckler

"Being consistently good doesn't get you very far. You need to be occasionally amazing." That's advice from Laura Meckler, national education writer at the Washington Post. Her career is living proof, and by being good and occasionally amazing she rose up the journalism ladder to some of the most prestigious newspapers in the U.S., including a coveted stint as White House correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. In this episode, Laura describes her journey, beginning with a pivotal role as Editor in Chief of her college newspaper. The road to prominence had a series of challenges and curves along the way, but she persevered and leveraged each of her experiences to continually move forward. Her path is an excellent reminder that most careers don't follow a straight line. The highs, lows, triumphs and failures are all part of the career development process, and they build strength and resilience. How did Laura do it? Listen to this "Breaking News" episode to hear her remarkable story. Meet the Guest Laura Meckler is national education writer at the Washington Post, where she covers education across the country and federal education policy. She came to the Post from The Wall Street Journal, where she covered the White House, three presidential races, changing American demographics, immigration and health care. Before that, she worked for The Associated Press Washington bureau, writing about health and social policy and politics. Before coming to Washington, Laura covered state government in Columbus, Ohio. She got her start covering everything from schools and cops to the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame festival at The Repository in Canton, Ohio, about 50 miles south of her hometown of Cleveland. Laura graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, and serves as vice president of the board that oversees her college newspaper. She was a Nieman fellow at Harvard University in 2003-04, and in 1999, she won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, a prize given to journalists under age 35, for her coverage of organ donation and transplantation issues. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two sons.


The Door to Opportunity with Matthew Confer

“The door to opportunity is a door marked PUSH.” Throughout his career, Matt Confer has taken to heart this advice from his parents. He’s actively looked for doors and then strategized how to get them open. In this episode, Matt spells out the steps he took to create internship opportunities during college and then continually move forward in his career. (Spoiler alert: extreme networking is one of the keys to his success.) He’s currently VP of strategy and business development at Abilitie. The role and the work are not what he envisioned for himself when he was young, yet he loves where he is. So, how did he build his career? Listen to find out and be inspired. Meet the Guest Matthew Confer is the Vice President of Strategy at Abilitie, a Leadership Development company based in Austin, Texas that provides immersive business simulations to a global client base that includes over 40 members of the Fortune 500. Matthew has spoken on the topic of decision making at the TEDx Conference with a talk entitled Before You Decide and he hosts the Learn To Lead Podcast where he speaks with his guests about their leadership journey and how they are working to develop the leaders of tomorrow. Links TEDx Talk - Before You Decide Abilitie Learn To Lead Podcast LinkedIn Twitter


Powering Forward with Malia Cohen

Malia Cohen discovered when she was a child that she wanted to serve in government. She visualized herself in her dream job and then made it happen. Today, she has moved on from that role and sits on the California State Board of Equalization and serves as President of the San Francisco Police Commission, the first African-American woman in both of these roles. So how has she powered forward to make her goals a reality in spite of many obstacles along the way? On this episode, she shares her story openly and honestly, and imparts wisdom and advice that can benefit anyone in any career. Listen and be inspired. Meet the Guest Malia M. Cohen serves as a Member of the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), California’s elected tax commission. She was elected to the BOE in November 2018, served as Chair in 2019, and is the first African-American woman to serve on the Board. As the BOE Board Member for District 2, she represents 10 million constituents living in all or parts of 23 counties extending from Del Norte County in the north to Santa Barbara County in the south. In January 2019, her BOE Board Member colleagues unanimously selected her to serve as Chair of the Board. A strong advocate for social justice and inclusion, Board Member Cohen pledges to ensure that the views of all who come before the Board of Equalization are considered carefully, with respect, civility, and courtesy. She further commits to collaborate with her colleagues to guarantee that all the actions of the BOE are open, transparent, and above reproach. Prior to being elected to the Board of Equalization, Board Member Cohen served as President of the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco. She was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. As a Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, she served as the Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee. As Finance Chair, she oversaw the adoption of an $11 billion budget, and measures concerning bond issues, taxes, fees, and redevelopment and real estate matters. She also served as a fiduciary member of the San Francisco Transportation Authority, which manages the proceeds of a half-cent sales tax that generates $100 million annually for transportation investments in the County. Previously, she served as a Commissioner of the San Francisco Employee Retirement System (SFERS), which manages a $23 billion pension fund. As President of SFERS, she led efforts to divest from fossil fuels and thermal coal investments and moved $100 million into a fossil fuel-free index fund. Throughout her life, Board Member Cohen has fought for diversity and inclusion. She has championed policies and programs that protect public health, foster economic development, promote new affordable housing, and that create good jobs through protecting and expanding our manufacturing base. Board Member Cohen was born and raised in San Francisco. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Fisk University, a historically Black university in Nashville, Tennessee, and a Masters in Science in Public Policy & Management from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Keep Pushing Ahead with Saiman Shetty

Making moves into new roles and new companies can be challenging, especially if people are telling you what you want to do isn’t available to you or you’re an immigrant needing to get over visa hurdles. Our guest on this episode, Saiman Shetty, technical program manager of robots at Nuro, has faced and overcome these challenges, not by luck or chance but by design. With perseverance, determination, and a lot of hard work, he’s crafted a career journey that includes working for companies like Tesla and Lyft. It includes side hustles as an entrepreneur founding and launching his own companies. And, it includes navigating student and work visas until finally receiving an EB-1A "Einstein Visa" in 2019, giving him the right to work in the US indefinitely. He has an interesting story to tell filled with rich advice for anyone navigating their career. Meet the Guest Saiman Shetty is a Technical Program Manager for Robots at Nuro. Previously, he worked at Tesla and also played a pivotal role as one of the founding members of Lyft's self-driving team. He is an immigrant entrepreneur who heads the product team at ResumePuppy, and has been awarded the "Einstein Visa" or EB-1A Green Card. He is now using his experience with his own EB-1A journey to help immigrants via his course, "Smart Green Card". He is very active on LinkedIn, and posts frequently on Robotics & AI topics. He's also an avid outdoors person who loves to hike a lot! Links Smart Green Card. Be sure to check out the free mini-course. Note: Career Curves will earn a small commission off any purchases made through these links. This will not affect the price you pay.


Writing Your Own Career Story with Jamie Pachino

Jamie Pachino is currently the Co-Executive Producer on The Right Stuff for Disney+. She always thought that she’d be an actor for her career, but she fell in love with writing plays and scripts along the way. Her work has been produced in four countries, honored with numerous awards, and she’s written for major studios like DreamWorks, Disney, Lionsgate and more. Jamie shares how she did it and the lessons she learned along the way. It’s an inspiring story of someone who followed her passion into a career of her dreams, and the script on that career is not even close to finished! Meet the Guest Jamie Pachino is an award winning playwright, screenwriter and TV writer. Her plays have been seen in four countries, published and named the winner of the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays production grant, the Laurie Foundation Theatre Visionary Award, Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work, and the Francesca Primus Prize by the American Theatre Critics Association, among many others. Jamie’s plays have been produced, developed and read at Steppenwolf, Long Wharf, Hartford Stage, LCT3 (Lincoln Center), American Conservatory Theatre, Roundabout, Geva, San Jose Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, Northlight, Florida Stage, A Contemporary Theatre, and the Women’s Playwright Conference in Athens, Greece, among many others. Jamie has written on the staffs of TV series for Amazon (SNEAKY PETE, CHARLOTTE WALSH LIKES TO WIN), AMC (HALT AND CATCH FIRE), NBC (CHICAGO PD, THE BRAVE), TNT (FRANKLIN & BASH) and USA (FAIRLY LEGAL). She has written features for DreamWorks, Disney, Lionsgate, Walden Media, Vanguard Films and others, and teleplays for Amazon, the Hallmark Hall of Fame, Lifetime, Up, and the Hallmark Channel. She is currently writing on the staff of THE RIGHT STUFF for Disney+, a pilot for Bad Robot Productions, and her screenplay MASTERPIECE has been optioned. Jamie has served on the faculties of Northwestern University (her alma mater), University of California Irvine, National Louis University, Columbia College and The Chicago Academy of the Arts. She is a proud member of the WGA, The Playwrights Center, and the International Center for Women Playwrights, and is represented by Kaplan Stahler Agency, APA (theatre), Harden Curtis (London), and Cartel Entertainment. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Lindsay Jones and their two children. Links More at


Building on What You've Learned with Marcus Chung

What role does learning play as you are building your career? Marcus Chung, VP of Manufacturing and Supply Chain at ThirdLove, has learned from each and every one of his experiences, and he has continuously applied that information to move toward roles that better tap into his passions and strengths. Part of his career journey has included roles and companies that weren’t always a perfect fit, but he needed the learning from those experiences to truly discover his ideal path. By closing some doors along the way, he has opened windows to a more fulfilling and rewarding career. Meet the Guest An apparel sourcing and supply chain leader, Marcus Chung has held roles focused on delivering value through strategic supply chain management. Currently VP of Manufacturing and Supply Chain for direct-to-consumer women's intimates brand ThirdLove, Marcus's team is responsible for sourcing, production, product quality, logistics and fulfillment. His experience includes leading global teams to deliver exceptional product quality, cost and delivery results. In addition, he has developed strategies and engaged with the broader apparel industry to drive sustainability and protect garment workers' rights in the supply chain. Marcus earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Wesleyan University and an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He served as a Trustee for Wesleyan University and served two terms on the board of directors for Net Impact, a non-profit organization whose mission is to mobilize a new generation to use their careers to drive transformational change in their workplaces and the world. Links Marcus recently wrote an article on the impact robots, 3D technology and artificial intelligence are having on the apparel supply chain. You can read it here.


Stalking Success with Gabrielle Bosché

Gabrielle Bosché became addicted to achievement at an early age. Her incredible drive helped her achieve early success (including publishing her first book at 17!), but it came at a cost to her health and relationships. The unlock in her career journey was connecting her work to her life purpose. She intentionally crafted a career centered around her passions and founded two companies in the process – The Millennial Solution and The Purpose Company. She continues to share her learning with others and recently published her fifth book called "The Purpose Factor." Gabrielle tells people to "stalk success" and learn as much as they can from the wisdom and achievements of others. She has followed her own advice and has channeled it into an extraordinary and fulfilling career. Meet the Guest Raised in an alcoholic household, Gabrielle became addicted to achievement because that was the only thing she could control. From self-publishing her first book at 17 to becoming an elite athlete to losing 20 pounds in 2 months to win a beauty pageant, Gabrielle found her identity as an "achiever." After extreme dieting caused her to lose chunks of her hair and most of her relationships, Gabrielle knew she needed a change. Her journey to discover her own purpose resulted in what is known as the #1 purpose discovery process in the world. Gabrielle is one of the most booked Millennial motivators in the world. She has been called the "next generation of motivators" by Tom Ziglar and is a popular TEDx presenter, bestselling author, and co-founder of The Purpose Company. Her work has been endorsed by the likes of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Brian Tracy, Lewis Howes, and co-founder of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Marc Victor Hansen. Gabrielle has worked with everyone from presidential campaigns, the U.S. Navy and Air Force, and the top brands in the world. Gabrielle has been featured in major media outlets including NPR, Sirius XM Radio, Bloomberg Radio, Glamour Magazine, Business Insider, and Los Angeles Times. Gabrielle quit her job at 23 to launch her first company, consulting major brands and the government on how to reach Millennials. Her breakout moment came when at a networking meeting she introduced herself as a "Millennial expert" to someone who would end up being her first client (the U.S. Navy). Gabrielle has written 5 books ranging from Millennial motivation, next-generation entrepreneurship, and how to find your purpose. Gabrielle's approach to life, love, and business is the self-deprecating deeply wise and insanely practical solution we need right now. Links The Millennial Solution The Purpose Company The Purpose Factor


Embracing Differences with Adriane Armstrong

“I have had an identity of being different from such an early age that it's never even occurred to me to try to fit in with those around me.” That’s how Adriane Armstrong, CEO of the nonprofit social enterprise Juma Ventures, explains why she chose a career in the nonprofit sector while her classmates were pursuing for-profit, high tech startups. For many, going against the grain isn’t easy. In this interview, Adriane tells her story including the early experiences that motivated her to want to help others and the strategic, deliberate steps she took to build a career where she could do exactly this. It’s an inspiring story filled with practical advice that anyone can use, especially those considering working in the nonprofit sector. Our long-time listeners know that every year around the holidays, we like to feature the career journey of someone making a difference in the lives of others. This year, we’re thrilled to have Adriane as our guest and to highlight the work of Juma Ventures. Juma operates businesses with the purpose of employing young people. Its mission is to break the cycle of poverty by paving the way to work, education, and financial capability for youth across America. Meet the Guest Adriane Gamble Armstrong has dedicated her career to the nonprofit sector, working on issues ranging from education and community development to public health and environmental justice. Common threads in her work have been the pursuit of social justice and serving underserved communities. Adriane found Juma as a volunteer in 2005, joined staff as Managing Director of Programs in 2011, and became CEO in 2017. Prior to her appointment to CEO, Adriane served for three years as COO, and oversaw the programs & partnerships, evaluation, finance, information technology, human resources and operations functions of the agency. Through Adriane’s efforts in team building, partnership development and strategic execution, Juma has grown from a $3M organization in three cities, to the current footprint of six markets serving more than 1,000 youth per year with a budget of $7M. Adriane serves on the board of the Hidden Genius Project, and sits on the Council of Nonprofit Leaders for Charity Navigator. She previously served on the board of Huckleberry Youth Programs, and is an alumna of the American Express Leadership Academy. Prior to joining Juma, Adriane managed a housing and social services program for youth aging out of foster care with Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Adriane holds an MBA with an emphasis in nonprofit management from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, as well as an M.A. in social psychology and a B.A. in comparative studies in race and ethnicity from Stanford University. She resides in Oakland with her husband and two sons. Links If you’re interested in getting involved or donating to Juma Ventures, visit


Opening the Door with Tiffany Newhouse

How do you gain the experience and skills you need to go out on your own as a consultant? In this episode, Tiffany Newhouse, CEO of Newhouse Project Consulting, takes us through her path to consulting which had plenty of curves, including a key decision to leave law school to pursue a career more aligned with her interests and passions. Throughout her journey, Tiffany gained experience and skills across a variety of industries and sectors, which prepared her to start and lead her highly successful consulting firm working with companies and organizations on transformational change initiatives. This episode is an excellent example of how careers take shape over time and how experiences and relationships can be fully leveraged to open the door to a career of your dreams. Meet the Guest Tiffany Newhouse, CEO, Newhouse Project Consulting (NPC), has 25 years of experience as an Executive Consultant, Leader and Transformational Change Expert in the private and public sector. She has a proven track record for driving results and business excellence in multiple industries with dynamic and diverse workforces. Prior to founding NPC, Tiffany held a variety of executive and leadership positions with Fortune 100 companies including Microsoft, Genentech Inc., Chevron Texaco, Kaiser Permanente, and Pacific Gas & Electric. Her proven accomplishments span the areas of organization development, change management, technology implementation, leadership development, general program and project management, human resources, global deployment, and workforce planning. As a leader in Transformational Change, Tiffany’s been responsible for guiding many companies through enterprise-wide change initiatives and delivering comprehensive, industry standard change strategies. The key to Tiffany’s success is her unique ability to bridge gaps between her clients, labor unions and customers with measurable success in deployment, adoption, sustainment and ROI for the company. Tiffany formed NPC with the goal of helping clients deliver on their business goals and commitments through effectiveness and leadership skills. Leveraging her vast experience as a leader and consultant, Tiffany uses an inclusive approach to consulting that enables her clients to increase their competence in navigating the intensity and politics of the business environment, resulting in improved performance and achieved goals. Tiffany’s most recent passion is RESILIENCE, a Mental Health Literacy Program, under the NPC brand and delivered to over 7,000 people across the United States. The program data and client feedback have deemed RESILIENCE a success – reducing stigma, increasing knowledge and awareness, and finally increasing one’s confidence to support themselves and others in a mental health crisis. Links Newhouse Project ConsultingRESILIENCE Mental Health Literacy Program


My Inadvertent Career with Greg Stern

When Greg Stern graduated from college with a degree in Political Science, he certainly did not expect to eventually co-found and co-chair the award-winning creative advertising agency BSSP. He also didn't anticipate that he would eventually be named CEO of the renowned performing arts organization SFJAZZ. He calls his career inadvertent, but the steps he took along the way prepared him for the extraordinarily fulfilling career he has enjoyed. He also continually nourished his love of music and ultimately turned his passion into a vocation. Greg is an excellent example of someone who leveraged all of his unique experiences, including overseas assignments, to build a successful, rewarding and inspiring career. Meet the Guest Greg Stern was recently appointed CEO of the non-profit performing arts organization SFJAZZ. Long a supporter, and previously a 3-term board member of SFJAZZ, Greg has been fortunate to be able to turn a passion into a vocation. He built his career in advertising and marketing services, and is co-founder and co-chairman of BSSP, an independent creative advertising agency. For over 25 years, BSSP has developed award-winning marketing solutions for clients including Blue Shield, Mitsubishi, Priceline, MINI Cooper and others. He served as Board Chair of the industry trade organization, the 4A’s from 2017-2020. Greg’s experience also includes multinational agencies, where he was based in New York, Hong Kong and Indonesia, working with clients including American Express, Unilever and Nestle. Greg has been featured in major media including CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC News, the New York Times, and the Wall St. Journal, and has guest lectured at many universities and graduate schools. Greg is an active angel investor and advisor to start-up companies. Links To learn more about SFJAZZ or BSSP, follow these links: SFJAZZBSSP


Living a Creative Life with Denise Young Smith

Since she was a young girl, Denise Young Smith has had a love for music and singing. Her career, though, took her into the world of Human Resources including executive roles at Apple. Did this mean she left the arts behind? Certainly not! Music and performing have always been in her life and are taking center stage now as she becomes Chair of the Board at SFJAZZ. In this episode, Denise shares her journey including how she developed her love for the arts, why it was important to her to attend Grambling State, an historically black college and university (HBCU), how she got into HR, and how she transitioned out of the corporate world. Her story proves there's more than one way to live a creative life. Meet the Guest Denise Young Smith recently closed a brilliant two-decade career with Apple and is currently serving as only the second executive-in-residence at the new Cornell Tech (Cornell Ithaca’s graduate school campus in Manhattan). At Cornell Tech, Denise is visiting scholar and a key cultural influencer at this unique institution on the imperative of true diversity, representation, inclusion, and humanity in technology, drawing on her passion to positively impact the next generation of business and tech leaders and entrepreneurs. Denise held a variety of executive roles at Apple, including building the talent machine for the company’s retail store initiative, taking the chain to over 400 stores globally before being promoted to the Chief HR role, reporting to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook. She served also as Apple’s first ever vice president of inclusion and diversity, leading the company’s efforts to see its full ecosystem become as inclusive as possible. Denise has been named a “Most Powerful Woman” by Ebony Magazine and Black Enterprise, has been named one of “100 Most Influential in Silicon Valley” by Business Insider, and has been featured in Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women” issue. Truly living at the intersection of technology, humanity and art, Denise has just been named Chair of the Board of SFJAZZ, the premiere arts organization featuring Jazz and Black American music, artists, and educational programming. Additionally, Denise is a classically trained soprano who has graced local and international recital halls, including Carnegie’s Weill Hall, Palace of Fine Arts, and SFJazz. She recently released a debut album under her own Blue Organza Productions & Studios, and continues to tell the stories that need to be told, through music. Links To learn more about SFJAZZ or to hear Denise’s album, check out these links: SFJAZZDenise Young Soprano on Apple MusicDenise Young Soprano on TIDAL


Bringing It All Together with Brandon Hernandez

Sometimes reaching your destination means making moves that seem to be on different paths. That's what Brandon Hernandez has been consciously doing as he's built his career in Public Affairs while also volunteering his time and leadership within important nonprofit organizations. The journey hasn't always been easy or stress-free, but it has been rewarding. In this episode, Brandon shares how and why he made moves throughout his career including how he managed through high-profile incidents that occurred at PG&E while he was there: an explosion in San Bruno and some of the largest wildfires in California history. He also shares why serving on the Board of two non-profits has been important for him personally and professionally. It's an inspirational story told with compassion. Meet the Guest Brandon J. Hernandez, Founder & Principal, Reforma Strategies Brandon is an award-winning communications leader, executive advisor, and political consultant with strong expertise in how to successfully navigate California’s political, legislative, and business landscape. Leveraging in-depth knowledge of both the public and private sectors, Mr. Hernandez advises corporations, non-profits, and political campaigns to succeed at the state and local levels. He has been named a “Top 20 Under 40” Environmental Leader by a leading San Francisco Bay Area publication, received multiple national awards for a groundbreaking Spanish language environmental campaign, and has been honored by then San Francisco Mayor and leading LGBTQ organizations for his leadership on LGBTQ issues. As the Founder and Principal of Reforma Strategies, Brandon Hernandez directs world-class client solutions in the areas of Political Strategy, Public Affairs, Media Relations, Government Relations, Reputation Management and Issue Advocacy. Regardless of the industry or challenge, he has helped organizations move past complicated events, protect reputations, and prepare for media and legislative appearances. With extensive insights, connections, and strategic leadership experience, Brandon helps companies establish or expand business operations in California, representing the fifth-largest economy in the world. For 13 years, Brandon served at PG&E most recently as Senior Director for External Affairs and Strategic Initiatives. In this role, he led a statewide team and oversaw legislative policy, collaborated with stakeholders and government agencies, and organized public affairs activities across the State and nation. He spearheaded PG&E’s strategic rollout of more than $6B in capital investments across Northern California, established the first Zero Net Energy substation in the United States, and led a partnership to make San Francisco the greenest city in America. Previously, Brandon worked as a policy advisor for the California State Assembly Speaker, managed Public Affairs for the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and was lead for various corporate and political clients at a leading media and political consulting firm. Mr. Hernandez holds a BA in Political Science from UC Berkeley. Beyond his professional endeavors, he is involved with civic causes and non-profit organizations, including National Board Chair for Voto Latino and on the National board for the LGBTQ Victory Institute. Links To learn more about the organizations Brandon is involved with visit: Voto LatinoLGBTQ Victory Institute


The Power of a Personal Mission with Darryl Knudsen

“I channel the power of civil society movements to create enduring, positive change toward social and environmental justice for the underrepresented.” That’s how Darryl Knudsen, Executive Director of International Rivers, describes his personal mission. While the actual mission statement was only crafted recently, the content of the mission has guided Darryl throughout his career, which spans many roles within the private and public sectors. Everything Darryl has done in his career has prepared him for his current, perfect-fit role. In this moving episode, Darryl also shares his battle with depression and the inspiring work he did to address it so that he could better lead and live a fulfilling and purpose-filled life. Meet the Guest Darryl Knudsen, Executive Director of International Rivers, oversees all aspects of International Rivers’ management – strategy, programs, operations, and finances. He seeks to unleash the greatness of the International Rivers’ staff, Board, partners, and stakeholders to further our mission of healthy rivers and communities. Darryl has 20 years’ experience in more than 30 countries channeling the power of civil society movements to create enduring, positive change toward social and environmental justice for the underrepresented. Having spent much of his career within the corporate sector at the nexus of business, human rights, and global economic systems, Darryl worked to transform the apparel and retail sectors’ supply chain practices on labor, human, and gender rights. He provided leadership to win challenging human rights campaigns, such as ending pervasive forced child labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton industry; helped to secure and distribute millions of dollars in support of trade unions and improved working conditions globally; and garnered powerful political support to protect local human rights leaders. Darryl was appointed by two US Secretaries of Labor to serve on a National Advisory Committee focused on trade and labor rights issues and has served on numerous cross-sector boards, committees, and working groups to advance human rights. Darryl has a deep love of rivers. He is an avid whitewater paddler of nearly 30 years and a former river guide. Darryl holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University and a BA from Dartmouth College. Links To learn more about International Rivers or make a donation visit: www.internationalrivers.orgFacebookTwitterInstagramProtect our Rivers today We also recommend following Darryl’s blog where he shares his thoughts and call to action.


Facing Your Fears with Rodney Fong

“All of the other things that I have done before just bubble up into this one particular moment in time.” That’s how Rodney Fong, President & CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, describes getting ready for the challenge he faces today – leading his 170-year-old organization during COVID-19, which has caused unemployment rates to soar and many businesses struggling to survive. Rodney shares his career and personal journey, including his lifelong challenges with dyslexia. Throughout his journey, Rodney has directly faced his fears, which has made him the person and leader he is today. It’s an inspiring story that reminds us of the importance of believing in yourself and being a strong, passionate leadership in times of crisis. Meet the Guest Rodney Fong, President & CEO at San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and President of Fong Real Estate Company, is a native San Franciscan and a third generation operator/owner of the world famous Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf, where he had served as President. He is also the President of Fong Real Estate Company, overseeing leasing and tenant concerns for the properties, such as the 100,000 square foot Wax Museum Entertainment Complex building in the heart of historic Fisherman’s Wharf and Broadway Apartments. Rodney has been working in the tourism and hospitality business since he was a child. Early in his career, he was responsible for the daily operations and management technique at the Wax Museum, a world-renowned tourist attraction. He eventually made marketing his main focus, gradually learning the concepts, strategies and procedures of that profession. Rodney not only directed marketing activities for the enterprises, but also came to oversee all operational and management issues. He eventually managed the successful sale of the Wax Museum in 2013. Rodney still maintains ownership of the property and manages all leasing and property management activities. Rodney has been active and held office in a wide variety of civic, tourist and travel-related organizations including currently serving as the President of the San Francisco Planning Commission and also formerly served as President of the San Francisco Port Commission. In 2009 he became Chair of the San Francisco Travel Association and continues to serve on the Board of Directors. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the California Travel Industry Association, the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, Fort Mason, Fisherman’s Wharf Merchant’s Association, Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District (in which he was a founding member), Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, and the Bay Institute. Rodney is the Director of the Fong Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization created by his grandparents to benefit many worthwhile social services in the City, and was honored by the City and County of San Francisco as part of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Links To learn more about the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, visit:


Being Resilient with Leah Swan

Anyone who has faced job loss will tell you it can be scary, demoralizing, and confusing, raising questions like, “What do I do now?”... “How do I bounce back?”... and even, “Will I bounce back?” Unfortunately, this is what many people are experiencing now as a result of COVID-19. On this episode, we bring you a story of resilience... and success. Leah Swan has had her job eliminated as her employer shut down. She’s had new jobs that weren’t what she expected. She’s had roles that she loved suddenly change because of changes in company direction. Each time, she bounced back, not by accident but by design. By learning from her experiences and making strategic moves, she grew her career and moved into senior level positions, including her most recent role as Chief Administrative Officer of The Children’s Place. Leah’s story is filled with insights, advice and tangible actions that can inspire anyone that needs to – or wants to – make a career move. Meet the Guest Leah Swan is the Chief Administrative Officer for The Children’s Place, which is the largest pure-play specialty retailer of children’s apparel and accessories in North America. She joined The Children’s Place in 2016 and has continuously expanded her role in the company, currently leading the Human Resources, Information Technology, Legal, Enterprise Transformation and Enterprise Risk functions. Leah has worked in the retail industry for over 25 years, holding senior roles at Ross Stores and Gap Inc., and earlier in her career working for Williams Sonoma and The Walt Disney Company. Leah is originally from Australia where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Canberra. She has resided in the US for the past 20 years and has travelled extensively, managing global teams throughout her career.


Engaging and Thriving with Dr. Arpana Vidyarthi

A few weeks before COVID-19 swept across the world, we had a chance to sit down with Dr. Arpana Vidyarthi, to capture her career story. She specializes in hospital medicine and now is on the frontline of the pandemic, making this episode especially timely. The focus of the interview was on how she built a career that pulls together her passions and interests in internal medicine, quality and safety, teaching, and leadership. Because the interview was done just before the pandemic began, she wasn't asked any questions about the crisis. She recently gave us an update and we share this at the end of the interview. Meet the Guest Dr. Arpana Vidyarthi, MD, Professor of Medicine, UCSF, has two decades of experience as an Academic Medicine leader in the United States and Singapore with expertise in quality/safety, leadership development and education. She is passionate about enabling individuals and organizations to transform and thrive. She is a thought leader in hospital system transformation and has operational experience in creating and implementing novel care models and programs. As a seasoned leadership development expert and executive coach, Arpana cultivates the best in individuals and empowers teams to navigate effectively through change. Her deep experience in the US and Singapore over 20 years as academic medicine leader with involvements throughout South and Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Middle East make her uniquely able to navigate across cultures. Arpana received her undergraduate degree from Macalester College (Ethnic Relations) and her medical degree from the University of Minnesota. She completed Residency and Chief Residency in Internal Medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School, and a Fellowship in Hospital Medicine and Clinical Research at UCSF. She is a Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine, with a Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine. She holds a master’s degree in Individual and Organizational Psychology (Executive Masters in Change) from INSEAD. She is an alumnus of the Harvard Macy Program for Leaders in Healthcare Education, the California Healthcare Foundation Leadership Program, and the Global Health Leadership Forum. She has published more than 50 peer-review articles. Links To access articles Arpana has authored, follow these links: Understanding the Singapore COVID-19 Experience: Implications for Hospital MedicineUnderstanding Medical Students’ Experience with Stress and Its Related Constructs: A Focus Group Study from SingaporeBridging Leadership Roles in Quality and Patient Safety: Experience of 6 US Academic Medical CentersThe impact of duty hours on resident self reports of errorsTo donate to UCSF, visit: UCSF COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Response Fund


Making Things Happen with Rick Welts

Can you have a career in professional sports without being a pro athlete? Rick Welts, president and COO of the Golden State Warriors did just that. His career began when, as a teenager, he landed the job of ball boy for the Seattle Supersonics. His drive, commitment, and love for the game got him noticed and led to his being offered a job with the National Basketball Association when it was just getting off the ground. His career grew as the NBA grew as a league. In fact, he was instrumental in making this happen. It wasn't all fun and games though. He faced challenges, both professionally and personally. On this episode, he candidly shares his experiences, insights and life lessons that extend well beyond sports. Meet the Guest Rick Welts, President & Chief Operating Officer of the Golden State Warriors, is one of the most respected executives in the NBA and a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. Rick has 45 years of experience in the league and has spent the last eight seasons as president and chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors. In this role, he oversees all business-related operations for the Warriors, including Chase Center and Thrive City, a privately financed sports and entertainment district in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood. The spectacular arena, which opened in September of 2019, is considered one of Welts’ finest accomplishments during a storied career and, in fact, led to his opportunity to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange during Chase Center’s opening month. He owns the rare distinction of being part of championship teams in the NBA (4), WNBA (2) and NBA G League (1). The 66-year-old Welts owns an impressive and all-encompassing résumé that includes a myriad of different capacities spanning virtually every level of an NBA operation. Prior to joining the Warriors in October 2011, he spent nine years as president of the Phoenix Suns. Welts’ responsibilities in Phoenix included the supervision of all business operations for the Suns, while also overseeing the team’s interest in the management of the US Airways Center and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. Prior to joining the Suns, Welts enjoyed a successful 17-year stint at the NBA league office where he ascended to eventually become the league’s third-in-command as the executive vice president, chief marketing officer and president of NBA Properties. His notable accomplishments at the NBA include the creation of NBA All-Star Weekend and the marketing program for USA Basketball for the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team.” Welts was co-named “Marketer of the Year” by Brandweek in 1998 for his role in launching the WNBA. A native of Seattle, Washington, Welts began his NBA career in 1969, at the age of 16, as a ball boy with the Seattle SuperSonics. He spent 10 years with his hometown team serving a number of roles, including as the team’s director of public relations during back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals (1978 and 1979) and the SuperSonics’ lone NBA Championship in 1979. In 2006, he was the recipient of the annual Splaver/McHugh “Tribute to Excellence Award,” which is given annually by the NBA Public Relations Directors’ Association to a current or former member of the NBA PR family who has demonstrated an outstanding level of performance and service during their NBA career. In May of 2011, in a front page story in the New York Times, Welts became the highest ranking executive in men’s professional team sports to publicly acknowledge he is gay. Links Check out Rick’s front page New York Times article, A Sports Executive Leaves the Safety of His Shadow Life.