Selected Presenters 

Leadership Development

Professor Deborah Merrill-Sands
Glenn and Ellen Voyles Chair in Business Education, Dean of the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business, and Professor of Business Practice - Mills College
Professor Sands assumed her role at Mills in 2010, following six years as dean of the Simmons College School of Management in Boston and received national recognition for its executive development programs for women.  She is an authority on women and leadership and gender dynamics in the workplace. More recently her work has focused on the areas of ethics, corporate responsibility, and sustainability. Prior to joining the Simmons School of Management, Merrill-Sands worked with the World Bank, the Ford Foundation, and the United Nations, working on increasing the role of women in science, and led international teams to address the livelihood of rural poor women and families in developing countries.

Larry A. Rosenthal, JD, MPP, PhD, Assistant Adjunct Professor of Public Policy
UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy; Program Director, Center on Civility & Democratic Engagement; Resident Faculty, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues

Rosenthal’s current research focuses on municipal fiscal distress, civic engagement and participatory budgeting, the intersection between population aging and housing need, and land-use regulatory impacts, among other topics.  At GSPP Rosenthal has taught law and public policy, quantitative methods, introductory and advanced policy analysis, housing and the urban economy, cities and their citizens, and seminars on policy practice and public-private-nonprofit collaboration.

Arts & Culture

Sherry L. Goodman, Director of Education and Academic Relations
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archives – BAM/PFA

For twenty-five years, Sherry has headed BAMPFA's Education Department. She organizes a wide range of public programs complementing virtually all the museum's exhibitions, trains student tour guides and teaches in the galleries, and oversees staff responsible for campus collaborations and for school and family programs.

While living in New York, she taught at Vassar College and at NY MoMA, and wrote audioguide scripts at the Metropolitan Museum.  Since moving to the Bay Area, she has taught American art at the Fine Arts Museums of SF and for the Oakland Museum's docent program. In 2007, she received Fulbright funding to teach American art in the International Studies Program at Hanoi University.

Mary Ann Merker, Civic Arts Coordinator
City of Berkeley

Mary Ann holds a MFA in painting and printmaking and a BFA in painting.  She states that she is an artist who "crossed over" into the "dark side" into administration believing that the arts can revitalize communities and bring spiritual and economic gain to cities through Cultural Tourism; the establishment of Arts Districts and the promotion of festivals.  She says she has been fortunate to have had the experience of arts program building in local government, junior college, graduate education, and social institutions. Her goal is to bring the arts into everyday experiences for the community at large through quality public art and community participation.

Specialties: City Arts Districts; Cultural Tourism; Downtown Revitalization With the Arts; Regional Arts Marketing; Public Art Project Management; Multicultural Arts Grants Management; Economic Development and the Arts.

Economic Development

Mark Caplan, Economic Development Manager
City of Berkeley

Mr. Caplan has been Economic Development Manager of the City of Berkeley, California since November, 2006. He oversees Berkeley’s business and development assistance programs, civic arts programs, and a range of initiatives related to emerging industry clusters. He has initiated a variety of program development efforts related to commercial district revitalization and marketing, green business development, and assisting growth and retention of local startups.

Mr. Caplan started with Berkeley’s Office of Economic Development in 1989 when he was hired to implement the City’s new Downtown Plan. Over the years his projects have included creation of the first Downtown Berkeley Public Improvements Plan; planning and implementing Downtown Berkeley’s Arts District; developing Business Improvement Districts in commercial areas around the City; leading several district branding efforts; helping create and lead the East Bay Green Corridor Partnership initiative; and co-creating the Berkeley Start-up Cluster – an initiative in partnership with U.C. Berkeley and private sector leaders to retain and grow emerging spin-out companies. Another current initiative is collaboration with the City of Emeryville to promote the strong bioscience cluster that exists in both cities.

Darien Louie, Executive Director
East Bay Economic Development Alliance

Darien Louie has over 39 years of experience in program development, fund development, economic development and community investment. Her background includes work in community non-profit, public sector and corporate partnership settings, and also experience as an entrepreneur.  She began her professional career as a secondary public school teacher and an educator specializing in the development of Vocational English as a Second Language (VESL) programs. She created the first accredited curriculum in bilingual VESL programs for adults for the Oakland Unified School District.  During her 12-year tenure at the Port of Oakland, she developed the Port’s local hiring program, the Employment Resources Development Program (ERDP), linking Port tenants with Oakland residents.  She headed the United Way of the Bay Area’s Alameda and Contra Costa County offices from 1996 to 1999, overseeing the distribution of over $10 million/year in responsive and collaborative grantmaking to nonprofit organizations in these counties.


Rubén Lizardo, Director of Local Government and Community Relations
UC Berkeley

As Director of Local Government and Community Relations, Rubén is the liaison between the Campus the City of Berkeley, Richmond and other cities in the East Bay.  Ruben also plays a leadership role in supporting local and regional campus-community partnerships across the East Bay and greater Bay Area. 

Tanya Moore, PhD, Education & Youth Specialist
City of Berkeley

Tanya Moore, a native of Berkeley, CA, received her doctorate training in the field of Biostatistics at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to attending UC Berkeley, Dr. Moore obtained a BS degree in Mathematics from Spelman College and a Masters in Science and Engineering from the Mathematical Sciences Department at The Johns Hopkins University.  She works with City departments, Berkeley Unified School District, UC Berkeley and community organizations on joint initiatives to close the academic achievement gap that persists in Berkeley's public schools.  


Nancy Bickel, President
League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville

The League trained Nancy in her profession as a writer and producer of election television programs and, later, award-winning documentaries for the League and others. After joining the League in 1976, she served as Publicity Chair and, later, on the Board, and joined the League team producing programs at KTVU. On behalf of the League, she helped set up the local public, educational and government cable organization, Berkeley Community Media, and then served as BCM’s chair. She returned as League President from 2001 to 2004. In 2012, she rejoined the Board as communications coordinator; She was elected President in June 2013.

Linda Maio, Berkeley City Council, District 1, Vice Mayor
City of Berkeley

Linda has been a leader in keeping Berkeley the kind of town that reflects our community’s shared values of sustaining the environment, public safety, a safety net for the most vulnerable, the arts, education, and health.  She utilizes her role on the Berkeley City Council to effect change at many levels to benefit Berkeley’s citizens. Linda takes a collaborative approach with environmental groups, State agencies, and Federal officials on issues important to Berkeley, such as stopping the shipment of hazardous crude oil by rail through our city and working to improve our children’s health.

Health & Human Services

Donald Frazier, Executive Director
Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS)

For more than twenty years, Donald Frazier has demonstrated exceptional executive leadership in the nonprofit sector, specializing in fund and program development, contracts and compliance, quality management, public relations and legislative affairs, with considerable experience in strategic business and program development.  Donald’s passion is to promote socio-economic and educational advancement as essential components to sustain communities. He believes it is important to not only recognize the underlying structural causes of poverty, human rights violations, and social injustice, but each individual must stand in truth and join as a collective to continue the never-ending fight to right these wrongs.

Law & Social Justice

Ty Alper, Clincial Professor of Law
UC Berkeley School of Law, Death Penalty Clinic

Ty trains and supervises law students in the representation of indigent clients facing execution in multiple jurisdictions, primarily in the Deep South.  Before joining the faculty at Berkeley Law, he worked as a staff attorney at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta where he represented Alabama and Georgia death row inmates in all stages of state and federal post-conviction proceedings and hundreds of Alabama prisoners in federal class-action litigation concerning unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Alper previously served as an E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center's Criminal Justice Clinic, where he received an LL.M. in Trial Advocacy. He is a member of the California, District of Columbia, Georgia and Alabama bar.  He has also published widely on capital punishment and criminal justice issues.  A former law clerk to Chief Judge Harry T. Edwards on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Alper served as senior articles editor of the New York University Law Review. Alper received an "Angel Award" from California Lawyer in recognition of his "fierce commitment to pro bono cases." Ty is a native of Berkeley, California and he was recently elected to the Berkeley School Board.  


Lance Knobel
Co-founder of Berkeleyside

Berkeleyside is California’s only online newspaper.  Lance also curates Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas, which Berkeleyside launched in 2013. In 2001-02, he was Adviser, Prime Minister's Strategy Unit, London, Tony Blair's Downing Street think tank that examined medium- and long-range strategic issues. Lance was involved in work on science and technology policy, energy security and speculative work examining truly long-range challenges for the UK.  From 1992-2000 he was Editor-in-Chief and Managing Director, World Link, the magazine of the World Economic Forum.  In addition to his responsibilities for World Link, in 1999-2000 he was Director of the Programme of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Jennifer Coats, BPD Public Information Officer
Berkeley Police Department
Jennifer Coats has been an officer with the department for 15 years and since 1998, served as a member of the operations division until her appointment as spokesperson in 2012, when she replaced Sgt. Mary Kusmiss.  The Public Information Officer (PIO) serves as the primary contact for BPD information and responds to inquiries made by the news media and the community regarding crimes and incidents of interest. The PIO is on call for significant events that may generate increased community or media attention.

Science & Technology

Don Medley, Head of Government and Community Relations
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Don serves as the Lab's chief public policy advisor and as the senior liaison to the United States Congress and the Administration. He also directs the State and Community Government staff.  His tenure on Capitol Hill with U.S. Congressman Tom Bevill (D-AL), long-time chair of the House of Representatives Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee (HEWD) and his twelve years at Berkeley Lab has given him in-depth knowledge of the federal appropriations process, the Department of Energy and the role of the federal government in supporting the nation's science and innovation ecosystem. Don received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Alabama where he was awarded the Algernon-Sydney Sullivan Award, the university's highest honor. He received his Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Robin Johnston, Deputy of the Innovation and Partnerships Office
Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Robin Johnston plans and executes strategy for industry partnerships, intellectual property management, licensing, and entrepreneurship training. In her previous role as Director of Commercialization for the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), a DOE Lab-University consortium for developing cellulosic advanced biofuels, she executed a strategic plan for technology transfer and partnerships that resulted in JBEI exceeding the top three US universities in inventions and licenses, per funding dollar.  At JBEI she facilitated venture formation and developed and negotiated partnership and licensing deals with Total Gas and Oil, Bridgestone, Abengoa, POET, COFCO, and Braskem, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises. Robin also created the Lab’s Cleantech to Market (C2M) program, which was adopted by the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. C2M is a partnership between students, researchers, and energy professionals to translate clean tech research into market opportunities. Robin earned a Masters degree in Science, Technology, and Public Policy from George Washington University and degree in Chemistry from the University of Virginia.

Felt like a special peak into science!