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Spring 2015 Cohort 1 turns 10! 2015



I’m delighted to present the latest issue of Presidian, celebrating the 10th anniversary of Coh change the world. It seemed only fitting, therefore, to ask one of PGS’s original designers, Ri

It is my honor to introduce PGS Cofounder and original world-changer, Dick Gray. - William S Dear Presidians,

It is said that timing is everything. That is probably true of the birth of Presidio Graduate Schoo

By the 1980’s, thanks to environmental pioneers such as Rachel Carson and David Brower, th Report on sustainable development, an effort to reconcile the conflict between global economic

The three main pillars of the report were economic growth, environmental protection, and socia

It was on these pillars that PGS was founded in 1993. After years of experimenting with susta described as “the creative stewardship of resources—human, natural, and financial—to earn a

The objective was to prepare graduates as change agents skilled in business and nonprofit lead learning with the effectiveness of face-to-face learning in community, this “hybrid” program ope

Since those students graduated ten years ago, the program has been refined and expanded to i

Now, under the capable leadership of William Shutkin, another sustainability pioneer and auth reputation as a global leader in the field, culminating in its ranking by Net Impact as the world

2 Presidio Graduate School

ON THE COVER Bookended by photos of the the first PGS commencement ceremony in 2005 in the upper left hand corner and Capstone 2015 in the lower right, the images on the cover span the last 10 years in Presidio Graduate School history. PGS Alumna Sarah McKinney (C11) catches up with PGS’s first graduating class on page 34.


hort 1, the first class of Presidians to graduate from the school designed, according to the New York Times, for people who want to ichard Gray, to write this issue’s opening message.

Shutkin, PGS President & CEO


he concept of sustainability was in the air. Internationally, a commission of the United Nations in 1987 published the Brundtland c growth and ecological degradation.

al equality.

ainability programs for seniors and undergraduates, a curriculum was drafted for an MBA program in Sustainable Management, a profit while serving the common good.”

dership who were committed to the principles of sustainability and renewability. Combining the convenience and efficiency of on-line ened with a handful of faculty and 22 students in the fall of 2003.

include an MPA (for public administration), a dual MBA/MPA degree, and competency Certificates in various other areas.

hor of The Land That Could Be: Environmentalism and Democracy in the 21st Century (MIT Press, 2001), PGS has achieved a d’s #1 graduate school for social impact and, as noted above, designation as the place to go if you want to change the world.

Richard M. Gray Co-Founder

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From the President




Experts in Residence


Donna LaSala

Meet new members and learn about their achievements.

Susty Blogger Scholar Sam Irvine (C21/PA6) meets this semester’s crop of experts.

The City of Berkeley’s outgoing CIO on government, business, and risk.

Semester in Photos

Images of Presidians from the past semester.

Military Veterans

Presidians continue to serve their communities after leaving the service.


Heather King, MBA


Robert Coombs, MBA

Allen Hershkowitz, PhD

Nizar Abdallah, MBA, PhD

Maud Ali Long, MA

Nizar Abdallah, MBA, PhD

Steven Crane, PhD

Danielle Jarvie, MA

Suzanne Farver, ALM, JD

Rahul Raj

Joy Amulya, EdD

Tammy Esteves, PhD

Joseph Kott, PhD

Saskia Feast, MBA, PhD

William Shutkin, JD (ex officio)

Sanjay Bonde, BE, MBA

Seth Famillian, MBA

Donna LaSala, MPA

Frank Gerber, MBA

Steven L. Swig, JD

Ryan Cabinte, MBA, JD

Vanessa Fry, MBA

Thomas Li

Lee Gotshall-Maxon, JD

Frank Teng

Alison Cohen, MPH

Scott Fullwiler, PhD

Martin Medeiros, MA

Richard M. Gray, MDiv, PhD

Malcolm S. Walter

Dwight Collins, PhD

Aaron Greene, MBA

Nils Moe, MS, MBA

Erin Cooke, MPA

Beau Giannini, MBA

Dariush Rafinejad, PhD

Rebekah Helzel, CFA, MBA

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Brocade Senior Director of Corporate Affairs Jeff Rangel (C13) meets with California Assemblyman Evan Low. Read the story on page 48.


Cynthia Scott


C1 @ 10


Meg Burritt

40 44

Come to the campfire.

We check in with PGS’s first cohort 10 years after their graduation.

Meet the Director of Wellness and Sustainability for Raley’s.


Matt Henigan

California’s Deputy Secretary for Sustainability greens government operations.

SB50 Goes Green


Three Presidians are helping Super Bowl 50 get #susty.

Meghan French Dunbar At a time when most publications are shutting down, this Presidian decided to start a print magazine. Find out what she learned in the process.

Jeff Rangel

Why Brocade’s Senior Director of Corporate Affairs came to PGS.


Summer Meyer


Tom Willits

Carl Schneebeck, MBA


Maria Kei Oldiges

Presidio Graduate School

Cynthia Scott, PhD, MPH

Kari Dorth

Sureli Patel, Psy.D

36 Lincoln Blvd.

Dan Sevall, MBA, MA

Rafael Escalante, MBA

Santhi Perumal, MBA

San Francisco, CA

Wendy Weiden, MPA

Mitchell Friedman, EdD, APR

William Shutkin, JD


Marsha Willard, PhD

Rachel Fus

Alyssa Stone, BM, MM, AD

Kristin York, MBA

Cathy Huie

Felicia Won

Dawn Mokuau, MNA

Donor spotlight on Inspiration Strikes Fund contributor.

Donor spotlight on Lydia B. Stokes trustee.


Connor O’Farrell

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From top: Danielle Salah (C21) listens to a lecture from Prof. Martin Mederios in Micro- and Macroeconomics. Allyn McAuley (C19) listens to Associate Dean Ryan Cabinte in Market Failures and the Regulatory Environment. Chris Gibson (C17) listens to presentations in Sustainable Products and Services. Admissions Director Kari Dorth talks to prospective students at an information session at Impact HUB San Francisco. Vincent Ferro (C19) listens to a guest speaker in The Business of Sports and Sustainability.

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From top: Nick Hiebert (C21) and Courtney Condon (C19) work in their experiential learning groups in Leadership for Sustainable Management. Associate Dean Mitchell Friedman speaks with Dennise Arselan (C21) at Impact HUB San Francisco. MBA Candidate Nicole Cruz (C18) listens to her classmates’ presentations in Market Failures and the Regulatory Environment during March Residency.

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“ “ “

I don’t want to kill people to manufacture potato peelers.” -Jeff Denby, PACT

These things can’t be campaigns...We have to think about the whole system.” -Melissa Fifield, GAP Inc.

“Our promise is ‘made of progress’— ‘using our voice for social progress.’” -Stephanie Kotin, Levi Strauss & Co.

Right: Three of the world’s top sustainable apparel pioneers joined PGS President and CEO William Shutkin for a for an inspiring and candid conversation about the future of fashion at Impact HUB San Francisco on Wednesday, February 25, 2015. Below: Stephanie Kotin, senior manager, stakeholder engagement and public policy at Levi Strauss & Co., adds her voice to the panel. Jeff Denby, cofounder of PACT, answers a question. PGS President and CEO William Shutkin poses a question. GAP Inc. Senior Director of Sustainable Innovation Melissa Fifield (right) speaks with PGS Alumna Johnnie Sharp (EC4) after the panel discussion. For more photos from the event go to our Flickr page.

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Left to right from top: Karim Arsanios (C22) works with his group to brainstorm new ways to engage with alumni during Presidio Converses. PGS President and CEO William Shutkin opens up the discussion with an update on partnerships. Shaina Kandel (C18) works with her group. Students meeting in groups at Presidio Converses before coming back together to share their ideas.

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12 Presidio Graduate School at Presidio Graduate School on April 10, 2015

—James Howard Kunstler

Bottom line is: we have to make other arrangements. It can’t be just finding other ways to drive to Wal-Mart: that’s not good enough.”


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From top: Darin Bernstein (C21), Udi Lazimy (C21), and Whitney Pollack (C21) work with Prof. Kristin York in Implementation of Sustaianble Practices. Eka Japaridze (C17) works on a project in Sustainable Energy Management. Eric Botcher (C19) presents in Sustainable Energy Management.

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From top: Avi Kruley (C22/PA6) stumps for the position of student representative. Peter Badger (C21) and Whitney Pollack (C21) at the April Community Event. Pablo Gabatto (C21) and Olga Budu (C21) at the April Community Event. The April Community Event was sponsored for the Sustainable Food Club and featured food from student startups ReGrained and Plenty Pops, homebrewed beer from MBA Candidate Sam Irvine (C21/PA6), and La Cocina Vendor Nyum Bai. View more photos on Flickr.

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From top: Julie Noblitt (C17) explains CatchUp, a 100% compostable condiment package to two prospective students at the Sustainable Products and Services Fair at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. Frank Teng (C17) explains UpShift. Diana Chavez (C21) and Madeleine Koski (C21) sample beer brewed by fellow presidian Sam Irvine (C21).

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Top: A group shot of the graduating class. From left: Rupert Hayward (C19) presents for Loan-Rite at the Capstone Showcase. Jamie Dwyer (C19) presents for Renew 3D. Tim Shaw (PA5) presents “Policy, Panic, and Potential: What genetic engineering teaches us about our food and ourselves.� Vincent Ferro (C19), Paul Niemann (C15), Meghna Tare (C18), Samantha Poblitz (C16), and Tom Flannigan (C15) present Urban Acres.

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Military Vets Continue to Serve as Presidians By Michael Hsu, Staff Writer


uring her time as a US Air Force linguist, Michaela Johnson (C22) studied North Korean warplanes and flew on support missions over Afghanistan, listening to the Taliban in her ear. While serving in the US Navy, Farris Galyon (C19) was on a ship in the battle group that responded to the Somali pirates made infamous in the 2013 film Captain Phillips. And, during a 20-year career in the US Air Force, Sean Middleton (C2) served on bases all over the world— from Germany to Bosnia and from Albania to Guam.

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I feel like everyone at Presidio has a really unique story; there are a lot of non-traditional students that I feel like I fit in with.”

Their globe-hopping journeys eventually brought all of them here to Presidio Graduate School. At PGS, a growing contingent of military veterans continues to add to the immense diversity of perspectives and experiences that make the student body so dynamic and vibrant. “I feel like everyone at Presidio has a really unique story; there are a lot of non-traditional students that I feel like I fit in with,” said Michaela, who went from zero experience with Asian languages to full fluency in Korean after 63 weeks during her training at the Defense Language Institute. “I’m usually the weird one, but it seems like almost everybody in my cohort is non-traditional in their life experiences, and that just makes things that much richer.” Farris, who earned a commission as a surface warfare officer and served for 2.5 years in the close confines of the cruiser USS Leyte Gulf, certainly recognizes a tight-knit community when he sees one. The atmosphere of PGS, in fact, reminds him of a different kind of spirited camaraderie. “When I was younger, I used to enjoy going to church,” Farris reflects. “But the thing I loved most was not Sunday school or the lessons or anything like that. I liked going for the fellowship, and every time I went there was a collection of like-minded individuals who were excited about the same things and it was very supportive. In a lot of ways, I get that sense from the Presidio community.”

-Michaela Johnson

result is that we operate as members of a tribe, working together, caring for one another, teaching one another, and helping fine-tune one another’s strengths. Our military vets come to us knowing how it feels to be a member of a tribe with its intense personal loyalties—many times cemented in combat.” That sentiment is shared by PGS’s founder, Richard M. “Dick” Gray, himself a World War II Navy veteran who served in the invasion of Normandy. “The value we share is that the team comes before the individual,” says Dick. “There is no limit to what we can get done in the world if we don’t care who gets the credit.” Sean, the longtime airman, understands the power of human connection and loyalty. Nearly every male in his family has served in the armed forces—and it was one of his grandmother’s final wishes that he enlist as well. Then, after a much-traveled military career, Sean did six months of research and ultimately chose PGS for his graduate program, because it offered “one of the first MPAs in sustainable development.”

Professor Dwight Collins, a founding faculty member of PGS and himself a veteran who served in the US Air Force during the 1970s, notes that it’s logical for veterans to seek out that kind of community—and to find it at PGS.

Farris was originally circumspect about attending PGS because of its relative youth as an institution. When he first heard about PGS, he was still in Manama, Bahrain, serving as an operations officer in the maritime security division of the Fifth Fleet. “The more I heard about it, I couldn’t discern whether it was really skillful marketing or what,” Farris says. “You could certainly imagine a cynical military officer being a little wary of a school in San Francisco he’d never heard of.”

“Presidians are bound together by our mutual belief in—and commitment to—sustainability values,” Dwight observes. “The

However, as in Michaela’s case, Farris got a whole-hearted personal recommendation from

Spring 2015| Presidian


a friend who was attending PGS. Both Michaela and Farris enrolled shortly after their first interactions with PGS alums and staff. “I feel like a lot of MBA programs are super-competitive and kind of exclusive—you feel like you have to stack up on your own,” Michaela says. “But at Presidio, it’s very inclusive, and everyone supports each other and encourages each other and includes each other in everything.” An added encouragement for veterans is PGS participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program—a provision of the post-9/11 GI Bill. Participating schools that offer this veterans-only scholarship have their contribution matched, dollar for dollar, by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. For many vets pursuing a graduate degree, this program would cover their entire tuition. “I can tell you straight up that the Yellow Ribbon program was ultimately one of the primary vehicles that enabled me to attend Presidio,” says Farris, who also worked as an Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellow with the US Army energy team at Fort Bragg in 2014. As Dwight notes, veterans bring a special kind of maturity to the school—as well as exception-

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MILITARY VETERANS @ PGS al planning skills, extraordinary leadership abilities, and a way of looking at the world that only a military background could provide. Sean, for example, had a unique view of the progression of the sustainability movement—as he went from air traffic controller to flight procedures engineer to operations director. He saw how the air force became the first branch of the military to install recycling bins on its bases. He saw how flight procedures were changed to allow for continuous descent and climb, which saved fuel. And he saw how engineers carefully designed aerodromes to minimize the impact on Native American land and neighboring communities. “Believe it or not, the [US] Air Force is one of the most sustainable forces among all our defense agencies or defense directorates,” Sean says. “We always looked at sustainability as the way to move forward—with everything from energy to fuel to the design of our facilities.” His experience in the military—along with his PGS MPA degree—have prepared Sean for his fulfilling work as a senior air quality planner for the Houston/Galveston Area Council. As for current students Farris and Michaela, they plan to pursue careers in financial services/capital management and international development, respectively. And while they formulate the specifics of their future plans, they continue to enrich—and be enriched by— the passionate learning environment at PGS. “It’s difficult for me to imagine a better follow-on experience to the military, than I’ve had at Presidio,” Farris says. Michael Hsu is a Berkeleybased writer who enjoys lobbing softballs in his free time. During interviews, however, it’s all hardball.

Previous spread: Farris Galyon on the bridge of a Navy ship. Opposite page from top left: Associate Dean Dwight Collins and PGS Co-Founder Dick Gray at PGS Commencement 2014. Dick Grey in his Navy uniform from World War II. Farris in The Business of Sports and Sustainability. Above: Michaela Johnson in her Air Force uniform with friends. Michaela in Principles of Sustainable Management.

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“ “

What have you learned from your students this semester at PGS? That they are an engaged group of people thinking creatively. That they are sharpening their management skills by the hour. And that they make me think hard on business strategy and do not hesitate to challenge me with their deep questions. We are all getting enriched simultaneously!”

Through my students, I’ve learned new perspectives on systems thinking in a marketing context, and the educational power of a group engaged in constant conversation.” -Seth Familian, MBA Managerial Marketing

-Sanjay Bonde, BE, MBA Strategy

I’ve been most impressed by the mindfulness of PGS students. This quality has led students in my class on sustainable urban development to explore the problem of waste in our society, waste of energy, water, food, land, buildings,space and, most importantly, of people. Being Presidians, they not only explore this problem, but also work on solutions!” -Joseph Kott, PhD Sustainable Urban Development and Policy

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Joy Amulya, EdD, will be speaking at the International Leadership Association’s Women in Leadership Conference in June. Steven Crane, PhD, Scott Fullwiler, PhD, and Vanessa Fry, MBA, gave a presentation titled “Value and Valuation for a Sustainable Approach to Finance” at the Sustainability, Ethics, and Entrepreneurship Conference. Prof. Scott Fullwiler’s paper “Sustainable Finance—Building a More General Theory of Finance” was published as a working paper at the Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity. He also spoke at the 24th Annual Hyman P. Minsky Conference in Washington DC and the Western Social Science Association in April. Vanessa Fry, MBA, will be speaking at the Joint 2015 Annual Meetings and Conference of the Association for the Study of Food and Society and the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society in June. Joe Kott, PhD, gave a presentation titled “The Emergence of Sustainable Transportation in America’s Communities” at the Sustainable Enterprise Conference. Kristin York, MBA, will be speaking at the America’s Small Business Development Center National Conference in September. She will be co-presenting a session titled “Business Seccession Planning and Worker Owned Strategies” with Hilary Abell (C18).

From top left: Martin Medeiros lectures in Microand MacroEnconomics. Allen Hershkowitz introduces a guest speaker in The Business of Sports and Sustainability. Marsha Willard listens to student presentations in Principles of Sustainable Management. Associate Dean Dwight Collins welcomes students to Presidio Graduate School at Spring Orientation 2015.

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Sam Irvine (C21/PA6) Meets our Spring 2015 Experts in Residence Each semester Presidio Graduate School awards the Sustainability Blogger Scholarship to a current student with a talent and passion for writing. For Spring 2015, that scholarship went to Sam Irvine (C21/PA6), a dual degree student, who has been blogging on his own for 2.5 years. Sam wrote and podcasted a Q&A series with each of PGS’s current Experts in Residence (EIRs). “There is so much talent in the Presidio community,” said Sam. “I thought a series on the EIRs would be a great opportunity to exercise some interview skills while also building my network.” PGS EIRs are sustainable management practitioners who join PGS for a semester to share their wisdom with our students. From city sustainability directors to social entrepreneurs, these experts’ real-world experience adds another dynamic layer to the PGS curriculum. “Interviewing the EIRs demonstrated that the ideas we’re learning are really happening outside the walls of the Presidio,” said Sam, who wants to focus on addressing climate change when he graduates. “This process has shown me that the ideas I’m passionate about can be found in all sorts of industries and organizations. There are so many open doors.” Excerpts from Sam’s first three interviews can be found here. The fourth and final installment of the series with Warner Phillips will be published on the PGS blog at the end of May.

Wood Turner is the outgoing Vice President of Sustainability Innovation at Stonyfield Farm, with a long career in both urban planning and applied sustainability. Previously, he was the Executive Director of Climate Counts, Senior Strategist at The Bellwether Group, Editorial Director at, and a Senior Associate at Springwood Associates (an ecosystem services consulting company). Wood has a BA from Duke University and a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Washington. Read his full interview here. Paul Herman’s story is robust; it builds upon a deep-seated calling that many of us here at PGS share. In his words, that calling is “the desire to see that individuals get as fair a shake as institutions” and those values are reflected through his work at HIP Investor. In 2006, after working with the non-profit Ashoka, which supports social entrepreneurs working to solve problems in education, health care, and civil rights, Paul started HIP Investor (Human Impact + Profit). HIP’s work exists in part to prove that the perceived gap between “doing good” and “doing well” is not as big as Wall Street would have us think. As an expert in residence for PGS, Paul brings years of experience in impact investing, social enterprise, and sustainable finance to the community. Listen to the full interview here.

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In some circles, large multinational corporations are the root of all evil. The means of modern capitalist production are the source of inequity, environmental destruction, and splintered communities. Within these groups there are the rare professionals who aim to correct the externalities of corporations, not through picket signs or protests but through a focused process of entrepreneurship. Sandra Taylor is one of those practitioners. Working within large multinational corporations, Sandra started her career in sustainability playing with what she calls the “sustainability dark side.” Her expertise as a communicator of corporate social responsibility put her on the forefront of managing media relations after her company’s industrial fertilizer was used to create the Oklahoma City bomb. Her background in supply chain management placed her in community outreach roles at the Eastman Kodak Company and as executive of global sustainability for Starbucks Coffee Company. While these organizations are large, complex, and often the target of bad press, Sandra’s experience is a lesson to the PGS community that incremental change and the pursuit good corporate citizenship can result in real environmental, social, and economic results and can redeem almost any corporation. Listen to her full interview here.

Spring 2015| Presidian


ACTIVIST/ANALYST Donna LaSala embodies her own paradigm as an effective change maker By Michael Hsu, Staff Writer


y her own description, Presidio Graduate School Professor Donna LaSala is a “very, very passionate Sicilian woman” whose New York upbringing explains how she can talk “for two hours without taking a breath” at a bracingly rapid-fire rate of speech. Given all that energy, it’s hardly surprising that Donna, who is retiring this summer as the City of Berkeley’s Director of Information Technology, has amassed an impressive portfolio of accomplishments—and lessons learned that she applies directly to her classes at PGS. As Berkeley’s IT director since 2007, Donna has been responsible for the strategic planning, financial management, and successful operation of the technology services and programs for the city (including the coordination of over 150 different software systems). As an adjunct faculty member at PGS, Donna teaches Public Sector Finance; Information Management, Technology & Policy; and Research Methods & Policy Evaluation. Presidian caught up with Donna (but only just barely) to hear about her work at PGS, her Berkeley achievements, and her future plans. PRESIDIAN: Why did you get involved at Presidio Graduate School? DONNA: I decided to join PGS because I was excited by the opportunity to bring real-world, practitioner insights into the curriculum that could help shape the next generation of public sector leaders and partners.


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I had repeatedly experienced difficulty finding qualified applicants for public sector leadership positions and private sector partners who truly understood how government works. It dawned on me that I could play a meaningful role in helping alleviate the problem by contributing to the education of MPA, MBA, and—especially— dual MPA/MBA students. That got me excited! What a great way to transform my frustration at not finding qualified applicants into meaningful action! PRESIDIAN: What are some things that you wish those people knew about how government works? DONNA: There are two categories of things that were bothering me very deeply about applicants—particularly in the last decade. One was a lack of systems thinking: folks had a lot of knowledge—very discrete sets of knowledge. But the folks that we were interviewing didn’t really have a very good rubric or frame of mind for how all of these discrete bodies of knowledge really work and interact in a systems-thinking perspective. They don’t understand how all the parts connect and work like gears in a system. Second, and more specifically, I often encounter both in applicants and in students very extreme viewpoints such as, “Government should be run more like a business” or “Government is government and that’s the way government will always be.” What I think those assertions belie is a lack of understanding around the ways in which the mission of government and the mission of a private sector entity are very purposefully different. PRESIDIAN: How would you explain those differences? DONNA: It begins with the way we steward our resources around risk. Fundamentally, private firms profit from risk. So they really are, in some sense, risk seekers. But government’s charge is to steward public resources; they are supposed to hold onto capital holdings. When you think just from a finance point of view, that is a very, very different perspective and mission. The other area of response is: private sector market failures are exactly what government

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is supposed to be working toward addressing. Government gets in there and tries to address certain externalities—and that frustrates the profit-seeking motives of private firms. And then we get into this almost “name-calling” type of interaction. When students engage in that debate without a clear understanding of why that debate is even happening, I think we do ourselves a disservice as change agents in the sustainability realm. I’m so passionate and so excited about educating our MPA/MBAs in that public/private partnership space to understand and speak “Government” and to speak “Private Sector”—and be able to bridge that gap. PRESIDIAN: One of your oft-repeated PGS mantras calls for the cultivation of “activist” and “analyst” skills. Can you elaborate? DONNA: My experience is that Presidio attracts a lot of activist energy because people care and believe and want to make change. Where we get into some imbalance is where we send folks into the workforce with all of this activist energy but not a lot of skill in steeping their thoughts and their narrative in sensible analytics. So, in my experience, I’ve seen bright, fresh graduates come into my organization and they don’t really understand the business of government and how the hard work gets done. So if you have strong activist narrative skills and strong, hardcore quantitative analytical skills, that means you not only know how to figure out what the story really is, you also know how to tell that story in a way that inspires. Sometimes you change people’s minds or hearts by using activist energy—-and sometimes by using analysis. The uber lesson—the macro lesson—in that is you’ve got to be able to have a nuanced approach to meeting people where they’re at. You can’t pull people to meet them where you’re at; you’ve got to go and meet people where they’re at. The other metaphor I use with my students is we need to give you that box of 64 Crayola crayons with all of the different colors—and the sharpener. You might walk into graduate school

with the box of 24 crayons. But you get out of here with the box of 64. PRESIDIAN: PGS Experiential Learning (EL) projects give students many of those crayons. Last year, Presidians contributed 1,500 hours of work in launching the open data portal for Berkeley. This year, a couple of your students are doing financial modeling and data visualization for the city’s Climate Action Plan. What makes PGS EL projects unique? DONNA: I think it’s unusual in the extent to which students are actually doing the work and producing it in its final form. They’re not producing a draft. My impression is that, in most EL projects, folks go off into the field and they do maybe 60-70% usable work—and then it’s modified by practitioners, and then presented to council. These students’ work is actually going to be what hits the dais, what hits the legislative body. And, personally, working with students on EL projects has been some of the most rewarding work of my career. Presidians bring unparalleled humility and commitment to the work they perform. Working with such dedicated and aspirational students has reinvigorated my commitment to public service. After 16 years in the public sector, that sort of reaffirmation is more valuable than words can truly convey! PRESIDIAN: Looking back on your career, what are the accomplishments you are most proud of? DONNA: I’m getting a little choked up over this…I helped initiate and develop a curriculum for the leadership development program atthe City of Berkeley, which really honed in on those quantitative and qualitative skills that our internal staff members need to grow their own careers. About 30% of my staff right now have been promoted into their positions. I’m super proud of that. You’re not an employee in my department without getting some education valueadd! In many ways it was the precursor to me getting involved at Presidio.

ing in IT infrastructure. When I first got here, we didn’t have any capital replacement funds for IT. But I was able to convince not only our Council and the City Manager but also department manager colleagues that IT really needs to be invested in like we do traditionally for public works capital infrastructure, like storm drains and streets. So, early on, I started comparing IT to public works—IT is the public works of the future!


The other thing is I helped found the 311 Call Center [to address questions on municipal services]. After we moved the 311 Call Center into

IT is the public works of the future!” -Donna LaSala

the IT department, representatives now answer 95% of the calls, with a 5% or less abandon rate, and 55% first-call resolution on all types of community calls that come into the City of Berkeley. I am so proud and honored that I had a chance to do that, because that is not a traditional IT role. But the call center really does connect the dots between the community feedback about how our systems are working and the systems we put in place. PRESIDIAN: So what’s next for you, after you retire from the City of Berkeley in August? DONNA: I’ve really longed for the opportunity to devote more time to the Presidio. I feel like I do a good job as an instructor but there’s more I can do—having more hours to devote to crafting and giving feedback on EL projects, developing the curriculum, and going to educational conferences rather than IT director conferences. Teaching brings me an incredible amount of joy. So I’m going to dive into the Presidio—but first I’m going to take a couple weeks off. I feel like I’ve been working at warp-speed for the last 16 years!

On the operational side, the two things that are coming instantly to mind are. One, I’ve really gotten the city to change its approach to investSpring 2015| Presidian



Left: Leadership for Sustainable Management Professor Cynthia Scott teaching. Below from top: Cynthia teaching the 5 Dynamics. Cynthia speaking with alumna Maggie Cutts (C17) at the Products and Services Fair at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.

STEWARD OF THE CAMPFIRE Leadership Professor Cynthia Scott brings people together By Eric Cetnarski (C13) “Come to the campfire.” For many Presidians this phrase evokes the memory of Leadership for Sustainable Management with Professor Cynthia Scott. Cynthia uses the symbol of the campfire as a place for students to gather in reflection, storytelling, and collaboration. The campfire also serves as a reminder that leadership is not a solo journey—it is strengthened by community and the human connection. Cynthia has been tending campfires for decades. The inspiration for these fires was started in the mountains and deserts of Arizona and has fueled her journey to establish sustainable ways of living and working. Early in her career, she used her knowledge of anthropology and public health policy to create new community models to serve women’s health needs and youth empowerment. Her work at the University of California, Davis and UC Berkeley focused on adding behavioral science to geriatrics and

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ment, Getting Your Organization to Change and Organizational Vision, Values and Mission. To support this work, she founded Changeworks Consulting, which focused on change leadership, empowerment, and large-scale organizational transformation. As Head of Product Development for Lee Hecht Harrision, her team built leadership coaching methodology and new models for global talent management. Her work led her to address organizational sustainability with a focus on human behavior change and engagement. She joined the team at Saatchi & Saatchi S to design and deploy the Personal Sustainability Practice (PSP) approach to Wal-Mart, Frito Lay, and AT&T. During this time she began to teach leadership at Bainbridge Graduate Institute and Presidio Graduate School. Now, at PGS, she encourages Presidians to thrive in their roles as trailblazers, organizational leaders, and tenders of new campfires. She believes that sustainable leaders differentiate themselves with a solid foundation of self-awareness, emotional literacy, and collaborative change capability. Cynthia is renewed by the vision and spirit of the PGS community and constantly amazed by the students who come to join us. “Global society is the biggest patient we’ve ever attended to,” said Cynthia. “We know what makes people thrive; it’s now our job to do that for the planet.”

From top: Cynthia serving Green Barrel Wine at a community Event at Impact HUB SF. Cynthia teaching.

family practice education. Her dissertation was focused on reducing burnout and increasing resilience of health professionals. She authored Healthyself, From Burnout to Balance, Stress Map and Self-Renewal from her experience with guiding people through transition. Moving from the individual, she then began to focus on the role of how the physical work environment and management practices created stress. Her to focus on designing productive organizations and leaders who could inspire a new level of commitment provoked her to write Take this Job and Love it, Rekindling Commit-

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One my fondest memories of PGS is the last day of her class. At the closing, each student takes a stick from the model campfire as a reminder of what they have learned and what they intend to accomplish. To me it signifies the starting of a dozen or more campfires throughout the Bay Area, nation, and planet. The world can take refuge in these places of community and collaboration. As the campfires continue to grow, so does our hope for a sustainable world. Eric Cetnarksi was Cynthia’s Graduate Assistant for three semesters. He graduated from PGS in 2012 and is currently the owner and general manager of the Samana+ Healing Arts Center in Oakland, California. For Eric, healing the self is an important first step in healing the planet.


Find Your Tribe Commencement 2015 Saturday, May 30 New Student Orientation Saturday, August 15 & Sunday, August 16 Convocation 2015 Saturday, August 22 For a full list of events visit:

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his spring marks the 10th anniversary of Presidio Graduate School’s first graduating class—22 students who took a risk on a new way of approaching business, an approach that doesn’t look at financial gains as the sole determinant of success, but instead takes a systemic perspective, evaluating decisions within the context of how they impact people, profit, and planet. Since then, the triple bottom line approach to business has since become fairly well known. But what may seem normal these days was just a budding movement 13 years ago, a movement with Presidio Graduate School and its first intrepid cohort of students—the C1s—at the forefront. Over the past few weeks I’ve had the privilege of speaking with several C1s (as well as the school’s founders), and some common themes emerge when asked why they originally decided to attend: They wanted their work to feel meaningful—to really care about what they were doing on a daily basis, and saw PGS as a means to that end. They aspired to be of service in their professional lives, and to help make the world a better place through influencing social and environmental progress. PGS’s mission to “educate and inspire a new generation of skilled, visionary and enterprising leaders to transform business and public policy and create a more just, prosperous and sustainable world” resonated with them. They didn’t believe business-as-usual was sustainable and were driven to change the status quo. An even mix of men and women, with an average age of 32, they were idealistic in their values yet pragmatic in their approach to change.

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For example, Devon Crews (C1) is on the leadership team at the Citrix Startup Accelerator, funding and fostering world-changing mobile, cloud and collaboration technologies. In an email she explained how attending PGS significantly altered her career path and worldview. Says Devon, “As a Silicon Valley investor, I deeply consider the social and ecological value of the technologies—and the integrity of the entrepreneurs—I fund. It’s so exciting how much cleantech and microfinance has evolved since we began in 2003. I’m dedicated to the ongoing growth of Presidio, and am told that I have both referred more students to the school and hired more Presidio graduates than any other alum. I have so many cherished memories of my Presidio experience, and deeply appreciate the intimate learning environment, the closeknit community of friends and teachers, the inspirational scenery, and all the great meals, walks, and laughter we shared.” Steve Attinger (C1) feels similarly, saying, “If you’re committed to the field of sustainable business, it’s the place to be.” He first found out about PGS through attending a breakfast event at Stanford University focused on sustainable business. Doug Paxton made an announcement about the school opening its doors soon, and Steve sparked at the idea. He’d been thinking about attending graduate school, but worried that a traditional MBA would be too dry. He got Doug’s card and followed up with him

afterwards. He later spoke with Hunter Lovins, which resulted in his decision to attend. Says Steve, “I don’t know if you know Hunter, but she can be pretty convincing.” He’s now the Environmental Sustainability Manager for the City of Mountain View and he credits his MBA from PGS for helping him stand out from other applicants. He’s built Mountain View’s sustainability program from scratch over the past seven years, and says it’s been an incredible entrepreneurial experience. Taja di Leonardi (C1) knows all about entrepreneurial experiences—she’s the founder of Ecohome Improvement; a Berkeley-based store focused on helping people green their homes, and says PGS gave her the confidence and capacity to launch a company of her own. The idea for Ecohome Improvement began as her Capstone project, during which time students are tasked with solving a problem through the creation of a business. It was her favorite class at PGS, because it allowed her to apply everything she’d learned to date while being intensely creative. Her business now generates $2-3 million a year. She arrived at PGS from Dominican University’s Green MBA program (now defunct), transferring to become the final student needed to launch the PGS program. George Kao is another entrepreneurial C1 graduate, and believes the online education component at PGS planted the seed for taking his pro-

C1 @ 10

Opposite page: A group shot of Cohort 1. Below: Former staff member Alison Weeks, former faculty member Doug Paxton, and Elizabeth U (C1) working at one of the first community events. Ann Eells (C1) with maracas at a community event.

Spring 2015| Presidian


C1 @ 10

fessional coaching business online and turning it into a successful venture—bringing in $300K by year three. His explanation is fairly organic, as many good ideas are, saying he was advising friends on how to make the most of LinkedIn and create an authentic personal brand to help them professionally when someone suggested he develop an online coaching series, to reach a broader audience. The rest is history, but George makes clear money was never his primary motivator, and that is why he initially dropped out of law school to attend PGS in the first place—he wanted to be around people who weren’t solely driven to make money and were instead seeking healthy work/life integration. David Clark (C1) would agree, saying, “I really learned how powerful and important it is to find

Above: Members of the board sit onstage during the first Presidio Graduate School, then Presidio School of Management, commencement ceremony.

people with shared values, and a shared vision of the future.” He’s now the Sr. Consultant of Strategy for Habitat for Humanity, responsible for helping in-country businesses scale growth. He says he remained embedded in the PGS community long after graduating, working as a Teaching Assistant for both Operations and Strategy and helping to establish the governance process at the school. “I loved it,” says David, “and I was able to meet so many more people across different cohorts that way.” These are the “realistic idealists” are exactly who Richard M. (“Dick”) Gray hoped would attend the school he co-founded with Steven Swig. This wasn’t Dick’s first academic venture—in 1973 he raised $13 million to begin World College West, an undergraduate degree program with an education philosophy that

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“only disciplined reflection on experience leads to learning that lasts.” He wanted to help students to have meaningful experiences, build character, and establish values that would support their decision-making well into the future. He’d previously left a 16-year career in advertising after his father passed to attend theology school, having what he describes as an existential crisis, and this ultimately led him to academia. When I interrupt him to point out just how much $13 million was back in the ‘70’s he matter-of-factly says, “When you’re really committed to something, people tend to get on board.” Indeed, his presence was so powerful that when he decided to retire after a successful 15 years running the school, it folded within a year. After a period of mourning, he began envisioning what would later become PGS. Steven Swig had spent his career working as a corporate attorney focused on mergers and acquisitions, and had become increasingly disillusioned by the prevalence of pure profit motive—often at the cost of product quality, research and development, and jobs—in the CEOs he was counseling, most of whom had MBAs. He began researching business schools like Wharton to better understand what was contributing to this consistent perspective and saw an unrelentingly singular focus on the financial model as a way to approach business success. After voicing his frustrations one day, close friend (and wife of existential psychologist Rollo May) Georgia May told Steven he should connect with another friend of theirs that was starting a innovative business school. His name was Dick Gray. Steven has consistently been one of PGS’s key financial supporters over the years but says, “Being a major donor isn’t what I want to be known for—it’s bringing sustainable management to the country and helping to close the ever-widening wealth gap.” This is his passion and what he sees as the biggest threat to both economic and systemic sustainability in America. Of particular concern, Steven notes, is the $1.3 trillion in student loan debt that future generations will inherit. In a recent piece for The Huffington Post, he and others boldly propose abolishing all student loan debt in this country. He and his wife are Senior Fellows of the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard

University, where they’re pushing to make this proposal a reality. But when asked to reflect on his time at PGS he says, “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done—besides marrying my wife and having our children, of course.” He describes the first cohort as “a radical experiment.” “A radical experiment” is a fitting description from the students’ perspective as well and worked to further strengthen their bond—being part of something so new, exciting, and disruptive. When asked to recall their strongest memories from that time, it’s the human connection that consistently comes to the forefront. “We went through something amazing together,” says Chandra Alexandre (C1). “We got to embody a personal transformation process, and have it reflected back to us.” Chandra is now the VP of Development for the Global Fund for Women, and she says having an MBA focused on sustainable management in the nonprofit sector has been hugely valuable. She fondly recalls the work of professors Alexander and Kathia Laszlo and how much they embodied the principals they were teaching. The authentic leadership class also made a lasting impact on her, in part because it aligned so well with the spiritual principals by which she already lived her life. Says Chandra, “Presidio is about caring. It’s for people who give a shit, and crave transformation.” Thankfully for PGS, or by design, this describes a growing population of the workforce in America. A recent Philips Work/Life Survey found that 68% of the current workforce would be willing to take a salary cut for work that better aligns with their personal values, and 55% of Generation X and Y have changed career paths in an attempt to find more meaning. PGS specializes in assisting this kind of career shift, and unlike other MBA programs it doesn’t rely on elective courses to trigger inspiration. Instead, it brings a triple bottom line perspective into every single subject—including finance. There’s also a huge focus on experience-based learning with student teams completing projects for mission-driven companies and organizations as a key component of their coursework. And because classes meet in-person just four days a month (if attending a full-time degree program), and supplementary engagement occurs through

an online portal, PGS is a feasible option for those living across the country. But being based in San Francisco is unarguably beneficial, given its epicenter status for all things tech, innovation, and green. PGS’s future is looking bright, with 700 plus PGS alumnae and 150 current students following in the footsteps of that original cohort. Says William Shutkin, the school’s President and CEO, “The next five years will be a period of increased creative freedom. It’s going to be a lot of fun.” When asked why he was drawn to his current role at PGS, he mentions the “inevitable destiny of it” and says it’s where he would have gone had it existed when he was applying to graduate schools.

Before hanging up the phone with Dick Gray, the visionary co-founder of the school, I ask him how he feels about PGS today, 10 years after the first class of students graduated. He initially avoids taking any credit saying, “It takes a village.” But then, after a thoughtful pause, he admits, “I’m pleased with how things have turned out—it’s all that I hoped it would be.”

Above: David Clark (C1), Michael Bouch (C1), Steve Attinger (C1), Sam Clarkson (C1).

Sarah McKinney is a freelance columnist and songwriter who lives in Los Angeles, and considers letting traffic merge a spiritual practice. Follow her @sarahmck Spring 2015| Presidian



THE DOUGH-GOODER Raley’s Meg Burritt seeks to change the world, one grocery run at a time By Michael Hsu, Staff Writer Meg Burritt (C9) wanted to open a bakery. A bakery that was “local, sustainable, and quality.” A bakery that sourced every ingredient— down to the sugar and the flour—as locally as possible. A bakery that was meaningfully integrated into the fabric of the community—as opposed to just being “a place where you go to get a cupcake.” But then Meg went to Presidio Graduate School to pursue an MBA in sustainable management. “I went to Presidio to learn how to run a small business, and I left Presidio learning that I should never run a small business,” she laughs. For Meg, finding out that minding the minute details of running a small business didn’t suit her skill set was only one revelation. At PGS, she also discovered her passion for making a broader impact on the food industry as a whole—from farm to fork. In May 2014, she was named the Director of Wellness and Sustainability for Raley’s Family of

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Fine Stores—a Northern California-based company that operates 118 grocery stores (under the brand names Raley’s, Nob Hill Foods, and Bel Air Markets), as well as Food Source outlets and Aisle 1 gas stations. “We’ve never had a director of sustainability at Raley’s before, so my job up until now has basically been trying to figure out what my job is,” Meg jokes. In her current role, Meg has three main responsibilities. She manages the natural/organic food items, health and beauty care products, and over-the-counter medication merchandising in “center store.” She sets the corporate strategy for sustainability, which includes marketing Raley’s efforts and building partnerships to realize those initiatives. And she’s also devising a long-term plan to position Raley’s as a “wellness destination” under the leadership of health-minded CEO Michael Teel, the grandson of the Raley’s founder, Thomas P. Raley.

That’s a lot on Meg’s plate. But she says the first and most fundamental step is educating and training Raley’s 13,000 employees—from the truck drivers in the company fleet to the people stocking shelves at night. Communicating the “what/so what/now what” of Raley’s sustainability program to its diverse internal stakeholders is “the most important [task] to get perfectly right,” says Meg.

The First Mover Fellows work on projects that create value for their company while creating positive social impact.

“Even though I head a ‘sustainability department’ of two people, sustainability is actually a department of 100% of the company,” Meg explains. “I can’t execute anything without the operations team. I can’t distribute a more sustainable product without the distribution team. I can’t train anyone without the learning and development team. I can’t communicate what we’re doing internally or externally without our comms and marketing and Public Relations team. So everybody has to work together, and that’s really 90% of my job—creating relationships and getting people to collaborate and work together on things they’ve never worked on before.”

“I thought: ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if we can find a way to reduce some of the waste that we have in our supply chain and connect it with people who don’t have access to fresh food?’” Meg says. “That way we use our retail vehicle for good on both sides of the equation.”

Knowing that approximately 30% of food grown in America is wasted, Meg is currently forming a plan for Raley’s to put that food waste (e.g., “imperfect” fruits and vegetables) to good use— especially at stores adjacent to “food deserts.”

In some ways, that “retail vehicle for good” isn’t too far from Meg’s original dream of a neighborhood bakery that dispenses wholesome treats and positivity. Through a grocery chain like Raley’s, Meg hopes that quality food can be made more accessible for even the most price-

She credits her PGS experience with giving her the tools to build coalitions and bring people from disparate backgrounds together (Meg was student representatives president at PGS). She says PGS also showed her the importance of inculcating an ethic of sustainability within corporate structures that have wide-ranging reach. “Everything I’d been learning at Presidio had been teaching me how to create change at institutions like Raley’s,” Meg reflects. “We have 118 stores and each store has thousands of people who shop in them and each time they walk down our aisles or interact with our team members—that’s an opportunity for us to influence [their] behavior and create sustainable change. And so that’s really the biggest impact that we can make as Presidians.” Meg’s work in sharing sustainability expertise and values at Raley’s got a boost when she was named as a 2014 First Mover Fellow of the Aspen Institute. Through this leadership development program aimed at “intrapreneurs” (people pushing change within large organizations), the fellows are afforded access and connections to senior executives at their respective companies.

sensitive consumers—like the budget-conscious Mom with a couple of young kids. “She wants to feed them the best products, and she knows that the best products might be the organic apple as opposed to the conventional apple, but she might not be able to afford that every time,” Meg explains. “My personal vision—and I think it’s really aligned with where we’re trying to go as a company—is to get to the point where we can offer more of that to more people, and therefore create a bigger swath of change.”

Opposite page: A headshot of Meg Burritt. Above: Meg in a field for a Raley’s commerical shoot.

Spring 2015| Presidian



BY EXECUTIVE ORDER Governor Brown appoints Matt Henigan California’s Deputy Secretary for Sustainability By Michael Hsu, Staff Writer When Matt Henigan (C10) was a freshman at Pitzer College, a professor asked him the question that would end up shaping his academic and professional life. “What is the question you’re in school to answer?” As a child, Matt was the kid with the lemonade stand raising funds to save the rainforest, so as a college student, the answer sprang to mind immediately “Why is the environment so screwed up and

what do we need to do to fix it?” Matt recalls. “That clarity and direction allowed me to choose classes, build a major, and set me on a course.” It’s a course that has now led Matt to an appointment by California Governor Jerry Brown in August 2014 as Deputy Secretary for Sustainability at the California Government Operations Agency. Matt’s job is to coordinate the projects that fulfill Gov. Brown’s Executive Order B-18-12, a directive issued in 2012 spelling out sustainability benchmarks for all departments under the Spring 2015| Presidian


Opposite page: A headshot of Matt Henigan. Above: Matt being sworn in at the Government Operations Agency offices in the Jesse Unruh Building in Sacramento; he was sworn in by Marybel Batjer, Secretary of the California Government Operations Agency. Photo credit: Ken Hunt, Department of General Services.

“Gov Ops” umbrella (including the Department of Technology, Department of General Services, and Department of Human Resources, among others). “The Executive Order is like a wish list,” Matt explains. “If Presidio students had sat around and come up with sustainability goals for the state, this would be it.” In other words, Matt works to “green” the state of California’s facilities, fleet, and processes. On any given day, he might be studying financing mechanisms (such as power purchase agreements) for solar and wind power, laying the groundwork for electric vehicles and charging stations, figuring out how to attain LEED certification for state buildings, or finding ways to improve energy efficiency and boost the use of renewable energy. Thus far, one of his key accomplishments is pushing through a requirement that all new

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buildings and major renovations participate in the statewide Savings by Design program, which provides rebates and technical assistance for projects that are more energy-efficient than code dictates. Clearly, Matt’s previous positions at Sustainable Works—a Santa Monica-based nonprofit that partners with businesses to make their practices more sustainable—have provided invaluable experience in implementing these initiatives. But it was the Presidio Graduate School MBA program that taught Matt how to persuade decision makers in the state bureaucracy. “I was the biggest eye roller when it came to ‘soft skills’—I thought they were such a waste of time,” says Matt, remembering his PGS management classes on teamwork and leadership. “But, coming out of school, that’s what I’ve used the most! How do you get a team moving in the right direction—especially when you have no specific authority over anyone? You use the


For two years, Presidio trains you how to make the business case for sustainability, and now that’s basically what I do every day.”

art of persuasion and consensus building. The things that we worked on in those soft skills classes have been absolutely essential.” In fact, a big part of Matt’s job entails getting directors and deputy directors across the various departments to take a slight pause from their many important responsibilities and consider how they can go green. Not surprisingly for Presidians, Matt will usually get their attention by offering “win-win” advantages. “They might not be worried about the energy bills—or even particularly their carbon footprint—but maybe they’ve got a maintenance backlog,” he explains. “So you say, ‘Well, these brand-new lights last forever, and your maintenance guys will be able to do something else with their time.’ And they’ll say, ‘Great, sign me up!’” What Matt does—in the oft-repeated mantra of PGS—is “present the business case.” “For two years, Presidio trains you how to make the business case for sustainability, and now that’s basically what I do every day,” he says.

-Matt Henigan

“When the private sector sees that the state is jumping in and doing it in their own operations, they know that the technology has been vetted; it’s not some off-the-wall idea,” Matt explains. “If the very deliberative state government installed this type of technology, or is using these building techniques or these financing mechanisms, you can be sure that it’s been wellexamined and that it’s not some fly-by-night, flash-in-the-pan type of thing.” This “walk the walk” modeling approach grabbed headlines nationally in March, when President Obama signed an executive order directing federal agencies to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared to 2008 levels and to increase energy use from renewable sources by 30%. “That’s right up my alley; that’s exactly what I’m working on,” Matt laughs. “My wife says we’re not moving to D.C., though.” Good thing. We need Matt—and his lifelong dedication to finding answers to seemingly intractable environmental questions—right here in California.

On an even larger scale, the state of California—by demonstrating the feasibility of sustainable practices—makes a compelling case for corporations and industries to follow suit.

Spring 2015| Presidian


THE GAME CHANGERS By Michael Hsu, Staff Writer


hile we fantasize about a dream matchup in next year’s Super Bowl 50 at Santa Clara (Oakland Raiders vs. San Francisco 49ers, anyone?), there will at least be a dream team of Presidio Graduate School alums working to support the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee in their goal to make the Big Game as sustainable as possible. PGS has become a Contributing Partner of the Host Committee, and has provided the services of three of its best and brightest: PGS Research Affiliates Laura Waters (C10), Erik Distler (C13), and Izabel Loinaz (C12). Neill Duffy, co-chair of the Host Committee’s sustainability subcommittee, approached PGS Professor Allen Hershkowitz about getting some extra people-power to realize their ambitious goals. But, given a tight timeline (Super Bowl 50 is on February 7, 2016), they were seeking experienced advisors who could hit the

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ground running. It just so happened that Allen had three talented and energetic TAs for his Business of Sports and Sustainability class—who had helped develop the course from the beginning. They devised an approach that would give lift to the Host Committee’s sustainability efforts, provide the trio with invaluable experience, and elevate the standing of PGS. “When you think of all the sustainability impacts that come with hosting such a big event, to me it’s a no-brainer that a school like Presidio Graduate School would be involved,” says Erik, who also works as a consultant in the Sustainable Business Solutions practice at PwC. “Presidio was the first graduate program to offer a certificate around sports and sustainability, so it’s about trying to secure our position as a leader in higher education on this topic,” adds Izabel, who is the CEO of her own sustainable business consultancy, Spring Partners Inc. “By aligning ourselves with a brand like Super Bowl 50, we’re keeping company with the leaders in the field.” When the trio began their work in January, one of their first tasks was understanding the role of the Host Committee. The Host Committee is responsible for all the festivities that surround the football game—the Super Bowl City in San Francisco, the activities and parties for fans, the transportation corridor leading to Levi’s Stadium and around the region, and more. “It’s more than just a one-day game; there are events leading up to the game--and after the fact--that go on for weeks and months,” says Laura, who also works at Blackbaud on corporate social responsibility tracking software. In fact, one of the primary objectives of the Host Committee is to ensure that the social good of Super Bowl 50 lingers long after the stadium lights dim. In pursuing this “net-positive” legacy, the Host Committee is disbursing grants to nonprofits and changemakers through its record-setting philanthropic 50 Fund, working to reduce climate change impacts, and striving to use resources and materials in the most responsible manner.

Laura is setting up software to track sustainability metrics that will help the department heads better understand their influence in their areas of execution, while Izabel is establishing metrics and methodologies for measuring and reporting the sustainability impacts of their work. “This Host Committee has been very clear about wanting to be the most socially aware host committee to date,” Laura says. “The goals are for this Super Bowl to be the most shared, the most participatory, and the most giving Super Bowl. They want to pass on a stronger sense of responsibility to future host committees.” Another goal, of course, is to pave the way for the Bay Area to host future Super Bowls. And the trio of PGS Sports and Sustainability TAs are pioneers in ensuring PGS will remain heavily involved. “When we are done with this initial period of time with Super Bowl 50, the intention is to hopefully create this pipeline for opportunities for interns to come through and expand the potential of this project,” Laura says. As a result, the mission and passion of PGS can be seen by—and hopefully inspire—the greatest possible audience. After all, sports, as the subject of so many great stories, can also be leveraged to tell the sustainability story. “Sports as a model for social change has been proven over and over, with baseball being a frontrunner on racial integration,” Izabel notes. “Now, it’s only natural the environment start to come into the picture.” “It’s about ‘How can we leverage something as powerful as sports—and the powerful following of sports—to talk about what are, quite frankly, more important global and regional environmental and social issues?’” Erik adds. “Sports, to me, is a platform from which we can do this. There’s no other place where people gather to the 10,000s, to the 20,000s, to the 100,000s at a time, in one place, for one purpose.”

That’s where the PGS team comes in. Erik, for his part, is developing environmentally conscious sourcing guidelines in five key areas: transportation, temporary power, food, water, and waste. Spring 2015| Presidian



Right: The first two covers of Conscious Company Magazine.

THREE INSIGHTS FROM OUR FIRST YEAR IN BUSINESS By Meghan French Dunbar (C14) Co-Founder, Conscious Company Magazine Over the last year, I have watched an idea that was hatched over pizza and a glass of wine with a friend turn into a thriving business. It has been one of the most challenging years of my life, but also one of the most rewarding, culminating in Conscious Company Magazine—the first nationally distributed, print and digital magazine in the U.S. that focuses solely on sustainable business. Our first issue launched on January 1, 2015 with distribution in every Whole Foods Mar-

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ket in America. In the last three months, we have also picked up distribution through Barnes and Noble, Sprouts, Books-A-Million and other national and local retailers. Our second issue launched on April 1, 2015, and we distributed over 10,000 magazines. The reception to the publication has already exceeded our wildest expectations, and we have become the top selling business publication in many of the retailers where we are sold. At times, it has been surreal to watch a mere

idea turn into a nationally distributed print magazine. I mean, we launched a print magazine of all things in the year 2015! But there are three insights that have truly served me well along the way:

ask yourself the big picture questions. If your heart is telling you to do so, choose to persevere with conviction and enthusiasm—or as Dory says in Finding Nemo, “just keep swimming.” 3. Go Big

1. Find the Right Partner(s) Launching a business is not for the faint of heart. Having someone in the trenches with you, fighting the same fight with equal passion as you is tremendously valuable and will help to keep you going when things get tough. That said, don’t work with someone just to have someone to split the work with. Work with the right person—someone who has complementary skills and who you enjoy working with. It turns out that the team-building assessments and tools we learned in our leadership courses at PGS have practical applications (who knew?) that have helped me ensure that I am working with the right partner for this endeavor, which has been a critical component to our success thus far and has made it far more enjoyable. 2. Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming… There will, inevitably, be some bumps in the road (and even perhaps some brick walls and sinkholes). I was cautioned about this so many times prior to launching a business, but it wasn’t until I watched us lose the $42,000 that we had raised on Kickstarter because we didn’t hit our $50,000 goal that I finally understood the courage that it takes to persevere. While these challenging times are often unexpected and make things feel impossible, they also provide wonderful gut check moments that make you pause, assess the situation, and look at the big picture. The failure of our first crowdfunding campaign, while devastating at the time, actually helped me to become more resolute in my conviction that launching this magazine was something I needed to do. No one would have blamed us if we had chosen to quit when we failed—in fact, I suspect many people expected us to—but that failure provided me with the opportunity to realize just how much I was willing to endure in the name of bringing this publication to life. When you encounter those obstacles, take the time to

I never would have imagined that we could launch a magazine on such a large scale. The challenges that we face today are huge, but we can’t be afraid of taking action on solutions or taking the leap into the unknown on the same scale. At various times during this journey, I’ve

It’s risky. It’s big. It’s borderline crazy. But I am continually driven by the question: ‘What if I succeed?’” -Meghan French Dunbar

had beloved family members and friends worry about how large of a risk I am taking, often asking, “What if you fail?” I get it. It’s risky. It’s big. It’s borderline crazy. But I am continually driven by the question, “What if I succeed?” I challenge you to do the same with whatever big idea you’re dreaming of because the world needs bold and inspired ideas to create change. In Conclusion Time will tell how things will turn out with Conscious Company Magazine, but I wouldn’t trade the last year of my life for anything. Learning about sustainable business at PGS was incredible—putting that education into practice and learning from actually doing has been a highlight of my life. I would encourage anyone with a dream to just start putting one foot after the other to start down the path of curating your own future. It’s been the best thing I’ve done yet. Meghan French Dunbar graduated from Presidio Graduate School with an MBA in Sustainable Management in 2012 as part of C14. She currently lives in Boulder, CO with her husband and spends her days co-leading Conscious Company Magazine.

Spring 2015| Presidian



THERE IS NO FINISH LINE Why Brocade’s Senior Director of Corporate Affairs Came to PGS By Jeff Rangel (C13)

From top left: Jeff Rangel giving a tour of Brocade to Congressman Scott Peters. Jeff hosting San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo at Brocade. A headshot of Jeff.

When making decisions about graduate school, a mentor had this sage advice, “If you’re going to spend tens of thousands of dollars and consume two years—or more, as it would happen—of your life with time away from your family, wouldn’t you want to at least learn something you crave?” I’m grateful that I listened. Academically, I was a late bloomer. I earned my undergraduate degree in 2008 at age 43 from the University of San Francisco (USF) after working my way up to become senior director of human resources at Wyse Technology. But through USF, I came to learn the value of education and enrichment, and I knew that I wasn’t finished. I knew that I wanted to earn a master’s degree. Problem was I didn’t know in what and from where?

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Deciding on the “What” After a 10-year background in human resources, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Behavior and Leadership had been logical. The curriculum was a perfect extension of my work experience, and—by design—that experience allowed me to be an active participant in class discussions on topics from communication, change management, corporate culture, and much more. It was the right degree at the right time. However, in the time that followed the completion of my undergrad, my experiences in trying to demonstrate strategic value to my corporation also shed light on a new opportunity. If I wanted my corporate peers to recognize my contributions as useful to business outcomes, I would need to develop my finance and strategy acumen. I needed a deeper understanding of comprehensive business principles. It was clear that in order to grow professionally—up

and to the right, as they say—I needed to earn an MBA. More than that, if I wanted my C-suite executives to respect my corporate responsibility recommendations as essential to business growth, I would need to expand my sustainability resources. I needed to earn an MBA that focused on the triple bottom line. Debating the “Where” While attending a networking event on corporate citizenship, I heard about “this small private college out of The Presidio.” I was already debating between St. Mary’s College and Santa Clara University. From my USF experience, I had great admiration for the Jesuit principles and both schools incorporate community and ethics into their curriculum. Both programs would also allow me to balance my academics with my need to work full-time. Still, I added Presidio Graduate School to my list of considerations. After attending an information session, visiting classes, and talking with trusted men-

Below: Jeff (second from left) meeting with CA Assemblyman Evan Low.

tors, my debate was over. I applied for admission to PGS and became a student—again—in the fall of 2010. Benefiting from the “What” and “Where”

As my fellow Presidians can attest, the rigors of the program are high—and should be. For me, it was three years of study that involved 35 residencies, four experiential projects, six teams, countless papers, on-line learning sessions and class presentations, and one awesome Cap-

I am a better citizen and steward of our limited resources—I act today as if tomorrow matters.” -Jeff Rangel

Professionally, I am an informed systems-thinker, who is recognized as a value add. I have the confidence and the ability to draw upon my PGS-earned resources to contribute to conversations and deliberations. My experience at PGS refined my business knowledge and acumen, enabling me to improve my work within my organization and with external partners. I am confident that invitations to speak about corporate responsibility and my growth in my role at Brocade are a result of my time at PGS. As Senior Director, Corporate Affairs at Brocade, I’m responsible for driving the Company’s comprehensive corporate responsibility platform. Over the years, I’ve pulled out my ‘PGS Toolbox’ a number of times to deliver results: • When trying to think creatively about sharing information with a large group, I dug deep into Effective Management, Communication and Action lessons—asking myself, “What would Nils Moe and Carl Schneebeck do?”—and created an interactive game instead of a PowerPoint presentation. • I use concepts from Managerial Marketing on a regular basis, channeling Professor Rob Coombs and using the 5-Ps as I strive to increase internal and external awareness about the company’s efforts, accomplishments, and lessons learned. • Insights from Leadership for Sustainable Management are handy too when advocating on Capitol Hill; when meeting with congressional leaders, I wonder, “how would Professor Cynthia Scott diagnose these 5 Dynamics?”

Above: Jeff “being whacky” with his team for the Annual Food Drive at Brocade.

stone project. But in many ways those are the transactional outcomes. What happened to me and has since manifested in my current work is transformational.

Countless times I have harkened backed to these classes and others, leading me to the conclusion that, in me, PGS has served its mission to “educate and inspire a new generation of leaders to transform business and public policy.” For that, I’m grateful.

Personally, I am beyond proud of the fact that I completed the program itself. To be among the 9% of the US population with a master’s degree is a feat in itself. I am an example for my sons, nieces, nephews, and others, that setting goals and achieving them is worthwhile. I am a better citizen and steward of our limited resources—I act today as if tomorrow matters.

Jeff Rangel (C13) is a father, partner, dot-connector and lifelong learner. He is passionate about influencing business behavior through corporate responsibility—by increasing the intersection of social and environmental responsibility, employee engagement, public policy, leadership, ethics, and diversity.

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We gratefully acknowledge the support of our Spring 2015 Experiential Learning partners! Boy Scouts of America Bom Dia Market Citrix Startup Accelerator Ecocentric Brands Northern Nights Music Group PAX Scientific, Inc PEAK DMC Sambazon Sidecar UCSF

To learn more about our Experiential Learning Program visit:

Spring 2015| Presidian




By Maria Oldiges, Executive Assistant and Development Associate The driving forces of Summer Meyer’s life can be summed up by two words: love and adventure. If you know Summer (you might have met her as Karin, her former name), you know that both shine through unmistakably in her life. She exudes an appreciation for challenges, nature, community, people, and self. Together with her husband and two children, Summer has gone on multi-year sailing trips, taken weeks-long motorcycle trips, and regularly goes camping to experience the beauty of

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the West from the Pacific coast to the Rocky Mountains. She creates art in several different mediums and maintains a daily meditation and yoga practice. She is someone who has always sought to break from tradition—even changing her name to eschew familial heritage in favor of something more true to self. It was fitting that, after a few decades of professional work, Summer should find her way to Presidio Graduate School, where Presidians have been challenging business as usual since the school’s inception in 2003. While romantic love initially brought Summer to the US from the Netherlands (she and Scott met in college while she was earning her Masters’ in Counseling Psychology in Belgium before they moved to Colorado), it was love of justice which brought her to PGS. Summer wanted to find a way to incorporate her social justice values more deeply into her work and to gain the necessary tools for doing so. At the time, she had already been exercising her love of community and nature, as the producer of an outdoor arts festival called the Pacific Coast Fog Fest. She initiated composting in the festival operations and converted it into a green event. Since her graduation in 2013, Summer has worked on several projects, including one focused on clean energy and water management at Bioneers, and the Sustainability Summit she organized for the Netherlands Consulate General. Despite her fascination with adventure and her wanderlust, Summer remains deeply rooted in her home community and takes radical responsibility in caring for her community. Radical responsibility is what she calls the responsibility each person must take for their thoughts, emotions, actions, for their relationships with others, and for their relationship to the earth. We are all responsible to the ties that connect us to places or communities of common interest. Summer extends this radical responsibility to caring for her PGS community by regularly and generously giving to the school in ways that sustain the quality of its teaching and its impact. Achieving radical responsibility requires inner

work. Her consulting business, Vertical Journeys, addresses the need for inner transformation in order to do effectively impact the three E’s of sustainability—environment, economy, and equity. Underlying all sustainability work is an awareness of self and purpose in the world. This is the existential bottom-line, which Summer believes is crucial and under-prioritized in the sustainability field. Summer says her education at PGS was so transformational, and that her peers—fellow alumni, students, and faculty—are doing such meaningful work that she wants to do everything she can to help amplify the message of PGS. This was precisely the motivation behind the Inspiration Strikes Fund, which provides small grants to support endeavors that promote the work of Presidians—e.g., via presentations at industry, trade, or academic conferences. The fund, which she established while she was president of the student representatives, supported several students and alumni (who are eligible within two years of graduating), including a delegation which participated in the climate change summit in Brazil. Even if it’s only a few projects per year at small amounts of financial support, Inspiration Strikes helps to show the world the great work that Presidians are doing. Additionally, Summer and her partner of 29 years, Scott have supported PGS by helping to found the Eric C. Sharp Memorial Scholarship Fund, which honors Eric Sharp (PA2), who died in 2014. Beginning this year, they established the Summer and Scott Meyer Adjunct Faculty Position in the MPA program and named Professor Tammy Esteves, PhD as the first recipient. Summer hopes that her fellow alumni give and continue to give as a way of supporting the ongoing success of the school and ultimately, each other. Regardless of the amounts each individual can give, it’s about showing up and giving even small gifts to support an institution that is actively and measurably changing the world. Maria Oldiges is Development Associate and Executive Assistant at Presidio Graduate School. When not at PGS, she can be found taking care of her worms or singing karaoke.

Spring 2015| Presidian



Good Things Come in Threes

Meet the Lydia B. Stokes Foundation and its Trustee Tom Willits By Maria Oldiges, Executive Assistant and Development Associate This year, the Lydia B. Stokes Foundation has funded a special Presidio Graduate School project to develop a three-day curriculum and training in Investing in Local, Sustainable Economies. Spearheaded by PGS Faculty Member Vanessa Fry (C4) and the Solidago Foundation’s Jeff Rosen, the training will be unveiled at June’s BALLE conference in Phoenix and piloted in Oakland this fall. PGS isn’t a typical kind of grantee for the Stokes Foundation, which generally focuses on New Mexico, New England, and Florida, and rarely funds school training. Nevertheless, this is actually the third time Stokes has supported PGS. In 2011, Stokes supported the development of PGS’s Market Failure and the Regulatory Environment Course and in 2012, it funded the reimagining of PGS’s Capital Markets course. The driving force behind this unusual Stokes/ PGS partnership is Stokes Trustee Tom Willits. To Tom, the two organizations share an aligned vision: to achieve a more just and sustainable world, new economic design is necessary. Tom is the co-founder of MRW Connected, a mission-driven web communications compa-

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ny, 1% for the Planet member, and winner of BCorp’s 2014 Best for the World Worker Impact award. Tom also founded Music and Poetry Synchronized, an arts organization that bring together poetry by New York City students and music by students at Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Public Charter School in Massachusetts. To boot, Tom also recently survived cancer. And that’s just during the last decade of his 30 year career. Tom’s commitment to social justice, equity, and health is a legacy that has deep roots in his family. In 1959, Tom’s grandmother Lydia Babbott Stokes began the eponymous foundation which originally focused on education, women’s issues, arts, and the environment. The foundation now prioritizes its giving in the areas of local and sustainable food systems and new economic design. The trustees of the Stokes Foundation are guided by the same Quaker ethic that guided Lydia B. Stokes—that is, they value social justice and helping people help themselves. Their decision-making follows a consensus model, and they share a belief in the mission and priorities of the foundation. In partnership with his fellow trustees, Tom and the Lydia B. Stokes Foundation have taken a

Left: A photo of Lydia B. Stokes, the foundation’s namesake. Below: The foundation’s logo.

position at the leading edge of foundation investment strategy. With the assistance of financial advisors at Clean Yield, the foundation places 25% of their endowment into program-related investments (PRI) and loans. The foundation has no paid staff and relies on its small board of trustees to oversee and execute its operations. It also grants above the 5% minimum annual payout mandated for foundations, believing that immediate action is necessary to meet the severity of the challenges facing the world today. Tom and his fellow trustees are troubled by the increasing abstraction of financial capital and value, a phenomenon that presents higher risks to people and to the market as a whole. By moving 25% of their investments out of the stock, equities, and derivatives markets, they have moved the foundation’s money closer to tangible value and, in the process, marry their endowment with their mission. While convenient foundation management tenets might identify this as a risky path, Stokes has expected and realized solid financial performance with their overall portfolio. Despite—or perhaps thanks to—being a small foundation, the foundation

has been able to not only fund resilience-focused projects, but to operate as one, too. The trustees consider their investment strategy as a mitigation of risk, and as one that makes them more adaptive to whatever changes may be in store for the national and worldwide economy in the future. The strategy and funding priorities of the Lydia B. Stokes Foundation reflect an effort to get “closer to the ground.” Tom believes that our world has moved too far from the ground in many senses—as individuals living lives removed from soil and tactile experiences with the earth and also in an institutions and metaphysical sense. Funding efforts to cultivate thriving local economies—particularly those centered around food is one way that Tom and the Lydia B Stokes Foundation try to bring people and communities closer together on the ground.

Spring 2015| Presidian


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Presidian Spring 2015  

Presidian is the interactive online magazine published by Presidio Graduate School.

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