Past Speakers

April 2024 Speaker


Hamilton's Hidden Narrative:The story of 180,000 Southeast Asian refugees and Survival in the South China Sea

On April 25, we will heared the stories of Laurie Reemsnyder and Lauren Vuong. Laurie will talk about the 180,000 refugees that came through Hamilton Air Force Base in the 1980”s and her career working with refugees. Lauren Vuong, as a seven-year-old left Vietnam with her family by boat. She tells the remarkable story about being rescued by a ship; her emotional arrival in the United States; and her search as an adult to find her rescuer, the captain of the Ship Virgo.

March 2024 Speaker

Chris Waugh recently illuminated the principles of human-centered design during the Novato Speaker Series, emphasizing how this approach can revolutionize healthcare. By focusing on the needs of individuals and understanding the behaviors of patients, doctors, and nurses, Chris showcased how personalized solutions can enhance the healthcare experience for all.

Thank you, Chris, for your significant contributions to healthcare and humanity alike. Your talk was not only enlightening but also a profound service to our community.

Human-centered design is a creative approach that seeks personalized solutions to meet individual needs — understanding people and their behaviors, identifying trends and exploring solutions that improve a person’s healthcare experience — in order to make healthcare more usable and accessible for patients, doctors and nurses. Thanks again Chris, you did a great deed not only for the health care section but also for humanity.

February 2024 Speaker

We extend our deepest gratitude to Felecia for her unwavering support and invaluable contributions to our exploration of Marin City's rich history and legacy.

Founder and director of Performing Stars of Marin, and The Marin City Historical and Preservation Society

Felecia Gaston

Gaston writes about the Marin Housing Authority building temporary homes in 1942, the beginning of a community in Marin City, outside developers, the Ku Klux Klan’s cross burning in Marin City, what the Marin Civic Center was proposing for the future of the land in Marin City in 1952, and how people such as Supervisor Vera Schultz, Mary Summers, Aaron Green, Lawrence Livingston, Jr., Lawrence Halprin, and John Carl Warnecke help to plan and shape Marin City.

January 2024 Speaker

Thank you Mark and Michael

for helping us better understand the

Fentanyl & Substance Abuse Crisis and how it affects the residents in Marin County

Dr. Michael Pritchard & Mark Dale share their views surrounding the current Opioid Drug Epidemic in America.

Mark Dale and Michael Prichard

Mark and Michael are helping to explain and bring better understanding to the Fentanyl & Substance Abuse Crisis affecting residents of all ages in Marin County and beyond! Michael & Mark are US Air Force veterans and strongly believe that “Service to our Country” can naturally extend to “Service to our Communities”!

More on this topic here



December 2023 Speaker

Thank you Heidi

for restoring peace and prosperity through agriculture

Heidi Kühn’s social justice story replaces land mines with grapevines

Heidi Kühn

Heidi Kühn’s vision for a humanitarian mission to eradicate the world’s former war zones of the scourge of land mines and transform those minefields into vineyards and sustainable crops came to her in an unscripted moment of clarity she still calls an “epiphany.”

More on Heidi, click here



October 2023 Speaker

Thank you Chis and Buddy for taking us on a world of leadership!

A Visionary Leader and Storyteller

Chris Gargano

Chris Gargano’s career in the world of professional sports has gifted him a deep understanding of the dynamics that create successful teams and leadership structures. His work as a leader in the content departments of the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco Giants, and New York Jets created a desire to analyze and master how to lead with heart. This passion led to the founding of the Gargano Leadership Group, where Chris works to help teams and individuals reach their full potential.

As a storyteller, Chris wants to understand people, specifically, what makes people great and how they perform at such high levels. His Podcast, ‘Keep the Line Moving’ is a way to hear industry leaders share their insights. Here, Chris comes together with people who have excelled in their careers and lead in ways that profoundly impact their peers and teams. Hear how successful leaders practically, strategically, and empathetically lead people to achieve beyond their collective and individual abilities.

Find out more about Chris Gargano



Retired Major League Baseball (MLB) Shortstop

Buddy Biancalana

Buddy Biancalana, born in Greenbrae, California, in 1960, is a baseball legend whose career started at Redwood High School in Larkspur. He was a standout player, making it to the Mythical National Champion Team in 1977. The Kansas City Royals drafted him in 1978, and he played in the Major Leagues from 1982 to 1987, notably contributing to the Royals' 1985 World Series victory.

After his playing career, Biancalana ventured into coaching and authored a book, "The 7 Secrets of the World Class Athlete." In 2009, he was inducted into the Redwood High School Athletic Hall of Fame, solidifying his place in baseball history.

Find out more about Buddy Biancalana



Musician, Opening Number

Donna Spitzer

Following a successful engagement at The Hotel Alpha Playboy Club in Japan, Donna has appeared locally at the The Starlite Room of The Sir Francis Drake Hotel, as bandleader at The Terrace Bar of The Claremont Resort Hotel, at local nightspots such as Pearl’s, Cetrella, the no name bar, Joe LoCoco’s, Hotel Mac, The Mason Street Wine Bar, Harry’s, The Dock, The Union Hotel, Mulhern’s, 19 Broadway. She has entertained for numerous major corporate affairs, fundraisers, for wineries, country club functions, and galas in a career that has spanned two decades. A longtime favorite for local parties and galas, Donna is the bandleader and lead vocalist of the popular variety dance band,

The Full Tilt! Band.

Donna also headlines with the contemporary Swing,Blues and Classic Rock group, Sweet City Blues

See more about Donna Spitzer here.



July, 27th

Paul A. Schwarzbart

Paul fled to Belgium with his parents when Austria was annexed in 1938. His father was arrested in Brussels on May 10, 1940. With surreptitious help, he "hid" in a catholic school in an Ardennes village near Luxembourg for 2 years. After reuniting with his mother, the two eventually came to the United States and settled in San Francisco.

Cantor David Margules’ beautiful tenor voice has enhanced and blessed members of Congregation Rodef Sholom since 1991. As the synagogue’s cantor and musical director, he choreographs services and leads the congregation in traditional prayers and new arrangements – enjoining them to sing out with him and the rabbis.

May, 30th

TBA

June, 27th

TBA

TBA

info coming soon

September 2023 Speaker

Thank you to Dr. Michael Blodgett, Ph.D for an evening of insight and knowledge!

And to Scott Van Wagner for enchanting us with your saxophone melodies!

Pathways to peace in the Middle East

Dr. Michael Blodgett, Ph.D

Michael Blodgett, born in 1963 in Los Angeles, served as an Intelligence Analyst in the Army and later earned a Ph.D. in History. He taught Communism, American history, and global radicalism at California State University Channel Islands before joining the Air Force as a historian for the 349th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base.

He also delivers independent lectures on American international relations and military history while enjoying leisure time with his wife and four cats. Blodgett's journey reflects his dedication to academia and national service, blending military and academic experiences.



Saxophonist with a Passion for

Jazz, Blues, Fusion, Rock, & Funk

Scott Van Wagner

Scott Van Wagner, a versatile musician passionate about Jazz, Blues, Fusion, Rock, and Funk, boasts a rich musical background from the University of Costa Rica, Berklee College of Music, and the University of Washington.

Collaborating with renowned artists like Larry Coryell, Jose Feliciano, Jeff Beck, and more, he brings immense talent and a love for music to our community, having recently relocated from Chicago via Seattle to Sonoma. Catch his performances at venues such as the Blue Note, Sonoma Mission Inn, and more, where he showcases his new Jazz Band, Flat5, promising an electrifying experience.



July, 27th

Paul A. Schwarzbart

Paul fled to Belgium with his parents when Austria was annexed in 1938. His father was arrested in Brussels on May 10, 1940. With surreptitious help, he "hid" in a catholic school in an Ardennes village near Luxembourg for 2 years. After reuniting with his mother, the two eventually came to the United States and settled in San Francisco.

Cantor David Margules’ beautiful tenor voice has enhanced and blessed members of Congregation Rodef Sholom since 1991. As the synagogue’s cantor and musical director, he choreographs services and leads the congregation in traditional prayers and new arrangements – enjoining them to sing out with him and the rabbis.

May, 30th

TBA

June, 27th

TBA

TBA

info coming soon

August 2023 Speaker

Thank you to Tony Lindsay and his amazing bandmates, Janice Maxie-Reid, Lloyd Gregory, & Deszon Claiborne for a musical evening!

A Soulful Evening with

Tony Lindsay

After 25 years as the lead vocalist for Santana, Tony Lindsay has garnered 11 Grammy awards, traveled on several world tours and recorded on seven CDs: Milagro (1992), Supernatural (1999), Shaman (2002), Ceremony (2003) and Food for Thought (2004), Ultimate Santana (2007) and Multi-Dimensional Warrior (2008).

Music Review by Brodrick Hampton:

Anyone who knows music knows Santana, and if that’s a given, then so is famed vocalist Tony Lindsay: a singer whose voice helped power the group to 11 Grammys and worldwide acclaim. Since launching his own solo career, Lindsay has continued to earn accolades: his last album, Something Beautiful, has taken the music-streaming world by storm, earning him four top-ten songs on the Internet Broadcasters’ Alliance’s Indie Soul Chart.



July, 27th

Paul A. Schwarzbart

Paul fled to Belgium with his parents when Austria was annexed in 1938. His father was arrested in Brussels on May 10, 1940. With surreptitious help, he "hid" in a catholic school in an Ardennes village near Luxembourg for 2 years. After reuniting with his mother, the two eventually came to the United States and settled in San Francisco.

Cantor David Margules’ beautiful tenor voice has enhanced and blessed members of Congregation Rodef Sholom since 1991. As the synagogue’s cantor and musical director, he choreographs services and leads the congregation in traditional prayers and new arrangements – enjoining them to sing out with him and the rabbis.

May, 30th

TBA

June, 27th

TBA

TBA

info coming soon

July 2023 Speaker

Thank you Paul for an amazing evening!

A Child of the Holocaust

Paul A. Schwarzbart

Paul Schwarzbart, husband, father, respected teacher, survivor of the Holocaust, was born in Vienna. He fled with his parents when Austria was annexed.

He and his mother eventually came to the United States, where he received his undergraduate and graduate degree at UC Berkeley.

His teaching career spanned 45 years. He has spoken hundreds of times in various venues, recounting his life experiences as a hidden child.

In 1988 Schwarzbart’s life became the central theme of an award-winning Ken Swartz documentary, SHATTERED DREAMS, a Child of the Holocaust.



July, 27th

Paul A. Schwarzbart

Paul fled to Belgium with his parents when Austria was annexed in 1938. His father was arrested in Brussels on May 10, 1940. With surreptitious help, he "hid" in a catholic school in an Ardennes village near Luxembourg for 2 years. After reuniting with his mother, the two eventually came to the United States and settled in San Francisco.

Cantor David Margules’ beautiful tenor voice has enhanced and blessed members of Congregation Rodef Sholom since 1991. As the synagogue’s cantor and musical director, he choreographs services and leads the congregation in traditional prayers and new arrangements – enjoining them to sing out with him and the rabbis.

May, 30th

TBA

June, 27th

TBA

TBA

info coming soon

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