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Moderator & Panelist Bios

What do we believe in?

Moderator- Alexandros Pagidas

Alexandros Pagidas is a philosopher and entrepreneur. He finished his MA in Philosophy at the University of Reading. After moving to the Bay Area, he co-organized events on evolving ideas into startups at Microsoft and Google, was a philosopher-in-residence at Silicon Valley startup accelerator Blackbox.vc, and co-founder of TheGlint, “the most idealistic and ambitious of all San Francisco’s hacker houses” according to Buzzfeed. After visiting Tibetan and Zen Buddhist monasteries in Nepal and Japan, he became a Visiting Researcher at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, School of Design, where he was called upon to reimagine the concept of the monastery, and subsequently started the Evolving Caravan. His current interests are political entrepreneurship, love, and the ushering of a new Hellenism via the universal elimination of unwanted human labor through technology and the avoidance of hubris with a philosophy reborn.

More info: http://alexandros.is

Alexandros Pagida
Natalia Mount

Natalia Ivanova Mount is a dynamic cultural activist, organizer and producer with extensive experience in nonprofit leadership, development and strategic partnerships. She has curated and produced numerous exhibitions and site-specific projects, experimental theatre productions, sound based performance, film, radio and literary programs and events. Originally from Bulgaria, Ivanova lived in New York, where in the early 2000, she co-founded FLUX Art Space – a pioneering nonprofit organization that commissioned and produced long-term art projects, claiming the intersection of art, technology, and civic engagement. In 2010, Natalia launched the first radio station in Central New York, Redhouse Radio, that aired exclusively art and culture programs. During that time, she was also the Executive Director of Redhouse Arts Center, a multi-disciplinary space and residency program, located in Syracuse. In the beginning of her career, Natalia worked at MoMA PS1 and the Clocktower, both located in NYC. Mount is the recipient of numerous prestigious grants and awards in recognition of her cultural activism and leadership practice. Mount holds a BA in Criminal Justice, MA in Art Market, and an MBA in Media Management.

More info: http://www.natalias.club/

Natalia Mount
Ron Thomas

Ron Thomas leads Creative Strategy at Dolby Labs, and is responsible for spearheading efforts across marketing and brand management. Prior to joining Dolby Labs, he worked as a Creative Director at several leading ad agencies in New York helping global brands like Coca Cola, Absolut, Ralph Lauren, Anheuser Busch, and Sonos tell their stories through seamless multichannel experiences. Most notably, Ron helped craft the Global Citizen creative platform for the launch of the United Nations global goals at the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, New York. It was an extraordinary event attended by over 60,000 people including musicians like Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Cold Play and Pearl Jam, along with a number of world leaders such as the First Lady of America, Vice President Biden, Secretary General of the UN, Bill Gates and many others – all united in the cause of ending extreme poverty.

Ron Thomas
Rev. Dwight Webster

Dwight Webster is the Senior Pastor of the historic Beth Eden Baptist Church in Oakland, CA, Pastor Emeritus of Christian Unity Baptist Church in New Orleans, LA. He received a BS in Mathematics from Howard University, and a MDiv from Colgate Rochester Divinity School, PhD in Religion from Graduate Theological Union. Pastor Webster served as Minister of Youth and Young Adults at Beth Eden Baptist Church in Oakland, Interim Director and Interim Dean of the Program of Black Church Studies at Colgate Rochester Divinity School and also taught at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. Prior to returning to the Bay Area, he served as the Director of the Center for African and African American Studies at Southern University at New Orleans. His first New Orleans appointment was as University Chaplain and Assistant Professor of Humanities at Dillard University. Rev. Webster formed a post-Katrina long-term recovery organization in New Orleans, Churches Supporting Churches, with Civil Rights veteran, C.T. Vivian, and served as its Executive Director. Earlier in New Orleans, he co-founded a broad-based, faith-based ecumenical organization, the Jeremiah Group, that “seeks the welfare of the city” (Jeremiah 29:7). Rev. Dr. Webster serves as Affiliated Faculty and Advisory Committee Elder at the SankofaInstitute of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, TX and Xavier University’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies.</p>

Rev. Dwight Webster

What do we consume?

Moderator- Tara Duggan

Tara Duggan has written about food for the San Francisco Chronicle since 1999, starting out as a culinary intern in the Food & Wine department’s test kitchen. Now The Chronicle’s assistant food editor, she writes about and oversees coverage of the restaurant and food industry, seafood and food policy, all with a Bay Area focus. A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, Tara has also written four cookbooks, including “Root to Stalk Cooking” and “The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee.” Her writing and recipes have appeared in the New York Times and Sunset Magazine.

Tara Duggan
Jessica Appelgren

Jessica Appelgren is a sustainability and social impact marketing communications leader with over 15 years of experience building and representing disruptive, mission-driven brands. In her role as Vice President of Communications at Impossible Foods, she leads all public relations, influencer relations and earned media programming for the leading plant-based meat company backed by Bill Gates, Google Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Temasek. Prior to Impossible, Jessica led agency teams at the sustainability consultancy Saatchi & Saatchi S (clients included circular textile logistics leader I:CO, Coca-Cola, Lexus), and at Blue Practice, a boutique marketing communications agency specializing in building sustainable brands (Solar City, PACT, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Bill McDonough and the Cradle to Cradle Institute). Driven by optimism about the role innovation will play in a sustainable future, Jessica uses her superpowers for good to develop and share stories that drive compassion for people and our planet. At home in Oakland, Jessica channels her creative spirit and passion for food into parenting and competitive pie baking.

More info: https://impossiblefoods.com

Jessica Appelgren
Adrionna Fike

Adrionna Fike is one of eight members of Mandela Grocery Cooperative, the worker-owned grocery store in West Oakland. She serves on the board of the Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (NoBAWC - pronounced "No Boss") connecting over 60 Worker Cooperatives and collective organizations in the Bay Area. Adrionna is also a founding member of Oakland based People Power Solar Cooperative, a community-owned solar co-op stewarding an inclusive transition toward renewable energy.

More info: http://www.mandelagrocery.coop  

Adrionna Fike
D.C. Looney

D.C. Looney completed his Master of Science in Wine Management Diploma from the OIV (International Office of Wine and Vine) in Paris, France. The two year program allowed him to travel worldwide to over 30 countries, studying various aspects of wine production, marketing, and consumption. In December 2010, D.C. and Lisa Costa (his wife and business partner) opened The Punchdown in downtown Oakland carrying only natural wines. Over the years, The Punchdown has become a natural wine Mecca (Eater SF) for those who seek the natty juice and has been named as one of the 15 most important natural wine bars in America by Food & Wine.

More info: www.punchdownwine.com

D.C. Looney

What do we create?

Moderator- JooWan Kim

While completing his studies in composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, JooWan Kim had a profound shift in the direction of his writing. He felt that he found a way out of the stifling contemporary concert music aesthetic in this new way of composition. Kim crystallized his ideas into Method Sampling, a principle of borrowing or sampling of rationales from related as well as unrelated fields, then reframing them into one's own system. In 2010, JooWan recruited his best friend from college, Ensemble Mik Nawooj (EMN) executive director, Christopher Nicholas, to push the project forward in a serious way. Since then, his hip-hop orchestra, EMN has attracted some of the most excellent classical musicians and MCs in the SF Bay Area while gaining national attention from outlets such as National Geographic, Global People’s Summit in partnership with the United Nations Office for Partnership, ESPN, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, NPR, Pitchfork, Upworthy, NowThis, and more. They are represented by Opus 3 Artists.

More info: http://www.ensemblemiknawooj.com/ 

JooWan Kim
Johnny "Johnny5" Lopez

Johnny Anthony Lopez, a.k.a Johnny5, is a Mexican/Latino professional Turf Dancer and founder of TURFinc - Oakland/Bay Area based Turf dance company. The goal of TURFinc is to take Turf dance that is changing lives beyond the streets and into a safe, positive environment where dancers and  youth have the opportunity to showcase their story and skills with a broader audience. TURFinc provides a platform for aspiring dancers to not only learn how to take their skills to the next level, but also gives them the opportunity to audition for gigs in & out of the Bay Area and beyond. TURFinc has collaborated with Brittany Spears, Kendrick Lamar, GoPro, SF Symphony and more.

More info: https://www.theturfinc.com/

Johnny Lopez TURFInc
Marc Brew

Acclaimed International choreographer and AXIS Dance Company Artistic Director Marc Brew trained as a professional dancer at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School and The Australian Ballet School. He has been working in the UK and Internationally for over 20 years as a director, choreographer, dancer, teacher and speaker; with the Australian Ballet Company, State Theatre Ballet Company of South Africa, Infinity Dance Theatre, CandoCo Dance Company and AXIS Dance Company. Marc was Associate Director with Scottish Dance Theatre, Associate Artistic Director with Ballet Cymru in Wales and was Associate Artist in 2015 at Tramway Theatre in Glasgow. Since 2008 Marc has been dedicating time to his own choreography with Marc Brew Company and his recent choreographic commissions include San Francisco Ballet School, Dancing Wheels, Scottish Ballet, Ballet Cymru (Wales), YDance (Scotland), AXIS Dance Company (USA), Candoco Dance Company (UK), Touch Compass (NZ), Amy Seiwert’s Imagery (USA) and Scottish Dance Theatre (Scotland). Marc was presented with a Centenary Medal for Outstanding Contribution as a dancer and choreographer. His work Remember When was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Best Performance (individual) and his recent solo work For Now, I am… was listed in the Guardians Top 10 Dance Shows for 2016.

More information visit: www.marcbrew.com

Marc Brew