Past Conversations in Oakland Speakers


Lions, Tigers & COVID – Oh My!: Protecting the Oakland Zoo

Dr. Joel Parrott, President & CEO, Oakland Zoo

Dr. Joel Parrott, President & CEO of the Oakland Zoo, will discuss efforts to preserve Oakland’s gem during a global pandemic. From feeding and caring for the animals to engaging the public in conservation efforts both locally and abroad, Dr. Parrott will engage our group on logistics and potential avenues of support for the Oakland Zoo.

Oakland’s Murals – Restoring our Community Through Art

Andre “Natty Rebel” Jones

Timothy B.

Timothy B.

Hear the stories of how Oakland’s murals of anger, boldness, hurt, sorrow, memories and hope have surfaced during the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests.  Our guests, Timothy B and Andre “Natty Rebel” Jones from the Bay Area Mural Program, will share their personal stories of how they use art and murals to heal, celebrate and make our community stronger.

Bridging the Educational Equity Gap

Lakisha Young,  Executive Director of The Oakland REACH

Lakisha Young,  Executive Director of The Oakland REACH, will be speaking about The Oakland REACH City-Wide Virtual Family Hub, their biggest and boldest step yet to address systemic issues related to educational equity and access in Oakland.

Oakland REACH is a grassroots organization that has had over 5,000 1:1 meetings with underserved families in Oakland’s flatlands, provided leadership and development for over 350 Oakland district and charter families, and led two successful campaigns to increase access to quality education for our families.

Alameda County Contact Tracing: What is it and How Can You Help

Dr. Nicholas Moss, Acting Director for Alameda County Public Health Department

Have you been wondering what everyone is talking about when they mention contact tracing as it relates to COVID-19?

Join us as the Acting Director for the Alameda County Public Health Department’s (ACPHD) Communicable Disease Control and Prevention Division, Dr. Nicholas Moss, leads a discussion ACPHD’s plans for contact tracing as the county begins to open up after the shelter-in-place order.

The Lasting Impact of the Black Panther Party

Judy Juanita, Poet, Novelist, Playwright

Lise Pearlman, Rotarian, Author and Former Judge

Former judge and renowned author Lise Pearlman will be interviewing Judy Juanita, poet, novelist, and playwright, who was an active foot soldier in the party from 1967-1969.

Reading into History with East Bay Yesterday

Liam O’Donoghue, Host of the East Bay Yesterday podcast

Looking for some good books to get you through the Coronavirus quarantine? Liam O’Donoghue, host of the East Bay Yesterday podcast, will be sharing some of his favorite Bay Area reading recommendations. Expect a wide-ranging mix of local stories covering everything from nature and food to cults and poets. Feel free to bring your recommendations to share as well!  

East Bay Food and Dining in the Wake of Coronavirus

Kathryn Bowen, NOSH Contributor at Berkeleyside

What’s coming next in the East Bay food scene, especially in Oakland? Kathryn Bowen, freelance NOSH contributor at Berkeleyside, will take an interdisciplinary look at COVID-19’s implications for the restaurant industry, hunger-relief organizations, and food-adjacent industries, including third-party delivery platforms. 

Hayward Fault’s Next Royal Rumble

Dr. Peggy Hellweg, Berkeley Seismology Lab

Earthquakes are a part of life living in the Bay Area, but for Dr. Peggy Hellweg they are much more. Dr. Hellweg works at the Berkeley Seismology Lab and lead a discussion on the Hayward Fault that lies in our backyard.

Eye on the Sky

Ronnie Williams, Air Traffic Specialist

Ronnie Williams, one of our local Air Traffic Specialists, will lead a discussion on the aviation industry, his experience directing traffic, and the issues that can abound in high-stress environments.


Playing with Fire at The Crucible

Susan Mernit, Director

The Crucible, a nonprofit organization and art school. The Crucible focuses it’s work on the accessibility of maker arts to all ages, backgrounds, and abilities in Oakland and the East Bay. 
Susan Mernit will lead a discussion about how glass, metal, clay, and wood can provide a conduit for over 8,000 people a year to learn and practice industrial arts at The Crucible.  These skills can have a wide range of effects from developing new passions, foundational learning for future careers, to a stronger sense of self-confidence.

The Changing Face of Oakland

William Gilchrist, City of Oakland’s Planning and Development Director
lead a conversation about all those cranes and what the future of Oakland’s skyline looks like. 

Oakland’s Measure DD

Accomplishments & Next Steps  Measure DD was a bond measure funding projects including parks, trails, bridges, improvements to the path & landscaping around Lake Merritt, a recreation center, historic building renovations, land acquisition, and creek restoration.

Oakland A’s – Where and When?

One of the top executives from the Oakland Athletics will share their plans
for the building of the new stadium home of our Oakland A’s, and their plans for the team

Getting Around Oakland – What is the Plan?

A review of many growing transportation options in Oakland, featuring a discussion panel including Ryan Russo, Director of Transportation for the City of Oakland.

East Bay Yesterday

Podcast Creator – Liam O’Donoghue 

​Revisit Oakland – A Fresh Look

Ben Taylor, Visit Oakland and Andrew Jones, Downtown Oakland Association

Andrew Jones of the Downtown Oakland Association and Ben Taylor from Visit Oakland provide insights on placemaking activities that make Oakland a better destination, as well as a place to live.

Don’t Paint Me into a Corner

Sage, Executive Director of Dragon School

Chances are, you’ve passed by their work, but who are the artists at the Dragon School? The Dragon School’s goal is to paint murals throughout Oakland to unite the businesses, artists, and community together for a more beautiful neighborhood. 

Lights! Camera! Action! How Oakland is a Film Star!

Jim MacIlvaine, Special Events Coordinator / Oakland Film Office

Our inaugural speaker Jim MacIlvaine, Special Events Coordinator + Oakland Film Office, will share how Oakland is becoming a hot location for movies and stories.