Autumn 2017 Seminar Speakers
Noah Budnick is the Director of Public Policy & Government Affairs for Zendrive. He introduced the “Vision Zero” concept to the U.S., which posits that all traffic deaths and serious injuries are preventable. As part of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s transition team, he helped develop the first Vision Zero policy in America. Noah has championed policies to improve communities through the introduction of safe city speed limits, protected bike lanes and “play streets." He also conducted the first U.S. research to demonstrate the “safety in numbers” effect – that increased numbers of walkers and bikers lead to fewer casualties. Before Zendrive, Noah served as Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Deputy Director of Transportation Alternatives in NYC. His roots in active transportation go back to high school, where he convinced his physical education teachers to let him start a mountain biking club in lieu of going to gym class.
Julia Grinkrug is an architect, holding Masters of Urban Design from Harvard University. Her main interests are exploring architectural agency through academic-community partnerships that proactively intervene in urban processes, promoting equity, empathy and awareness. She is currently teaching at the Academy of Arts University, collaborating with non-profits such as Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, Hope SF, and Asian Neighborhood Design. One of the initiatives, she is involved in, is the Pop-Up Resource Village that aims to provide mobile services to resource-dilapidated neighborhoods. Her course, called Programming and Culture, focuses on design strategies at the intersection of behavioral studies, anthropology, and environmental psychology.
Jane Yeonjae Lee, Ph.D. is a Visiting Scholar at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. Prior to joining Shorenstein APARC, she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Northeastern University working in a global comparative project on exploring sustainable mobilities policies. Jane is an interdisciplinary qualitative researcher and her research revolves around transnationalism and migration, skilled mobilities, and sustainable policies. In particular, she is interested in understanding the mobile (and marginalized) experiences of migratory groups, and how the particular mobilities of people and ideas may affect the places that are involved. Her work has been featured in academic journals such as Health and Place, and New Zealand Geographer. She has also contributed to key texts in the field of Geography including Elgar Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility, Researching the Lifecourse: Critical reflections from the social sciences, and Contemporary Ethnic Geographies in America. Jane holds a PhD and BA(Hons) in Geography from the University of Auckland.
Rich Lechner is a Managing Partner at The INSIGHT Group where he has spent 30+ years helping organizations leverage technology to address critical business challenges and to change the way the world works. He held senior executive positions in development, sales and marketing in a career that spanned the breadth of the IT industry from software to systems to services. As vice president of Energy & Environment at IBM, he launched a business segment which grew to $4B across a portfolio that included energy efficient IT, intelligent buildings, smart urban infrastructure, and optimization of operations. He led IBM’s internal initiative that resulted in an estimated $180M in annual IT energy savings. Rich was an adjunct professor at Columbia University's Earth Institute for Environmental Sustainability. Now a lecturer at Stanford University, his Smart Cities & Communities courses explore the power of data & technology to improve the efficiency of urban systems, the efficacy of public services, and the resiliency of communities.
Diana Miller is the Seniors’ Agenda Project Director with the Department of Aging and Adult Services for Santa Clara County, California. She oversees the County’s initiative for becoming the first county with all 15 cities getting the World Health Organization’s Age-friendly designation. Previously, she was the Community Outreach Director for a San Jose City Councilmember. Her nonprofit experience includes serving as Executive Director of two nonprofits: People Acting in Community Together, (PACT) and the Tenderloin Senior Organizing Project in San Francisco. Her experience working with older adults has been in a wide variety of settings including an inpatient geriatric psychiatric unit of a hospital, skilled nursing home and low income senior housing. She has also served as a consultant, trainer and facilitator to grass roots organizations. She holds a M.A. from Wheaton College and a B.A. from the University of Kansas.
Samuel Sinyangwe is a policy analyst and data scientist who works with communities of color to fight systemic racism through cutting-edge policies and strategies. Sam supports movement activists across the country to collect and use data as a tool for fighting police violence through Mapping Police Violence and to advance policy solutions to address this issue through Campaign Zero. Previously, Sam worked at PolicyLink to support communities in building cradle-to-career systems of support for low-income families. He graduated from Stanford University in 2012.
Michael Steep is Adjunct Professor and Executive Director of the Stanford Global Projects Center's Digital Cities Program. Michael is also former Senior Vice President of Global Business Operations for the PARC innovation center in Palo Alto, California. He has over two decades of operating experience managing global P&L's, sales, digital marketing, strategy, business development, and strategic alliances for Microsoft, Lexmark (IBM), Apple, and HP. Mr. Steep’s team at Apple launched the first digital camera. Today, he works with commercial clients on transforming their industry and company business models by leveraging emerging technologies - big data, predictive analytics, cloud, mobile, and privacy. He also serves on the Smart City London Board and is Contributing Editor for Forbes writing articles on digital cities, disruptive technologies, and executive leadership. Mr. Steep’s passion is corporate transformation through effective leadership and practical approaches to innovation. He has worked extensively at Microsoft and PARC with executives from companies crossing multiple industries including Aerospace, Healthcare, Pharma, and Automotive. He works with the top Innovation and R&D executives from companies including Airbus, BMW, Google, Merck, BP, and Booz Allen. Mr. Steep’s MBA is from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, and he has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Digital Business at Imperial College London.
Preeti Talwai is a User Experience Researcher at Google, leveraging qualitative design research to study the human experience of machine intelligence, and other technologies, to shape future consumer products. Previously, she was a researcher at X, the company's R&D lab, where her work helped vet early-stage projects in various domains through an understanding of human needs and behaviors. Prior to entering the tech industry, she worked in design research in workplace, retail, and healthcare. Preeti holds a Master of Environmental Design from the Yale School of Architecture, where her research critically examined the impact that technology has on the social experience of public space and the act of consumption. She holds a B.A. in Architecture from the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design, where she was a 2011 Berkeley Prize Design Fellow, was awarded her department's Thesis Prize, and received the university's highest undergraduate research honor - the Library Prize. Preeti has taught architectural history at Yale and has spoken at conferences in Stanford, Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Vancouver. Her research and drawings, as well as her creative writing, appear in books and journals across different disciplines.
Ahmad Wani is an earthquake researcher by training. He was named by the Forbes magazine as one of the world's top thirty innovators, in its Forbes 30 under 30 edition in January 2016. Earlier in his career, he performed structural design and risk analysis for power plants for the Central Government of India. Ahmad holds a graduate degree in Structural and Earthquake Engineering from Stanford University.
Flora Wang is a junior at Stanford, studying Symbolic Systems. Having been born and raised in San Francisco/Daly City, she has seen some of the changes and injustices that are associated with displacement and has become interested in how to address this issue. She worked with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project (AEMP) during this past summer with the Haas Urban Summer Fellowship. At the AEMP, she worked on a few different projects, including one on the Black Exodus out of San Francisco and one about subsidized housing in San Francisco.