Rusty Selix Kunal Merchant
Linda Myers Greg Lucas
Sean Bianco
(Top) Rusty Selix, Kunal Merchant
(Middle) Linda Joy Myers, Greg Lucas
(Bottom) Sean Bianco


Friday, 3 to 4 p.m., Campus Locations

Following the afternoon seminars each Friday, an "open forum" is held from 3-4 p.m.

The Forum features invited speakers of note, usually from outside Renaissance, who share their views on varied topics with members, followed by lively question-and-answer sessions. The locations vary depending on CSUS availability, so check below. The speakers and locations can change due to campus scheduling, so check here right before each Forum.

Feb. 6: Rusty Selix, Executive Director, Mental Health America of California
Del Norte 1004
Emerging Mental Health Issues for the New Senior: Access to Treatment. Rusty Selix has headed the Mental Health Association of California (now known as Mental Health America of California) since 1993. He was the author of Proposition 63, which enacted a millionaire tax to fund mental health in 2004. It was his idea in 2001 and he guided the three-year effort, primarily as the executive director of the California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies, a statewide association of nonprofit publicly funded mental health providers for which he has served since 1986. He is an attorney who previously worked for local government and has been a leading expert and advocate regarding state and local policy and finance since the 1970s.
Feb. 13: Adriana Saltonstall, former Director of state Department of Transportation
Del Norte 1004
Arenaphobe. In 1976, then-new Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Adriana Gianturco to head the California Department of Transportation, known to all as Caltrans. She had been educated at Smith College, UC Berkeley and Harvard graduate school, with jobs in urban planning and transportation under her belt. She was the first female transportation director in the United States. She left after the first Brown administration. She married John Saltonstall, an attorney, who died in 2007, and now uses her married name. She became very active in non-profit organizations, including the ACLU. Now she does "a mish-mash of things," mostly fixing up and selling old homes, learning Italian (her father was born there) and traveling.
Feb. 20: Kunal Merchant, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for the Sacramento Kings
Ballroom III, University Union
The Sacramento Kings and Downtown Development. Kunal's special focus is advancing progress on the new downtown entertainment and sports complex scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. In his previous role as executive director of Think BIG Sacramento, Kunal served as Mayor Kevin Johnson's chief advisor in developing the a $477 million public-private finance arena plan and facilitating sale of the franchise to the new ownership group led by Vivek Ranadivé. From 2008 to 2012, he was Chief of Staff to Mayor Johnson. He played a central role in mobilizing political, corporate and community support for the Kings and new arena. He also served as the mayor’s primary liaison on all economic development, fiscal, governance and policy initiatives. Prior to his time in Sacramento, Kunal worked in management consulting, education, health care and economic development. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with an AB in Economics and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Feb. 27: Nancy Brownell, Senior Fellow, California Board of Education
Redwood Room, University Union
Common Core in California. Nancy Brownell will provide the latest information regarding the California Common Core Standards. The state Board of Education adopted the standards in 2010, and they will be the basis for statewide assessment for the first time this spring. Nancy is the state board's Senior Fellow on the Local Control and Accountability Team. She has many years of experience as a teacher, administrator, and educational leader, supporting the goals of increased student achievement and equity for all students. She has taught at all levels, kindergarten through university, and has administrative experience and expertise in implementing standards-based curricular and instructional programs, developing assessments, and coaching district and school teams. She was Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services at the Sonoma County Office of Education and is also a school board member in Rescue.
March 6: Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D., President of the National Association of Memoir Writers
Del Norte 1004
Write Your Legacy—The Story of your Life for Your Children and Grandchildren. The story of your unique and special life is a gift to family members. Think about the many changes that have occurred during your lifetime, what you have learned, and the history that is a part of you. Writing your memoir for your descendants is an act of generosity and love. Myers will talk about the inspiration to write, the tools you need, and how to get started. She has been a therapist for 35 years. Her memoir, Don't Call Me Mother: A Daughter's Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness was a finalist in the ForeWord Book of the Year Award, a finalist in the IndieExcellence Awards, and received Honorable Mention in the New York Book Awards. She is the author of three books on memoir writing: The Power of Memoir: How to Write Your Healing Story, Journey of Memoir, and Becoming Whole. She writes for the Huffington Post, and co-teaches the program Write Your Memoir in Six Months.
March 13: Greg Lucas, California State Librarian
Redwood Room, Union
Libraries in the 21st Century. Lucas a year ago was appointed State Librarian by Gov. Jerry Brown. After earning a bachelor's degree from Stanford University and a master's degree from the University of Southern California, Lucas spent nearly 20 years as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, covering politics and government as a member of the paper's Capitol bureau. More recently, Lucas was a senior editor at Capital Weekly, and he created and wrote about state politics on California's Capital, an Internet blog. In his new role as State Librarian, he oversees one of the most comprehensive history collections in the country, consisting of artifacts, books, documents and maps of California dating from 1540 to the present. Lucas' role also involves advocating for literacy and librarians for the state's 1,185 libraries. He is a board member of Friends of the California Archives.
March 20: Sandy Smoley, former state Secretary of the Health and Welfare Agency and former Chair of the California Medical Assistance Commission
Del Norte 1004
Changes in Health Care and the Repercussions. Sandy Smoley has been an important and familiar player in Sacramento and state government circles for more than 30 years. After a 20-year stint on the Sacramento Board of Supervisors, she was chosen by Gov. Pete Wilson to head the State and Consumer Services Agency, then as secretary of the vast Health and Welfare Agency, where she spent over six years managing that bureaucracy. Smoley was selected in 1999 by Wilson to head the California Medical Assistance Commission, negotiating contracts for in-patient hospital services to Medi-Cal beneficiaries. She is currently president of her own firm, consulting to hospitals, HMOs and health corporations.
March 27:
Spring Break No Forum.
Apr. 3: Dr. Jan Nolta, Director of UC Davis Stem Cell Program for Regenerative Medicine
Ballroom III, University Union
Apr. 10: Michael Anderson, State Climatologist, California Department of Water Resources
Del Norte 1004
Drought, Climate and Change. Dr. Anderson has been with DWR's Flood Management Forecasting Section since 2005. He entered state service after extensive graduate and post-graduate work at the University of California, Davis, in hydroclimate modeling and monitoring. His experience includes research and studies involving hydrologic and atmospheric models and field studies. Anderson has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from UC Davis.NOTE: Speaker Change!
Apr. 17: Sean Bianco, Host of Capital Public Radio's At The Opera
Del Norte 1004
Opera 101. Sean Bianco has performed with the Los Angeles Opera and the opera companies of Stockton, Sacramento and Orange County. He has also appeared as a soloist with the Stockton, Sacramento, Napa and Merced symphonies. Sean has conducted children's musical theater, as well as the Sacramento Opera Chorus in concerts. His conducting credits also include Davis Comic Opera, Runaway Stage, Capitol Opera, Orange County Lyric Opera and Light Opera Theater of Sacramento and Verismo Opera. Sean joined Capital Public Radio as an on-air announcer in 1998. In addition to local audiences, At the Opera is enjoyed by a world-wide audience via the Internet. Sean plays vintage opera recordings from the 78-record era and new releases as well. Sean is a voice and violin teacher and is currently a rehearsal conductor for the Sacramento Youth Symphony. Sean lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills with his lovely and supportive wife Paula..
Apr. 24: Nancy McFadden, Executive Secretary to the Governor
Ballroom III, Union
Nancy McFadden was appointed Executive Secretary for Legislation, Appointments, and Policy in the Office of Gov. Jerry Brown. She was senior vice president at PG&E from 2005 to 2010. Previously, McFadden served as senior advisor to Gov. Gray Davis from 2001 to 2003, deputy chief of staff for the Office of the Vice President from 2000 to 2001, and general counsel for the U.S. Department of Transportation from 1996 to 2000.
May 1:
No Forum.