Six high achievers on our radar this month, from Bay Area heavyweights to the next generation shaking things up.
The ex-White House adviser and current Uber board member plunked down a cool $7.6 million for a seven-bedroom, 6,000-square-foot home that straddles Pacific Heights and the Presidio. Chateau Plouffe, built in 1903, has more than enough space for wife Olivia Morgan and their two kids. Plouffe was the campaign manager for President Barack Obama’s 2008 victory. He hitched a ride with Uber in 2014, and transitioned from an executive to advisory role the next year.
Full name: Franklin P. Johnson Jr., but friends call him “Pitch.” Last month, the San Francisco Opera Guild honored the former SF Opera chairman with a glitzy black-tie affair attended by A-listers galore. Johnson, who’s on the faculty at Stanford Graduate School of Business, was one of the earliest venture capitalists to work in Silicon Valley. He began his extraordinary career in 1962 when he cofounded the VC firm Draper & Johnson with pal Bill Draper. Three years later, he went solo to found Asset Management Company.
Carole Shorenstein Hays
The theatrical producer has reopened the 1,650-seat Curran Theater following a two-year renovation that updates the lobbies and adds three new bars and carpeting. To kick things off, Hays is bringing Broadway musical Fun Home here for a run from January 25 to February 19. The Curran “served as a second home for me during my childhood here in San Francisco,” said Hays, who set out to honor the theater’s rich heritage while giving it a 21st-century makeover.
This young San Francisco event planner made an immediate splash when she launched her company MartiniBird a few years ago. Miller, who’s got entrepreneurial DNA as a descendant of the creators of Folgers Coffee and the Sonoma Land Trust, landed an impressive roster of techie clients. Among them: Jessica Lessin, founder and editor in chief of The Information; Sherpa Capital billionaire Shervin Pishevar; and Mark Zuckerberg’s immigration-reform outfit FWD.us.
The SF jewelry designer and New Orleans native’s successful nonprofit, KiraKira, aims to shrink the gender gap in engineering and tech with 3D printing classes for girls. They “come to KiraKira and learn how to make things that they want, things they use in their everyday lives, things like iPhone cases, skateboards, or a pair of flip-flops,” Somersall said. “Design-thinking is at the beginning: We encourage girls to ask ‘How will I make my iPhone case different? What will make it distinctively mine? How will it be better?’”
The Facebook and Apple alum’s seed-investment firm, Slow Ventures, which began as a hobby with co-founders Kevin Colleran and Sam Lessin, recently announced a new $145 million early-stage fund. It’s supported startups including Dropbox, Slack, Pinterest and Hinge. “Pressure from investors to grow fast and monetize faster can lead to bad decision making and bad outcomes. That’s not how we do business,” said Morin (married to lifestyle entrepreneur Brit Morin).