Movers and Shakers

September Movers and Shakers

Eight high achievers on our radar this month, from Bay Area heavyweights to the next generation shaking things up

By Nicole Stock

Dave Perlman

After 77 years at the San Francisco Chronicle, the science writer known in the newsroom as “Dr. Dave”—and believed to be the oldest working reporter in the world—has officially retired. Perlman, who turns 99 in December, joined the Chronicle as a copy boy in 1940 and, as a writer, covered important pivotal episodes in American history, from the moon landing to nuclear weapons and the Cold War to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. According to the paper, he’ll keep a desk there while he freelances on occasion and works on his memoirs. “I don’t go to Valencia Street and am not into the food revolution,” Perlman told the Gazette’s Jennifer Blot last year. “I’ve been told that the city has gone crazy, but it has no effect on my life—I still go to the same supermarket I’ve been going to for 50 years.”

Shabnam Koirala-Azad

Congrats to the longtime University of San Francisco faculty member on her recent appointment as dean of the School of Education—the first woman to serve in that position since 1947. After earning her PhD in social and cultural education studies from UC Berkeley, Koirala-Azad joined USF as an associate professor in 2005. During her tenure, she has been instrumental in the development of multicultural and social justice studies, co-founding the first-ever master’s program and doctoral focus in Human Rights Education. “Our work is especially significant in this moment,” she said. “At a time of division, fragmentation and attacks on the very communities we seek to serve, the School of Education stands strong in its vision of promoting equity, unity and cohesion.”

Mark and Priscilla Zuckerberg

The billionaire philanthropists are donating $10 million to UCSF’s Institute of Computational Health Sciences as part of an effort to advance health using big data. Their donation will fund a project to streamline patient data from electronic health records stored separately at five UC medical centers, including UCSF, UCLA and UC Davis. The Facebook founder and his wife, a graduate of the UCSF School of Medicine, singled out Atul Butte, the visionary physician-scientist who runs the Institute, to be anointed the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg Distinguished Professor at the university. Last year, the Silicon Valley power couple pledged a whopping $3 billion over the span of the next decade to cure and treat disease through their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Nicola Luisotti

The Tuscany-born music director at the San Francisco Opera  steps down from his post after the 2017–2018 season, and will be honored at the 2017 Opera Ball. For good reason: Maestro since 2009, Luisotti made his debut in 2005 with Verdi’s La Forza del Destino and has conducted more than 40 operas and concerts. On September 8, the night of the Opera’s biggest bash, he will supervise a performance of Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot with an impressive cast featuring Martina Serafin, Maria Agresta and Brian Jagde. “I’m very proud of the work we have accomplished during my time with San Francisco Opera—it will certainly be an emotional year for me,” Luisotti declared back in January, adding: “I believe strongly in our Company and that we will continue to make extraordinary music each night.”

Kendra Frisbie

The president of DECASO, a new marketplace for design aficionados, hails from a 12-year stint at McGuire Furniture, where she worked as general manager. Ready to tackle a new challenge, she joined Anna and Gregg Brockway’s six-month-old digital hub, seizing an opportunity to revolutionize the way designers and tastemakers source modern and antique pieces. “Every dealer, every designer, every piece on the site has an incredible story,” muses Frisbie. “The history these pieces span and opportunity to be enthralled is limitless.” Frisbie’s career philosophy: “Do what you love, and it doesn’t feel like work. Not only do you learn about something you are passionate about, but you meet inspiring, like-minded people.”

Tina Lam and Michael Cheng

Talk about a move that shook people up! The San Jose pair purchased Presidio Terrace—a private street laced with multimillion-dollar mansions—for $90,100, a price on par with the cars one might find parked curbside. The jaw-dropping news—uncovered by Phil Matier and Andy Ross—made national headlines. After 30 years of delinquent $14 tax payments sent the property to auction in 2015, Lam and Cheng snapped up the tony street, sidewalks and shrubs, and have since been quietly considering their options, including charging residents rent on the street’s 120 parking spaces. Blindsided homeowners, now mobilized, have petitioned the Board of Supervisors to rescind the sale. The saga continues…

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