Movers and Shakers

Movers and Shakers

by Erin Carlson

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


Alexis Ohanian

This San Franciscan has got it going on.  Sure, he co-founded Reddit, the self-professed “front page of the internet.” Sure, venture capitalists have valued the site at $500 million. Sure, he’s guided and invested in 100-plus tech startups like hipmunk, Instacart and Zenefits. Sure, he’s the best-selling author of Without Their Permission, a manual for aspiring entrepreneurs. But what truly makes Ohanian eligible for our recognition? Over the holidays he asked girlfriend Serena Williams—one of the world’s greatest athletes and a goddess among mere mortals—to marry him. And she said yes. Bravo, Alexis, well done, you win at life.

Christina Choi

Props to Choi on the opening of her new makeup studio and showroom in Union Square.  She launched her line, Christina Choi Cosmetics, in 2012 following successful stints at Bare Escentuals and MAC, where she spent nearly eight years. Striking out on her own, she cultivated customers with an empowering message: Celebrate your unique beauty. “It has been a privilege to be included in so many womens’ lives,” she said. “It is a responsibility I don’t take lightly. I want to make sure they have the best-quality products that are versatile, multi-functional and long lasting.” We’re all about the Island Orchid eyeshadow, a purple-y blue, and the Girls’ Night Out gloss, a cheeky red for lips.

Chris Columbus

On February 9th, the Friends of the SF Film Commission will bestow the filmmaker (Home Alone, Stepmom, the first two Harry Potter movies) with its first-ever Robin Williams Award For Excellence in Entertainment.  Williams died nearly two and a half years ago, and Columbus—who directed him in the blockbuster comedy Mrs. Doubtfire—remarked of the loss, “We were friends for 21 years. Our children grew up together. He inspired us to spend our lives in San Francisco, and I loved him like a brother.” The Pacific Heights resident is also a screenwriter whose credits include Gremlins, The Goonies and Nine Months.

Dorka Keehn

The Golden State Warriors have hired Keehn to commission public art by fellow artists for the team’s arena upgrade in Mission Bay. The complex, slated to open in 2019, stands to benefit from her special touch: She collaborated with Brian Goggins on the North Beach sculpture Language of the Birds (picture a flock of airborne books) and helped raise $8 million to make Leo Villareal’s dazzling Bay Lights show a fixture of the city’s skyline. “I’ve always been interested in the individual’s ability to effect change,” said Keehn, daughter of banker Grant Keehn. “I was raised by a father who was a product of the American dream and taught me that if I worked hard, I could achieve whatever I wanted to.”

Helen Diller

This is a special tribute to the committed philanthropist, who died in January 2015 after serving as president of The Helen Diller Family Foundation, which focused on education, science and the arts. In 2003, she and husband Sanford Diller, with whom she owned the Prometheus Real Estate Group and had three children, donated $35 million to support the Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC San Francisco. Last month, the family outdid themselves by pledging a record $500 million to the campus in Diller’s honor. “It’s never too late, too early, or too often to give back and make the world a better place,” Diller has said.

Krista Coupar and Kay Evans

Meet the duo behind Decorum, an online marketplace for interior designers to share one-of-a-kind pieces from private collections that haven’t been made available to the public. Recently, the industry has “relied more heavily on retail furnishings and fixtures,” Evans said. “To revive the fine art of design, we’ve created a community for designers who value the craftsmanship and rich history of antique, vintage, and bespoke decor.” Chiming in, Coupar, founder of Coupar Consulting, added, “A retail casegood, although beautiful, doesn’t tell a story. A 19th-century French armoire that was hand selected by a nationally-renowned interior designer for a notable San Francisco family’s estate does.”

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