Movers and ShakersPersonalities

Movers and Shakers in San Francisco

By Julissa James

High achievers on our radar this month, from Bay Area heavyweights to the next generation of power players.

Michael Pace

Illustration by Olivia Wise.

The hotelier wasted no time updating his LinkedIn profile to match his latest (and dare we say greatest) gig: general manager of the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins. Pace began his San Francisco career at the Nob Hill institution 20 years ago, holding positions at the Clift Hotel, W Hotel and Kimpton hotel group before returning to the place where classic charm is served on a silver platter. “I look at my career as this evolving path that combines my professional and personal responsibilities,” he says in a statement. “For me it is not just about running a business — it is about giving back to the community.” Isn’t it satisfying when things finally come full circle?

Deanna Van Buren

Illustration by Olivia Wise.

Oakland’s activist-architect has been awarded the 2018 Berkeley-Rupp Professorship and Prize for her dedication to community and equity — a recognition both well deserved and many years in the making for Van Buren. In her 2017 TED Talk, she describes being sent home from school as a child for punching a class-mate who called her a racial slur. This prompted the then-5-year-old to build what she called “the healing hut,” a sunlight-drenched refuge made from sticks and blankets where restorative justice replaced punitive punishment. This was an early prototype for the peacemaking, restorative justice and economic centers that drive her career today, including Restore Oakland, a support haven for those who have gone through the system. Here’s to doing the work!

Joni Binder

Illustration by Olivia Wise.

With a new lieutenant governor (Eleni Kounalakis), comes a new arts program, and with a new Arts Program comes a new curator. Enter Binder, the San Francisco-based cultural tastemaker, whom Kounalakis recruited to helm the photography-focused initiative. The program will capture the essence of California through the works of Bay Area artists and university students to be displayed in Kounalakis’ Sacramento office. Binder has had a long career in the arts, both philanthropically with initiatives like Turnaround Arts, and in the trenches, as documented in her book, Mile 46: Face to Face in Masaailand. She says of her most recent opportunity: “I think I’ve blown out a lot of birthday candles wishing for a way to marry my interests in art and public service, and a little wax genie finally came through.”

Daniel Weisz

Illustration by Olivia Wise.

The assistant professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley looks to the stars for answers. He can’t predict your best match, dearest Scorpio, or what kind of year you can expect, anxious Aries — but he can drop some serious knowledge about dark matter and local group galaxies. The American Astronomical Society honored Weisz with its 2019 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize for his research on star-formation patterns in dwarf galaxies. “By counting up all the stars of different ages in a galaxy, it’s possible to reconstruct a galaxy’s star-formation history — that is, how many stars formed at a given time — over the entire history of the universe,” he explains in a statement. Now that’s what we call star quality! (OK, OK, we’ll stop.)

Anthea Hartig

Illustration by Olivia Wise.

Already a bona fide force in SF’s art realm, Hartig sets her sights on D.C. as she steps into her new role as Elizabeth MacMillan Director for the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum this month. As if that wasn’t reason enough to celebrate, she’s also the first woman in the institution’s long history to hold the coveted position. As the California Historical Society’s dynamic leader of seven years, Hartig’s experience managing major projects has well equipped her for what she calls the pinnacle of her career with the Smithsonian. She will navigate a nearly $50 million budget, 262 employees and a collection of 1.8 million objects — a big job, but with her track record, we’re not worried!

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