Movers and Shakers

Movers and Shakers on the Peninsula

Illustrations by Olivia Wise

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

Sukey Bryan

The environmental artist, who found her niche in nature’s ecosystem, will judge the Pacific Art League’s May exhibition on landscapes, Into the Wild. Bryan finds a great deal of inspiration in her own backyard — which, in her case, is the Stanford campus, where she lives with her scientist husband and two children. “Nature seemed to be the place that was most flexible that I could really put the most variety of emotions and ideas into,” the photographer and painter tells the Gazette. “It just kind of opened up things for me.” And since the Yale grad moved to California in 1997, local institutions have prominently displayed her work. Bryan was Grace Cathedral’s 2018 artist in residence, focusing on climate change. Her Sky Front photograph hangs on the Palo Alto Art Center’s forward-facing windows and courtyard, and her public piece Break Around is now on view at Berkeley’s Brower Center. Of this month’s Into the Wild, she says: “I’m excited to look at each piece and see how it hits.”

Sindhu Peruri

The Los Altos designer, known for blending South Asian influences with elegant basics, transformed Le Petit Trianon’s Oak Room for the San Francisco Decorators Showcase on display through Memorial Day weekend. Peruri’s design philosophy is informed by her upbringing in India, where, she says, her textile merchant grandfather exposed her to “exquisite hand-loomed saris blended from silk, cotton and metallic threads.” She’s since become well-known for commissioning bespoke artisan pieces for her clients, and contrasting them with cool California staples. Her namesake firm, Peruri Design Company, is one of dozens that reimagined the mini-mansion on 3800 Washington Street for a great cause: Now in its 42nd year, the popular Showcase has raised a collective $16 million (and counting) for San Francisco University High School’s financial aid program.

Rich Karlgaard

In his new book, Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement, the Forbes publisher and Stanford alum is speaking to the parents of a generation frozen by FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), riddled with success anxiety and convinced they’ll expire by age 30 in a first-and-fast society. Steve Forbes praises Karlgaard’s timely tome as a “profoundly important book,” while Arianna Huffington says it “shines a much-needed light on an essential human truth.” In Karlgaard’s view, it’s a road map for Bay Area parents who want to see their kids flourish without cracking under the pressure of imaginary timelines. In defense of the “under-looked and underestimated,” the writer will discuss his own slow but steady rise to the top at Kepler’s in Menlo Park on May 14.

Tara VanDerveer

The Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame has finally inducted the dynamic coach for leading Stanford women’s basketball to record-breaking success over the last three decades. It’s yet another achievement for VanDerveer, who also made the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011 and 2002, respectively. VanDerveer’s storied career spans more than 1,000 wins, including pre-Stanford stints at The Ohio State University and the University of Idaho. With this latest recognition, she’s in good company: former Giants pitcher Dave Dravecky and NBA All-Star Jason Kidd join VanDerveer in BASHOF’s 2019 class. They’ll be celebrated at an enshrinement banquet in SF on May 2.

Ben Diachun

The Palo Alto aerospace company Opener has crowned this industry innovator as its new president. Diachun arrives there a seasoned veteran, having worked his way up from design engineer to president during his 16 years at Scaled Composites in Mojave. It’s also a homecoming of sorts for Diachun, who earned his master of science degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford. “As Opener’s president, my goal is to take what has been accomplished by this amazing team to the next level and successfully bring a safe and affordable flying vehicle to market,” he says. In his new position, Diachun will work closely with founder and CEO Marcus Leng, the brains behind BlackFly, “the world’s first all-electric fixed-wing personal ultralight vertical take-off and landing vehicle” — a technology that, according to Diachun, has made Opener a leader in its field.

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