Movers and Shakers

November Movers and Shakers

Illustrations by Iris Lei

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

Kofi Frimpong and William Lee

It’s not every day that you get to snap a selfie with the inimitable Will Smith — or score $10,000 of his money. But that’s exactly what happened to Kofi Frimpong, co-founder of the startup Socionado, when Smith announced an impromptu “elevator pitch” contest at TechCrunch Disrupt 2019 while promoting his latest film, Gemini Man. Frimpong delivered a 40-second presentation on the main stage that was so on-point, so inspired, that Jaden and Willow’s dad couldn’t help but invest. Socionado, which Frimpong co-founded with William Lee, provides a custom branding team to help companies showcase their cultures through social media. Harnessing the power of Instagram is something Smith (handle: @willsmith) can appreciate — follow the superstar at once if you aren’t already. However, it was Frimpong’s skilled delivery and confidence that made him a standout in the startup pack.

Huey Lewis

Huey Lewis has got news: After opening up about his ongoing battle with hearing loss, the Huey Lewis and the News frontman has bounced back with a fresh single, “Her Love Is Killin’ Me.” Recorded at Trout Farm Studios in San Rafael, the track evokes the jazzy nostalgia of the Bay Area band’s reigning decade (the ’80s!) without losing its modernity and cool. And despite his daily struggle with Meniere’s disease — a condition that led to the cancellation of the band’s 2018 tour — Lewis’ voice remains on key and unbelievably catchy, still managing to stick to your subconscious like glue. “We’re very proud of our new songs and wanted to share with our fans, in spite of my limitations,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Her Love Is Killin’ Me” is the first taste of the band’s full-length album to come in 2020 — its first project in over 10 years.

Jay Xu

Hats off to Asian Art Museum Director and CEO Dr. Jay Xu, who helped raise $100 million in private donations as part of the institution’s For All campaign. With the newly acquired funds, the museum is on track to open its Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion and East West Bank Art Terrace by April 2020. The pavilion’s namesake power couple continued the momentum by sponsoring a $1 million challenge grant following the good news. The expansion will be inaugurated with an interactive exhibition from the cutting-edge Tokyo-based arts collective teamLab; the terrace, meanwhile, will feature signature installations throughout. “The ongoing success of this campaign expresses the tremendous generosity of our stakeholders. It represents their deep esteem for the museum as well as their passion for everything we’re doing to enhance the visitor experience.”

Jerry Rice

In signing off on Rice’s new book, America’s Game: The NFL at 100, Detroit Lions Hall of Famer Barry Sanders refers to the famed wide receiver by his nickname, the GOAT. If you’re not fluent in internet, hip-hop or sports terminology, that’s an acronym for “Greatest of AllTime.” He’s not wrong. Rice is Bay Area sports royalty, having won three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers and an AFC Championship with the Oakland Raiders during his 20-year career. Now, he has literally written the book on the league with longtime sports writer Randy O. Williams, and is coming to Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park on November 9 for a signing. In America’s Game, Rice chronicles a century of transformation for the NFL, from its humble beginnings to a multibillion-dollar industry with its share of controversy.

Helena Zaludova

Many know her as one of San Francisco’s most prominent luxury real estate brokers, but as it turns out, Helena Zaludova’s good sense also extends to scents. Her newest venture, a diffuser for the home that she’s named Hyascent, is an incredibly chic, hourglass-shaped contraption that recently went public after years of hard work behind the scenes. So, what inspired Zaludova’s foray into the olfactory business? “Scent is the most powerful connection to your memory and emotional bank,” she says. And when she couldn’t find a diffuser that combined aesthetics and functionality to conjure homey nostalgia at her open houses, she decided to create it herself. Hyascent is available in nine fragrances designed to reflect different personality types. (Are you California Chill or Cheeky Rose? Zaludova says she’s a combination of them all.) Find the diffusers at Anthem Home on Sacramento Street and neimanmarcus.com.

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