Movers and Shakers

Our December Movers and Shakers

By Julissa James

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

Illustrations by Iris Lei

Gianna Toboni

VICE’s intrepid correspondent and producer will return to her alma mater as St. Ignatius College Preparatory’s 2019 Business Luncheon speaker. Toboni reports on everything from the plight of transgender youth, rampant domestic violence in the U.S., deep-seated corruption in Mexico, and the Syrian refugee crisis — a career that she was prepared for in part by her family, a diverse San Francisco upbringing and her formative years at S.I. “The Jesuit education is all about serving others,” Toboni tells the Gazette. “I think that is very in line with what I do today, which in some ways is a public service.” Continue giving a voice to the voiceless, Gianna!

Mi’Jan Celie Tho-Biaz

To condense Tho-Biaz’s depth of cultural contribution down to anything less than a full-length novel seems unjust. Last month, the University of San Francisco honored the alumnus for her wide-ranging public service efforts with the Fr. Stephen A. Privett Living the Mission Award. The celebrated oral historian, educator and community leader founded the New Mexico Women of Color Nonprofit Leadership Initiative at the Santa Fe Community Foundation, and has presented at Carnegie Hall, lectured at Columbia University and resided at the Banff Centre — we’re just scratching the surface here, people. Keep on fighting the good fight, Mi’Jan Celie! 

Fred Blackwell 

The San Francisco Foundation leader was recognized as one of The City’s “Most Admired CEOs” by the San Francisco Business Times last month. At the helm of one of the most well-respected foundations in the nation, Blackwell has a hand in investing millions of dollars back into the Bay Area communities that need it most. “We are unapologetically social justice-fueled here at the foundation,” he said in The Interview with Janet Reilly early last year, “And we’re not afraid to use our voice and our influence to make a difference.” Many congratulations, Fred! Your efforts are (obviously) not going unnoticed. 

Catherine Stefani 

After completing her appointment to serve out the remainder of former District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell’s term, Stefani has now been elected to a term of her own, in which she will continue to represent the Marina, Pacific Heights and Seacliff neighborhoods, among others. This comes on the heels of another recent Stefani win: She sponsored a unanimously passed mandate requiring that 30 percent of public artworks represent nonfictional women in the City’s history, starting with a sculpture of famed poet and activist Maya Angelou. Onward and upward!

Carolyn Tyler 

After 32 years with ABC7 News, Tyler’s prolific broadcasting career is coming to a close. The momentous occasion is being marked by a final well-deserved award for the broadcaster. The Society of Professional Journalists’ Northern California Chapter is honoring Tyler with the 2018 Career Achievement Award for her three decades of trusted coverage of the Bay Area. Tyler is recognized for her dedicated coverage of SF politics, including the fight to end homelessness. “It’s been a privilege telling your stories for three decades, but now I’m on to new adventures,” she announced on Twitter. To new chapters!

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