Movers and Shakers

September Movers and Shakers

Illustrations by Olivia Wise

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

Joe Lacob and Peter Guber

After much anticipation, in September the Golden State Warriors move into their shiny new home this side of the Bay. The team’s co-owners are celebrating the Chase Center’s opening with a splashy inaugural concert on September 6. But wait, isn’t that the same night as the San Francisco Opera Ball? That’s a bold move, especially considering the potential guest list crossover. But “bold” isn’t something from which the Warriors execs shy away. Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony will headline the show — which just might be the most SF thing to ever SF — while Warriors fans will get a first look at the luxe new digs. Lacob and Guber will doubtless be jamming to vintage Metallica hits from their box seats. But the billion-dollar question is: Who will join them?

Kate Courtney

Courtney is the definition of a “ride or die.” The professional mountain biking phenom is riding the tail end of a spectacular winning season and celebrating her victories by preparing for the last stop on the 2019 UCI XCO Mountain Bike World Cup tour this month. A Bay Area native and Stanford alum, Courtney grew up at the base of Mount Tam, where mountain biking culture is king. It was only natural that she’d rock a rainbow jersey of her own someday — it’s the distinctive, and dare we say stylish, ensemble worn by reigning world champs. She’s defended her title at eight stops along the way, from Nové Mesto, Czech Republic, to Les Gets, France, and will conclude her run stateside in Snowshoe, West Virginia, September 7-8.

W. Kamau Bell

Bell has proven himself a force not only in media and comedy, but also in the quest to save San Francisco’s soul. This past spring, he and other industry heavyweights such as Dave Chappelle rallied to save the Punch Line, the classic comedy club on Battery Street that was close to shutting its doors. Last month, the institution gained legacy business status and was able to renew its lease at 9 Maritime Plaza following negotiations between building owners Morgan Stanley, Google and Live Nation. The victory is in no small part thanks to the unwavering advocacy of Bell, co-host of the wildly popular podcast Denzel Washington Is the Greatest Actor of All Time, Period and host of CNN’s docu-series United Shades of America. The Palo Alto native has been a regular performer at the Punch Line, which handed the mic to such legends as Chappelle, Margaret Cho and the late Robin Williams.

Veronica Juarez

Juarez is one of the execs driving Lyft’s Wheels for All Grants — an initiative that partners with nonprofits across the country to help underserved people get to where they need to go. “I’m committed to discovering where we can provide that access for the millions of people in need,” the San Francisco-based veep of social enterprise tells the Gazette. While at Stanford, Juarez — who joined Lyft in 2013 — studied social justice and equality. It’s an expertise she brings to the table at the ride-sharing operation and also flexes in her spare time: She sits on the board of MACLA, a modern Latinx arts organization in Silicon Valley and is an adviser to Vamos Ventures, a VC fund serving Latinx entrepreneurs. Yes, we said spare time.

Cynthia Nimmo

The president and CEO of Women’s Funding Network — one of the oldest and most distinguished philanthropic networks supporting women’s issues — is clear on how to achieve gender equity: “To accomplish it, we have to fund it,” Nimmo, who hails from Santa Clara, says matter-of-factly “It’s just the way change is made.” She’s excited to delve into these hot topics at Women Funded 2019, the org’s three-day conference kicking off September 11 in SF with a diverse group of speakers, including former Irish President Mary Robinson, activist Kevin Powell and Salesforce’s Ebony Frelix Beckwith. In Nimmo’s view, creating environments that encourage collaboration is the best path forward for women. Who can argue with that?

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