Tom Steyer — Tasked with Creating a Just, Sustainable and Robust Recovery

Businessman and climate activist Tom Steyer first spoke with ABILITY during his run to be the 2020 Democratic nominee for president. In that interview, Steyer spoke about policies he’d push through on behalf of people with disabilities: namely, to fully fund the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), to increase affordable housing, and to make sure people with disabilities remain as independent as possible. Recently, ABILITY’s Chet Cooper reconnected with Steyer via phone to continue the conversation into the realm of the current health crisis, the intersection of climate change and disabilities, and his nonprofit California Food for California Kids, among other topics.

Cooper: Nice to catch up after your run for the Presidency. Can you share your efforts working with the Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery?

Steyer: Our mission statement includes the idea of coming out as fast and as safely as possible, in a just, sustainable, and forward-looking way. And, making sure we put the interests of the under-resourced communities first, those who bore the brunt of the health impacts and the job impacts of this crisis. But I think part of that mission statement specifically relates to sustainability. As we rebuild the state, let’s do it for the long run. Let’s rebuild a state that is sustainable, where we’re making investments that put people to work now and in good-paying, full-wage jobs, but let’s also make sure that what we’re building makes sense, that what we’re building is the kind of economy that will support Americans and American productivity and health. That includes a huge awareness of climate and preserving the natural world, for sure. That’s a definite part of our mission statement and is something I’ve personally cared about for a long time. I think it’s important to having a productive and healthy state, and I know that Governor Newsom feels exactly the same way.

We don’t know how long the health crisis will continue, and therefore we’ll have to manage the assumption that we’re going to be in a world dominated by health concerns until we’re not, because we just don’t know. And so I think what Governor Newsom has done instead, first he closed us down—very smart, decisive, early. And he had a very granular plan to phase the reopening of California businesses which, we’re at phase two right now, with protocols to make sure that working people are protected, that the people they interact with are protected, including their customers, for retail operations. And we have to live in that world of dealing with putting health first, as Governor Newsom said, and making sure we open as fast as we safely can, but realizing the economies that do the best are the ones that protect the health and safety of their citizens. Those economies have the most robust recoveries.

Cooper: In the sense of social distancing and with so much moving to the internet, have you looked at what’s happening with the digital divide?

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Steyer: Absolutely. Governor Newsom talked about the digital divide in January in his State of the State address, before COVID had become a global pandemic and a global crisis. But I think that the crisis is bringing new urgency and new time pressure to closing the digital divide, because if young people are going to learn partially based on their access to high-speed Internet and Wi-Fi, that can’t be something that holds back low-income kids or rural kids. We just can’t have a society where people are prevented from reaching their full capabilities based on their access to Wi-Fi and their economic status. So that’s an equity issue to me; that’s a fairness and a justice issue to me. It existed before this, but this brings a new urgency to it. And isn’t that true of so many of the issues in our society? There was injustice, there was inequity. People swept it under the rug or didn’t pay attention to it, and COVID has made it very clear and put a new urgency to making sure that we close a lot of those inequities, including specifically the digital divide for the kids, but also knowing that telemedicine is dependent on it, that a lot of reskilling and upskilling for unemployed people will be dependent on it. Absolutely, that’s something that’s on our minds.

Cooper: Do you want to talk a little bit about the food supply and agriculture?

Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor
Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor

Steyer: Absolutely. Let me say that my partner Kat Taylor and I have been raising grass-finished cattle, chickens, and pigs for over 50 years. We have been aware of food insecurity—a fancy term for hungry kids, for people who don’t have enough to eat. We started something called California Food for California Kids, which is farm-to-table in public schools in California. We serve over 300 million meals a year. We started that 15 years ago. So being aware of the need for a safe agricultural system that has the food supplies that get to hungry people in California is something that has been swept under the rug. As I was saying, some of these injustices and inequities in the society are things that have existed but people haven’t talked about or been aware enough of.

If “hungry kids” doesn’t get you emotionally, I don’t know what does. To me, this is the flip side of the digital divide. If “letting kids have a right to reach their capabilities” doesn’t get to you, if kids who don’t have enough healthy food to eat doesn’t get you, I don’t know where your heart is. Because those seem to me to be absolute necessities for a society as rich as ours in the twenty-first century. So the task force is working on closing the digital divide and helping the governor figure out how best to do that in a timely fashion. We focus on food and security and hungry families in the state of California, getting them food on a timely basis that is healthy. And that’s something I’ve said, that California Foods for California Kids continues to work. It’s something we’ve done for a long time. But in a larger way, the task force has to be aware of producing healthy food and delivering it to those most in need, and that’s something we’re definitely working on.

Chet Cooper: Did you read about clearer skies in India?

Steyer: I think what you’re alluding to is the fact that this economic slowdown has been evident in some parts by the slowdown in the use of fossil fuel. People are traveling less in virtually every way. They are driving less, they are flying less. So the pollution that comes from burning fossil fuel for transportation has been dramatically reduced. In some states that’s been specifically reflected in cleaner skies, cleaner air—a healthier climate from the standpoint of air pollution. The question is, is that something that brings to everybody’s mind the idea that we don’t need to be polluting in the way we’ve been polluting? I think that’s true. I think what you can see from COVID, though, goes beyond that. What you can see with COVID is that in order to respond in the natural world, the effective way to preserve people’s health, to preserve our jobs, is you’ll have to deal with reality. These are scientific, fundamental, natural-world realities that we’ll have to respond to in a thoughtful, organized and cooperative fashion. And with COVID, if you don’t do that, the results are very clear. Inside two weeks the pandemic takes off. The climate has a much longer time frame.

If you don’t stop burning fossil fuels, it doesn’t seem like there’s a two-week response. But it’s the exact same point. And I think what we’ll see coming out of this pandemic is a new awareness by elected officials, a new awareness on the part of everybody, as you said, that you’ve got to deal with the science and the facts in this world, that you’ve got to have a governmental response, and that we’ve got to cooperate with each other and take care of each other in the most fundamental way if we’re going to be safe together, because we can’t be safe separately.

Cooper: Any thoughts on people who are not wearing face masks?

Steyer: One way of thinking about this, Chet, and I’m not sure if you’re familiar with it, is the concept of Ro [the reproduction number]. It sounds fancy, but it’s a simple idea: If someone is infected with the coronavirus and if they infect another person on average that makes a huge difference. If somebody who gets infected infects more than one person and that’s the average, then the pandemic takes off. But if, on average, somebody who gets infected doesn’t infect another person, then over time, the pandemic ends. And Ro means to get more than one person infected. My point in talking about this is, the protocols for safety—wearing masks, social distancing, wiping common surfaces, washing your hands multiple times during the day—are absolutely powerful instruments of making sure that Ro is less than 1.0, so that the virus declines and the pandemic ends.

That’s something we have to do for each other. We have to be disciplined with each other to protect others, so that, as a cooperative society, we can handle this pandemic. I think it’s important for people to understand how powerful those protocols are. They only work if people observe the protocols and protect each other. I think it’s up to each of us to be a responsible, caring person for everybody else in society, and if we all do that, we’ll handle this just fine.

Cooper: I feel like you’re what one might call a hugger?

Steyer: I’m a huge hugger!

Cooper: (laughs) What’s happening with you on a personal level?

Steyer: I am continuing to work every day full-time. My campaign ended at the end of February, so this is two and a half months later, and I think I’ve only had one day off in that time when I haven’t been at work. I’ve connected with people like you and I are connecting right now. Is that in person? Overwhelmingly not. It’s on the phone or a Zoom call or some other means of virtual connection. As somebody who loves human connection, that’s what I miss. I miss having a conversation with my friends. Having the chance to sit down in a casual setting. I miss meeting new people. In the campaign, I must have hugged thousands or tens of thousands of people. And you think, Wow, that could never happen now. There is no way in the world that those people would hug me, or the people who are running the campaign would think I was safe doing it. And I absolutely did it, and I never got sick. I was good about washing my hands. To me, it was really important to make that connection, and it was something that gave me an enormous amount of positive reinforcement and pleasure. I feel as if I was making an emotional connection to the people I was talking to and seeing. That’s really important to me, and I miss it.

Cooper: Do you get to go to your ranch?

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Steyer: No, I have not been down there. My partner Kat Taylor has been down there to see how things are going, to see it in terms of running it, because it’s a business, and it’s something where we’re trying very hard to show that raising grass-finished cattle, chickens, and pigs is something that is good for the soil, produces healthy food, and sequesters carbon on a net basis. We’re trying to show all those things. So she’s been down there, because she’s really the person who’s in charge of that operation. I haven’t been down there since we were shut down.

Cooper: What’s the first thing you’ll do when you can go out and be a little more social?

Steyer: One of the things I love to do is have a big get-together with my friends.

Cooper: Thanks for the invitation

Steyer: (laughs) Sure, you’re invited! I’ll give you an example. Our oldest son was supposed to be married on June 27th of this year. He’ll have a ceremony as soon as he and his fiancée can arrange that, but they won’t have what you think of as a party to celebrate it until September of next year.

Cooper: Oh, wow.

Steyer: So, hopefully, they’ll get to do that and it’ll be fun. But the chance to sit down and see people is something I really miss. I always love having close friends and friends from when I was a little kid all the way through to today. I love catching up with them, seeing them and enjoying them. That’s probably on a personal level what I miss the most.

Cooper: It comes across that you’re a people person. I’ve got a lot of photos of you, and you can just see in your eyes your connection with other people. There are certain politicians who are doing things—they’re doing the kiss-the-baby for the photo. (laughs)

Steyer: (laughs) It’s funny, Chet, because one of the things you have to be very careful of when you’re with people on a campaign is to make sure you’re not intruding on their personal space, and that they feel the same way you feel, so that any interaction you have, particularly if you’re hugging each other, is something that they’re comfortable with. That is something I try to make sure I do, because I never want to create that discomfort with somebody else.

Someone once asked me, “Do you believe in God?” And I said, “Yes, I do believe in God,” and by the way, except when it’s forbidden, I go to church every Sunday, and it’s very important to me. But the closest that I feel I’ve ever been to God is watching an eight-year-old kid outside San Diego, who’s on the free lunch, eat a fish taco on a sunny day that was provided by California Food for California Kids, our organization, knowing that otherwise he’d be hungry. For me, what is God? It is that positive connection with other people and shared humanity and, at some level, love for each other, taking care of each other, that is the most satisfying, meaningful part of life. And I think that’s a common thing. I think everybody has that feeling, and sometimes it’s suppressed because people are worried about other things and they can’t get there, but I think that’s something I share with virtually everybody, that fellow feeling, and that’s the thing that brings real joy to me and to other people, too.

Cooper: During these times people are stressed and focused on what they think are priorities in their lives—money, health or whatever—but I think you’re right. I think the core of humans have that in them, but you see that day after day people forget. The more they focus on growing wealth, they seem to lose touch. I’ve experienced the same thing, especially because we do a lot of programs where we get people to volunteer, and when we get people to come out to an ABILITY House where we have volunteers with disabilities building homes for families with disabilities. People who are giving back who have never been asked, those are the moments you’re talking about, where you say— it’s heart warming and amazing.

Steyer: It’s really funny. I was talking to a friend of mine who’s a very successful businesswoman, and she was talking about what she’s done with her life. She’s not old, she’s what I would think of as middle-aged, very successful, and she’s done a couple different jobs, quite rich. She was telling me about what she thought was important in her life, and she was literally referring to something she’d done ten-plus years ago to help some disadvantaged kids. She was referring to this as an absolute critical event in her life, pleasure-giving, fulfillment-giving, meaningful event in her life. I was thinking, “Good grief! You could do that every day!”

Cooper: (laughs)

Steyer: “And maybe you should do that again.”

Cooper: One of my best interviews was with Kirk Douglas. There was something about him. He broke the blacklist barrier with Spartacus. He wrote a book about his stroke. I went to his house and we talked for hours. He said one of the things he learned about the stroke is that he watched the people helping him and how much they gave, and he realized that he’d been pretty much a selfish person all his life. It was the stroke that brought a new awareness about giving to others, helping others. I said, “Really? It took you that long?”

Steyer: (laughs) You nailed that! Let me just say, I have nothing but nice things to say about Kirk Douglas. I’ve never met him, only seen him on the silver screen. But better late than never?

Cooper: I asked him, “What can we do to have people think the way you’re thinking now, without them having a stroke?” He laughed.

Steyer: (laughs) There’s got to be a better way!

Cooper: (laughs) Aren’t you working with schools as well?

Steyer: Yes. We’re still doing it through food banks. We’re trying to enlarge it. We’re working with some other people who have pulled together to find new ways of providing food. That’s still very much a program we’re involved with, trying to make sure it’s healthy food. We were originally not involved with it, because we felt it can’t be right near our ranch for the kids of farm workers to eat some of the healthiest, most delicious food in the world and then eating unhealthy, processed food for lunch. That seems so unjust. We thought we could help that one school district get farm-to-table so those kids can be healthier and can perform better in school. As any parent knows, you don’t perform very well when you’re drinking soda and eating potato chips. So we started with that one school.

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And it was funny, because we started and we were at a track meet for my daughter. She was in probably sixth grade; it was a long time ago. A teacher came over and hugged Kat Taylor for, like, five minutes, and I didn’t know who she was. And when she left, I said, “Kat, who was that woman and what was she so thankful to you about? What did you do?” And she said, “She’s a fifth grade teacher at a public school, and she was thanking me for getting fresh food to the kids because it’s so important for their health and for her ability to teach them in the afternoon now, because they’ve had lunch.” We thought, “Oh, my God, this is something that’s got to happen. We can’t just feed the kids in one school district.” It’s important that kids get healthy food for their lives and their health, over their extended life, but also so that they can perform well right now, in multiple ways, including intellectually in class.

Cooper: So some of the main meals for children were coming from the schools?

Steyer: Oh, my God, yes. If you are on free and reduced lunch at the public school, there’s a pretty darn good chance you’re not getting a terrifically nutritious breakfast. Often they were serving at least two meals a day. They were giving kids food for the weekend, having places they could go in the summer. I can’t abide the concept of hungry kids in America, in California.

Cooper: What’s happening if they’re not in school?

Steyer: That has to be accomplished. That’s why we’ve worked on it for a long time. I know that Governor Newsom and his partner are absolutely committed to that.

Cooper: Where are things now, with schools being out?

Steyer: Sometimes there are collection points. Going to the food banks as well, where you’re getting food to kids and their families twice a week. Often you’re getting a series of meals plus a bag of fresh produce. It’s ongoing, and we’re working to try to make sure that it is ongoing, that’s it’s better. We have some ideas about how to do it in new ways that take into account some of the issues with the COVID and the economic freefall. It’s something very much on my mind. I know it’s very much on the governor’s mind, and the task force is addressing it as well.

Cooper: I know you’ve worked with other groups. Have you ever work with the Citizens Climate Lobby?

Tom Steyer cleaning up the beachSteyer: Yeah. The climate community is broad, diverse and very powerful. We try to work with everybody in that community and have a lot of respect for people throughout the community. Part of what has to happen between now and November is that community coming together to drive change and to drive positive change for sustainability. No question about it, politically.

Cooper: Have you had the chance to look at the connection between an unhealthy planet and the health of people with disabilities? In other words, that people acquire disabilities because of the pollution, poor water quality, etc. Have you put those two together?

Steyer: Chet, that’s the biggest thing. Without teasing, just before I got on this phone call, I was on a phone call with a group of—I don’t want to make it sound too grandiose, but what I think are the most distinguished environmental justice people in the country, talking about leaking nuclear plants, inadequate water treatment facilities, and the horrible health conditions that result. In fact, I am a big climate person, but we do everything in climate and always have. We start with environmental justice and basic poisoning of people.

Cooper: I think people miss that connection. They just think climate change, and they don’t realize there’s so much more going on with the environment.

Steyer: It’s a human issue. To me, climate is a human issue, and I see that as a race issue, because when you go and visit the communities, you discover almost immediately that this society vastly disproportionately poisons black people and Latinos.

Cooper: Yeah. I guess you could say low-income in general.

Steyer: Yes. That’s the lens through which I look at climate.

Cooper: Have you worked with Al Gore?

Steyer: Yes. I think anybody in climate has to look up to and respect Vice President Gore. He is a model person. He has accomplished so much in so many different areas and has been a gigantic leader in climate on a global basis, and continues to be. He spends a lot of time in the Bay Area, which is where I’m from, so I’ve been lucky about that and have gotten a chance to get to know him and work with him. He’s been working on this for a very long time. He was very prescient early on. He’s been very influential as a leader and is dedicated. I can’t say enough good things about Al Gore.

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The organization I started, NextGen America, has been pushing for high turnout for elections for as long as we’ve been around. This is the end of our eighth year. It’s really important for everybody to show up. NextGen has been pushing in all the states it’s in for ubiquitous, universal vote by mail. That’s specifically relevant to people with disabilities to make sure that they have as much opportunity to vote as possible. So I’m encouraging everybody to show up and vote on November 3rd in what will be a pivotal day in American and world history. I want to make sure that everybody gets the chance, specifically people with disabilities have as much chance as possible, to fulfill their basic rights. I think in this case basic obligations to vote and participate in our democracy.

Cooper: You’ve mentioned your father’s work at times. How much was that discussed in your family when you were growing up in terms of what he was able to do in Nürnberg?

Steyer: You mean prosecuting Nazis?

Cooper: Yes.

Steyer: I don’t know how old you are, but I am 62. That means I grew up right in the middle of the civil rights movement. The context in which my father talked about prosecuting Nazis was in the context of justice. Honestly, the civil rights movement was when people are haters and prejudiced, it’s like, that’s where we were going. You’re just seeing the most extreme version of that. So make sure that you’re aware that when that shows up, you’re on the right side and you’re not just passive. Honestly, that’s how my parents talked about Nazism, in terms of civil rights and justice and accepting people. When I said to you respecting people’s dignity as fully human beings, people with disabilities, that was my point. That’s the context for my father talking about prosecuting Nazis. The last Nazi came out of prison in 1970 to be prosecuted, Albert Speer, who got reasonably good press. And I asked my father, “Is he a decent guy?” And he was like, “No, that guy had slaves working for him, and he was working them to death, and he told me to my face he didn’t know they were slaves.” They’re doing horrible things and they’re trying to justify them.

Cooper: Why do you think they could get so many people to do so many bad things?

Tom SteyerSteyer: I think it’s an appeal to the most primitive form of tribalism, don’t you? If you talk about Nazism, it’s basically setting aside your decency and humanity and going to a place that is pre-human. Isn’t that really what we’re talking about? You, by definition, are denying someone else’s humanity.

Cooper: That’s the only way you can get away with doing something like that.

Steyer: And everything comes out of that.

Cooper: Do you have knowledge of Jungian theory or Myers-Briggs about temperaments and different intrinsic value systems?

Steyer: Yes, I’ve heard of that.

Cooper: I keep thinking myself of how the majority of the population on the planet are what we call “sensories.” They don’t like change and if something is in their minds, they go with it. They’re very hard to alter, where an intuitive can abstractly think of something and say, “OK, that makes sense. I can understand what a table is. I don’t have to touch it and feel it to understand that’s a table.” I keep looking back at how German leaders were able to convince a whole group of people to do these things, trying to parallel what’s happening with this propaganda that is put out in different governments around the world. It’s somewhat of a roadmap, it seems, to take control of the narrative.

Steyer: Yeah. It’s very scary.

Cooper: The question is, knowing the history, how do you not let it repeat?

Steyer: Well, I tried “Need to Impeach.” (laughs)

Cooper: (laughs) You did, didn’t you?

Steyer: I don’t know if you noticed.

Cooper: I’m in California, I noticed! (laughs)

Steyer: Honestly, 8.5 million people signed that petition. I mean, isn’t the story of all of those movements, including civil rights, that you have to stand up against something that’s wrong? That you have to do it all the time? Whatever that old saying is, “The only thing it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.” Isn’t that the point?

Cooper: I hope you and I will have the opportunity to talk more about that.

Steyer: I would love that, too, Chet. That would be great.

tomsteyer.com

Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery

Co-Chairs

Ann O’Leary: Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor
Tom Steyer: Chief Advisor to the Governor on Business & Jobs Recovery

Honorary Task Force Members

The Honorable Edmund G. Brown Jr.
The Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger
The Honorable Gray Davis
The Honorable Pete Wilson

Task Force Members

Eleni Kounalakis: Lieutenant Governor, State of California
Toni G. Atkins: President pro Tempore, California State Senate
Anthony Rendon: Speaker, California State Assembly
Shannon Grove: Minority Leader, California State Senate
Marie Waldron: Minority Leader, California State Assembly
Gregory A. Adams: Chairman & CEO, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. &
Hospitals
Willie Adams: President, ILWU
Laura Albers: CEO, Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
Jack Allen: CEO, Proterra
Aida Álvarez: Former Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration
Theodore Balestreri: Chairman, California Restaurant Association
Dan Beckerman: President & CEO, AEG
Marc Benioff: Chair, CEO & Founder, Salesforce Inc.
Angela Glover Blackwell: Founder in Residence, PolicyLink
Catherine Blakemore: Executive Director (retired), Disability Rights California
Jared Blumenfeld: Secretary, California Environmental Protection Agency
Keely Bosler: Director, California Department of Finance
E. Toby Boyd: President, California Teachers Association
Father Gregory Boyle: Founder, Homeboy Industries
Scott Bremerman: President, West Region, United Parcel Service
Stacy Brown-Philpot: CEO, TaskRabbit
Michael S. Burke: CEO, AECOM
Don Cameron: General Manager & Vice President, Terranova Ranch
Rick Caruso: Founder & CEO, Caruso Management
Lourdes Castro Ramirez: Secretary, California Business, Consumer Services and
Housing Agency
Amelia Ceja: President, Ceja Vineyards
Priscilla Chan: Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
Tim Cook: CEO, Apple
Jack Dangermond: Co-Founder & President, Environmental Systems Research
Institute
Oscar De La Torre: Business Manager, Northern California District Council of
Laborers
Lloyd Dean: CEO, Dignity Health
Chris Dombrowski: Acting Director, Governor’s Office of Business and Economic
Development
Dorene C. Dominguez: Chairman & CEO, The Vanir Group of Companies, Inc.
Ron Fong: President & CEO, California Grocers Association
Sarah Friar: CEO, Nextdoor
Dr. Mark Ghaly: Secretary, California Health and Human Services Agency
John Grant: President, UFCW, Local 770
Peter Guber: Chairman & CEO, Mandalay Entertainment
Emile Haddad: Chairman & CEO, FivePoint
Dan Hart: President & CEO, Virgin Orbit
Mary Kay Henry: President, SEIU
Antonia Hernández: President & CEO, California Community Foundation
Ron Herrera: President, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor
Marillyn A. Hewson: Chairman, President & CEO, Lockheed Martin Corporation
Ben Horowitz: Co-Founder & General Partner, Andreessen Horowitz
Robbie Hunter: President, State Building and Construction Trades Council of
California
Bob Iger: Executive Chairman, The Walt Disney Company
Paul Jacobs: Chairman & CEO, XCOM
Belinda Johnson: Former COO & Board Member, Airbnb and Board Member,
PayPal
Pamela Kan: President, Bishop-Wisecarver
Sarah Krevans: President & CEO, Sutter Health
Derrick Kualapai: International Representative, United Association of Plumbers
and Pipefitters
Janet Lamkin: California State President, United Airlines
Dr. Natasha Lee, DDS: Owner, Better Living Through Dentistry
Monica Lozano: President & CEO, College Futures Foundation
James Manyika: Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company
Rose Marcario: CEO & President, Patagonia
George Marcus: Chairman, Marcus & Millichap
Dr. Magda Marquet: Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Alma Life Sciences
Ana Matosantos: Cabinet Secretary, Office of the Governor
Doug McCarron: President, United Brotherhood of Carpenters
Ken McNeely: President, Western Region, AT&T
Mary Meeker: Founder & General Partner, Bond Capital
Hamid Moghadam: Chairman of the Board of Directors & CEO, Prologis
Brian Niccol: CEO, Chipotle
Irma Olguin, Jr.: CEO & Co-Founder, Bitwise Industries
Cynthia A. Parker: President & CEO, BRIDGE Housing
Dr. Manuel Pastor: Director, USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity
(PERE)
Garrett Patricio: COO, Westside Produce
Charles Phan: Owner & Executive Chef, The Slanted Door
Pedro Pizarro: President & CEO, Edison International
Ruth Porat: Senior VP/CFO, Alphabet Inc.
John Pritzker: Founding Partner & Director, Geolo Capital
Art Pulaski: Executive Secretary-Treasurer & Chief Officer, California Labor
Federation
Ken Ramirez: Chairman, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
Jacqueline Reses: Head of Square Capital, Square
Stephen Revetria: President, Giants Enterprises
Jessica Rodriguez: CMO & President of Entertainment, Univision
Teresa Romero: President, United Farm Workers
Dr. Robert Ross: President & CEO, California Endowment
Fred Ruiz: Founder, Ruiz Foods
Maria Salinas: President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
Ted Sarandos: Chief Content Officer, Netflix
Lee Saunders: President, AFSCME
Jeff Shell: CEO, NBCUniversal
Christina Sistrunk: President & CEO, Aera Energy
Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong: Owner, LA Times
Dr. KR Sridhar: Founder & CEO, Bloom Energy
Julie Su: Secretary, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency
Gene T. Sykes: Managing Director, Goldman Sachs & Co.
Sonia Syngal: CEO, Gap, Inc.
D. Taylor: President, UNITE Here
Elaine Trevino: President, Almond Alliance of California
April Verrett: President, SEIU 2015
Jeff Weiner: CEO, LinkedIn
Janet Yellen: Former Chair, Federal Reserve
Allan Zaremberg: President & CEO, California Chamber of Commerce
Gillian Zucker: President, Business Operations, LA Clippers

Kat and Tom also co-founded Beneficial State Bank which serves low income individuals, people of color, and small businesses and has grown the bank to $1 billion in assets.

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