Seminarians and guests were inspired and informed at the 2019 forum, featuring a slate of speakers and experiences presented over three days in Napa, California. Above, University of California president Janet Napolitano with interviewer Jennifer Granholm, former Governor of Michigan.

LEADERSHIP, INSIGHT AND FELLOWSHIP—these are keywords at The Seminar, which features opportunities to meet and learn from fellow professionals and enjoy presentations by bold leaders. Above, Chip Bergh, Levi Strauss & Co. CEO, with Kelly McGinnis, senior vice president and chief communications officer at Levi Strauss.        
LEADERSHIPStephen Attenborough, Virgin Galactic, spoke on “SPACE: The New Frontier.” He led Seminarians to imagine a future of citizen space travel.        
INSIGHTJennifer Eberhardt, of Stanford University, spoke on implicit bias that shapes our perceptions, with Session Chair Steve Burgay.        
FELLOWSHIP—Conviviality and camaraderie always frame the Seminar experience. Sessions are followed by evenings of fellowship at receptions, dinners and fun activities such as wine tastings. Our thanks to Seminarian Mike McGrew and Constellation Brands for our 2019 wine-tasting experience.        
Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance gave remarks on “Building a Caring America.”        
There's always an opportunity to find out more, and Seminarians can actively participate in the exchange of ideas. Above, Clay McConnell at our audience mic.    

Storytelling at its Best
Enlivens, Inspires Seminarians

June 2-5, 2019
The Meritage Resort & Spa, Napa, California


The Seminar 2019 brought 200 Seminarians, guests and speakers together for a high-value program featuring great storytelling, presentations on scientific and technological advancements, awareness-raising on social issues and a splash of insights on the 2020 election scene. Dramatic personal stories and major issues and trends from around the world captured minds and imaginations. The setting: the beautiful Napa Valley.


The Seminar began on a Sunday evening with a special one-on-one conversation with Kenya Barris, creator, executive producer and co-showrunner of Black-ish and Grown-ish with interviewer and Seminarian Michael Mand, Creative Artists Agency. Barris told of his childhood in Inglewood, California and his journey to Emmy-winning TV writer and producer.

Day 1 opened with management-science guru Tina Seelig speaking on Innovation Is Not Brain Surgery, followed by Bernard Tyson, CEO, Kaiser Permanente on the Future of Health Care. Seminarians then took a quick trip around the world on Geopolitical Issues and America’s Place in the World with Kathleen Hicks from the Center for Strategic & International Studies. A State of the Media panel with journalists and media executives moderated by CNN’s Brian Stelter wrapped up the morning.

Political and Social Issues and the Influence of Technology

Afternoon sessions featured former White House staff communications leader Dan Pfeiffer interviewed by Seminarian Josh King; Dick Costolo made the case for ethics and empathy in the future of technology; and a panel with diverse perspectives provided insights on access to education and technology as a game changer. The day closed with Seminarian Christine Heenan interviewing Tina Tchen, who shared amazing stories from her days as chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama to her founding of Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in the midst of the Me Too movement.

Diverse Subjects Covered on Day 2

Day 2 kicked off with Levi Strauss & Co. CEO Chip Bergh interviewing Carol Dweck, Stanford University professor of psychology and author of Mindsets: The Development of Human Potential. Bergh was then interviewed by Seminarian Kelly McGinnis, senior vice president and chief communications officer at Levi Strauss.

Space technology and research on genetics and diversity completed the morning session. Stephen Attenborough, Virgin Galactic, spoke on SPACE: The New Frontier, leading Seminarians to imagine the future of citizen space travel. Dr. Kári Stefánsson, from Iceland’s deCODE genetics, focused on how genes shape our lives in his presentation Genetics is Human Diversity. Scott E. Page closed out the morning by providing insights and scenarios about Achieving Collective Intelligence through Diversity.

The afternoon focused on social issues and scientific studies, with Jennifer Eberhardt, a professor at Stanford University, presenting her research on hidden biases and prejudices that shape our perceptions and behavior.

Two Former Governors Talk

Seminarians were treated to a unique session with two former governors. University of California President Janet Napolitano, a former Governor of Arizona, chatted with interviewer Jennifer Granholm, a former Governor of Michigan. Their conversation encompassed higher education, homeland security, and leadership.

The day concluded with two thought-provoking discussions. Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, gave remarks on Building a Caring America followed by an interview segment conducted by Seminarian Andy Solomon, MacArthur Foundation.  Pamela Ronald, University of California, Davis, wrapped up the day’s presentations with with her talk on plant genetics and the future of food.

Challenging Topics Featured on Day 3

Day 3 brought four powerful and diverse topics with globally-recognized experts on firearms violence, blockchain, the opioid crisis and disinformation.

Emergency medicine professor and director Dr. Garen Wintemute, University of California, Davis presented his research on firearm violence and how it has changed in today’s society. An interview segment with Michael Casey, CEO, StreamBed Media and Seminarian Josh King provided insights into the blockchain framework for tackling fake news and other digital age media maladies. A group of presenters, led by Dr. Andrea Barthwell, laid out pathways for addressing the global opioid crisis and explained how companies can change their approach to treatment and recovery. The Seminar closed with A Global Tour of Disinformation with John W. Kelly, founder and CEO of Graphika. His presentation on how global connectivity and the cyber-social landscape enables the spread of disinformation left Seminarians spellbound.

Intense Experiences, Peerless Programming, Fellowship

These are just a few highlights, shared to spotlight the unique personalities and experiences that make The Seminar so special. Intense days of sessions are followed by evenings of fellowship at receptions, dinners and afterglows. We are proud to have welcomed to the 2019 Seminar thirty-three First-Time Seminarians from across the world and business sectors.

Mark your calendars! Start planning for The Seminar 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee, May 31-June 3