Executive Director of Friends of Santa Cruz County Parks
Mariah Roberts is Executive Director of Friends of Santa Cruz County Parks. She was one of the key partners of the collaboration to imagine, fund and build Chanticleer County Park, a 4.5 acre park, featuring LEO’s Haven Inclusive Playground designed beyond ADA requirements to be an outdoor classroom for inclusive play. The park is slated to open in January 2020. Mariah holds a bachelor's degree from Pomona College in Women's Studies/Religious Studies and a master's degree from San Francisco State University in Special Education. Her passion for community engagement and Universal Design in public spaces is informed by having spent twelve years as an educational specialist serving families across the South Bay and Central Coast. In medical clinics, schools or homes, she worked with professionals and families to co-design activities, materials and spaces to promote active learning and healthy development through play.
Chair of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors and former Mayor of Santa Cruz
Ryan Coonerty is Chair of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors and the two-time former Mayor of Santa Cruz. He is also an entrepreneur, author, and educator. He is currently the host of "An Honorable Profession" podcast and a lecturer on law and government at UC Santa Cruz. Previously, he cofounded NextSpace Coworking, co-authored of The Rise of the Naked Economy – How to Benefit from the Changing Workplace and wrote Etched in Stone – Enduring Words from our National Monuments. Ryan was selected by the Aspen Institute to be a Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership as one of "the nation’s most promising young elected officials.” Ryan graduated from Santa Cruz’s public schools and the University of Oregon. He received a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Zero Waste Programs Manager for Santa Cruz County
He is a well-known innovator and problem-solver, and the creator of many cutting edge environmental protection programs. Tim has won numerous awards for his accomplishments and speaks all over the world about his inspiring work.
Novelist, essayist, journalist, translator, and screenwriter
Jonathan Franzen is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters and the author of five novels, including The Corrections, Freedom, and Purity, and five volumes of nonfiction, most recently The End of the End of the Earth. Among his honors are the National Book Award for fiction, and the EuroNatur Award, for his work in conservation. He lives full-time in Santa Cruz.
Lara Love Hardin
COO and Editorial Director of Idea Architects
Lara Love Hardin is the COO and Editorial Director of Idea Architects, a literary agency and media company based in Santa Cruz that represents and works with luminaries such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bryan Stevenson, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Steven Hawking, Jane Goodall, John Gottman, and many other academics and thought leaders. She has an MFA in creative writing and is a 4-time New York Times bestselling writer, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Designing Your Life by Dave Evans and Bill Burnett, and recent Oprah Book Club pick, The Sun Does Shine, which she co-authored with Anthony Ray Hinton. In 2019 she won a Christopher Award for her work “affirming the highest values of the human spirit”. In 2019 she was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award and short-listed for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.
Social worker, teaching artist, musician and a lover of the earth, Luc was born and raised in a small mountain town in eastern Washington where he grew up humming in the background to the elegant voices of his father and eldest sister. Two years into his film direction studies at college, Luc took to hitchhiking across the western United States and along the way discovered his true passion: music. Since then he’s dedicated his life to music and social service. Luc is driven by the fundamental belief that we all have endless capabilities as long as we do not limit or judge ourselves.
Dr. David Haussler
Scientific Director, UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute
David Haussler is scientific director of the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute and director of the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering. His work has spawned a cancer research project, a project to map the genome of 10,000 animal species, and programs in computer science, mathematics, microbiology, and medical research. He is a leader in a global alliance of 70 organizations to fight disease via sharing of genomics and clinical data.
Dr. Bruce Damer
Dr. Bruce Damer, a research associate in the UC Santa Cruz Department of Biomolecular Engineering, has 30 years of experience in the design of complex systems from software to virtual worlds, spacecraft missions, and the origin of life chemical models. He’s also CEO of DigitalSpace Research, founder of the Contact Consortium, and curator of DigiBarn Computer Museum.
Jazz Singer & Health Educator
Ed Reed is a retired health educator who developed a lecture series on “The Art and Practice of Living Well.” He was a heroin addict for 40 years, imprisoned four times and in dozens of treatment programs before he got into recovery. Eight years ago, he released his first jazz vocal CD, followed by three more CDs, and at 86 was voted by online jazz critics as No. 1 Rising Star in the male vocalist category. Ed will by accompanied by Lucas Hahn. Lucas is a 15 year old pianist residing in Santa Cruz. He attends Georgiana Bruce Kirby College Preparatory School and has been studying the piano for 8 years.