Posted on: September 19, 2017
On the morning of Friday, September 8th, I had the distinct privilege of attending the 2017 IIDA Leaders Breakfast at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown San Francisco. As a new associate member of IIDA, and as an even newer member of the Northern California Chapter Board, I reveled in the opportunity to be in the presence of some of the industry’s most talented leaders, and to listen to the wit and wisdom of the incredible presenters.
Included in the program were Shawn McLean-Bergel IIDA, IIDA Northern CA Chapter President; Dave Ferrari, President of One Workplace; Amy Storek, Industry IIDA, Vice President North America A+D Sales at Herman Miller; Mary Davidge, IIDA, USGBC LEED Fellow. The Director of Campus Design, Real Estate and Workplace Services at Google; Cheryl Durst, Honorary FIIDA, LEED AP, Executive Vice President and CEO of IIDA; and Keynote Speaker Jessica O. Matthews, founder and CEO of Uncharted Play.
Our fearless leader, Northern California Chapter President Shawn McLean-Bergel, IIDA, IIDA Northern CA Chapter President, presented first, kicking off the breakfast and welcoming the attendees to the 500-person sold out event.
Shawn and Joan Price, MCR, Co-Managing Director of Gensler’s San Francisco office, presented David Ferrari, president of One Workplace, the IIDA Northern California Distinguished Achievement Award.
Mary Davidge, IIDA, USGBC LEED Fellow, Director of Campus Design, Real Estate and Workplace Services at Google, accepts her Leadership Award of Excellence and is presented with a special edition Eames stool by Herman Miller. Mary has had a truly incredible career, spanning 30 years in the Bay Area. Mary is a leader in creating cutting-edge workplaces that foster the health of the occupants and the environment.
In her keynote speaker introduction, Cheryl Durst, Honorary FIIDA, LEED AP, Executive Vice President and CEO of IIDA, gave a riveting, prescient speech which touched on the moral responsibility of the design profession, especially in the current political climate. “We cannot stand by, we must stand up,” Durst told the audience.
Keynote speaker Jessica O. Williams, founder and CEO of Uncharted Play, closed out the event and won all of our hearts in the process. Founded by Matthews when she was 22, Uncharted Play’s flagship product is the SOCCKET ball, an energy generating soccer ball that provides off-grid power for the developing world. Matthews invented the SOCCKET when she was 19 years old, studying at Harvard.
An engaging, brilliant and genuinely funny speaker, Matthews named her role models in life as, “Oprah, Beyonce, and Michelle Obama.” Her company is working on democratizing energy through MORE, Uncharted Play’s proprietary technology for scalable multi-microgenerator energy systems. With MORE Inside, anything that moves can be turned into a source of power. Matthews told her story of being raised in Poughkeepsie, NY to Nigerian-born parents, and how this unique cultural experience informed her inventions and the way she conducts her business. She stressed the importance of recognizing the value in your individual circumstance and struggle and acknowledging and appreciating your privilege so that you can have empathy for others.
“Whatever makes you weird – that’s what you should harness creatively.”
Keynote speaker, Jessica O. Matthews
The sold-out audience at the Four Seasons Ballroom was captivated by Matthew’s speech
An inspiring group of women: Cheryl Durst, Honorary FIIDA, LEED AP, Executive Vice President and CEO of IIDA, Jessica O.Matthews, founder and CEO of Uncharted Play, and Shawn McLean-Bergel, IIDA, IIDA Northern CA Chapter President
-Erica Waltemade, Assistant VP Public Relations, IIDA NC
A special thank you to the IIDA Leaders Breakfast International Benefactors: