As one of Gensler’s three CEO’s, David Gensler is responsible for the firm’s Shared Services team. David is a member of the firm’s Board of Directors and also has oversight responsibility for Gensler’s European, Middle Eastern, Asian and South American practices.

David Gensler is committed to design that blends creative and strategic considerations to produce innovative solutions that improve clients’ business performance. With a background in investment banking and management consulting, he came to Gensler with wide-ranging experience in the healthcare, financial services and technology sectors. In 1994, he founded Gensler Information Solutions (GIS), a consultancy focused on information management strategies for real estate and facilities.

David has contributed his design and strategic planning acumen to the success of many Gensler design and consultative projects in the United States and internationally, including workplace strategy and design, information solutions and strategic facilities planning for clients.

David holds a Master of Business Administration from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Dartmouth College.

Reimagining Your City

As the world’s population moves to cities, designers will reinvent how people live in them. We’ll reimagine how cities work for people, intertwining buildings, nature and open space in entirely new ways. In cities from Shanghai to Doha to San Francisco, design enables us to create places foster community and offer a new vision for what cities can become.


Dennis Rice is considered to be one of the best strategic thinkers and visionaries in the Entertainment Industry. With over 20 years experience, Rice has worked on some of the most successful movie marketing campaigns in the industry’s history which include the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise to Pixar Animation features such as The Incredibles and Ratatouille to The Chronicles Of Narnia Franchise. He has also been the architect of some of the most successful Academy Award campaigns which have generated over 60 Academy Award nominations and 20 wins. He is a frequent lecturer at The USC School Of Cinematic Arts and a member of the prestigious Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Collision of Hollywood and Technology: How It Has Affected the American Dream, and What to Do About It

There is no question that Hollywood has had a huge impact on society over the years. The same holds true for technology. But the collision of Hollywood and technology has produced an impact that very well may be more than what we bargained for and not all for the better. Entertainment guru Dennis Rice shares his perspective on this collision and offers a simple idea that just might change your life.


Emmy Award winning film producer, Sherry Simpson Dean is known for her deep commitment to human rights and civil liberties. Her film production, “Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony”, is a multiple award-winner of Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival and has been critically acclaimed as the seminal film on post-apartheid South Africa. Her rare, historic footage of Nelson Mandela’s jubilant appearance at South Africa’s first free election celebration in Soweto is treasured internationally. Over the last two years, she has served as a consultant with Opportunity Green, the nation’s largest multidisciplinary business to business sustainability conference. Formerly the Executive Director of this regions United Nations Association, she has founded and numerous programs that have engaged local communities with the UN Millennium Development goals including establishing a district wide Model United Nations conference for public high schools , creating a successful UN speaker series , and co founding UN Human Rights Day in the City of Pasadena, CA . She recently produced a series of promotional video for the UN Environmental Program featuring Don Cheadle and super model Gisele Bundchen. She is currently an adjunct lecturer at Occidental College in the Department of Diplomacy and World Affairs and is honored to be Senior Fellow with Occidentals McKinnon Center for Global Affairs and a Scholar in Residence with the Young initiative on the Global Political Economy.

Hearing Aide: The Future of Listening

Listening may be access to our greatest untapped human potential. Here in America we often chart greatness by what our leaders say. Great speeches and historical quotes from our heroes are enshrined on monuments throughout our nation. However, we pay far less attention to the notion that HOW we listen can determine an outcome as much or more than the words we choose to speak. Listening for greatness, can create greatness. Listening for failure, can create failure. If listening is access to creating the outcomes we want, how can listening help to eradicate poverty, to create world peace, to shift behavior that results in new pathways to sustainable development in communities in America and throughout the world? This talk will provide a new set of listening tools that can be used anytime, anywhere and by everyone to create a new future that is an expression of their dreams.


Terces Engelhart’s gift is one of being inspiring. She pulls from her life lessons to share with others creating new opportunities. She and her husband are the founders of Cafe Gratitude and Gracias Madre. She has authored (or co authored) 5 books with the 6th due to be published in 2014.

When not on the road speaking or leading workshops, she lives with her husband, Matthew,  on “Be Love” Organic Farm, where they grow food for their 6 restaurants.

Love is an Inside Job

With her husband, Terces started something called “Sacred Commerce” which they have been implementing in their business for over 10 years. Together, they train their employees in love as a way of being, then turn them loose in a retail environment. It’s not only applicable to companies; it stands up to the test of any community: families, relationships, a place of work or school. .In her Talk, “Love as an Inside Job,” Terces will show us how to navigate life’s challenges by working through them- in order to create healthier, happier relationships in all areas of life.


Dave Berkus has a proven track record in operations, venture investing and corporate board service,both public and private. As an entrepreneur, he has formed, managed and sold successful businesses in the entertainment and software arenas. As a private equity investor, he has obtained healthy returns from liquidity events in over a dozen investments in early-stage ventures. As a corporate mentor and director, he was named “Director of the Year” for his directorship efforts with over 40 companies in the past decade.

He formed his first entrepreneurial business at the age of 15, a record company, which he grew through the years to become a premiere manufacturer of quality vinyl albums with its own Hollywood production plant and record label. Dave took that company public nine years after graduating from college. Self-programming the company’s early mini-computer system, Dave began licensing software to hundreds of businesses, soon seeing the immense opportunity in enterprise computer software.

Selling his share of the public record company, Dave founded Computerized Lodging Systems Inc (CLS), which he guided as CEO for over a decade that included two consecutive years on the Inc.500 list of America’s fastest growing private companies, expansion to six foreign subsidiaries and twenty nine foreign distributors while capturing 16% of the world market for his enterprise products. Known as a hospitality industry visionary with many “firsts” to his credit in advancing technology in the hospitality industry, in 1998 he was inducted into the Hospitality (HFTP) “International Hall of Fame”, one of only thirty-two people so honored worldwide over the years.

Smiling at Success; Laughing at Failure

No entrepreneur’s “big idea” survives interaction with the marketplace intact. Great entrepreneurs are flexible and coachable. Dave tells stories of entrepreneurs he has financed and coached, some of whom have excelled beyond their wildest dreams, some who have lost it all. Each story leads to a lesson for us all, as Dave explores the world of entrepreneurism from the unique viewpoint of a nearly sixty year veteran entrepreneur-angel investor.


Ella Turenne is an artist, activist and educator. Currently, she is Assistant Dean for Community Engagement at Occidental College. At Occidental, she works with students, faculty, staff and community partners to engage in social justice projects in Los Angeles. Ella’s work has been published in various anthologies including Letters from Young Activists: Today’s Rebels Speak Out, Check the Rhyme: An Anthology of Female Poets and Emcees (nominated for a 2007 NAACP Image Award) and Woman’s Work: The Short Stories and most recently in “Turning Teaching Inside Out.” She is the editor of a volume of visual art and poetry commemorating the Haitian revolution entitled “revolution|revolisyon|révolution 1804-2004: An Artistic Commemoration of the Haitian Revolution.” Ella is also a filmmaker whose work has been an official selection of various national film festivals including the Hollywood Black Film Festival and the Montréal International Haitian Film Festival, where her short film “woodshed” was nominated for Best Short Film. In response to the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Ella co-edited a volume of poetry on Haiti called “For the Crowns of Your Heads;” the funds raised were used to aid a library that was destroyed in Port-au-Prince. As an activist, she is on the Executive Steering Committee of the Inside Out Prison Exchange Program and an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She was also a member of the Blackout Arts Collective where she participated in Lyrics on Lockdown, a national tour where she performed and facilitated workshops educating communities about the prison-industrial complex. She was also co-founder of SistaPAC Productions, whose mission is to develop original creative works from women of color. For more, visit www.blackwomyn.com.

Higher Education: Privilege or Right?

America has the highest rate of incarceration in the world – over 2.3 million people are locked behind bars on a daily basis. While we are content to spend billions of dollars incarcerating men and women, we neglect the fact that many of them will come home with little to no resources to assist them in contributing positively to our society. Every person who is incarcerated should have access to quality higher education if they desire it, and this would benefit them and the communities they live in. There is a great deal of national public conversation about access to higher education for underserved communities, but this rarely includes incarcerated people, who are some of the most underrepresented people in the country.


Alberto’s core values center on the notion that: people, love, and compassion, coupled with organized power, strategy, and vision, have the potential to change society. Alberto was first introduced to organizing while studying at UCLA. As a student activist,Alberto joined with other students across the country in organizing campaigns to defend affirmative action, lower student fees, and advance racial justice.

After leaving UCLA, Alberto cut his teeth in community organizing at Community Coalition. At Community Coalition, he sharpened his organizing values; these values highly place leadership development, building the power of collective action, and non-violence, as core tenets to advancing social change.

From 2009 to 2011, Alberto worked for the Obama administration in the U.S.Department of Education, as Director of Community Outreach. During his time in D.C., Retana organized the Department’s first National Youth Summit and worked with thousands of community leaders across the country on turning around the nation’s “push-out” crisis. Currently, Retana is leading Community Coalition’s civic engagement effort, directly focusing on organizing 30,000 African American and Latino voters of South Los Angeles in various campaigns and efforts to transform neighborhoods and empower people. Alberto Retana is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in political science.

Creating Change

How do ordinary people create extraordinary change? In this Talk, Alberto shares stories of transformational change and will draw lessons on what you can do to create transformation in your life starting today.


Originally from upstate New York, Cordelia Kenney is a senior History major with a focus on the intersection of women and health. She is completing her honors project on the 1873 federal law known as the “Comstock Act,” which outlawed contraception and information pertaining to abortion as well as other materials deemed “obscene.” During her years at Phillips Exeter Academy, she became deeply interested in how people give meaning to their lives at different points in time and space in relation to health and pathology. Cordelia has been volunteering with the national nonprofit organization Peer Health Exchange since 2010, which teaches health workshops in local high schools that lack health curricula. She has also interned with the American Red Cross and Planned Parenthood and plans on pursuing a career in advocacy following graduation. In her free time, Cordelia enjoys trail running, hiking, and sharing meals with friends.

Reimagining Death

Death can be a prickly subject for many people and it can be difficult to accept it as an inescapable part of life. In this talk, Cordelia Kenney will offer three strategies for changing people’s relationship to death so that they are more comfortable talking and thinking about it. Kenney proposes that by reimagining death, we will have no regrets when death happens.


Born in Philadelphia and earned his BA at the University of Miami, MFA at Yale University, then completed a Post-Graduate Associate position where he took courses at Yale Schools of Drama and Management.

Palmer developed several social-impact programs at Yale, including: “Arts in Action: Theater and Public Health in Swaziland and South Africa,” an undergraduate study-abroad course; “Theater for Social Justice in Education and the Community,” in New Haven; and “The Quest for Social Justice through Music, Theater, and Religion in Tanzania,” a joint study-abroad program between Yale School of Drama and Yale Divinity School.

Palmer is founder of a team supporting black men in college to join the social impact innovation and entrepreneurial sectors. Palmer is co-founder and co-artistic director of Company Cypher, a New-York and Los-Angeles based theater company and organization, whose work strives to transform the conversation around skin tone prejudice and racism. Currently Palmer is the Senior Director of Leadership Development for the Community Leadership Institute of Greater Los Angeles.

Social Impact as Art

Gamal Palmer has been on the forefront of theater-based social justice initiatives for more than a decade. He shares how his experiences in rural and urban setting around the world has shaped his work and influenced communities. Letting us in on his journey, he offers tools for designing your own impact-artists-equation, giving us the confidence and freedom to be artful in all that we do.


Sarah Tamashiro is the daughter of Wayne and Elaine Tamashiro and Scott Awai and Sharene Taba. Born and raised on the island of Oʻahu, she is heavily connected to her home state of Hawaii. After graduating from a small all-girls school in downtown Honolulu, Sarah left Hawaii to attend college in Connecticut before moving to Los Angeles to attend Occidental College where she is a currently a junior Art History major. Although she is of mixed race and was raised in a Japanese-American household, she identifies as a Kanaka ʻŌiwi, the indigenous people of the Hawaiian islands. Sarah considers herself to have a wide spectrum of interests ranging from art and design innovation, modern architecture, endemic flora and fauna of Polynesia, hypeculture, indigenous peoples’ rights, and paʻi ʻai.

Know Your Roots

We are products of negatives and positives of places and often the negatives force us away. But we are quick to forget that these places have existed long before us and are filled with stories and histories that can help us see these places in a new light. “Know Your Roots” explores Sarah’s perspective on growing movements in Hawaii that are working to solve problems that are deeply rooted in colonization using solutions inspired by tradition and history.


Somer Greene, a sophomore at Occidental College, was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee before recently moving to Irvine, California. She is currently creating her own major to pursue a career in Community Based Marketing and Research in the non-profit sector. She works as a Programming Manager at the Office of Community Engagement, and as an Education in Action Facilitator. She is also the Publicity Chair for Occidental’s Colleges Against Cancer Club. Somer is passionate about volunteer work and student activism. Her work focuses on connecting students with Los Angeles community partners in volunteer projects on and off the Occidental Campus. She is the recipient of the President of the United States Volunteer Service Award, the National Civil Rights Museum’s Courage Award, and the Charles W. List Memorial Award. When she’s not watching Will & Grace Marathons, you can find Somer running with her dog, Fireball, or at a Bikram Yoga Studio.


Somer’s TEDx talk is a Spoken Word piece titled “RAD.” Somer describes the American Dream as “untouchable” —something that cannot be taken, manipulated, or destroyed by human hands but somehow has. Somer’s piece is a simple reminder to live, celebrate, and reinvent our American Dream… to be RAD.


Brian Erickson is a sophomore politics major from Tucson, Arizona. He is a volunteer teacher and co-coordinator for Peer Health Exchange, a national nonprofit that trains college students to teach health workshops in ninth grade classrooms across Los Angeles. He has worked as a peer tutor and an intern for Arizona gubernatorial candidate Fred DuVal. He is also a writer and produced playwright, with a particular interest in domestic drama. As a student of politics, English, and history, Brian’s principal academic interests lie in the intersection of these three disciplines, studying how artistic and literary movements can ignite social and political change. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a career in advocacy or public interest law.

The Era of Overshare: How to Rethink Social Media

In a generation defined by its incessant record-keeping of day-to-day life (anyone want to take a picture of my dinner?), how can we cut through the clutter and create personal records that encapsulate the truly important things in life? Using an innovative five-point litmus test, this humorous talk examines how social media and self-documentation can serve as catalysts for global understanding, introspection, and perhaps even peace.


Dr. Richard Pestell is a leader in the global cancer community. He has galvanized international teams to fight cancer, has more than 600 published works and patents in cancer diagnostics and treatment including light-activated gene therapy. He founded companies (ProstaGene, AAAPhoenix) and Institutes, led cancer not–for-profits and directed two US Cancer Centers: Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University.

Is Good Health a Choice?

In pursuit of the American Dream many think we are free to choose good health-but who is really making these decisions for us? In this talk, Dr. Pestell will explore cultural assumptions that drive cancer seeking behavior. He will reveal solutions that will empower you to live healthier starting today.


Adrian Adams is a first year Critical Theory and Social Justice Major. Their area of research focuses how hypersexualization in media influences transphobia and how exotifying women of color particularly affects transgender women of color. During their time at Occidental College, they founded a peer mentorship program for queer and trans* students on-campus called “Lead with Pride”. They also served as the Occidental College representative at the 2014 T*Camp, a three day conference for gender questioning, genderqueer, and trans* individuals. In the future, they hope to explore how to apply identity politics (with an intersectional approach) to screenwriting, producing, and public policy.

She, He, and then there’s Me: My Journey Beyond the Gender Binary

Though taken for granted, the ability to express oneself in a public space is the American Dream. Currently, many transgender and gender non-conforming individuals do not have access to this Dream. Adrian explores how we can reconstruct local spaces to provide inclusion for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. In doing so, Adrian demonstrates the ways in which the Power of Inclusion can reconstruct the American Dream into a localized form that any person can acquire.


Peggy Liu, Chairperson of JUCCCE, leads a coalition in accelerating the greening of China and in fostering international collaboration with China. JUCCCE creates systemic change in sustainable cities, sustainable consumerism and smart grid, and most noted for its multi sector convening power.

She is an executive advisor to Marks & Spencer and HP, a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Sustainable Consumption, a WEF Young Global Leader. Honors include the Hillary Step for Climate Change Solutions, a Time Magazine Hero of the Environment, a China top innovative business leader by China Business News, and China’s “Green Goddess” by Global Times.

She was a venture capitalist in Shanghai, an Internet pioneer in Silicon Valley, a software marketing executive, a McKinsey consultant. She is a graduate of MIT in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and completed programs at Harvard Kennedy School and at Lee Kwan Yew School.

Dream in a Box

Current “Bling Dreams” are not making us happy, economically viable, or environmentally sustainable. How can we reimagine prosperity? Dematerialize our images of success? Let’s learn from behavior change successes to co-create a New American Dream together.