Janice Mirikitani and Chip Conley Speak at USF

An evening of poetry & conversation on “The Power of Human Connection,” Oct. 7

SAN FRANCISCO (October 2, 2014)

The University of San Francisco (USF) is proud to host its Diversity Scholar and Visiting Professor Janice Mirikitani along side veteran CEO/Hotelier Chip Conley in another installment of “DiversityTalks,” annual discussions that spotlight critical diversity issues and local leaders working on these issues daily. Sponsored by USF’s Office of Diversity Engagement and Community Outreach, the event is free, open to the public, and will take place on Tues., Oct. 7 in USF’s Presentation Theater (2350 Turk Blvd. at Tamalpais Terrace), from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

“DiversityTalks: The Power of Human Connection” aims to inspire the community through the stories of two distinguished and recognized leaders based in San Francisco. Mirikitani, co-founding president of the renown Glide Foundation, will discuss her life-long work as a social justice leader in San Francisco, dedicating more than 50 years to the city’s poor and marginalized.

Chip Conley, one of America’s most innovative entrepreneurs, whose success affirms the importance of relationships, will join Mirikitani in the conversation on how transformational focusing on others can be. Conley is also a New York Times bestselling author with his book “Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success.” During the Oct. 7 event, he will talk about his latest travels around the globe and his curiosity of how other cultures find happiness.

“Both Janice and Chip share the selfless quality of putting others first,” said Mary J. Wardell-Ghirarduzzi, USF’s vice provost for Diversity Engagement and Community Outreach. “They are successful in their individual professions, but are like-minded in their approach—hard work, service to others, and dedication to the common good. This DiversityTalks event is a chance for Janice and Chip to talk about the value of human connections— in business, in school, in life.”

As San Francisco’s second poet laureate, Mirikitani will read poetry from her latest book “Out of the Dust,” as well as invite young poets from YouthSpeaks to share their creative works. Mirikitani is USF’s second Diversity Scholar and is currently teaching the undergraduate course, Poetry and Poverty: Transformation From Dust. The class explores the issues of poverty and oppression through the use of poetry, personal narrative, and direct community engagement with San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood.

“Ms. Mirikitani continues to broaden my perspective of poverty through readings, poetry, but mostly our trips to Glide,” said USF student Micaela Gallanosa, a senior majoring in Advertising currently taking Mirikitani’s class. “More than anything she has taken the abstract idea of poverty and made it much more human. She has instilled in us a sense of solidarity…Poverty is not “their problem” it’s a problem that we are charged with as a community.”

To RSVP for the Oct. 7 event and for more information, please visit usfca.edu/Diversity/

Media interested in requesting an interview with Janice Mirikitani or Chip Conley, please contact Anne-Marie Devine Tasto, senior director of media relations, at (415) 422-2697 or abdevine@usfca.edu.


GLIDE is a beloved cultural icon and San Francisco’s premiere provider of innovative social services for marginalized populations. Founded by Rev. Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani more than fifty years ago, and under the leadership of Co-Executive Directors Rita Shimmin and Kristen Growney Yamamoto, and Pastor Karen Oliveto, GLIDE offers comprehensive support services to San Francisco's poor and homeless communities, helping them to overcome the barriers of poverty, violence, addiction, dependency and low self-worth. The organization has held steady the vision of supporting and uplifting the disenfranchised through unconditional love, acceptance and respect for more than five decades.

About the University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco is located in the heart of one of the world's most innovative and stunning cities and is home to a vibrant academic community of students and faculty who achieve excellence in their fields. Its diverse student body enjoys direct access to faculty, small classes, and outstanding opportunities in the city itself. USF is San Francisco’s first university, and its Jesuit Catholic mission helps ignite a student's passion for social justice and a desire to “Change the World from Here.” For more information, please visit www.usfca.edu.