Stanford selects first cohort of Distinguished Careers Institute fellows

The program is designed for exceptional leaders with 20 to 30 years of experience who are interested in reinventing and redirecting their careers toward roles with a social impact.

L.A. Cicero Quad

Stanford's new Distinguished Careers Institute will bring 24 established leaders to campus in 2015 for reflection and exploration as they seek ways to improve society.

A children's book author, a primary care physician and a clean energy expert are among the 24 fellows chosen to inaugurate Stanford's Distinguished Careers Institute (DCI), a yearlong program created to provide an opportunity for personal reflection and intellectual exploration.

The program begins in January.

Participants pursue a "scholarly pathway," take part in programs promoting physical and cognitive well-being, and work with faculty and other professionals as they reflect on their lives and chart their future paths. DCI also will foster intergenerational interactions with undergraduate and graduate students.

The first DCI cohort is composed of nine women and 15 men. More than half of the fellows come from the Bay Area. Five come from other states: Connecticut, Florida, New York, South Carolina and Texas. The inaugural group includes one person from Brazil and one from the Netherlands.

The inaugural DCI cohort includes investment bankers, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, a public art planner and a filmmaker.

"In selecting the fellows, we were particularly attentive to their curiosity, their interests and their willingness to share and to probe," said Philip Pizzo, former dean of Stanford Medical School and founding director of DCI.

"We were quite candid with everyone we interviewed that we were looking for people of great achievement and a high level of emotional intelligence who would really be able to thrive in a new setting – starting at ground zero."

Pizzo, who is the David and Susan Heckerman Professor and professor of pediatrics and of microbiology and immunology at Stanford School of Medicine, said he was thrilled by the "extraordinary depth and breadth" of the cohort.

"They come from all walks of life and each one has taken a different life journey, but they all share in a common goal: to spend a year at Stanford and leave with the opportunity to do new, exciting things for the public good," he said.

Pizzo said Stanford received many more applications than expected and expanded the program to 24 people to accommodate demand, up from the originally planned 20.

He said the demand shows that DCI is an idea whose time has come.

"I hope Stanford's program will catalyze other colleges, universities and community colleges across the country to adopt similar programs," he said.

Under the program, the DCI fellows will be able to audit Stanford courses offered throughout campus. Each fellow will have a faculty adviser aligned with the fellow's scholarly pathway.

The DCI fellows will participate in a core program that includes weekly discussion seminars with faculty on a broad range of topics, and weekly receptions in which fellows share the lessons they have learned and consider issues of life transition from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

The program will include one- to two-day meetings on key social and intellectual issues. Monthly dinners will be held with faculty scholars, as well as leaders from the broader Stanford and Silicon Valley communities. Each fellow will have dedicated office space on campus. Some fellows will bring their partners, who are also welcome to take part in the program.

Full biographies of the inaugural cohort of DCI fellows can be found on the program's website.

The 2015 fellows are:

Andrew Adelson, TV and film producer; educator
Los Angeles

Raj Bhargava, senior vice president, products and services, Satmetrix
Palo Alto, California           

Jeff Byron, former commissioner, California State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission; co-chair of the board, Cleantech Open; member and investor, Band of Angels
Los Altos, California 

Susan J. Carter, CEO, Commonfund Capital Inc.
Riverside, Connecticut

Steven Charlap, co-founder and CEO, Health Drive; founder and chief medical officer, MDPrevent
Boca Raton, Florida

Monica Colondres, former director, human resources, San Mateo County Transit District
Redwood City, California

John "Jerome" Debs II, founder and chief investment officer, Bodri Capital Management
Palo Alto,

Mary Jane Elmore, former general partner and present consultant, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP); member, Sand Hill Angels
Palo Alto, California

Chris Espinosa, special projects, Apple
Menlo Park, California

Catherine L. Gilliss, Helene Fuld Health Trust Professor and former dean of the Duke University School of Nursing
Durham, North Carolina, and San Francisco

Rich Goldberg, vice president, corporate quality, Cisco Systems
Los Gatos, California

Barbara Goldstein, principal, Barbara Goldstein & Associates; independent consultant on creative placement and public art planning
San Jose, California

Steve Goodall, retired president and CEO, JD Power and Associates; board member, Outsell Inc.
San Mateo, California

Miriam L. Haas, president, Mimi and Peter Haas Fund
San Francisco

Shawn Hardin, co-founder and CEO, Mind Pirate
Menlo Park, California

Christopher M. Harte, chairman, Harte-Hanks; former publisher, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Austin, Texas

Kate Jerome, children's book author and curriculum specialist
Charleston, South Carolina

Charles Katz Jr., former partner, Perkins Coie; former executive vice president, Opsware Inc.
Palo Alto, California

Richard Kimball, retired partner and co-head, Global Healthcare Investment Banking, Goldman Sachs
New York City

Jere Brooks King, marketing consultant and nonprofit volunteer; retired vice president, marketing, Cisco Systems
Palo Alto, California

Diane L. Morris, founder and president, Morris Capital Management
San Francisco

Marcello Palazzi, founder, Progressio Foundation; co-founder, B Lab Europe
The Netherlands

James G. Wetrich, CEO, The Wetrich Group LLC and The Wetrich Group SCO LLC
Southlake, Texas

Robert Wilson, founding partner, Gaia Labs LLC
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Mira Engel, School of Medicine: (650) 725-2896,