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HomeSpeaker Series


Throughout the year, the Palo Alto League of Women Voters hosts a speaker series on topics that are of interest to our members and community. Programs are recorded and available on our YouTube channel. Scroll down to view our speaker events.  Sometimes the League sponsors events with other allied organizations. This happens when the goals/mission/values of the organizations are aligned with League positions (US, California, regional and local) and support or opposition of political parties or candidates is not the organization's primary mission.

First Thursdays  Celebrate 2023 & Discuss League Opportunities & Membership with Leadership

 December 7th  1:00 - 3:00pm 480 Gary Ct Palo Alto
Join us for a celebration of a successful 2023, while launching 2024 with a drive for membership renewal! Lunch will be served: mini-sandwiches, salad, fruits, desserts, ginger ale, and water. You can bring wine if you’d like!

Come to learn what's new at the League, chat with our co-presidents and other Board members, and learn about League opportunities based on your interests and time frames. We will then extend the gathering for a membership drive by calling members who have not yet renewed to complete their renewals online or via mail. Many hands make light work—we hope to see you at this fun social and volunteer gathering at our December's First Thursday!

Membership Renewal

Our Membership team has been busy with annual membership renewal and please support our effort by auto renewing your membership online.

Members received an email notification on November 1. Please log in to your Member account to complete the renewal. Members will be able to pay online using PayPal, credit card (after choosing the PayPal option), or by mailing us a check. To log in to your account, just go to the LWVPA website and click <Member Login> at the top right. If you do not remember your username or password, click the button <Forgot My Username/Password>.

Questions? Please contact Thank you for your continued support of LWVPA. We also welcome new members to join HERE!

- Sunny Dykwel, Membership Director

Winter Luncheon: In Conversation with Donna Norton, a Founder of MomsRise

Wednesday,  December 6th Noon - 2pm 
Tickets are $40/person. Members are welcome to bring a guest, but space is limited.  Register by December 1st.

Learn about how moms are making a difference online, and on the ground, across the nation to advocate for policies like early education, maternal health, and immigrant rights that lift families and mobilize their communities to vote.

Donna Norton is a founding member of MomsRising and serves as MomsRising’s Executive VP and Chief Advancement & Strategy Officer, helping to develop and drive the strategic direction of MomsRising’s agenda. 

Norton is an innovator and strategic manager with more than 20 years of experience working on women’s rights and gender equality on a variety of policy challenges.  Since 2006, she has led numerous winning campaigns at MomsRising, including the national healthcare campaign, the national early learning campaign, and the national immigration campaign. 

Prior to joining MomsRising, Norton directed the National Workplace Resource Center on Domestic Violence for Futures Without Violence and was the Executive Director of the Southern Alameda County Domestic Violence Law Project. 

Norton has also worked in international development, serving as the Rule of Law Program Officer at U.S. Agency for International Development in Moscow, Russia in 1994-95, conducting research on dowry related violence at the Indian Law Institute, and speaking at numerous conferences and events in Russia while her husband, Michael McFaul, served as U.S. Ambassador to Russia from 2012-2014.  

Norton holds a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley, a master’s degree in public policy and public administration from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Stanford University. 

October Fall Kickoff: Santa Clara Supervisor Joe Simitian Bridging the Divide - Hope for the Future

Sunday, October 1st  4:00 - 6:00 pm Foster Museum 940 Commercial Street, Palo Alto 
A large group enjoyed a fun social gathering and an engaging conversation with our Guest Speaker Supervisor Joe Simitian who shared his thoughts, based on his own experiences, on why he believes there is a way to push through and past our current polarization.

Speaker Bio:

Joe Simitian was elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in 2012, re-elected in 2016 and 2020. He represents the Fifth District, which includes Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Saratoga, Stanford, and portions of Sunnyvale and San Jose. 

Joe received his Bachelor of Arts degree from The Colorado College. He also holds a Master of Arts degree in International Policy Studies from Stanford University; a Masters in City Planning degree from the University of California at Berkeley; and a Juris Doctor law degree from the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall).

During his tenure in the State Legislature, Joe authored high-impact legislation on energy, water, environment, education, privacy, elder protection, and highway safety.

Joe brings a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds to his work. He has served at all levels of state and local government. Joe also has hands-on experience in the private sector as a public school’s attorney, businessman, and certified city planner. Along with a breadth of international interests and experience, Joe's professional education and training particularly apply to his work in public service.

Fall Kickoff 2023

Past Speaker Events

Watch video recordings and view photos of past speaker events by clicking on each event’s title.
 How is Palo Alto Upgrading Our Electrical Grid for an All-Electric Future ? City of Palo Alto Utilities Director Dean Batchelor, Home Electrification experts Tom Kabat and Cooper Marcus . View the folder with presentation materials HERE.  
October 19th , 2023 
As we switch our homes, buildings and cars from fossil fuels to electricity, we need more electric capacity, resiliency and "smarts" in our grid. Hear City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) Director Dean Batchelor discuss CPAU plans to modernize our electric grid, as well as address resident concerns about switching from gas to electric. Tom Kabat will discuss ways to save money while switching to electricity at home, and Cooper Marcus will talk about financial resources and planning to help residents electrify cost-effectively.
 How is Our Department Prioritizing Service to Palo Alto Palo Alto Police Chief Andrew Binder
August 23rd, 2023 
After being selected by City Manager Ed Shikada and confirmed by City Council, Andrew Binder began serving as Palo Alto’s 11th Police Chief on August 8th, 2022. Andrew’s 26 years of law enforcement experience include serving eighteen years with the City of San Jose and more than eight years in Palo Alto.
Preventing Gun Violence: What Parents Can Do To Help - LWV Palo Alto Gun Violence Prevention Committee and PTA Council presented a Parent Education Zoom webinar
April 25, 2023
Dr. Erin Holsinger, Stanford pediatrician and noted gun violence researcher; Chloe Chan, Palo Alto High School Student; Stacey Ashlund, LWVPA’s Gun Violence Prevention Committee co-chair and Moms Demand Action volunteer
Voting Rights Film Suppressed & Sabotaged: The Right to Vote & Discussion - Fall Kick-off 
October 2, 2022
Kemi Anike Oyewole, PhD student Stanford University 
Affordable Electrification for Everyone
June 22, 2022
Diane Bailey, Executive Director, Menlo Spark
Bruce Hodges, Founder, Carbon Free Palo Alto
The slide decks for our speakers are here (Bailey) and here (Hodges)
Progress Report on City Priorities - LWVPA Annual Meeting
May 14, 2022 
Ed Shikada, Palo Alto City Manager 
The Road to Democracy Runs Through the Classroom
March 9, 2022
Susie Richardson, Facing History  & Ourselves Board Member
Jennifer DiBrienza, PAUSD Board of Education 
Language of Leadership (for all)
December 9, 2021
Lori Nishiura Mackenzie, Lead Strategist, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Stanford Graduate School of Business 
How to Repair American Democracy
August 2, 2021
Dr. Larry Diamond, Top scholar in Democracy Studies 
Power of Community - LWVPA Annual Meeting
May 15, 2021
Rev. Kaloma Smith, Leader of the University AME Zion Church Palo Alto; Chair, Palo Alto Human Relations Committee 
Climate Crisis Call to Action: Think Globally/Act Locally
March 10, 2021
Christine Luong, Sustainability Manager, City of Palo Alto 
Nicole Angiel, Food Systems Director, Acterra 
The K-12 Opportunity Gap and Its Effect on Equal Access to Education - LWVPA Winter Luncheon
December 3, 2020
Kristen Clark, President and Executive Director, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law  
Genevieve Bonadies Torres, Associate Director, Educational Opportunities Project 
The Personal and the Political: What COVID-19 Reveals and How We Might Respond
June 24, 2020
Julie Lythcott-Haims, Author, speaker, activist, and board member of Black Women’s Health Imperative, Narrative Magazine, and California College of the Arts; she serves on the advisory boards of LeanIn.Org, Sir Ken Robinson Foundation, and Baldwin For the Arts. 
How is the COVID-19 Crisis Impacting American Democracy?
April 29, 2020
Didi Kuo, Associate Director, Research and Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University 
Judge LaDoris Cordell
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