2013 Annual Meeting Debrief: What Did We Learn? Who Had Fun?

Over 30 Stanford Graduate School of Business 1980 classmates and an equal number of spouses, friends, and guests converged on grid-locked Washington, DC for a weekend in late October, 2013.  When we arrived, the autumn weather turned beautiful, the government shut down miraculously ended, and the city opened its arms.  Before we knew what was happening, we found ourselves informed, inspired, and involved. (hover over photo for caption)

I wish everyone could have seen the heartrending before- and after- photos of people helped by the Village Health Work clinics and listened to presentation by its founder, Deo Niyizonkiza. I hadn’t read Tracy Kidder’s inspiring book about Deo, “Strength in What Remains”, but am devouring it now. I am so proud of Project Redwood for supporting Village Health Works and all our other grantees that fight extreme poverty. It’s a noble endeavor and we do make a difference.  Beth Gibson Sawi

This event was great on several dimensions. We’ve moved to Baltimore recently, so it was nice to reconnect with many of the PRW group. The program – both from classmates and speakers – provided an inspiring reminder of why PRW exists and what it can continue doing for those in need. Well done!  DJ Crane

It was great to see everyone. It felt like a family reunion.  Kirk Renaud


I am so proud of you, my classmates, for the time, attention, talent, and money that you are contributing to Project Redwood. Great work! I appreciate your special efforts to make the meeting accessible remotely. Don Maruska


I like Top 10’s so here’s my list of Top 10 highlights from our Project Redwood Annual Meeting in DC:

1. Stanford in Washington – the perfect setting for this event.
2. Laura’s slides: Provided at-a-glance understanding of PRW’s portfolio.
3. Lunch breakouts allowed deep dives into project sourcing, project support, funding, and impact.
4. Deo Niuizoniza’s slide featuring three volunteers- two Tutsi and one Hutu -working together.
5. The specific takeaways that each of our four panelists (Sarah, Jan, Barbara, Harold) gave Deo.
6. Jorge’s presentation on Synergy.
7. Live streaming the meeting to include our distant classmates.
8. Post-dinner singalong spoof led by Brock Holmes.
9. Phil’s closing: “I’ve just witnessed a miracle ..”
10. National monuments night tour Now is the perfect time to get involved with Project Redwood.

Let us know if you want to learn more about sponsoring a project, visiting a host country, volunteering on a committee, or helping to plan our 2014 annual meeting. We hope to hear from you soon.  Ken Inadomi

Thanks again to Kirk, our Octoberfest team, our panelists and presenters, and everyone who attended for a fun and inspiring weekend! We have new enthusiasm for our mission, what we have accomplished together, and how we can keep growing. My wife Julie and I had a great time. Good to see all of you.  Rich Jerdonek

It was an absolutely stellar meeting–many thanks to Kirk and all the organizers, presenters, panelists and especially our guest speaker, Deo Niyizonkiza. And to get to spend time with so many classmates, spouses and guests made the entire weekend especially rewarding.  Ann Gordon McStay

Rick and I thoroughly enjoyed our weekend with all of you – thanks in particular for being so welcoming to me. The weekend was well planned and quite inspirational. I look forward to getting involved.  Joan O’Connell Agresta

It was a great event! I am still in awe of what our class has done in creating this enterprise that we can all share in to help make the world a better place. The speakers and the camaraderie in DC were outstanding. It was fun to reconnect with classmates (who knew Ann Thoke and I both love golf and bridge!). And Sue Miller and I saw the panda and elephants at the zoo on Sunday (the weather was perfect). For all of you who couldn’t make it to DC, you should really try to come to LA next year – it is worth it!  Amy Minella

It is wonderful to see Project Redwood continue to become more and more effective in ameliorating extreme poverty. Such good work is being done by our class. And the more we learn, the more fascintating it is.  Carol Head

What a great weekend! It’s always a pleasure to reconnect with classmates, but to do it in such a beautiful city at such a great time of year and for such an important effort was inspiring. PRW has truly put a unique and world class approach to identifying, evaluating, and supporting those special people who devote their lives to the issues of extreme poverty.  Martha Parry Clark

Many thanks to Kirk, Ken and the planning team for an outstanding and inspirational meeting. What great speakers. So much food for thought – and action. Getting together is always fun. Hearing about everyone’s connections and experiences is truly amazing. Looking forward to many conversations over the next year and seeing everyone in Los Angeles. Kristi Smith-Hernandez

Having the event in DC and utilizing the Stanford in Washington facilities worked very well, especially since the government had just reopened and the weather was spectacular. The group was energized to begin with but the program built even more enthusiasm for Project Redwoods grant program. Having the opportunity to hear from our grantees in person is very compelling. I think everyone was fascinated and moved by Deo Niyizonkiza’s presentation about the impact Village Health Works is having in Burundi, both in terms of health care and social change. The panel of nonprofit professionals was also very interesting and a source a lot of promising ideas and leads. Kudos to Kirk, Ann, Kristi and of course to Laura for her fabulous bubble charts.  Ann Thoke Espy


First, a huge shout-out to Kirk for orchestrating a great gathering. A very high bar for next year’s planners. As a sponsor, I have always been deeply grateful for the funding support, but I was very moved by the personal involvement and commitment of my classmates that was in evidence over this weekend. And the pleasure of re-connecting with the Agrestas and Sue Silver was…..priceless!  Bill Westwood


It was great to re-connect after several years in hibernation. I was deeply impressed with what has been accomplished by the class members working on Project Redwood since I last attended a project meeting. Happy to be involved again, and to re-connect with so many dedicated classmates. Lili Avery

Wonderful to see so many new faces at this annual meeting. It’s like a mini-reunion dedicated to a cause. Guest speakers were exceptional, thanks to Kirk and Ken. Already looking forward to next year!  Mary Pruiett


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