Book Launch | Leading Systems Change

October 16th, 2019 - 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Stanford Law School, Room 190 559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305

Leading Systems Change: What do today’s leaders need to create large-scale, equity-centered community change?

While our national civic discourse is often divisive and negative, there are leaders choosing to work from a place of abundance and collaborate across differences to create stronger, healthier communities. A new book, Leading Systems Change, provides funders and practitioners with an in-depth look at how leaders are working to re-design local systems and structures in the heart of California’s Central Valley to ignite civic life and engagement.

This event hosted by Stanford PACS will share lessons learned from the authors of this new book, Heather McLeod Grant and Adene Sacks, and participants in the New Leadership Network—along with some of the frameworks and tools they used to help leaders pursue equity-centered systems change. The panelists will be joined by Kathleen Kelly Janus who serves as a senior advisor on social innovation to Governor Gavin Newsom.


5:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Doors Open and Refreshments Served

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Book Launch and Panel Discussion

6:30 pm – 7:00 pm


Heather McLeod Grant

Author and Co-Founder of Open Impact

Heather is the co-founder of Open Impact and a social entrepreneur, author, and consultant with 25 years of experience in social change. She is coauthor of the bestselling Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits, named a Top Ten Book of the Year by The Economist, and numerous case studies, articles and other publications. Previously she was the principal of McLeod-Grant Advisors. Heather helped lead the nonprofit practice at Monitor Institute and served as a McKinsey & Company consultant. She began her career as an Echoing Green Fellow when she cofounded Who Cares, a national magazine for young social entrepreneurs published from 1993 to 1999. She has been a Venture Partner with Draper-Richards-Kaplan and has served on numerous local, national, and global nonprofit boards. She holds an MBA from Stanford University and an AB from Harvard University.

Adene Sacks

Author and CoFounder of the With/In Collaborative

Adene Sacks is the co-founder of the With/In Collaborative, a consulting partnership that works alongside visionary leaders and communities to re-imagine and re-design social systems, and is the program director of the New Leadership Network. Her favorite days at work involve working with funders, foundations and organizations on how network strategy, design and systems thinking build our collective capacity to create a more just world.

Marian Kaanon

CEO of the Stanislaus Community Foundation

Marian Kaanon is the CEO of Stanislaus Community Foundation. Marian Kaanon grew up in Modesto and graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Communication Studies.
She began her career in broadcast journalism before working for a number of years in public relations, marketing, and lobbying/legislative affairs. Marian has managed award-winning marketing campaigns for clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to nonprofit advocacy groups. She served as Vice President of Marketing for Community Hospice for 8 years, developing and executing a holistic brand strategy that grew the organization triple-fold prior to her departure. Marian joined Stanislaus Community Foundation as their CEO in 2012.

Stanislaus Community Foundation is a place-based funder that provides grants and scholarships to community organizations in Stanislaus County. In the decade since its founding, the organization has invested nearly $13 million in local nonprofits and regional initiatives.

In 2006, Marian was named by The Modesto Bee as one of “20 Under 40” young civic leaders to watch, and in 2015 she was named an Outstanding Woman for Stanislaus County. She is an active Rotarian as well as a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum.

Reggie Rucker

Downtown Modesto Partnerships

Reggie Rucker is a proud Modestan who has spent the past decade-plus finding ways to lift up the community which has brought him so much inspiration and opportunity. After spending nearly a decade as Modesto’s go-to social media guy promoting some of the areas largest and most well-respected entertainment and cultural amenities, Reggie started to search for new paths in which to enhance the vibrancy and sense of pride in the community. After producing Modesto’s first fashion week in modern history and catalyzing the Glorious Modesto movement, Reggie’s dogged belief in the brilliance of his hometown would eventually lead him to becoming Director of Placemaking at the Downtown Modesto Partnership where it’s his job to co-create a downtown that appropriately embodies the heart and soul of Modesto in all of its glory.

Ruben Imperial

Focus on Prevention, Stanislaus County

Ruben Imperial currently serves as the Interim Behavioral Director for Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. Ruben formerly served as the Deputy Executive Officer with the Stanislaus County Chief Executive Office where he provided leadership and direction in the alignment of the County with Focus on Prevention, a regional initiative with the aim to improve the quality of life for all Stanislaus residents and families through coordinated prevention efforts working across multiple sectors.

Starting as a Clinical Services Technician in the Stanislaus Behavioral Center within the County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services in 2002, Ruben has held various management roles in prevention services before coming to the CEO’s Office in 2015. He formerly served as Chief of the Adult System of Care. Since 2015, Ruben has worked in the County CEO’s Office as the Community Development and Empowerment Manager, serving as a management liaison with Municipal Advisory Councils and various other community partners and as an important steward of the Focus on Prevention initiative which Ruben supported the launch of under the leadership of former CEO, Stan Risen.

Ruben serves on the Board of Directors for the City Ministry Network, an organization committed to strengthening faith-sector community development efforts in Modesto. More recently, he’s accepted a Board of Directors position with a new area non-profit start-up, Stanislaus SOUP, which serves as a micro-grant organization, celebrating and supporting creative community- based projects in Stanislaus County. He was born and raised in Bakersfield, CA. He received his Masters of Business Administration along with his BA in Political Science from Stanislaus State. He lives in Turlock with his wife Carolina and daughter Isabella.

Kathleen Kelly Janus

Senior Advisor on Social Innovation to Governor Gavin Newsom

Kathleen Kelly Janus is the Senior Advisor on Social Innovation to Governor Gavin Newsom. As a social entrepreneur, author and lecturer at Stanford University’s Program on Social Entrepreneurship, she is an expert on philanthropy, millennial engagement and scaling early stage organizations. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Fast Company, Quartz, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Tech Crunch and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her book – Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up and Make a Difference – is a playbook for nonprofit organizations based on a five-year research project interviewing hundreds of top-performing social innovators.
An attorney, Kathleen has spearheaded numerous social justice initiatives. Kathleen is a co-founder of Spark – a network of over 10,000 millennial donors – which seeks to advance gender equality by engaging the next generation in accessible forms of philanthropy. As a teaching fellow at Stanford Law School, Kathleen helped launch and direct Stanford Law School’s international human rights clinics in Namibia and South Africa. She has also served as pro bono counsel at Covington and Burling and a litigation associate at Thelen Reid & Priest. 
A graduate of Berkeley Law School, Kathleen also graduated with highest honors from U.C. Berkeley. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Ted. Kathleen is a certified yoga instructor, which comes in handy when juggling their three young children.

Kim Meredith

Executive Director, Stanford PACS

As the inaugural Executive Director of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS), Kim Meredith has been responsible for strategic leadership and consistent organizational growth, scaling Stanford PACS through the expansion of research and programmatic initiatives. Ms. Meredith joined in July 2009, then one year later led the team to acquire the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), and in 2012 launched Stanford PACS programs at the Stanford Center at Peking University.

Prior to joining Stanford PACS, Ms. Meredith served as the Chief Development Officer for Planned Parenthood Federation of America in New York City and Chief Operating Officer at Planned Parenthood Golden Gate in San Francisco. Ms. Meredith launched her business career at AT&T for nearly a decade.

Ms. Meredith serves on the Board of Directors of the George Lucas Education Foundation, Essential Access Health, YPO Pacific U.S. Gold Regional Board, and held a recent six year board term on Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2).

Ms. Meredith graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Economics. In 2005, she received a fellowship to the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders, and in 2018 was sponsored for the UC Berkeley – Haas School of Business, Berkeley Corporate Board Workshop.