Tag Archives: San Francisco

TechWomen Community Cycle

Mai Temraz and Katy Dickinson at Cal State San Bernardino August 2016

The TechWomen mentoring program has been since 2010 a big part of my annual planning. 90 Emerging Leaders from 19 countries in Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East will arrive in the San Francisco Bay Area in about ten days to start working at local STEM companies.  I am already working with the 6 ELs from Tunisia as one of their 3 Impact Advisors. Our Impact Advisory group has been meeting remotely every Friday – I look forward to meeting the Tunisia ladies in person soon.  The 2016 Emerging Leaders will be in the USA until mid-October, returning home after a visit to Washington DC.

I am also enjoying supporting one of my 2014 mentees, TechWomen Fellow and Fulbright Fellow Mai Temraz from Gaza, who will be starting her MBA at Cal State San Bernardino next month.  Several of us visited Mai and her family in Gaza City earlier this year.  The Temraz family is staying with us in San Jose while Mai goes through orientation at UC Davis.  Last weekend, my daughter Jessica, Mai, and I did a road trip to help find an apartment in San Bernardino and to see the Cal State campus.  In a few weeks, the Temraz family will move to Southern California.

TechWomen is more than an Initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, it has become a beloved community and extended family for many of its participants.

Walaa, Mai, and Yazan Temraz in San Jose, California, August 2016
Walaa, Mai, and Yazan Temraz in San Jose, California, August 2016

TechWomen Eileen Brewer, Erin Keeley, Aliya Janjua, Jessica Dickinson Goodman, Mai Temraz, Katy Dickinson in Gaza City February 2016
TechWomen Erin Keeley, Eileen Brewer, Mai Temraz, Jessica Dickinson Goodman, Katy Dickinson, and Aliya Janjua in Gaza City, February 2016

TechWomen Seham Al-Jaafreh, Mai Temraz, Katy Dickinson, San Bruno Park, California, October 2014
TechWomen Seham Al-JaafrehMai Temraz, and Katy Dickinson, San Bruno Park, California, October 2014

TechWomen in Tunisia with Impact Advisors in California August 2016
TechWomen in Tunisia, with Impact Advisors in California, August 2016

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Images Copyright 2014-2016 by Katy Dickinson

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Filed under Home & Family, Mentoring & Other Business, Mentoring Standard, News & Reviews

Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

TechWomen at Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Last week, I enjoyed attending the Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016 hosted by the University of San Francisco. Technovation was the single most popular formal mentoring program mentioned by the Mentoring Standard Certified Mentors (see the “First Mentors – What We Learned” report), so I have heard about its excellence from many sources.  Technovation was founded in 2009 to offer girls the opportunity to learn how to start a company and become high-tech entrepreneurs.  It is now a global competition reaching thousands of girls.  This year’s winners were:

  • First Place, High School: Team A, “OOL” from Mexico
  • First Place, Middle School: California Coders, “Loc8Don8” from the United States

The pitch videos from all of the finalists are well worth watching.  In addition to the awards given to the girls’ teams, TechWomen‘s own Dr. Amel Gouila (Bioinformatician at the Institut Pasteur de Tunis) from Tunisia was honored as The Technovation Regional Ambassador of the year.  In advance of the awards, there were inspiring speeches by:

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Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

USF, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Thoko Miya, South African Master Educator, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Ask Ada, USA Team, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Angels Tech of Africa, Cameroon Team, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

HAI Moldova Team, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

IDF, InDaFridge, Canada Team, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

TransUG Uganda Team, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Amel Gouila and the Born to Tech Tunisia Team, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Ismail Aziza of Palestine and Thoko Miya of South Africa, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Ismail Aziza and Katy Dickinson, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Guido van Rossum and Katy Dickinson, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Marie Claire Murekatete with Rwanda flag, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Dr. Amel Gouila, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Tara Chklovski, Katy Dickinson, Dorothée Danedjo and Cameroon Team, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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Visiting California Missions

Katy Laura Jessica July 2016

Laura Biche and Jessica Dickinson Goodman and I enjoyed a girls’ road trip on Saturday – part of our long-term “Visit All the California Missions” project. We went to San Antonio de Padua (Jolon), Nuestra Senora de Soledad (Soledad), and San Juan Bautista (in San Juan Bautista) – and ate ice cream twice!   Along the way, we also visited the Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church (near Jolon – on the Fort Hunter Liggett Army Base) and other sights of interest.

Untitled

Sheridan Tank, Fort Hunter Liggett near Jolon CA

An odd thing we noticed: all three missions we visited had what looked like the exact same bronze statue honoring Saint Junipero Serra (who founded 9 of the 21 missions).  It will be interesting to see if the rest of the missions have the same one.
Saint Junipero Serra, Mission Nuestra Senora de Soledad

Looking at the Missions Map, we figure we need to go on at least four more road trips to complete our project:

4 Missions: Sonoma, San Francisco North Bay, San Francisco, Fremont Area

3 Missions: South San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz, Carmel Area

6 Missions: San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura Area

5 Missions: Los Angeles and San Diego Area

Pictures of Mission San Antonio de Padua (Jolon)

Mission San Antonio de Padua, Jolon California
1773 First California Marriage, Mission San Antonio de Padua, Jolon California
Laura Biche and Cat, Mission San Antonio de Padua, Jolon California, July 2016
Jessica in little doorway, Mission San Antonio de Padua, Jolon California, July 2016
Church, Mission San Antonio de Padua, Jolon California, July 2016

Pictures of Mission Nuestra Senora de Soledad (Soledad)

Mission Nuestra Senora de Soledad
Garden, Mission Nuestra Senora de Soledad, Soledad California, July 2016
Church, Mission Nuestra Senora de Soledad, Soledad California, July 2016
Museum, Mission Nuestra Senora de Soledad, Soledad California, July 2016

Pictures of Mission San Juan Bautista (in San Juan Bautista)

Entry and Bell, Mission San Juan Bautista
Statue of Saint John, Mission San Juan Bautista, California July 2016
Statue of Junipero Serra, Mission San Juan Bautista, California July 2016
Church Service, Mission San Juan Bautista, California July 2016
Bells, Mission San Juan Bautista, California July 2016

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California Missions book and bell 18 July 2016

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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Suggestions to Improve Willow Glen Road Diet

San Francisco sign to Parking Garage June 2016

Although the pro-Road-Diet faction is distributing a handout declaring success, the controversy is still very active indeed here in Willow Glen.  The San Jose City Council will discuss making the Road Diet (“Lincoln Avenue Pilot Project”) permanent at their 28 June 2016 meeting. Please join me there if you want your voice to be heard on this contentious local issue.

Good news is that the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association (WGNA), one of the loudest advocates in favor the Road Diet – which has not held a WGNA Board meeting in over a year in violation of its own By-Laws and the California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation code 600b – has just scheduled a meeting for tomorrow night (23 June 2016: 7:00p.m. – 9:00p.m., at the Willow Glen Public Library Community Room, 1157 Minnesota Avenue, San Jose).  This is the first community meeting on the topic since 18 June 2015.

Note after publication: The WGNA changed their 23 June agenda to take off discussion of the Road Diet.

What Next?

John Plocher and I have been discussing what our own recommendations are in response to the unhappy Road Diet feedback we have heard this last year from local business owners.  The five categories of problems I described in my 17 June 2016 post are:

  1. Traffic safety and speed
  2. Parking
  3. Bicycles
  4. Delivery Trucks
  5. Community Trust

Of these five, parking is the biggest concern to local businesses (and the problem least addressed) in the current Road Diet improvements.  I was in San Francisco yesterday for a business meeting and noticed not only how many public parking garages there are (in addition to many private garages and lots) but how excellent the signage is to those parking garages (see photos).  On Lincoln Avenue, we have one public parking lot with minimal signage (behind the Bank of America building on Lincolnshire Way).  Several of the business owners I interviewed said that their customers did not know about this one parking lot.

Comparisons:

  • Willow Glen’s central business area on Lincoln Avenue is 0.7 miles long (from Minnesota to Willow) with one public lot.
  • University Avenue in Palo Alto, where the central business area is 0.8 miles long (from Middlefield to Alma), has at least seven public parking lots and multi-storey garages.
  • Downtown Campbell lists ten parking garages and lots for their downtown.
  • Murphy Avenue in Sunnyvale is surrounded by large parking lots – including the lots for Macy’s and CalTrain.

Proposal!

  1. If there were at least two multi-storey parking garages on Lincoln Avenue, it would change the dynamics of traffic significantly for the better and would eliminate many of the problems of the Road Diet.
    • Additional public parking would make it easier for Lincoln Avenue lunch customers t0 get in and out – helping to reverse the current drastic reduction in lunch traffic described by so many business owners.
    • More parking would reduce traffic by the number of cars circling to find parking, and would help to keep Lincoln Avenue customers from parking on neighborhood side streets.
    • Getting cars off the street would also make more space for trucks to park for deliveries.
    • Public parking structures would also include more Disabled Parking Zones.  As you can see from my diagram, there are few Blue parking spaces on Lincoln Avenue now – and none from Lincolnshire to Willow.  There are Blue parking spaces in private parking lots – all clearly marked with signs saying some variation of  “Customer Use Only” (some of the lots have private guards to keep out non-customers).
  2. Add more and better signage to parking.
  3. Two areas to consider placing new multi-storey garages on Lincoln Avenue:
    • The fenced and empty dirt lot at Willow and Lincoln, across the street from Willow Glen Town Square
    • Behind the Bank of America building (which I understand was recently sold), where part of the lot is now available for public parking

Multi-storey garages need not be ugly: the structure at San Jose Airport decorated with artful hands is a good example of civic art combined with parking.

Lincoln Avenue Diagram

Lincoln Avenue Willow Glen San Jose CA June 2016 parking

San Francisco sign to Parking Garage June 2016

Lincoln Avenue parking sign at Lincolnshire Way Willow Glen June 2016

San Jose Airport Parking hands art July 2012

Welcome to Willow Glen sign San Jose CA June 2016

Click here to see the entire Willow Glen Road Diet Series.

Images Copyright 2012-2016 by Katy Dickinson

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Ella Bolli Van Gilder, Hull House Volunteer, Woodcarver

1911 Ella Bolli Van Gilder oil portrait

My Great Grandmother was Ella Rachel Bolli Van Gilder lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1874-1958. Before her marriage to Walter Atkin Van Gilder (1870-1943), she worked at the famous Hull House in Chicago with Jane Addams (Co-founder of the ACLU – American Civil Liberties Union).  Like Jane Addams, Ella Bolli was a suffragette (feminist) working for women’s rights.

Hull House became, at its inception in 1889, “a community of university women” whose main purpose was to provide social and educational opportunities for working class people (many of them recent European immigrants) in the surrounding neighborhood. The “residents” (volunteers at Hull were given this title) held classes in literature, history, art, domestic activities (such as sewing), and many other subjects. Hull House also held concerts that were free to everyone, offered free lectures on current issues, and operated clubs for both children and adults. (from Wikipedia)

My mother, Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson, was very close to her Grandmother and called her “Gram”. Gram was formally trained as a woodcarver in Chicago and carved furniture during most of her life. My mother remembers helping her: sanding, waxing, and polishing wood endlessly as a young teen.

I have several of Gram’s pieces, along with mirrors and stained glass designed by her husband (created by the Dutch workers in his glass factory). When we sold my mother’s house in San Francisco in 2012, we had to clean out fifty years of stuff she and my father had collected.  Some of it went to my mother’s apartment, some to my brothers and me (see Distributing Family Stuff for how we decided who got what), and the rest into storage.

During the big 2012 move, we were surprised to find a previously-unknown carved chair by Gram shoved into a corner of the attic crawl space. We have all but two of the pieces. John and I are finally now discussing how best to restore it. Some of the carved furniture by Ella Rachel Bolli Van Gilder:

unassembled Fumed Oak carved chair by Ella Rachel Bolli Van Gilder

Fumed Oak carved chair by Ella Rachel Bolli Van Gilder

Fumed Oak carved table by Ella Rachel Bolli Van Gilder

Fumed Oak carved piano bench by Ella Rachel Bolli Van Gilder

Cheval standing carved mirror fumed Oak by Ella Rachel Bolli Van Gilder, glass by Walter Atkin Van Gilder

detail of Cheval standing carved mirror fumed Oak by Ella Rachel Bolli Van Gilder

1951 Ella Bolli Van Gilder

Additional information provided by my Aunt Louise Creekmore Senatore on 14 June 2016 – added here with her permission:

That was a great Blog on some of the history of your great grandmother – Ellen Rachel Bolli Van Gilder – aka Ella to her friends and Gram to her grand-children. I actually remember a fair amount about her as I was 14 when she passed away. Her birthday actually is 12/2/1874 according to mother and the cemetery records. While at Hull HouseJane Addams encouraged her to travel to the Philippines on missionary work. Fortunately she returned to Knoxville [Tennessee] to marry Dink – Walter Atkin Van Gilder. She told me that grand-dad said when he first laid eyes on her when they both were quite young, that he was going to marry her one day!

The pictures of the furniture that she carved that you have are just lovely. Too bad not to include the chair we have that she carved with the Esperandieu coat of arms or the large bench that she gave to Mark [Dickinson]. Just beautiful workmanship! She also painted in oils but we only have one of her paintings. Gram also sewed beautiful clothes – she was so artistic by nature and in thought as is seen in her poetry and her opinion pieces.

She loved animals too! Eleanor and Wade [Dickinson] were given a beautiful black Persian kitty as a wedding present in 1952, named Duchess. They not being able to take care of a kitty at the time, Gram said that she would take her and after that Duchess was always with Gram, on her bed, in her chair. She was a sweet, loving kitty who, unfortunately, was allergic to her own fur and sneezed a lot. Gram would recite poetry to me while she ironed clothes and would read stories to me to while away the time.

She loved gardening and was always at Faraway [in Knoxville] every Spring to weed and plant and to cut the gorgeous Jonquils. She and Mom would pile them in the car in baskets and take them around to give them to friends. I got to sit in the back of the car, surrounded by bushels of wonder smelling flowers! She tried also to keep a little garden going at Elkmont [Tennessee] just on either side of the front, stone steps. She planted many ferns and bulbs. They didn’t have much success, however, since they needed water and tending more often than we were there. She is the one who named the [Elkmont] cabin “Dear Lodge.”

Note: None of the items pictured are for sale. I do not provide pricing or sales advice for similar items. Please do not ask.
Images Copyright 1951-2016 by Katy Dickinson

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Hillary Clinton in San Jose

Hillary Clinton and Gavin Newsom San Jose 26 May 2016

Hillary Clinton spoke in downtown San Jose, California, yesterday.  My husband John Plocher was able to go but I was stuck at the Superior Court – Hall of Justice for Jury Duty (the lawyers settled after an hour – so I was not even called out of the waiting room – sigh).

Secretary Clinton took quite a while to arrive on the stage but the audience of about a thousand got to hear from San Jose Vice Mayor Rose Herrera, City Councilwoman Magdalena Carrasco, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, California State Assemblyman Evan Low, and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom before she spoke.

John took many pictures and recorded videos so that I could hear her impressive talk. Every time I hear her, I am more certain that Hillary Clinton is our best candidate for US President.  Her deep experience, insight, intelligence and excellent executive leadership skills are remarkable – especially in contrast to her political competition.

In yesterday’s crowd, a heckler stood near John and kept shouting insults so that no one else could hear. Instead of violence (as the news has increasingly reported of the Bernie Sanders campaign and also of the Donald Trump campaign), attendees at the Hillary Clinton rally started chanting “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary” every time the heckler spoke until he finally shut up.

San Jose calls itself The Capital of the Silicon Valley and is the 10th largest city in the USA – bigger than San Francisco but somehow always seeming smaller and less sophisticated.  Secretary Clinton yesterday called San Jose “a city that is all about the future” of the economy and our society. San Francisco and San Jose are about fifty miles apart, connected by two of the ten worst traffic areas in the USA. I was glad that Secretary Clinton came to visit us in San Jose and am so sorry I could not see her in person. On 8 July 2011, I got to hear her presentation to the inaugural group of TechWomen in Washington DC, but that is the closest I have come so far!

John Plocher waiting for Hillary Clinton 26 May 2016

Hillary Clinton San Jose CA 26 May 2016

Hillary Clinton San Jose CA 26 May 2016

Hillary Clinton San Jose CA 26 May 2016

Photos Copyright 2016 by John Plocher

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San Jose City Hall 1887, 1967, today

San Jose City Hall 1887, California

Born and raised in San Francisco, I have lived in San Jose, California, for over 15 years but am still learning its history.  Last summer I found some old postcards. Since we were downtown today, I took a photo for comparison:

  • Above is a postcard of the San Jose City Hall built in 1887 (which was torn down in 1958).
  • Directly Below is a postcard dated in August 1967 of the San Jose City hall with text: “This magnificent steel and glass structure has a curved design which has won nationwide acclaim.  Set amid pleasant lawns and beautiful gardens this ultra-modern building is the dominant structure in the new Governmental Civic Center.”  The building still exists at Hedding/Taylor but is no longer used as City Hall.
  • Lowest is today’s photo of the newest City Hall of the “Capital of the Silicon Valley” (first opened in 2005).

I have not been able to find any information about the mid-century City Hall other than this postcard.  Despite having “won nationwide acclaim” in its own time, it seems too recent to have a history…

San Jose City Hall 1967, California

San Jose City Hall 2005, California

Image Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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