Tag Archives: Conversations with Hilary

Conversations with Hilary: Jacques Bezuidenhout, Bar Star

With the recent opening of Wildhawk, I found it fitting to feature the genius behind the cocktails, Jacques Bezuidenhout. A Johannesburg native, Jacques became captivated by the cocktail and spirits culture in London and then decided to take the great American bus adventure to discover the lay of the land. Thankfully for us, he found his favorite American city in San Francisco and officially planted roots here in 1997.

Jacques is a partner in both Wildhawk and Forgery, and is also a National Brand Ambassador for Partida Tequila and Campari. Both Jacques and partner Ken Luciano have worked extremely hard this past year to open two amazing bars, with one getting ready to celebrate it’s one year anniversary (Forgery) and the other celebrating its opening (Wildhawk), the future looks bright for our two bar stars.

What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?

Family and friends. My relationship with my family, friends and Alexis is my best accomplishment. Without any of them, nothing else really matters. I feel in that regard I have not accomplished as much as I can. I can always be a better friend, family member, son, father, brother or partner.

What qualities do you think others love about you?
I hope my passion, generosity and sometimes my jokes.

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
I wish I had the talents to be an Architect. I have always loved the talents and creativity of Architects. Designing something and then building it – Gaudy and Frank Gehry leave beautiful marks on this world.

What do you like most about what you do for a career?
The creativity and the people. I love the creative process about putting a bar idea together and then the people you work with and the people you serve bring everything together and make it special.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Kiss Alexis good morning and then slowly try and figure out my first cup of coffee.

The Wildhawk bar team

The Wildhawk bar team

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
That could be many things. It could be something at home or out in a city. Usually involves either a cocktail or some food. I love our culture of food and liquids. Every day is a new adventure in food, wine and spirits.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Basketball. I wanted to be a professional basketball player in the NBA. I loved the process of constantly shooting a ball every day and going through the process of getting better and improving.

What are you passionate about now?
Food, spirits and worldly culture.

What’s your favorite season and why?
Fall. I grew up in constant beautiful summer in Johannesburg so never experienced fall until I moved, and I love it. I love fall on the East Coast. Leaves change. Food changes. Smells change. You start to feel that chill and smell wood smoke in the air.

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
A Negroni. Maybe a little misunderstood, a little bitter, but full of complexity and fun at the same time. It’s the kind of cocktail that makes you happy at any part of the day.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Jay Z – Ain’t No love like the Heart of the City.

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
I always go back to Nelson Mandela or Madiba as he is affectionately referred to back home. I would just love to connect with such a special person. Try and understand his Grace to humanity after everything he went through.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
I hope it’s a Will Farrel movie. Somewhere between Step Brothers, Semi-Pro and Other Guys, with a little sprinkle of the movie Cocktail and a small part of a River Runs Through It. So a little like a cocktail. Many small parts, all good.

Jacques behind the bar at Forgery

Jacques behind the bar at Forgery

Do you have any regrets?
Yes. I believe we all do but for the most part I am happy with my choices and decisions. I would say the biggest regret is not having more daily time with my Daughter or loved ones.

Define Freedom.
Freedom to me would be an open world of travel. No borders and an unlimited flight, hotel and food expense account.

What are your personal core values?
Love. Passion. Life.

What three things would you bring with you on a desert Island?
Alexis, Partida Reposado and Pasta Arrabiata and if I could smuggle a fourth then a few cases of great wine.

Conversations with Hilary: Executive Chef Howard Ko

This month I sat down with new friend and member of the PlumpJack family, Chef Howard Ko. We are so excited to have him on board as Executive Chef of Balboa Cafe Mill Valley. In his career to date, Howard has already worked at some of the most well-respected establishments – The Restaurant at Meadowood with Christopher Kostow, The French Laundry with Thomas Keller and in the kitchens of Goose & Gander in St. Helena, Melisse in Los Angeles, Hanilkwan in Osaka, and Daniel in New York.

Howard lives in Napa with his fiancée, Wendy, and dog, Whiskey. If you haven’t experienced Chef Ko’s food yet, you’re in for a treat. Howard takes bistro classics and adds his own modern twist. Locally sourcing his ingredients, and sometimes even foraging for them in the wilderness.

Bon Appetite Test Kitchen NYC with Chef Christopher Kostow & Chef Pancho (Restaurant at Meadowood)

Bon Appetite Test Kitchen NYC with Chef Christopher Kostow & Chef Pancho (Restaurant at Meadowood)

What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
Asking my fiancé Wendy to marry me. I never thought in a million years someone as wonderfully strong as her would agree to put up with my antics and this crazy adventure with me. We are getting married in August at San Francisco City Hall and am so excited!

What qualities do you think others love about you?
I think that I am understanding but stern at the same time. People know that I am fair and I think people are drawn to my work ethic, but also my sense of humor and lightheartedness.

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
I would own a barbershop. I spent a lot of my childhood at barbershops and I can do a killer fade. That was my side gig during my youth.

What do you like most about what you do for a career?
Making people happy. I never got into cooking just to feed people. I got into this career to create memories.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Hit the snooze button – ha, just kidding. Make it to CrossFit. I have to take care of my body due to the demands of the business. I either CrossFit, go to the gym or for a run, and I am getting into cycling now.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
I’ve been working on Friday nights ever since I can remember but on the rare occasion I do have one off I like to try out a new restaurant and probably watch a movie.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
To get better at my craft. Cooking was something I knew I was going to do since I was in the 6th grade. I’ve been trying to perfect it ever since.

What are you passionate about now?
I’ve been cooking for 10 years now homing in on the things I don’t understand and researching them. Not knowing how to do something really bothers me when it comes to cooking. I want to know everything there is to know about it. My cookbook collection is getting rather extensive.

What’s your favorite season and why?
Spring! It’s when everything starts to come back to life. All the vegetables and fruits are so beautiful. They really add so much to dishes.

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
Jameson neat. Nothing fancy. It’s a cook thing. Oh and chase it with a Chimay.

What’s the #1 most played song on your music rotation?
Right now it’s Billie Jean by Michael Jackson.

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
My grandma who passed a while ago. At a young age she was the one who raised me and I felt I never appreciated that enough. I’d like to talk to her and get to know her and thank her.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
Sacrifice

Do you have any regrets?
I think everyone does to some extent. I have a lot. I could have been better, I could have loved more, I could have worked harder, but then I could have sacrificed less and spent more time with family. It’s the nature of what I do and I do it because I love it.

Wendy and Howard in Napa

Wendy and Howard in Napa

Define Freedom.
Being able to cook the food I love and want, and to have the support of every guest that comes into my establishment.

What are your personal core values?
To always be kind and genuine. I will help anyone out who needs it and I want to leave a legacy. Like the memories that I am trying to create, something that outlives me, my restaurant, our company.

What three things would you bring with you on a desert Island?
My fiancé Wendy, our dog Whiskey and some beers. I am a simple man with simple needs.

Conversations with Hilary: Hilary Newsom

decided to start the Conversations with Hilary series so I could feature incredibly interesting people that inspire me and who thought were making a positive impact in the community. The extraordinary people that I have been lucky enough to interview range from NFL superstars to actors, artists, musicians and philanthropists. After almost two years of this series and thousands of page views on the PlumpJack Blog, I feel honored with the response I have received from the audience. My favorite part is getting to know my friends a lot better as they thoughtfully consider the answers to my questions. It was only recently that it occurred to me that I had never done the exercise of answering the questions myself. If you know me, I am mostly an open book, but for those of you who want to know a little bit more about who I am and what I am passionate about, well then, here it is, my version of Conversations with Hilary, featuring ME!

11118854_1400187450309965_4507302405805553387_nWhat do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
My daughters Talitha and Siena – they are growing into compassionate young ladies, who care about others in a genuine way. This is all I could ever hope for as a parent! And I am proud of my strong marriage to my husband Geoff Callan, one of the most loving and hilarious people I have ever known.

Do you have a prized possession?
I have a Cartier “love bracelet” that belonged to my mom. She gave it to me to borrow when she was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. One of the best days for me was when I gave it back to her when she was in remission. Sadly, I have the bracelet back on, for good, since loosing my mom to cancer in 2002.

What qualities do you think others love about you?
I think people would say I am loyal and (mostly) kind! I think I am occasionally funny, but maybe that is just wishful thinking.

Hilary and Gavin

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
Philanthropy brings me great joy, so I would love to eventually run the PlumpJack Foundation. This will happen, I just need more time!

What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
I am in the business of making people happy. When I came to PlumpJack to work for my brother Gavin, I never imagined I would be here 19 years later and still having so much fun! What is there not to like about the world of hospitality.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Reflect on how many times my two toy poodles woke me during the night! Then revisit the very vivid dreams I had.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Have dinner at my best friend Lori Puccinelli Stern’s house. She is a great cook and throws a great dinner party!

Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks with Hilary and Geoff at the PlumpJack LINK Classic

Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks with Hilary and Geoff at the PlumpJack LINK Classic

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Making people happy. My youngest daughter says that to me now- that she only wants to make people happy. I think that is something that has stayed with me over the years, my desire to be a people-pleaser.

What are you passionate about now?
Helping people, even if it’s one person at a time. Raising my daughters to be good citizens, loving my family and friends.

What’s your favorite season and why?
I love the fall. I love the cooler weather (I have great coats!) and that the holidays are right around the corner.

Hilary, Geoff, Siena and Talitha

Hilary, Geoff, Siena and Talitha

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
Can we consider my husband Geoff, and my daughters Tali and Siena items? Probably not, so I would take pallet of Teas’ Tea in Golden Oolong flavor, my iPhone for audiobooks and a really big solar light, as I am afraid of the dark!

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
The Hilary Gin and Tonic, that you can currently order at Forgery – although I mainly drink Cade Sauvignon Blanc and PlumpJack and Cade Cab’s.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod? Anything performed by Eoin Harrington, I especially love his rendition of “Hallelujah.” I’m also a big  fan Pat Monahan of Train!

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Well considering Hillary Clinton was just in SF having “Conversations with Hillary” I was a little hurt she didn’t invite me, so looks like I will have to invite her!

” Hilary and her mother

 

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
“Chaordic”, the story of a happy life filled with organized Chaos. My husband would suggest, “Wonder Woman: The Unauthorized Biography of Hilary Newsom.”

Do you have any regrets?
That all I tried to do for my mom, it was not enough.

Define Freedom.
Physically: Feeling safe in your home, in your city, in your country.

What are your personal core values?
I value loyalty, approachability, and being compassionateabove all.

Conversations with Hilary: TV & Radio Personality, Liam Mayclem

Photography by Rick Camargo

Photography by Rick Camargo

From the moment I met Liam, I knew I had a friend for life. He is extremely charming, hilarious, kind, loyal, philanthropic and loved across the San Francisco Bay Area. Most people will recognize Liam as the Emmy Award winning radio & TV personality and CBS San Francisco’s very own “Foodie Chap.” To me, he is simply an amazing friend and one of the most generous I know.

Liam and I both share a passion for fundraising and philanthropy. I have been lucky enough to have Liam be our auctioneer for our Annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic, which is going into its 17th year. He resides over more than 20 charity auctions a year and has helped raise millions of dollars for Bay Area charities & schools. I am honored to have him as my subject for this month’s Coversations.

What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
I am proud of three things!
1. My 10 year relationship with my partner and best pal Rick Camargo. I wondered if anyone would ever want to grow old with me? He appears to be…but of course HE is NOT growing old – I am.
2. I am proud of my friendships. They have endured through the years. I love being able to look at a pal and say “twenty years ago do you recall when?” I am a sentimental fart. I treasure friendships immensely.
3. I shed 35 pounds this year and have managed to keep it off. I am proud of that. I took charge of my health by eating right and exercising regularly. Not an easy task when you are the “foodie chap” and one eats and drinks for a living. The key to my weight loss: drink three nights a week instead of eight, push aside the carbs, work out in the morning before you do ANYTHING else and at night, run to bed early instead of to the fridge for snacks.

Do you have a prized possession?
A photo of my brother Rory and my mother who passed in 1998. I was two and my brother five in the photograph. It’s one of just a few that I have of me as a wee one.

What qualities do you think others love about you?
I show up, sometimes too much. Often briefly, but I always show up.

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
I always dreamed early on that I might be an actor. The next Peter O’Toole or Michael Caine. There is still time – no?

What do you like most about what you do for a career?
I love that every day is different as a radio/TV/event host. There is never a dull moment. I am always on the move. This week alone: filming commercial spots for PEETS coffee; today I have a voiceover session for Infiniti of SF; later taping at Oakland Zoo; Sunday a Christmas tree lighting in Half Moon Bay; and three charity events to host, too ….and that’s just half of it. Next week I venture off to India to film a week of travel pieces for CBS-TV – so never an opportunity to get bored. Every day brings new adventure. Did I mention I am also about to launch a 10 day cruise with CRYSTAL CRUISES and my pal Chef Hubert Keller!!? See, life is one non-stop, fun filled adventure!!

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
“Get out of my head, feet on the floor, out of my bed, embrace the day ahead and RUN or drive to the gym”.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Ideally a date night with my partner Rick, preferably at home, cooking and watching a mindless movie; however, most Fridays I am hosting or auctioneering at a Bay Area charity event.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
I loved to sing and act. I was in all the school plays. Acting was in my young bones. I was a radio nut, too, and listened to much pop radio. BBC radio 1 was my favorite to hear “Top of the pops”! My first job was in radio. At Age 16 I read the cricket scores on County Sound Radio in Surrey.

What are you passionate about now?
I still enjoy radio. I love Terry Gross on NPR and enjoy listening to BBC WORLD SERVICE. I am also a passionate fundraiser. I work with a dozen or more Bay Area charities and get a real thrill playing auctioneer. Nothing feels better than for example, at a recent fundraiser for Operation Smile saying: “Together we raised a quarter million dollars and gave a thousand children the possibility of a smile.” That’s powerful. That is my passion -fundraising and igniting that innate giving spirit in others.

What’s your favorite season and why?
I enjoy September and October here in the Bay Area- our Indian Summer. The vineyards in wine country turn a patchwork quilt of colors. A pretty scene to drive through, and in San Francisco – my home and heart – it’s warm. It finally feels like Summer.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
My iPhone to stay connected, sun lotion so I don’t burn, and a book titled “how to survive on a desert island.”

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
The Queen Mother (Bombay sapphire, rouge, king’s ginger & lemon bitters). Why this? Because everyone loves the Queen Mum.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Jeff Buckley – “Hallelujah”

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
May I have a few guests? Oscar Wilde for his wit, Robin Williams for laughs, Sting for the music, Marilyn Monroe to share secrets and Julia Child for the cooking.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
New Tales of the City by Liam Mayclem and how Armistead Maupin became a friend along the way.

Do you have any regrets?
Not today.

Define Freedom.
Being here in my hometown San Francisco and strolling down the street with my partner Rick arm-in-arm (we are not very handsy) without fear of being verbally or physically abused. And not worrying about what the neighbors think.

What are your personal core values?
Be honest. Be faithful. Be here.

 

 

 

Conversations with Hilary: Radio Personality, Hooman Khalili

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend and radio personality Hooman Khalili. You can catch him every morning on Alice Radio 97.3 FM – he has been part of the Sarah and Vinnie morning show for the past 16 years. Part of Hooman’s job is interviewing high-profile guests like Sting, John Travolta, Maroon 5 to name a few.

In 2008 Hooman created the #1 most viewed non-partisan video to inspire the youth of America to get out and vote for the presidential election. The video received 5.1 million views on YOUTUBE and ended up in the museum of Radio and Television in NYC.

I have known Hooman for more than 12 years and find him to be one of the most hard working and generous people I know. He is always willing to support my philanthropic efforts and participate in my myriad of events despite his busy schedule. I am grateful to have him share his thoughtful answers in this month’s Conversations with Hilary.

Hooman and Hilary

Hooman and Hilary

What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
The fact that my mom and are in America, we are Christians and we are American Citizens, would probably be at the top of the list. That may not seem like a traditional accomplishment but every great thing that has happened in my life is a result of those three things.

My life is a miracle, and no matter what I’m going through, I remind myself of the unmerited grace that has set me up to thrive. Number two on my list (what many would consider a traditional accomplishment) is the fact that I am on the radio with Sarah, Vinnie, Uzette, Bryn and Vanessa! It’s a beautiful thing to be a member of the #1 morning show in the Bay Area. It’s a party everyday and it affords me the ability to contribute to a lot of charities and meet incredibly interesting people.


Do you have a prized possession?
This is gonna sound sappy but there are a few. My relationship with my mom is a possession I treasure everyday. She’s the kindest person I know – always inconveniencing herself for others.

My relationship with my coworker Sarah is another gift from above. Over the past 16 years she has stood up for me more times than I can count. And my third prized possession is my church, REALITY (in the mission). I’ve been to more than 300 churches in my lifetime and this one, hands down, is by far the very best church I’ve ever been to. It’s full of the spirit. I’ve been attending for a year and a half and 99% of the people I’ve brought have come back (atheists and Christians alike).

What qualities do you think others love about you?
Wow this one is tough. It might seem odd to start with this but I like to provide value to the people that are my friends and acquaintances. I want to be a problem solver for my friends. I want to help them in their time of need. I also genuinely like people! I like to go out and meet everyone in the room if I can, I like to engage. When we meet I’m hopeful you and I will click. Lastly, if I know you are down, I will call, I will reach out, I will get you out of your house! I want you to get out of the pit, I want you to laugh and run and be silly again!

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
Probably a full time movie maker, I’d also start my own Sirius Satellite radio station, and invent a new type of Yoga.

What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
In terms of my career – I’ve been with Sarah and Vinnie for 16 years now, and I can honestly say I like that every day is completely unpredictable. No matter what I’m personally dealing with, it has to take a back seat, the show must go on. But what I LOVE about my job is that people tune into us to laugh. Whether they are on their way to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or they are just alone . . .lonely! I love that we comfort people and put a smile on their faces

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Pray, truth be told, I actually wake up 30 min earlier then I need to so I can put the next 12 hours in the LORD’S hands. I used to wake up close to 4AM – I now wake up at 3:20 AM. Each day I have at least 100 decisions to make and 100 crossroads – without the prayer at least 90% of those decisions will be wrong.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Friday nights are special indeed – because I’m totally single, I don’t have a girlfriend, I don’t own a house, I don’t have any kids, I don’t have a wife . . . I go out every night of the week. Often by the time Friday rolls around the week has caught up with me and I just “pass the “F” out around 6PM. If a group of my friends get together for a happy hour on a Friday no matter how tired I am, I’ll rally. The feeling of a Friday night – the feeling of getting through the week is sweet.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Success, getting married, owning a house, accomplishing a lot of things, being admired.

What are you passionate about now?
The answer here is a bit on the long side so bear with me. Surrounding myself with people who are amazing, Church (Realitysf.com), prayer, making movies, being part of the #1 morning show in the Bay Area, laughing, getting massages. I truly enjoy helping people and being there for them in their time of need. I love going out and there is always so much to do in San Francisco. My birthday is coming up, I’m passionate about throwing a great party where I can see my friends laugh, drink, dance and sing! Lastly I’m very passionate about taking big risks. Trying to accomplish things that are so much bigger then anything I am capable of doing in my own strength.

What’s your favorite season and why?
I’d have to say Summer. I like good weather. Summer time is usually when I travel and go on adventures. Music concerts during the Summer are usually the best.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
A solar-powered iPod that is fully loaded with everything I’d ever want to listen to. An unlimited supply of matches that were water proof. Some kind of fishing pole/Rambo knife that is perfectly effective on sea and land (if there could be a fourth a tent with a built-in bed and pillow)

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
Probably a Mojito – (its usually what I order when I go out)

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Well it depends on what category – In Classical its Bach – Suite No.1 in G performed by Pablo Casals. . . In Pop Music it’s the Beatles either LET IT BE or BLACKBIRD. Lastly I love the song Knees to the Earth by Christy Nockels (Revolution Album Version).

Hooman with his adopted American family

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
It would have to be in this order; Jesus, Solomon from the Old Testament (David’s son), Mozart, Bach and The Apostle Paul.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
Free Like a Bird – A life of Unmerited Grace

Do you have any regrets?
This a tricky question because I am exactly where I am supposed to be. If anything in my past were to change then I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. But that being said…I would have loved to have gone to some famous college like an NYU or a USC or Stanford.

Define Freedom.
Another tough question. Freedom for me Is being able to not attach my emotions to my circumstances. If I am truly able to do that, then I am free. Freedom is to be full of Joy and Peace even though I am surrounded by a war.

What are your personal core values?
God first. Even before the desires of my heart, my dreams, or my hopes. Help others even when it’s an inconvenience. Always pray, especially when I don’t want to. Forgive, even if the relationship after you forgive is not the same, still forgive, erase the resentment from your heart.

Conversations with Hilary: Gavin & Jennifer Newsom

Although my brother and I are close and we see each other often, I was still excited to have him participate in my monthly, Conversations with Hilary. I was even more excited when his wife, Jennifer, agreed to be part of the monthly series – a two for one. I am biased, but I happen to think my brother and Jennifer are pretty terrific – individually and as a couple. My brother, the founder of PlumpJack, who has also worked his way up in California politics from a commissioner, to supervisor and then Mayor of San Francisco, to now Lieutenant Governor of California and candidate for Governor in 2018. Jennifer is an award-winning filmmaker and CEO of The Representation Project. This highly accomplished pair is expecting their fourth child in the winter, and my two nieces and nephew are just thrilled to have a baby sibling on the way!

Despite all of their professional commitments, they spend a lot of time together riding bikes, swimming, traveling, enjoying the outdoors and eating pizza with their Grandpapapapa.

I hope you enjoy this Conversations with Hilary as much as I did!

What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
Our three kids – and we’ll let you know about the fourth after we meet him.

Do you have a prized possession?
Gavin’s Leica camera. And the horse Jen doesn’t have yet!

With our father

With our father

What qualities do you think others love about you?
Our courage in the face of adversity. Our commitment to social justice. And, our ability to laugh at ourselves.

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
We’d run a wildlife refuge, Safari outfit in Botswana.

What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
Creating the right conditions that help people overcome life’s obstacles, and achieve their aspirations. Righting social and cultural injustices. Making a difference.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Gavin grabs his cell phone. Jen runs to a crying child.
What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Sleep

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Sports. Nature. Travel. Exploring.

What are you passionate about now?
Making a difference. Raising our kids to be whole, healthy human beings, not limited by stereotypes. Ensuring future generations have agency and are not bystanders in the world.

What’s your favorite season and why?
Summer because everything slows down and we get to spend more time with family and friends.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
A wifi router, electricity generator, and an iPhone so we could FaceTime the kids.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
My little Pony’s “Art of the Dress” – From Songs of Friendship. What can we say? Three kids.

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? Jennifer: Eleanor Roosevelt, Sargeant Shriver, and Mahatma Ghandi

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
“I’m Really Busy, Please Leave a Message”

Do you have any regrets?
Don’t we all? But if it doesn’t kill you, it only makes you stronger, deeper, and possibly more interesting.

The first time I met Jennifer

The first time I met Jennifer

Define Freedom.
Freedom means the ability to choose and pursue your destiny.

What are your personal core values?
Hard work, courage, authenticity, kindness, compassion, speaking the truth.

Conversations with Hilary: Justin Fichelson

This month I was able to connect with an old friend and previous PlumpJack employee, Justin Fichelson. Born and raised in San Francisco, Justin decided to pursue his lifelong passion for real estate and architecture after graduating from the University of San Francisco and is currently one of the featured realtors on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing, San Francisco..

If you know me, you know I am passionate about philanthropy and have been since I was very young. I am so proud that Justin has also found his passion in philanthropy at a young age with his deep involvement in the San Francisco arts community. He is a founding board member and current treasurer of the Exploratorium Lab, which raises money for the San Francisco Exploratorium, one of the world’s top interactive science museums. Justin is also a member of the Junior Committee of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show, and previously served as a board member of the SF Symphony Symphonix. You may think you know Justin from his appearance on Million Dollar Listing, but after reading this month’s Conversations with Hilary, you’ll get to know him a little better.

What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
Building a successful career and having the honor of ringing the opening bell of the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Do you have a prized possession?
An original photo by rock photographer Jim Marshall of Keith Richards playing his guitar. Jim was my neighbor while growing up in San Francisco.

What qualities do you think others love about you?
I’m genuine, honest, and I, “think different,’ as Apple says.

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
I would be an historian or a politician.

What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
I’m a people person and I love architecture and design and the two go hand-in-hand in real estate. Real estate is also a very entrepreneurial type of career in that you are essentially self-employed and running your own business. I also love finding the perfect home for my clients.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Check and respond to emails that I received over night.

Justin with Andy Cohen

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Meet for a drink at Balboa Cafe and see a classic film at the Castro theater.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Politics and entrepreneurship. I always wanted to invest in real estate and I wanted to run for office. I’ve also always been passionate about history.

What are you passionate about now?
Doing real estate, traveling, politics and history.

What’s your favorite season and why?
Spring because the weather is just starting to warm up and excitement builds in anticipation of summer!

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
A water filter, a survival guide and my green pants.

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
Negroni. Classic and not trendy.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Can’t You Hear Me Knocking by the Rolling Stones.

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Queen Elizabeth I or President Lincoln.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
My Way

Do you have any regrets?
It would have been great to study abroad.

What are your personal core values?
Honesty; ethics; loyalty to friends, family and clients. Working hard and finding time to give back in some way.

Define Freedom.
Freedom for me is the ability to decide how I spend my time everyday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conversations with Hilary: Daniel Lurie

This month I have the honor of featuring someone I admire immensely, Daniel Lurie, the founder of Tipping Point Community. Philanthropy is a big part of my life and I admire Daniel and his mission to eradicate poverty in the Bay Area. Tipping Point raises money to support Bay Area nonprofits focused on improving the lives of those in poverty through employment, education, housing, and wellness initiatives. Since 2005, they have raised more than $80 million to support nearly 365,000 people in need. I love that Daniel saw a need for immediate action, and took it on with such passion and focus.

1. What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
Marrying my wife, Becca Prowda. And starting Tipping Point Community in 2005.

2. If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
With my work at Tipping Point and with the Super Bowl 50 Host committee, I have two great roles. I wouldn’t change it.

3. What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
My job allows me to interact and learn from the best leaders in the non-profit and business world.

4. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
It’s not usually up to me. Either my four-year-old daughter has woken me up or I go to get my giggling one-year-old son from bed. It’s usually pretty cute, except when it’s really early.

5. What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Hang with my wife at home and watch a movie.

6. What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
I always had the urge to want to make a difference, but I didn’t know how. And sports, I’ve always loved playing and watching sports. I still do.

7. What are you passionate about now?
The San Francisco Bay Area. We are living during a historical time. There is so much exciting innovation and progress happening, but there are still a million people here struggling just to survive. If we don’t take care of our neighbors I wonder how history will actually remember us. I am excited to help make this a time we look back on with pride.

8. What’s your favorite season and why?
I grew up in the San Francisco so I feel like that’s a tough one to answer. Probably fall because San Francisco’s weather is at its best!

9. If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
Honest answer: a cell phone with service to get me off the island. Otherwise, a great spy novel, some beers, and a surfboard. I am terrible surfer, so it would give me a chance to learn without anyone watching.

10. If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be? 
A good tequila on the rocks with a little lime juice.

11. What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
I listen to Murph and Mac on KNBR 680 religiously. And ever since Prince played a Tipping Point concert last year at The Fillmore, he’s been at the top of my list.

12. If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Franklin D. Roosevelt. His leadership during this country’s most challenging time is without equal. I would have loved to see his optimism up close.

13. If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
I would go see any other movie (even Sharknado 3), before going to see my life story on the big screen.

14. Do you have any regrets?
I’ve been given so many opportunities and have taken advantage of them to the best of my abilities.

15. Define Freedom.
That everyone regardless of the zip code they are born into has an opportunity to have a great education, access to high-quality health care and the chance to chase their dreams.

16. What are your personal core values?
Service, respect, and humility.

 

 

Conversations with Hilary: Justin Tuck

This edition of Conversations with Hilary highlights my friend and NFL defensive lineman Justin Tuck, formerly of the New York Giants, now with the Oakland Raiders. While millions of viewers see Justin suited up on Sundays, I know him as a champion of philanthropy. Justin and his wife Lauran, recently announced a $250,000 donation to the literacy initiative, “The Read Zone,” in an effort to help raise awareness and provide low-income kids with books and dedicated reading programs. His donation is the first grant to the initiative started by the 50 Fund, which is a legacy fund of the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee. In his own words Justin says, “You don’t get many chances at this kind of Super Bowl platform often.” He is a true hero who takes advantage of the opportunities he is given to make a real impact on people’s lives.

16th Annual PlumpJack/ LINK Golf Classic

Justin’s generosity is far reaching and includes our annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic, in support of Breast Cancer research and Education benefiting CPIC.org. His participation since arriving to the bay Area has helped us raise over $500,000 in the past two years alone! I am deeply grateful and honored to call Justin and Lauran my friends. Enjoy!

1. What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
Outside of being and husband and father I would say graduating from Notre Dame

2. Do you have a prized possession?
I really don’t have anything that I couldn’t part ways with so no

3. What qualities do you think others love about you?
Hardworking and honesty

4. If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
I love cars and the outdoors. So probably something that allowed me to work with one or both

5. What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
Football provides the opportunity to visit a lot of different places and meet different people – I think that is unique in this profession

6. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Pray

7. What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Watch a movie with the wife after the kids go to bed

Justin at the PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic

8. What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
The outdoors and sports

9. What are you passionate about now?
My family, the outdoors, and sports lol

10. What’s your favorite season and why?
The fall, I love the coloring of the leaves and the milder weather

11. If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
My cell phone, fire starter, and some water

12. If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
Johnny Walker Blue neat

13. What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins

14. If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Jesus, Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali

15. If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
I Just Want to Play

16. Do you have any regrets?
None, everything that’s happened to me, good or bad I take as a blessing

17. Define freedom?
Being okay with whatever life throws your way

18. What are your personal core values?
Always find a way to make the people around you better

 

Conversations with Hilary: Gregory ‘Bonga’ Perkins

In my most recent family vacation to Hawaii to the Kohanaiki Club, we had the pleasure of meeting Gregory ‘Bonga’ Perkins. An American professional longboard surfer and two time ASP World Longboard Champion. He is regarded as one of the worlds best all around surfers.

BongaPerkins_GeoffCallanWhen it comes to surfing, nothing holds more weight than a North Shore reputation. Bonga has carved a niche for himself in the fiercely competitive line-ups of Oahu’s North Shore. He won his first ASP title in 1996 and then again in 2008. An impressive athlete, he is one of the few that tackles Pipeline on longboard. An incredibly kind and warm person, Bonga was a delight to meet during my trip to the island while we stayed at the Kohanaiki Club .

1. What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment? 
My greatest accomplishment before having kids is knowing about this wonderful ocean.

2. Do you have a prized possession?
My most prized possession would be my surfboard!!!:-)

3. What qualities do you think others love about you?
Qualities people love about me it that I’m easy going and willing to give even if its just a little knowledge.

4. What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
I love that there is no limits and or season to when you can or cannot do it. No one owns the ocean:-)

5. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Think how blessed I am to do what I do and all the cool people I may meet today.

6. What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
I look forward to driving home and having a beer up in the mountains where I live if the waves aren’t up hahahah

7. What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Wanting to be the best surfer in the world!

8. What are you passionate about now?
Just to see my kids love the ocean like me!

9. What’s your favorite season and why?
Winter season, big waves and lots of snow.

10. If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
My girlfriend, a spear gun and some beer.

11. If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
Kamikaze for obvious reasons. My friends know when the waves are big you’ll see me out.

12. What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Rolling Stones, anybody seen my baby

13. If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Would have to be Julie Andrews.

14. Do you have any regrets?
None!!!

15. Define freedom?
Waves in our Oceans

16. What are your personal core values?
Old school morals new school approach.

I can’t say enough about our stay at the Kahanaki Club on the Big Island of Hawaii. The homes are beautiful and the landscape is stunning. Can’t wait to return with my family.