Keynote Speaker

“Wind, Pyramids, Obelisks & Beer” by Maureen Clemmons

Maureen Clemmons

Dr. Maureen Clemmons holds both an Ed.D in Organization Change and an Executive MBA from Pepperdine University. She is the president of Transformations, a consulting practice located in Winnetka, California whose associates specialize in Innovation, Change Management and Entrepreneurship. Her clients include Interorbital Space Systems, Taberco Inc, US Biofuels, The Traveling Space Museum, and others. She has lectured at dozens of these institutions and in many colleges, universities, and centers of innovation. Her book Soaring Stones is currently available on in paperback and electronic versions. – from Dallas Fort Worth Organization Development Network

Very Special Guest Speaker

“7 Secrets to Connect with Anyone” by Sheryl Roush

How well are you communicating?
Are you required to give presentations, trainings or briefings?
Want to be a more effective leader?
Discover how to gain instant rapport and establish credibility with others. Learn easy ways to craft presentations that meet the objectives and exceed expectations. This is an interactive and highly-tailored program, one of the highest scored and best attended sessions at Mensa-Con San Diego 2016.

Sheryl Roush

Sheryl Roush, CEO of Sparkle Presentations, Inc., works with organizations to bring out their brilliance. Clients benefit from her 35+ years of experience blending communication in person, in public and in print. A Professional Member of the National Speakers Association since 1990, and Member of the Year for both the Los Angeles and San Diego Chapters, she is also one of only 69 Accredited Speakers (judged in 6 speaking categories) honored for outstanding platform professionalism by Toastmasters International in 142 countries and from 4.5 million members. Sheryl is a 17-time published author, the 2016 Author of Influence Awardee, and the creator of the Speak And Market Like a Pro™system. Visit and .

Very Special Guest Speaker

“Leading with Vision: The Leader's Blueprint for Creating a Compelling Vision and Engaging the Workforce” by Simon Vetter

Today’s workforce, especially the young talent and motivated minds want to be intellectually stimulated and emotionally engaged. This dynamic and interactive presentation will uncover the quest for leaders to create an inspiring, high-performing culture in which people are compelled to go to work. Participants will learn how to unlock the power of vision, unleash collective intelligence and creativity, forge clarity and apply a six step process to put the vision into action.

Simon Vetter, CEO of Stand Out International, is a behavioral change expert, working with managers to create lasting transformation for themselves, their teams and organization. With 22 years of experience in leadership development and executive coaching, he specializes in designing and implementing management programs to increase performance, build capabilities and succession of leadership talent. Some of his clients include Dell, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Siemens. Because of his European background, Simon is able to bring a rich perspective on how executives successfully operate in a global business world.

“Homeless, Not Helpless” by Moorel Bey

During the height of the Great Recession in 2009, and after being laid off from Walt Disney Pictures, Moorel and her family became homeless. She was nine months pregnant. Moorel recounts her family’s six-month ordeal and how she was able to pull herself and her family out of the dismal situation utilizing a matter-of-fact approach to their predicament.

Moorel Bey’s mission is to use her personal experiences to inform, empower, and inspire others to reach their highest potential. She feels immense comfort in knowing that being frank and honest her journey can prevent others from experiencing the unnecessary pain and suffering she endured and come to enjoy personal success.

“Not So Trivial Trivia!” by Jana Bickel

Teams of 3 will match wits to answer trivia questions that range from the sublime to the ridiculous to the arcane. Winning team gets a gift to share. The trivia master has the final word on correct answers.

Jana Bickel

Jana Bickel has been a member of Greater Los Angeles Area Mensa for over 25 years. She has represented the San Fernando Valley on the Board, been RG Chairman, hosted parties and RG programs as well as co-led GLAAM’s NOVA Toastmasters.

“Use Feng Shui to Enhance Your Relationship Area in Your Home” by Diane Burton

Diane Burton’s presentation will show attendees how to apply the Ba-Gua, an octagon shaped template, to map the life energies in their homes. They will sketch their floor plan and lay the template over their drawing to reveal the nine life domain areas. Diane will describe each gua and suggest ways the relationship area can be enhanced and draw in new energy using simple cures she will share with the participants.

Diane Burton

Diane earned a Masters Degree in Education. She is a BTB Feng Shui practitioner and has been giving consultations for fifteen years. Her mentor, David Daniel Kennedy, is the author of two best-selling books, Feng Shui Tips for a Better Life and Feng Shui for Dummies.

“A Cigarette Girl's Glimpse into the Golden Era of Hollywood” by Andra Clarke

Author, Andra Clarke, weaves stories from her mother’s recollection as a photographer and cigarette girl at the posh Ciro’s Nightclub on “The Strip” during the Golden Era of Hollywood (1940s-1950s). Clarke shares many images, from her mother’s private collection, which are compiled in Clarke’s new book Ciro’s: Nightclub of the Stars. Ciro’s was frequented by both famous and non-famous guests who enjoyed dancing, dining, and entertainment featuring top name performers such as Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Sophie Tucker, Judy Garland, Liberace, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joe E. Lewis. Elite Hollywood regulars attending the club during its heyday included Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, and many more. Most of the images in the presentation, and in the book, have never been seen by the general public.

Andra Clarke

Andra Clarke, M.A., is the daughter of the late Regina Denton-Drew, a former photographer and cigarette girl at Ciro’s Nightclub during Hollywood’s Golden Era. Clarke is a wife, mother of two grown children, an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher and Specialist, a former adjunct professor, an author, a volunteer at Club 21, and an active member in her church in Hollywood.

“The population crisis in ancient Sparta: causes, effects, and why this should interest us now” by Timothy Donald Doran

The Spartiates, who were the master class in the ancient Greek city-state of Sparta, suffered a steady numerical decline to their population over the fifth and fourth centuries BC, leading to a devastating defeat in 371 BC. Deaths in wars and earthquakes account for some of the loss, but why didn’t the Spartiates recover as the populations of other Greek city-states did? Thinking about ancient Sparta gives us a window into a consideration of significant issues of today, such as immigration, enfranchisement, cultural capital, and the relative birthrates of different groups in the same society.

Timothy Donald Doran

Timothy Donald Doran earned his BA at UC Berkeley in History, and his MA and PhD from the Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology, also at UC Berkeley. He is presently Assistant Professor of Ancient History in the History Department at California State University — Los Angeles. There he teaches the histories of ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt and the Near East, as well as courses on early religions and the new sub-discipline known as “Big History.” He also is Curator of The Institute for the Scientific Study of Human and Non-Human Phenomena, a parody of a centuries-old parascientific society, which you can find on Facebook, and which is meant to be amusing. His new article “Eugenic Ideology in the Hellenistic Spartan Reforms” will appear this year in the ancient history journal Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte.

“The 1040 Tour Guide” by Linda Dorfmont

The 1040 Tour Guide” will take you on a trip around John and Jane Doe’s tax return covering types of income deductions, tax credits, and audit preparation. The lecture will discuss wage earner income and expenses and self-employment issues including office in the home, depreciation of assets, and self-employment tax. Education credits and adjustments will be explained. If you want a better understanding of what you file under penalty of perjury with the government each year, this session is for you.

Linda Dorfmont

Linda Dorfmont has been doing other peoples taxes for over 40 years. She has taught taxation for the Small Business Development Centers, the IRS TCE/VITA Program, the College for Financial Planning, local colleges, and private education providers. She is a frequent speaker at Mensa events.

“So, What The Heck Is A "Debit," Anyhow?” by Jonathan Elliott

Whatever your current or desired profession, it will help both your career and your personal finances if you know at least some basic principles of accounting. Packaged programs such as Quicken provide some help, but they can produce misleading results if you don’t understand the mathematics beneath the pretty pictures. Especially if you would ever like to be the GLAAM Treasurer, where all the accounting is performed on Excel spreadsheets (in order to facilitate transitions between incumbents), it would be highly helpful to have at least a basic grounding in how the accounting cycle works, in this case presented by a professional accountant who is also the current GLAAM Treasurer. Other places will charge you for this information, but you get it here for free!!

Jonathan Elliott

Jonathan Elliott has been a member of GLAAM for over 20 years, has held the positions of Executive Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and RG Treasurer for several years each, and also was LocSec for a couple of brief periods. He currently is the Chair of the Awards and Bylaws Committees, but feels that it is getting close to time to allow other GLAAM members to stand forward and shine in all the positions which he currently holds, so that he can devote more of his energies to other challenges. He therefore actively invites any potential successors to come talk to him at the RG about the different opportunities currently available.

“Sharknado! A film editor's perspective on the goofiest franchise around” by Ana Florit

With four movies already released, one documentary, one mockumentary and two more films in the work, Sharknado is the definition of unexpected success. How did this beast of a franchise come to be? What does it take to make a Sharknado movie? Who are the people courageous enough to partake in such a challenge? Full time film editor Ana Florit will take you though the entire process of making these movies a reality, with a special emphasis on the post-production aspects of the task.

Ana Florit moved to Los Angeles from her home country of France in 2009 to study film editing and began her career in the movie industry soon thereafter. Her body of work encompasses short films, web series, promo videos, documentaries, and feature films. Ana’s most notable successes include the Saturn Award nominated thriller Mischief Night, I Spit on Your Grave: Vengeance is Mine (the third installment of the revitalized horror franchise), and of course the Syfy original Sharknado movies. Ana worked on all of the Sharknado films in one capacity or another and was the main editor for the second and fourth installments.

“Millennials: Who are they? Why should you care?” by Hector Gascon

The presentation will be an investigative narrative into understanding 21st century conflict in the U.S workplace and how it is affecting employers, business owners, HR practitioners. In the next five years, 75 Million “Baby Boomers” who are currently in the workplace, will be nudged out by 80 Million “Millennials.” This transformation will not only disrupt the 21st-century workplace but will define it and our society as a whole… an event not seen in the last 100 years, since the advent of the Industrial Revolution.

Hector Gascon

Our speaker is a Real Estate Agent, Speaker, and Entrepreneur. He enjoys competitive swimming, cooking and holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership, is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology (thesis on conflict in the workplace and millennial job satisfaction).

“The Pink Lady Speaks” by Jackie Goldberg

The energetic Pink Lady will speak on the concepts in her latest book, Get Up, Get Out, & Get A Life!: It Aint over Til I Say It’s Over. You’ll learn why the Pink Lady says, “I believe I’m a perfect example of what the right attitude and gratitude can do for you. You need to know who you are and realize there is still a lot of livin’ to do. The purpose of life, after all, is to live it. This is truly our time to live life to the max, to taste each experience and to live in the present moment wisely, lovingly and with enthusiasm. In today’s world, it takes guts to get older, without being old. Aging happens to everyone. It’s inevitable. However there’s no need to become a victim of age.” Pink Lady is a perfect example; hopefully many will follow.

Jackie Goldberg

At 84 “years young,” Pink Lady Jackie Goldberg of Hollywood is a force of nature. She’s a producer, an actress, member of Actor’s Equity and SAG-AFTRA, author and community builder, trailblazer, founder, and motivational speaker through her company, “Get Up, Get Out, & Get a Life!” It’s true what people say—being around her is like getting a shot of vitamin C! She has an amazing ability to lift and energize all those around her.

“Virtual Reality: The Past, Present, and Future” by Paul Hynek

In this engaging and informative presentation, see how virtual reality was used in the making of Avatar, Planet of the Apes, Tintin, Warcraft and other movies and games. Learn what VR is, and how it’s different from 360 and augmented reality. See why it’s been called an “empathy engine.” Learn about the most compelling current uses, and also where its going in the future. We’ll capture the entire audience in virtual reality, and present it afterwards.

Paul Hynek

Paul Hynek has ownership stakes in three virtual reality companies, and speaks frequently on VR. Previously he worked in visual effects in movies and games, and helped sell Giant Studios to James Cameron. Paul is a Wharton MBA and professor of Finance and Accounting at Pepperdine, and is the creator of EZ Numbers, financial modeling software for startups that has raised over $1 billion for thousands of startups.

“Baby Boomer Christmas: A Slideshow Presentation” by Vickey Kalambakal

Take a walk down Santa Claus Lane to learn the absolutely true history of Boomer holiday traditions like aluminum trees, Gene Autry’s Christmas songs, Barbie’s secret past as a German comic strip floozie, and the sordid story behind the Slinky.

Vickey Kalambakal

Vickey Kalambakal is a freelance author and novelist, as well as a Mensan and a Baby Boomer. Vickey’s articles on local history and pop culture have appeared in magazines, books, and encyclopedias. For her books, she chose to shorten her name to Vickey Kall, assuming that no one but her relatives could spell Kalambakal without help.

“Road to College” by Jacob Kantor

Things students & parents should start thinking about to prepare for the road to college. We will dive into what college admissions officers look at when determining if a student is admitted. We will touch on the idea of Demonstrated Interest and how to show a college you want to go there. We will touch on how all factors play into decisions (Grades, GPA, Test Scores, Extracurricular, Volunteering, AP Classes, Class Rank etc)

Jacob Kantor started out in Education working for McGraw Hill Education helping school districts adopt and implement new curriculum. In 2012, he jumped over to education services and started in Test Prep & College Counseling. In 2016, he finished a College Counseling program at UCLA. Jacob works with roughly 200+ schools throughout Los Angeles and over the US. Jacob now works at Revolution Prep the nationwide leader in online tutoring for students grades K–12.

“Could the Universe be a Computer Simulation?” by Perry Lanaro

For centuries, some have postulated that the universe is an illusion. A modern take on this idea is, “could the universe be a computer simulation,” similar to the movie The Matrix. The talk will cover three main areas. First we will look at the possibility that the universe is an illusion and there are different options for this. Next we’ll move into the realm of computers and briefly discuss artificial intelligence. The final part of the talk will look at the computer simulation option and this will be the presentation’s main focus.

Perry Lanaro is a member of Mensa and Intertel. He holds a BS in physics and an MBA, both degrees from UCLA. Professionally he is a consultant in corporate finance in the entertainment industry with Lionsgate and Paramount Pictures as his primary clients. He’s a skilled public speaker, regularly speaking on the intersection of science and spirituality, plus a few times a year speaks on the business side of the motion picture industry.

“I Wanna Be Loved By You: The Music of the Roaring Twenties” by Craig Lancaster

The 1920s produced some of the most memorable music of what has become known as The Great American Songbook. It was a decade of dance music including the Charleston and Black Bottom. It featured the singers Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Ruth Etting, Marion Harris, Helen Kane and the debut of Bing Crosby. Come listen to some of the twentieth century’s greatest music.
The decade 1910–1919 was perhaps the most important decade in the history of American popular music. The decade featured the first jazz recordings. The decade also featured the first songs published by W. C. Handy, the “Father of the Blues.” The years 1917–18 were significant for the music of the Great War. Come and hear the original recordings of these great songs.

Craig cannot play an instrument, sing or dance. He is certainly not a musicologist. Nevertheless, he has enjoyed music all his life. What kind of music? American popular music. All of American popular music, from songs of the 1800s to the music of Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. At this RG he will be presenting a program about the popular music of the second decade of the twentieth century.

“Life Happens. Thrive in spite of it.” by Pamela Lane

Ms. Lane takes the audience on a journey through the brutal assault, when snatched right out of a business day, she suffered at age 40; a nine-month hospitalization; three years’ work reclaiming her sanity and her life, and ultimately achieving a good, satisfying life.
In down-to-earth terms she relates the life-changing perspectives she gained in recovery.
Damaged lives can be repaired. Using humor and anecdotes, Ms. Lane freely offers sensible solutions and hope. Now, at age 74, she lives a rich, full life.

Pamela Harrington Lane, past President of the Toastmasters for Writers Club in Los Angeles, CA, has delivered countless speeches at Toastmasters and the iconic Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, CA and Santa Monica Promenade’s, Barnes and Noble. With over 25 years in the advertising industry, Ms. Lane ghost writes, develops monthly newsletters and creates website content. She volunteers time coaching and empowering women to value and embrace themselves and their lives. Soon to be published, her third book is entitled Life Happens. Thrive in spite of it.

“Traumatic Brain Injury and Hormonal Imbalance: Growth Hormone Deficiency in Adults” by Dr. Norman Lavin

Over 5 million people in the United States sustain brain injuries which often result in neurological complications and even death. What is new and often missed, is damage to the Pituitary Gland resulting in severe hormone imbalance. I will explain how these traumatic events transform into deficiency of hormones, as well as prevention and treatment.

Dr. Norman Lavin is a professor of pediatrics and endocrinology at the University of California-Los Angeles Medical Center, where he also serves as the Director of Clinical Education in Endocrinology. A widely published and award-winning researcher, Dr. Lavin also currently holds the directorship of Medical Education at the Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center, and serves as Chairman of the Pediatric Scientific Endocrinology Division of the American Academy of Clinical Endocrinology.

“The Moral Imperative” by Lance Miller

In this engaging and entertaining session, Lance gives a new look at the difference between morals, ethics and laws.You will understand how each are designed to address a specific issue in any group of human beings and how morals are the foundation of any successful family, business, community, nation or civilization.

Lance Miller

Lance Miller is an expert in communication, leadership and organization/team dynamics.He is a proponent and advocate for human rights and personal integrity and responsibility. He has delivered over 5,000 speeches in more than 55 countries and is the Toastmasters International World Champion of Public Speaking.

“From Rocks to Humans::What it Really Means to be Alive!” by Dr. Hamed Mirzaei

The Big Bang explains how atoms came into existence and evolution explains how a simple cell can evolve into complex human beings. But how do you go from the stuff that makes up rocks to the stuff that makes up living things? I will explain the mechanisms, forces, and intermediary steps that connect atoms to rocks and rocks to humans to fill in the blanks of what it really means to be alive.

Dr. Hamed Mirzaei is a scientist and educator at the University of Southern California. His research focus is the biology and genetics of aging and aging-related diseases. He developed a course titled, “The Public Understanding of Science,” which bridges the divide between science, art, and everyday people. Hamed has made science and evidence-based education a priority in his life, and subsequently established the Hamed Mirzaei Foundation for Arts & Sciences, a 501(c)3 public charity that promotes collaboration between artists and scientists to enhance science-awareness in the community. Hamed is the organizer and host of the monthly public STEAM talk series called Byte of Science.

“Stealing Marbles and Other Successful Strategies” by Julie Perrin

A blunt assessment of the current international movement to change the climate with regards to the understanding, acceptance, and treatment of people with mental illness. Anthropologist, author, mental health advocate, adn thirty year survivor or anxiety, depression, chronic PTSD, borderline bipolar, and ADD will discuss why being diagnosed with a mental illness might be the best thing that could ever happen to you. She will talk about what to do after yo get a diagnosis, and read excerpts from her upcoming book with the above title.

Julie Perrin

Julie holds a Masters’ Degree with Visual Anthropology from the University of Southern California where she completed her thesis film, Drowning in the Mainstream: Adults with Invisible Disabilities, in which mental health issues play a prominent role. She qualified for the Mental Health First Aid Certification at both Youth and Adult levels, and is looking forward to attending the new Seniors certification in 2017. She writes, advocates for mental health programs, and works as a substitute teacher in K–12 classrooms and with special needs children.

“The Significance of Purpose and How to Find It” by Randy Powell

Since the beginning of time; people have wondered, pondered, and even asked questions about the meaning of life. Perhaps you’ve done the same, you may even have your own understanding or perhaps you simply gave up! What is the “Secret” to living a Great Life? Join me while I offer my thoughts about: “The Significance of Purpose, How to Find It” and know if it’s real!

Randy Powell

After completing high school he went on to spend the next 20 years, serving his country in the “Air National Guard,” while also holding various full-time federal positions. Randy holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Redlands and has thousands of hours of technical training in five specialty areas. He eventually left government service and moved into corporate America where he worked for a few large corporations, before deciding to become a professional speaker! The Road to Success… in 2007, Randy joined Toastmasters International and within four years achieved Toastmasters’ highest designation, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). Two years later he was awarded the designation of Qualified Speaker (QS) and in 2009 began studying the speaking profession and started speaking professionally in 2012.

“What is Integrative Medicine---and Why Should You Care?” by Shera Raisen

Technology allows us to check hormone and nutrition levels in a very modern way. This helps us create an individualized plan for each person. Sir William Osler said, “It is better to know the patient who has the disease, than the disease the patient has.” She thinks of it as high tech and high touch.

Dr. Shera Raisen is a board certified Family Practice physician who provides Western and complementary holistic medical care to the whole family. Dr. Raisen earned her M.D. at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York City and completed a residency program in Family Practice in Los Angeles. As a healer, Dr. Raisen believes in empowering her patients through personally tailored diagnostic and treatment plans in order to attain their optimal health. She wants her patients to enjoy a sense of well-being in body, mind, and spirit. Dr. Raisen provides care, commitment, and communication to her patients to help them achieve their health goals.

“Intertel Meet & Greet & Info session with Lecture about Carnegie Observatories” by Jeff Rich

Following an info session and Intertel Meet and Greet, Dr. Jeff Rich will give a brief lecture about The Carnegie Observatories. The Carnegie Observatories is one of Southern California’s best kept secrets, tucked away in a residential neighborhood in Pasadena. Jeff will talk about the historic discoveries made by Carnegie Scientists for over 100 years using the best telescopes in Southern California, Chile and beyond.

Jeff Rich

Jeff Rich grew up in Washington state, studied Astronomy at USC as an undergraduate, and spent 6 years as a graduate student studying Astronomy at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Jeff then worked for four years as a postdoctoral researcher in Pasadena at the Carnegie Observatories and Caltech, observing nearby galaxies to study galaxy formation and evolution, measuring the properties of variable stars and working with a research group at Carnegie aiming to measure the rate of expansion of the universe to great precision. Jeff continues his work as an Astronomers and now runs the outreach and education program at the Carnegie Observatories.

“From Information Age to Misinformation Age: Grow and Succeed with Competitive Intelligence” by Seena Sharp

Today we are bombarded with misinformation and insufficient information. No longer are the best decisions based on experience, data, forecasts, or common sense.
Using numerous real-world examples, Seena will demonstrate how smart companies have succeeded or failed based on expertise, internal assumptions, and facts. You will be shocked at what’s true today and how informed companies have seized growth opportunities that most other companies missed. You’ll learn the best sources (handout to all attendees), what is the “right” information for smart decisions, and why competitors aren’t nearly as important as most companies believe.
You will look at your business differently.

Seena Sharp

Sharp is a recognized pioneer in competitive intelligence, establishing the first CI firm in the US 30+ years ago. Sharp Market Intelligence are experts in uncovering growth opportunities, and Seena developed 6 non-statistical techniques that are better than forecasting—a seeming contradiction as she has a masters degree in mathematics from New York University. John Wiley publishers commissioned her to write the book on the topic and it’s the highest rated in its segment on Amazon.

“El Cid: The Iconic Hero of Spain, and the Last Epic Hero” by Sandra Smith

You’ve heard the name, now find out why. Sandra Smith, a long-time member of GLAAM and current Board Member, delves into her vast knowledge of mythology and history to present a personality almost everyone has heard of but not many people really know much about.

Sandra grew up in the San Fernando Valley in a family of storytellers, so her favorite school activity was Show and Tell. After amassing an eclectic assortment of academic degrees, (BA in Sociology, MA in Library Science, California State Secondary Teaching Credential) she made a career in Civil Service (ornamented by another degree, an MBA). After she retired, she took up travel, enhancing a life-long interest in myths and folklore by visiting sites she only knew from books.

“Karnak, An Original Interactive Word Game” by Alan Stillson

Alan Stillson is author or co-author of ten puzzle books, including seven official American Mensa titles. Here’s a chance to enjoy an original interactive word game by finding three rhyming words from Karnak-style clues. For example, if the clues are requiem, Spanish and nitrogen, the answer is a mass, a class and a gas. It’s fast moving and easy to play — no tiles, no boards.

“Lyric Snippets, a variation of Name That Tune” by Alan Stillson

This long-standing RG tradition will be tweaked this year. Instead of hearing the notes, you will hear a snippet of lyrics. All songs will be from well-known musicals or movies. For example, the snippet, “sometimes the ace, sometimes the deuces” is from “I Am What I Am” from La Cage Aux Folles. The host is Alan Stillson, leader of the GLAAM Folksong SIG.

“Beatnik Coffeehouse” by Alan Stillson

The Beatnik Coffeehouse is on again this year! It’s open mike and everybody is welcome to do their thing. Do a little stand-up comedy, recite your favorite poem, sing your favorite song, etc. No guitar or keyboard? No problem, both instruments will be there and I’ll be happy to try to provide live accompaniment to anyone who wants it. Just want to listen? That’s fine, too.

Alan Stillson

Alan Stillson has been a Mensa member since 1987. He’s the puzzle editor of L.A. Mentary and leads the folksong SIG and the writers group. Alan is an adjunct mathematics professor and an author. He has eleven published puzzle books and has two produced musical shows. His website is and his e-mail address is

“Focus on the message: how to become the best public speaker you can be” by Neil Thompson

Public speaking is one of the biggest fears that people have. You know why? People don’t give themselves enough credit. You’re a better public speaker than you think you are! In this presentation, I go through the typical attributes of a “great” public speaker, debunking many of them so that you feel more comfortable being your authentic self on stage in front of people. Public speaking does not have to be scary!

Neil Thompson

Neil Thompson is a guy who likes to think about stuff. A former engineer, he founded Neil Thompson Speaks! to share his message of self-determination. Always fascinated by public speaking, he joined a Toastmasters group a few years ago to hone his skills. He now has his own ideas on what makes an effective public speaker. We’ll see if you agree.

“Escaping the Infinite Loop in Your Relationship” by Betsy Walli

Due to life experiences, you may have developed patterns of relating to others that make relationships difficult, and elicit the very responses you fear. In a relationship, when each person’s response to disconnection inadvertently alarms the other and increases the distance between you, a painful vicious circle ensues. This emotional disconnection can also contribute to recurring arguments about seemingly minor, unrelated issues. Underlying these disagreements are vulnerable hidden questions: Do I matter to you? Can I reach you? Can I count on you if I need you? Using concepts from Emotionally Focused Therapy, you can step out of the negative cycle in which you are stuck, make sense of the expectations, emotions, and unmet needs that are driving it, and then express your needs and emotions in a way that feels safe to the other person. Once you both feel safely connected, it is easier to resolve your other issues.

Betsy Walli

Betsy Walli is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples, with a private practice in Hermosa Beach and Seal Beach, California. Betsy conducted research on couples therapy and EFT while pursuing her Master’s degree in Counseling at California State University, Fullerton, and she is currently working toward certification in EFT. Betsy also holds a PhD in Linguistics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For more information about Betsy’s background and approach to counseling, please visit .

“Burbank's Own Amelia Earhardt” by Douglas Westfall

Journey through a trio of books and films on Earhart that cover from her 1932 Atlantic flight up to the start of her ill-fated flight of 1937. The peak of the show is The Last Photo Shoot of May 20, 1937 in Burbank—from whence she leaves the following day.

Douglas Westfall is an author, publisher, and teacher and has published America’s history for over a quarter of a century. He continually discovers unread manuscripts and unpublished photography relating to the great stories of America’s history, from which he creates his books. In his lectures, he brings to light the unpublished accounts that he has collected throughout America. These include the fascinating true life experiences of Amelia Earhart, San Francisco’s Earthquake, the American Civil War, Custer’s Last Stand and World War II, and has released over 100 titles in 26 years.

Michael Wong

Michael Wong

Michael has had a long interest in artisan and imported cheeses. His introduction came through his dining at Patina’s flagship restaurant at the Disney Hall in Los Angeles. The then Maitre de fromage, Andrew, now has his own cheese shop on the west side. Prior cheese programs Michael has presented have included French Cheeses, Comparison cheeses, and non-French cheeses, among others.

“Healthy Living: Sugar and You” by Tiffany Wright

An interactive workshop on the relationship of sugar and refined foods to weight gain and brain changes. You’ll learn the health benefits of going “sugar free.” Dr. Wright brings her knowledge of research into the biochemistry of eating disorders, blood sugar imbalances and dieting and her insights into how to re-wire your brain to learn the habits necessary to finally eat in a healthy way.

Tiffany Wright, Ph.D., The Skinny Coach, lost over a hundred pounds more than 20 years ago and through that experience developed the Skinny Coach Solution. Understanding the effects that refined food have on the brain and the behavior and mental process involved in overeating she has successfully been helping thousands of women over the last decade eliminate sugar and flour and rewire their brain so they are free forever.

“Ethical Monotheism: Religions that can put you in the driver's seat” by Jerry Zerg

How Abraham, the Patriarch of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, revealed the existence, location and power of God and one’s afterlife. His findings and opinions are based on common sense that is rational and grounds for belief. His messages are unique and refreshing interpretations of the Monotheistic Testaments. His presentation is fashioned for contemplation, not indoctrination.

Jerry Zerg is an autodidactic expert in monotheistic religions. His lifelong passion is and has been civilization’s craving for religion, which after food and shelter, has been mankind’s greatest investment of time and money throughout history. Professionally, Jerry is a multi-discipline forensic practitioner in safety and property improvements. Jerry is and has been a member of Mensa since 1979. He is truly a Renaissance Man that will enlighten, enrich and entertain you.