President's Council

The purpose of the President’s Council is to be a group of influential, major URI supporters who have relevant organizational wisdom, and who are partners with the Global Council and the Executive Director in providing guidance and leadership to URI.

THE PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL

The Rt. Rev. William E. Swing

President and Founding Trustee

Bishop William Swing is the President and Founder of the URI. Bishop Swing had the original vision of URI in 1993 in response to an invitation from the United Nations which asked him to host an interfaith service honoring the 50th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter. Bishop Swing served as the Episcopal Bishop of California from 1980 until his retirement in 2006. In that capacity, he was a national and international leader in response to the AIDS crisis, co-founded Episcopal Community Services to address San Francisco’s homeless problem, and co- founded Community Bank of the Bay to support local businesses and the economy.

Bishop Swing is an inspirational speaker and an author, most recently of A Bishop's Quest: Founding a United Religions and The Sacred and the Silly: A Bishop's Playful and Eventful Life. Both books are available on Amazon.com; the proceeds of which benefit URI.

The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian, Jr.

Executive Director

Victor comes to URI as a lifelong peacebuilder dedicated to interfaith and intercultural understanding. For the past two decades, he served as Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life, Dean of Intercultural Education, Co-Director of the Peace & Justice Studies Program, and Director of the India Program at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts in the United States. Victor’s work at Wellesley College is widely acknowledged as the catalyst in the national and international movement to include religious diversity and spirituality as core issues in higher education. Specializing in inter-religious dialogue and conflict transformation, diversity and democracy, and peace building, Victor is a recognized thought-leader, the co-author and editor of several books and numerous articles and a frequent lecturer worldwide. In 1998 Victor co-founded Education as Transformation, an international organization working with colleges and universities around the world to promote religious pluralism and spirituality in education. He is also a visiting faculty member and Fulbright Scholar at the Malaviya Center for Peace Research at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India, and member of the Global Learning Leadership Council of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Victor is also an ordained Episcopal priest. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and an B.A. from Harvard University.

John Weiser

Chairperson, President's Council

John Weiser currently serves as Chairman of the President's Council of United Religions Initiative, the world's largest grassroots interfaith organization. He previously served as Chairman of the Board of the Graduate Theological Union, a partnership of nine seminaries of differing denominations. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Weiser served as General Counsel of Bechtle Group, Inc., an international engineering construction firm. Earlier, he was a partner and member of the management committee of Shearman & Sterling, a major Wall Street law firm. He and his wife, Maria, had nine children, one of whom died as a toddler; they have eleven grandchildren.

Gwinne Berexa

Gwinneth Berexa was Senior Vice President and Head of Liquid Risk Management at MUFG Union Bank from 2012 to 2014 and as a Liquidity Risk Management and Stress Testing Consultant with the Promontory Financial Group from 2006-2012. Prior to that she was a Principal at Bank of America in Global Capital Markets and Head of Corporate Development and Securitization for Providian Financial. Gwinne was President of the Junior League of San Francisco from 2008-2010 and is active with Cross Cultural Solutions in South America and Planned Parenthood Northern California (Investment Committee). Gwinne was born in Colombia South America and is married to Steven Berexa, Global CIO for Equities at Allianz Global Investors. They live in Marin County.

Peter Carpenter

Peter Carpenter is a strategist, synthesizer, businessman and non-profit leader. He is the Founder of the Mission and Values Institute and has served in the federal government (Office of the Secretary of Defense, White House, Office of Management and Budget, and the US Price Commission), local government (Palo Alto Planning Commissioner and Director, Menlo Park Fire Protection District), academia (Executive Director Stanford University Medical Center and McGill University) and the private sector (Executive Vice President ALZA Corporation). He has also served on numerous non-profit boards including Annual Reviews, the San Francisco Opera, InSTEDD, the Village Enterprise Fund, US International University – Kenya, and the Alan Guttmacher Institute.

J. Robert Coleman

After stints at Goldman, Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch over 41 years and being unable to retain a paid situation, he retired in 2015. Over this time he morphed from being a stockbroker into a discretionary investment manager of a team with about $3B in assets. For several years he was ranked (# 8) on Barron's list of the 100 Top Investment Brokers. Now he focuses his time on investment work with three foundations, including URI. He is also a trustee of the BSA National Foundation and president of the American Fondouk Animal Hospital Foundation in Fez, Morocco. He also lovingly and patiently devotes himself to the seemingly endless process of renovating a home in Woodside.

 

Julia L. Davidson

Julia Davidson previously practiced corporate securities law as a partner at Cooley LLP. She is president of the board of trustees of Crystal Springs Uplands School and serves on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco. She previously served as board president of the Hillsborough Schools Foundation and of Episcopal Charities. She is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, and Harvard Law School.

Donald Derheim

Donald Derheim, Chief Executive Officer of SFJAZZ, leads the organization in all phases of its business as it builds on its growth as a jazz presenter, digital leader, and classroom innovator. Don was a media executive at KQED Inc. with a wide-ranging portfolio. He oversaw the strategic and operational excellence of KQED’s NPR and PBS affiliated Radio and Television stations as its Chief Operating Officer.  Don served as Board Secretary of Greater Public, Inc., producer of the largest national conference for public media professionals and served on numerous other industry Boards, committees, and working groups. Before joining KQED Inc. he was the advertising and marketing publicity manager at MTV Networks in New York and on the staff of the international public relations firm Burson-Marsteller. Don is a community Trustee at Grace Cathedral and serves on the President’s Council of URI.org.

William P. Fuller

William P. Fuller serves on the boards of a bank and a technology company in the Bay Area as well as a number of non-profits involved with Asia. From 2004 to 2008 Bill was the Vice Chair of ChinaVest, a merchant bank with offices in Shanghai and San Francisco. He served as CEO of The Asia Foundation in San Francisco from 1989 to 2004, and from 1981 to 1989 as Deputy Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington, D.C. and as Director of the USAID mission in Indonesia. From 1971 to 1981, Mr. Fuller served with the Ford Foundation in Thailand, and later as head of the Foundation's office in Bangladesh. He began his career with UNICEF in the Middle East and with the World Bank in Paris. Mr. Fuller holds an MBA from Harvard and a Ph.D from Stanford.

Margaret G.  Gill 

Margaret Gill has been Chair and President of the Stephen and Margaret Gill Family Foundation since 1999. She was the Senior Vice President of Legal, External Affairs & Secretary from 1994 to 1999 with Air Touch Communications. Prior to this she was Associate of Pillsbury Madison & Sutro from 1966 to 1972, and Partner from 1973 to 1993. She was the Practice Group Manager and Senior Partner, Corporate and Securities Group (46 attorneys in 6 offices) from 1983 to 1993. She is on the Board of Directors/Trustee for Con-Way, Inc., Episcopal Church in the Diocese of California (President through 2008), the San Francisco Ballet (Vice Chair, Chair of the Governance Committee, Chair of the 75th Anniversary Celebrations), and Episcopal Charities (President 2001-2006). She is a member of the International Women's Forum and Women's Forum West, and the Wellesley College Capital Campaign Class Committee in California.

William Jamieson

William (Bill) Jamieson’s career has included leadership positions in business, government, religion and education. He currently serves as president of the Micah Institute in Asheville, North Carolina. Bill was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church in 1989, and his ministry has centered around advocacy for low-income families and children.

Bill has taught master-degree level courses in leadership and management at the School of Theology at Claremont, California and several universities. He was a founding board member of ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy. Bill served in two cabinet-level appointments in Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt’s administration and as chair of the Governor’s cabinet. Prior to that, he worked in Governor Jimmy Carter’s administration in Georgia, and with the Carter administration in Washington, D.C. He left government in 1984 to form a public affairs and management consulting firm in Phoenix. Bill was also the majority owner of two other businesses, E&J Travel at Travis Air Force Base in California, and Travis Express, an airport-connector bus company in Northern California.

Jill H. Kramer

Jill H. Kramer is a founding member of the URI President’s Council; a founding member of the Vital Voices Bay Area Council; an emerita Trustee of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, a past president of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation (ARCSNCC); founder of CLAW (Critter Lovers at Work); and she co-founded the Coro Foundation program for “Women Over 40”. She is a member of the Presidents’ Circle of the National Academy of Sciences. She recently joined How Women Lead.

The Hon. Richard Livermore

Richard Livermore is an expert in dispute resolution. He is a retired Judge of the Superior Court of California, having served as a California Judicial officer from August, 1988, through December, 2016. His judicial service included pioneering work in the development of alternatives to incarceration for defendants in the grips of drug and alcohol dependency. Judge Livermore’s assignments included Criminal, Civil, Probate, Juvenile, Family and Collaborative Court calendars. He has taught at both the California Judges College and the National Judges College. Prior to his judicial service, he was a pioneer in the development of Mediation, Arbitration, and Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) practices throughout the United States at the Federal, State, and Local levels.

Robert Lurie

Robert (Bob) Lurie has a lifelong dedication to business, civic and community affairs in San Francisco. He served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 to 1953 before returning home to enter the San Francisco business community. Upon his father’s passing in 1972, Bob Lurie assumed the presidency of the Lurie Company, a San Francisco and Chicago-based real estate company specializing in commercial properties. In 1976, a Lurie Company subsidiary purchased the San Francisco Giants Baseball Club.

 

George Marcus

George M. Marcus is the Co-Founder and Chairman of Marcus & Millichap Company (MMC). Founded in 1971, MMC is the parent company of a diversified group of real estate service, investment and development firms. His professional memberships include Real Estate Roundtable, Urban Land Institute, the U.C. Berkeley Fisher Center for Real Estate and numerous other professional and community organizations. Mr. Marcus graduated with a B.S. in Economics from San Francisco State University in 1965, he was honored as Alumnus of the Millennium in 1999 and received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the California State University in 2011.

Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce

Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce, DD, PhD, served Congregation Emanu-El as the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Senior Rabbi from 1993 to 2013. Ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he earned his doctorate in counselor psychology at St. John’s University. He is a board member of Palo Alto University and an advisory board member of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture. Previously, he served on the board of the Graduate Theological Union and is a past president of the Northern California Board of Rabbis. In January 2018, he was named the Taube Scholar at Congregation Emanuel-El.

Roselyne C. Swig

Ms. Roselyne "Cissie" Swig is Founder & President of ComCon International, and member of the Board of Directors of The Swig Company and founder of Roselyne C. Swig Artsource (1978-94). She was appointed Director of the U.S. Department of State Art in Embassies Program by President William J. Clinton (1994-97). She has devoted decades to philanthropic and community service efforts, at local, national and global levels with focus on women empowerment, social welfare, fine art, political advocacy and education. Ms. Swig is founder of Partners Ending Domestic Abuse and Bayview Alliance.

HONORARY MEMBERS OF THE PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL

William K. Bowes, Jr.

(In Memoriam)

Mr. William K. Bowes, Jr. had three careers – each somehow leading to the next. After twenty-five years of investment banking in San Francisco, he founded U.S. Venture Partners in 1981, providing him with the opportunity to help create initiatives at their earliest stage. “Venture Philanthropy” followed naturally has and included “start-ups”; financing initiatives inside established institutions; larger “transformative” investments in institutions. The following Board and Advisory Council assignments are indicative of areas of interest: the University of California, San Francisco Foundation, Exploratorium, Grace Cathedral, Environmental Defense Fund, Stanford’s Bio-X, Asian Art Museum, QB3, Institute for Systems Biology, San Francisco Jazz, Xoma Corporation, Creative Capital, Harvard Business School Visiting Committee, and San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Mr. Bowes passed in 2015, and is survived by his wife, Ute Conchita Bowes.

Rupert H. Johnson, Jr.

Rupert H. Johnson, Jr. is Vice Chairman, Member - Office of the Chairman and Director of Franklin Resources, Inc. He serves as an officer, director, and trustee of some of the subsidiaries of Franklin Resources, Inc. and of 47 of the investment companies in Franklin Templeton Investments. He is also Chairman and Director of Franklin Templeton funds. Mr. Johnson joined Franklin in 1965 after serving as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. Mr. Johnson is a graduate of Washington and Lee University. He is a member on the board of United Religions Initiative and the BASIC Fund. He has served as a member of the executive committee as well as the Board of Governors of The Investment Company Institute. He also served on the board of the San Francisco Zoological Society and has been active with the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. He is a former trustee of both Santa Clara University and Washington and Lee University.

Dame Charlotte Mailliard Shultz

Dame Shultz has served nine San Francisco Mayors as Chief of Protocol and Director of Special Events for the City and County of San Francisco. During her tenure, she was responsible for receiving and entertaining many world leaders, including the Pope, Queen Elizabeth II, General Secretary Gorbachev of the Soviet Union, President Medvedev of Russia, Prime Minister Varadkar of Ireland, Prime Minister Modi of India, and President Mitterrand and President Hollande of France, Prime Minister Abe of Japan, President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines, and Presidents Fox, Calderón, and Nieto of Mexico. Shultz is a member of many civic boards such as the War Memorial Performing Arts Center, the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Ballet, and the Commonwealth Club of California.

The Hon. George P. Shultz

The Honorable George P. Shultz has had a distinguished career in government, academia, and business. He taught at MIT and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, where he became dean in 1962. He was appointed Secretary of Labor in 1969, Director of the Office of Management and Budget in 1970, and Secretary of the Treasury in 1972. From 1974 to 1982, he was President of Bechtel Group, Inc. During the Reagan administration, he served as Chairman of the President’s Economic Policy Advisory Board (1981-1982) and Secretary of State (1982-89). In 1989, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Kat Taylor

Kat is active in a variety of social business, public benefit and philanthropic ventures in the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently focuses on beneficial banking services and food systems through two primary organizations. She and her husband, Tom Steyer, are the Founding Directors of OneCalifornia Bank and a Foundation, which lends to low-income communities to support local economies and job creation. Kat is also a Founding Director of TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation dedicated to returning to sustainable food production. Kat is a Partner in INKA, a startup renewable food company pioneering closed loop food systems. Since 1986, Kat served on the board of the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center and the Insight Prison Project. Kat has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of KQED, Inc., the Bay Area and Northern California’s public radio and television station. Kat and Tom reside in San Francisco with their four children and many animals.