Leon Panetta, Gov. Brown & Execs Wow Outlook Audience

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta seemed to confirm during discussion yesterday at the 2013 Outlook Conference that mysterious Area 51 in the Nevada desert does not house research or artifacts related to alien or extra-terrestrial life. The tongue-in-cheek response came during a wide-ranging conversation led by Dignity Health President and CEO Lloyd Dean in front of hundreds of executives and public policy leaders at the San Francisco Jazz Center.

During the discussion and in remarks beforehand, Panetta shared colorful insights on the dramatic events that brought Osama bin Laden to justice. He talked about the differences in style between Presidents Clinton and Obama, bemoaned the “mindless” sequestration and the destructive partisanship gripping DC, and related the lessons he learned from his immigrant father in expressing his optimism for the transcendent spirit of Americans to overcome challenges. Panetta was the closing keynote of an afternoon of substantive, entertaining and informative discussions on social media, health care, energy and Bay Area professional sports.

Governor Jerry Brown was another highlight of the afternoon, engaging with Bay Area Council Chair and Bank of America California State President Janet Lamkin in a lively conversation that delved into education, trade with China and the recent trip he made there with a delegation organized by the Bay Area Council, climate change and the state’s fiscal health.

Sports fans were enthralled to hear from SF Giants President and CEO Larry Baer and SF 49ers President and CEO Jed York, who likened the region’s booming sports industry to the “Renaissance of Venice.” There were rousing cheers at the mention of the Bay Area being named this week to host Super Bowl L in 2016 at the 49ers’ new Levi’s Stadium. And Daniel Lurie, Co-chair of the Super Bowl Bid Committee on which Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman served, made a surprise visit on stage to hail the victory.

Sen. Alex Padilla, Chair of the Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee, moderated a conversation with PG&E executive Geisha Williams, Echelon CEO Ron Sege and Enphase Energy CEO Paul Nahi about the challenges confronting California’s energy future. And Blue Shield of California CEO Paul Markovich led off a fascinating discussion with Dignity Health executive Michael Blaszyk, Safeway Chief Medical Officer Kent Bradley and Wells Fargo Bank healthcare finances executive Keith Grundy.

The Bay Area Council extends its thanks to the many sponsors and supporters of the conference, with special thanks to Dignity Health and Lloyd Dean for serving as the Presenting Visionary Sponsor. Thanks also to Wells Fargo Bank for its major support and hosting the two networking breaks. For a complete list of supporters, please visit 2013 Outlook Conference presented by Dignity Health.

And stay tuned for links to videos of the discussions, including a penetrating conversation with SV Angel Senior Advisor Ron Conway, MC Hammer, tech blogger Michael Arrington and former Google executive Hunter Walk on the role of social media in driving political change. You’re sure to enjoy Arrington pressing Hammer and Conway on their political aspirations.

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