Silvia Vasquez-Lavado Speaking In ILS Spring Lecture Series March 27

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Award-winning actress Laura Dern – along with Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder, explorer, mountain climber, and humanitarian Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, and New York Times bestselling novelists Leila Mottley and Isabel Allende – headline the Spring 2023 Leadership Lecture Series presented by Dominican University of California in partnership with Book Passage.

Kidder appeared live virtually on March 6, while Vasquez-Lavado (March 27), Mottley (April 24), Dern (May 7), and Allende (June 14) will speak in Angelico Concert Hall in-person on the Dominican campus. 

The lecture series is hosted by Dominican’s Institute for Leadership Studies.


Tracy Kidder, Monday, March 6. Winner of a Pulitzer Prize for 1981’s non-fiction The Soul of a New Machine, Kidder is literary journalist who has received the National Book Award and Robert F. Kennedy Award. In 2010, he was selected the first A.M. Rosenthal Writer-In-Residence at Harvard University, his alma mater. Kidder’s new book Rough Sleepers, profiles Dr. James O’Connell, who tends to Boston’s homeless community. Dr. O’Connell appeared in conversation with Kidder.

Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, Monday, March 27, at 7 p.m. One of only a few women to complete the so-called Seven Summits – the tallest mountain on each continent – the Peruvian-born Vasquez-Lavado in 2014 founded Courageous Girls, a non-profit group dedicated to helping victims of sexual violence find their own sense of peace and closure through trekking. Vasquez-Lavado was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the Corporate Heroes of 2015. CNET named her one of the 20 Most Influential Latinos in Silicon Valley. Her book In the Shadow of the Mountain is a story of heroism and community. She will appear in conversation on stage with Amanda E. Machado, a writer and facilitator who works in the intersections between storytelling and social justice. Tickets, which include a complimentary copy of the book, are $30.

Leila Mottley, Monday, April 24, at 7 p.m. Mottley, a native of Oakland, became a New York Times best seller in 2022 with her debut novel Nightcrawling, an Oprah’s Book Club pick, about a young black woman who walks to streets of Oakland and stumbles headlong into the failure of its justice system. Her work has been published in the NYTimes and Oprah Daily and, in 2018, she performed and ran poetry workshops as the Oakland Youth Poet Laureate. She will appear on stage at Dominican in conversation with The Oaklandside news editor Darwin BondGraham. Tickets, which include a complimentary copy of the book, are $30.

Laura Dern, Sunday, May 7, at 1 p.m. Dern, who has won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Primetime Emmy Award, BAFTA, and five Golden Globe awards, is the daughter of actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd. She teams with her mother to co-author Honey, Baby, Mine: A Mother-Daughter Talk Life, Death, Love (and Banana Pudding) which details their relationship, ambition, and careers. Diane Ladd will be in conversation with her daughter for the in-person event. Tickets, which include a complimentary copy of the book, are $40.

Isabel Allende, Wednesday, June 14, at 7 p.m. Considered the world’s most-read Spanish language author, Allende’s books have been translated into more than 42 languages and have sold more than 74 million copies worldwide. Her latest novel, The Wind Knows My Name, is a tale of Samuel Adler and Anita Diaz, two unforgettable characters both in search of family and home. She will appear on stage in conversation with Salvadoran-American poet and activist Javier Zamora at Dominican. Tickets, which include a complimentary copy of the book, are $40. A Spanish version of the book also is available as patrons can choose which version when they make their purchase.

For more information, email Book Passage at or call  (415) 927-0960 ext. 1.

For more information about the Institute for Leadership Studies, email

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