Featured Speakers





Maryellen Burns is the author of Lost Restaurants of Sacramento and Their Recipes and other books on food. She directs Morning Coffee Press, an indie publishing company; has facilitated dozens of projects on community history including This Old Flat Car, If This House Could Talk, We Are Where We Eat, and A Cook’s Tour of Sacramento and hosts Talk, Talk, Talk – a conversational series that explores the arts, books, food, history and politics. She serves on the board or committees of the Sacramento River Delta Historical Society, Sacramento Book Collectors Club, Sacramento Area History Network, Conference of California Historical Societies, Renaissance Society, and many others.



Amy Cohen,Executive Director, Exhibit Envoy earned her B.A. in History (summa cum laude) from the College of Wooster in Ohio and her M.A. in Museum Studies from John F. Kennedy University. After joining the Exhibit Envoy team as an intern and then Project Manager, Amy Cohen stepped into the role of Interim Executive Director in September 2015 before officially joining the team in January 2016. With 10 years of experience in non-profits, including at museums, libraries, and independent schools, Cohen brings fundraising and exhibit development expertise to this position.



John Eckstrom, CEO, Shelter Inc. has led one of the world’s most recognizable and leading non-profit healthcare institutions, Haight Ashbury Free Clinics, out of the most troubled time in its history to a position of leadership, excellence and sustainability. He has co-founded several nonprofits and held board positions at others. Mr. Eckstrom’s areas of nonprofit expertise include managing towards financial stability, defining strategic initiatives, strengthening board governance, succession planning, developing organizational maturity, and planning for and carrying out merger and acquisition proposals. Early in his career Mr. Eckstrom was a leading and innovative technology executive/consultant at Bank of America, TRW Financial Systems, Charles Schwab, and Kaiser Permanente amongst others. He also taught Computer Science and Business Systems Design at UC Berkeley and was a charter member of the AAAI (American Association for Artificial Intelligence). John, a Contra Costa County native, graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Psychology. When he is not working to prevent and end homelessness, John is an avid musician playing in orchestras, jazz combos, and rock groups throughout the greater Bay Area.


Beverly Lane

Beverly Lane is a local historian, published author, and curator of the Museum of the San Ramon Valley. She was the founding president of the Museum of the San Ramon Valley and is currently on that Board again. She also serves on the Contra Costa County Historical Society Board. Beverly has been involved in founding two regional history groups and will share her experiences. One is the Contra Costa History Alliance and the other is the Tri-Valley History Council. Her books include “San Ramon Valley – Alamo, Danville, San Ramon” (an Images of America book), “Vintage Danville, 150 Years of Memories” and “San Ramon Chronicles, Stories of Bygone Days.” Beverly was elected to the original Danville Town Council in 1982 and served as Mayor three times. She has served on the elected Board of Directors for the East Bay Regional Park District since 1994, the largest and oldest regional park district in the country. She is also a member of the Anza Trail Foundation which promotes the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail.


Todd Shulman

Todd Shulman has worked in law enforcement his entire adult life; he began as a military police person in the US Army, serving during the First Gulf War. Later Shulman became a police officer in California; currently at the Napa Police Department. He has held positions within the police department as Sergeant, Detective, Training Officer, Crime Scene Specialist, Corporal and Cold Case Investigator. Shulman formed the non-profit Napa Police Historical Society in 2006, and continues today as its President. Shulman has written three books, his most recent being “Murder in the Napa Valley”.


AudreyAudrey A. Smith, JD, John F. Kennedy University College of Law is a member of the core faculty of John F. Kennedy University, College of Law, a private, not-for-profit university located in Pleasant Hill, California. She is the director of the JFKU Legal Research and Writing Program; and also teaches courses in a variety of subjects including Trial Advocacy and Appellate Advocacy. Her past professional experience includes serving as a senior staff attorney to the California Court of Appeal; one of the founding shareholders in a successful law firm in San Francisco where she focused on civil trials and litigation, serving as court-appointed counsel to children and parents in Juvenile Dependency cases. Ms. Smith currently serves on the Board of Directors of SHELTER Inc. a charitable nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization dedicated to preventing homelessness by providing housing and support services to homeless and low income families to enable them to become self-sufficient. She has served on the board of directors of several other organizations. Ms. Smith earned a BA in Inter-disciplinary Fine Arts from the University of California, Irvine and a JD from Santa Clara University School of Law.


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Conference of California Historical Societies
Bringing together California's historical community to share California's heritage, learn from one another and strengthen our communities.