About Our Team

Lisa Van Dusen is a practicing artist, the creator and host of First Person, a civic engagement champion and a social impact evangelist at SV2—Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund. Lisa is also particularly passionate about the arts as a catalyst for social change and creating models for resilient communities in the face of climate change. A native Michigander, she has called Palo Alto home since the pre-internet era. Lisa first put down roots in Palo Alto as the founding executive director of Cable Co-op, and among other pursuits, went on to birth and lead Palo Alto Online, relaunch Leadership Palo Alto and hold numerous civic leadership roles in Silicon Valley. Lisa was featured at TEDxGunnHighSchool in 2017 where she talked about "The Joys of Otherhood". Lisavandusen.com is a platform for her voracious curiosity, fearless question-asking, and desire to learn.

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Lavanya Mahadevan joined the First Person team in 2015 as production manager, bringing her own unique alchemy of question-crafting, writing, editing and production skills. Wise beyond her high school years and an award-winning multi-media artist, Lavanya contributes her creativity and critical thinking skills to the First Person team. As of fall 2016, Lavanya is Stanford-bound.

Taylor Shoolery joined the First Person team in 2014 as production manager, bringing extraordinary storytelling skills and instincts to the series. She now tells the stories of a wide range of artists from her perch at the Education and Social Practice Department at SF MOMA where she's bringing art alive. Be sure to check out her First Person podcast here.

More About

First Person

Lisa Van Dusen’s interview series, First Person, is a collection of conversations with groundbreakers who are redefining life in Silicon Valley and beyond. This video series captures people living boldly for the better in Silicon Valley who vary in pursuits, professions and passions. They range from innovators and entrepreneurs to professors and public servants. Some are well known—others not at all, but all are leaders, ahead of the curve and "swimming upstream" in some fashion. Creator and host, Lisa Van Dusen conceived this interview series in 2010 and has been capturing illuminating on-camera conversations with people who are rethinking, re-examining and reinventing Silicon Valley ever since. These video conversations can also be found online at Palo Alto Online and the Midpeninsula Media Center.


Actually, in Silicon Valley

Lisa Van Dusen's blog, Actually, in Silicon Valley, offers a glimpse into the dualities, delights and sometimes demonic nature of daily life in Silicon Valley. Because of this region's notoriety, the world has certain impressions of what life in Silicon Valley is like. Some of those impressions are spot on. (Think the HBO series Silicon Valley.) 

But there is actually way more to life here—in Palo Alto, the birthplace of Silicon Valley where Lisa lives, and throughout the Valley. This occasional blog offers up Lisa's take on life in Silicon Valley—the routine, the extraordinary and the in-between—through drawings and writing.