About First Person

First Person is a collection of conversations with trailblazers and transformers, changemakers and rule breakers who are redefining life in Silicon Valley and beyond. This periodic video series focuses on people living boldly for the better in Silicon Valley through a wide variety of pursuits, professions and passions, from innovators and entrepreneurs to professors and public servants. Some are well knownothers not at all, but all are leaders, ahead of the curve and "swimming upstream" in some fashion. Creator and host, Lisa Van Dusen conceived First Person in 2010 and has been capturing illuminating on-camera conversations with people who are rethinking, re-examining and reinventing Silicon Valley ever since.


Lisa Van Dusen, creator and host of First Person, is a practicing artist, civic engagement champion and social impact evangelist at SV2—Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund. A media and social innovator, she is 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, Lisa has called Palo Alto home since the pre-internet era.  Among other pursuits, she was the founding executive director of Cable Co-op, led Palo Alto Online, relaunched Leadership Palo Alto and has held numerous civic leadership roles in Silicon Valley.  First Person is a platform for Lisa's boundless curiosity, fearless question-asking, voracious desire to learn and drive to share these one-on-one conversations with a wider audience.

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.

Videography is provided by the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online—generally chief photographer and videographer, Veronica Weber.

These video conversations can also be found online at Palo Alto Online and the Midpeninsula Media Center.