REDtalks is a series of 12-minute conversations and performances with U of R faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends, hosted by Evan Sanford ’17, television producer, prize-winning student radio producer, host, and executive director of the Redlands Chamber of Commerce.


How good ideas bubble up from the local level 

James Fallows is a longtime writer for The Atlantic magazine. He has reported for the magazine from around the world since the late 1970s, including extended assignments in China, Japan, Southeast Asia, and within the United States in Texas, Washington state, and California. He has written 12 books and won the American Book Award, the National Magazine Award, and a documentary Emmy. He has also done extensive commentary on National Public Radio. He now hosts a Substack site called Breaking the News. For the past several years, he and his wife, the writer Deborah Fallows, have been traveling through smaller-town America and reporting on innovation of all sorts. Their book on the project, Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey into the Heart of America, is a New York Times bestseller published by Pantheon in May 2018. James Fallows grew up in Redlands, California, studied American history and literature at Harvard, studied economics at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, and worked in the White House as President Carter’s chief speechwriter. Photo credit: Steven Ascher.


Deborah Fallows is a writer and linguist. She has written extensively on language, education, families and work, China, and travel for The Atlantic, National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, The LA Times, and The Washington Monthly. She has been a fellow at New America and a senior research fellow at the Pew Research Center. For four years, Deborah and her husband, writer James Fallows, crisscrossed the country in their small plane, reporting for The Atlantic on the civic and economic renewal of America’s towns. Their book about the project, Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey into the Heart of America, is a New York Times bestseller. It was published by Pantheon in May 2018, and in paperback by Vintage books in 2019. Deborah has served as a director of data architecture for Oxygen Media. Previously, she was assistant dean and assistant director of Admissions at Georgetown University. Her 2010 book, Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language, is based on her 3-year experience living and working in China. Deborah Fallows and her husband have two married sons and five grandchildren. Photo credit: Steven Ascher.


Four strategies to personal branding and marketing yourself 

Mike Barker ’15 is the assistant manager of Creative Sync Licensing for Sony Music Publishing and has worked professionally in the entertainment industry for 16 years. He holds an MBA in marketing from the University of Redlands and a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Long Beach State University.

Barker resides in Los Angeles and is the author of the No. 1 bestselling Amazon digital book, 4 Strategies to Personal Branding & Marketing Yourself. Dubbed “The Entertainment Guru,” Barker has worked with Janet Jackson, Kevin Hart, H.E.R., Megan Thee Stallion, Larry King, Michael B. Jordan, and Rihanna. Barker also managed marketing projects for organizations such as Universal Studios Hollywood’s partnership with American Express, American Music Awards, BET Awards, Billboard Music Awards, The Grammy Recording Academy, FOX Networks, and the NAACP Image Awards. In 2019, Barker started The Carlos Ramer Scholarship Foundation in memory of his friend, U.S. Airforce veteran Carlos Ramer, to benefit his high school alma mater, Monte Vista High School in Spring Valley, California. The paperback second edition of 4 Strategies to Personal Branding & Marketing Yourself will be released in February 2022 on Amazon.


My story: First but not primera!

Elsa Luna '04, MBA is the COO and CFO at KPCC – Southern California Public Radio. She brings over 25 years of experience in financial management and organizational development for nonprofit organizations. Having served as the chief financial officer of Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP), Luna co-led a strategic and business planning process to take LAUP from a granting organization to an early education quality delivery leader in addition to launching a successful fee-for-service arm for training and consulting services. Before joining LAUP, Luna served as the chief financial officer of the YWCA Greater Los Angeles (GLA) and treasurer of the YWCA GLA Urban Campus Development Corporation, where she was responsible for the overall financial management, new business developments of the organizations, procurement, and information technology, fiscally growing the organization by 400 percent in five years.

Luna received the 2015 CFO of the Year Award from the Los Angeles Business Journal. She received her MBA from the University of Redlands and a bachelor’s degree from UCLA. In her free time, Luna enjoys spending family time with her husband and two daughters.


Stress is inevitable; the struggle is optional 

Patrick Lillard ’62 is an addiction psychiatrist based in Evans, Georgia. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Redlands, majoring in chemistry, biology, and history. He earned his M.D. at the University of Cincinnati and has worked in various neurology and psychiatry specialties throughout his career. His military appointments with the United States Air Force include Brooks Air Force Base in Texas, the Stewart Air Force Base in New York, and the Clark Air Base in the Philippines. He has taught neurological surgery and psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia, University of Mississippi Medical Center, and Harvard Medical School. Lillard has been married for 45 years; he has four children and three grandchildren.  


The power of representation: If they see it, they can achieve it

Sean W. McHenry-Acosta ’07 (BSBM), ’09 (MBA), Ph.D., serves as a core adjunct professor of global business and leadership at the University of Redlands School of Business & Society. He shares his multi-industry experience in public and private sectors with our community and those he mentors. His current research explores the intersection of identity and leadership.


Senior Associate Director of Enrollment Management Pamela Allen-Coleman ’16 (MBA), ’20 (MSOL), has served in various roles within the School of Business & Society over the past 10 years. As senior associate director of enrollment management, she finds joy in helping nontraditional students reach their educational goals. Coleman, who is dedicated to serving, is currently the vice president for the Black Student, Faculty, Staff, Administrators, and Alumni Association (BSFSAA). She serves on the board of Redlands Family Service and volunteers at her church and in the community. She was also the 2021 recipient of the University’s Frank J. Rice memorial service award. 

McHenry-Acosta and Coleman represent the Black Student Faculty Staff and Alumni Association in this conversation about identity, leadership, and the power of representation.


Moving from algorithmic bias to algorithmic fairness

A coordinator in the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS) Digital Learning Innovation Department, Sonal Patel ’24 (Ed.D.) provides professional development and educational technology support to educators and administrators across the county’s 33 school districts that serve upwards of 450,000 students. A doctoral student at the University of Redlands School of Education, she is researching ways to expand computer science access and equity. She is also a Computer Science Teachers Association equity fellow and a research partner for the UCLAx SCALE-CA Computer Science Equity project.


Math… it ain’t that bad

Gavi Dhariwal ’22 is an international student from Mumbai, India, majoring in mathematics and computer science at the College of Arts and Sciences. He is passionate about mathematics and learning new concepts in it. By sharing his experiences, he hopes to encourage the audience to rethink their outlook on mathematics.


Leadership in all of us

Norv Turner has served as a head coach and offensive coordinator in the National Football League (NFL) for nearly 30 years. He became the Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator during their consecutive Super Bowl victories in Super Bowl XXVII and Super Bowl XXVIII. Turner served as the head coach of Washington from 1994 to 2000, the Oakland Raiders from 2004 to 2005, and the San Diego Chargers from 2007 to 2012, where he won three consecutive division titles and advanced to the AFC Championship in his first season. Turner compiled 118 wins during his head coaching tenure, ranking him in the top 40 head coaches for wins in the history of the NFL. Before coaching in the NFL, Turner was an assistant coach at the University of Southern California (USC) under John Robinson, winning one national championship and three Rose Bowls. Turner is credited for influencing several current and potential Hall of Fame players’ careers, including Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, and LaDainian Tomlinson. 


12 minutes on a good life

Peter Kaufman is chairman and CEO of Glenair, Inc. in Glendale, California, a manufacturer of electrical and fiber optic components and assemblies primarily for aerospace applications. He first started working for Glenair while in college nearly 40 years ago, and has been CEO for many decades. He was a longtime director of Wesco Financial, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway, and is a current director of Daily Journal Corporation. In 2005 he edited and published Poor Charlie’s Almanack, a compilation of talks given by his longtime friend Charlie Munger. Kaufman is actively involved in a variety of local and national nonprofit organizations.

Download 12 Minutes On A Good Life PDF

Local problems/local solutions 

Moderated by Jim Fallows, Professors Julia Shuler and Lisa LaSalle will speak about the impact of more than 50 years of Communication Sciences and Disorders’ service to the community; Professor of Political Science Renee Van Vechten will address food politics and how to help eliminate food insecurity at the local level; Director of Community Service Learning Tony Mueller will share the impact of 30 years of community service learning at the University of Redlands on participants and the community. 


Julia F. Shuler, M.S. CCC-SLP, is the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders clinic director.  She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Redlands and a master of science degree from the University of Washington.  Areas of interest include pedagogical considerations for clinical competency development, adult neurogenic disorders, and alternative clinical experiences. Primary responsibilities for the department include developing and coordinating graduate clinical practicum opportunities and clinical teaching in adult neurogenic communication disorders.


Lisa LaSalle, Ph.D., is a professor and chair of the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders at Redlands.  She specializes in stuttering and assessing and treating individuals of all ages with related communication needs.   LaSalle has published original studies and a book chapter on stuttering. She has supervised graduate clinicians in Truesdail in-person, and more recently, via telepractice.  She and Clinic Director Julie Shuler have worked closely together for the past six years in providing quality graduate education for U of R’s Masters-Speech Language Pathology (SLP) program and in leading the advising of undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in SLP, audiology, or related fields. 


Renée Van Vechten, Ph.D., holds the Fletcher Jones Endowed Chair in American Politics and Policy and teaches courses about U.S. institutions and policy. She is the author of California Politics: A Primer (Sage/CQ Press, 2022, 6th ed.), lead editor of Political Science Internships; Towards Best Practices (APSA, 2021), and is co-author of the forthcoming The Politics and Policy of Food (DeGruyter, 2023). Van Vechten researches pedagogy and legislative politics, and received American Political Science Association (APSA) ’s Innovative Teaching in Political Science award in 2008. A former APSA Council member, she serves as an executive board member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the nation’s only political science honors society.


Tony Mueller is the founding director of the University of Redlands Office of Community Service Learning, which began in 1991. He and his staff have administered the service-learning graduation requirement for the past 30 years, building service courses with faculty, connecting students with nonprofit agencies and schools worldwide, and developing high-impact programs for an engaged, service-oriented campus. The University of Redlands has been the recipient of the White House’s President’s Award for Outstanding Service to Children, multiple honor roll awards from the Corporation for National and Community Service, and has received the Carnegie Foundation’s first college classification in both service-learning and community engagement.