The Siebens-Binz SNU Tahoe Forum was endowed in 2004 through a generous gift by Nancy Siebens Binz, to bring greater knowledge and understanding of the wider world through exposure to some of the major thinkers and doers of our time.
The Forum brings a distinguished array of national and international leaders and intellectuals to speak on the Sierra Nevada University campus, fostering a new level of substantive discussion and engagement among both SNU students and members of the greater Reno-Tahoe community.
Sir Richard Branson
Dr. Guy Harvey
Let’s make waves together. All it takes is one idea. One big, bold, just-crazy-enough-to-work idea to change the world. At Sierra Nevada University, we celebrate the can-doers and find-a-wayers that make waves and create positive change in our world – like Sir Richard Branson and Dr. Guy Harvey.
These two changemakers come to Incline Village and invite you to ask “What if?” at the next Siebens-Binz SNU Tahoe Forum. The discussion will be moderated by Michael Thomas and promises to spark innovation and send a ripple of inspiration through every attendee.
About The Forum
The Siebens-Binz SNU Tahoe Forum is a biennial event held on the Sierra Nevada University campus in Incline Village, NV.
Main Presentation: Through the generosity of Ms. Binz, a long-time supporter and former Trustee of the College, we are able to offer tickets to the general public at no charge. Approximately 1000 seats are usually available. Due to demand, reservations are required and early registration is highly recommended!
Other Events: When possible, each Forum also includes an opportunity for SNU Tahoe students to engage with the speaker in an informal setting, and an invitation-only reception with distinguished community members and special guests.
Past Forum Speakers
An internationally recognized model for over 50 years, Maye Musk recently made history by becoming the oldest "face of CoverGirl" at 69. Whether walking the runway, modeling for a fashion magazine, or sharing her knowledge of nutrition and wellness, she exudes a confidence and elegance that sets her apart in both fields. Musk considers herself to have only just begun, and she proves that with her ageless style and spirit.
Maye Musk is a true representation of timeless beauty and wellness. An internationally recognized model for over 50 years, she recently made history by becoming the oldest "face of CoverGirl" at 69. Over the past decade, her work has been featured on numerous magazine covers including ELLE Quebec, Vogue Korea, and New York Magazine. The New York Magazine cover was chosen by The American Society of Magazine Editors as the “Cover of the Year 2012." Her 2018 interview and editorial spread for the millennial website “HypeBae” featured iconic street-style brands such as Supreme and DL1961.
Musk’s career as a model began when she was 15 years old, living in South Africa, and it still thrives today. As she approached 60 she decided to cut her hair and let return to its (by then) natural grey. "Then I suddenly became this edgy white-haired model," she found, with billboards at Times Square and Madison Square Garden. Her ever-expanding portfolio includes major luxury campaigns for Swarovski, Lord & Taylor, and Moncler, Beyonce’s 2013 music video “Haunted,” commercials, and billboards for Target and Virgin America.
As Musk modeled over five decades, she had three children, taught modeling classes, and earned her BS and MS degrees in Dietetics and her MS in Nutritional Sciences. She worked as a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist and held positions with the national organizations for dietetics in South Africa, Canada, and the US. In 2006 she won the Outstanding Nutrition Entrepreneur Award. Her book, “Feel Fantastic,” focuses on wellness and beauty tips she learned in the fashion industry.
Musk continues to share her knowledge of nutrition in interviews and speaking engagements across the globe. “No powders, juices, [or] supplements, no fad diets. I’m a scientist, so I follow what’s good for the body according to science. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Follow the food groups. Who wants to take a pill when you can eat yummy food?” she iterates. “If you don’t like kale—I don’t—there are many other vegetables and fruits with the same nutrients.”
At 70, whether walking the runway, modeling for a fashion magazine, or sharing her knowledge of nutrition and wellness, Maye Musk exudes a confidence and elegance that sets her apart in both fields. Musk considers herself to have only just begun, and she proves that with her ageless style and spirit. "I've been called "the older model" since I was 28," she told HypeBae. "It doesn't bother me as long as I'm still working. I don't feel old and neither did my mom at 98."
When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her three children, Elon, Kimbal and Tosca, and her ten wonderful grandchildren. Musk is passionate about helping her community, and serves on the Los Angeles Board of The Kitchen Community (now Big Green); their Learning Gardens Project introduces children in underserved schools around the country to real food by planting vegetable gardens.
Steve "Woz" Wozniak
In 1976, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer Inc. with Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer. The following year, he introduced his Apple II which, with its central processing unit, keyboard, color graphics, and floppy disk drive, was instrumental in launching the personal computer industry.
His design of Apple’s first line of products, the Apple I and II, and influence on the popular Macintosh helped shape the computing industry. For his achievements at Apple, he was awarded the National Medal of Technology by the President of the United States in 1985, the highest honor bestowed on America’s leading innovators.
In 2000, he was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and was awarded the prestigious Heinz Award for Technology, The Economy and Employment, for single-handedly designing the first personal computer and for then redirecting his lifelong passion for mathematics and electronics toward lighting the fires of excitement for education in grade school students and their teachers. Wozniak has been involved in various business and philanthropic ventures through the years, focusing primarily on computer capabilities in schools, and stressing hands-on learning and encouraging creativity for students. He adopted the Los Gatos School District, providing students and teachers with hands-on teaching and donations of state-of-the-art technology equipment, and founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Wozniak is Chief Scientist at Primary Data. His New York Times best-selling autobiography iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon was published in September 2006 by Norton Publishing. In 2014, he was awarded the Hoover Medal, a prestigious honor given for “outstanding extra-career services by engineers to humanity,” and was inducted into the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame.
Isabel Allende’s novels and memoirs have established her as one of the most respected Latin American writers – and one of the most respected writers period – the world has known. Her remarkable books have been translated into more than 35 languages and sold more than 67 million copies worldwide.
A native of Chile, Allende was forced into exile after the assassination of her uncle, Salvador Allende, in the 1973 military coup which ended 40 years of Chilean democracy. Her writing is rooted in the harsh political realities that shaped her life, her remarkable imagination, and her heartfelt understanding of social justice.
She has written more than 20 books, including The House of the Spirits, Eva Luna, Daughter of Fortune (an Oprah pick), Ines of My Soul, Island Beneath the Sea, Maya’s Notebook, the memoirs Paula and The Sum of Our Days, and the crime novel Ripper. Many of her books have been adapted for film, theater, television, opera, ballet, and radio, including feature productions of The House of the Spirits and Of Love and Shadows.
“I write because I need to remember and overcome. It is from memory and a sense of loss that the passion to create emerges. Every book is an act of love, an offering that I prepare with great care, hoping that it will be well received.”
Allende’s lifelong commitment to advocacy and activism led to her creation in 1996 of the Isabel Allende Foundation for the empowerment of women and girls worldwide. The foundation is guided by a vision of a world in which women have achieved economic and social justice.
She has lectured internationally on the subject of empowerment, as well as Latin American and world politics, writing and the creative process, and spirituality. She was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S.
Isabel Allende on KNPB's "A Conversation"www.isabelallende.com
foundation website: www.isabelallendefoundation.org
A National Geographic Emerging Explorer, filmmaker and globally recognized advocate on water issues, Alexandra Cousteau has mastered the remarkable storytelling tradition handed down to her to inspire audiences on the weighty issues of policy, politics and action.
She continues the work of her renowned grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau and her father Philippe Cousteau, Sr., advocating for the importance of conservation and sustainable management of water in order to preserve a healthy planet. Her global initiatives seek to inspire and empower individuals to protect not only the ocean and its inhabitants, but also the human communities that rely on freshwater resources.
In 2008, Ms. Cousteau founded the non-profit organization Blue Legacy International, whose mission is to empower people to reclaim and restore the world’s water, one community at a time. Through strategic collaborations, Blue Legacy infuses environmental science, technology, and exploration into digital media and storytelling assets to build public awareness of the interconnectivity and importance of local watersheds and global water resources, and to inspire more sustainable water management actions by business leaders, elected officials, communities, and citizens.
Alexandra joined forces with Oceana in 2011 as Senior Advisor to help mobilize awareness and support for the organization's important work. Founded in 2001, Oceana is the largest international organization focused solely on ocean conservation, protecting marine ecosystems and endangered species. Oceana's scientists work closely with their teams of economists, lawyers and advocates to achieve measurable outcomes that will help return our oceans to former levels of abundance.alexandra's website: www.alexandracousteau.com
Blue Legacy International on Facebook: www.facebook.com/bluelegacyinternational/
Oceana website: oceana.org
World-renowned Egyptian archeologist Dr. Zahi Hawass is known both for his archeological scholarship and for his charisma and ability to reach out to the public worldwide, raising awareness of archaeology and the preservation of Egypt’s precious heritage.
Dr. Hawass is the former Minister of Antiquities in Egypt and the director of ongoing excavations at Giza, Saqqara, and the Valley of the Kings. He has made a number of major discoveries during his career, including the Tombs of the Pyramid Builders at Giza and the Valley of the Golden Mummies at Bahariya Oasis, and discovered four previously unknown pyramids at Giza and Saqqara.
As an archaeologist deeply concerned about the conservation and protection of Egypt’s monuments, Dr. Hawass has led major conservation projects for the Great Sphinx, and the Serapeum and Step Pyramid at Saqqara. He has developed site management plans for a number of important historic areas, including the Unfinished Obelisk Quarry in Aswan and the temples of Kom Ombo, Edfu, and Dendera, and initiated the construction of nineteen new museums throughout Egypt.
Dr. Hawass is known both as a highly respected scholarly Egyptologist and for his dynamic personality, which has brought the world of the pharaohs into the homes and hearts of people all over the world. He has appeared in many documentaries for the BBC, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, the History Channel, PBS, and The Learning Channel. He was chosen by the BBC for a profile representing Egypt in the New Millennium, and was the subject of a National Geographic film. In 2006, Dr. Hawass received an Emmy for a special on ancient Egypt produced by KCBS in Los Angeles.
His books about ancient Egypt for general audiences include Silent Images: Women in Pharaonic Egypt; The Hidden Treasures of Ancient Egypt; Secrets from the Sand; Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs; Tutankhamen: The Treasures of the Tomb; Royal Tombs of Egypt: The Art of Thebes Revealed; The Great Book of Ancient Egypt: In the Realm of the Pharaohs; Mountains of the Pharaohs: The Untold Story of the Pyramid Builders; and The Valley of the Golden Mummies, which became a bestseller and has been published in five languages. He has also written several books for children.
Dr. Hawass is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, both in Egypt and internationally. He received his PhD in 1987 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied as a Fulbright Fellow.website: www.drhawass.com
Eileen Collins began her professional career as the first female Air Force flight instructor and finished as the first female Space Shuttle Commander. When Collins retired from NASA in 2006 she had logged over 6,700 hours in 30 different types of aircraft and spent more than 870 hours in space.
"I came back from my last flight and I tried to read a novel, and it was boring. I couldn't get into it. My life was like, way above anything I could read in a book."
Collins, who was fascinated by airplanes as a child, was one of only four women (among 320 men) accepted into the 1978 Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training class. After 10 years as an Air Force flight instructor, and masters degrees in operations research and space systems management, her reputation as a cool, level-headed pilot vaulted her into the astronaut program.
Collins first mission in space was to pilot the Space Shuttle Discovery on its 1995 rendezvous with the Russian Space Station Mir, the first flight of the new joint Russian-American Space Program. Two years later she piloted the Atlantis on NASA's sixth mission to the Mir. Collins became the first female Shuttle Commander on the Columbia mission in 1999, successfully guiding the shuttle through its five-day mission and successful landing despite major engine problems and a fuel line leak.
For her final mission in 2005 she commanded Space Shuttle Discovery’s historic "Return to Flight" mission, NASA’s first manned flight following the disastrous 2003 loss of the Shuttle Columbia. After a 2-week, 5.8 million mile journey in space, the orbiter and its crew of seven landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto (1953-2007), the Harvard and Oxford educated daughter of one of Pakistan’s most charismatic and democratically inclined prime ministers, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was the first democratically elected female leader of a Muslim country.
Bhutto took over leadership of the populist Pakistan People's Party (PPP) after her father's death in 1982, and was only 35 when she was first elected Prime Minister in December 1988. Two years into her first term she was pushed out of office, re-elected in 1993, and pushed out again in 1996. While navigating Pakistan's tumultuous and volatile political landscape she spent several periods in self-imposed exile in the UK, maintaining her leadership of the PPP from abroad.
Despite the hostility of both fundamentalist Islamists and the sitting government, she returned to Pakistan in 2007 with plans to participate in the 2008 general election. Within hours of her arrival in her native country her motorcade was attacked by a suicide bomber. She survived this first assassination attempt, although more than 100 of her supporters died in the attack. Two months later she died in a combined shooting and bombing attack at a rally in Rawalpindi.
Madame Jehan Sadat
A world figure and widow of the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Mrs. Sadat was the first wife of a Muslim leader to have her picture in a newspaper, to travel outside her country, and to take up public causes.
As first lady of Egypt from 1970 until 1981 she touched the lives of millions inside her country, served as a role model for Muslim women, and helped change the world’s image of Arab women during the 1970s. Since Anwar Sadat's assassination in 1981 she has devoted her life to public service and maintaining the legacy of her late husband.
Jehan Sadat has been active in the women's movements both in her country and throughout the world. Mrs. Sadat organized to reform Egyptian Civil Rights Law and was successful in reforming victimizing divorce laws. She established the Talla Society, a women's emancipation and education group aimed at making women more self-sufficient to improve the standard of living for their families. She also supports many initiatives to improve the life of Egyptian citizens and Muslims worldwide. She has promoted literacy and founded Egypt's Wafa Wal Amal (Faith and Hope) Society for handicapped veterans and civilians, the first and largest rehabilitation center of its kind in the Middle East.
Promoting her late husband's legacy, a quest for peace, Jehan Sadat is an outspoken advocate for peace in the Middle East and worldwide. She is a recognized hero of anti-war initiatives globally and works to guarantee quality education for Muslim youth to empower generations now and in the future with economic opportunities.website: madamejehansadat.com
About Nancy Siebens Binz
Ms. Binz, a long-time benefactor of the College, grew up in a highly entrepreneurial family. She attended Rollins College, in keeping with her father’s belief in the critical role of higher education as preparation for contributions to the world. She has traveled extensively throughout the world, lived abroad, and in the course of her travels became friends with notable individuals such as Madame Sadat, Benazir Bhutto, and Her Royal Highness, Princess Muna of Jordan, many of whom she has hosted in Incline Village.
In honor of the entrepreneurial spirit of her family, in 1989 she helped to create the Harold Walter Siebens Chair in Entrepreneurship at Sierra Nevada University – the first such Chair at any institution of higher education within the State of Nevada. She maintains a keen interest in new thinking, new ideas, and the bedrock importance of philosophy and ethics in shaping lives, and she continues to give generously to the College across a wide array of areas including scholarship support and literary endeavors. Now in her eighties, she remains a vibrant and vital force, still traveling the world, reading voraciously, making new friends, and embracing new ideas. Ms. Binz always welcomes the opportunity to ensure that a speaker at the Tahoe Forum has an enjoyable and rewarding visit, and she encourages them to have their family join them for a memorable stay in this unique and beautiful environment.