It has been two years since I shared a year-end roundup with you.

The last missive I sent started with: 2020 blew in with the stink of a skunk in a crowded elevator. It was the first year of COVID and it brought the uncertain smell of change that included ‘remote meetings’, working from home, and finding a new normal.


The Zoned  continued to make a difference being more by making news, making history, leading innovation, and adapting smartly.


2021 blew in with the magic of medical intervention and a minor miracle delivered courtesy of the innovation of Edwards Lifesciences. On Dec 8th, I received a TAVR – a heart valve to address my aortic stenosis. I left the hospital the next day and have been enjoying a re-vitalized ‘new normal’ ever since. This marked the first time the ‘coach’ became a patient within the Zone community. It was my honor and pleasure to talk about it with Edwards Quality leaders, Gary Sorsher, Dr. Thomas Morrissey, and Dr. Wendell Smith. The smiles tell the story – this is a team that lives their credo:

patients first. 



Edwards' First On-Site 2022

SVP Linnette Torres, Fran, VP Juan Carlos Velez

While 2021 ended with a change of heart, 2022 brought continued COVID masking, remote work, and isolation. By March, we were in our (new) offices providing client training, and by May 2022, I was honored to provide the curriculum for Edwards' first on-campus event for 50+ employees since COVID began, Being Smart Out Loud Everywhere. This was a custom presentation for Edwards ERG (Employee Resource Group), sponsored by Linnette Torres and Co-Executive Sponsor Juan Carlos Velez.

Class of 2022

By June of 2022, the Zone Class of 2022 was shaping up nicely on the Clients Page. Eleven new members, all stars in their field of endeavor.

Carol Jenkins

Cathy Clarke

David Goldstein

Niaz Jalal

Linnette Torres

Mike Varney

Wendy Young

Wendy Nicoson

Jim Bourne

Joe Nuzzolese

Diane Gomez-Thinnes

View Client Stories Here

The UCLA Connection

The Zone connection with UCLA officially began in 2019 when Mike Varney gave the commencement speech and I met Cathy Clarke, the first woman to Chair the institution’s LifeSciences department in its 100 year history. I attended as Mike’s coach; Cathy vetted me in advance – and decided that whatever I did anywhere else, she needed to recruit me to do it for the women in UCLA LifeSciences. That conversation, and a beautiful friendship, began online as the pandemic raged on. In August 2022, I was able to do an ‘in person’ talk on campus, and continue the ‘what next’ conversation with Dr. Clarke. Very ecstatic to share that an Endowment has been created at UCLA, with my name on it, that will honor and train the UCLA women of science to be themselves, smartly – and confidently. We are looking at a first event in 2023.


Stay tuned.

Salute to One of the Best

After serving her country, and most specifically, women, for 40 years, Jackie Speier leaves Congress at the end of this year. A very dear friend who most all of us admire greatly, Jackie and The Zone have been aligned for decades. We passed a law to legalize RU486 testing (the morning after pill) in the 90s and continued to make ‘good trouble’ ever since. She is a front-and-center Congressional sponsor for the ERA Amendment; I serve on the ERA Coalition’s National Board. Here's Jackie at the podium with Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi on the left, and (retired) ERA Coalition president, Carol Jenkins on the right. We WILL get this done!!

Was honored to attend Jackie’s UnRetirement Party at the Kohl Mansion in Burlingame. We can count on more good trouble. Jackie will be going into 2023 with her new Foundation, “The Jackie Speier Foundation for Women and Children” committed to supporting women and children in San Mateo County.

More Info on Jackie's Foundation Here

It's Been a Moving Year!

Zone Headquarters officially moved to 201 Spear St in San Francisco’s Financial District in March 2022…a move that feels like a coming home story with a warm welcome. I first came to the Bay Area as a leader for a company in 1987. Their headquarter address is the exact same address we call home now, all the way to the 11th floor – This was my first office in the City… Thirty+ years later, that company no longer exists, and the Building Directory now sports my name with The Zone logo. How bout that!! What goes around….


We have a beautiful view and great space for making transformation.


Looking forward to welcoming you in 2023!

Fran & Ralph

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