In conversations with friends and acquaintances, we kept noticing a handful of themes crop up. We were all starting to consider with greater urgency things like what’s next, how to live with purpose, and to create a legacy to be proud of. And in exploring all this, it seemed we wanted to connect to a diverse set of inspired fellow travelers.

[ And so the Refinery was born ]

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Regina Connell, Co-Founder, Chief Experience Officer

If Regina had a motto, it would be EM Forster’s “Only Connect”. As in bringing together extraordinary people and seeing what greatness ensues (which it frequently does). A long-time brand and strategy whisperer for brands, government, and non-profits, she’s also founded and published  a magazine on design and craft; produced a movie; started numerous networks and communities and salons; and co-founded a firm focused on creating  high-impact, new wave events and gatherings. Fascinations + curiosities: people; how design and space shape pretty much everything; how to make pleasure both more pervasive and more sustainable; and the businesses of art and football. She holds a BA from Stanford and a JD from UC Hastings. Hailing from Tokyo, she currently lives in a net-zero house in Oakland with her better half and two felines.  Her spiritual home is London. Or maybe Jackson, WY.



Tim Freundlich,co-Founder

Tim is an innovator of financial instruments for impact investing. Over the last 20 years, he served 12 at Calvert Impact Capital. While there, he conceived of and launched the prototype of the Giving Fund – now a $500+ million impact investment-based donor advised fund spun out as ImpactAssets, which he co-founded and serves as CEO. Additionally, he co-founded and/or serves on the board of Good Capital, which is the General Partner of the Social Enterprise Expansion Fund LP and co-founded two social enterprises, the SOCAP Conferences, and Impact Hub SF. He received a BA from Wesleyan University with a major in Film, an Executive MBA from the University of San Francisco, and lives in San Francisco's Mission District with his partner in life, Julie, and sons, Milo and Gus (and a very small dog named Russell).




As a creative convener, Julia spent several years greasing the wheels for strategic futurists’ collaborative meet ups around the world. Leading a community of leaders in business, academia, science, and the arts, she learned the fine art of nurturing and sustaining networks. Early work in communications and event production set the stage for consulting gigs informing experience and product design. Fascinations + curiosities: Networks, nodes, and the space in between; nature vs. nurture; the art of crafting. A New Hampshire native, she moved to the Rockies to study creative writing and ski before settling down in San Francisco. She lives in Marin County with her husband, daughter, son, and yellow lab, spending free time sailing on the Bay and producing her kids’ elementary school plays.



Tracy Barba

Tracy has more than 15 years of experience in designing initiatives for investor networks, companies, and funds in order to advance social and environmental change globally. She was most recently the Head of Global Marketing for Bamboo Capital Partners, a private equity firm investing in the financial services, renewable energy, and healthcare sectors across emerging and frontier markets. She was formerly the Director of Communications at Social Finance US,  was the West Coast Executive Director of Golden Seeds, a 275-member angel investor network investing in women-led companies. She has also provided program design and member recruitment services to Big Bang, a venture philanthropy network and New Media Ventures, a national network of angel investors funding startups creating progressive political change. She was the VP of Marketing at VantagePoint Venture Partners, a $4B private equity firm investing in energy innovation and efficiency, where she led the launch of the energy practice and fund. Tracy is based in the Bay Area and Europe. 




Finding story, telling stories, and inspiring others to find their “story” are what makes Tiffany tick. The medium? Not so important, as she’s done this with the teams she has mentored and clients she’s worked with amongst a diverse landscape of luxury products - from film to fashion, and from natural skin-care to high-end home furnishings. Fascinations + Curiosities: Dining, shopping and hoteling with Tiffany is your version of either heaven or hell, as she must always (politely, of course!) ask or answer the question, “How can things be done better?” Unlike most of the world, she’s NOT fascinated by chocolate but she’s pretty certain she would not survive without cashmere. Hailing from Berkeley, most people are surprised to find that Tiffany isn’t quite the hippie-as-dying-breed they were hoping for, but every once in a while you can convince her to pretend because her dream job is to be an actor. Her spiritual home is Paris, France (like, actually living in the Musee Nissim de Camando). Or maybe Jack London’s Valley of the Moon.



Adam chase

Adam thrives on continuously learning about the world, science, pop culture, and history. He started his career in media and entertainment marketing – areas he still loves – but transitioned to the wine and spirits industry in 2004.  Adam founded Grape Experience Wine & Spirit School which has become a program provider London’s prestigious Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). He has been nominated 4 times for Global Wine Educator of the Year and won the award in 2012. Adam has developed a specialty around wines from Australia and New Zealand and finds any excurse he can to travel to those countries.  Prior to working in wine Adam served as a press secretary in the US Senate, associate produced a movie and directed numerous ad campaigns.  He earned a BA in history from Brown and an MBA from Harvard.  Adam grew up in Providence, Rhode Island and now splits his time between San Francisco and New England (Boston and Cape Cod). Fascinations + curiosities:  art, photography and architecture, media, the Boston Red Sox, single malt scotch whiskies, American and British politics.



Jonathan Speed

Like his mother, Jonathan wanted to become an educator—but when confronted with the realities of teaching (poor pay and working conditions), or perhaps the fact that Mrs. Speed said she would disown him (laughingly) he ventured into business. From NYC banking to a side venture as a ski bum in Aspen (ok, not work—just fun) to working for a non-profit focused on revitalizing Cleveland, Ohio he landed in San Francisco two decades ago to join the entrepreneurial “revolution.” With many ebbs and flows, he has worked and/or consulted in the finance, life sciences, supply chain, e-learning, dating, SaaS, hardware—and a random stint in wine—sectors. The good news: He takes the information gained and shares it through a small batch newsletter/blog (1790 Media) and with a growing cohort of HBCU students. So, at the heart of the matter, he became an educator—which is where his passion lies. Hailing from Cleveland/Shaker Heights, Ohio, he resides in San Francisco—and if his wife has her Italian-way, they'll back in Europe part-time. He holds a BA in Political Science from Brown University and an MA in Military History from Norwich University. Fascinations + curiosities: Global thinkers, military history—and how to take a great landscape picture and replicate his grandmother’s ribs.

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Steve Weber

Steve Weber is an obsessive-compulsive New York Football Giants fan, cleverly disguised as a UC Berkeley Professor at the School of Information. Bouncing around the Bay Area since 1983, he has nurtured an obsession with the intersection between human beings, digital technologies, and the making of corporate and government strategy in both his academic research and advisory work. The most fun he ever had at work was being the political economy person at Global Business Network and later in the Monitor Group. Steve’s best known book (so far at least) was The Success of Open Source, the first detailed study of how the open source community works. He continues to organize his life like a run-pass option play, keeping the defense (and everybody else) guessing about exactly what comes next. New York was home at the start and remains his spiritual home (1925 Giants Drive, East Rutherford New Jersey to be GPS-precise). A gourmet combination of beer, pretzels, carrots, and peanuts gives him the necessary energy to manage the parenting of two extraordinary cats.