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Leading from the West

The states in the west have long been at the leading edge of social, economic, and political developments that the rest of the United States subsequently faces and grapples with. From air pollution in the 1970s to immigration policy today, the west has been at the center of some of America’s most significant policy issues and has provided leadership in crafting solutions. Though sometimes controversial, these solutions result in stronger communities, economies, and societies. The leaders who have guided states, regions, and cities through these often treacherous policy waters have had to demonstrate capable administration skills, nimble politics, and inspiring leadership to garner the resources and on-going support necessary to achieve success.

The Leading from the West speaker series is a platform that offers insight into effective governance through conversations with major western leaders of our time. Because these challenges occur at multiple levels of government, the speaker series draws upon leaders from the local, state and federal levels. The goal is an engaging conversation that touches upon many aspects of effective governance–including building an effective team, managing the complex relationships associated with coordinating different levels of government, navigating difficult political situations, and projecting public leadership to achieve an end–and highlights key lessons to be drawn from those experiences. From these lessons, we are able to identify steps necessary to help the public sector work better and create opportunities for best practices and cutting-edge thinking to be more broadly known and used.

Past events:

March 23, 2017 – A Conversation with Tara Roth and Roy Choi

Social media shakes up philanthropy, bringing exposure to underserved, hard to reach communities. Our moderator, Raphael Bostic, asked Tara Roth and Roy Choi, “How can building community online translate to real-life community engagement?” What followed was a very engaging conversation which showed that Tara and Roy each have a unique approach to reaching out and making a difference.

Bovard Auditorium, March 23, 2017, 6 p.m.
Fall 2015 – A Conversation with Kevyn Orr

Kevyn Orr, a Partner at Jones Day, is the former emergency manager of the city of Detroit, Michigan. Appointed by Governor Rick Snyder on March 14, 2013, Orr was charged with restructuring the city’s finances and operations. During his tenure, he oversaw the largest and most complicated municipal bankruptcy proceeding in the nation’s history. As a result of that proceeding, the city successfully restructured $18 billion in debt, reduced overall debt by $7 billion, developed and implemented a multiyear $1.7 billion revitalization plan for city services and operations, streamlined key city operations, helped improve public safety, but the city’s art in a perpetual public trust, and avoided drastic cuts to pension and related retiree benefits.

The Bedrosian Center and the USC Price Athenian Society present Kevyn Orr
Thursday, October 15, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (PDT)
Los Angeles, CA

March 26, 2015 – The LA River Revitalization

This conversation presented an opportunity to consider the future of the Los Angeles River. The panel discussion gathered some of the many stakeholders, decision-makers, and visionaries working to implement the new revitalization plan.




March 16, 2015 – A Conversation with Condoleezza Rice, Patrick C. Haden, and Raphael Bostic

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined USC Athletic Director Pat Haden and Bedrosian Center Director Raphael Bostic on March 16 at the university’s Town and Gown ballroom for a conversation on the state of governance in college sports and its impact on student-athletes.

Read about the conversation here.
View more photos of the conversation here.

October 22, 2013 – A Conversation with John A. Pérez, Speaker of the California Assembly

California Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez spoke about the most important policy issues facing California, review the California Legislature’s busy year of legislation, and share lessons learned from California politics in the era of the Democratic supermajority.

May 1, 2013 – A Conversation with Mayor Villaraigosa on Transportation

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa discussed the current and future state of the city of Los Angeles’ transportation system.


April 10, 2013 – A Conversation with City Managers

Tom Bakaly, City Manager of Hermosa Beach, CA

Betsy Fretwell, City Manager of Las Vegas, NV
Ted Gaebler, City Manager of Rancho Cordova, CA and co-author of Reinventing Government

City Managers’ bios


February 19, 2013 – A Conversation with Richard J. Riordan

Richard J. Riordan served as Mayor of Los Angeles, California from 1993–2001. Riordan also served as the California Secretary for Education from 2003–2005.





Bedrosian Center