More Information

What: ‘Women in Conversation,’ with Geena Davis, Judy Sakaki and Shiza Shahid

When: ‘The Experience’ showcase, 3:30-6:30 P.M. Sept. 27; speakers and Q&A, 6:30-9 p.m.

Where: Green Music Center, Sonoma State University, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park.

Admission: $78 through Aug. 15; $95 starting Aug. 16.


Academy Award-winning actress Geena Davis will come to town this fall to talk about women in media at the Sonoma County Women in Conversation event to be held at the Green Music Center in Rohnert Park.

The Sept. 27 event, designed to be an inspirational forum for women, also will feature Judy Sakaki, president of Sonoma State University, and Shiza Shahid, social entrepreneur and women’s rights activist.

With a goal of encouraging women to share their experiences with one another, this year’s expanded Women in Conversation series will open at Sonoma State University with “The Experience,” showcasing experts, products, and services of interest to women of all ages, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the outdoor grounds at Green Music Center.

From 6:30 to 9 p.m., the event will move inside the center, with the featured speakers appearing individually to tell their own stories. To close the program, Sonoma State University students will conduct a question-and-answer period with the women.

Davis, best-known for her roles in “Thelma & Louise” in 1991 and “A League of Their Own” in 1992, won an Academy Award for best supporting actress in 1998 for “The Accidental Tourist” and a Golden Globe Award for best actress in a television drama series for “Commander in Chief” in 2005.

A longtime advocate for the rights of women and girls, Davis is the founder and chair of the nonprofit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which seeks to raise the media profile for women and reduce stereotyping.

The actress has a previous Sonoma County connection. In 1993, Kunde Estate Winery in Sonoma Valley was the site for Davis’ $700,000 wedding to film director Renny Harlin, prompting a storm of publicity at the time. The couple divorced in 1998. Since 2001, Davis has been married to Iranian-American plastic surgeon Reza Jarrahy.

Sakaki became Sonoma State University’s seventh president in 2016, and was named California State University’s 2017 “President of the Year” by the California State Student Association in May this year.

Shahid co-founded the Malala Fund with Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and Ziauddin Yousafzai, and led the organization as founding CEO. The Malala Fund is dedicated to giving all girls globally access to education. She is now focused on supporting innovators and entrepreneurs, particularly women.

The Sonoma County Women in Conversation series is produced by Sonoma Media Investments, which owns The Press Democrat, and presented by Summit State Bank.

Past speakers have included feminist icon Gloria Steinem, cookbook author Ayesha Curry and television journalist Leslie Stahl.

Tickets are on sale now through Aug. 15 at an early bird price of $78. Starting Aug. 16, tickets go up to $95.

For more information and tickets, visit

You can reach staff writer Dan Taylor at 707-521-5243 or On Twitter @danarts.