Table Hosts

We have the pleasure to announce that this year we have interesting topics hosted by notable personalities that will join us in our annual Food for Thought 2021 premier event.

Valerie Hemingway

Special Guest Speaker & Author of “Running with the Bulls”

Table Topic: Running with the Bulls: Hemingway as I Know Him

Author of “Running with the Bulls” The account of what she enjoyed, and what she endured, during her astonishing years of living as a Hemingway, Running with the Bulls fully captures the mystique of one of our greatest authors Ernest Hemingway.

Rena Blades

Community Leader

Table Topic: Life In and Out of the ARTS

Rena is a noted local leader who served as the CEO for the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County for more than 13 years. What has she been doing since departing that important role? Sailing the world, leading arts planning for some of our region’s most important new organizations and expanding the Palm Beach International Boat Show’s impact and community role. Join Rena for a discussion of boating, arts, and some fascinating new developments in our community.

Laura Bohn

Professor of Molecular Medicine and Neuroscience at The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fl.

Table Topic: Opioid Research and Development

Her expertise is in investigating the intersection between pain, depression and drug abuse from a biochemical perspective. Prof. Bohn wide-reaching goal is to develop more effective and safer medications for the treatment of pain. She is funded by the National Institutes of Drug Abuse. Join her in discussing Opioid Research and Development.

Bill Boggs

Author & Television Host.

Table Topic: Television comedy, talk shows and the current golden age of broadcast entertainment.

Bill Boggs has received critical acclaim for his recent satirical novel, “The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog” and is an Emmy Award-winning talk show host, producer, author, and speaker. He has interviewed cultural icons, presidents, music legends, athletes, celebrity chefs, and many movie stars. Bill’s TV credits include hosting “Midday Live” on Fox, programs on Showtime, The Travel Channel, Food Network, and more.

Frank Cerabino

News Columnist

Table Topic: Finding Common Ground When Realities Diverge

Frank is the celebrated and irreverent columnist for The Palm Beach Post who provides funny, unpredictable and thought-provoking takes on current affairs. Learn why it's not always easy to talk about world events or about the upcoming election in a post-factual universe of dual realities, and how he finds areas of mutual understanding in the bedlam.

Raphael Clemente

Executive Director W PB Downtown Development Authority.

Table Topic: From Here to There: The Future of Mobility in Cities.

Raphael Clemente is and urban planner and the Executive Director of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority. Raphael has helped transform Downtown into a successful and rapidly growing urban district by using traditional as well as unconventional methods to support and strengthen our city’s business and social center.

Paul Gervais


Table Topic: Painters who write and writers who paint

Paul is a critically acclaimed author whose first novel, Extraordinary People, was a finalist for one of the nation's premier literary prizes, The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. In addition, he is an admired visual artist whose works are collected by the Bank of America Collection, the San Francisco Museum of Contemporary Art and The Hall Collection, New York, among many others. Join him to discuss the history of artists whose mediums span more than one discipline, painters who write and writers who paint.

Paul Jamieson

Sunfest Director

Table Topic: SunFest – What is it Really All About and Will it Happen Again in 2022.

Paul Jamieson is the Executive Director of SunFest, our “local festival” that has the distinction of being named the ‘top event in Florida’ in a survey by Fodor’s Travel Guide. Paul has served as the Board Chairman of the International Festival and Events Association and spoken at conferences in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Asia.

Corrine Lasmezas

DVM, PHD, Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research

Table Topic: Exploring Neurodegenerative Diseases

Dr. Lasmézas is an expert in the field of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and prion diseases. Learn more about her research that focuses on identifying the mechanisms driving these diseases and developing novel treatments.

Steve Leveen

Founder of the America, The Bilingual Project

Table Topic: Language Biography

Steve Leveen devoted his first career to literacy, offering “tools for serious readers” through Levenger, the company co-founded with his wife, Lori. This led to Steve’s first book, The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life, which the New York Times called “a practical handbook distilled into easy-to-digest prose.” He is now devoting his encore career to biliteracy through a podcast and his third book, America’s Bilingual Century. People LOVE to talk about their own language biography. We will have a fun and interactive discussion with our neighbors about our own experiences in learning and speaking languages beyond their native language?

Dr. Donna Marks

Psychoanalyst & Author

Table Topic: Why Addiction is Our Biggest Global Threat

A licensed mental health and addictions practitioner for 32 years, Donna is also a consultant to treatment centers, an educator, and author of Exit the Maze-One Addiction, One Cause, One Cure. Learn how addiction is more of a threat to our planet than global warming, and why most illnesses and deaths are substance and food-abuse related.

David McClymont

CEO Palm Beach Symphony

Table Topic: Sustaining the Notes

Since joining Palm Beach Symphony in 2014, CEO David McClymont has led the 501(c)(3) nonprofit to become a major cultural institution and world-class orchestra. His tenure has been marked by record-breaking ticket sales, distinguished guest artists and outreach programs impacting more than 50,000 students in recent years.

Mike McGann


Table Topic: Modern Miscommunication-Finding the FUN in Conversational Dysfunction

Mike McGann is a popular personality on Legends 100.3 FM in North Palm Beach, a sought-after event host and speaker, voice actor, model, and very proud father. He uses his “gift of gab” to help various charitable organizations and serves on the Board of Directors for several local nonprofits.

Daphne Nikolopoulos

Author and Journalist

Table Topic: Roads Less Traveled

Daphne Nikolopoulos is the editor in chief of Palm Beach Illustrated, and editorial director of Palm Beach Media Group. She leads an award-winning editorial, art, and fashion team in the production of authoritative and visually captivating publications and websites celebrating the Florida lifestyle and design. A native of Athens, Greece, Daphne has traveled widelyher journeys have inspired her writing.

Rob Russell

Colony Hotel Entertainment Director

Table Topic: Working with the Stars

As the former director of the acclaimed Royal Room Cabaret at The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach for 17 years, Rob secured some of the biggest TV, film and Broadway entertainers. Hear some of his behind-the-scenes stories of working with stars like Regis Philbin, Diahann Carroll, Lainie Kazan, Michele Lee, Tommy Tune, Tony Danza and more.

Mary Simses


Table Topic: TBD

Mary began writing short stories as a child. She spent most of her life in New England, where she worked in magazine publishing and later as a corporate attorney writing short stories “on the side.” Mary is the author of The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Café adapted as The Irresistible Blueberry Farm for the Hallmark Channel, the Rules of Love & Grammar, and her latest novel, The Wedding Thief. She is currently working on her fourth novel, a story that takes place in Palm Beach.

Les Standiford

Author & Historian

Table Topic: Palm Beach – The Next Xanadu?

Les is a historian and award-winning author of 22 books and ten novels including the John Deal mystery series, and is the Founding Director of the Creative Writing program at FIU. Join Les for a discussion about his latest book, Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago

Jill & Rich Switzer

Radio Hosts Legends 100.3 FM

Table Topic: The Music, the Magic, the Memories

Jill & Rich, hosts of The Morning Lounge, have made music their lives for almost 25 years in live performance and in the recording studio. Hear about The Great American Songbook--a canon of songs written in the first part of the 20th century in New York’s Tin Pan Alley – which has created the soundtrack of life’s special moments.

Joel Zoss

Composer & Musician

Table Topic: American Popular Music

Joel Zozz is a musician, singer and songwriter recorded by artists like Bonnie Raitt, as well as an award-winning prose author. Join Joel for a talk about the past, present and future of American Popular Music with observations from this recording industry veteran.