The Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fresno State will host three free luncheons this spring as part of its Pay it Forward Luncheon Series, beginning at noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, when California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley will speak at the Smittcamp Alumni House on campus.

Dooley, a Hanford native who earned a bachelor’s degree in social science at Fresno State in 1972, offers a unique perspective on health care after leading California’s effort to implement the Affordable Care Act on a national stage.

In 2010, Dooley was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to lead the 13 departments that comprise California’s Health and Human Services Agency.

Mendy Laval, the Lyles Center’s intrapreneur in residence, started the series as a way to bring community members and alumni to Fresno State to share their knowledge with students. The program acts as an opportunity for networking, where students can have lunch and make lasting connections with individuals from all over the Central Valley, as well as with other students.

Each luncheon features a keynote speaker who covers topics that range from getting hired after college to being a leader in a corporate setting.

“We’re so pleased to have the opportunity to bring three more amazing speakers to Fresno State this semester as part of our Pay it Forward series,” said Dr. Scott Moore, interim executive director of the Lyles Center. “The knowledge our speakers share is truly invaluable and can impact and inspire students, giving them the extra push that allows them to pursue their career goals.”

All speakers invited to speak at the Pay it Forward series are natives of the Central Valley or have strong ties to Fresno or Fresno State. Past speakers include Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, CEO and co-founder of Vera Bradley; Tara Ryan, chief marketing officer for Coupa Software; and Wendy Jonah, project manager for Google.

The next Pay it Forward sessions will be held March 14, featuring Caren Myers of Fresno Lexus, and April 27, featuring Dina Juve and Melissa Oberti of FitnessSocial.

All sessions are free and open to students and the public and will be held in the Smittcamp Alumni House from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Dooley’s session has reached capacity, but registration will be open soon for the second and third sessions.

For more information, contact the Lyles Center at 559.278.3735.