Speakers

Each year we gather some of the world's top thinkers and doers for a one-day exploration into the new innovations to come. The Imagine Talks event was started in 2014 and focuses on women empowerment, entrepreneurship, and social impact. The success of Imagine Talks is based on bringing together some of the world's most amazing speakers spanning many different fields of expertise converging into unique connections, ideas, and opportunities - limited only by imagination.

Alvin Lau

Alibaba Alum, Film Finance, Angel Investor

Alvin Lau is an angel investor and advisor in film projects and tech startups. He co-founded a Silicon Valley software company, Alohar Mobile, which Alibaba Group acquired. He has been a business advisor to Netflix, Movielink, Fox TV Studios, and Intel Capital digital media companies. Alvin started his career in investment banking and private equity at the parent company of Orion Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Pictures. He received his MBA from Stanford University and his engineering degree from. UC Berkeley.

Andrew Chau

Boba Guys, CoFounder

Andrew Chau is passionate about building things that bring cultures together. He is one half of Boba Guys and Tea People USA. A former blogger for GOOD magazine, Andrew writes about entrepreneurship through the lens of brand marketing, technology, and the lean startup approach. Prior to a career in CPG and corporate marketing, Andrew started and exited his first startup in 2011. He has his MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

Amy Chanthaphavong

Zammo Al, Head of Marketing, Former Miss Asian America

Amy is the Head of Marketing at Zammo AI, Co-Founder of London Valor, a fashion brand of smartbags creating efficiency for enterprising women, and the content creator of sharingamy.com. Amy is a fearless marketer specializing in content creation, storytelling, branding, operations and strategy in tech, real estate, fashion, e-commerce, banking and media. She was crowned Miss Asian America in 2009 and is a former TEDx speaker, sharing her journey from “Fear to Fearlessness.” 

Asia Hilario

Islahoney Lifestyle Blog, Founder

Lifestyle blogger with a focus on women empowerment, mental health, and wellness. Volunteer Crisis Counselor for CrisisTextline.org (a global not-for-profit organization providing free crisis intervention via text message), recipient of Women on the Rise (SSF chapter)'s 2019 "Woman of the Year" award- award given to a woman who empowers and elevates women in her community. Philanthropy work for Charity:Water & The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Charlene Wang

Auric Nutrition & Wellness, Founder & CEO, Former Miss Asian America

Charlene Wang is the CEO, founder, and Dietitian Nutritionist of Auric Nutrition & Wellness. The San Francisco Bay Area native is a Professor of Nutrition, Health and Wellness. She hosts classes and guides meditation retreats for corporations throughout Colorado with plans to expand to the west coast. The former Miss Asian America is featured on FOX news and is a contributing writer for Doctors Quarterly magazine. Her expertise of nutrition, herbalism, energy healing, and meditation stemmed from an incident that forever changed her life. 

Darae Jun, Ph.D.

Ph.D., UC Berkeley , Former Miss Asian America 

Darae Jun received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from UC Berkeley and B.S. in Environmental Science from UC San Diego. Her hope is to utilize microbiology as a tool to promote sustainability by discovering and optimizing bioenergy solutions. Her mission is to be a role model and inspire students with real-world science careers and issues, engage students in hands-on, inquiry-based learning experiences, and create teaching links between scientists and public elementary school

Dion Lim

ABC7 News Anchor & Author

Dion Lim is a TV news anchor and reporter at ABC7/KGO-TV in San Francisco, CA and the author of Make Your Moment: The Savvy Woman's Communication Playbook To Getting The Success You Want.  A sought-after speaker and emcee, she has hosted events with everyone from news legend Dan Rather to Hollywood celebrities like Patrick Dempsey, to community groups and leadership conferences. She was named one of Broadcasting and Cable Magazine's top 24 leaders in media and is the recipient of multiple Emmy awards.

Eric Basu

Sentek Global, Founder & CEO

Eric Basu is the CEO of Sentek Global. He’s a former U.S. Navy SEAL Commander who graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and holds an MBA from Anderson Graduate School of Management (UCLA). He launched Sentek Global out of his home in 2001 with the goal of founding a firm committed to making a significant and long-standing positive difference for it's clients. He was a finalist for Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year and San Diego Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO.

Jaclyn Mariano

Behavioral Therapist, MA Clinical Psychology, Miss Asian Community Service 2018

Believing there is good in everyone is what Jaclyn has known to do at a young age. From being exposed to people with different disabilities because of having a brother with autism, to helping military families through their grief, after her own father was killed in action in Iraq - finding hope is her drive. Through her own suffering, she was determined to pursue her educational career by double majoring in English Literature and Psychology for her undergrad, and earned a MA in Clinical Psychology. 

Jen Louie

Founder of Sixth Sense Consulting Group, President of Smarthomes.us, Mompreneur

Jen Louie graduated from UC Berkeley in 1995 with degrees in Mass Communications and Development Studies. Jen helped launch the first LGBTQ news magazine TV show in the country, had a successful career in Hip Hop radio, and founded Sixth Sense Consulting Group. Jen has produced hundreds of campaigns and events, including the X-Games, NBA All-Star/ Superbowl parties, NY Fashion Week, the Bay Area Olympic Bid 2012, The Clinton Foundation Millennium Network events, community initiatives, capital campaigns, responsibility programs, and worked alongside many A-List celebrities and top CEOs. 

Joseph Ilustrisimo

Fitness Entrepreneur and Storyteller

Joseph Ilustrisimo is a fitness entrepreneur, personal and group trainer, photographer, videographer, and storyteller. Joseph has an independent personal training business called Redefined MVMT where he teaches individual clients and groups how to gain strength, get out of pain, and live more healthy lives. He is also a Founding Trainer with Dryft, a fitness start-up in San Francisco. He is passionate about creativity, health, wellness, and equality. 

Josie Li

La Boutique San Francisco, Founder

Born in San Francisco, California, Josie grew up in an environment that straddled both cultures and more so in the underground world of Chinatown. Being a child of an immigrant family, she had to learn how to make sense of the "Chinese playground" and create opportunities on her own. It wasn't until the death of her father that Josie turned over a new leaf and began to focus more on her professional journey of entrepreneurship and founded her own brand of lash and spa treatments. Her legacy now is to help other young women find their own financial stability through entrepreneurship.

JuJu Chan

Award Winning Actress and Martial Artist

JuJu Chan – BSc Computer Science & Math, MPS (NYU-Tisch), is an award-winning actress, known by the Hong Kong press as the female Bruce Lee. She won several medals, including gold, while on the Hong Kong National Taekwondo Team, and winner of a Muay Thai Championship Belt. JuJu is a former beauty queen, songwriter/singer, and musician of her own award-winning album and an author of two published books, JuJu is best known for her role as Zan in Netflix TV series, Wu Assassins, where she performed all her own stunts. JuJu is also a long-time supporter of Habitat for Humanity.

Mable Huang

Asians@ Global Chair, Airbnb

Mable is passionate about bridging gaps across diverse communities and connecting with people on a personal level is her passion. Building up from scratch is Mable's forte. She currently builds community at Airbnb internally as their Asians employee resource group Global Lead + externally as a Community Organizer in the SF Bay Area. These roles utilize her background of intercultural communication and civic involvement.

Melanie Wardhana

Miss Asian America 2019

Melanie is a career advisor for students at Built By Girls and a Technical Recruiter in the Silicon Valley. But while she thought she had figured out all the keys to success, her life took a turn when she experienced depression after unexpected heartbreak and career burnout. Melanie was able to overcome this dark period of her life through a challenging mental shift in her priorities, sources of validation, and perspective on life. Today, it is her mission to advocate for the power of positive thinking in order to lead a healthy and fulfilling life.

Miko Fogarty

UC Berkeley Senior & Professional Ballerina

As a dancer, Miko has received worldwide recognition with her debut in the movie, First Position, as well as winning the Gold Medal at the Moscow International Ballet Competition. Miko received a contract with the Birmingham Royal Ballet in England at the age of 17 years old as she danced and taught in over 20 countries. She is now a graduating student majoring in Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley and researching brain cancer therapies at UCSF. She is also the Conservatory Director of San Jose Dance International, a non-profit arts organization with a mission to give dancers the chance to give back to the community.

Patrick Lee

Rotten Tomatoes, Co-Founder

Patrick Lee is a serial entrepreneur best known for being a co-founder and former CEO of Rotten Tomatoes (rottentomatoes.com), a leading entertainment website focused on movie reviews and news. He is an advisor to a number of startups including Casetify, Instaread, Kiwi Campus, Oishii, WePloy, and Zeuss Technologies; and a mentor at a number of organizations including SOSV, Berkeley SkyDeck, Blue Startups, and Founder Institute. Patrick holds a BA in Cognitive Science from the University of California at Berkeley.

Tammy Cho

BetterBrave, Founder & CEO

Tammy Cho is CEO and founder of BetterBrave, a nonprofit that empowers employees with knowledge and tools for navigating harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. Previously, Tammy co-founded Encore Alert, an AI platform that helps brands identify and act on emerging trends, crises, and influencers in their industry. She started the company as a college freshman at Georgetown University and sold it in 2016 at age 21. Tammy has also been recognized as an NBC Asian America's A to Z Rising Star in 2018, Georgetown Entrepreneur of the Year, Hubspot Inbound's 22 Under 22, and a Power Woman in DC Tech.

James Lew

Actor, Stunt & Fight Choreographer, First Asian American Emmy Winner

James Lew is an American martial arts actor. He has made 80 on-screen film and television appearances and 46 more as a stunt coordinator or stunt double. He has done choreography for movies like Get Smart, Killers and the cult classic Big Trouble In Little China, as well as television shows such as National Geographic's Fight ScienceThe Crow, and Entourage. He does Shaolin Kung-Fu, Tae Kwon Do, Jeet Kune Do, Hapkido, and Boxing. He also trained Brad Pitt with sword fighting for the movie Troy. In 2017 he became the first Asian American to win the Emmy for Oustanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series - Marvel's Luke Cage 

Wendy Shew

Entrepreneur and Founder of Building Education

Wendy Shew is the Founder of Building Education that serves to build schools and provide education in developing countries in efforts to eliminate poverty. Her Mission is to Build 1,000 schools and touch 1,000,000 lives. After working for an Aerospace Company as a Jet Engine Specialist she found her true calling in philanthropy by making a difference in the world. She is an accredited life coach that believes everyone has a true purpose in life and it is their mission to live it out.

Francis Kong, MD

Edge Interns, Imagine Talks, Co-Founder & Curator

Francis earned his BA from UC Berkeley, his MS from the University of San Francisco and his MD at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland. He received the 2004 UC Berkeley Mentor of the Year Award and founded Edge Interns as a mentoring and internships recruitment firm. He currently consults in computer game designs, holds a healthcare tech class at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, coordinates panels for San Diego Comic-Con, serves at Leadership Director of the Miss Asian Global Pageant and Curator for Imagine Talks

Ashley Song

Meaningful Beginnings Daycare, Founder & CEO

Ashley, founder & CEO of Meaningful Beginnings Daycare, had a precocious beginning with the divorce of her parents due to her father’s substance abuse, hung out in the wrong crowd and experienced a controlling marriage at an early age. Now, she is on a new journey of self-redemption and social impact to change the school system by creating a new teaching platform for young children to guide them in moral judgement and building confidence. 

Ernestine Fu

Venture Partner, Alsop Louie Partners

Ernestine Fu is a venture capital investor and author. Since 2011, she has been an investor at Alsop Louie Partners, an early-stage venture fund focused on cybersecurity, big data, and hard science companies. She is also the author of two books and several articles, including Civic Work, Civic Lessons, written with former Stanford Law School Dean Tom Ehrlich and focused on civic engagement with active participation in the moral and civic dimensions of issues. In her free time, Ernestine is passionate about investing in local, chef-driven restaurants in San Francisco; her portfolio includes Nightbird, The Morris, and Mister Jiu’s.

Mark Dacascos

Actor & Martial Artist & Culinary Champions, Chairman

Mark Dacascos is an American actor and martial artist and has won numerous karate and kung fu championships between the ages of 7 and 18. He is best known for his roles as Mani in Brotherhood of the Wolf, Toby Wong in Drive, Ling in Cradle 2 the Grave, the titular role in Crying Freeman and Zero in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Beginning in January 2005, Dacascos played "The Chairman" on Food Network's Iron Chef America. His other roles include Wo Fat on the CBS series Hawaii Five-0, Kung Lao in the web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy, Eric Draven in The Crow: Stairway to Heaven and Eubulon in Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight. He also competed in the ninth season of Dancing with the Stars.

Julie Dacascos

Actor & Culinary Champions, Vice President

Julie Condra Dacascos is a professional actress, entrepreneur, wife, and mother of three. She has starred or co-starred in 37 productions with talents such as Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sally Fields, Christopher Walken, Tracey Ullman, Mel Brooks, and Oliver Stone. She was born in Texas and at 14 years of age was crowned Miss Texas Teen; that same year she starred in her first movie. She is known for playing “Madeleine” on The Wonder Years, starring in the TV series, Eerie Indiana, and the role of "Emily DiNapoli" on the soap-opera, Santa Barbara. She is the vice-president of the food company, Culinary Champions, and currently stars with her daughter and husband in the streaming movie, The Driver.

Noelani Dacascos

Actor & Student

Noelani Dacascos made her professional acting debut in director Atsuko Hirayanagi’s movie, OH LUCY! starring Josh Hartnett, Shinobu Terajima, and Kaho Minami. She stars in the film THE DRIVER, directed by Wych Kaosayananda, currently streaming on VOD. She’s performed in school and
summer-stock productions of Aladdin, Mary Poppins, and The Lion King, and when she’s not doing homework, she takes hip-hop, tap, and ballet classes, and performs in Improvisational Acting workshops. Noe is 13 years old and in 7th grade. She’s the daughter of Julie Condra-Dacascos and Mark Dacascos.

Stephanie Kim

Miss Asian Global 2019

Stephanie Kim is a 20-year-old college student majoring in Communications. She has worked abroad with South Korean broadcasting companies, such as NBC and KBS, to cover the stories of North Korean refugees in hopes of bringing more awareness to the issue of human rights oppression. She also assists with their assimilation into South Korea by teaching English to these refugees as a volunteer. As she continues her education, she hopes to share more of their stories with the free world. She also just happens to be the current Miss Asian Global.