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Bibiana Am serves as a client delivery director for talent acquisition at Travelers Insurance. In her role as a director, she leads a team of eight that supports the staffing needs of the claims organization of 10,000 employees. Bibiana is a double alumnus from Arizona State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a MBA from the WP Carey School of Business. After a career in the auto industry, she pivoted her career to recruitment and human resources. Bibiana previously served as the mentorship committee chair with ACEL and currently volunteers as a task force member at her son’s school. On a personal note, Bibiana is an immigrant from South Korea and has lived in several states, including Arizona, California, Texas and Illinois, working in a variety of industries. Bibiana currently resides in Chandler, Arizona with her husband, son and dog Mochi.
Rhonda Bannard has been recognized as a champion of community and meaningful connections in the Phoenix area. She is the Founder and President of Inspired Connections, a boutique consulting agency that has supported companies and nonprofits for over two decades. She is also the Founder and Executive Director of Earth Gives, a 501c3 organization focused on supporting the ecosystem of environmental and climate-focused nonprofits across the U.S. Honors for her work and leadership include being named a finalist for the 2020 ATHENA Businesswoman of the Year (2020); The Phoenix Business Journal 40 Under 40 Hall of Fame (2019); The Phoenix Business Journal 30 Outstanding Businesswomen (2015); and The Business Journal/Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce 40 Under 40 (2001).
Pete Bueza is the Site Human Resources Executive supporting Arizona and Southern California. Providing onsite HR support for over 9,500 employees, he partners with Campus/Site Integration Leaders, Regional HR Executives, and LOB HR Leaders to enable site and market integration. He is focused on driving HR programs and initiatives such as leadership and employee development, employee satisfaction and related improvement opportunities, redeployment, market/site level risk mitigation, and Enterprise and LOB business strategies. Active with the firm’s Employee Networks, he serves as the Executive Sponsor for the Phoenix Asian Leadership Network (ALN), is on the Enterprise Parents and Caregivers Network (PCN) Leadership Team as a Recruiting and Marketing Membership Co-Lead, and mentors for the SoCal ALN and SoCal Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership and Advancement (HOLA) Leadership Development Programs. Pete facilities career development series seminars to a variety of key talent programs and non-profit organizations such as Latino Equality Alliance, the Big Brother and Big Sisters of Ventura County, TransCanWork, and Diversity Collective of Ventura County. In 2019, he was a recipient of the Diversity and Inclusion Award for his work supporting the LGBTQ+Pride communities. Originally from a suburbs of Chicago, he attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. He has lived in multiple regions of the US, from the Midwest, Mid Atlantic (Baltimore/DC), South Florida, Southern California, and now Scottsdale, Arizona.
Andrew Chau is co-founder and CEO of Boba Guys and Tea People USA, a Inc. Magazine 500 award recipient. He has been featured as a top emerging business leader on CNN, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Vogue, and NPR. Prior to a career in Consumer Product Goods and corporate marketing, Andrew started and exited his first startup in 2011. In his free time, he loves traveling and is a freelance writer and an angel investor for consumer-driven businesses. His best-selling book with Penguin Random House, The Boba Book, came out in April 2020. He has his undergraduate and graduate degrees from UC Berkeley. He and his wife are based in San Francisco, CA
Sam Castro is currently the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Valle del Sol Community Health. She is also in her Master’s Program pursuing her Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Sam is an experienced director and mental health professional focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion work. Passionate about mental health, trauma informed care, harm reduction strategies, crisis intervention, suicide prevention, diversity, equity and inclusion, she is versed in program development and sits on various boards and committees in the state. Sam is proud to be a Filipina, LGBTQ-identified person and attributes her roots to her childhood city, San Francisco.
Varesh Chaurasia holds an M.H.A. from University of Southern California and an M.B.A. in Strategy and Marketing from Claremont Graduate University. He has over 20 years of professional experience in healthcare, consumer credit and the real estate industries. He started his career with American Express and managed the marketing and business development functions for a real estate development firm in California before co-founding 4C Medical Group in 2007 with his late brother, Dr. Vishal Chaurasia. Under his leadership, 4C Medical Group grew from a 4-physician group to one of Arizona’s largest integrated primary care groups providing care to the community in Acute, Post-Acute and Ambulatory Care settings. He has served multiple terms on the 4C Board of Directors and was Board Chairman from 2017-2019. In 2019 Varesh spearheaded the successful acquisition of 4C Medical Group by Optum, one of the country’s largest integrated healthcare delivery organizations and the leader in value-based-care. He currently serves as the Senior Vice President for Optum Arizona focusing primarily on strategic growth within the market. Varesh has also held board of director positions at the Rotary Club of Scottsdale, USTA Southwest and Arizona Bank and Trust. An avid Tennis player , Golfer and Photographer, he enjoys the spirit of competition that sports foster and the creative expression that photography nurtures. He is an active member of the Arizona College of Healthcare Executives and currently lives in sunny Scottsdale, AZ.
Susan Conaway is a senior engineering manager at General Dynamics Mission Systems in Scottsdale, AZ. She is responsible for Strategic Workforce Development which focuses on the all development aspects for engineers; including development plans, mentoring, training, succession planning, strategic role assignments, and more – anything related to the development of our engineering workforce. This position aligns well with Sue’s passion for people and helping them achieve their full potential. In addition, she is extremely active with Diversity & Inclusion, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), college recruiting, community outreach and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) activities which benefit General Dynamics and our community. She is a fierce Mama Bear and ally to the LGBTIA+ community and helped establish the GD Pride ERG and is the ERG Lead. Sue is also very involved in several other ERGs within General Dynamics Mission Systems. Outside of the workplace, Sue is very involved in a women’s group that celebrates the advancement of women, educates women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans and stewardship of Cottey College and motivates women to achieve their highest aspirations. She has a real enthusiasm for helping people!
Sharon Dunbar is vice president of Cross-Company Business Initiatives for General Dynamics Mission Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics. In this capacity, she supports General Dynamics Mission Systems and other General Dynamics business units through joint initiatives, strategy, and interfacing with senior Department of Defense customers. Before joining General Dynamics in 2014, Sharon served 32 years in the U.S. Air Force. Her assignments spanned command, homeland security, contracting, and government relations. She retired in 2014 as a Major General and Commander of the Air Force District of Washington with responsibilities for aerospace expeditionary operations involving 60,000 personnel assigned worldwide and oversight of national capital region operations to include homeland security, special air missions, and national special security events.Sharon earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and business management from the U.S. Air Force Academy and graduated with distinction from the National War College with a Master’s Degree in National Security Studies. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from California State University and completed her doctoral studies in Public Policy at The George Washington University along with executive programs at Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Defense Acquisition University. Sharon serves on the board of directors for several non-profit organizations.
John B. Fung, MBA, CFRE is the Development Manager of the Gospel Rescue Mission. John began his career as an agent for the Allstate Insurance Company, then entered into the pharmaceutical and medical sales industry for the next 14 years. In 2014, John joined the University of Arizona Development Team and has raised in excess of $ 16M dollars for research, scholarships and faculty support. In 2021, John joined the Gospel Rescue Mission in Tucson, which serves the homeless population with recovery, housing and workforce assistance. In his spare time, John serves on the board for Junior Achievement of Arizona Southern District, and the U Arizona Asian American Faculty and Staff Alumni Club. John was the past advisor for U Arizona ACEL Collegiate Chapter, and serves as a mentor since the inception. John is also an avid soccer referee, and has officiated over 2900 matches at all levels of competition including the WPSL.
Tony Green is a Senior Wealth Advisor with Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services® where he provides financial advice and portfolio management to ultra-high net worth individuals. He began his career in 2003 as a financial advisor with American Express Financial Advisors (now Ameriprise). Over the years, he has served in several roles that range from independent insurance agent to Field Vice President. Tony joined Vanguard in October of 2016. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and enjoys facilitating the financial security and growth of his clients. He holds FINRA series registrations 7, 24, 63, and 65 and graduated from Pepperdine University with a BS in Management. Tony co-leads Vanguard’s Asian focused CRG, LEAP (Leadership and Engagement for Asian Professionals) for their Scottsdale campus and serves on his local alumni board, The Pepperdine Heat Waves.
Elizabeth Greene is the Director of Organizational Learning and Development of Lam Research. Elizabeth is a purpose-driven and innovative talent champion, with almost 20 years of experience delivering workforce advancement initiatives and organizational development strategies that improve the employee experience. She has spent her entire career promoting a culture of learning, where employees are encouraged to learn, grow, and make a difference in fast-moving and ever-changing global environments. Elizabeth previously serving as the director of global learning and development for onsemi. In October of 2021, she won The Trailblazer Award from Chief Learning Officer’s Learning in Practice Awards, recognizing her excellence in redefining workforce development initiatives at onsemi. She has also won the Readership Award for Training Industry Magazine, for her article on “Reimagining the World of Corporate Learning in a Virtual Environment.” With a full list of publications and speaking engagements, Elizabeth is seen as a though leader in the L&D community and enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others. Elizabeth earned a Bachelor’s Degree in East Asian Studies, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and a Senior Human Resource Professional certification (SHRM-SCP). With twin boys, a husband, and two dogs, Elizabeth keeps quite busy, but enjoys being a wish-granting volunteer for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona, the vice chair of the board for Esperança, advisory board member for UC Irvine, and a mentor and speaker for ACEL (Asian Corporate & Entrepreneur Leaders).
Kenny Ho is an Associate Corporate Counsel for Carvana, LLC. In his role, he assists with monitoring and maintaining the entire litigation portfolio for the Fortune 500 Company, which includes matters ranging from consumer litigation, commercial disputes, general liabilities, and regulatory matters. Kenny works closely with the corporate insurance and risks teams to protect the company and to minimize risk. As a young attorney, Kenny has earned Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars recognition. Kenny is involved in various community organizations, including a board member for the Arizona Asian American Bar Association, and a former member of the State Bar of Arizona’s Council for Minorities and Women in Law. Kenny is also a proud graduate of Valley Leadership Accelerate Class 1 and State Bar of Arizona’s Bar Leadership Institute Class 12. He is also an active participant in the Asian Corporate Entrepreneur Leaders.
Melissa Ho is currently an Associate Director-Regulatory Counsel for a global chip manufacturer. In this role she creates comprehensive plans to address disputes and inquiries from regulators. She provides advice and implements compliance and training programs in the areas of FCPA, environmental, anti-corruption, insider threat, and ethics. Melissa works on data management matters involving trade, cybersecurity, data privacy, U.S. controlled unclassified information (CUI), and IP protection with an emphasis on global aerospace & defense matters. Melissa was a partner for ten years at an AmLaw 100 law firm where she defended individual and corporate clients against a wide variety of criminal allegations, including health care fraud, qui tam, RICO violations, bank fraud, real estate fraud, mortgage fraud, foreign corrupt practices, securities fraud, water and air quality violations, government corruption, procurement and public fraud, professional misconduct, civil and criminal forfeiture, licensing violations, parallel proceedings, and computer crimes. During her professional career she has held numerous leadership positions including President of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association, and six years on the Arizona State Bar Board of Governors.
Larry Hofer is the Vice President of People Services for Cox Communications’ Southwest Region, Larry Hofer provides leadership and strategic direction for human resources and development for over 4,800 employees in Arizona and Nevada. Over the years, Larry has helped transform the region, resulting in Cox receiving Best Places to Work recognition in both states. Prior to joining the Southwest Region, Larry was Vice President of the company’s Oklahoma and San Diego regions where he earned a reputation as an innovative business partner and outstanding employee advocate. Prior to joining Cox, Larry has also held leadership roles with Comcast, IBM, AT&T, TCI, Honeywell, Stanley Works, and Lexmark International. Larry has been actively involved in several non-profit organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross, YMCA, Asian Business Association, and Neighborhood House.
Rodney Hu is a 2nd generation Arizona native that graduated from Marcos de Niza High School, in Tempe, before going on to earn his Bachelor’s from Arizona State University in Finance. Rodney spent 8 years on Wall Street as an investment analyst in sales & trading for various firms including Bear Wagner Specialists, Bear, Stearns & Co., Goldman Sachs, and Cantor Fitzgerald. Currently, he is the Owner / Operator of the infamous Yucca Tap Room in Tempe and also manages several commercial retail and residential rental properties. He is a founding member of the Arizona Distilling Company, a Tempe-based micro-distillery that produced the first locally distilled spirits in the Phoenix metro area since prohibition. Rodney has been working in the cannabis industry and is involved in several cannabis startups and licensed partnerships in Arizona. Rodney was also named one of the top 100 tastemakers by the Phoenix New Times and serves on several boards including the Tempe Sports Authority Foundation.
Jin-Ya Huang is a social impact, community development, and creative innovator with a focus on the intersection of equity, design, and social justice work. She is the founder of Break Bread, Break Borders (BBBB), a social enterprise empowering refugee women economically through the storytelling of food and culture. She is an acclaimed interdisciplinary artist who has shown in galleries in Dallas, Miami and New York. Her work examines her Asian identity and diasporic immigrant experience. Jin-Ya is an accomplished, published writer and public speaker. Her work has been featured at the Bush Institute, Dallas Innovates, Amon Carter Art Museum, Texas Lyceum, Slow Food USA, Toyota of North America, Airbnb International, Today Show, NPR Morning Edition and in TIME Magazine, highlighted as a Community Bridge Builder Across America. Jin-Ya is a proud member of the Orchid Giving Circle, which is a fund of The Texas Women’s Foundation, a fellow of PLS, the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, a recipient of the Maura Women Helping Women Award, and the Triumph of the Spirit for Human Rights Honoree. She is a current cohort of the Leadership Women Texas, Les Dames d’Escoffier, and the National Hello Neighbor Network
Angela Hughey is the Co-forunder & President of ONE Community and ONE Community Foundation, As, President, Angela works with LGBTQ, business and political communities on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion and their impact on our economy. In 2013, Angela launched the UNITY Pledge to advance workplace equality and equal treatment for LGBTQ individuals, which has become the nation’s largest equality pledge with 3,400 business signers.This January, she launched the bipartisan Equality and Fairness for all American Coalition (EQFFAA) nationwide to advance federal civil rights protections for LGBTQ Americans. The coalition is composed of diverse business, LGBTQ, elected, and faith leaders.
Bill Imada is Chairman and Chief Connectivity Officer of IW Group, a fully integrated marketing communications agency specializing in the growing multicultural communities. Bill is also a co-founding member of several national and regional organizations, including the APIA Scholars, Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship, ACE NextGen, VOICES for AAPIs, and the National Millennial and Gen Z Community. He serves on the boards of the Advertising Educational Foundation, Coalition for Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, Institute for Public Relations, LAGRANT Foundation, Museum of Public Relations, National ACE, PBS SoCal, and the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations.
Dr. Wenli Jen is a consultant, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and professor. Dr. Jen is the Chief Executive Officer for the Southern California boutique consulting firm Integral Prudence Solutions and has served as a consultant in education, health, and business. For over a decade, Dr. Jen directed programs in gang prevention, child abuse prevention, and substance abuse prevention and worked with public and community health initiatives. She has developed several programs for at-risk youth and families, with special considerations for low-income and underrepresented populations with culturally competent, best practices. Dr. Jen has also taught courses about Asian American Studies, Research Design and Data Analysis in Psychology, and Business Ethics and Leadership. Dr. Jen speaks about community collaboration, social issues, education and other related topics at international, national and state conferences. Her interests include working with diverse populations in developing strategies to increase motivation, reduce social isolation, promote resiliency and provide alternatives for health and wellness.
Krystal Ka‘ai is the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI) and the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. In this role, she is responsible for advising the Biden administration on the coordination and implementation of federal programs and initiatives to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities. Prior to joining WHIAANHPI, Krystal worked on Capitol Hill for over a decade, including serving as the Executive Director of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) for eight years. She previously held positions with the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the State of Hawai‘i, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation. Krystal was born and raised in Hawai‘i and is the first Native Hawaiian to ever lead WHIAANHPI.
Desiree Khalife was born in the Philippines but has lived in and loved Arizona for most of her life. As the Mom of two boys under two and a Goldendoodle Lincoln, she spends most of her days running around and wondering when the next time she’ll get a full night’s sleep is. She has a BA from the University of Arizona and has worked in marketing for over a decade, focusing on social media and brand. While most of her marketing career was in EdTech and IT, she branched off to be an independent contractor in the summer of 2021, affording her more freedom. But before exiting her last company, she launched an AAPI teammate resource group, to celebrate and support Asian Americans in the workplace. As a quarter Korean, quarter Filipino Asian American, she believes that being mixed in America is a unique experience of its own.
Asad Khan came to the United States in 1993 to study finance and entrepreneurship at the University of Arizona. At age 18, he started his first business in Karachi, Pakistan. After graduating from the University of Arizona, Khan worked globally for companies including IBM, SAIC, Leidos and Tetra Tech. He is a serial entrepreneur and has built 16 self-financed small businesses, ranging from nightclubs, restaurants, wholesale, retail, import/export, real estate and financial consulting. Khan takes pride in having a very little social media footprint and continues to believe that investing small is the best way to achieve success.
Vy Kieu was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, and she graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. She moved to Phoenix to begin her career at Salt River Project (SRP) as a Rotational Engineer. She then made her way to work for SRP’s CEO/General Manager, and she is now working as an Employee Experience Manager to help navigate the workforce through the pandemic by returning to the workplace into a hybrid working environment. She serves as a Board member of the UArizona Alumni Association Engineering Council where their mission is to advance education at UArizona’s College of Engineering by promoting standards of the engineering profession and to raise scholarship funds for freshman engineering students. In her free time, Vy enjoys playing and teaching piano. She is currently studying to receive her yoga teacher training certification. Vy and her husband enjoy traveling together, snowboarding, watching sports and spending time with their families.
Anastasia Kim is the founder and owner of Prime Auto Glass. Anastasia moved to the United States in 2001. Anastasia graduated from Portland State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business. After graduation she worked in the marketing and sales fields for American Express, Farmers insurance and Prudential Financial. In 2011, she saw a niche opportunity in the auto glass industry and founded Prime Auto Glass. It was not an easy decision to transition from corporate to entrepreneurship. Her mother is her biggest supporter and inspiration. To this day, Anastasia gets a thrill out of running and growing her business and serving Arizona community.
Phil Kim is the Managing Director and a founding member of Signature Wealth Concepts. Phil is a graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and spent several years running restaurants in Boston before turning to his current company in 2002. In 2014, Phil was recognized by the University of Arizona, Eller College of Management as an inductee into Beta Gamma Sigma, a national honorary society for high-achieving business members. In 2016, Phil was nationally recognized as an NTSA Elite Advisor, awarded to only a handful of advisors in the industry based on professionalism, integrity, and leadership.Originally an East Coaster, Phil has resided in in the warm State of Arizona with his wife and two children since 2008. When he is not in front of clients, you might find Phil playing golf or hiking with his family in the mountains that surround Phoenix.
Kate King was born in Honolulu Hawaii, raised in Tucson, Arizona, and graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Psychology and two minors in English and Education. She has lived in 8 cities in the last 11 years including metros such as Phoenix, Houston, Chicago, and San Francisco. She began her career as a Manager-in-Training at Abercrombie & Fitch and worked her way up to Senior District Manager and Trainer before moving over to Target as a Human Resources Business Partner for Stores Culture, Growth, and Development. In her current role, she supports stores in their development of recruitment strategies, training plans, development opportunities, resource support, HR/Legal consultations, performance management, and talent planning. In her free time, Kate enjoys spending time with friends, family, and her little rescue dog Alvin. She is an avid traveler, golfer, food enthusiast, and book club member. She is currently studying to receive her MBA and loves finding ways to give back to her community.
Albert Ko is Chief Executive Officer of Early Warning Services, LLC, a fintech company owned by seven of the country’s leading banks. The company’s innovations empower financial institutions of all sizes to make confident decisions, enable payments and mitigate fraud. Al is well known for his consistent track record of leading at scale and developing innovative product experiences in financial technology, payments, and consumer and small business management. He assumed the role in May 2019. Early Warning has served to protect the financial services industry from fraud and risk for three decades. Today, the company is best known as the owner and operator of the Zelle Network®, a financial services network focused on transforming financial experiences. Al holds a B.A. in History and International Studies from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Abe Kwok fell into journalism on a lark. His family emigrated from Hong Kong when he was 9, and his junior high school counselor recommended high school journalism to increase his English proficiency. He’s had the bug since. Abe joined the Arizona Republic/azcentral.com after college graduation and reported and edited in various roles before being named to the editorial board in 2015. He edits staff and guest columns, and writes editorials and a column on occasion. He founded the Arizona chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association and is a past national board member and vice president.
Anthony Lee, M.D.is the owner of Synergy Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Scottsdale. Dr. Anthony Lee is the third child born to first generation parents who immigrated to the United States from China through Cuba. His education and career have taken him from small towns in Georgia to large cities such as Boston and Philadelphia. He has call Arizona home for the past 17 years. Locally, he is the Past-President of the Arizona Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation as well as the national Executive Chair of the State Society of AAPMR. He has served as a previous ACEL Mentorship Chair as well as a member of the ACEL Board of Directors. After ACEL, he has served as a Board Member for the Maricopa County Medical Society. He is currently the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Arizona Chapter.
Jack Liu was born in Taipei, Taiwan and immigrated to the U.S. with his parents at the age of 3. He has spent most of his life in Arizona and is a University of Arizona alumnus with an undergraduate degree in Comp Science and Economics. With extensive experience in software development, Incentive Compensation Management, and the implementation and delivery of compensation solutions, Jack is an innovator that is passionate about solving business problems through technology and automation. Jack founded ProCARE Portal (www.procareportal.com) in 2014, drawing upon his consulting and industry experience from various Fortune 100 and 500 companies across multiple verticals to develop a disruptive technology solution specifically aimed at the healthcare provider compensation market. His visionary leadership has shaped a platform that will optimize and advance incentive compensation delivery in the ever-changing landscape of the healthcare industry. Outside of running ProCARE Portal, Jack is an Ironman triathlete that leads an active lifestyle and likes to spend time with family and his Blue Heeler mix, Molly.
Yangmee Lor – Yangmee was recently named among the most influential 100 Asian Americans in Colorado. In addition to her role with insurance sales, she is a member of the National Lao-Hmong Memorial Foundation board of trustees. Yangmee is an articulate and compelling woman who has been influenced by the stories of her parents and Hmong elders who escaped the attempted genocide in Laos and courageously came to the U.S. from refugee camps, learning to read and write English and taking menial jobs to support their families. For Yangmee, her board service is an opportunity to remember, acknowledge, and honor her living and deceased ancestors.
Anne Luk is currently a vice president and operations lending senior leader for Wells Fargo Consumer and Small Business Banking. Anne is responsible for domestic and international customer service teams that focus on providing excellent care to customers to help them achieve their financial goals. She is passionate about creating organizational success through employee engagement and customer loyalty. Anne has over 25 years of financial industry expertise. Much of her experience were in positions of Skill Building Training and Leadership Development Manager, Operations Leadership, Operational Risk and Quality Management. Before she embarked on her corporate journey, she grew up in an entrepreneurial environment where her family owned and operated several markets and restaurants over many years. She values all the lessons and hard work that has well-equipped her in her career. Outside of work, Anne enjoys traveling and spending time with her family. She is also always up for any food adventure. Anne and her life-partner Mike resides in Phoenix, Arizona, with their beloved fur-kid, Chase.
Ethel Luzario is the co-founder of The 3000 Club, a 501(c)3, food rescue, medical reclamation, and humanitarian outreach. The 3000 Club is US Based and an international chapter in the Philippines. Her community involvement in the past decade has been to bridge her Arizona and Asian connections through various missions to the Philippines. Ethel’s past missions have brought financial and medical help to: the Arizona Minority Business Enterprise Center Asian Development Bank Mission to Bangladesh; Phoenix Phil-Am Lions Medical Missions to Philippines and Mexico; Pure Heart Christian Church and The 3000 Club humanitarian mission to Honduras; The 3000 Club Cervical Cancer Screening and Workshop/Medical Missions Philippines. Ethel has received numerous awards as a leader. To name a few, she was the recipient of 100 Most Influential Filipinas in the U.S. in October 2009 and Minority Advocate of the Year 2010. Most recently, in 2018 she was named an ANI (Achievement, Nationalism, Inspiration) Awardee (2018) and Recipient of the Lions International President’s Award for being an outstanding member.
Michelle Matheus is an Arizona-based Implementation Project Manager in the Human Capital Management industry. She has been leading cross-functional, multicultural teams at multiple worksites for 15 years. Whether it’s addressing different working cultures, or finding a communication style that works for teammates working in multiple countries, Michelle has a passion for connecting people and finding intersections where people meet while addressing individual needs.
Fai Mo is currently an Engineering Team Lead at Carvana. In his current role, Fai leads a team of project managers who drive and support the successful delivery of impactful initiatives and projects that improve and delight the customer experience. Fai cherishes the opportunities to grow and develop his team to reach their goals and aspirations. Fai is also on the leadership team of Carvana’s AAPI and allies community, ADVANCE, focused on promoting and empowering AAPI team members within Carvana. Fai’s past experience include business consulting and project management at Accenture and Ensynch as well as leadership roles within University of Phoenix. Outside of work, Fai volunteers with Foundation Fighting Blindness, serving as President of the Arizona chapter. Fai is honored and delighted to be a part of this year’s ACEL leadership conference and thanks ACEL for giving him this opportunity to share his story and how he has overcome obstacles and thrived as a gay Chinese American immigrant.
Jessica Nielsen was born in Germany and grew up in Arizona, before making her way to the south where she graduated from Valdosta State University with dual degrees in Economics and Marketing. With a last name like Nielsen, she was quickly pulled into the media industry, beginning her career at NBC News in New York City at the iconic Rockefeller Center. Seeking to expand her knowledge of the media and advertising world, her career has spanned an ad agency in Pittsburgh, a Spanish-language TV group in Phoenix and brand-side at a small solar company and a direct-to-consumer e-commerce company in San Diego. Along the way, she returned to expand her education by securing a Masters Degree in Business Analytics from Quinnipiac University. For the past three years, Jessica has been working for The E.W. Scripps Company, focused on the local broadcast television group. Her role covers audience measurement, product monetization, and cost optimization. Jessica also freelances as a consultant for a digital marketing agency. When not working, you can find her reading a book, keeping up her Yelp Elite status, or walking her pup, Miso. She is currently learning Korean and German for her future travels and loves to watch soccer.
Bridget Olesiewicz is a Principal with Vanguard and the Senior Human Resources Business Partner for Vanguard’s Retail Division. She is also a member of Vanguard’s executive team supporting the Scottsdale, Arizona region. Ms. Olesiewicz has been with Vanguard for 28 years and prior roles include managing Vanguard’s retail client-service teams; directing the design of Vanguard’s investor website; and serving as both Chief Learning Officer and Chief Talent Officer for Vanguard. She most recently oversaw Vanguard’s Relationship Management Group that serves the wealth management needs of Vanguard clients. She holds a Certified Financial Planning® designation, a B.S. in Finance and an M.B.A. and is also a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Maria Polletta is an investigative reporter focused on covering inequities in education for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting. She previously covered state government and politics for The Arizona Republic and USA Today Network, leading breaking and enterprise watchdog coverage of the Arizona Governor’s Office, Attorney General’s Office and state Supreme Court. Maria also has covered criminal justice reform, inequality issues, economic development and city politics over the last decade, with bylines from Arizona to Mexico. She regularly appears on television, radio and podcasts as a panelist, analyst and moderator, and has been invited to speak about diversifying sourcing at investigative conferences, community meetings and universities.
Mike Roig is an Emmy Award winning Lead College Basketball Director for ESPN. Mike graduated from Fordham University in New York City, where he was born and raised. He has worked in Sports Broadcasting for the past 30 years, starting at CBS and Fox Sports before moving to ESPN. Professional highlights have included working for the Olympics, Super Bowls, Stanley Cups, and various other professional and collegiate championship events. This has given him a unique perspective on how to be a leader and find success in the sports industry and broadcasting. His philosophy goes beyond just broadcasting sports but using the medium to enhance and further the story of the game and athletes to the television audience. Mike is dedicated to creating an inspiring vision while motivating and mentoring others to engage with that same vision. Working in sports broadcasting has allowed him to work in various countries and see much of the United States. Mike is married, a proud father of two, and lives in the Phoenix area.
Kari Sanford (Moderator) began her career at General Dynamics Mission Systems as a business analyst in the IT department. Her biggest project was the domain migration for over 8,000 users. Kari set and adjusted the schedule for users to provide minimum disruption. Within GDMS, Kari transitioned to a new role as a program and performance management analyst. She managed the budget and schedule for several projects simultaneously. Kari recently started a new adventure with ZipRecruiter as a Revenue Operations Analyst. She is responsible for setting up the formal Project Management Office. Kari has already laid the foundation with the templates and process documentation she’s created. Now it’s time to put her work to the test. We can’t wait to hear about the success of her upcoming projects! Kari graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Engineering Management and a focus in Computer Science. Her coursework challenged her to use the “people first” approach to design user-centric (and sometimes, eccentric) products. In her senior year, Kari led an interdisciplinary team in developing a mobile app for NASA’s Psyche Mission.
Jean Clare Sarmiento is a digital editor at KJZZ, Phoenix’s NPR member station, where she has worked on award-winning digital packages and helped boost the public radio station’s digital presence since starting there in 2019. Originally from Los Angeles, Jean Clare graduated from UCLA where she fell in love with journalism after working at the college paper. She moved to Phoenix in 2004 to work for The Arizona Republic/azcentral.com, first as a print news copy editor and later as a social media and digital producer. When Jean Clare isn’t at KJZZ, she’s playing board games, and writing and podcasting about them.
Sherry Scott is the proud Owner/Managing Partner of Cute Smiles 4 Kids & Orthodontics with offices in Phoenix, Arizona and San Antonio, Texas. Cute Smiles 4 Kids serves the underprivileged children with top-notch dental care in a state-of-the-art office. It was always her belief that all children should have access to quality dental care in a fun and safe environment. Her passion for children led her to open Goldfish Swim School in North Scottsdale in August 2020 after realizing how preventable drowning was. Goldfish Swim School is a premier learn to swim school for children 4 months to 12 years old where lessons are taught in a shiver-free environment. Sherry received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego. Sherry is a founding board member of Bloom Development, a nonprofit organization geared towards developing future women leaders. She also is a member of the Arizona Dental Association, 100+ Women Who Care, and the Asian Corporate & Entrepreneur Leaders, and the National Association of Women Business Owners. Sherry enjoys giving back to the community and volunteers often with Hope Kids. Sherry was born and raised in Taiwan and came to America almost 40 years ago. Sherry now lives in Scottsdale with her two children. She weight-lifts as much as possible and enjoys public speaking, traveling, movies, and hanging out with her family and friends.
Ian So is the co-founder & CEO of Chicken & Rice Guys Upon graduation from Babson College, Ian bought a food truck on eBay for $19,000 and launched his food business. From that initial investment, his business grew into an annual multi-million dollar revenue company with 7 food trucks, 3 restaurants, a full service food truck commissary and a full-service catering/popups. In the first 4 years of business, Chicken & Rice Guys was the 9th fastest growing private company and the 206th fastest growing private company in the USA. Currently, Chicken & Rice Guys continues to see year over year growth, and operates in multiple states with a pop-up in Houston and plans to expand to the neighboring New England states.
In addition to being a business leader, Ian serves as a founder, board member, and advisor to various non-profits including the Culture Connection Project, Commonwealth Seminar, and the National Asian Chamber of Commerce of Entrepreneurship (ACE). Ian has won numerous awards including Boston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, Mayor Walsh’s Spark Impact Awards, Smart CEO’s Future 50 award, and GetKonnected 25 Most Influential Millennials of Greater Boston.
Andrew Song was born in Seoul, S. Korea. His family immigrated to the U.S. when he was 11 years old. Andrew grew up in Los Angeles where immigrant life was prevalent and the crash of culture was abundant. He is considered “1 ½ generation” by his community and enjoys the best of both worlds. Andrew graduated from Art Center College of Design (ACCD) in Pasadena, CA studying photography. He was the principle photographer and owner of Andrew Song Photography. He enjoyed 14 years of discipline in Art & Media, in Los Angeles; being an editorial & commercial photographer; traveling the world and experiencing a wide array of encounters. He adapted an additional career in Financial Professional Business to his flourishing career in Real Estate. He maintains effectiveness and loving, inter-cooperational life as his personal core values. Andrew believes in sustainability; environmental, economical & social. He adheres to prudence, thriftiness, beautification, generosity and sincere care. He places these values & principles in his heart and applies them in his daily practices being holistic. He dedicates himself to a life of STEWARDSHIP by disciplining in Excellence and Integrity.
Daniel Song is a Senior Information Security Officer for Global Information Security (GIS) at Bank of America. In this role, Daniel is responsible for developing risk stratification methodologies for the Security and Solutions Design program in addition to providing consultation for regulatory, audit, and issues management engagements across GIS. Managing risk to deliver Responsible Growth is fundamental in every aspect of his job responsibilities. Daniel graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, with a degree in Marketing and Management Information Systems. Daniel is also a coffee enthusiast, an avid climber, and makes every effort to explore the great outdoors. While he has lived mostly in Southern California and North Carolina, Daniel and his wife of 3 years now reside in Gilbert, Arizona.
Joanne Tabellija-Murphy is the Director of Strategic Outreach and Engagement at Walmart. She is responsible for building partnerships and strategies that advance stakeholder advocacy and transform social change by building trust in the 4,700+ communities Walmart serves, both nationally and internationally. Joanne is Chair of the OCA National Business Advisory Council, leading its strategy focused on shared value for its members and the organization. She holds seats on several nonprofit and advisory boards including Women Impacting Public Policy, Enterprising Women Magazine, OCA National, and Gold House. In 2021 Joanne was inducted into PRWeek’s Hall of Femme “Women to Watch” class and was also selected by PRNews as an “Industry Innovator.”
Kris Vera-Phillips is an Emmy Award-winning journalist with more than 14 years of experience producing news shows and special projects in the Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Diego news markets. She managed news content and live crews for nightly shows at KPBS News, the NPR and PBS station in San Diego. Kris is also a faculty associate and a Ph.D. student at the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She teaches news producing classes and a multimedia bootcamp for master’s students. Her research explores race, identity, and representation in media.
Mengyue Wang is the Owner & Online Coach of MW Fitness. She created the sustainable fitness and nutrition program for career driven professionals. Using this program, she has helped 50+ career driven high achievers, including CEOs, corporate executives, attorneys, doctors, engineers and more, successfully transform their fitness and health while thriving in their career and life. In her pre-entrepreneur life, Wang graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with her Masters in Engineering. She also worked in the semiconductor industry in engineering and corporate management for 8 years. She is from Beijing and has called Arizona home since 2013.
Monica Wang is a Business Development Director at Amentum where she is responsible for their growing National Security Business Unit. Monica earned an MBA from University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School with a focus in Global Operation Management and obtained a Master of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Catholic University of America. Her life passion is to live, discover, and share her journey to empower others. She is a certified yoga instructor, trail runner, mountain lover, world traveler, and mom of two. Monica has been a coach and mentor for veterans in the past 6 years helping veterans succeed in both business and life. Monica is also actively engaging in supporting the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) community to empower our people to prevent ACEs, heal from trauma and build resilience.
Panney Wei is the CEO of See the Way Consulting, inspiring individuals to unleash their human potential, overcome obstacles, and achieve their dreams and long-lasting transformation through hypnotherapy, executive coaching, keynotes, and workshops. She takes pride in her community activism, serving on the board or advisor council for numerous impactful organizations, such as ACE Nextgen, the National Asian Artist Project, AREAA Greater LA, NAAAP as a national senior advisor and Founder of the Women in NAAAP leadership program, and the Asian Youth Center, and is also a passionate investor and participant in projects and companies that are making a difference in the world including Momofuku Global restaurant group with Chef David Chang, Chef Ayesha Curry, Impossible Foods, and the upcoming Japanese inspired yakiniku restaurant, Niku X at the Intercontinental Hotel in LA. Her podcast, “See the Way with Panney Wei”, features life lessons, success principles, and wisdom from herself and top thought leaders and luminaries in various fields. Panney is a mother to a future female leader and is working on her first book
Jan Wichayanuparp is the co-founder and Chief Ice Cream Hustler for Sweet Republic, an award-winning artisan ice cream company that has been featured on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, as well as named among the top ice cream shops in the U.S. by Bon Appetit, USA Today and Time Magazine. Since the conceptualization and launch of their first scoop shop in Scottsdale in 2008, Jan and her business partner, Helen Yung, have grown the company to three retail locations and wholesale to the premier hotels and restaurants in the Greater Phoenix area. Jan received her formal ice cream training at the Frozen Desserts Institute in St. Louis, as well as at the famed Ice Cream Short Course at Pennsylvania State College as a member of their 125th class. Her culinary experience has been further deepened as a recipient of the James Beard Foundation Women Entrepreneurial Leader Fellowship in 2017.
Lisa An Wong (Panelist) has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry in Fortune 500 firms. Currently she serves as the Director of Strategy and Operations in the National Banking Group of BMO Wealth Management where she manages the execution of new product verticals, on-boarding and credit limit approvals and development of reporting, presentations to senior management and group messages to drive sales growth by improving banker and analyst efficiencies. She is involved in the diversity, equity and inclusion space for over 20 years beginning with the Organization of Chinese Americans leading into the White House Initiative of Asian American and Pacific Islanders where she participated in working sessions to create Memorandums of Use to the POTUS on Asian American Initiatives in 2016 and 2018. Over the past 10 years, she has been a leader of Women Initiatives in various banks’ ERGs such as Bank of New York Mellon, UBS and BMO. She is currently the Global Chair of BMO Alliance for Women US, the Co-Founder and President of the Chicago Financial Women Alliance and on the Board of Asian Pop-Up Cinema. Lisa has a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from George Washington University and a Master’s of Business Administration in Finance from American University.