About Us

Social Impact & Innovation


We want each and every person we touch to be a source of change and a change maker for life.

This mission aligns well with UC San Diego’s Strategic Plan of being a student-centered, research-focused, service oriented, public University, and particularly the goal of “supporting and promoting just and sustainable forms of economic development, shared prosperity, and social and cultural enrichment regionally and globally”


The vision and values of SII is to create transformational leaders, our workshops and summits with change makers are to create a dynamic global community in the campus with exceptional leaders, youths, people with the vision, courage , collaboration , compassion, respect and influence to drive positive change in the world by being the change themselves by addressing societal problems leading to finding sustainable global solutions.


Inspire: SII, we are motivated to use campus, local and global influence to be a force for sustainable good. We cultivate collective and individual leadership to help develop transform, informed, visionary change-makers for good.

Connect: SII believe that by pooling diverse skills, experiences and networks , we can achieve more together. We foster collaboration in the greater interest of campus, community, country and the world.

Transform: UCSD SII is pioneering , authentic and bold. We continuously focus on identify and champion ways to scale -up, amplify and accelerate social impact. To make more of a difference in our campus, communities, country , world and beyond.We envision a unique ecosystem made up of some of the world's greatest innovators , youth leaders, disruptors , impactors with grassroots support both locally and globally.


Pradeep Khosla



Ramesh Rao



Rajesh K. Gupta






Emanuel "Manny" C. Perlman



Greg Horrowitz


Bio | Website

Sara Vaz



Amanda Estrata




Naila Chowdhury


Bio  |   Website

Julie Matsuda

Project Manager


Scott Blair

Graphic Designer / Web Designer + Developer


Amanda is Associate Director of Foundation Relations at UC San Diego. In this role she partners with development officers and faculty to strengthen UC San Diego’s relationships with local foundation leaders to advance campus-wide research, projects and initiatives. Amanda joined UCSD Advancement in 2014, working to secure individual philanthropic support for a range of campus initiatives before joining the Foundation Relations team in 2016.

Previously, Amanda worked at Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, a San Diego non-profit dedicated to transforming the lives of disadvantaged infants, children, and teens with physical deformities caused by birth, accidents, abuse, or disease through the gift of reconstructive surgery and related healthcare services. As Director of Development she oversaw the organization’s fundraising, grant-seeking and communications efforts.

Amanda now serves as a volunteer mentor at the Preuss School, a unique charter middle and high school for low income students who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college. Additionally, Amanda is a member of Women Give, a donor circle that funds non-profit organizations in San Diego County that offer underserved women and girls the opportunity to enhance their participation in the regional economy and become fully engaged in the prosperity of their local communities.


Emanuel Perlman, lyric tenor, composer, lecturer, recording artist and therapist has begun his 21st year as the Senior Cantor of the historic Chizuk Amuno Congregation in Baltimore, Maryland. He has concertized throughout the world. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Music and Voice from Rhode Island College and a Masters Degree in Psychiatric Social Work from Yeshiva University. Emanuel also attended the Cantors Institute at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He received a Doctorate in Music, honoris causa, from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.

“Manny” is the Founder and CEO of Destination Peace International Inc. (Destinationpeace.org) Its mission is to create harmony throughout the world by bringing people together regardless of religious affiliation or cultural differences through music, conflict resolution, peace curriculum and a universal language.

With John Kiehl, co-founder and co-owner of the Academy/Grammy Award winning SoundTrackStudios and eminent voice pedagogue, Professor William Riley (Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Whitney Houston, etc.), they facilitate The Construct Institute (TCI). Members of the TCI include actor Richard Dreyfuss, Don Beck (Spiral Dynamics) and singer, Peter Yarrow.

"Manny" Perlman has lectured twice on The Aleppo Codex at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. On January 6, 2010 he performed an original show entitled “A Life of Coincidences” at the Players Club in New York City. "Manny" was presented with his communities (Pikesville, Maryland) “Volunteer of the Year Award.”

In November 2013 he concertized at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also presented a program at Windsor Castle for the International Council for Caring Communities retreat and has performed at the United Nations. The end of October 2017 Manny will be doing a concert at Vicar Hall in Windsor Castle and feature artist at St. George's Hall in Liverpool.

In addition to his civic, musical and cantorial activities, he has been a psychiatric social worker, field instructor, social work supervisor and team coordinator at the Long Island Jewish Hillside Hospital in Queens, N.Y. He has been married to Janice Jotkowitz for over 41 years. They are the proud parents of Steven, (Deborah), Benjamin, (Bethany), Marc. They are the proud Grandparents of Abner, Muriel and Maximilian.


Greg Horowitt is a serial entrepreneur, investor, author, and innovation systems architect. He is currently a partner at Kai Capital and a founding partner in their innovation incubator, Kai Labs. He is the Director of Innovation at the University of California, San Diego, where he also lectures, and is a visiting lecturer at Stanford University. He has spent 25+ years working in startups, venture capital, and is one of the pioneers in the field of innovation-based economic development. He is the co-author of the bestselling book, The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley and is a trusted advisor to such notable organizations as the US State Department, Aspen Institute, University of California, World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank, in addition to being a Senior Fellow with the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils. He is a former director of the CONNECT program in San Diego, and was a co-founder of Global CONNECT, which has grown as a global network of accelerator programs in over 25 countries around the world. Over the past several decades, Mr. Horowitt has started, mentored, advised, invested in, and/or served as a board member of hundreds of companies which today are worth more than $5 billion.


Sara is Program Officer for the Nordson Corporation Foundation. Nordson engineers, manufactures and markets differentiated products used for dispensing adhesives, coatings, sealants, biomaterials and other materials; for fluid management; for test and inspection; and for UV curing and plasma surface treatment. Operating in over 30 countries, Nordson is the leader in precision dispensing, fluid management, and related technologies. In her role as Program Officer, Sara manages all of the Corporate Social Responsibility Activities for Nordson in the California and Colorado regions.

Previously, Sara was the Program Manager for the Gary and Mary West Foundation focusing her efforts on their Youth Employment and Service Animal portfolios. Sara has an MA in International Relations from Alliant International University and has spent many years serving the refugee community in San Diego. She has served as Vice-Chair of the San Diego Refugee Forum and Board Chair of Somali Family Services.

Sara now serves on the Board of Directors of the Any Body Can Youth Foundation an organization in Southeast San Diego, an after-school program which is a boxing gym built within the confines of a learning center/library. Sara has also served as Co-Chair of Membership for Women Give San Diego, a donor circle that funds non-profit organizations in San Diego County that offer underserved women and girls the opportunity to enhance their participation in the regional economy and become fully engaged in the prosperity of their local communities. Sara serves on the Board of Directors of the North County Philanthropy Council, whose mission is to strengthen Philanthropy in North San Diego County. Sara alos serves on the Board of Directors of San Diego Grantmakers, whose mission is to connect, educate, develop, and inspire organized philanthropy to be more effective individually and collectively.


Julie Matsuda is a Project Coordinator at Qualcomm Institute, the UC San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information technology (Calit2). She currently manages projects involving research collaborations in next generation telecommunication technology with the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia and Keimyung University in South Korea. Julie also serves as assistant to Naila Chowdhury who was appointed by the UC San Diego Chancellor to the position of Director of Social Impact and Innovation for the campus, a new position created to promote social innovation projects and programs with local, national, and international impact. The goals of the UC San Diego Social Impact and Innovation initiative are focused on making San Diego the most compassionate city in the world. Julie is a UC San Diego alumna.

CA State Assembly

Toni G. Atkins, Speaker Emeritus of the California State Assembly, has dedicated her career—from her time working in women’s health clinics, through two terms on the San Diego City Council and three terms in the state Assembly, including her two years as Assembly Speaker—fighting on behalf of the people most in need. Under her leadership, the Assembly Democrats championed the state’s first Earned Income Tax Credit, which benefits nearly 1.5 million Californians and lifts 50,000 people out of poverty and 50,000 others out of deep poverty. She has also provided budget funding to help provide more a ordable housing, one of the state’s biggest crises and the issue that is closest to her heart. As Speaker, she helped stop the University of California from imposing a 27% tuition increase on students; was a leader in negotiating a $7.5-billion water bond that provides clean, safe drinking water and makes improvements to the state’s water system; has helped ensure California’s financial stability through a Rainy Day Fund; aided in finding a solution to the chronic underfunding of the State Teachers Retirement System; and has led the passage of two on-time, balanced budgets. Speaker Emeritus Atkins is a coalition builder who believes sound government policies can impact people’s lives in positive ways. During her tenure as Speaker, funding for higher education in California has reached its highest-ever level. In addition to being a leading voice for a ordable housing, she is a powerful advocate for women, the LGBT community and a champion for veterans, individuals, and families experiencing homelessness.

Organization or Prostitution Survivors

Alisa exited prostitution over a decade ago and after years of hard work came to the understanding that prostitution is a systemic societal problem for women, children and men. Alisa pulls from both her life experience and academic knowledge to be a powerful public speaker as well as a published author, educator and policy advocate. She presents both regionally and nationally on the topics of prostitution and tra cking as forms of gender based violence and a societal problem. She sits on multiple boards of directors for nonprofits in Seattle, consults to governmental agencies and NGOs across the country, is an advisory member of the Buyer Beware team working to eliminate the demand for commercial sex in King County and is a firm advocate for Nordic Model implementation in the US. Alisa is above all things an activist for women's rights and a mentor to others.

Amrita Unversity, India

Prof. Rao R. Bhavani of Amrita Unversity in Kerala, India, is the Director of AMMACHI Labs, whose goal is innovating and deploying new applications in learning technologies to benefit the poor with a focus on women from socioeconomically underserved communities. AMMACHI Labs does pioneering work on technology-enhanced learning and computerized vocational-education training delivered through multimedia-enriched applications and cost-e ective haptic-enhanced simulators for perfecting manual skills. A central focus of Prof. Bhavani's work has been to explore the use of skill-development as the baseline strategy, and women empowerment as the underlying vision. One such project is a massive sanitation awareness campaign which focuses on empowering women in rural communities to become ambassadors of change by providing them education on sanitation practices and skills such as masonry and plumbing, to build and maintain their own toilets, a practice which benefits their entire community. The education is delivered using learning technologies catered to the needs of the rural community. With a Masters of Science in Physics from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and a second Masters degree in Radiation Oncology from Wayne State University, USA, she has a deep interest in alternative forms of learning that has been the theme in much of the work she has guided and produced. In her inspiring career in multimedia spanning over 16 years, she worked on a production of the award winning Science tutorial CDROM for Simon and Schuster at Learning Ways, USA. Later she joined Amrita, and has worked as the Creative Director for Amrita Multimedia and as the Director of Amrita Multimedia and Productions. Bhavani has done ground-breaking work on the production of educational CD-Roms which have received international acclaim. She was nominated in 2012 to be among the top ten young innovators of India at the Action for India Forum.

World Bank Group

Maya Brahmam is a Senior Communications O cer at the World Bank Group. She has managed communications for a range of clients within the World Bank, including the Bank’s Chief Economist and the high-level independent Commission on Growth and Development, chaired by Nobel Laureate, Michael Spence. Maya is part of the Global Engagement team in External and Corporate Relations and is responsible for innovative platforms, such as TEDx WorldBankGroup and WikiStage WBG. She is now developing the private sector constituency work in this team. Previously, Maya led communications for the World Bank’s Knowledge Exchange and Learning department, where she successfully launched the World Bank’s first Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on climate change, citizen engagement and risk. She has developed and led innovative campaigns for the Bank; examples include the Nike-World Bank “Party in the Park” for gender equality, the first global Open Forum 2010, which opened up the Bank-Fund Annual Meetings to a broader public, and Arab Voices and Views, a high-level forum on the Middle East and North Africa. She curated TEDx Sendai on the theme of natural disasters and TEDx WBG on the theme of Ending Poverty. In October 2015, she organized the first WikiStage WBG Lima on Social Inclusion. Experienced in stakeholder engagement and relationship management, Maya has led consultations in over 30 countries for the World Development Report 2007, and the global web consultations for the Governance and Anti-Corruption Initiative. Her areas of interest include climate change, growth and development, gender, youth, and knowledge for development. A native English speaker, she is fluent in French and is proficient in Spanish.

Bella Vista Social Club

Amanda Caniglia is the owner of the Bella Vista Social Club & Ca é, located at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. Bella Vista serves as the social hub for the Innovation and Biotech community on the Mesa, and Ms. Caniglia is honored to be viewed as a true connector of people, ideas, and companies. When not serving up celebrated food and conversation, (“Great minds deserve great food,”) she spearheads Miracle Coast No Boundaries, a grassroots movement to collectively engage San Diego stakeholders in positioning our Smart City—and especially the Mesa cluster of high-tech, biotech and science–on a global scale, driving awareness and business to the region. Ms. Caniglia is President of the Board of Alliance4Empowerment. She is Small Business spokeswoman for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce; and not least a writer/columnist for San Diego Magazine (“Life on the Mesa.”) A graduate of UCSD in political science, dance, and Spanish literature, Caniglia spent several productive years in Spain and Brazil. She also has a teacher credential from SDSU and instructed courses in Business English for foreign businessmen and women before establishing the Bella V. Her strengths in strategic planning, e ective marketing, and the delicate art of social networking all serve to expand opportunities for business growth and profitability in San Diego and the burgeoning mega-region.

MA Centers, North America

Dayamrita Chaitanya is the Executive Director of the MA Centers, a conglomeration of non-profit organizations focused on spreading Amma Amritanandamyi’s teachings on love and compassion in the west. He manages the day-to day activities for the MA Centers and is responsible for the activities in the U.S., Canada and Latin America. Dayamrita has given a number of talks at a variety of universities and he travels with Amma all over the world. Dayam- rita Swami was initially a documentary filmmaker when he met Amma in 1983. His initial intention was to expose her as fake miracle healer. When Dayamrita Swami witnessed Amma licking the wounds of a leper, his life was completely transformed. He had never seen such compassion and love in another fellow human being. He then decided to dedicate his life in her service. He has served during the Katrina and Haiti disasters, visiting and consoling the victims and conducting the relief activities of MA Centers.

A4E, Social Impact & Innovation

Naila Chowdhury, originally from Bangladesh, is the Director of Social Impact and Innovation at UC San Diego. She is a leading management professional with an Executive MBA from the Stockholm School of Economics, with 21 years of professional, diversified, global management skills, both in major and startup organizations. She was the first woman director of GrameenPhone Ltd in 1999, and was part of its growth into the largest mobile operator in Bangladesh. The GrameenPhone’s Village Project supported the grassroots women of remote villages as they extended telecom to the rural population. This microfinance project earned Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Naila was involved in replicating Grameen’s success in over 10 countries as Asian Synergy Expert and Director, Telenor contributing to the company’s rapid progress and receiving professional recognition from INSEAD and WHO.

Naila was the Advisor via the TPN Technology Network Partners of the Gates Foundation. She is also a Founding Woman of Fashion4Development in New York and TeleConsult Group-Bangladesh. Naila serves on the Boards of several non-profits: Athgo International, Better World Wireless/Sparrow and Advanced Development for Africa-Zero Mothers Die. She is a also member of the UN Global Compact, and Global Ambassador for the Joyful Women Foundation, Kenya led by Her Excellency Rachel Ruto. Naila also serves on several Advisory Boards: Khan Institute, New York, the Center of Global Justice, UC San Diego, and the Peace and Justice Institute of the University of San Diego, I-House UC San Diego, and Ashoka Network, UC San Diego. She is also an Advisor to Ashoka Support Network Members, see more at: http://techonomy.com/people/naila-chowdhury/#st-hash.

Her career began in UNICEF Bangladesh and then UK based Marie Stopes Clinic. Her work also gave her scope to create awareness about Women‘s Rights, Human trafficking, and the flesh trade in India. She was Country Service Head of DHL and was the first person to start the 24x7 Call Center in Bangladesh through DHL Express.  

Naila’s specialty is creating self-sustaining programs that economically empower girls and women with state-of-the-art technology. She is an active mentor for Women, Girls and Youth in constructive entrepreneurship, information communication, and sustainable development. Naila is involved in global networking, developing teams, and providing sustainable technology-driven entrepreneurial platforms for young people, thus empowering individuals by creating opportunities to self-organize and succeed with minimal resources and options.

As founder & Chair of Women4Empowerment (W4E), and Alliance4Empowerment, two organizations whose goal is to empower, nurture, transform and respect Women, Girls and Youth, Naila’s current focus is to raise women from an extreme low income into a sustainable income bracket and thus empower them economically. She works on Social Credit Model, which is defined as “ Dynamic acceleration of Economic Empowerment through optimum use of capital”.

Her work and values are inspired by ‘Lotus’ and driven by resilience, tenacity, enlightenment, empowerment, love, compassion, dignity, and self esteem for humanity.

www.alliance4empowerment.org, www.women4empowerment.org

Dyna LLC

Marty Cooper is Chairman and Co-Founder of Dyna LLC. He is also Co-Founder of Arraycomm, LLC, headquarters in San Jose, CA and of GreatCall, Inc., the innovator of the Jitterbug cell phone and service. Cooper has been involved in and contributed to virtually every major innovation in personal wireless communication in his over 50-year career. He conceived the first portable cellular phone in 1973, and is widely recognized as an innovator in spectrum management. For 29 years, Cooper led a number of major business at Motorola; including high-capacity paging, trunked mobile radio, cellular radio telephone, quartz crystals and oscillators, liquid crystal displays, piezo-electric components, A.M. stereo technology, and various mobile and portable two-way radio product lines. Following Motorola, Cooper co-founded Cellular Business Systems, Inc., a cellular billing system company. Cooper has 11 patents in the communications field. He is widely published and continues to write and lecture around the world about wireless communications, technological innovation, the Internet, and R&D Management. Cooper was involved in industry and government e orts to allocate new radio frequency spectrum for the land mobile radio services in the U.S. and has testified before the Federal Communications Commission and the United States Senate. He serves on the U.S. Department of Commerce Spectrum Advisory Committee that advises the President of the United States on spectrum policy. Cooper has received numerous honors and awards, including the 2009 Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Science Research and induction into the National Academy of Engineering in 2010. In February 2013, Cooper was co-recipient of the Charles Stark Draper Prize; one of the world’s preeminent awards for engineering achievement. In October, 2013, he was awarded the coveted Marconi Prize. Cooper has bachelors and masters degree in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology and was awarded an honorary doctorate by that institution in 2004. He serves on IIT’s board of trustees, as well as the boards of several other public and private companies.


Since 2001, Congresswoman Susan A. Davis has proudly represented California’s 53rd Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Stretching from I-5 and Balboa Park on the west, through Mission Valley to East County, and continuing south to Chula Vista, California’s 53rd Congressional District includes much of the heart of San Diego. In Congress, Susan serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel. She also sits on the Education and the Workforce Committee. Susan’s signature issues include defense, education, health care, veterans’ a airs and election reform. Prior to Congress, Susan served 6 years in the California State Assembly and 9 years on the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education. After growing up in northern California and graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, Susan earned a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A Mid-City resident, Susan has been active in the San Diego community for nearly four decades. She is married to Steve Davis and they have two sons and three grandchildren.

Emissary for Peace

Lama Tenzin is the Personal Emissary for Peace to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. He organizes and oversees His Holiness' visits and events in the US and internationally which individually reach millions of people worldwide. He travels with and represents His Holiness in the United States and abroad as Peace Emissary. Lama Tenzin is also the Secretary of the Dalai Lama Trust, and the Founder/Chairman of Friends of the Dalai Lama, an independent non-profit organization dedicated to globalizing compassion. Among many other events, Friends of the Dalai Lama hosted the 2015 Global Compassion Summit and World Celebration of His Holiness' 80th birthday in Southern California. This event had an attendance of over 60,000 people and reached over 1 billion people worldwide through live streams and social media. In June 2016, Lama Tenzin led the events that brought His Holiness to Sacramento to deliver the keynote address to the California Legislature on June 20, and to Indianapolis for the keynote address at the 84th Annual Conference of US Mayor on June 26 which saw record attendance and reached over 7 million people via live streams. Lama Tenzin is a Tibetan Buddhist monk, born and raised at Namgyal Monastery, the private monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India.

Mediation Solutions International

Alexis Dixon is a professional mediator at Mediation Solutions International, with an extensive background in humanistic (person-centered) psychotherapy. With more than fifteen years of experience as a professional mediator, Mr. Dixon has worked within the governmental, corporate and social service sectors, both nationally and internationally. In addition to his consultant practice Mr. Dixon lectures at the University of San Diego and San Diego State University. Within the last two years he created two black and white photographic exhibitions on wisdom entitled Notes to Our Sons and Daughters (www.notessd.com) featured at the Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA).

Mediation Solutions International

Alexis Dixon is a professional mediator at Mediation Solutions International, with an extensive background in humanistic (person-centered) psychotherapy. With more than fifteen years of experience as a professional mediator, Mr. Dixon has worked within the governmental, corporate and social service sectors, both nationally and internationally. In addition to his consultant practice Mr. Dixon lectures at the University of San Diego and San Diego State University. Within the last two years he created two black and white photographic exhibitions on wisdom entitled Notes to Our Sons and Daughters (www.notessd.com) featured at the Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA).


Joan Domingos née Ajayi was born in Nigeria, West Africa. Joan is a proud mother of four boys. A registered Geriatric nurse and an alternative singer/songwriter by profession, Joan’s nursing career was inspired by Joan’s mother’s heart disease in the mid¬eighties. Joan worked two jobs in Germany, as a Geriatric Nurse (Examinierte Altenpflegerin) for “CARITAS” and as a professional singer, performing at Germany’s second best show in 2013 “FANTISSI- MA” in Phantasialand. Life put Joan in a traumatic situation because her first marriage ended as a result of substance abuse and domestic violence. Looking for a new beginning and safety from her abuser, Joan decided to take into consideration the convincing o er of work and most of all safety o ered by her friend. Joan decided to move to the United States of America. Upon arrival she found herself engulfed in a vicious circle of abuse that made her feel trapped, helpless, and very afraid for her life and that of her Children. After the escape from her tra cker, Joan found her children and herself in several safe houses and safety transfers (she had relocated four times in 2 months). In the late summer of 2014 she moved with her children to San Diego to yet another safe house. Her feeling of helplessness and despair increased. While in Oceanside, she was referred to a legal firm “Casa Cornelia” which greatly helped and was to change her life for the better. Joan becme enlightened about the di erent forms of human tra cking and came to the harsh realization that she was a victim of domestic violence and human tra cking. This made her case very complex. After several appointments she was referred to Carmen Kcomt who is the Director of the legal department of La Maestra Community Health Centers. Carmen received Joan and her children with open arms and assisted them with endless resources including public benefits like the victims compensation program and therapy. This led to Joan’s introduction to La Maestra’s “Circle of Care”. Carmen introduced Joan to Zara Marselian, CEO of La Maestra Community Health Centers who also welcomed Joan warmly and has played one of the key roles in Joan’s healing process. Carmen referred Joan to La Maestra’s Generations program director Christopher Ewald in November 2014 who was looking for a music instructor at the time for the after school program. Joan had to prepare herself mentally and after a few months Joan started volun- teering in February 2015. Joan is currently a music and academic instructor at La Maestra Community Health Center’s Generations After School Program, “Center for Youth Advancement”. Thanks to the tireless e orts of her attorney Carolina Martin Ramos and team at Casa Cornelia Law Center, Joan’s status and that of her children was adjusted in July 2016. Life has brought many challenges her way and she was able to surmount them by God’s grace and a strong support system, made up of family and faithful friends of which La Maestra’s “CIRCLE OF CARE” played the key role when she and her children were left at the mercy of the unknown. “I choose not to see myself as a victim nor a survivor of human tra cking. I see myself as a single mother who is grateful to be alive and is empowered to advocate for myself and my children to not just exist in life but to enjoy life to its fullest. My goal is to enlighten and assist people from all walks of life who may be going through the same situation and may not even know it!! Human tra cking is real and happens in plain sight”. For more information about Joan’s inspirational songs which also played an enormous part in her healing process please go to her webpages at www.bukidomingos.com or www.reverbnation.com/bukidomingos


Dr. Rob Gailey teaches nonprofit organizational management and theories of economic devel- opment in the International Development major at PLNU and serves as the faculty advisor to PLNU’s Microfinance Club. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of San Diego’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences, with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. As Direc- tor of the Center for International Development, Rob Gailey is actively engaged with students across campus to bring awareness and solutions to social issues that impact our global econo- my. The Center for International Development has funded several students to participate in international development conferences and research in the U.S. and abroad.


Twyla Garrett is an extraordinary entrepreneur, corporate speaker, and compelling author who has been personally invited to speak at The White House on the issues of creating jobs, economic growth and the controversial fiscal cli of 2012. Garrett is known for her notable (sometimes 100% self-funded) business deals as much as she is for providing excellent opportunities to individuals facing immense challenges. An Ohio native, Ms. Garrett attended John Marshall High School, Ursuline College (BA), and University of Phoenix (MA). While in high school Twyla learned to prepare complex tax returns and used her mathematical intuition to advance her business curiosity in college. She started o working for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service in downtown Cleveland and moved to San Diego, California with the positions of deputy controller NADEP and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Manager for Space and Naval Warfare System Command (SPAWAR). Feeling that entrepreneur itch, she left the federal government and started her own management consulting firm, Investment Management Enterprise (IME). IME employs people in three states and also overseas. The company provides homeland security and disaster preparedness and IT innovation services. IME is currently work on several inaugural preparation exercises. As her business took flight. Twyla Garrett provided a give back to Cleveland, a 1.5 million dollar entertainment complex designed to single-handily add to the improvement of Cleveland’s economic culture. Her entertainment complex has hired formerly homeless individuals, provided musicians and artists with actual money making opportunities, and served the community by supporting American goods and services. The project currently in the works involves the food and beverage industry, with an upscale shopping plaza. On a personal note, Twyla Garrett is an abuse survivor who has successfully overcome all the challenges associated with how and where she grew up. Isolated from her mother and siblings at the age of fourteen, Garrett was supported by a single father. Before the court order to live with her father, Twyla had to endure psychological, sexual, and verbal abuse. Her strong will to thrive (not just survive) instilled a fighter’s-instinct. This “instinct” is why Twyla is able to use her positive drive as a motivator to start and grow many businesses. It is also what allows her to share insight (including that of her venture failures) with others who share an enthusiasm for business ownership. Mentoring young adults on the subject of business is a top priority for Ms. Garrett. Twyla’s memoir will be published in 2016 and it will be followed by a series of “how-to” business books. Currently, Twyla’s business blog and social media accounts furnish motivational quotes and an over-the-shoulder view of her unique perspective on profiting in business while helping others.

Point Loma Nazarene University

Dr. Jamie Gates, cultural anthropologist and director of Point Loma Nazarene University’s Center for Justice and Reconciliation, co-led the groundbreaking research project “Measuring the Extent and Nature of Gang Involvement in Sex Tra cking in the San Diego/Tijuana Border Region” (2013-15). He co-chairs the Research and Data Committee of the San Diego County Advisory Council on Human Tra cking and CSEC. He founded and directs the Human Tra cking Research and Data Advisory Roundtable (HT-RADAR) for SD County. Dr. Gates led the university in establishing the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund for survivors of human tra cking to get their college degree. He leads an e ort to design and implement a drama-based peer-to-peer human tra cking awareness training in San Diego’s middle and high schools. He serves as expert witness on human tra cking legislation. He also serves as a faith-based organizer with regional and national faith-based organizations.

United Nationsy

Meg is Chief, Economic Empowerment at UN Women, responsible for a global team advocating for and implementing programs on sustainable development, engendering macro-economic policy and strengthening economic institutions to improve outreach and inclusion of women. It's all about women's economic empowerment! Our flagship programs are in entrepreneurship and investment; decent work and social protection; climate-resilient agriculture; and renewable energy. From 2008 – 2015, Meg was Women and Trade Program Manager at the International Trade Centre (a joint agency of the United Nations and WTO), responsible for the design and implementation of the multiyear, multimillion dollar program to increase the economic benefits women derive from trade. Meg works with women-owned enterprises to connect them to corpo- rate and government buyers; and with institutions and government to improve the business environment for women exporters. Raising 20m over 5 years, the program has resulted in $30m in sales and letters of intent thus far. Meg is the former Deputy Director of the Evian Group at IMD – a trade think tank. Meg has also worked for the O ce of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, prior to which she was on the Australian delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Meg brings with her private sector experience gained from working in the financial markets and in management consulting. Meg has sat on several boards including the Australia-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Organization of Women in International Trade. Meg was declared 'Woman of the Year' in 2013 by the Organization of Women in International Trade. She also received the ‘World of Di erence’ award in 2012 from The International Alliance of Women for her contribution to women's economic empowerment. Meg holds a Master of International Studies and a Bachelor of Economics having studied in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Netherlands. She speaks English, French and Japanese.

American Bar Association

Carmen Kcomt is a member of the American Bar Association, and currently the Director of the Legal and Social Department with La Maestra Community Health Centers, in charge of the Human Tra cking Program. She is a former Magistrate from Peru; where she served in the Judicial Power for 10 years as a Superior Court Family and Juvenile Judge. Ms. Kcomt holds a Master’s Degree in International Human Rights Law and was a professor in two universities in Peru. Carmen has also worked for the United Nations supervising compliance for the rights of prisoners in detention centers in the northern part of Peru. Carmen arrived in the USA as a refugee, fleeing political persecution. Since then, she has overcome legal and social challenges to become a US citizen and has risen to be a strong advocate for refugees and victims of tra cking in San Diego.

Carmen has been a guest teacher at the University of San Diego, and has received the “Wiley W. Manuel Certificate” for her pro bono work with the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program. Carmen is the Delegate for the State of California before the Refugee Congress and the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees. She was celebrated as a KPBS Local Hero during Hispanic Heritage Month in 2014. In 2015, Carmen received the “Distinguished Citizen Award“ from the San Diego County Bar Association. Carmen is a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy and the District Attorney and Sheri ’s O ce Citizens Academy, 2016. Ms. Kcomt is a prolific author, having written over 80 articles in newspapers in Peru and in San Diego, and has co-authored two textbooks on domestic violence and human rights.

Disability Advocacy Promotion

Laura Kelly has a BS from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a MA from the CA School of Professional Psychology. In years past she has worked in the field of disability advocacy promoting standards for accessible housing and public spaces. Currently Laura is writing a memoir about her 11 years of sexual abuse from her father and the psychological e ect that had on the person she became. If you ask Laura what her greatest accomplishment is, she will say it was helping two baby boys become fine young men. Both of her sons are now independent, self-confident, happily married to lovely women. Given Laura’s own upbringing in a dysfunctional incest family, with no role models to guide her, this is no small achievement. When not found in her analyst’s o ce, you can find Laura writing, reading, gardening or cooking at home, or out at the theater or dancing.

C.E.L.L. Consultancy Firm

Starla Lewis, CEO of C.E.L.L. consultancy firm, is a transformational speaker and life coach who has developed lectures and facilitated seminars in Cultural Diversity, Life Mastery and Women Empowerment, nationally and internationally. Starla Lewis’s 40 years of research and experience in Women’s Studies, Ethnic Studies, African Studies, and Oral Communication have enhanced her ability to connect diverse Communities. Starla works with corporations, organizations, and schools. She is a performer poet, author and illustrator of Sunkisses, a multicultural/ multilingual coloring book for children and adults. Starla creates an "edu-taining" environment through her experiential lectures, workshops and seminars. In 2016 Starla will serve as curator for, “The History and the Hair Story: 400 Years Without a Comb” exhibition at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. Starla’s most recent women’s empowerment workshop series focuses on cultivating self-love, building positive relationships amongst women, overcoming racism and sexism and healing mother and daughter relationships. Starla is a two-time recipient of the “Bob Marley Peace” award, an inductee into the Women's Hall of Fame, and is one of KPBS’ Local Heroes. Starla is a seven-time recipient of the Mesa College “Teacher of the Year” award. Starla Lewis’ work a rms that all people are brilliant, powerful, limitless, love.

True Charisma

Robin Sol Lieberman is an author and the Founder of TrueCharisma, a training and consulting firm committed to helping individuals and organizations communicate more e ectively. Robin Sol has spoken at the United Nations Headquarters, worked with emerging global leaders through events organized by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign A airs, with new arrival immigrants, refugees, prisoners, ex-o enders, university students and with the marketing teams of internation- al companies such as Pfizer. Robin Sol was introduced to the power of non-verbal communication during her world travels as a cultural anthropologist. Not particularly quick at picking up foreign languages, she began connecting with the world’s people using a universal language she already knew how to “speak”: charisma. She would go on to practice as a mind-body therapist in an attempt to understand how voice, body language, beliefs and emotions can be altered at will for more coherently powerful communication. Today, Robin Sol’s training and consulting firm, TrueC- harisma, as well as her book, The Charisma Code: Communicating in a Language Beyond Words, make charisma’s barrier-breaking language accessible to the many. Robin Sol recently appeared on WTTG-TV (FOX) “Good Day DC” and SiriusXM’s P.O.T.U.S. Channel’s “Morning Briefing” to discuss the Charisma Types of the presidential candidates. To learn more, including what your own Charisma Type is, please visit www.TrueCharisma.com

La Maestra Community Health Center

Zara Marselian, MA, FACHE is the CEO of La Maestra Community Health Centers and La Maestra Foundation. She founded La Maestra to provide healthcare, education and social services to help low-income, diverse residents in her inner-city San Diego community to become healthy and self-su cient. Since 1990, La Maestra has expanded to serve 45,000 people annually in underserved areas of San Diego County. Zara has been recognized locally and nationally for her commitment to develop and share e ective approaches to addressing health and wellbeing needs of underserved communities. Her expertise includes cultural diversity and social determinants of health and their impacts on low income, immigrant/refugee, public housing residents, women, youth and older adults; innovative healthcare and social service delivery models such as telehealth and peer promotora programs; developing partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders; promoting healing through art; economic empowerment through peer microlending and social enterprise; and medical-legal-social services integration. www.lamaestra.org

Hidden Treasures Foundation

Mrs. Mester was tra cked for two years as teenager. She has an intimate understanding of the victimization these girls are su ering and uses her own life story to build public aware- ness, emotional connections with victims, and hope for those still trapped. Mrs. Mester is currently on the board of directors for Hidden Treasures Foundation. In addition to this Mrs. Mester has served as Outreach Director, Media Relations, as a featured speaker in public awareness events and Fundraising Coordinator. Mrs. Epps graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Arts and Sciences from San Diego State University and works at San Diego Center for Children as a Residential Counselor. In 2015 Ti any married Phil, a wonder- ful man who serves as Petty O cer in the Navy and together they devote themselves to helping the youth within their community.

UC San Diego

Dr. Henri Migala joined UCSD in February 2013 as the Director of the International House. Henri was born in Paris, France. With a Masters degree in anthropology from the University of Texas in Arlington, a Masters in Public Health (MPH) from the University of North Texas and a doctorate in higher education leadership from San Diego State University, Dr. Migala began working in higher education in 1992 at what is now the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center. During his tenure there, Dr. Migala served as the Assistant Director for International Health Related Programs, Director for Rural Health and as the institution’s liaison for US-Mexico border health issues. Dr. Migala has also worked with the UN World Health Organization in the global polio eradication program in Nepal (along the Nepali-Indian border), and has served in senior administrative positions in international non-profit organizations specializing in humanitarian aid, international health and development, medical education, and disaster relief. Through these e orts, Dr. Migala has developed, implemented and supported humanitarian aid, development and disaster relief programs in over 20 countries in Central and South America, Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe. Dr. Migala served as the Program Director for the first global conference on the Social Obligations of Universities in the Health of the Disadvantaged, co-sponsored by the UN World Health Organization and UNESCO. He also served on the international committee which drafted the UN Charter for the Social Obligations for Colleges and Universities.

UC San Diego

With a career spanning the public, private, and non-profit sectors, Michele provides a unique balance of practicality, creativity, and perspective to her work life. She is passionate about human-centered design, strategic leadership, and high-impact innovation, all drivers in her current position as the Associate Director of the DesignLab, UC San Diego.

Prior to the DesignLab, Michèle founded HardPoint Solutions (HPS) consulting firm, assisting companies in the security, corporate, and non-profit sectors via strategic consulting, operational support, organizational management, and training. She also served more than a decade in the United States Secret Service where highlights include her work with high-profile Protective Intelligence and Special Operations initiatives, pioneering the International Counterfeit Detection Training Initiative with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank and global financial institutions, and spearheading numerous long-range and often Congressionally-mandated policy measures in the areas of protective intelligence, threat assessment, emergency preparedness, and international negotiations.

Michele honed her business and communication acumen as a Sloan Fellow at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and simultaneous Graduate Fellow at the Stanford University Law School’s Center for International Conflict and Negotiation. While at Stanford, she was co-founder of the award-winning Social Innovation Fellowship team, Island Water, of which she still serves as a board advisor. She also proudly includes The Catholic University of America and L’Unversité de Nantes as alma maters.

Michèle is an accomplished dancer, choreographer, and certified fitness professional. Her love for the performing arts and holistic health has propelled her international community outreach e orts as the Training Director for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Youth Dance Program and the D.A.R.E.® Dance Program, as well as the founder of B.E.A.M. Fitness.

Generate Hope

Susan Munsey, LCSW is the Executive Director of GenerateHope where she leads a team of dedicated professionals & volunteers in the work of rehabilitating survivors of sex tra cking via housing, education, psychotherapy & adjunct therapies. Susan is a graduate of Smith College with a Masters degree in Social Work and over 20 years of therapeutic experience in the community, hospitals and private practice. Susan also educates community groups, churches, college students and more on sex tra cking in hopes of eradicating this issue.

International Rescue Committee

David has been the Executive Director for the International Rescue Committee’s San Diego o ce since April 2015, before that he was the Country Director for the IRC in Ethiopia since August 2004. Previously David was a General Manager for an air freight company in Denver, Colorado. During his time there he gained valuable management and organizational development skills. After seven years in this position, he began to get bored, tired, burned out and hated Monday mornings. While thinking about his future course of action, a question was posed to him, “if money was no object, what would you do for a career”? David answered, “I want to lead photo safaris in Africa” and with this answer he moved to Africa and began to lead safaris. After one year of extensive travel around Southern and East Africa he began to look at the aid, humanitarian, relief field. One day while on a break in between trips in Nairobi Kenya, David approached the IRC for a job. IRC had a job in the break away Republic of Somaliland (North Western Somalia). He began working as a volunteer and quickly moved up the management ladder (Project Manager, Program Coordinator, and Country Director). After four years in Somaliland, David took over the IRC Kenya o ce for almost one year. Then onward to Afghanistan for a short-term mission that turned into a 1 1⁄2 year posting. Finally, he moved to Ethiopia for 10 1⁄2 years. David currently resides in San Diego with his French wife (Delphine), their 12 year old son (Neil) and 9 year old daughter (Andrea).


Navneet Singh Narula, a resident of Atlanta, is an award winning serial entrepreneur and the CEO of nBrilliance, who focuses on global development, sustainability and innovation. He is also the Chief Leadership O cer at United Sikhs, a United Nations mandated human rights and international development NGO, where he has led many disaster relief and humanitari- an aid programs. Formerly, he was a management executive at Accenture and recognized as one of the “Best Finance Executives” at American Business Awards 2007. Navneet was honored by the prestigious Consulting Magazine as one of the "Top 30 Consultants" in America 2008. He was also honored by Hillary Clinton as "Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business", selected Georgia's "Top 40 under 40" Leaders and recently named as "Top Progressive American Leaders" in the nation by New Leaders Council. Navneet has served in disaster relief, leading and supporting humanitarian aid projects with budgets of over $500 million, in the Asian Tsunami of 2004, Hurricane Katrina, 2005, Kashmir Earthquake 2006, Haiti earthquake in 2010 and the Japanese Tsunami in 2011. Narula was honored by President Obama with the Lifetime Presidential Service medal and selected as Humanitarian of the Year by MIB foundation. He was selected as the prestigious American Marshall Memorial Fellow by the German Marshall Fund, and is also a Fellow at Asia21, the Aspen Institute, New Leaders Council and StartingBloc. As a Global Leadership expert, he helps create solutions for a sustainable world. Navneet is invited frequently to give keynote talks and has inspired thousands, speaking at World Bank, United Nations, & German Marshall Fund, among others. Navneet has been educated at Stanford School of Business, Georgetown MBA, Cornell, ESADE and Michigan State University.

Athgo International

Armen Orujyan, PhD, is a visionary who has devoted the last 20 years to the service of helping people around the globe realize their entrepreneurial and innovation dreams. He is the Founder and CEO of Athgo International, one of the world’s leading entrepreneurial platforms in consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, and the UN Department of Public Information. Under Armen’s leadership, Athgo has established recurring Global Innova- tion Forums at the UN and at the World Bank headquarters, as well as in Europe and Africa. These aspiring Forums have provided financial, intellectual, and networking opportunities to nearly 10,000 young innovators, entrepreneurs, and students from over 600 universities in 80 countries. Armen was named a UN e-Leader for ICT and Youth and twice selected as one of top under-40 young leaders by Asia Society. He also served as a Commissioner on the UN’s venerated Broadband Commission for Digital Development. www.athgo.org

Destination Peace

Emanuel C. Perlman is a lyric tenor, composer, lecturer, recording artist, civic leader, therapist and clergyman. Manny has concertized throughout the United States and Europe. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Music and Voice from Rhode Island College and a Masters Degree in Psychiatric Social Work from the Wurzweiller School of Social Work. He recently received an honorary Doctorate in Music. Manny has lectured and performed twice at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. He has performed twice throughout Cuba and premiered an original show entitled “A Life of Coincidences” at the Players Club in New York City. Manny has performed at the Capitol Rotunda and the Arlington National Cemetery with the United States Marine Band and in a holiday concert with the United States Naval Academy Band. He has concertized at the Mormon Tabernacle in Bethesda, Maryland and in Salt Lake City, Utah. "Manny" recently presented at Windsor Castle for the International Council for Caring Communities retreat and sang at the United Nations. His previous CD "Face to Face" is catalogued and included in the Library of Congress. "Manny" was presented with his community’s (Pikesville, Maryland) "Volunteer of the Year Award." Along with John Kiehl, co-founder and co-owner of the Academy/Grammy Award winning SoundTrack Studios located in New York and Boston and his eminent Voice Teacher Professor William Riley (voice teacher to Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Whitney Houston, and many others) he is an app conceptualizer and developer. Together they also facilitate the Construct Institute (TCI). Members of the TCI include actor Richard Dreyfus, Don Beck (Spiral Dynamics) and singer Peter Yarrow. In addition to his civic, musical and clergy activities, he has been a psychiatric social worker, field instructor, social work supervisor and team coordinator in New York City. He has been married to Janice (Jotkowitz) for over 40 years. They are the proud parents of Steven and Deborah, Benjamin and Bethany and Marc. They are the proud grandparents of Abner and Muriel.

Dnet Global

Dr. Ananya Raihan of Bangladesh is an Ashoka Fellow. He is also a member of Editorial Board of the Journal of Community Informatics. He holds both a Masters and Ph.D. in Economics, with a specialization in Economic Cybernetics. Dr. Raihan, as a co-founder of Dnet, has led the growth of the institution, first as a volunteer since 2001, then joining Dnet full-time in 2005 with a vision to build the institution, after quitting renowned policy think tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD). From teaching to policy research, from policy research to social entrepreneurship – at each stage of his journey his focus was to change the perspectives of young people towards becoming change agents themselves. He has been successful in transforming ideas into action by creating collective leadership to sustain innovation by launching a series of institutions. A continuous learning mindset makes him a born change maker. Access to Information for the common citizen is the core idea of his work. A social entrepreneur, Dr Raihan led the development of the “Pallitathya Model” to improve access to knowledge and information among poor and marginalized communities. The concept was subsequently scaled-up country-wide through establishment of Union Digital Centers (UDCs). He also advanced the concept of "Benefit on Investment" (BOI) to understand and capture the sustainability dimension of public access to information. His concept “Infolady”, subsequently evolved into “Kallyani”, (www.infolady.com.bd, isocial.com.bd) opens employment opportunities to thousands of women as well as promotes women’s agency in society. He led the design and development of the first national scale mHealth service ‘Aponjon’ (www.aponjon.com.bd) for expecting and new mothers. The Aponjon has evolved into a new venture titled “LifeChord” (www.lifechord.com.bd). He has conducted research projects for a range of national, regional, and global organizations, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), IDRC, IDS, UNCTAD, UNICEF, UNESCO, WTO-ITC, and many other institutions at home and abroad. Dr. Raihan is the member of International Advisory Board of Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action, Health Communications Capacity Collaborative (HC3) and Global Open Knowledge Hub. ananya@dnet.org.bd

UC San Diego

Anita Raj, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine and Global Public Health and the Founding Director of the Center on Gender Equity and Health at the University of California, San Diego. Trained as a developmental psychologist, Dr. Raj has expertise in social and behavioral theories and intervention development, implementation science, and evaluation, as well as measures development, in her focal areas of interest which include sexual and reproductive health, gender based violence and inequities such as girl child marriage, and adolescent maternal health, as well as substance use and HIV. Dr. Raj has served as Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on more than 40 federal, foundation and multilateral (e.g., UNICEF) grants conducting research in South Asia, the United States, Russia, and sub-Saharan Africa, and she has more than 150 peer-reviewed publications from this research. Her publications include papers in such prestigious journals as the Lancet and the Journal of the American Medical Association, and her research has been featured in media outlets across national settings.

QI, UC San Diego

Dr. Ramesh R. Rao has been a faculty member at UC San Diego since 1984, and Director of the Qualcomm Institute, (Qi) at UCSD, a division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), since 2001. He holds the Qualcomm Endowed Chair in Telecommunications and Information Technologies in the Jacobs School of Engineering at UCSD, and is a member of the school’s Electrical and Computer Engineering department. Prior to QI (Calit2), Professor Rao served as the Director of UCSD’s Center for Wireless Communications (CWC). Dr. Rao is involved on a day-to-day basis with a wide variety of research initiatives at QI. He leads several major interdisciplinary and collaborative projects and has been a PI on dozens of federal-, state-, foundation- and industry-funded grants. Dr. Rao is an IEEE Fellow and Senior Fellow of the California Council on Science and Technology. He was named a Member of the UC San Diego Health System Advisory Board, a Member of the Board of the Academy of Neurosciences for Architecture, a Member of the Rady Children’s Hospital and Health Center Board IT Task Force and serves as the Vice President of the San Diego Indian American Society. Dr. Rao earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1984, after receiving his M.S. from the same institution in 1982. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in 1980 from the University of Madras (the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirapalli). Dr. Rao received the distinguished alumnus award from the National Institute of Technology in 2010, the ECE Distinguished alumni award from the University of Maryland in 2012, the Professional Gordon Engineering Leadership Award from UCSD’s Gordon Engineering Leadership Center in 2010. He also received the 2011 Casa Familiar Abrazo Award for serving and making a di erence in the San Ysidro. community.

United Nations

Amandine Roche is a Human Right Lawyer with over 15 years of experience in conflict contexts across Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. She has worked with the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping, European Commission, UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO, UN WOMEN, IOM, and USAID. Her professional experience is focused on human rights, democratization, education, media, and gender/youth empowerment. She holds a MD in International Relations and LM in Political Science (France), a MA in Human Rights and International Law (Spain) and has taken courses in Media and International Development (Italy), Peace Education (Costa Rica), Gender Mainstreaming (USA) and Leadership (USA). Amandine has participated in more than 20 democratic processes around the world. The European Commission and United Nations have recognized her as an authority in conflict resolution and peace building. She designed the inner-peacekeeping program, a wellness program for UN humanitarians sent to the frontline.

UC San Diego

Rubén Flores is the Director of Commercialization at UCSD. He is a native of Nayarit, México, where he completed studies in sustainable aquaculture and following his passion for all life, a bachelor’s degree in biology in Ensenada, Baja California. After moving to the United States in 1994, Rubén received a Doctorate in chemistry and biochemistry from UCLA and soon after began his career in the San Diego biotechnology industry. Rubén has held a variety of positions in R&D, marketing, business development and technology commercialization. His professional career includes Becton Dickinson (PharMingen) and Biosite (now Alere), where he ran worldwide clinical trials to develop a life-saving bedside diagnostic for sepsis; Rubén later joined Chemicon (now Millipore-Sigma), where he managed R&D, worldwide clinical-trial operations, and marketing activities for the diagnosis of viral infections. While at Millipore-Sigma, Rubén founded the world-wide Scientific Collaborations group, tasked with developing novel solutions with academic partners across the globe for stem cell research, biomarkers, cancer, neuroscience, diagnostics and therapeutics. Most recently, Rubén served as Vice President of Business Development and Technology Transfer for LA BioMed at Harbor UCLA Medical Center (an L.A. County hospital providing care to the underserved population and featured in the popular 1970’s series, Emergency!), where he focused his e orts on fostering the entrepreneurial ecosystem for startups. Working with local academic centers, the County of Los Angeles, LAEDC, LARTA and local REITs, Rubén championed the development of a 300,000 sq foot biotech park on the Harbor UCLA campus (the first of its kind in Los Angeles). Rubén is a strong supporter of the regional innovation ecosystem. He has lent his expertise as a past member of BIOCOM’s FDA committee. Rubén has acted as a member of the Scientific Advisory board of UC Riverside’s department of Bioengineering, the advisory board to the Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program at the departments of Bioengineering at the University of Washington and at the University of Southern California, and the advisory board for graduate programs in Biotechnology at Cal State University San Marcos.

LaunchPad Career Counselors

Barbara Sedgwick-Billimoria M.Ed. owns and operates LaunchPad Career Counselors, a career counseling entity based in San Diego, California. As a career counselor, Barbara has comprehensively counseled more than 400 individuals in career transition, career crisis or in the selection of college major. Barbara provides career assessments and then counsels individuals on assessment outcomes creating a bridge between self-knowledge and the world of work, career choice and career satisfaction. Further, she carefully integrates psycho- logical findings of career assessments to help individuals develop a career and/or education- al plan. Barbara also advises clients on income potential and job forecast of selected careers pursuant to regional, state and national forecasts. Further, she critiques client resume and cover letters – instructs on proper format, etiquette and content and counsels individuals on job searching strategies emphasizing the importance of networking, social media, internships and volunteerism. Barbara is also a Career Development speaker at UCSD Extension, UCSD Alumni Association, San Diego Diplomacy Council, The Boardroom, and others. Prior to working as a career counselor, Barbara worked in economic develop- ment for the State of California – Small Business Development and International Trade Center. During her 19-year tenure, Barbara counseled more than 1,600 people on all aspects of owning and operating a small business including business start-up, business planning, basic business finance and business management. In this position, Barbara also applied and was awarded two Title VI B International Business Initiative grants from the US Department of Education. One of 25 grants awarded in the United States, 2010 -2012. She was also winner of the Women’s Small Business Advocate award from the Small Business Administration, and developed the Youth Entrepreneur Program curriculum that received exemplary acknowledgement from the Chancellors O ce of the State of California. Importantly, Barbara is the mother of two awesome children and understands from first-hand experience the joys and struggles of raising 21st century children while simultaneously engaging in a meaning- ful career. As a mother, she has endeavored to raise children who embrace morals of compassion, kindness, understanding, respect and responsibility while competing with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other forms of social media. Barbara sees this as her greatest accomplishment and her most important job so far. Furthermore, Barbara hopes that in the not-so-distant future that parenting experience will become part of a standard resume as it encompasses so many skills valued in the modern workforce. Barbara’s Education Includes: Master of Education Counseling, emphasis: Career Development. University of San Diego, January, 1997. Summa Cum Laude Certificate of International Business. Thunderbird, Graduate School of International Management, December 1987. Bachelor of Arts, Communications. University of California, San Diego, CA June 1982.

Fashion Designer

Joslin Seeds is an avid proponent of confidence. She is the host, writer, and editor of her own show, “The Joslin Show” which celebrates diversity, self expression and empowerment. Having grown up shopping in thrift shops, she has a superb eye for finding items and can dress people in much sought after and often high priced garments for a fraction of the original cost. She also has her own radio show “Runway to Reality” and has become a muse and model for esteemed couture designers. Not without her own story, she prides herself on sharing that any situation can be overcome if we choose to love ourselves. Her brand is summed up in three words. Confidence, Comfort, Glamour, three things she believes everyone is entitled to, in order to feel beautiful. Everyone’s definitions of beauty and style are di erent and that’s what she nurtures.

Actress, Women4Empowerment

Cassandra is a graduate of Columbia University 2013, a Professional Actor, Humanitarian and an athlete. She is also active philanthropically. Cassandra received the 2016 Women4Empow- erment Gold Medal of Honor for her philanthropic work closely associated with empowering women and young girls. She has also been nominated to be on the Advisory Board of LDEO (Lamont – Doherty Observation Earth Conservatory) as a direct a liation with her interests at Columbia University. Cassandra has appeared on TV Shows, in Indie Films, Feature Films and on “Person Of Interest”. She secured a role in the Guild Hall’s Labor Day Production in East Hampton, New York where she performed in “The Night of 75 Stars”, alongside Alec Baldwin and Bob Balaban. . Cassandra is a graduate of the William Esper Conservatory’s 2 year Actor’s Program. She is slated for the lead role in Kevin Shea ’s upcoming Indie Feature Film entitled “In The Eyes Of Love and Vengeance” as ‘Apostle Saundra’, one among numerous other film projects. Current roles include Tammy in Jon Dabach and Rob Margolies’ “I’d Like To Be Alone Now”, and the comple- tion as Johanna Monevata in The Arkansas Repertory Theatre / Robert Hupp’s “August: Osage County” in July 2015. Cassandra has helped to organize numerous charitable events in the New York area. She feels deeply that it is her privilege to give back for the many gifts she has received in life, and is active with many organizations that she supports. Among them are: Global Advisory Board Member and Global Ambassador of Women4Empowerment, New York Advocacy Board Member of the Sphinx Organization, Co- Chair of The Women’s Project, Global Ambassador of Sunshine Family Global, Chair of The Astaire Awards, Co- Chair of the New York Dance Alliance Foundation, Chairwoman of Fashion 4 Development’s Modavie Club, Global Curator of Fashion 4 Development’s Online Shoppe, Producer of the First Women’s Fashion and Film Festival, Producer of the Oberon Theater Ensemble, and Board Member of The Tank Organization. In addition, Cassandra supports the African Rainforest Conservancy, the Southampton Hospital, the American Cancer Society, the Hunger Project, Refugees International, & NMA: the National Meningitis Association.

UC San Diego

Jay Silverman, Ph.D., is Director of Research for the Center on Gender Equity and Health and a Professor of Medicine and Global Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. He has led multiple major government, foundation and UN-funded studies of gender-based violence (e.g., IPV, sexual assault, reproductive coercion, gender-based household maltreat- ment, sex tra cking) across multiple global regions regarding e ects on women’s and girls’ reproductive and sexual health and the morbidity and mortality of their children. Dr. Silverman has published over 170 peer-reviewed scholarly papers on these issues, many in top-tier scientific journals. He is also co-author of an award-winning practitioner guidebook on the role of intimate partner violence in shaping family dynamics.

Deputy District Attorney

Summer Stephan is a career prosecutor who has served as a Deputy District Attorney in San Diego County for more than 26 years, rising through the ranks to serve as Chief of the DA’s North County Branch and Chief of the Sex Crimes and Human Tra cking Division. In 2012, she was appointed Chief Deputy District Attorney. As a trial prosecutor, Summer tried more than 100 jury trials, including special circumstance homicides, sexually-violent predators, child molestation, sexual assault, child abuse, school shooting, and human tra cking-related cases. Summer holds leadership positions in public safety on the national state and local level. She serves as Chair of the County of San Diego Human Tra cking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Advisory Council, and section Chair for the Human Tra cking Subcommittee of the National District Attorney’s Association Women Prosecutors Committee. She also serves as Co-Chair of the California District Attorneys Association Human Tra cking Committee. Summer spearheaded the innovative “Know the Price” campaign, which focused on reducing sexual assaults of college students. She also leads the award winning The Ugly Truth Human Tra cking Campaign. Ms Stephan chairs the Task Force on Threats of Targeted Violence to our schools and community. Summer was selected as one of only two prosecutors in California to serve on Governor Schwarzenegger’s Task Force for High-Risk Sex O enders and Sexually-Violent Predators. Summer is the recipient of numerous local, state and federal awards, including an FBI commendation for organized crime prosecution. She received The Outstanding Achievement award for special circumstance homicide prosecution involving the murder of an elderly woman, and Chuck Nickel Awards for professional excellence and statewide impact in public safety by the San Diego County Deputy District Attorneys Association. She is the recipient of the Prosecutor’s Award from San Diego Police Department’s homicide team. Summer was recently named Angel of Anti-Human Tra cking by the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition. She was also named “Modern Day Abolitionist” by 3Strands Global. Summer is the recipient of a 2014 commendation by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer as Commission Partner for creating positive change in the community. Chief Deputy DA Summer Stephan is an instructor and trainer locally and across the state and nation on trial practice, mental issues in criminal justice, sex crimes and human tra cking. She is an instructor on leadership, including the National District Attorneys Association Executive Management Course: “How to go from Boss to Leader”. She has testified as an expert witness on public safety issues in the California State Legislature. Summer received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Davis and her Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. She completed the “Driving Government Performance” Executive Education Course at the Harvard, Kennedy School of Government.


Sherry Tross was recently appointed as the first Ombudsperson of the Organization of Ameri- can States (OAS) in Washington, DC. From 2012-2015, she led the Secretariat for Integral Development of the 34-member state organization while simultaneously serving as Director General of the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development. Prior to that, she headed the Summits of the Americas Secretariat and helped to spearhead the planning, coordination, negotiation and implementation of the Sixth Summit of the Americas for Heads of State and Government in Cartagena, Colombia, in 2012. She also served as Chief of Sta and senior political advisor to the OAS Assistant Secretary General for several years. Before joining the OAS, Ms. Tross served as Director of Business Development at the World Trade Center Miami from 2003-2005. She also formerly served as Program Director of the Universi- ty of Miami’s North-South Center, a think tank that served as a national and hemispheric resource for informing policy on issues of democratic governance, security, sustainable development and migration in the Americas. Ms. Tross has provided consulting services for government agencies and private companies and is a frequent speaker and commentator on a range of development topics. She has been recognized for her work in development and education and for her advocacy on issues of youth and gender. In 2014, she received the United Nations South-South Cooper- ation Award and is a recipient of the Bernardo O’Higgins award from the government of Chile.

UC San Diego

Mary Walshok, Ph.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Programs and Dean of Extension at the University of California San Diego, is the author of more than 100 articles and reports on the innovation economy and aligning workforce development with regional economic growth. She has authored and co-authored Blue Collar Women (1981), Knowledge Without Boundaries (1995), Closing America’s Job Gap (2011), Creating Competitiveness: Entrepreneurship and Innovation Policies for Growth (2013) and Invention and Reinvention: The Evolution of San Diego’s Innovation Economy (2013), Public Universities and Regional Growth: Insights from the University of California (2014) and the Oxford Handbook of Local Competitiveness (2015). Her particular focus is how globalization and rapid changes in technology are a ecting the social dynamics and economic challenges of regions across America.

A co-founder in 1984 of the internationally recognized CONNECT program, Walshok has been an integral player in the evolution of San Diego’s innovation economy for more than 30 years.

  • UC San Diego