2014 Speakers, Performers and Panelists

V3con features an array of distinguished and exciting speakers! Check our Schedule for detailed program and panel information from 2014!


Gil Asakawa is a journalist, blogger, author and speaker who received V3con’s “Voice” award in 2013. He’s currently the 2014 AAJA AARP Social Media Fellow.

Twitter: @gilasakawa

Sean Bonner is a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur, journalist, activist and enthusiast. Bonner has co-founded hackerspaces and blog networks, an art gallery, design firm and record label. He is a board member of CicLAvia, Crash Space and he’s one of the co-founders and director of Safecast.

Twitter: @seanbonner

Frank Buckley is co-anchor of KTLA’s Emmy Award-winning signature broadcast, LA’s #1 rated KTLA Morning News. Frank joined KTLA in June 2005 from CNN, where he had been a Los Angeles-based national correspondent. Frank currently serves on the board of the Los Angeles chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association.

Twitter: @FrankBuckleyTV


Javier Cabral is a food culture and punk rock reporter born and raised in East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. He is an official Restaurant Scout for Jonathan Gold at the L.A. Times and has been writing about food professionally since he was 16-years-old.

Twitter: @theglutster

Steve Carlston is the President and General Manager of NBC4 Southern California (KNBC) and is responsible for the overall management of the station and its properties, including the station’s main channel (Channel 4), and NBCLA.com.  He joined NBC4 in 2011 and has more than 30 years of television industry experience.

Twitter: @NBCLA

Nancy Casanova is the social media community manager at Southern California Edison and manages the company’s social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and the company blog. Nancy is experienced in leveraging social media for crisis communication as well as in social listening, advertising and analytics, strategy and governance. She’s a proud University of Southern California alum.

Twitter: @nancycasanova

Sharon Pian Chan is associate opinions editor/digital for The Seattle Times. She served as AAJA national president from 2009 to 2010. Her first job in journalism was at Orange Coast Magazine where she was managing editor.

Twitter: @sharonpianchan

Ann Curry is an Emmy-winning NBC News correspondent and a popular presence on our screens from shows such as “Today,” “Dateline NBC” and other prominent assignments at NBC News since 1990. Curry’s many datelines through the years have included Chile, Congo, Darfur, Haiti, Iran, Kosovo, Lebanon, Serbia and Sudan; she memorably trekked to Antarctica for “Today’s” “Ends of the Earth” series of reports. Curry reports for NBC News across all its digital platforms, and the influence of her work is evident in her multimedia fan base, one that spans cultures and generations. Her tweet about a humanitarian relief plane that was unable to land in Haiti was named by Twitter as the most powerful tweet of 2010.

Twitter: @AnnCurry

Denise Dador is the Eyewitness News Health specialist for ABC7. Her Healthy Living segment is seen every day on ABC7 Eyewitness News at 4pm and 5pm. Denise has also covered breaking news, including the February 2001 Seattle Earthquake, as well as an exclusive interview with the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regarding terrorist activities in the Philippines.

Twitter: @abc7denise

Ken Fong has been a pastor of Evergreen Baptist Church of LA since 1981, and became senior pastor in 1996. He was a trustee for AADAP, IVCF/USA and Westmont College. He is also the Executive Director of Fuller Theological Seminary’s new Asian American Initiative and Assistant Professor of AA Church Ministry.

Twitter: @kenuyedafong

Henry Fuhrmann is an assistant managing editor at the Los Angeles Times, where he oversees the multiplatform editing desks and leads the standards and practices committee. He is a longtime officer and current co-president of the Los Angeles Chapter of AAJA.

Twitter: @hfuhrmann

Jessica Gao is a Los Angeles-based TV writer. She has written for “Silicon Valley,” “Robot Chicken” and “Star Wars Detours.”

Twitter: @fakejessicagao

Melissa M. Geisler is the Director of Sports Digital Programming and Production at Yahoo. She is responsible for the daily production of Yahoo’s sports site, including coverage of the Sochi and London Olympics, World Cup and award-winning investigation stories. Before joining Yahoo Sports in late 2007, she was the first female Sports Editor of The Tribune and was the Sports Copy Desk Chief at The Fresno Bee.

Twitter: @melissamgeisler

Jonathan Gold is a Los Angeles Times restaurant critic and author of “Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles.” Previously, he was a restaurant critic for L.A. Weekly and Los Angeles, Gourmet and California magazines. Jonathan has won seven James Beard Awards for his reviews and in 2007 became the first food writer to win a Pulitzer Prize for criticism. He can be heard sharing his restaurant picks each week on KCRW-FM’s “Good Food.”

Twitter: @thejgold

Luis Gomez is the business editor at the Investigative News Network covering innovation experiments in nonprofit media. Luis also teaches social media marketing for Mediabistro, and is teaching a digital marketing course for Cal State Fullerton. He has worn many news hats at places like KPCC, Yahoo, Newsbreaker, The Santa Maria Times, and the Naples Daily News. He got his journalism chops and degree from Cal Poly Pomona.

Twitter: @RunGomez

Steve Han  is a staff writer at KoreAm Journal. He also covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for South Korean daily newspaper Sports Chosun and writes about soccer for Goal.com.

Twitter: @steve_han

Erika Hayasaki is an assistant professor in the Literary Journalism Program at UC Irvine, and the author of “The Death Class: A True Story About Life.” She is a contributing health and science writer for The Atlantic and Newsweek, and the Los Angeles editor for Narratively, a digital publication devoted to in-depth feature stories. Erika spent nearly a decade staff reporter for the Los Angeles Times, where she was a New York-based national correspondent.

Twitter: @erikahayasaki

Naomi Hayase has been with Nikkei Newspaper in their L.A. bureau for the last eight years. Growing up in Tokyo, attending an American school has given her a unique outlook on life and she feels lucky to be able to use English and Japanese in her daily work. In her short time with AAJA-LA so far, Naomi has enjoyed serving as Chapter Secretary and co-President.

Twitter: @nhayase

Judith Hill, a singer-songwriter, first won recognition performing with Michael Jackson, Elton John and Josh Groban, among others. Music fans around the world watched her move into the spotlight as one of the featured subjects in the Oscar-winning 2013 documentary “20 Feet From Stardom.” Hill has won acclaim, as well, for her performances on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2013, on the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s 2012 film “Red Hook Summer” and in “This Is It,” the 2009 documentary film about Jackson’s plans to return to the stage, which were cut short by his death.

Twitter: @Judith_Hill

Susan Hirasuna is an award-winning broadcast journalist and former AAJA-LA board member who heads the weekend version of Studio 11 LA at KTTV FOX 11. This year, she traveled to Japan as a fellow with Foreign Press Center to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami area. Susan has also carved out a reputation as the resident foodie, and her work has garnered Golden Mikes from the LA Press Club and Emmy nominations for her half hour specials for Asian Pacific Heritage Month.

Twitter: @SusanHirasuna

Masami Kawai is a filmmaker born and raised in Los Angeles. She participated in Film Independent’s diversity program Project Involve, and was a selected director in the Francis Ford Coppola One-Act play series. She is currently working on a documentary about her father, who was a Los Angeles-based artist from the Pacific island of Amami and was part of the L.A. minimalist movement. She received her MFA from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and BA from Hampshire College.

Twitter: @masamikyay

Albert Kim is a television writer and currently co-executive producer for the Fox drama “Sleepy Hollow.” Previously he was a writer-producer on the CW drama “Nikita,” and he has also writen for “Leverage” (TNT) and “Dirt” (FX). Prior to his TV writing career, Kim was an award-winning journalist. He has written for numerous national magazines, including Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, People, Esquire and TIME.

Twitter: @magicbranch

Eric Kim is currently Vice President of Current Programs at CBS Television. He oversees all phases of production on popular television series such as “Blue Bloods” and “The Millers,” and will oversee new Fall series “Stalker” and “CSI Cyber.” Kim was previously Executive in Charge of Production of live action series for Nickelodeon and TeenNick, and prior to Nickelodeon, Kim was Vice President of Programming at the CW Television Network and part of the creative team that launched the new network.
G. W. (Greg) Kimura, Ph.D. is the Japanese American National Museum’s President and Chief Executive Officer and immediate past president and CEO of the Alaskan Humanities Forum (Alaska’s state humanities council). Dr. Kimura has an extensive academic background as a department head and professor with a Masters in Divinity from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in philosophy of religion from Cambridge University.

Twitter: @gwkimura

Kokoro Taiko Kai is a Japanese drumming ensemble based in Long Beach, California. Formed in 1991, they have played for numerous events in Long Beach, including the Long Beach Marathon, State of the City address (Long Beach), and the opening of the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. Kokoro Taiko Kai is a community group of diverse individuals who share a love of playing taiko. The group’s name “Kokoro” (meaning “heart” or “soul”) represents each performers’ inspiration and dedication to the art of taiko. They are honored to have this opportunity to share with all of you — the spirit, tradition and rhythmic joy of taiko and KokoroTaiko Kai.
Eddie Lin eats what you won’t and then writes about it for his food blog Deep End Dining. He also contributes to Los Angeles Magazine as a food writer. Catch him on YouTube’s Kamikaze Kitchen.

Twitter: @deependdining

Daniel Liu’s passion is connecting with others through art, music and shared experiences. As a professional fashion model and photographer, he is grateful for the opportunity to interact with creative and inspired individuals daily. He works out of New York City with his beloved Australian cattle dog and border collie mix, Ryleigh.
Richard Lui is an American journalist and news anchor for MSNBC and NBC News. Previously, he anchored at CNN Worldwide. Lui focuses on stories related to humanitarian issues, including the topics of gender/racial equality, affordable housing and human trafficking. Before journalism, Lui spent 15 years in business with Fortune 500 and tech companies. Lui’s community work spans 30 years and six continents, and he currently serves as an ambassador for Plan International USA and the Epilepsy Foundation.

Twitter: @RichardLui

Magic Giant combines a hodgepodge of cultural elements into a unique genre of Folk Electronic.

Twitter: @magicgiant

Davan Maharaj is editor of the Los Angeles Times, which publishes the nation’s fifth-largest newspaper and second-largest newspaper website. Maharaj, a 25-year veteran of the Times, was named editor and executive vice president in 2011. As a reporter for the Times, Maharaj worked in Orange County, Los Angeles and East Africa. His series “Living on Pennies,” in collaboration with Times photographer Francine Orr, won the 2005 Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Writing and inspired readers to donate tens of thousands of dollars to aid agencies working in Africa. Maharaj, a native of Trinidad, holds a political science degree from the University of Tennessee and a master’s degree in law from Yale University.

Twitter: @DavanMaharaj

Daniel Matthews is a digital content producer and musician living in Los Angeles, CA. He recently just released a documentary series, “aka DAN,” focusing on meeting his biological family, including his identical twin brother, for the first time.

Twitter: @DANakaDAN

Eric Nakagawa is a startup founder and advisor. He builds products and communities people love. Formerly SimpleHoney (a mobile wishlist) and ICanHazCheezBurger (funny pictures of cats). Nakagawa is from Honolulu, Hawaii and now living in San Francisco.  Eric has led marketing, awareness, and charity in the crypto currency space (Bitcoin, Dogecoin). His most recent effort raised 40,000,000D ($32,000) for charity:water through the online fundraiser doge4water and in collaboration with /r/Dogecoin on Reddit. One donation sent on Twitter was worth over $10,000.

Twitter: @ericnakagawa

David Ono can be seen every day anchoring the number one-rated newscasts in Southern California at 4 and 6 p.m. on ABC7 Eyewitness News. David Ono has anchored the news on ABC7 for 17 years. He has won three Edward R. Murrow awards and 13 Emmy awards with 35 nominations.

Twitter: @ABC7DavidOno

Sandra “Sandee” Oshiro is a digital journalist and editor. She has served as interim editor for The Poynter Institute, Patch regional editor and managing editor-digital for Gannett’s Honolulu Advertiser.

Twitter: @sandraoshiro

Steve Padilla is an assistant national editor at the Los Angeles Times. A 26-year veteran with the paper, he often serves as a writing coach, specializing in narratives, and frequently lectures on writing. Before joining the Times, he was a reporter with the San Diego Union and Hispanic Link News Service.

Twitter: @StevePadilla2

Caroline Pardilla, aka Caroline on Crack, has been covering the L.A. nightlife scene for her namesake blog since 2005. She now writes for Los Angeles Magazine’s drink-focused blog. She’s received a few accolades, such as the 2012 L.A. Weekly Web Award for Best Bar Blogger, and has contributed to L.A. Weekly’s Squid Ink, LAist, and BBC Travel Los Angeles and served briefly as the weekend events announcer on Carson Daly’s AMP Mornings radio show.

Twitter: @carolineoncrack

Denise L. Poon is a Broadcast Producer, Multimedia Consultant and Principal of Creative Streamline, a Media Communication company. Her career spans more than 15 years of broad-based communication for broadcast networks ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC, PBS and private clients. She currently serves on the National Advisory and Governing Board for the Asian American Journalists Association, where she is best known for many years of strong, creative event leadership, sponsorship and fundraising development for Trivia Bowl, the Chapter’s signature “fun-raising” event and the innovative, V3 Digital Media Conference.

Twitter: @Cr8tiveStream

Diahann Reyes is a writer and actor. She blogs about women and the female body at Stories from the Belly. Previously, she was a CNN journalist and served as the executive editor of FindLaw’s Writ.

Twitter: @diahannreyes

Koji Steven Sakai is the programs manager at the Japanese American National Museum. He oversees the exhibitions and public programs at the National Museum. He has been at the Museum over 10 years.

Twitter: @ksakai1

Marcello Sawyer partners with the Regional HR Manager to lead and support human resources efforts for American Public Media’s West Coast offices. His focus is recruiting on a company-wide level; and providing direct HR support to Marketplace staff.

Twitter: @APMJobs

Bigad Shaban is an Emmy award-winning journalist and correspondent with CBS News.  He is currently based in Los Angeles and reports for CBS Newspath—the network’s 24-hour affiliate news service.  His reports have been featured on the CBS Evening News, CBS This Morning, and CBS Sunday Morning.  In his nearly three years with CBS, Bigad has covered everything from natural disasters to the Oscars. He also spent nearly a month in London covering the 2012 Summer Olympics for CBS This Morning.  Prior to joining the network, Bigad worked as a local news reporter in both New Orleans and eastern Iowa.  Bigad graduated with honors from the University of Florida, earning a dual-degree in political science and broadcast journalism.

Twitter: @BigadShaban

Frank Shyong is a reporter with the Los Angeles Times. His work has appeared in the Orange County Register, Entertainment Weekly, The Taipei Times, and the Nashville City Paper. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, he studied economics at UCLA.

Twitter: @frankshyong

Maya Sugarman is a photo/video journalist for KPCC, an NPR affiliate in Los Angeles. In addition to shooting photo and video in the field, she helps run KPCC’s visuals blog, AudioVision, and KPCC’s Instagram account.

Twitter: @mayasugarman

Angela Sun, award-winning television host/journalist and documentary filmmaker, is a Bay Area Native and graduate of UCLA who has also studied abroad at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. She has produced for MTV News, ProSeiben Network and Current TV. Angela is the first Asian-American female sportscaster to appear on ESPN, Yahoo! Sports, Tennis Channel and Fox Sports — to name a few — and currently serves as the host of Yahoo! Sports Minute, the longest running daily sports show online, which is watched daily by millions.

Twitter: @sunnyangela

Rachel Uranga is a Los Angeles News Group editorial board member, former Mexico-based Reuters correspondent and a Southern California native.

Twitter: @racheluranga

Jocelyn “Joz” Wang is known online — and offline — for her personal blog jozjozjoz.com. She is the Editor-in-chief and CEO of the popular Asian American publication 8Asians.com. She is also a long-time contributor to blogging.la, flagship site of the Metroblogging network, which she is now Publisher and CEO of. Joz was named “Chapter President of the Year” for her service to the AAJA-Los Angeles Chapter and serves on the AAJA National Advisory Board and National Governing Board. She was nominated for the 2013 Social Media Award by the Women’s Media Center.

Twitter: @jozjozjoz

Kristina Wong is an internationally presented solo performer, writer and commentator named “One of the Seven Funniest Eco-Comedians” by Mother Nature Network. Her most notable touring show, “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” looked at the high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American women and toured over 40 venues since 2006. She’s been a commentator for American Public Media’s Marketplace, CNN, PBS, Jezebel, xoJane, Playgirl Magazine and has been a guest on FXX’s “Totally Biased W. Kamau Bell,” Al Jazeera’s “The Stream” and Huffington Post Live.

Twitter: @mskristinawong

Shawn Nicole Wong is an independent film and media producer based in Los Angeles. She is a graduate of the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley. She has previously written for Venice Magazine and POP! Montreal Music Festival and has interned for ABC News 20/20 and Primetime. Since 2010, Shawn has served as Treasurer of AAJA-Los Angeles.
Jenny Wu is an L.A. fashion lawyer turned style and beauty blogger. A USC graduate, Wu chronicles her style, beauty and life musings through personal narritives and stylized photos on her blog, goodbandandfab.com. Jenny was born in Shanghai, raised in Arcadia and lives for red bean ice cream!

Twitter: @goodbadandfab

Phil Yu is the founder and editor of the popular Asian American news/culture blog Angry Asian Man, and host of “Sound and Fury: The Angry Asian Podcast.” Building a steady, loyal readership since 2001, Angry Asian Man has been called “a daily must-read for the media-savvy, socially conscious, pop-cultured Asian American.” Mixing humor with criticism, Phil’s commentary has been featured and quoted in the Washington Post, New York Times, National Public Radio, CNN, Wall Street Journal and more.

Twitter: @angryasianman

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