Speakers, Performers and Panelists

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

Amara Aguilar is an associate professor of professional practice in digital journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism. She has taught courses in design, mobile development, multimedia and loves all things tech.

Twitter: @amara_media

Tanzila Ahmed is an activist, storyteller, and politico based in Los Angeles. She can be heard monthly on the “#GoodMuslimBadMuslim” podcast and can be read monthly in her “Radical Love” column. An avid writer,  she was a long-time writer for Sepia Mutiny and is published in the anthology “Love, Inshallah.” Her personal projects include writing about Desi music at Mishthi Music where she co-produced Beats for Bangladesh, making #MuslimVDay Cards and curating images for Mutinous Mind State. Taz also organizes with Bay Area Solidarity Summer and South Asians for Justice – Los Angeles.

Twitter: @tazzystar

Jinsoo An is an Experience Designer, Researcher and Tinkerer from Seoul. He has worked with over 40 top brands and he has been featured on Wired, The Creators Project, The Huffington Post, PSFK, among others. Outside of his work, he has collaborated with UCLA Suprastudio, Interaction Design Association and LA Game Space to help foster wearable and novel experiences. Jinsoo speaks frequently about the intersection of experience, culture and future of wearables, most recently at Google[x], TED Week and Continuum. He is also is also the founder of Kokiri Lab, a hackerspace for speculative wearable technology — located in Downtown Los Angeles.

Twitter: @blupixelz

Gil Asakawa is a writer and editor from the newspaper world who’s worked online since 1996. He’s the Student Media Manager at the University of Colorado, and AARP’s AAPI Marketing Communications Consultant. The revised edition of his book, “Being Japanese American,” will be published in August by Stone Bridge Press.

Twitter: @gilasakawa

Hrant Bedikian is the owner of A & A Accounting and has been providing professional services for individuals and businesses in Southern California for over 25 years. His company specializes in bookkeeping, payroll and all tax situations.

Frank Buckley is co-anchor of the KTLA Morning Show. Previously, he was a National Correspondent with CNN based in Los Angeles. He has also worked as a reporter at KCAL-TV, KESQ-TV in Palm Springs and as a weekend anchor at WXII-TV in Winston-Salem, NC. Buckley is the recipient of numerous awards including the Emmy and the Golden Mike. Buckley is a graduate of USC. His internships while at USC included CBS Network News, news writing at KNX and reporting for the Detroit News and the Los Angeles Times. Buckley, whose mother is Japanese, was a recipient of an AAJA scholarship.

Twitter: @FrankBuckleyTV

Bernard Chang is an Asian-American artist/designer, best known for his work in the comic book industry and entertainment design. He currently draws “Batman Beyond” for DC Comics and his previous work include “Wonder Woman,” “Superman,” “Deadpool,” “Cable” and “Supergirl.” Bernard graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY with a bachelors in architecture and was captain of the men’s basketball team. Tony Fiorentino, former assistant coach of the Miami Heat, projected Bernard as a late third round pick in the 1995 NBA Draft, before his art career took off.

Twitter: @thebernardchang

Keith Chow is the founder/editor-in-chief of The Nerds of Color, a website that looks at pop culture with a different perspective. He also edited the Asian American comics anthologies “Secret Identities” and “Shattered.”

Twitter: @the_real_chow

Patrisse Cullors is an artist, organizer and freedom fighter. She is the founder of Dignity and Power Now, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter and the current Director of the Truth and Reinvestment Campaign at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

Twitter: @osope

Anh Do covers Asian American communities at the Los Angeles Times. A second-generation journalist, she served as vice president of Nguoi Viet Daily News, the largest Vietnamese-language publication in the US, founded by her late father. She has worked at the Dallas Morning News, the Seattle Times and the Orange County Register.

Twitter: @newsterrier

Ann Friedman writes for New York magazine, the Columbia Journalism Review, ELLE and The New Republic. She also co-hosts the podcast “Call Your Girlfriend.”

Twitter: @annfriedman

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-Treasurer of the Los Angeles Chapter of AAJA.

Twitter: @hfuhrmann

Lia Haberman is Director of Audience Development at TheWrap.com. Previously, Lia ran social at dick clark productions, E! Online and Yahoo Entertainment where she orchestrated a live gif Tumblr Q&A between “The Hunger Games”‘ Jennifer Lawrence and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.

Twitter: @liahaberman

Naomi Hayase is the current AAJA-LA chapter president and has been with Nikkei Newspaper in their L.A. bureau for the last nine 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.

Twitter: @nhayase

Tom Huang is Sunday & Enterprise Editor at The Dallas Morning News and Editing Fellow at The Poynter Institute, where he oversees the school’s writing program. An AAJA member since 1990, he serves on the organization’s governing board.

Twitter: @tomthuang

Grace Hwang Lynch is a former TV news reporter turned blogger. She blogs about Asian mixed-race family and food at HapaMama.com, named a Top 50 mom blog by Mom.me. Grace is also the News & Politics editor for BlogHer.com — a leading online site for women, as well as a freelance journalist specializing in topics of parenting, race and culture.

Twitter: @HapaMamaGrace

Jessica Kellett is the Program Manager for Social Media and Digital Communications at Southern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities. There she oversees a $5 million digital advertising budget focused on key programs and messages, such as energy efficiency and safety around electricity. Prior to earning her MBA at UCLA Anderson, she began her career working with local governments and businesses to develop climate change action plans.

Twitter: @JessKellett

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

Marissa Lee is one of the co-founders of Racebending.com, a fan-driven media advocacy organization that promotes equality and representation.  She is one of the creators of “Fat Pink Cast,” a feminist fangirl “Game of Thrones” podcast.  She is a Taiwanese American social worker, public health advocate and fangirl.

Twitter: @racebending

Suevon Lee is editor-in-chief of KoreAm Journal, a bimonthly magazine focused on news, culture and commentary on the Korean American experience. Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, she has called Los Angeles home for the last eight months.

Twitter: @suevlee

Betty Lo is Vice President, Regional Community Alliances & Consumer Engagement for Nielsen and works with community leaders, media, entertainment and consumer businesses to promote Nielsen’s education, philanthropic, and public affairs initiatives in the community and is responsible for the Eastern U.S., the national Asian American community, Nielsen’s multicultural advertising initiatives and APA Advisory Council.

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

riKu Matsuda believes #BLACKLIVESMATTER and works for the LA County Commission on Human Relations. He hosts a live radio program called “Flip the Script” on Pacifica’s KPFK every Monday from 8 to 8:30 p.m. riKu also serves on the board of Gender Justice LA.

Twitter: @rikumatsuda

Jeanne Mau is the Vice President of CBS Diversity, where she oversees the CBS Diversity Writer’s Mentoring Program and Director’s Initiative for the network. She has been with CBS for past 16 years and was previously the Vice President of Current Programming.

Lily Mihalik is a designer. She works as part of the Los Angeles Times Data Desk to tell better stories online.

Twitter: @mazet

Amna Nawaz is an Emmy-award winning journalist and the Managing Editor of NBC News Asian America, a network vertical she helped to create and launch in 2014. She was previously NBC’s Bureau Chief/Correspondent in Pakistan and reports for all NBC News platforms.

Twitter: @Nawazistan

Dao Nguyen is the Publisher of BuzzFeed where she oversees engineering, product, data, and design teams. Before BuzzFeed, she was the CEO of Le Monde Interactif in Paris, France. She lives in New York with her husband and two daughters.

Twitter: @daozers

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 18 years. He has won three Edward R. Murrow awards and 13 Emmy awards with 35 nominations.

Twitter: @ABC7DavidOno

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

Randall Park is a cast member on ABC’s hit comedy series “Fresh Off the Boat.” In “The Interview,” one of the most-talked-about films of 2014, Park played North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. And Park continues in a recurring role on HBO’s “Veep,” playing Danny Chung, governor of Minnesota. On television, Park can next be seen in the Netflix original series “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp,” based on the cult classic 2001 film of the same name.


Krisha Paz is project coordinator for AARP Studios. She is a corgi lover and coffee aficionado. Her mission is to bring people closer to meaningful, cool brands through social and digital – creating better relationships and hopefully, a better and awesomer world.

Twitter: @krishaalala

Priska is a singer/songwriter from Los Angeles, CA who, despite her small stature, will draw you in with her big voice and intimate lyrics. Though she spent most of her adolescent years being bullied in school, she was able to find solace and comfort in music and found that her strength lay in her ability to express herself through song. She has performed and competed in various showcases and singing competitions including Minnan Idol 2010 and Kollaboration 2013.
Instagram: @priskamusik

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

Gadi Schwartz is a general assignment reporter for NBC4 Southern California.  An award-winning journalist, he reports weekly for NBC4 News at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Twitter: @GadiNBCLA

Sonia Smith-Kang is designer and owner of Mixed Up Clothing, a multiethnic children’s clothing line that celebrates cultural diversity and inclusion. She is mixed Black and Latina, born in Puerto Rico, raised in Hawaii before coming to LA and marrying her husband who is Korean. They raise their four children as mini global citizens. Sonia and her designs have appeared in several media outlets including NBC’s Today Show, NPR, HuffPost Live and Latina Magazine.

Twitter: @mixedupclothing

Maya Sugarman is a photo/video journalist for KPCC, an NPR affiliate in Los Angeles. She oversees all things visual at the station. In addition to making photos and video, she experiments in motion graphics, GIFs, Hyperlapses and more for KPCC.

Twitter: @mayasugarman

Canan Tasci is currently a freelance writer for Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. There she works with staff, physicians and patients to create compelling feature stories about the hospital while educating and raising awareness about medical research. She has previously written for the Los Angeles News Group as a columnist, education and city beat reporter. When she’s not writing Tasci can be found acting in her church’s annual Middle Eastern’s So Funny sketch comedy show.

Twitter: @TheCananTasci

Meena Thiruvengadam is a multimedia business journalist and digital native who has worked for newspapers, a news wire, magazines and the web. She was once a personal finance columnist and now works as a writer and editor for Yahoo Finance.

Twitter: @meena_thiru

Andrew Ti is a writer and creator of the blog and podcast “Yo, Is This Racist?”

Twitter: @ANDREWTI

Jon Tsuei is a comic book writer whose work has been featured in the anthologies “Secret Identities” and “Comic Book Tattoo”. He is also the co-creator and writer on “Runlovekill” published by Image Comics.

Twitter: @jontsuei

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

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a second-generation Chinese American from California who now divides her time between Michigan and Hawaii. She is a contributor for NBC News Asian America, AAPIVoices.com, NewAmericaMedia.org, ChicagoIsTheWorld.org, JACL’s Pacific Citizen and InCultureParent.com. She also teaches Asian/Pacific Islander American civil rights law and media at the University of Michigan.

Twitter: @fkwang

Ali Wong is a stand-up comedian who has performed on The Tonight Show, Comedy Central’s “Inside Amy” and was named one of Variety’s Top 10 Comics to Watch. Currently, she’s a writer on ABC’s new comedy “Fresh Off the Boat.”

Twitter: @aliwong3000

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. Shawn is the current National Treasurer of AAJA.

Twitter: @shawnnicolewong



Phil Yu is the founder and editor of Angry Asian Man, a popular news/culture website covering the Asian American community. He is also host of the “Sound and Fury” podcast and co-host of “Angry Asian America” on ISAtv.

Twitter: @angryasianman

Joe Zee is the Editor in Chief and Executive Creative Officer of Yahoo Style where he leads the vision, creative direction and development of the new Yahoo Style digital magazine. Previous to this post, he was the Creative Director of ELLE where he developed a new visual signature for the magazine and oversaw all the photo shoots and styled the covers, as well as penning a monthly column (“Style A to Zee”), that focused on fashion service, commentary and insider styling advice. He is also a frequent fashion & pop culture expert on national media and has lent his expertise as fashion consultant to films and television.

Twitter: @mrjoezee