Rie Yamamoto – CEO & Co-Founder at EventHub, International Strategy at ALE, Brown University Graduate

Rie Yamamoto outperforms…constantly. If this was not clear when she was 9 years old and moved to Connecticut from Chiba, Japan with her family, it had to have been clear when she told her parents as a high school junior that she was not moving back to Japan with them. She convinced them that she and her dog were staying in Connecticut, graduating from high school (not the dog too!) and then attending Brown University. Looking back, Rie’s life is marked by a well earned independence, a high capacity to learn and strategize, and to make well thought out decisions. Her natural landing spot was being the founder of a technology startup company that bridges the experiences of growing up in the United States with the still nascent startup scene in Japan.

Nicola Jones Crossley – Director, AKIN ASIA, Female Leadership Advocate

Nicola Jones Crossley is humble, yet determined. She is filled with energy and somehow appears constantly calm and in control. Nicola is also charismatic and deeply committed to her passion of celebrating and supporting women in all aspects of their lives. She has purposefully and determinedly built Akin Asia into a multi-faceted platform that allows her and like minded supporters to “create a space to connect people, share ideas, inspire and educate.” The high caliber of the participants and featured speakers at Akin Asia’s ‘Bangkok Breakfast Network’ is a testament to Nicola’s ability to attract a diverse group of the best and the brightest.

Wayne Farmer – Managing Partner at Islemount Limited

Wayne Farmer is the Managing Partner of a boutique advisory firm and a private-markets professional with fifteen years of originating, leading and structuring pan-Asia investment transactions and selected cross-border / global deals. His focus on the Southeast Asian and China markets gives him a unique perspective on the macro drivers of growth and development in these dynamic markets.

Paul Meyers – Head of muru-D in Singapore

Paul Meyers is currently the Head of the Southeast Asian business for muru-D, which is impressive in and of itself. But there is so much more to his story. After moving out to San Francisco post college and building his eponymous media and production company, Paul travelled to Asia in 1995 and has remained ever since. His experience in building and running media properties included animation, live streaming television, music and listing a company on Nasdaq. Paul has worked with or built some of the most well known brands and media properties in the the world. His involvement as a business founder, builder, mentor and advisor is substantial and makes him insanely qualified to lead one of the most forward thinking accelerators in Southeast Asia.

Tony Verb – Co-Founder GreaterBay Ventures

Tony Verb wanted to be the mayor…inspired by Sim City 2000, he was fascinated by urbanization, city building and innovation. He now gets to put all of his interests together as the co-Founder of GreaterBay Ventures & Advisors. Building upon years of experience and research, Tony rightfully believes there is a massive opportunity as the re-branded Pearl River Delta integrates the economies of 9 cities in Guangdong Province, Hong Kong and Macau…Tony believes that cities should not be built with an individualistic view, but should focus on the overall ecosystem. Tony takes a special interest in the blockchain, autonomous electric vehicles and smart urbanization.

Jasper Donat – All That Matters, It’s a Girl Thing and FanFest

Jasper Donat is tireless. He would have to be to have accomplished what he and his team have done since launching Branded back in 2002. In what seems a lifetime ago, the team was slowly, but surely preparing for and building towards media convergence and ‘direct to fan’ interactions. Built on the idea that connections matter, Jasper created the Matters series of events (including the All That Matters festival), It’s a Girl Thing and is co-producer of the FanFest. We talked about how branded content allows creators to talk to and interact directly with fans, how to use the influencer model and how this builds and strengthens the relationships between stars, athletes, etc with their fans. In this realm, as in life, consistency and authenticity are key. Jasper also noted that all of the media they create also has a purpose and positive message.

Dana Blouin – Super Villain, StartUp Advisor, PhD Candidate

Dana Blouin is a friend and self proclaimed Super Villain. Frankly, I am not sure what that means.

I have known Dana for years and somewhere between his persona and his personality lies an amazing man, deeply intelligent, highly technically skilled and unrelenting in his passionate pursuit of all things media and technology. Dana has been involved in the confluence of online media, digital distribution and deep tech for over 15 years. Oh, did I also mention that he is an MMA referee and has actually stepped into the ring (octagon?) to fight as well? Let’s just say that Dana truly has many talents…and one of those talents that simply can not be overlooked is his innate desire to help others.

Dana and I had a candid conversation about digital media including the use of data to better understand topic selection, production length, distribution channels and methodology and monetization models. Dana knows his stuff and we often try to find ways to collaborate and share ideas. I always enjoy talking with him…new ideas always emerge.

Jim Sailor – Independent Consultant & Startup Mentor With the Cradle Fund in Malaysia

Jim Sailor has almost two decades of experience doing market and marketing research for some of the world’s largest brands. Even more interesting is that he has done most of that work and built most of that business in China. Jim studied Mandarin Chinese before it was cool and it has come in handy in his life’s endeavors. Jim has studied Behavioral Science and is applying it to better understand ‘risk perception’ and its application to the adoption of new technologies. Learning how this application helps his clients make better business decisions alone was very interesting, but we covered much more ground than that.

Gang Lu – Founder TechNode

Gang Lu has a MSc and PhD in Wireless Communications and he is a true passionate believer in technology and the internet.  Almost 10 years ago, he started blogging about technology in China and Asia as a hobby and was spending so much time and effort doing so, that he decided to turn his passion into a business.  While still based in the U.K., he began building Mobinode in earnest and turned it into the business we know as technode.com  today.

Technode is the leading technology and internet focused blog in China and is published in both Mandarin and English.  Gang’s vision is to continue to provide a bridge between China’s startups, angel investors, venture capitalists and the entire entrepreneurial community to the rest of the world.  During this conversation Gang shared his experiences, ups and downs and entrepreneurial journey with us.  A fascinating look inside the world of media, partnerships and blogging in China.

Pom Xu – Managing Director of Thailand and Hong Kong for Crimson Education, Math and Science Enthusiast and Mother of Two

Sujaree (Pom) Xu is from Bangkok, Thailand. She attended Triam Udon Suksa School, which is considered the top public high school in Thailand. Pom excelled academically and made time for extracurricular activities as well. She was an incredibly well rounded young adult and a self proclaimed ‘nerdy student’. She vividly remembers a rainy day conversation she had with her mother when she was a young girl sitting in her mother’s car in traffic…her mother planted a seed and encouraged her to try to get into a top U.S. University…She graduated from Harvard less than a decade later. She has accomplished a lot and continues to do so…we had an in depth conversation about her journey that has currently led her to a leadership role at Crimson Education.