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Meet Women Innovators and Entrepreneurs at the 2018 #galswithLEI Forum

(Sponsored) The East-West Center’s annual forum takes place on Thursday, May 17.


Gals with Lei


The East-West Center presents the fourth annual #galswithLEI Forum on Thursday, May 17, 2018, 1 to 7:30 p.m. at the East-West Center’s IMIN Conference Center. Celebrate women innovators both local and throughout the Asia-Pacific region in a space that enhances and encourages leadership, entrepreneurship and inspiration. #galswithLEI offers a keynote panel and six interactive workshops focused on information sharing that is purposeful, collaborative and dynamic. The workshops are followed by an attendee-driven open-space forum and networking reception featuring local female chefs. Workshop panelists and special guests include local established women leaders, bold millennials and participants from East-West Center’s Changing Faces Women’s Leadership Seminar.


To register for #galswithLEI, click here.


1:30–2:15 p.m. WELCOME & KEYNOTE PANEL

#galswithLEI Keynote: Women as Storytellers

Stereotypes thrive when one story becomes the only story. When we share diverse stories through multiple means of storytelling, we promote understanding by challenging gender, racial and religious stereotypes. Join acclaimed women in journalism, comedy, film and social media in a discussion of how they’re sharing stories of struggle and triumph, the barriers they’ve faced, how storytelling is evolving and the importance of authenticity in capturing an audience and affecting change.


Moderator:  Robbie DINGEMAN, Editor at Large, HONOLULU Magazine, Hawai‘i

  • Lillian CUNNINGHAM, Reporter, The Washington Post, Washington D.C.

  • Negin FARSAD, Comedian and Podcast Host, Fake the Nation, New York

  • Heather Haunani GIUGNI, Producer, Family Ingredients, Hawai‘i


Robbie Dingeman

Robbie Dingeman will be moderating the Women as Storytellers keynote.


2:30–3:30 p.m. WORKSHOP SESSION 1

#galswithLeadership:  Women in Sports

On the court or in the corner office, the rules for success are often the same: effort and hard work are necessary, communication with team members is vital and failure can be a valuable learning lesson. Learn how female athletes and others are promoting women in sports, and how athletes channel their passion, perseverance, and communication skills into other areas of their lives.


Moderator: Florence S. VAN DYKE, Triathlete and CEO, Chia Limited, New Zealand

  • Gloria J. KING, Commissioner, Women in Sports Commission, and Director, Kava House Vanuatu Ltd, Vanuatu

  • Dallas MARTINEZ, Sacred Hearts Academy Junior and Student Athlete, Hawai‘i

  • Shelley OATES-WILDING, Olympian and Co-founder, Ikaika Hawaii, Hawai‘i

  • Patricia F. SAIKI, Former Member, U.S. House of Representatives, Hawai‘i


#galswithEntrepreneurship: The Future of Work is People

As millennials represent nearly half of the working population today and are managing and starting their own companies more frequently, they have just begun to reshape the workplace. Discover how leading companies and nonprofits are transforming their workplaces and cultures to be more inclusive, collaborative, flexible and integrated.


Moderator: Yadharshini SELVARAJ, Director, Tea Leaf Vision Ltd, Sri Lanka

  • Sharon V. LOVEJOY, Director and Attorney, Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher, Hawai‘i

  • Anh Thi Nguyet MAI, Corporate Responsibility Associate, Premier Oil, Vietnam

  • Trisha NOMURA, Chief People Officer, ProService, Hawaii

  • Kim RANDALL, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Servco Pacific Inc., Hawai‘i


#galswithInspiration: Forget the Ladder, Think Jungle Gym

The jungle gym metaphor was first referenced by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in her book, Lean In: “A jungle gym scramble is the best description of my career. I could never have connected the dots from where I started to where I am today.” This metaphor echoes the careers of today’s women, who will move up, laterally or even down a few rungs to reach their desired position. Local and international women share stories on how they’ve survived the climb.


Moderator: Cherylee FRANCIS, Manager & Owner, CFproductions LLC, Arizona

  • Amanda ELLIS, Senior Special Advisor for International Diplomacy, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Hawai‘i

  • Terri FUNAKOSHI, Director, Patsy T. Mink Center for Business and Leadership, YWCA of Oahu, Hawai‘i

  • Baigali OCHKHUU, President, International Women’s Federation of Commerce and Industry, Mongolia


4:25–5:15 p.m. WORKSHOP SESSION 2

#galswithLeadership: Bold, Not Bossy

Words matter, and they may be keeping ambitious women from taking the next step in their careers. Banning words with negative undertones from our vocabulary, particularly when describing other women, may help to close the confidence gap that hinders girls and women from being assertive. Here, bold women leaders share stories of how they rocked stereotypes and advocated for themselves.


Moderator: Danielle LETAYF, Program Director, NewYork.SG, New York

  • Atchareeya BANSIT, Director of Transformation, Dale Carnegie, Thailand

  • Shari CHANG, Chief Executive Officer, Girl Scouts of Hawaii, Hawai‘i

  • Jessica DEMPSEY, Deputy Director, James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, East Asian Observatory, Hawai‘i

  • Hon. Patricia (Pat) LOUI, Founder & CEO, OmniTrak Group Inc., Hawai‘i


#galswithEntrepreneurship: Retail is Not Dead

Despite the rapid growth of online shopping, 85 percent of all retail sales in the U.S. last year were still transacted in brick-and-mortar locations. Sharpened focus on store design, inventory, marketing and customer service has enabled retailers to do a better job of getting to know their customers and continue growing. Explore the best practices and lessons learned by successful retailers here and abroad.


Moderator: Shiow Giin YONG, Owner, Niig Atelier, Malaysia

  • Brittany HEYD, Founding Partner, Mana Up, Hawai‘i

  • Heera S.K. VASANDANI, CEO, Bursa Sajadah, Indonesia

  • Tina YAMAKI, President, Retail Merchants of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i


#galswithInspiration:  Starting From Why

Your “why” is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you to do what you do. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader of a team or an employee, discovering the “why” injects passion into your work and inspires those around you. Hear local and international women share their stories of “why.”


Moderator: Tsering CHOSTSO, CEO, Rewa Food and Beverage Company, Tibet

  • Mina GUSUKUMA, Kalani High School Junior and Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders Ambassador, Hawai‘i

  • Michelle JAIME, Principle and Creative Director, Vanguard Theory, Hawai‘i

  • Mona KHANNA, MD, Internal Medicine Specialist, Desert Regional Medical Center, California

  • Doris MASSER, Co-founder, Travel2Change, Hawai‘i

  • Nuraizah Binti SHAMSUL BAHARIN, Managing Director, Madcat World, Malaysia


5:30–6:15 p.m. OPEN SPACE

Focusing on issues of common concern or interest to women entrepreneurs, #galswithLEI facilitators will curate suggested topics and combine similar ideas to create several discussion groups. You will then self-organize into the discussion group of interest to you.



Hosted bar, light pupus and desserts prepared by local female chefs and artisans. Join us in sampling their delicious and innovative creations!


  • Casey BURNS, Owner/Chef, HI Pie

  • Anicea CAMPANALE, Owner/Executive Chef, The Nook

  • Alessandra KLEIN & Stacey SCHILLER, Co-owners, Nosh Hawai‘i

  • Abigail LANGLAS, Owner/Pastry Chef, Cake Works

  • Ashley WATTS, Owner, Local I‘a


To register for #galswithLEI, or for more information, visit eastwestcenter.org.


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