Confidence and Leadership - Embracing the Leader You Are

Ishita Gupta

Entrepreneur and Founder of Fear.less Magazine and Ishita Gupta Media

Ishita Gupta is the founder of Fear.less Magazine and Ishita Gupta Media. Called “Fast Company meets Oprah” by its 15,000+ readers, Fear.less is the leading digital magazine profiling leading entrepreneurs, thought-leaders and innovators on how to live without fear. Fear.less features Guy Kawaski, Tim O’Reilly, Julia Cameron, Danielle LaPorte, Steve Pressfield, Ramit Sethi, Howard Zinn and hundreds more.

On her way to attend medical school, Ishita decided she’d be better off catering to her inner entrepreneur instead. She studied documentary photography (and made a short film about a Nobel Peace Prize winner) and graduated from Seth Godin’s Six Month Alternative MBA where she learned real-world style entrepreneurship and how to harness the power of the Internet.

Ishita went on to help Seth Godin launch his book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? and was featured in the book, a bestseller in business in 2010. She became Head of Media at the Domino Project, a publishing venture powered by Amazon.com and helped launch 6 bestselling books, including 80,000 copies of “Read This Before Our Next Meeting.”

A storyteller, speaker, and writer, Ishita runs a consulting house and online business helping people build self-confidence, thrive as business owners, and live without fear to create the life they love. Since diving into personal development a decade ago, she’s spent the last five years helping people specifically build self-worth enough to pursue their dreams, and works privately with clients who are driven and serious about living up to their potential. She teaches digital courses and writes about these topics.

Ishita speaks at conferences around the U.S. on entrepreneurship and personal development, and has spoken at World Domination Summit, TEDx, Startup Princess, Next Generation Health, Business Growth Summit, Young Female Entrepreneurs, and more.

Ishita is based in New York. Find her at ishitagupta.com and fearlessstories.com.


Morning Sessions

Can I “Lean In” Too?: Asian American Women and Leadership Across the Career Board

Yee Szeto-Law, SPHR, CEBS

Vice-President, Global Benefits Manager – Wellington Management Company LLP

As the Global Benefits Manager at Wellington Management, Yee’s current responsibilities include the management of U.S. and international employee benefit policies and practices including wellness and benefits communications. Prior to joining Wellington Management in 2007, Yee worked as a global benefits specialist at Bloomberg LP in New York and also held a variety of HR regional generalist positions in Bloomberg Hong Kong and Bloomberg Japan (2000- 2006). She also held a variety of HR generalist positions at Marks and Spencer Plc while based in their UK and Hong Kong offices (1995-2000). She holds the Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) and Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) designations.

Ramani Sripada

Director of Member Programs and Services, Associated Grant Makers (AGM)

Ramani is a human rights and social justice activist with an extensive professional background in public health programming. In the past, she served as Program Officer for MetroWest Health Foundation overseeing grants management and implementation of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and Childhood Obesity initiatives. Prior to that, she was Deputy Director of MA Asian & Pacific Islanders for Health (MAP) for twelve years, providing HIV/AIDS prevention education. Ramani also serves as a Board Member of several organizations: Mathahari: Eye of the Day; Metropolitican Area Planning Council (MAPC); and is co-chair of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy - Boston chapter.

Patricia A. Neilson, Ed.D

Director of the Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution, University of Massachusetts Boston

Dr. Patricia Akemi Neilson is the Director of the AANAPISI program and teaches in the Asian American Studies program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Previously, she served as the Director of the Center for Collaborative Leadership at UMB. Prior to that, Dr. Neilson was an Academic Dean at North Shore Community College. She is sansei Okinawan American born, raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. In Hawaii, she did community-based work at the YMCA of Honolulu and Palama Settlement. Her research interest in the under-representation of Asian American senior administrators in higher education led her to join national efforts to advocate for the development of this talent.

Kavita Mudan Finn


Kavita Mudan Finn is an academic in the humanities, specifically medieval and Renaissance literature and culture. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oxford in 2010 and is currently teaching part-time at Simmons College and Southern New Hampshire University. Her research focuses on the relationship between women and political power and how that relationship is represented, not only in earlier literature, but also in modern popular culture. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and writing both fiction and nonfiction, arguing about feminism on the Internet, and being an unrepentant nerd.

An Open Space: Voices from the Asian LGBTQ Experience

Lee Ann Teylan

Clinical Research Project Coordinator, Harvard Medical School

Lee Ann Teylan is a queer, Filipina-American raised in New York City. As a graduate student at the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, her studies focused on examining health disparities in LGBTQ people of color. Lee Ann is now a clinical research project coordinator at Harvard Medical School, and a performance member of The Genki Spark, a multi-generational, pan-Asian, women and girls, Japanese taiko group. She also is working with BAGLY (Boston Alliance of Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Youth), providing adult support for their newest project, QTYPAD (Queer Trans* Youth of Pan-Asian Descent). Additionally, Lee Ann is a photographer who got her start at GO Magazine, the nation's most widely distributed lesbian publication.

Teresa Reiko Perales

Social Justice Youth Educator

Teresa is a Japanese and Mexican queer woman who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Growing up in a multicultural family instilled in her a commitment to social justice and a passion for diversity education. She develops programs which provide supportive safe environments for queer students of color and allies and addresses issues of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination with youth. Teresa recently moved to Boston with intentions of learning the needs of the communities here and applying her activism and experience. She is on the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition's HUES Womyns Council doing community development with queer people of color as well as Genki Spark's Asian women's taiko troupe.

Cindy Wong

Peer Coordinator, MAP for Health

A first-generation Bostonian, Cindy is a recent graduate who received her B.S. in Biology from Northeastern University and is currently the Peer Coordinator for the Asian Pride program at MAP for Health.

Wanting to learn more about her own identities, she became the Logistics Chair of the Boston Asian American Students’ Intercollegiate Coalition in 2010, co-chair of NU’s Pan Asian American Council in 2011, and worked in NU’s LGBTQA Resource Center.

She has also been a mentor in both NU’s Asian American Students in Action and in the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition’s mentorship programs.

She enjoys football and spoken word.

Binh Le

Pharmacy Group Purchasing Analyst at Towers Watson

Binh Le is a Vietnamese-Chinese queer, born and raised in Tennessee. She is currently serving on the Steering Committee for Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance (QAPA). She is also an ad-hoc advisor and been part of an online LGBTQ student community for over 10 years. She is working professionally as a financial analyst at a HR consulting firm.

How to prevent government shutdown: Have more Asian American women in office!

Jenny Lau

Foundation Assistant at the Barbara Lee Foundation

Jenny Lau acts as the Foundation Assistant at the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which advances women’s equality in American politics through unique nonpartisan research and strategic partnerships. Previously, Jenny was the Civic Action and Worker Center Organizer at the Chinese Progressive Association, a grassroots community organization in Boston’s Chinatown, where she organized immigrants and engaged in citywide coalition work around workplace issues and targeted electoral campaigns like redistricting. She was also an inaugural Massachusetts State House Fellow for the Asian American Women’s Political Initiative. Currently Jenny is a Core Planner and Trainer for the Activist Training Institute, a leadership development and training program for Asian American activists. She is active with local political campaigns and serves on the Board of the Chinese Progressive Political Action. Jenny holds a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and Community Health from Tufts University. She is a 2012-2013 Community Fellow at Boston University’s Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership.

Diana Hwang

Diana Hwang - Founder/Executive Director of the Asian-American Women’s Political Initiative

Diana Hwang is the Founder and Executive Director of the Asian-American Women’s Political Initiative, the only political leadership organization for Asian-American women in Massachusetts and nationally. Diana was formerly the Chief of Staff to Boston City Councillor At-Large John Connolly. Before that, she worked at the State House as the Executive Director of the Caucus of Women Legislators and as the Legislative Aide to late State Representative Debby Blumer (D-Framingham).

Diana currently serves on the Executive Board of the Boston Women’s Fund. She also serves on the External Advisory Board of the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy and on the Board of the Massachusetts Asian Pacific Islander (MAP) for Health. Diana graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Sociology and is a former resident of the Fenway.

Natasha Tyagi

Communications Director for Michelle Wu, City Councilor At-Large

Natasha is an Indian American with a BA in Global Health and Anthropology from Tufts University. She is deeply invested in the visibility and civic engagement of Asian Americans, and passionate about health care policy, global health, and human rights issues. From her time in Lima, Peru with Partners in Health, to working with Massachusetts State House Representatives Carl Sciortino and Kay Khan, to serving as the Communications Director for Michelle Wu, Candidate for Boston City Councilor At-Large, her experiences have opened her eyes to the needs and issues of residents here and abroad.

Marian Manapsal

Legal Assistant at Rich May, P.C.

Marian currently serves as a Legal Assistant at Rich May, P.C. and volunteers her time to the Asian American Women’s Political Initiative, the Boston Asian American Film Festival, and ASPIRE. Prior to joining Rich May, Marian was a Finance Assistant for former Boston City Councillor Mike Ross during his campaign for Mayor of Boston. She has held numerous positions in various nonprofit organizations, such as the Family Equality Council, the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, and Rosie’s Place, and continues to grow as an advocate for women of color. Marian is a graduate of Boston College with a degree in Management and a resident of Allston.

How to Step into Leadership with Courage, Confidence, and Strategy

Ishita Gupta

Founder of Fear.less Magazine and Ishita Gupta Media

Ishita Gupta's passion is speaking about entrepreneurship and its intersection with personal development. Ishita doesn't mince words. Her goal is to ignite change and action in the people she speaks to. Using her personal stories and experience launching Fear.less digital magazine, building a lifestyle design consulting business, and working the in the digital+media world, she explains how to feel accomplished doing work you love while fulfilling your potential.

Afternoon Sessions

Leading the Conversation: Mental Health Issues in Asian American Communities
Part 1: Asian Americans and Mental Health: Myths, Fears, and Dreams

Dr. Julie AhnAllen

Senior Staff Psychologist at Boston College

Julie M. AhnAllen, Ph.D. graduated from the clinical psychology program at UMass Boston. She is currently a senior staff psychologist at Boston College, University Counseling Services. Dr. AhnAllen facilitates a multicultural conversation hour for the postdoctoral fellowship program and chairs the Asian and Asian American mental health committee at Boston College. Dr. AhnAllen’s clinical interests and expertise are in culturally competent training and practice, racial and ethnic identity development, immigration experiences, Asian American psychology, women's issues, eating disorders, and treatment of anxiety and depression. Dr. AhnAllen’s research has focused on racial and ethnic identity development processes of marginalized Asian Americans.

Leading the Conversation: Mental Health Issues in Asian American Communities
Part 2: The Good Girl Syndrome: Balancing Internal and External Cultural Expectations, and Learning to Heal Ourselves

Christina Chan

Actor, Playwright, and Public Speaking Coach

Christina R. Chan is an actor (SAG), playwright, director, teaching artist and public speaking coach. Her passion is telling the stories of Asian American women and immigrants.

Christina is the recipient of numerous artist fellowships and artist in residencies. She has created, performed and produced several highly acclaimed solo and ensemble performance pieces.

She received her acting training at Trinity Rep. Conservatory in Rhode Island and The Royal National Theatre in London.

Christina is the co-founder with Pata Suyemoto of “The Breaking Silences Project,” a multi-faceted artistic project that seeks to raise awareness and educate about the alarmingly high suicide and depression rates of Asian American girls and young women. Look for the project's website debut in November.

Pata Suyemoto

Independent Writer, Educator, and Mental Health

Pata Suyemoto is an independent feminist scholar, writer, educator, and mental health activist. She has a PhD. in education from the University of Pennsylvania and did her research on multicultural education and issues of race and racism. She is the co-founder of The Breaking Silences Project, which is a multifaceted artistic endeavor that aims to educate and engage communities in open conversation about issues of mental health in Asian American women. She also speaks publically about her personal struggles as an Asian American woman with depression. When not doing scholarly work, Pata is an artist, avid cyclist, and bicycle riding instructor.

Nice Asian girls and other myths on women of color in the media

Lisa Patel

Associate Professor at Boston College

Lisa Patel is a researcher, educator, and writer. With a background in sociology, she researches and teaches about education as a site of social reproduction and as a potential site for transformation. She is an Associate Professor of Education at Boston College and works extensively with recently immigrated youth and teacher activists. Prior to working in the academy, Professor Patel was a journalist, a teacher, and a state-level policymaker. Across all of these experiences, her focus has been on the ways that education structures opportunities in society, and her daily work has been with youth who are marginalized through those structures. She has authored dozens of scholarly articles and book chapters and has been a consistent voice in educational policymaking and policy analysis over a number of years. She is also a national board member of Education for Liberation, a long-standing organization dedicated to transformative education for marginalized populations.

Let’s talk money: Becoming Financially Literate

Jenny Robertson

Program Coordinator for Executive Education Programs, The D’Amore –McKim School of Business, Northeastern University

Jenny Robertson is currently the Program Coordinator for Executive Education Programs at The D’Amore –McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. Jenny completed the Certified Financial Planning curriculum and started her career as a licensed Financial Advisor in the San Francisco Bay Area where she helped individuals, families and small businesses with their financial planning and retirement needs. She obtained her MBA in International Business and Corporate Renewal from The D’Amore-McKim School of Business and her bachelors’ degree from The University of California, Santa Cruz. Jenny enjoys teaching personal finance, in particular, to women to learn about, and be in control of their financial futures. An active volunteer, Jenny is involved in of a number of organizations, and a member of the Genki Spark, a pan-Asian women’s taiko drumming group based in Boston.

Leadership at the Crossroads: Facing Challenges While Staying True to Yourself

Monique Morimoto

MS, CPCC, Founder and Principal, SoulWorks Coaching® and Cofounder, SoulWorks Rhythm®

Monique Morimoto, MS, CPCC, founded SoulWorks Coaching® to inspire people to discover, embrace and manifest their potential. Her clients, women on the path of self-discovery and self-actualization, learn to silence the inner critic, love themselves where they are, and make bold moves that create satisfied, contented lives. Monique cofounded SoulWorks Rhythm® to bring the benefits of therapeutic drumming to seniors, care givers and people with Parkinson’s Disease. She is a member of the International Coach Federation, a proud member of the Genki Spark and has served on non-profit boards and in community organizations.

Personal Branding

Sophan Smith

Assistant Director of Babson College Career Services

Sophan S. Smith is a seasoned professional with extensive experience in employer relations, recruitment, and career services in numerous industries including business, healthcare and science with demonstrated understanding and commitment to working with diverse populations. Currently, she serves as the Assistant Director, Career Advising for the Undergraduate Center for Career Development at Babson College. Prior to joining Babson, Sophan was responsible for developing and administering career programs and services to undergraduate, graduate students and alumni with a focus on the accounting and finance industry at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Sophan studied Workforce Development at Northeastern University and received her BA in Political Science and Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and is also fluent in the Khmer language and is very proud of her Cambodian heritage.


Speaking Up: Tools for Negotiations

Elaine Lin

Consultant at Triad

Elaine is a consultant with Triad, where she works with clients to diagnose challenges, design solutions, and deliver programs to build management capacity in negotiation, influence and conflict management skills. She has facilitated executive education programs at the Harvard Negotiation Institute, taught conflict management at the Tufts Gordon Institute on Leadership at the School of Engineering, and served as the Advanced Training Director for the Harvard Mediation Program. Prior to joining Triad, Elaine taught negotiation and mediation at Monash Law School in Melbourne, Australia. Elaine is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of California Berkeley, where she studied Political Science and Music, and Sino-American Relations at Peking University in Beijing.

Protect Yourself: Introduction to IMPACT Self-Defense




IMPACT Boston is a part of IMPACT, which works to prevent violence and abuse by giving people the tools to protect their safety and advocate for healthy relationships and sexual respect in their communities and society. IMPACT is a unique personal safety and self-defense curriculum that teaches students effective strategies to resist threats, intimidation and violence perpetrated by strangers and people they know. Classes are taught by a team of two instructors, one of whom takes on the role of a perpetrator. He wears a full suit of body armor so students can safely defend themselves using the same force needed in a real attack.