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Speakers 2017

Caitlin Appert-Nguyen has been working for University Health Services at UC Berkeley for nearly 5 years. She’s a proud alumna (Go Bears!) and has attended every BC2 to date. Her professional interests are rooted in communications, public health and higher education. At UHS she leads the operational and internal communications efforts and gets to practice a variety of skill sets including print and graphic design, web, writing and videography. She lives in Berkeley surrounded by boys including her husband and two sons, a preschooler and an infant. She loves to read, bake, watch baking shows, spend time at the beach and knows every word to every song in the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Hamilton. Connect with Caitlin on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter or Instagram @caityapp.

Vikram Chandra’s latest book is Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty. He has also written the novels Sacred Games and Red Earth and Pouring Rain and the short story collection Love and Longing in Bombay. In 2016, Sacred Games was chosen by Netflix to be produced as their first original series from India. His honours include a Guggenheim fellowship, the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia), the Crossword Prize, and the Salon Book Award. He teaches creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley. His work has been translated into nineteen languages. Learn more about him on his website

Frances Dinkelspiel is an award-winning journalist and co-founder of the news site Berkeleyside. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Daily Beast, People magazine and elsewhere. She has written two books, both of which were bestsellers: Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, and Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California. The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Food and Wine magazine named Tangled Vines as one of the best wine books of 2015. On Twitter follow Berkeleyside @Berkeleyside or Dinkelspiel @FrannyDink. Berkeleyside can also be found on Facebook.

Adolfo Guerra joined UC Berkeley Student Affairs Communications last year as a Client Relationship Manager. In this role, Adolfo develops marketing strategies and spearheads communications efforts for Cal Dining, Cal Catering, Conference Services, and the Cal 1 Card office. Before coming to Berkeley, Adolfo lived in his hometown of Monterrey, Mexico, where he spent six years working as the Marketing Manager for Monterrey Tech’s Food Service Department. For the past two years, he also served as the Information Officer for the Pacific Region of the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS). He holds a master’s degree in marketing from EGADE Business School and is passionate about design, marketing strategies, and food. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, traveling, and going to the theater.

Ram Kapoor is Chief Marketing Officer for the University of California, Berkeley, a role that he has held since he moved here from Asia in November 2011. Ram launched the first brand platform for Berkeley in 2013, followed by a completely revamped website and digital guidelines system for campus in 2015. He recently launched the first brand campaign for Berkeley. His team provides marketing and communications support to the entire campus, and manages the university’s main social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Prior to Berkeley, Ram held senior management roles at various global advertising networks across Asia (India, Singapore, Vietnam) – including Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, Young & Rubicam, Euro RSCG and Wunderman. Ram’s advertising has won awards at Cannes Lions, New York Fests, London International Awards and Asia Pacific Awards. Ram grew up in Bombay and attended IIT Kharagpur and IIM Bangalore before finding his true passion as a copywriter in Advertising. Follow him on Twitter @heyram or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Jeff MacKie-Mason is UC Berkeley’s University Librarian and Chief Digital Scholarship Officer, and Professor of the School of Information and Professor of Economics. He was formerly the Dean of the School of Information at the University of Michigan, and the Arthur W. Burks Collegiate Professor of Information and Computer Science, and Professor in Economics and Public Policy. There he received the University Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award in 2010. MacKie-Mason earned his Ph.D. in Economics from MIT. He has been a pioneering scholar in the economics of the Internet, online behavior, and digital information. His more than 85 publications appear in economics, computer science, law, public policy, and library science journals. To learn more about his work, visit his website,, read his blog “Madlibbing, Muddling Along in the Information Age,” or follow him on Twitter @jmmason.

Louisa Spier joined the staff at Cal Performances, UC Berkeley’s performing arts producer and presenter, as PR Manager in early 2016. She came to this position as a seasoned music publicist having worked at Bay Area performance venues as diverse as the San Francisco Symphony, SF Jazz, Yoshi’s, and the Great American Music Hall as well as head of PR for world music record label Six Degrees. She holds a degree in Anthropology and Ethnic studies from Mills College and lives in the Oakland hills with her mountain-biking husband and one bossy little black kitty. In her free time she is an avid yoga practitioner, a runner, swimmer, and hospice volunteer. Connect with her via LinkedIn and learn more about what’s happening at Cal Performances through Twitter and Facebook or by signing up for Cal Performances’ email club.

Tai Tran is a storyteller, marketing leader, entrepreneur and Berkeley alum! Named the youngest Forbes 30 Under 30 and LinkedIn Top Voice in Marketing and Advertising, Tai is an experienced storyteller, marketing leader, and entrepreneur. Through his thought leadership, Tai has empowered young entrepreneurs, startups, and leading tech brands to share their breakthrough narrative at scale. Followed by over 100,000 marketers, executives, and young professionals, Tai’s work has been widely recognized by Forbes, LinkedIn, Twitter, MarketWatch, and Tech Insider. As a keynote speaker, Tai has spoken at TEDx, Forbes CMO Summit, LinkedIn, and the Haas School of Business. View his TEDx talk about how people can tell their own stories through personal branding here. Tai previously led digital and content marketing at top Fortune 500 tech companies, including Apple and Samsung. He is currently the Head of Content and Brand Marketing at SelfScore, a venture backed fintech startup. Tai is the author of upcoming book, Zero to Infinity. The book breaks down a new concept in personal innovation that Tai describes as zero to infinity, the process of harvesting isolated experiences and nurturing them into a product of design, disruption, and infinite opportunities. Follow him on Twitter @taictran or connect with him at LinkedIn.