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Speakers 2019

William Allison is the Chief Technology Officer at the University of California, Berkeley. He leads the University’s cloud strategy, IT architecture and standards for the Berkeley campus and helps effect change broadly across the UC-system. His portfolio includes the University’s cloud computing, mobility, content and collaboration, web publishing, business process automation, technology accessibility for people with disabilities, and enterprise integration services (such as the campus API service). Bill serves nationally through participation in the Common Solutions Group and EDUCAUSE. He has been an ECAR expert on mobile computing, a reviewer for the EDUCAUSE Review, the Chair of the Enterprise IT Leadership Conference, and served on the 2015 EDUCAUSE National Conference committee. He attended Yale University where he received his B.A.

Buddy Burke is an entrepreneur, mentor, and expert in public speaking. He realized at his own wedding that he was a fabulously horrible speaker…so he decided to improve. He joined Toastmasters, took classes, and accepted every challenge. Some wonderful people helped him, and he learned and created unique, game-changing devices. He taught public speaking for Apple and is a guest lecturer on the subject at numerous universities in the US, South America and Europe. Buddy loves to help innovators craft their stories, and deliver them in engaging ways to press, investors, and clients.

Carol Christ is the 11th Chancellor and the former Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost of the University of California, Berkeley. She previously served as President of Smith College from 2002 to 2013, and before that was a professor of English and an administrator at Berkeley for more than three decades. Chancellor Christ is an advocate for quality, accessible public higher education, a proponent of the value of a broad education in the liberal arts and sciences, and a champion of women’s issues and diversity on college campuses. Since her return to Berkeley, she has worked to foster community and improve the campus climate for people of all backgrounds, celebrate the institution’s longstanding commitment to free speech, strengthen Berkeley’s financial position, address a housing shortage, and develop a ten-year strategic plan for the campus.

Michael Emerson Dirda is a writer for and advisor to UC Berkeley’s chancellor and other senior executives. He’s interested in how technology can help humanize leaders and allow them to better communicate with their constituencies. An honorary Golden Bear since 2014, Mike has also worked with Stanford, Yale, Penn State, Oberlin, NYU, Harvard, and the College Board. Outside of work you’ll find him reading, playing piano, rock climbing, or chasing frisbees with the nationally ranked ultimate frisbee team, Mischief.

Amy Gardner is executive director in the office of University Business Partnerships & Services. She leads the strategic framework for campuswide partnership collaboration and engagement, working directly with campus stakeholders to identify and cultivate “industries of opportunity” while ensuring partnership opportunities are in alignment with the University’s values and mission of teaching, research, and public service. Additionally, she oversees the request for proposal (RFP) process, contract development, UPP category working groups, and the department budget and finances. Prior to joining UPP, Amy served as the director of corporate and community relations with the San Francisco Bowl Game where she was responsible for sponsorship development, event planning, and game operations. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a double major in psychology and economics and received a master’s degree in sport management from the University of San Francisco.

Tiffany Grandstaff is the director of communications for the UC Berkeley Library. She leads a team of designers, writers and editors who unearth interesting and untold stories and dream up fun and creative ways to share the Library’s mission with the world. Prior to coming to Berkeley, Tiffany was the managing editor for presentation at The (San Jose) Mercury News.

Siobhan Harris is the Creative Director in UC Berkeley’s department of University Development and Alumni Relations, where she and her team oversee the design of all development materials and branding. Prior to joining UC Berkeley, she spent over a decade working as a creative director and graphic designer for some of New York’s top financial companies. She holds a Master’s Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University’s Medill School, and would be delighted to tell you about the time she prevented a traffic accident with nothing more than a tube of lipstick.

Diana Harvey is associate vice chancellor for communications and public affairs at the University of California Berkeley. She directs UC Berkeley’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs and oversees the university’s reputation and issues management function, content development, digital and social media, external/media relations, and visitor and parent services. In addition, she provides counsel to campus leadership and serves as a liaison to the UC Office of the President. Prior to coming to UC Berkeley, Harvey held communications leadership positions at the Duke Global Health Institute and the University of Minnesota. As the University of Minnesota’s chief communications officer and deputy chief of staff to the president, she oversaw the U of M’s advertising and brand campaign, held a key role in communications around the university’s efforts to improve campus climate, and, alongside development and government relations colleagues, led public outreach that enabled the school to hit fundraising records and receive its first state funding increase in six years. A native of Minneapolis, Diana received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota.

Richard Koci Hernandez is an internationally recognized, Emmy award-winning multimedia producer who worked as a visual journalist at the San Jose Mercury News for 15 years. His photographic work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and a National Geographic Book on iPhone Photography, among others. His work for the Mercury News covering the Latino Diaspora and the California Youth Prison System earned him two Pulitzer Prize nominations and, in 2003, the James K. Batten Knight Ridder Excellence Award. In 2008, Koci Hernandez was invited to join the Faculty at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism as a visiting Fellow supported by a Ford Foundation grant to produce digital news sites for San Francisco Bay Area communities. In 2017, Koci Hernandez was named an Associate Professor for New Media at the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley.

Eryn Hong joined the Office of Business Contracts and Brand Protection (BCBP) in July 2015 after graduating from law school. Since then, she has processed agreements for nearly every department on campus, more recently focusing on agreements for University Business Partnerships & Services and Intercollegiate Athletics. Her current work in BCBP spans several disciplines, but she mostly enjoys managing intellectual property assets for the Berkeley campus and the system as a whole. Among other things, she has spearheaded efforts to couple BCBP’s brand protection activities with UC’s strategic goal of creating a sustainable financial model. She enjoys collaborating with key stakeholders on campus to unlock new revenue streams by thinking about the brand strategically. In addition, Eryn has taken various opportunities to further her passion for public service. For example, as Co-Chair of the Asian Pacific American Systemwide Alliance, she has used her contract negotiation experience to further the campus’s work in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. She also serves as Program Director for the Taiwanese American Foundation, a conference aimed at fostering personal growth for Taiwanese American high school students.

Nina F. Ichikawa (‘00 Interdisciplinary Studies: Food Globalization) has been published in Civil Eats, Grist, Al-Jazeera America, NBC Asian America, Amerasia Journal, Rafu Shimpo and Nichi Bei Times. Nina has advised on policy creation, implementation and outreach for a range of clients, including a U.S. Presidential primary campaign, Peace Boat Japan, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Slow Food DC, community development corporations, schools, nonprofits and businesses. She provided policy analysis, research and staff training for the USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative and was a Food and Community Fellow for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy from 2011-2013, where she launched, the nation’s first food policy platform for Asian Americans and Pacific Islander voters. Nina served as the policy director for the Berkeley Food Institute from 2015-2019, and is currently serving as its interim executive director.

Patrick Joseph is the Editor-in-Chief for CALIFORNIA magazine. His writing and reporting has appeared in various publications, including The Atlantic, The Chicago Tribune, Salon, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

Ram Kapoor is the Chief Marketing Officer at the University of California, Berkeley. His team provides marketing support to campus, and manages the main Berkeley website as well as its central social media channels. Prior to joining UC Berkeley in November 2011, Ram was a highly awarded Advertising Creative Director & CEO. He held senior management roles at various global Advertising networks – including Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, Young & Rubicam, Euro RSCG and Wunderman. Ram’s work has been feted with awards at top global competitions – including Cannes Lions, New York Fests, London International Awards and Asia Pacific Awards.

Michelle “Mush” Lee, Ed.M., is a published poet, story strategist and pioneer of spoken word, creative youth development pedagogy. Michelle’s presentations have been featured on HBO, PBS, AfroPop, createCA, National Asian American Theater Festival, New Works Theater Festival, Under the Radar Festival, National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE) and at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University, with a focus on equity and social justice.

A recent Harvard University, Project Zero Fellow, Mush is frequently a featured speaker on spoken word and hip hop pedagogies, racial justice and women of color in leadership. Her writing is published in All the Women in My Family Sing, an anthology of essays by women of color at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Currently, Michelle serves as a Cultural Strategist in Government for the City of Oakland, is an advisory board member for Alameda County Department of Education’s Integrated Learning Specialist Program and leads statewide field-building initiatives as the Sr. Advisor of Pedagogy at Youth Speaks. Mush is the founding CEO of Whole Story Group, a narrative-centered training and facilitation team founded on the principles of cultural sustainability, human connection and wholeness.

Marissa Louie (‘05 Interdisciplinary Studies – Economics, Business, and IEOR) is an award-winning art director, designer, and entrepreneur. She is the CEO and founder of Animoodles, a toy startup where she oversees company operations and the design team. She formerly worked at Apple, Disney, and Pixar. She is the founder of Designers Guild, a community that provides professional development for designers in over 100 countries.

Angus MacDonald joined the University of California, Office of the President’s Office of General Counsel in 2013 as Senior Counsel in the intellectual property group. His practice primarily focuses on copyright and trademark issues.Before joining the office, Mr. MacDonald worked in-house at several technology companies in the Silicon Valley, including as the General Counsel of a digital music service. He began his legal career at the intellectual property firm, Townsend and Townsend and Crew (now known as Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton), where he became a partner. He obtained his undergraduate degrees in 1996 from UC San Diego and his law degree in 2000 from UC Davis, where he was the Senior Research Editor of the Law Review.

Keith McAleer is the director of communications for the UC Berkeley Industrial Engineering and Operations Research department and for the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology in the College of Engineering. Keith’s specialties include writing, web development and graphic design. He leads teams of students who help him deliver story-focused communications and marketing campaigns. Before working at UC Berkeley, Keith organized political campaigns and led urban forestry nonprofit organizations.

Roqua Montez has mixed potent communications concoctions for HP, USA Today, the San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Unified and The Tech Museum, among others. Today he spins his sorcery as Executive Director of Communications & Media Relations in Public Affairs.

Dave Pell is a writer and angel investor based in San Francisco, California. Dave is the man behind the popular NextDraft newsletter, where Pell breaks down the day’s “most fascinating news” and sends it out to over 160,000 readers via email newsletter and app every afternoon. His work has been featured in Gizmodo, NPR, and Forbes. His Twitter has a major cult following. Pell and his wife Gina are old-school Silicon Valley — they’ve been here since the 90’s internet boom.

Dan Perkins has been at UC Berkeley for 9 years, and is in his 6th year as Licensing Director. He has a BA from Dartmouth College in Studio Art, an Associate Degree in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of California – San Francisco, and a Masters of Science in International Education from Oxford University. Dan represented the United States as a member of the US Rowing Team and is a brain cancer survivor. He lives in Oakland with his wife and daughter.

Maya Pope-Chappell is a senior news editor at LinkedIn, cultivating, curating and creating content and conversations on the day’s news and industry trends. She also hosts and produces #HowIGotHere, a LinkedIn video series that highlights professionals with unique stories to tell about their paths to success. The Oakland native previously worked as a reporter and online editor at The Wall Street Journal based in New York City and Hong Kong. She holds a Master’s degree from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, and has been published in Essence, Latina, and theGrio, among others.

Tina Risker is the “Web DJ” for UC Berkeley. She manages the gateway, Critic’s choice calendar, and the official campus Twitter feed: @UCBerkeley. She was a guest speaker at Stanford University’s first annual “Social-M Challenge” on digital campaign management and mobilizing collective thought. She’s a media strategist who has planned everything from coupons to community organizing, search to social, and online to offline events for clients such as Electronic Arts, Netflix and Children’s Fairyland. She’s passionate about persuasive technology and currently specializes in storytelling in the digital age. She’s also a proud UC Berkeley alum.

José Rodríguez is Editorial Director at University Development and Alumni Relations at UC Berkeley. He manages a team that produces communications that engage diverse audiences and inspire philanthropy for the campus. He has served Berkeley in various capacities, including as principal editor, UDAR’s founding web director, and as campaign communications director during the $3.3 billion Campaign for Berkeley. Apart from his professional commitments, José has creative pursuits in poetry and photography. A native of Richmond, Calif., José holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a master’s degree from Stanford University.

Colleen Rovetti is the executive director of external relations and marketing communications in university development and alumni relations. She leads a strategic communications and external relations team in developing collateral and programming in support of the philanthropic goals of the university. She is responsible for the comprehensive turn-key planning, strategizing and implementing of a variety of programs for the campus including central development efforts, Chancellor’s office programming and public events. Her team is currently planning the marketing platform for the upcoming launch of the campaign. Colleen has held several positions in UDAR, including serving as a major gift fundraiser for a short period of time. She is a graduate of Berkeley with a degree in psychology, one that she finds use for on a regular basis.