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Ascend Inspiring Across Generations

Courageous Conversations: Empowering Voices Across Generations
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Event Details

Date: Friday, January 12, 2024

Time: 11:00 AM – 6:30 PM PT (including Lunch 11 AM and HH/Networking 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM)

Venue: (In-person) Deloitte, 555 Mission Street, SF |  (Virtual) Zoom Meeting 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM Panel Discussion          

Admission: (In-Person) Member: $100  I  Non-Member: $150 | (Virtual for Plenary): Member: Complimentary | Non-Member: $25

​Attire: Business Casual


Join Ascend NorCal and Deloitte for an immersive half-day conference on January 12, 2024.


In the spirit of unity and growth, our theme encourages open dialogue and fearlessly navigating important discussions. Leadership is not just about standing at the forefront but about fostering a culture of collaboration and inclusion through courageous conversations.


Join us as we explore how these conversations can propel us forward, breaking barriers, and fostering understanding. Let's build a community where diverse voices are not only heard but celebrated, creating a powerful tapestry of leadership that spans generations.


Register now for an event that promises inspiration, insights, and the opportunity to connect with fellow leaders who believe in the transformative power of courageous conversations. Together, let's forge a path to leadership excellence.


Stay tuned for more details, and get ready to Lead Together with Courageous Conversations!



11:00 AM - 12:00 PM: 

Registration & Lunch

12:00 PM - 1:15 PM: 

1:15 PM - 1:30 PM: 


1:30 PM - 2:30 PM: 

2:30 PM - 2:45 PM: 


2:45 PM - 3:45 PM: 

3:45 PM - 4:00 PM: 

4:00 PM - 5:15 PM: 

5:30 PM - 6:30 PM: 

Networking Happy Hour

Welcome & Opening Plenary

Welcome & Opening Plenary
Opening remarks by Kats, followed by plenary

12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Join us for an inspiring fireside chat with the incredible Sora Lee! Discover the stories behind her success and the influential figures who shaped her journey. Explore the theme 'Leading Together' as Sora shares insights into collaboration, diversity, and the strength that comes from unity. An afternoon of inspiration, connection, and valuable lessons awaits. Don't miss out on this opportunity to engage with a dynamic leader.


Romin Bahk

Accounting & Reporting Advisory (Audit & Assurance) Senior / VP Programs

Deloitte / Ascend NorCal


Sora Lee

Product Marketing & Strategy Leader

Ex Meta and Netflix

Concurrent Sessions

Concurrent Sessions A1
Concurrent Session A1
Better Boundaries: Transforming Limits into Freedom

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Dive into the vital topic of boundaries with our esteemed panel in this breakout session. Featuring Dr. Katherine Eng (a licensed psychologist from Summit Center), Dr. Kayoko Yokoyama (a psychologist, educator, and consultant from The Wright Institute), and Hoa My Nguyen (psychotherapist at RAMS - Adult Outpatient). Explore the crucial areas of personal, professional, and relational boundaries. Gain practical strategies, insights, and tools to establish healthy boundaries in your life. Join us for an engaging session that empowers you to create a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle.


Hoa My Nguyen


RAMS - Adult Outpatient 


Dr. Katherine Eng

Licensed Psychologist

Summit Center


Dr. Kayoko Yokoyama


The Wright Institute

Concurrent Session A2
Unseen and Unheard: How We Can be More Inclusive Within Our AANHPI Communities

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Explore the untold stories within AAPI communities in our compelling breakout session, "Unseen and Unheard: How We Can be More Inclusive.'"Join our moderator, Faye Sahai from Ascend, along with distinguished panelists - Doua Thor, Manufou Liaiga Anoa'i, and Carina Ruiz. Engage in a thought-provoking discussion on amplifying voices, breaking barriers, and fostering inclusivity. Uncover strategies to make a meaningful impact within AAPI communities. Focused on empowerment and understanding, this session promises valuable insights.


Faye Sahai

Partner / Chapter Advisor

Telosity by Vinaj Ventures / Ascend NorCal


Manufou Liaiga Anoa'i

Title, Company


Carina Ruiz

Silicon Valley Managing Partner



Doua Thor

Vice President, Strategy and Influence

Sobrato Philanthropies

Concurrent Session B1
Embracing Neurodiversity in the Future of Work

2:45 PM - 3:45 PM

Join us for a thought-provoking discussion on "Embracing Neurodiversity in the Future of Work" within today’s workplace. Gene Kim will guide our discussion with insights from distinguished speakers, Nancy Yuen and Tim Hird. Discover how embracing neurodiversity will not only enhance workplace culture but also serve as a powerful competitive advantage for attracting and retaining talent. Gain valuable perspectives, strategies, and success stories that guide the journey toward inclusivity. Don't miss this opportunity to foster a more inclusive and innovative work culture.


Gene Kim

Director of Permanent Placement Services

Robert Half


Tim Hird

Executive Vice President, Enterprise Optimization

Robert Half - Protiviti


Nancy Yuen

Sr. Director of SOX Governance and Financial Data Mgmt

SoFi Technologies

Concurrent Session B2
Non-Traditional Career Paths

2:45 PM - 3:45 PM

Dive into the realm of "Non-Traditional Career Paths" within the AAPI community in our dynamic breakout session. Guided by our accomplished moderator - Gloria Zhu, Wealth Architect at J.P. Morgan with a fintech and family-office background - we will explore unconventional career trajectories. Joining the conversation is speaker Youngwon Lee, a seasoned professional with 15 years of experience in the Food & Beverage industry. Gain insights into forging successful paths outside the conventional norms and leveraging diverse experiences and skill sets. Uncover the stories of resilience, innovation, and strategic thinking that have defined these careers. Don't miss this opportunity to be inspired and rethink your own professional journey.


Gloria Zhu

Title, Company


Youngwon Lee



Concurrent Sessions B1

Closing Plenary

Closing Plenary
Rejection Therapy (Presentation + Q&A)

4:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Embark on a transformative journey with Jia Jiang (CEO, Rejection Therapy) in our compelling plenary session. Delve into the captivating world he unveils, where triumph over fear transforms rejection into enterprise, insult into ambition, and regret into courage. Jia's research sheds light on the profound impact of rejection, revealing that the fears associated with it are less destructive than we imagined. Discover how insight can make the experience of rejection less painful and humanity more kind than we ever dreamed. Uncover the valuable lessons hidden in plain sight as we explore this world together.


Jia Jiang

Chief Executive Officer

Rejection Therapy



Our Program Partner

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Our Corporate Partners

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Safety of our guests is paramount to Ascend. Attendees are responsible for monitoring their own condition and agree to comply with the safety, hygiene and CDC identified pandemic level communicable illnesses (including COVID-19) guidelines established by relevant health authorities. We request that attendees not attend an event should they test positive or if they experience COVID symptoms prior to the event.

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