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Ascend OC - IAG Conference 2024

Leading Together to Break, Make, Create

Speaker Bios

Keynote Speaker


Buck Gee

Executive Advisor


Buck Gee is an executive advisor to Ascend, a nonprofit Pan-Asian organization of business professionals. In 2010, he co-founded the Advanced Leadership Program for Asian American Executives, an executive education program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has co-authored numerous Ascend research papers on the topic of the Asian glass ceiling, including "Hidden in Plain Sight" (2015) and "Lost in Aggregation" (2016), “The Illusion of Asian Success” (2017), The Diversity-Equity Gap in the Fortune 500” (2023) and “What about the Women: the Double Glass Ceiling for API Women” (2024). He has written opinion pieces on Asian American issues published in the Harvard Business Review, the New York Times, USA Today, the San Jose Mercury-News, KQED, and He is a member of the Committe-of-100 and currently serves on its board of directors as NorCal regional chair. He also serves on the boards of the Chinatown Media and Art Collective (CMAC) and the Asia Society/Northern California. Mr. Gee retired in 2008 from Cisco Systems, where he was Vice President and General Manager of the Data Center Business Unit. He joined Cisco with its 2004 acquisition of Andiamo Systems where Mr. Gee was President and CEO. He has held management positions at Hewlett Packard, National Semiconductor, 3Com, Crescendo Communications, and Com21. He has also taught computer and engineering courses at Stanford University and Howard University. In 2015, he received the Executive Excellence Award from the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA). He has also received the Civic Entrepreneurship Award from the Asian Pacific Islander Leadership Institute (APALI) in 2012. He holds BSEE and MSEE degrees from Stanford University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.



Stephen Choi

Vice President


Stephen Choi is a Vice President of Samsung Electronics America and the Head of the North America Display Office (NADO), a display technical center of excellence, since June 2013. As the head of NADO, Stephen is responsible for the $1.7B annual display technology revenue while managing the Display Solution Architects, Solutions Integrations, and the Display Business Development teams in the North America market. Prior to joining Samsung, Stephen held a senior executive role with Stratacache, a display software and technology company, responsible for the world’s largest global digital menu board deployment with McDonalds. Previously, Stephen spent 9 years with AT&T Business, serving in various leadership roles including Network Engineering, Global Accounts Sales, Product Management/Marketing, and Strategic Partner Management. Stephen is a decorated veteran with the US Air Force Reserve, having served in the Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield, Joint Task Force-Bravo, and other global humanitarian and combat missions. During his 22 plus years in both the active duty Air Force and the Air Force Reserve, Stephen held multiple command positions at base-level units and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2012. Stephen’s academic credentials include a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science, an MBA, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Southern Methodist University. Stephen currently resides in Southern California with his family.


Dr. Romanos Daniel



Dr. Romanos Daniel is Chairman of the Advisory Board at QSimulate. He holds a PhD in Mathematics, a Masters Degree in Physics, an MA, and a BA in natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge. He has decades of programming experience, is a specialist in derivatives, trading, and AI having two decades of experience in finance with more than 10 years in Senior management at top investment banks and exchanges. He is a former board member of the world’s largest derivatives exchange (EUREX) and was a Senior Managing Director at UBS in charge of hundreds of traders as the global head of Noncore and Legacy trading, and a member of the executive committee. He is a former managing director at BAML in Hong Kong and spent the first decade of his career at Goldman Sachs. He has worked in NY, London, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.


Shefali Dua

Product Leader

Amazon Web Services, AI

Shefali works at Amazon Web Services as a Product Leader at AWS AI Services. She is currently driving product growth strategy and generative AI roadmap for conversational analytics services in Contact Center focused on Amazon Connect. She works extensively with strategic AWS partners and customer to build scalable products & solutions. Before this role, she lead strategic partner development for ISVs at AWS where she drove partner growth by sponsoring and overseeing cross company go to market initiatives including co-sell, co-market and co-build. She has been with Amazon for about 4 years. Her overall experience of 20 years spans industries, including banking, life sciences, retail, travel & hospitality and healthcare, with leadership roles in product management, sales, and digital consulting working with companies like Microsoft, Accenture, Genpact and HP Enterprise Services. She also served a principal advisor in Mind Strategy LLC, self-owned company working for state & local businesses, universities and non-profits on customer relationship management processes, business data management and agile architectures. She holds an Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from UCLA Anderson School of Management where she specialized in Global Leadership, Technology Management, Finance and Entrepreneurship with modules completed in France with HEC Paris, Hong Kong, China, Brazil and South Africa. She also has a Bachelors in Technology in Computer Science from Faculty of Engineering and Technology, New Delhi, India.

Program Host


Lillian Lin

Senior Vice President


Ms. Lin is a senior vice president and investment grade credit portfolio manager in the Newport Beach office. She was a member of PIMCO’s Americas portfolio committee for eight years, and she has also been a rotating member of the emerging markets portfolio committee. She currently serves on the PIMCO Women steering committee as well as the PIMCO LEAP (Leading and Engaging as Asian Professionals) engagement committee. Prior to joining PIMCO in 2014, she worked in fixed income portfolio analysis at Harvard Management Company and was a FICC (fixed income, commodities, and currencies) derivatives trader at UBS. She was named the Next Generation Leader of the Year in 2022 by Women in Asset Management, and she was named a Rising Star at Markets Media's 2020 Women in Finance Awards. She has 11 years of investment experience and holds an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management and an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Peking University.

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