2021

Here it is! We are thrilled to share our speaker line up for 2021. We’ll hear from speakers who are imagining new possibilities and exploring new ideas for how we might live and work better together in the years to come. This eclectic group of highly motivated, bold & spirited speakers will share their perspective on a variety of thought provoking topics, each re-evaluating what really matters the most to them.

Louisa Awolaja

Photo credit: @portraitswithlou

Meet Louisa Awolaja
A diversity & inclusion specialist, a podcaster and a notion buster

Louisa, a British-Nigerian diversity & inclusion specialist and a podcaster, wants to create a more harmonious world for people of all colours and help people overcome their racial biases through conversations.

Seeing an acute underrepresentation of people of colour in Hong Kong prompted her to do something about it. To tackle this issue and to open a window to her world she co-founded a podcast – HomeGrown. With this podcast she wants to create a more affable environment for communities, dispel as many biases, misinformation, explore the racial dynamics as well as celebrate diversity and excellence.

She feels that the preconceived notions and ignorance around race and colour can only be ousted through an increased social interaction between communities- ‘I get to know a bit about you, and you, a bit about me’.

With a mission to inform, inspire and entertain, Louisa is breaking race barriers, one story at a time.

Shanty

Photo credit: Kristina Vanhove Photography, Video credit: Scott Clotworthy and Location courtesy of Asia Society Hong Kong

Meet Shanty
A total Rockstar inside out

Shanty, an Indonesian pop star, actor, entrepreneur, VJ, a mother, is a go-getter who lives with passion and loves with abundance. She is adamant about moving to the beats of her own drums. A talented performer, she is undeterred by the kaleidoscopic rigmarole of life with all its ups and downs, pain and glory, tears and joy.

Not the one to shy away from challenges, personal or professional, she embraces them, and harnesses her inner spunk to take them head on. This livewire entertainer has 5 albums, 10 feature films, 3 singles to her name and absolutely digs the outdoors be it wakeboarding, canyoning or coasteering. Despite her busy schedule, she loves to spend time with her children, in fact she never misses any of their events. Be it the stage or a playground, she gives it her all.

Shanty believes in creating her own path and is absolutely unapologetic about being herself.

Cynthia Cheng

Photo credit: Maxime Vanhollebeke

Meet Cynthia Cheng
A storyteller, a writer and a lawyer

Cynthia is a writer, lawyer and a keen storyteller. She is passionate about sharing heart-warming stories of people all around us, but who are often overlooked or taken for granted. She co-founded a social impact storytelling platform, Hong Kong Shifts, to showcase these stories through words and visuals as a way to foster meaningful connections and create a positive impact in our community.

She interviews and narrates captivating accounts of, shift workers – street cleaners, taxi drivers, janitors etc – and brings to light the silent contributions made by them to keep this city moving like a well-oiled machine.

Through these compelling stories, Cynthia hopes to bridge the social gap, build empathy and shift perspectives, one story at a time.

Puja Kapai

Photo credit: Kristina Vanhove Photography, Video credit: Scott Clotworthy and Location courtesy of Asia Society Hong Kong

Meet Puja Kapai
A professor, a lawyer and a human rights advocate

Puja juggles many hats – that of Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Convenor of the Women’s Studies Research Centre at the University of Hong Kong and a human rights expert. This adept professional is passionate about human rights issues and has written extensively about them, especially those concerning marginalised communities.

She has presented her views at the United Nations as well as in LegCo and to HK government officials. Her research and advocacy work has influenced significant policy changes to address racial inequality and violence against women.

She is a multi-award winner – International Women of Courage Award 2015, Hong Kong University’s Knowledge Exchange Award 2017 and American Chamber of Commerce’s Professional Woman of the Year Award 2019 – who works tirelessly for advancing equality & inclusion.

Puja feels that the pandemic has put a spotlight on the workings of entrenched racial and gender inequality and has brought these problems into focus.  She strongly believes this crisis provides an opportunity for us to create a more equal society – to rebuild a future that is truly inclusive.

Rachel Moon

Photo credit: Kristina Vanhove Photography, Video credit: Scott Clotworthy and Location courtesy of Asia Society Hong Kong

Meet Rachel Moon
A seasoned performer, a fitness guru & a fearless ‘fertility’ warrior

Rachel is a performer and fitness consultant in the wellness arena who wants to make a mark in this industry. Leveraging a career producing and performing in theatrical shows worldwide, her work blends performance mindset with positive psychology.

After successfully establishing herself professionally, Rachel was keen to move onto the next chapter of her personal life – motherhood. But her fertility journey was so full of physical and emotional ups and downs, that it provoked her into bringing issues surrounding ‘infertility’ out of the shadows.

She wants to share her fertility story- fears, tears and all- hoping to lower the taboos shrouding the modern fertility journey, inspire candid, open conversations around it and lend support to those going through it.

She lives by ‘Strength through Adversity’, and believes that it’s your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.

Chankalun

Photo credit Frédéric Bussière and location courtesy Rosella Sushi Restaurant New York

Meet Chankalun
A visual artist, heritage keeper and the ‘neon girl’

Chankalun is a visual storyteller who pushes boundaries with her artistry. Having apprenticed with a 70-year-old local neon master in Hong Kong, and subsequently with other neon artists around the world, she became Hong Kong’s only active female neon practitioner in a male-dominant industry.

She is adamant about giving a new lease of life to this dying art form, which was once a strong part of Hong Kong’s culture and was immortalised in many movies like Blade Runner. Chankalun wants to find ways to preserve this visual language and be the bridge that connects this traditional craft with the new generation of artists.

Her mission- keep the neon legacy alive and kicking.

Mashiat Lamisa

Photo credit Kristina Vanhove Photography, video Scott Clotworthy and location courtesy of Asia Society Hong Kong

Meet Mashiat Lamisa
An engineer, an unconventional thinker and fixer-upper

Mashiat Lamisa, a socially conscious product & design engineer, wants to make tech accessible to all. She loves to harness her innovative thinking and design acumen to find solutions for most pressing societal challenges. She co-founded Asia’s first electronic device repair community, which a true fixer-upper can only do. And those that cannot be repaired or fixed, she turns them into jewellery. Imagine wearing a chipset pendant and earring from your old phone or laptop.

This changemaker awardee wants to create a big impact in the realm of electronic waste upcycling.

Viv Kan

Photo credit Kristina Vanhove Photography, video Scott Clotworthy and location courtesy of Asia Society Hong Kong

Meet Viv Kan
A Mental Well-being Coach & ‘Relationship Whisperer’

Viv Kan, a mindfulness & wellness coach gently guides individuals to be more conscious & appreciative of their surroundings as well as perform at their highest potential by focussing on areas like sleep, stress and thoughts. She is passionate about helping busy individuals transform their intimate relationships by connecting the mind, body, breath and yoni (the female organs of generation in Sanskrit) thereby living a more fulfilling life.

She aspires to normalise the practice of ‘mindful intimacy’ & cultivate deeper connections by staying fully present. Viv truly believes that our relationships determine our life satisfaction.

Maitreyi Karanth

Photo credit Kristina Vanhove Photography, video Scott Clotworthy and location courtesy of Asia Society Hong Kong

Meet Maitreyi Karanth
An Artist, Philanthropist & Non-conformist

Maitreyi Karanth is an actor, producer, writer, humanitarian & stand up comedian. This multi-talented performer who has been a part of various TV series & movies, embarked on her artistic journey at the age of 44. She continues to break all stereotypes, pushing boundaries especially in Comedy Hong Kong and lives by the adage that ‘true passion has no expiry date’. 

Maitreyi not only impresses audiences through her artistic pursuits, she also impacts lives through her acts of kindness. She is actively involved in feeding the homeless in Hong Kong and provides help to build homes in the Philippines and Bangkok.

Arcadia Kim

Photo credit Kristina Vanhove Photography, video Scott Clotworthy and location courtesy of Asia Society Hong Kong

Meet Arcadia Kim
A Techie screen-time squadmate

Arcadia Kim is a recovering game-maker, mom of three tech-loving kids, and the founder of Infinite Screentime.  In her own words, ‘technology is a language for our kids and screen-time is the medium’. She, therefore, is on a mission to dispel negative connotations and bad publicity attached to ‘screen- time’. Putting forth a new perspective on this issue, Arcadia is building a community of coaches, educators, and child advocates that help raise screen-smart kids.

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