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Ascend Inspiring Across Generations Conference 

Evolving to Succeed: How to Navigate the

New Normal

Speaker Bios

Thuy Vu
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Day 1

Keynote Speaker

Thuy Vu

Co-Founder and President

Global Mentor Network

Thuy is a seven-time Emmy award winning journalist who’s currently Co-founder and President of the Global Mentor Network, where she’s democratizing mentorship and leadership development by providing scalable opportunities for anyone, anywhere, anytime. Prior to the Global Mentor Network, she had a long career in journalism.  Thuy anchored the current affairs program “KQED Newsroom” on one of the nation’s largest and most respected PBS stations in San Francisco.  She has also been a reporter and anchor for NPR, as well as CBS and ABC stations.

Thuy immigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam with her family at the end of the war and lived in two refugee camps prior to resettling in Duluth, Minnesota.  She is a sought after speaker and moderator, and has been featured by major media outlets such as CNN and the New York Times. When she’s not busy running her startup, Thuy enjoys serving as Board Chair at The RealReal Foundation, the philanthropic arm of The RealReal publicly traded company.  She has also been an Advisor at DocuSign.  And most of all, she enjoys being a mom to her teenaged daughter.

Fun fact – Thuy’s immigration story will be one of the interactive exhibits at the Angel Island Immigration Museum opening in 2021.

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Day 2


Henry Brandt

Southwest Market Diversity & Inclusion Leader


Henry Brandt (he/him) is the Southwest Market D&I Leader at PwC and is based in the Los Angeles office. He is responsible for establishing and maintaining a culture of belonging which requires a shift from awareness to empathy as well as empowering inclusive leadership behaviors that cultivate a greater sense of trust among our people. Having spent a majority of his time with PwC in the Human Capital space, Henry gets to live out his purpose by enacting positive and sustainable change. Additionally, as a Certified Professional Coach, he is able to support people in reaching their full potential both professionally and personally. On a personal note, in October 2020 Henry married his husband (Dillon) and they enjoy checking out new restaurants, playing tennis, traveling to new cities and spending quality time with family & friends. He is involved in supporting the LGBTQ+ Community both internal and external to the firm." 

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Day 2 

Fireside Chat Moderator

Glen Hamakawa

President of Ascend LA Metro

Retired EY Partner

Glen has had a long storied career at Ernst & Young (EY) LLP in the Southern California region, promoted to Partner in the Long Beach office and specializing in both Audit and the firm's Japanese Business Services Group. Glen provided Executive Sponsorship and Mentorship to EY's internal Pan Asian Professional Network for many years while at the firm and steps into the Ascend LA Metro Chapter Presidency after a robust year of service as Chairman of the Board for the Japan America Society of Southern California. 

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Day 2


Jamie Hernandez

Senior Manager, Production & Operations


Jamie Hernandez is Senior Manager, Production & Operations for the NBCUniversal Lifestyle Networks (E! & Bravo). Jamie is part of the team that oversees all aspects of production management for the networks’ original series & specials, working on some of the buzziest hits including “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”, “Real Housewives of Orange County” and “Real Housewives of New York City”. Prior to E! & Bravo, Jamie worked at NBC’s Alternative Series & Specials department, and started her career at donning a polyester uniform as an NBC Page. In addition, Jamie currently serves as a Global Advisory Committee Co-Lead for Asian Pacific Americans@NBCUniversal Employee Resource Group. Jamie graduated cum laude from California State University, Northridge and has inadvertently amassed an extensive shoe collection.

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Day 2

Fireside Chat Speaker 

Wesley Hom

Former IBM Vice President and Global Managing Director

Ascend Vice President and National Board Member

Co-Developer and Executive Advisor, Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Asian American Executive Program

Wes was formerly a global executive at the IBM corporation. He has held several senior executive positions throughout Asia, Europe, and the US. He has been responsible for multiple global lines of business, global sales and operations, venture capital group organization, and business development assignments for emerging markets. 


Wes was also the first Pan-Asian American to be appointed Executive Assistant in IBM's corporate office serving the Chairman, CEO, President, CFO and Senior Vice President of Human Resources.

Wes also chaired IBM's Asian Diversity initiatives, where he was recognized as the "conscience & guardian" to the Asian community throughout IBM. Wes served on the boards of many professional and community organizations such as the Business Advisory Council of Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) and International venture capital firms. He was recognized as one of the "Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business" by the Asian American Business Development Center and received Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) Dynamic Achievers Award.

Today, Wes is an Ascend National Board member and officer. He advises on business development, diversity, and leadership and talent development for Ascend's global sponsors and their senior management teams.

Wes is also executive advisor and co-developer of Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, Asian American Executive Program. Wes is a graduate of NYU's Stern School of Business with BS/CS and MBA degrees. He was a member of IBM's Certified Client Director Profession through the Advance Management Program at Harvard Business School.

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Day 1

Keynote Moderator

Lillian Lin

Senior Vice President and Investment Grade Portfolio Manager


Ms. Lin is a senior vice president and investment grade portfolio manager in the Newport Beach office and a member of PIMCO’s Americas portfolio 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 holds an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management and an undergraduate degree from Peking University with a major in mathematics and a minor in economics. In 2007, she graduated from high school (Ren Da Fu Zhong) as the top student among 10k students in Beijing in the college entrance examination. She is the co-author of a book also written in 2007 on achieving success.

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Day 2

Panel Moderator

Kevin Ma

International Tax Senior Manager


  • Based in Irvine, Kevin Ma is a member of Ernst & Young LLP’s International Tax Services team and serves as the executive vice president of the Ascend LA Metro Chapter.

  • He advises publicly listed and privately held multinational companies with various international tax advisory issues including corporate reorganizations and acquisitions.

  • He has been with Ernst & Young since 2006 assisting U.S. and foreign multinationals on a wide range of international tax issues.  

  • Kevin has experience serving clients in a number of industries and served as a member of EY’s National Tax team focused on digital  taxation.

  • Kevin is a speaker at the Tax Executive Institute (“TEI”) and is a contributor to Tax Notes International.

  • He is a member of the AICPA and International Fiscal Association.

  • Kevin serves as the Chair of EY’s Pan Asian Pacific American affinity group for the Irvine office, which helps to develop Asian minority professionals within EY.

  • He received a Bachelors of Accountancy and a Masters of Science in Taxation from the University of Southern California and is a certified public accountant in the state of California.

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Day 1

Keynote Speaker

Deborah Png

Executive Director for International Productions

Sony Pictures Television

Deborah Png is an attorney licensed by the State of California and based in Los Angeles, CA. She started as a litigator in Singapore, then moved in-house as legal counsel for the Royal Dutch Shell Group of Companies and a start-up film and television group of companies in Singapore and Malaysia. With broad entertainment and international experience, Deborah currently negotiates and manages format acquisitions, licensing, co-production and production deals in the US, Asia Pacific and Latin American territories as Executive Director, Business and Legal Affairs, in the International Productions division of Sony Pictures Television.

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Day 2


Tejas Shah

Lead Continuous Improvement Consultant


Tejas Shah is a Continuous Improvement leader at ADP and based in San Dimas, CA. With a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, he started his career 24 years ago with various roles stretching from Tax Processing, Business Analysis, Implementation, Operations and Business Process Improvements. Tejas has PMP (Project Management Professional) & Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certifications and currently leading efforts spanning US, Canada, Australia, UK and India. He was VP founding the Elevate (Pan Asian American) Business Resource Group, which has been in existence 2 ½ years ago and now serves as the President for California chapters. On a personal note, happily married for 16 years and have two loving children age 13 and 9. Have multiple hobbies including watching and playing all sports, photography, music, traveling [prior to covid], spending time with friends and family, and being a lifelong learner.

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Day 1

Keynote Speaker Moderator

Peter Yo

Assistant Vice President and Branch Director

Robert Half Legal

Peter is an assistant vice president in the Westwood office at Robert Half Legal where he oversees the advisory and legal placement operations in the Los Angeles region. He specializes in human capital consulting and advisory services in areas of litigation management, eDiscovery, M&A, commercial contracts, and regulatory compliance. He is also one of the founding members of Robert Half’s employee resource group: Apex. Peter holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University with a major in organizational leadership, minor in business administration, and a certificate of entrepreneurship. He is also a current board member of the Ascend Los Angeles chapter as the vice president of membership.

Henry Brandt
Jamie hernandez
Wes Hom
Glen Hamakawa
Deporah Png
Lillian Lin
Tejas Shah
Peter Yo
Kevin Ma
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