AWE Launch Participants
Ella Jay Basco is an actress and singer-songwriter, who recently made her big screen debut in Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Past credits include Veep, Grey’s Anatomy, and the short film Glimpse of Heaven. Since the beginning of 2020, she has released standalone songs, including “Gold,” which is a timely new anthem for the AAPI community that chants “when you learn to love your true reflection, then you’ll always be rich with a gold complexion.” Ella will perform at the AWE launch event.
Incoming Stanford University first-year student Alexandra Huynh of Sacramento, California, has been named the 2021 National Youth Poet Laureate. She will serve as a cultural ambassador for the United States using poetry as a platform for the literary arts and civic engagement. Prior to being named the 2021 National Youth Poet Laureate, Alexandra served as the Western Regional Ambassador for the United States. A second-generation Vietnamese American, she uses poetry as a tool of self-reclamation and social justice for marginalized communities. Her powerful work, which contemplates notions of heritage and identity, reflects the ethos behind AWE and will serve as an opening to the AWE launch event.
Currently based in Los Angeles, Cheryl K is a public figure, singer-songwriter, and actress from Malaysia and Singapore. Cheryl is most known for her work in Crazy Rich Asians for singing the song, "Money (That’s What I Want)” which is both the Opening Title Screen & Ending Credits Song (remixed with Awkwafina) of the Warner Bros. Pictures blockbuster movie. You might also recognize Cheryl as one of the contestants from this season’s American Idol 2021 who duets with celebrity judge Lionel Richie. She has now released three (3) original singles, “Here to Stay”, “who are you”, and “Better.” In 2021, she also released a duet single with Guy Tang (Netflix's Bling Empire) called “Ready2Love.” Her songs are all currently available on all major music platforms such as Spotify and iTunes. Cheryl will perform at the AWE launch event.
Holly Liu founded the venture backed mobile gaming company, Kabam in 2006 with UC Berkeley alumni. Her work has contributed to record revenue growth for Kabam year over year from $0 to $400MM annually, that led Kabam into the unicorn club in 2014. She was Chief Development Officer in charge of developing Kabam internationally through key relationships - starting with China. Holly is a consummate entrepreneur, executive, and startup mentor. She is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences, and has named in Fortune and Forbes as a leading woman in gaming and entrepreneurship. She will be a featured speaker on the "Asian Women Empowered: Entrepreneurs" panel at the AWE launch event.
Kat Mañalac is a partner at Y Combinator and originally joined as its first Director of Outreach. Kat focuses on finding great entrepreneurs for the program. Prior to YC, Kat worked as Chief of Staff to Alexis Ohanian, Co-founder of Reddit and head of the nonprofit Breadpig. Before that, she was at WIRED Magazine. Kat attended Northwestern University where she studied communications and worked with the university’s Web Use Project. Kat was born in the Philippines and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She will be a featured speaker on the "Asian Women Empowered: Entrepreneurs" panel at the AWE launch event.
Sandra Oh Lin is the Founder and CEO of KiwiCo. KiwiCo is inspiring the next generation of innovators by designing and delivering seriously fun and enriching hands-on experiences that build creative confidence and problem solving skills. Through its e-commerce and content platform, KiwiCo now offers seven different product lines that cover engineering, art, science, geography, and more for kids of all ages. Before starting KiwiCo, Sandra was the GM for eBay Fashion and a founding member of PayPal Mobile. Sandra’s early career began in R&D at Procter & Gamble. She will be a featured speaker on the "Asian Women Empowered: Entrepreneurs" panel at the AWE launch event.
Pocket Sun is the co-founder of SoGal, with a mission to cultivate the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs and investors. She is Managing Partner at SoGal Ventures, the world’s first female-led next-generation VC fund, with $15M in AUM and 35 investments to date. She also serves as Co-president at SoGal Foundation, a nonprofit with the largest global community of diverse founders and funders in 50+ cities. She has extensive experience working with startups and corporations across the US, China, and Southeast Asia. Pocket has been on the cover of Forbes Asia magazine as a 30 Under 30 in Venture Capital, selected as LinkedIn Top 10 Voices in VC & Entrepreneurship, and interviewed by the BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Fortune, Inc, and Entrepreneur. She will be a featured speaker on the "Asian Women Empowered: Entrepreneurs" panel at the AWE launch event.