Margaret Conley, a Bay Area native, is the Executive Director of Asia Society Northern California. Her non-profit experience includes the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, where she developed and launched an inaugural Future of Asia conference, and the Berggruen Institute, where she helped build a new Philosophy + Culture Institute with a focus on the US and China. Margaret was based in Asia for several years as a television news correspondent with ABC News in Jakarta and Tokyo and with Bloomberg Television in Shanghai. Her interviews include Howard Schultz, Richard Branson, Ban Ki-Moon, LeBron James and Beyoncé. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a master’s in journalism from the University of Hong Kong, which specializes in coverage of Asia. In 2019, Margaret was selected as one of the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business by the San Francisco Business Times.
Senior Manager, Membership and Corporate Partnership
Palarp Jumpasut is Senior Manager, Membership and Corporate Partnership. Prior to working at Asia Society Northern California, Palarp was working at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. as part of the Doing Business report, working with key global contributors to the report including KPMG, PwC, and White & Case. She also worked within financial and private sector development as a Learning Specialist helping to organize high profile events including at the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank Group. Most recently she served as Director of Administration and Operations at the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. She has a B.A. in Economics from the University of Manchester and an M.S. in Financial Markets from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Melissa La Bouff
Melissa La Bouff attained her Master’s in Pacific and International Affairs in 2015 from the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Her regional focus was Japan, and during the summer of 2014 she was the Cultural Affairs Intern in the Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. Her primary focus during her internship and graduate school was ‘womenomics’ and women’s empowerment in Japan. Prior to graduate school, Melissa resided in the prefecture of Miyazaki and taught English for four years as an Assistant Language Teacher on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. Before working in Japan, Melissa held professional managerial positions as an Events Coordinator and Program Coordinator at UCSD in various international departments. She holds her Bachelor’s in Political Science/Public Law with minors in French Literature and Film Studies from Eleanor Roosevelt College at UCSD.
James Gale previously worked in Washington DC as an International Policy Manager in UPS’ Global Public Affairs organization, managing business development and policy initiatives to expand UPS’ global footprint. Prior to his role at UPS, he worked at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where he designed and launched a new U.S.-Japan travel and tourism initiative and coordinated cross-cultural conferences. James also participated in the Japanese Government’s Japan Exchange & Teaching (JET) Program, serving for two years as an Assistant Language Teacher in rural Hokkaido. He also worked at Asia Society's Washington office where he developed programs on North Korea and Human Rights. James holds a Master’s of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) degree from Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service and a Bachelor's degree in International Relations/Modern Languages from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He has studied abroad at East China Normal University in Shanghai and International Christian University in Tokyo and speaks Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish.