Chair Emeritus, Asia Society Southern California
Trustee, Asia Society
Director, IBEAR MBA program at the USC Marshall School of Business
Richard Drobnick is the director of the IBEAR MBA program at the USC Marshall School of Business. He was the founding director of the School’s Center for International Business (1990-2014), which was supported by the U.S. Department of Education since 1990, as one of its 33 national resource centers on international business. Dr. Drobnick served as USC’s inaugural Vice Provost for International Affairs (1994-2005). He was the inaugural Secretary General (1997-2002) and a member of the Steering Committee (1997-2010) of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), an association of presidents of 45 leading Pacific Rim research universities (www.apru.org). He launched and led APRU’s Pacific Rim research programs on “Sustainability and Climate Change” and “Public Health” (2006-2010).
Dr. Drobnick specializes in Pacific Rim economic and business issues and U.S. and Pacific Rim trade policies. He is the author of numerous articles regarding international economics and business, as well as the co-author of Neither Feast nor Famine: Food Conditions to the Year 2000 and co-editor of Small Firms in Global Competition. Drobnick is a Trustee of the Asia Society and the Chairman of the Asia Society of Southern California Center. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia (1967-1969), Drobnick served as an economic advisor to the Malaysian Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Association Movement.
Co-Chair, Asia Society Southern California
Chief Marketing Office, Kiwi Co, Inc.
Katie Soo is an award-winning global media and tech marketer with a proven track record for breaking trends, forging new technology partnerships, and launching large-scale, disruptive business models and brands.
In her current role as CMO of KiwiCo, she oversees global marketing across consumer, brand, performance, and campaign strategy. Soo was the former Senior Vice President of Growth Marketing for HBO Max overseeing growth marketing, which included brand, originals, and growth media, subscriber acquisitions, consumer engagement, digital campaigns, social media and audience development, partner marketing, and retention strategies.
Soo is actively involved in startups, serving as an advisor to a handful of companies in health and wellness like Oura and Neuro, as well as dedicates her time to mentor early founders. She has received numerous accolades from Promax, Webbys, Digiday and the Shorty Awards for her work in both creative storytelling and digital products. Most recently she was recognized on Ad Age’s “40 Under 40,” PR Week’s “The Innovation 50” and was named on Goldhouse’s A100 list honoring the most impactful Asians in culture.
She is a West Coast native and sits on the Advisory Board for both Pinterest and California State University Entertainment Alliance. She’s also on the Asia Society’s Board of Trustees and is the Co-Chair of Asia Society Southern California and serves as a member of Vox Media’s Brand Council. When she isn’t working, Soo enjoys spending time with her family and supporting environmental causes.
Co-Chair, Asia Society Southern California
Senior Advisor, Atomico
Michael Gisser brings his 25 years of experience as a cross-border business and legal affairs expert. He lived between Hong Kong, Beijing, Los Angeles and New York as Asia Practice leader for global law firm Skadden Arps, building that to seven offices and 200+ people, and was simultaneously a senior mergers and acquisitions partner in Los Angeles. Gisser led innovative, major transactions all over the world involving Trip.com; Baidu, Youku and CNOOC in China; Indosat and Telkom Indonesia; Skype in Scandinavia; Centro Properties in Australia; large-capitalization companies in India and Singapore; and The Walt Disney Company and Juicy Couture in the U.S. A trained musician, Gisser studied at the Juilliard School in New York at the same time as Yo-Yo Ma and performed professionally with the Ringling Brothers Circus and many others.
Gisser has served on the Advisory Board of the ASSC for more than 15 years. He lives in Pacific Palisades, and currently serves in leadership and board positions for a number of established companies, as well as being a senior advisor to an activist investor and to a leading European venture capital firm focusing on technology investing.
Acting Executive Director
In her 15+ year career, Anjali Sharan has worked in public policy roles for a $100bn multinational corporation, a preeminent political strategy firm, and a premier national industry association in Washington D.C. and in New Delhi.
Sharan also served as Chief of Staff for an L.A.-based startup producing conferences on international trade and investment. She earned her master's degree in International Relations and Economics from John Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies and bachelor's degree in International Studies and Economics from American University, both in Washington D.C.
Li Huang is the program manager for Asia Society Southern California. With 10+ years of experience in the media and film industry, Huang specializes in project management in production, content marketing, global promotion, and talent management.
In recent years, Huang has crossed over from the Chinese entertainment industry into Hollywood to further facilitate her development of cross-cultural communication skills, stimulate collaborative projects between the U.S. and Asia, and promote multimedia content that resonates with people around the world. Huang earned her master’s degree in Film Producing from the New York Film Academy. She is fluent in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese.
Amanda Walencewicz is the program assistant at Asia Society Southern California. A graduate of Tufts University, she studied Chinese film and spent a year abroad in Hangzhou and Hong Kong. She also earned a graduate certificate program at the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center. Previously, she worked as the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations’ Communications and Production Assistant, producing videos, podcasts, and graphics.