2023 Keynote Speaker

Keynote Speaker – D’Lo

UCLA alum, D’Lo is a queer/transgender Tamil-Sri Lankan American actor/writer/comedian whose work range includes stand-up comedy, solo theater, plays, films and music production, poetry, and spoken word. His solo shows Ramble-Ations, D’FunQT and To T, or not To T have been presented at theaters and festivals internationally, and his stand-up show D’FaqTo Life tours the college circuit. His work has been published and written about in academic journals, literary anthologies, and print/online journalism sources, such as LA Times, The Guardian, NBC, and The Advocate. He was invited to be a commentator on CNN, has appeared in Buzzfeed and Fusion videos, and the award-winning documentary Performing Girl centers on his life. He facilitates “writing for performance” workshops and created the “Coming Out, Coming Home” writing workshop series for South Asian and/or immigrant LGBTQ+ organizations across the nation. As an actor, he has television roles in: LookingTransparentSense8Mr. RobotConnecting…Quantum Leap, and Billy Eichner’s Bros.

Most recently, D’Lo was awarded the Artist Disruptor Fellowship for TV Writing through the Center for Cultural Performance and 5050×2020, an initiative started by Joey Soloway; as well as the Civic Media Fellowship through USC’s Annenberg Innovation Lab funded by the MacArthur Foundation. This year, D’Lo received the Sherwood Award for theater/performance through CTG.

2022 Keynote Speaker

Keynote Speaker – Sefa Aina

Sefa Aina is currently the Associate Dean and Director of the Draper Center for Community Partnerships at Pomona College. Professionally, he has served as an academic and student- organizational advisor, as well as an instructor for Asian American Studies programs at UCLA and California State University, Fullerton. Sefa has taught courses in contemporary Pacific Islander issues, community engagement, and has done countless workshops and talks at colleges and universities throughout the country. In the community, Sefa is a founding member and current board chair of EPIC (Empowering Pacific Islander Communities); board member of APIA (Asian Pacific Islander American) Scholars; and board member for the APAHE (Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education). Sefa is also a founding member of NPIEN (National Pacific Islander Educators Network) and the UCLA PIER (Pacific Islander Education + Retention) Project. In September of 2010, Sefa was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Sefa served as the vice-chair of the Commission from 2010 – 2014. He has also been a reader for the APIASF (Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund), and AIGCS (American Indian Graduate Center Scholars) Gates Millennium Scholarship. Through his work on college campuses and in the larger community, Sefa has demonstrated his commitment to increasing the support and opportunities for non-traditional, marginalized, first generation students. Sefa married his high school sweetheart, Belinda Aina; and together they have 3-children, Marina (Pomona College ’23), Marcus (UC Berkeley ’25) and Malie (USC ’26).

2021 Keynote Speaker

Keynote Speaker – Sahra Nguyen

Sahra Nguyen is the founder & CEO of Nguyen Coffee Supply — the first-ever specialty Vietnamese coffee company importing and roasting in Brooklyn, New York. On a mission to transform the coffee industry through diversity, inclusion, and transparency, Nguyen Coffee Supply has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, VICE, New York Magazine, New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, and honored with the 2019 StarChefs Rising Star Award. Early January 2020, Imbibe Magazine featured Sahra Nguyen as one of the #Imbibe75 — people, places, and directions that will shape the way you drink in 2020. She is a Gold House Collective Founder for Spring 2020 cohort, a leading network to celebrate and elevate the Asian American community.