Toan Lam is a multimedia consultant, university professor, thought leader and former TV reporter/host who is on the forefront of the changing landscape of multimedia. Lam is harnessing social media to spark civic engagement and drive global giving and volunteerism. He is the creator and host of GoInspireGo.com (GIG), a multimedia platform that "uses social networking for social change." His GIG team scours the globe for "street corner"-style heroes, producing authentic stories about them that viewers can feel, while leveraging social media to create community and multiply their message to raise visibility and support for those featured.
Stories featured on GIG have reached millions of viewers around the globe and have been shared by many news organizations including Good Morning America, The Huffington Post, Deepak and Mallika Chopra's Intent.com, Yahoo, AOL and Public Radio and local TV stations across America.
Toan was born in Saigon, Vietnam. Just over 30 years ago, his family immigrated to America when he was a baby.
His family risked everything for America's promise of a better life and opportunities.
All ten of them were grateful to be living in the same trailer. They moved from one bad neighborhood to the next. Toan remembers feeling despondent, uninspired and powerless in his community filled with violence, hookers, liquor stores, drive-by shootings and the infamous "barber shop" where you can get a "fade" (haircut) by day, drugs at night and attend church in the parking lot on Sunday.
Books were his passport out of those neighborhoods, but he hid his love for reading and writing because no one validated his voice. Kids would tease him for speaking proper English (must have been all those books he read aloud) .
Funny how life works. Toan grew up without a voice, but is now a determined voice for the voiceless — through a career as a TV reporter, college professor and his passion work, GoInspireGo.com (GIG).
He was invited by Arianna Huffington to be a regular blogger for her website, The Huffington Post, among others.
Toan believes everyone is inspired by someone or something. Given his humble beginnings, he's grateful to create his own dream job title: "Inspirator" — someone who helps people discover their powers to help others.
Robert Fletcher is GIG's legal advice guy. He is an attorney based in San Francisco in a boutique law firm that helps assist start-up, small technology companies and non-profit organizations. His passion is to find people with great business ideas and help them realize their dreams. By providing legal, business and management advice, Robert has successfully worked with more than one hundred companies throughout the United States. GIG is one of his first clients and remains one of his favorites.
With a heart for creative brand storytelling, an eye for emerging trends and an insatiable hunger to inspire emotional connection, Deanna currently helps lead interactive and social media marketing initiatives at Coca-Cola. Prior to joining the Strategic Marketing team at Coca-Cola, Deanna held positions at BBDO Atlanta, where she helped manage the digital business for the agency's largest client, AT&T. She gets most excited by putting her "people-first" thinking cap on and uncovering insights that lead to richer consumer experiences. When she is not nerding out on all things digital/mobile/social, Deanna enjoys culinary adventures inspired by Pinterest, yoga and traveling to far off places. Follow her journey through life @guiltyofcraving.
Kevin Lee is GIG's tech guy, helping to put inspiring ideas into action in digital form. At his day job, he works as a product manager and analyst for Trouvé Media, a Bankrate Insurance company, where he oversees the online insurance applications and testing program. Previously, he was a channel manager at MercuryNews.com, the website of the San Jose Mercury News, and an assistant online editor at the Contra Costa Times. Kevin has an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from U.C. Berkeley. In his off hours, he enjoys following baseball, college football and playing word games and logic puzzles.
Denise L. Poon
Denise L. Poon is GIG's media consultant, advising on creative and effective messaging on traditional and digital platforms. Denise is a broadcast producer, multimedia consultant and principal of Creative Streamline, a CUCP-certified DBE/MBE/WBE and SLB for the City of Los Angeles. Her career spans more than 15 years of broad-based communication with content creation for broadcast networks ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC, PBS and private clients in various formats — breaking news, feature and long format, including DATELINE NBC, and America's Most Wanted. With the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), she is best known for many years of leadership for Trivia Bowl, the chapter's signature, high yielding "fun-raising" event for scholarships and professional programming.
Kala Shah is a non-profit and philanthropic consultant on a lifelong quest to figure out what drives people to make their unique positive impact in the world. As a professional, she has worked on national and statewide policy initiatives to advance the 3Es (economy, environment and equity), with organizations to put those sustainability values to practice and as a funder to encourage civic involvement and activism. As a mom to 3 boys and an engaged community member, she seeks to sculpt young minds about compassion, culture and service. With GIG, she has discovered the secret sauce ingredients to motivate social good –—one part fun, one part passion and a sprinkle of inspiration mixed with a team of committed and talented social change agents. After meeting Toan, Kala was inspired to launch a Community Heroes club at her son’s school, Sun Valley Elementary, in San Rafael, Calif. Ever since, the Community Heroes have been meeting weekly to cultivate and exercise their power to serve their community.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Fabienne (Fab) Chanavat
In a previous life, "Fab" was an associate director at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland where she managed a team of data researchers and developed eMarketing processes. Today she is the director of a boutique eConsultancy in Geneva and heads the small Swiss NGO "Kaïcedra" which supports education, health care and opportunities for women in Burkina Faso. Fab is passionate about photography and music. She loves discussing big ideas with friends while eating a home-cooked meal and drinking fine red wine.
Multimedia specialist with social marketing and agency experience for companies such as Nike, R2C Group and Yahoo, Jennifer is a "Jen of all trades." She can produce, edit and write for broadcast and online. As a producer, editor and writer in broadcast and online, Jennifer strives to inspire people to connect emotionally through innovative technology, sound and storytelling. She is passionate about the connections people create and how they obtain and share their information.
Marcia Estarija Silva
Marcia Estarija Silva thrives on using social media and online tools to build campaigns that encourage participation and strengthen community. She is a client services manager at BlogHer.com, the leading blogger network for women. Previously, she developed and implemented policy advocacy and communications plans for nonprofit organizations at i.e. communications. Marcia oversaw community relations at craigslist.org and worked in public accounting at Deloitte (formerly Deloitte & Touche). When she's not catching up on social media/tech and pop culture news, Marcia is cultivating home improvement skills with her husband in San Mateo, Calif.
Connie Chan Wang
Connie Chan Wang is passionate about using social media for social good — to spark conversations, build community, and inspire change. This has led her to pursue a variety of career opportunities from education to nonprofit to technology. Connie is currently Social Media Marketing Manager at LinkedIn where she leads overall strategy, empowers internal stakeholders, and manages social communities. She also manages the LinkedIn for Good Foundation which connects employee talent to opportunities they can use their skills and talents to make a positive impact on the world. When Connie is not working, she's eating her way around the world.
Lee Ann Kim
After more than a dozen years as an Emmy Award-winning news journalist for KGTV, the ABC station in San Diego, Lee Ann turned in her anchor-helmet to take on the San Diego Asian Film Foundation as a full-time executive director of the San Diego Asian Film Foundation. Awarded by the San Diego Film Critics Association with the 2011 Kyle Counts Award for her commitment to cinema in San Diego, she was also recognized as a KPBS Community Hero in 2010 and one of the Top 50 People to Watch in 2009 by San Diego Magazine. She loves films that make her cry and laugh so hard she coughs up a lung. On her list of other top loves – her husband, two sons, dark chocolate, and singing cheesy 80s songs.
Kim Moy is a digital content strategist / online editor with 14 years of experience as a web editor and five years as a newspaper reporter. Prior to joining GIG, she was most recently a director of Yahoo! front page editorial programming, where she worked on editorial product innovations such as home page redesigns, content personalization, as well as mobile and tablet editorial products. She also managed editorial programming of the popular Today module on Yahoo's home page, one of the most visited sites on the Internet with 180 million unique visitors each month. She is currently taking a sabbatical to spend more quality time with her two young sons.
Marketing expert Fiona Pattison is the founder of Happy 4 pr, a marketing and PR company with a difference. Having worked with some of the main brands in the U.K., Fiona wanted to give something back to startup and creative companies that were doing something different. Happy 4 pr works with companies, providing them with support and mediums in which to transport their message out into the media and social domain. This is a company that works from the soul. Fiona is one of our international marketing co-ordinators, who is helping to share the message on Go Inspire Go — first stop the U.K.
Sirima has held leadership positions in communications and brand strategy, web marketing and corporate social responsibility for several of the most innovative companies in the world. In these roles, Sirima has led the development of programs and communications that demonstrate an organization’s value to its customer as well as its relevance to the community. She has more than 15 years’ experience managing interactive media campaigns, integrating print and web marketing strategies and establishing brand identity systems for nonprofits, corporations and industry initiatives. Currently, Sirima is active as a co-founder of Concept Collective, the owner of ink.paper.plate PRESS and board member of the California Society of Printmakers.
Keely's commitment to social change was sparked by her lessons learned working with people with terminal illnesses as a hospice volunteer in the 1990s. She built on those lessons of appreciation for life through her work over the last decade in the field of social entrepreneurship with experience on five continents. She now serves as the CEO of Bamboo Finance USA, which is a commercial investment firm that specializes in the financing of social entrepreneurship globally. Bamboo Finance is a part of the USD 1 Billion Impact Investment Group, BlueOrchard. Keely joined Bamboo in 2007 after living in East Africa and working with the Acumen Fund. She supported the establishment of Acumen's Nairobi office and provided management support to AtoZ, a producer of anti-malaria mosquito nets, focusing on distribution and pricing strategies in Tanzania. Earlier in her career, she was the first employee hired by the CEO of the Skoll Foundation where she designed grant programs for social entrepreneurs and led the team who created the world's first online community for social entrepreneurs, Social Edge. She was Interim Executive Director of a social enterprise in Peru (ProPeru Fund) and a professional development program for social entrepreneurs in India (Social-Impact International). She has consulted with Triodos Bank on the viability of a social venture fund and devised economic development strategies for the Royal Bafokeng Nation, one of Africa's wealthiest kingdoms. She studied politics at UC Berkeley and earned an MBA at Oxford University. She has lectured at numerous universities and now serves on the board of more than fifteen companies, university centers and social change organizations.