get to know them

This year, we have been blessed with a wide variety of speakers from all walks of life who have been kind and generous enough to come speak at our Conference. We are thrilled to have them on board, and we can't wait to hear their talks!



Abbas Mohamed

Abbas Mohamed is a social entrepreneur and alumni of UC Davis with a Master of science in Pharmacology and Toxicology. He found his calling while during his research thesis on honey bees. While participating in workshops and performing poetry he discovered his passion for public speaking.  His dream is to create a platform where others can empower each other. He has helped found and maintain organizations including The Verveside Collective, a poetry collective, and most recently GAMA. In 2015, he launched Compassion Crew, an organization with the mission to help people overcome their inner roadblocks and by doing so attain a more compassionate lifestyle.

Rebecca Shepherd

Rebecca Shepherd born and raised in West Sacramento.  Early in her career she started off as being one of the first few women to work professionally as a disc jockey in Sacramento. In 1996 she started her own company, World Communications Link.  Don't bother looking up her website because you won't find it.  She doesn't have one.  Her success has come from having a good reputation working with clients and vendors.  Recently, Rebecca was hit with a hard lesson in life. During a moment of feeling  vulnerable and helpless her life changed when a grocery worker offered unconditional compassion.  Why is it easier to give compassion than it is to receive?  What happens in that turn around moment from saying "no thanks I'll be ok I don't need your help" to "yes thank you for being here with me to share my suffering"?

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Rohit Tigga

Rohit studied computer science at UC Davis and co-founded HackDavis, which was the first major collegiate hackathon at UC Davis. He passionate about using tech for social good, entrepreneurship and creating products that positively benefit under-served areas such as healthcare, education and the environment.

Ruby Veridiano

Ruby Veridiano is a writer, fashion correspondent, & speaker with a mission to empower women and merge fashion with social change. She was born in the Philippines, raised in Sacramento, and has spent time living in France, Italy, Manila, Atlanta, Oakland, and New York City, shaping her global perspective as an advocate and voice for women. She has spoken at over 400 Universities across the United States, Europe, and Asia; and published a poetry book, Miss Universe. In 2011, Ruby became the first LitCorps Ambassador for Global Literacy Organization LitWorld; where she spearheaded LitWorld's Girls Empowerment Program in the Philippines. She has served as a TV Host for channels such as ABS-CBN and MYX TV, and her writings have appeared on NBC News, Audrey Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine. She has worked on the Social Responsibility Team of the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy Group in Paris, France. Ruby is fluent in three languages - English, Tagalog, and French.

Siawn Ou

Siawn Ou (“scion oh”) is a TED speaker, movement artist, and writer. His Pursuit of Movement began in 2013 as a self-challenge to attain physical skills. It has since developed into a means of expression, communication, and discovery. Siawn adopts an artist’s mindset, and uses speech and movement to craft stories for audiences. He performs with the aim to inspire others, and get them curious about moving their bodies and discovering their potential. His website is:

Vignesh Palaniappan

Vignesh is a third year student studying computer science at UC Davis. Born and brought up in Silicon Valley, he has grown up with the entrepreneurial spirit around him. Initially he came to Davis with the aspirations to play collegiate soccer and study managerial economics. After taking couple computer science courses his freshmen year, and creating couple websites and iPhone applications, he has not looked back. In specific, he is hooked by the potential impact of technology can make. He knows there are plenty of ideas to be implemented, but not enough do-ers. Now he is one of the co-founders of HackDavis, UC Davis’s major collegiate hackathon that hosts 600+ students from all over California to code for social good. Currently, Vignesh encourages people to pursue the idea of “creating more than you consume”. In the near future, Vignesh aspires to seriously pursue one of his projects.

Vy Nguyen

Vy Nguyen is a social entrepreneur and Vietnamese cultural advocate. As she traveled the world, Vy became fascinated with language and cultural transformation in the Vietnamese diaspora. After studying Economics and Asian American Studies at University of California, Davis, she served as the Marketing Director for two Silicon Valley tech companies. In her spare time, she served as Member Board of Director for the Viet-American Youth Association in San Jose, CA. In 2017, Vy founded Vingo, a Vietnamese language learning and cultural preservation startup that aims to provide a unified language educational experience to the Vietnamese diaspora.