ABAOC BizCon 2023
Embassy Suites Anaheim South
11767 Harbor Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92840
Wednesday, June 28 2023, 9am – 3pm PST
(Exhibitor setup starts 7:30 am)
National Anthem/America The Beautiful
“Mastering the Art of Sales: Unleashing Your Selling Potential”
“Doing Business With…” Panel
SC Edison, SoCalGas, City of Hope, OCTA
“Inspirational Women” Panel & QA
“Mayoral Pitch” Panel
Lunch Served/Lunch Program
1:30pm – 3pm
Speakers & Panelists
Founder & CEO, Beyond Codes Inc.
Gaurav Kumar is an accomplished Entrepreneur, Mentor, Consultant, and active Angel Investor based in Southern California.
He is the Founder and CEO of Beyond Codes Inc.—a Global leader in Sales and Lead Generation for IT Services, Product Engineering, and SaaS-based Product
He is a proud alumnus of the Stanford GSB. His expertise has made him an asset to the Stanford Seed Program, where he mentors and coaches several companies. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes and other major publications as a Thought Leader, providing insightful content on
Entrepreneurship, Sales, and Marketing.
In addition, Gaurav is a member of the Board of Directors at TiE SoCal, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship.
Gaurav’s success as a consultant has led him to run workshops globally under the offering “Sales Consulting as a Service.” These workshops are designed to help businesses of all sizes improve their sales processes, Pipeline Management and drive growth.
In his new book, ‘Sales Lessons From Golf’ Gaurav offers sales insights for solopreneurs, students, and anyone interested in exploring the field of sales. The book delves into the similarities between sales and golf, providing 18 valuable sales tips. He also authored a book “Demand Generation Tweet Book” in 2012.
Overall, Gaurav Kumar is a force to be reckoned with in the world of entrepreneurship. His passion and expertise have helped many businesses thrive, and his contributions to the industry continue to make an impact.” Gaurav lives with his daughter Bani and dog Kaju in Los Angeles, CA.
“Doing Business With…” Panel
Manager of Supplier Diversity, City of Hope
Flora Mayer joined City of Hope as Manager of Supplier Diversity in 2022, leading COH’s supplier diversity program, including strategy development and execution as well as external and internal relations. Flora has extensive experience in sourcing, community involvement, and developing and implementing supplier diversity programs in previous roles held at Teradata Corporation and Sprint Corporation. Flora’s passion includes building and nurturing relationships with small and diverse businesses, supporting capacity building and mentorship, and advocating for small and diverse suppliers with the goal to secure and increase business opportunities. Flora earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is based in San Diego, CA.
Ted Nguyen is a nationally recognized public relations and communications professional with more than 30 years of developing and executing cost-effective programs. He is the senior manager for the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA). Nguyen began at OCTA as the organization’s spokesman and media relations manager, then became the department manager for public outreach and media relations.
Nguyen’s ongoing work with diverse business leaders for the past decade have provided meaningful opportunities to help enhance transportation improvement projects and travel options that have also netted national recognition.
His most-recent accomplishment includes being named the National Diversity Professional of the Year in 2022 by the premier marking and communications organization worldwide, Ragan, in Chicago for his diversity work at OCTA and for leading efforts to combat anti-Asian hate. Under his leadership, OCTA also won national awards from Ragan for diversity program and special events.
As a communications strategist, Ted’s work has generated numerous news coverage from regional news media along with national and international media outlets such as CNN, FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, USA Today, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the BBC, the Guardian, South China Morning Post, France 24 and many others.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications with a double major in journalism and public relations from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Nguyen also earned a master’s degree from BYU’s Marriott School of Management with an emphasis in strategic planning and international relations.
Nguyen lives in Laguna Niguel, Calif. with his family and two rescue dogs.
Senior Advisor for Supplier Diversity, Southern California Edison (SCE)
Carla Perkins is a seasoned professional and Senior Advisor for Supplier Diversity at Southern California Edison (SCE). In her current role, she is responsible for small business outreach, technical assistance, and development initiatives.
Before joining SCE, Carla served as a Senior Business Development and Compliance Consultant, representing the Commonwealth of Virginia on the historic $3.9 billion Hampton Roads Tunnel Expansion Project, the largest project in the state’s history. Her expertise in navigating complex projects and ensuring compliance made her an invaluable asset to the team.
Carla’s extensive experience includes serving as the President and CEO of Carla-Michelle Business Development Solutions, where she delivered end-to-end government contracting, marketing, and financial incentive support services. During her tenure, she secured an impressive $33 million in contract awards for her clients.
Prior to her entrepreneurial venture, Carla held key positions such as Manager of the White House Women and Girls in Transportation Initiative (WITI) and the Regional Assistance Division at the U.S. Department of Transportation, overseeing Small Business Transportation Centers nationwide. She also served as the Senior Executive Business Development Manager for the City of Norfolk for all small business development, supplier diversity, and financial incentive programs.
Carla’s career journey encompasses diverse roles in government and private sectors, including positions at esteemed organizations like Skanska U.S.A. and various federal agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Carla holds a master’s degree in public administration from Old Dominion University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Virginia State University. Her exceptional accomplishments earned her recognition as a “Top Forty Under 40 Honoree” from Inside Business Magazine.
Principal Supplier Diversity Advisor, SoCalGas Company
Vaughn M. Williams III currently serves as the Principal Supplier Diversity Advisor for SoCalGas Company. In this capacity he is responsible for ensuring the advancement of small, minority and underrepresented businesses. Previously he served as Category Manager for Southern California Gas Company (A Division of Sempra Energy), his responsibilities included management of all staff augmentation, contracts negotiation and management, fostering long-term client relationships in the areas of engineering, food services and Human Resources.
Moderator, ABAOC/ThinkAI Corp
Manish Bhardia is an Ai, online collaboration and a cloud consultant with over 22 years’ experience in cutting edge technologies including Office 365, Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots. He is Partner at Think AI, a trusted strategic partner for enterprise thought leaders who need to solve complex business problems using modern technologies. Think AI’s core competence are in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Business Intelligence, Collaboration and in the implementation and support of AI-driven Chatbot applications built on Microsoft Azure’s bot framework.
Recently won awards by Manish were
- Awarded the 2023 FAST100 Asian American Business Award by USPAACC
- Awarded the 2019 IAMCP SoCal Partner Choice Award by IAMCP
- Awarded by the ABAOC the 2019 Presidential Award of the year
Manish has extensive experience in the industry, have been part of 50+ speaking engagement. Manish’s clients include Blizzard, Starwood, Microsoft, St John’s WellChild and Port of Los Angeles.
Inspirational Women Panel
Tashiro Choi & Associates
Suzanna Tashiro Choi is owner of Tashiro Choi & Associates which is a community outreach and public affairs firm that strategically positions clients with multicultural markets to increase customers. The firm’s focuses include marketing and building support and trust for her clients through transparent local outreach and engagement programs. She is a nationally recognized award-winning cultural expert specializing in multicultural engagement, diversity, inclusion, and equity. Suzanna is responsible for communicating her clients’ initiatives to multicultural communities, often acting as each companies’ spokesperson and representative and serving as a liaison between the multicultural communities and the client.
Clients include AT&T, Microsoft, Sempra Energy, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, the US Census, the State of California, County of Orange, City of Irvine, Irvine Company, Concordia University, Tiger Woods Foundation, Orange County Water District, Orange County Transportation Authority and City of Hope Orange County. Suzanna has also worked for both the White House and the Governor of California.
She has served on the Boards of the Asian Business Association, Orange County Black Chamber, Filipino American Chamber, the Depression Support Alliance, Los Angeles Fred Jordan Homeless Mission, and the Orange County Digital Rotary. The United States Department of Commerce awarded her “Multicultural Advocate of the Year”. The National Association of Women Business Owners and the Black Chamber of Orange County both named her “Remarkable Woman of the Year.” She received the “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Asian Women Entrepreneurs Association and the Asian Business Association, and she was nominated as a “2020 Woman of Influence” by the Irvine Chamber of Commerce. Most recently the South Asian Business National Association awarded Suzanna the “Chairman’s Award for Community Outreach.”Her mission is to empower and champion communities of color by giving them a voice and communicating to them in ways that respects their diversity and understands their culture.
Director of Sales and Catering, Great Wolf Lodge Garden Grove/Anaheim
Over 25+ Years Veteran Hotelier currently the Director of Sales and Catering for Great Wolf Lodge Garden Grove Anaheim.
Spreader of Kindness, Crazy for Shoes and believes that, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall
Bonnie J. Panlasigui
President, Summa Health System Hospitals
Bonnie is board certified in healthcare management as a Fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives and is currently serving as Regent-at-Large for District Five, covering 12 states across the west coast, focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. As of July 10th, she will be starting a new role as President of Summa Health System Hospitals, overseeing three campuses covering a total of 1,043 beds, 5,000 employees with 1.2 billion in net revenue. Previously, Bonnie served as the VP/Chief Operating Officer of St Mary Medical Center, a 360 bed hospital in Long Beach, California, a member of CommonSpirit Health, the largest Catholic healthcare system in the country. She has 20 years of operational leadership experience and has worked in C-suite roles over the last decade. Bonnie is a past recipient of awards such as Modern Healthcare’s “Up & Comers Award” for emerging leaders under 40 years old, and received the Senior Healthcare Executive Award from the California Association of Healthcare Leaders.
As a biracial Korean American, Bonnie enjoys being a reflection of a diverse community and is committed to furthering the diversity and inclusion efforts to decrease healthcare disparities and improve minority representation in senior level positions. She is a founding board member of the Asian Healthcare Leaders Association. Being a female executive and a mother, Bonnie is also an advocate for women and minorities to be given opportunities to grow into C-suite roles they aspire to achieve.
Bonnie received her bachelor’s degree in health promotion disease prevention at University of Southern California in Los Angeles and obtained her masters in health services administration from the George Washington University in Washington DC. She serves as a faculty member for the GW Executive Masters in Healthcare Administration program and is a past recipient of the GW Young Distinguished Alumni Award.
Moderator, Culture Series
Linda Nguyen is a Venture Builder who works with visionary leaders who need support in execution, turning their ideas into reality. She has elevated impactful projects for nearly a decade, honoring the heritage, stories, and ideas of communities through brands, organizations, and projects. Imbuing all her work with a deep-seated intention of compassion, Linda has worked alongside enterprising visionaries, global spiritual leaders, and local community organizers to lift, launch, and ignite projects with purpose. As a board member for various cultural organizations and a builder for emerging endeavors, Linda cultivates impactful collaborations and meaningful connections. From the right intention emerges influential action, and it is with this authentic and curious vision that she continues to support diverse communities that bring the umami of our heritage to the forefront of our world.
As a community leader, Linda actively uses her influence to affect positive change and explores strategic alliances to echo voices in unity. She devotes her community service to serving on the boards of the Asian Business Association (ABA) and National Association of Asian American Professionals Orange County (NAAAP-OC), in addition to serving as Chair of Charitable Giving for Southern California Vietnamese Golf Alliance and an event committee member for Asian Pacific Community Fund (APCF). Passionate about giving back, Linda serves as a mentor to high school students, ensuring they stay on track to graduate and preparing them to enter their first year in college.
Linda is a part of the Gold House Founders Network and Summit communities. Accolades include Senator Tom Umberg’s Woman of Distinction, ABAOC’s Presidential Award, Operation Be Kind’s Community Impact Award, and FACCOC’s Ambassador of the Year.
Linda hopes to inspire others through her lived experience to defy traditional ideals and use our innate talents to pave a new path as creatives, entrepreneurs, and non-traditionalists – creating our own unique legacy. She has been featured in ABC7, BBC News, BuzzFeed, Daily Pilot, Databox, IncFile, LA Times, Little Saigon TV, NBC4, OC Register, ShoutoutLA, Thrive Global, TimesOC, ValiantCEO, and VoyageLA.
Linda holds a degree in Merchandise Marketing from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. In her spare time, she enjoys attending local pop-up events to support small businesses and coordinating experiences for friends and the local community. She calls Orange County home.
“Mayoral Pitch” Panel
Mayor Ashleigh Aitken
City of Anaheim
Ashleigh Aitken was elected as the 48th mayor of Anaheim in November 2022. She is the first woman mayor in Anaheim’s 165-year history.
Mayor Aitken represents all Anaheim residents, neighborhoods and businesses on the City Council.
As mayor, Aitken is focused on increased transparency at City Hall, enhancing public safety, expanding affordable housing and growing Anaheim’s economy by supporting our visitor industry and streamlining processes so employers can expand and attract new industries.
Aitken previously served two terms on the Anaheim Community Services Board and was chairwoman from 2011-2013.
A trial lawyer for more than 20 years, Aitken is of counsel at Santa Ana-based Aitken Aitken Cohn, a boutique personal injury firm. She is a former federal prosecutor in the Central District of California. She prosecuted armed bank robbery, narcotics, mail and wire fraud, child pornography, firearms and other federal law violations.
In 2015, she was elected president of the Orange County Bar Association, where she established a veterans committee to expand free legal support for veterans and military families.
From 2012 to January 2023, Aitken served on the board of directors of the OC Fair & Events Center, including as chairwoman in 2015. Directors are appointed by the governor of California and set policy for the annual OC Fair and year-round events at the Costa Mesa fairgrounds.
A lifelong Anaheim resident, Aitken volunteers as a Girl Scout troop leader and serves on the board of Anaheim-based Caterina’s Club, Chef Bruno Serato’s nonprofit to feed and help needy families. She is also on the board of Santa Ana-based WISEplace, a shelter for homeless women.
Aitken holds a bachelor’s in secondary education and history from Boston College, where she was an All-American rugby player. She has her law degree from the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law.
Mayor Kim Constantine
City of Fountain Valley
Kim was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania. After living for awhile in Lebanon and Australia, her family moved to California. She’s lived in Fountain Valley for many years and is a member of several local organizations.
One of her most proud moments was in 2011 at the Fountain Valley Chamber of Commerce Board Installation Luncheon, when she was named Ambassador-of-the Year. Within minutes, she was the first person in the Chamber’s 45-year history to be nominated from the floor. When the votes were tallied from that day’s election, she was elected to the Board. It meant so much that the members had faith in her. Kim served four years as a Director. At that time, she knew she wanted to serve her community as a City Council Member and began laying the groundwork for her first campaign in 2014. She ran again in 2016 and remained persistent and highly visible.
Kim enjoys staying abreast of City matters, cooking, and traveling… to Europe, especially.
Councilmember Stephanie Klopfenstein
City of Garden Grove
On November 8, 2016, Stephanie Klopfenstein was elected to the Garden Grove City Council. Born and raised in Garden Grove, her family roots trace back to the town’s early beginnings in the late 1800’s.
A proud product of the Garden Grove Unified School District, Council Member Klopfenstein spent time traveling and working abroad in radio broadcasting. Drawn back to her deep ancestral roots and desire to give back to her city, she returned to Garden Grove. Following studies at Concordia University, she married and began a career in marketing.
She currently sits on the City of Garden Grove Parks, Recreation, and Arts Commission, is a board member of the Garden Grove Neighborhood Association, a member of CHOC Hospitals Lamp Lighter Guild, and is also a member of the Garden Grove Downtown Business Association.
She values time spent with her husband and young daughter, exploring the Eastern Sierra, cooking, and enjoying a good book.
Alexander Kim is Founder & Principal of Three Kings Public Affairs, a government & community affairs consulting company helping with public & private business clients with accessing municipal, state, federal, and international elected and appointed officials including outreach to community leaders, especially with Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders in the Southern California region.
He recently served as Senior Advisor to City of Los Angeles Council member David Ryu of the 4th District (2015-2017) providing guidance on budgeting, policy, and community engagement planning for over 300,000 residents.
He was appointed as Deputy Director and Community Liaison (Counties of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, and Orange) to former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from 2004 to 2010. He also was Central Area Director to former City of Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn from 2001 to 2004.
Alexander has been appointed by the Governor as a State of California Commissioner on the Board of Behavioral Science, in addition to having served on the Board of Naturopathic Medicine (2016-2018) and the Board of Optometry (2011-2016). Alex also has been active as a Community Advisory Commissioner under the County of Orange District Attorney Tony Rackaukus since the late 1990’s.
In the community, Alexander serves on several non-profit boards but he is passionate for improving the civic participation of Americans, especially the young leaders in our community. He is proud to be selected as one of 50 national minority leaders in 2010 as “America’s Leaders of Change” founded by the National Urban Fellowship based in Washington, D.C.