Juno Kim

Visual Storyteller, Travel Blogger, AWE Founder
Juno is a prolific travel blogger, social media expert, an award-winning visual storyteller: writer, and photographer at Runaway Juno Media | RunawayJuno.com. Originally hailing from Seoul, South Korea, Juno set off for the wider world to pursue her passion for international travel and storytelling. Since leaving her engineering job, she has been living out of a backpack, writing, and photographing her way through more than 40 countries for last four years. She believes there are always stories to tell, in any corner of the world. She’s been participating in numerous global-wide new media campaigns as a digital influencer. She also opened several photography exhibitions.

As an inspirational public speaker, she is also the founder of Asian Women’s Empowerment annual Conference. The experience of breaking out from conventional society proved excruciating both at home and at work. While traveled around the world developing her passion into the career, she discovered the growing need of inspire women who are facing the challenge of male dominant and conventional society. She founded AWE conference to empower women by bringing them together, and education them with the tools of success and designing models for the success. The second conference recently took place in October in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia with 100+ participants.


Lyana Khairuddin

Educator, Researcher, Writer

Lyana Khairuddin began her career in Science through an amalgamation of disciplines: cancer drug development, genetics, and immunology. In her work with both Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), she kept asking, what next? She decided to look beyond the four walls of her laboratory and found her calling to focus on issues related to women and feminism, and has not looked back since.

Lyana teaches Virology at a public university in Malaysia. She has a regular column with The Malaysian Insider, and contributes her writings to Zafigo, The Star Publications (print media) and Projek Dialog, where she writes in Bahasa Malaysia. She is also the founder of “I am #26”, an online petition calling for discourse in the implementation of Hudud (Shariah) Laws in Malaysia. She also advocates for a “moderation” movement to counteract extremist ideas through promoting inter-ethnic and inter-religious dialogues and connection in Malaysia, dubbed “Voices of Moderation” backed by The Star Publications. She continues to promote issues related to feminism, education, poverty, religious tolerance, and ethnic relations through her writing.

Lyana is also a runner, a coffee-snob and overall lover of life. She hopes to continue to travel the globe and tick off her bucket list. She believes that humanity and love is the most powerful magic in the world.


Kounila Keo

Blogger, Media Consultant
Kounila Keo is a 27-year-old blogger and media consultant based out of Singapore where she is also doing a master’s degree in Public Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. Between 2008 and 2014, she worked as a freelance reporter for various foreign news publications: Agence France Presse, Los Angeles Times, IRIN UN News Agency, the Independent UK, CSMonitor, the Phnom Penh Post, Global Voices Online, and more. She’s trained social media and given speeches to university students, artists, professionals inside and outside Cambodia since 2008. In October 2011, she was one of the 10 UNESCO bloggers selected from a pool of nearly 600 applicants to cover the Paris UNESCO Youth Forum. She was invited to be a social media trainer for Seliger Youth Forum in Russia in 2012 and was promoted blogger in chief for the same conference in the following year. Her volunteer work includes helping co-found a film youth collective, Kon Khmer Koun Khmer or Khmer Films Khmer Generations, that has since 2009, worked on and produced short films as well as organized widely-reported film events and exhibitions. Kounila was one of the lead bloggers for BlogFestAsia 2012 with more than local participants and 80 bloggers from 10 countries. As one of the first speakers of TEDXPhnomPenh 2011, she later helped organize it. Kounila was selected as a Cambodia blogger to attend a Blog Festival in Bali/Indonesia in 2011, ON|OFF Blog Exchange in Jakarta in 2011, and BlogFest in Solo/Indonesia in 2013. Her passion is social media, youth empowerment, writing, travelling, and now policy analysis. Kounila has travelled to South America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia to cover events as a blogger and a journalist since 2009. She publishes her thoughts on blueladyblog.com.



Dr.Sivakumar Kumaresan

Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, Universiti Malaysia Sabah and Learning Coach, KK Learning Excellence
Sivakumar Kumaresan is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at University Malaysia Sabah where he started the Chemical Engineering department in 1998. He specializes in herbal processing for the production of medical grade herbal extracts. His passion is in teaching young people not only engineering but in living meaningful lives, particularly by knowing their strengths and values and applying it in their future endevours.

Siva is passionate about uplifting and healing others to have a healthy body, peace of mind, and meaningful relationships. He believes that people can enhance their lives through better communication and leadership with themselves and those they care about. He has been teaching and training university students and professionals in the areas of personal development, accelerated learning and wellness learning since 1998.

He has been a student of holistic health for over ten years incorporating Eastern and Western Complementary approaches to health. He is also a Neurolinguistic Programming and Soaring Crane Qi Gong Practitioner as well as a former Toastmaster International member. Siva believes that by applying simple but effective approaches to life, we can truly create meaningful, memorable and meaningful experiences along our life path.


Sharmini Hensen

Life Coach

Sharmini has coached and inspired thousands of women over 10 years as a Life Coach. She is truly passionate in her quest to support women to live their best life. Her most recent project is to travel across Malaysia to run her empowerment and entrepreneurial program called MAD (Making A Difference). MAD reaches out to women from low incomes households receiving food aid. Sharmini takes them through a rigourous 4 months journey so they can turn their talent and passion into sustainable income generation home businesses. MAD results have been outstanding; not only do the women generate high incomes and finncially independent but they are transformed into confident, empowered and contributing members of their community.

She is featured regularly in magazines and newspapers for her working in empowering women. She shares her views on life in her bi-monthly column, “Beautiful Minds” in Health & Beauty magazine. She appears regularly on television; TV2, NTV7 and hosted her own radio show, on BFM89.9. She also consulted and developed a motivational television series “Mind for Success”. She contributes her expert advice to articles on mindset and relationship in Health and Beauty, Seventeen, Men’s Health, Shape, Cosmopolitan and others. She was recently recognized as Honda’s Perfectionist Persona for her contributions and being a leader in her industry.

Sharmini is the founder and CEO of Lifeworks Sdn Bhd and an internationally certified Neuro-Semantics trainer from the International Society of Neuro-Semantics . She brings with her more than 16 years of experience in sales and marketing spanning across a wide spectrum of industries from real estate to high end consumer products.

She passionately empowers individuals to look for solutions with themselves and moving them into action and ultimately, achieving success and happiness. Her take is “when your relationships work, your life works” as she believes true success and happiness lay in the quality of our relationships; business, personal and most importantly, with one’s self. Her interest in the power of the mind led her to practice Kriya Yoga and Reiki to bring a holistic approach to her coaching. Sharmini’s charismatic, friendly and easy-to-talk-to personality makes people feel at ease immediately, facilitating open and uninhibited conversations. She gets committed to her clients’ outcome and raises them to a level of excellence at all times.


Andrew Wong

MAD Incubator CEO

Andrew is the founder and CEO of MAD Incubator, South East Asia’s largest business incubation company.

He started his first business in 1997 which failed before it could take off, due to the Asian Financial Crisis. Languishing in the Entrepreneur Death Valley for the next 7 years, he finally found his big break when he managed to set up an incubator business with an investment of RM1M. In 2005, when he started his first incubator and until 2009, he has created 3 incubators and 2 venture capital fund.

In 2009, he left and founded MAD Incubator and within 3 years, he has transformed MAD Incubator to become the largest private incubator in South East Asia, with incubation hubs and partnerships in 6 major ASEAN cities. In his 10 years in the incubation business, Andrew has worked with more than 1000 entrepreneurs (tech and non-tech) inside and outside of MAD Incubator. In MAD, since 2009, MAD has incubated more than 400 incubatees with a 95% business success rate.

Andrew is always passionate about ideas and willing to give a ear to any entrepreneurs with an idea. His dream is to see entrepreneurs grow from their ideas into a business. To understand why he is doing this, one has to look into his 18 years journey as an entrepreneur. He had encounted failed businesses, learned countless of business lessons and worked on some successful ones. In 2005, he finally found his calling that defined who he is today. He is so determined to ensure that no new entrepreneurs will journey alone in their first journey without proper support, assistance and guidance. With MAD Incubator, he wants to Make a Difference for entrepreneurs to achieve success.

“I choose incubation as my entrepreneur venture, and with my network and connections across South East Asia, we will be able to help our entrepreneurs to expand across the region. I chose to leave a legacy that I have made a difference in the lives of countless of entrepreneurs.”

In 2015, Andrew is embarking on his next business venture which will take him to the next level of entrepreneurship advancement. His new business is MicroBusiness Asia. His goal…to develop 10,000 Micro-businesses across South East Asia by 2020 and to improve the quality of lives by creating strong and sustainable income for the the lower and middle income groups through entrepreneurship.



Pisey Khim

Managing Director at Women’s Resource Center, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Pisey Khim is from Siem Reap province, Cambodia and has extensive training in counseling, social work, communication, management and advocacy. Before joining Women’s Resource Center (WRC) in 2010, she worked as an English teacher and a training facilitator. Pisey first started at WRC as Outreach Coordinator and Social Worker, and in 2011, was promoted to the role of Manager. In 2013, she became Managing Director.

Pisey is responsible for the overall leadership, management and operations of WRC. She also provides counseling support to clients and facilitates WRC’s Parent Talks workshop. She works for WRC because she is passionate about supporting Cambodian women and providing them with different types of information, with the long term goal of women’s self-empowerment. She hopes women can share about their concerns and issues and receive emotional support, free information and basic informal education in the safe and confidential place that WRC offers.



Elizabeth Raisa “Rice” Tanawi

Digital Marketing and Innovation Strategist; Creative, Cultural, and Service Industries Consultant and Lecturer

More known as Rice because anyone with any dialect or language spoken will pronounce the correct pronounciation of ‘Raisa’, she is an almost all-round entertainment, fashion, and lifestyle, creative industries entertainer and communicator under professional practices of journalism, creative practicioner, academia, curator and consulting, specialising in the Asian contemporary culture and market trends. What she means by almost, is that what she can’t do is to speak HTML, engineering, banking, trading, and all the corporate terms – at the least or so.

Being an artist at heart and works in the creative industries runs a natural attraction for her to tread unknown waters and have high adaptability to any situation – whatever’s against the grain or trend, will you find her trying to solve the latest social and local issues. That includes the moment when she returned to her homeland upon her studies and was under the weather. In the issues to adjust and to find new ideas and friends, she made an account on Couchsurfing, believing its members are truly long-lost friends to be discovered with the same interests and internal open-mindedness she can relate to, and started to look for friends in her first domestic journey. She later tried looking for hosts on her first overseas trip, and she has never looked back. It didn’t take long from being a Couchsurfing ingenue to grow to be an appreciated member of the platform – her nomadic behaviour is now synonymous to the drug she very much is proud to say she’s an addict of, all began from being isolated from the world and to make a fine return with the global network.

The sometimes wanderluster and the youngest speaker on board the conference will be sharing her hands-on experience in the travelling field as a young Asian female on harnessing the Couchsurfing platform!

Anna McKeon

Anna McKeon

Igloo Co-Founder
After working as a script editor with the BBC, and ITV, and leading digital initiatives for Asda and Orange mobile, Anna left the UK to volunteer at orphanages in Kenya and Thailand. Her experiences gave her first-hand insight into the problems of misplaced good intentions, and the contradictions inherent in the responsible travel and voluntourism industries. She now lives in Cambodia and works as a communications specialist facilitating an inter-agency global working group aimed at discouraging people from volunteering in orphanages. She is also an experiential educator, and spends a few months of each year guiding young people on learning experiences through Cambodia. In her spare time, she runs Igloo, a website dedicated to female travellers, and exploring issues of gender, culture, and social injustice through travel experiences.

liau yun qing

Yun Qing Liau

Improviser, Writer

Though Yun Qing has been involved in improvisational theatre (improv) for a little more than a year, she has a great passion for it and wants to spread the joy of unscripted performance to all. She has performed in multiple shows from improv story-telling for kids to the biggest improv festival in Asia.

A year before discovering improv, Yun Qing left her journalism job to travel around the world. After her 130-day solo trip, she returned to Singapore and is now an in-house blogger. She is working on a book to help others make their travel dream come true.

Stephen Bugno

Travel Writer & Photographer
Stephen has been traveling ever since he was old enough to unfold a map and not quite able to fold it back again. He started writing about his trips not long after. After finishing university, Stephen joined the US Peace Corps where he volunteered teaching English and leading community projects in Uzbekistan. After those two years in Central Asia he continued traveling in between English teaching contracts in Mongolia, South Korea, Spain, and the West Bank. Somewhere about that time he began freelance writing for both print and online media outlets. Some of his favorite trips have taken him overland through the Middle East, the backpacker route around Southeast Asia, by foot across northern Spain, through China and India, numerous rail journeys criss-crossing Europe, and by car through the vast landscape of the American West.

More recently he set out four years ago with his now wife, Juno Kim, to travel the world as digital nomads. After setting up two travel blogs, www.bohemiantraveler.com and www.gomadnomad.com, he’s worked from destinations near and far, as long as there’s been an Internet connection. Stephen feels most comfortable in a small town with no traffic somewhere close to where he can easily go walking in the hills and get some writing done with a cup of herbal tea in the quiet of the morning.

Sakdiyah Maruf

Sakdiyah Ma’ruf

Stand-up Comedienne
Sakdiyah Ma’ruf is among the first Muslim female stand up comics in Indonesia. She started as one of the finalists of Stand up Comedy Indonesia (SUCI) Season 1 produced by Kompas TV. Ever since, she has appeared in several prominent shows including Koper produced by Butet Kertaradjasa, Youth in Action in Paramadina University, and HijUP Festival. She is also one of the co-founder of all female stand up comic show, Perempuan BerHAK. Unique in her style and message, she is selected as one of the ambassadors of Moral Courage Project New York University and has recently been chosen as one of three Laureates of Vaclav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent and is invited to speak at Oslo Freedom Forum in May 25 – 27, 2015.

In addition her new found passion and voice in comedy, she has been working for more than 7 years as Interpreter and Translator to nurture her love for language and most importantly transfer of knowledge and connection building. She also preserve her love for research by working as Program Assistant in Nine-Country Collaborative Research on Religion, Public Policy and Social Transformation in Southeast Asia organized by ICRS (Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies)