Mental Health Advocate + Writer
Cailin Bracken is a mental health advocate, Division 1 athlete, writer, and podcast host. She attends Vanderbilt University and plays Division 1 women's lacrosse. By age 16 Cailin was ranked by Inside Lacrosse as a top 20 lacrosse recruit in the US making her entrance to college sports highly anticipated. Carrying this pressure, Cailin gained notoriety after penning an impassioned piece called "A Letter to College Sports" (May 2022) where she shared her mental health challenges as a student-athlete. She appeared on Good Morning America and was featured in Politico, The Associated Press, NBC, and Global Sport Matters. Cailin hosts a podcast, Sunday Questions, focused on mental health, personal growth and wellness. Recently, Cailin joined Colton Underwood and Legacy Foundation to create a docuseries about the mental health crisis of student-athletes and is working to get legislation passed in Congress to protect the mental health of student-athletes through a bill called the TEAMS act.
Filmmaker + Advocate
Filmmaker Chezik Tsunoda emerged as an impassioned water safety advocate after her 3-year-old son Yori’s tragic drowning in 2018. Having experienced the drowning epidemic’s deadly consequences firsthand, Tsunoda channeled her knowledge into founding No More Under, a nonprofit dedicated to saving lives through increasing equitable access to swimming lessons and tools. She directed Drowning in Silence, a documentary that chronicles her quest for answers and healing. In recognition of her efforts to close systemic water safety gaps and create a world where no child drowns, Tsunoda has won several awards relating to her work around equity in aquatics. She worked to pass House Bill 1750 in Washington State, also known as Yori’s Law, and continues to advocate for more access, awareness, tools, and training. Along with her water safety work, Tsunoda heads Visually Inspired Productions, which creates social impact films that help shift the narratives of systematically excluded communities.
Education Advocate + Researcher
Cindi Williams is a Principal at HCM Strategists and co-founder of Learning Heroes – one of the leading education nonprofits researching parent and educator mindsets, providing solutions for meaningful parent engagement at the state, district and school levels. Mrs. Williams’ insights are grounded in decades of experience in research, advocacy and communications as a senior official in the White House, US Department of Education, US House of Representatives, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As a principal at HCM Strategists, her team works alongside leading nonprofits and state leaders who are committed to making our public education system more effective and equitable.
Advocate + Author + Scholar
Dr. Julie Pham is the founder and CEO of CuriosityBased, which helps people practice curiosity in the world. She is the author of the #1 Amazon New Release and Bestseller 7 Forms of Respect: A Guide to Transforming Your Communication and Relationships at Work (2022). Dr. Pham was born in Saigon, Vietnam and came to the US with her parents as boat people in 1979. Her parents founded a Vietnamese newspaper in 1986 and got her "real life MBA" by running it during the Great Recession. She has been recognized with numerous awards for her community leadership, including: Female Founders Alliance Champions Award (2019) in Advocate category, Harvard Business School's Young American Leaders Program (2018), German Marshall Memorial Fellow (2015), and Puget Sound Business Journal ’40 under 40’ honoree (2011). She earned her PhD in history at Cambridge University as a Gates Cambridge Scholar in 2008 and graduated magna cum laude from University of California, Berkeley as a Haas Scholar in 2001.
Author + Playwright + Performer + Activist
Susan Lieu is a Vietnamese American author, playwright, and performer who tells stories that refuse to be forgotten. A daughter of nail salon workers, she took her autobiographical solo theatre show 140 LBS: How Beauty Killed My Mother on a 10-city national tour with sold out premieres and accolades from L.A. Times, NPR, and American Theatre. Eight months pregnant, she premiered her sequel Over 140 LBS at ACT Theatre. Within one year she held 60 performances to over 7,000 people. Her award-winning work has been featured at Bumbershoot, Wing Luke Museum, The Moth Mainstage, and On The Boards. She serves as an Artists Up mentor, co-host of The Model Minority Moms podcast, and board member for international NGO Asylum Access. She is a proud alumnus of Harvard College, Yale School of Management, Coro, and Hedgebrook. Her forthcoming memoir, The Manicurist’s Daughter (Celadon) will be published in March 2024.