Meet Our Speakers

3 months, 63 nominations, 34 interviews, that's how long it took us to unearth these hidden gems of and many man

Bringing you the most compelling and radical perspectives on thriving, as an individual, as a community and with the planet. 

Ethan Seow

Author, Entrepreneur, Humanist 

Ethan is a classic maverick who left medical school in National University of University after seven years and has been doing entrepreneurship in multiple industries to gain an understanding of the business world. His psychiatric and psychological training, together with his insatiable love for learning led him to develop Thought-Action Paradigm, the basis behind Undelusional, which he founded, to truly solve the psychosocial problems of today.


Our needs and how they drive us 


How is it that in Singapore, one of the most developed and countries in terms of infrastructure and quality of life, there are so many people living with a scarcity mindset? What exactly is missing in our lives?


Herry Cho


My vision is for financiers to empower industries and the economy towards sustainable development. I am the Head of Sustainable Finance in the Asia Pacific for an international financial institution operating in over 40 countries. My main responsibilities are: 1) the origination and structuring of 'green', 'social' and 'sustainability' bonds, loans and other financial instruments, 2) advisory on sustainability ratings, and 3) supporting the integration of sustainability internally into product, sector and country teams' activities.


I contribute on a number of expert sustainability and finance committees in the region, and reside in Singapore. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry (MBioch) was my degree at University of Oxford (excellent foundation for finance and sustainability, nonetheless!), and I’ve lived, worked and traveled in over 60 countries (ok, that did give me a LOT of perspectives). In my spare time I play piano and ukulele for relaxation, act like kids with my fiancé, sing with my Amazon parrot Morrocho, meditate on water, and delve into nature. More extensive biography can be found here

How sustainable finance and better power sustainable development 


Financial institutions and banks are often seen as villains in the society. But sustainable development clearly requires funding. In her talk, Herry will share how sustainable finance can empower and catalyze our sustainable future. 

金融机构以及银行往往都被视为黑手, 但是永续发展明显需要经济上的支持. 我将会在我的演讲中分享永续金融能够如何启发, 支持和催化可持续性发展。  

Joan Leong 


Joan has always loved telling good stories. She started an early career in speech and drama at the age of 17, evolving to capturing moments through photography and crafting stories through television shows. She has produced popular large format reality shows, such as The Amazing Race Australia (which won an International Emmy), Asia’s Next Top Model and Cash Cab Asia. Through her work, she aims to share stories of transformation and growth. Her latest project ‘The Kings’ tells the inspirational love story of a transgender woman and her wife, chronicling their journey of struggles and acceptance in the modern landscape.


She volunteers for ‘Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep’, a worldwide network of photographers who stand in the gap when families have suffered a stillbirth or early infant loss. She believes through remembrance photography, that families will be able to tell their life stories of love.

Grieving through Remembering


Society has conditioned us to celebrate a life lived when it is an

adult, but we hush a baby’s death like it is something to hide. A life, any life, deserves to be celebrated and treasured. With adults, we have a lifetime of photos perhaps. But with babies, we may only have those few hours, if at all. In those painful moments, in death, we celebrate life. Around the world, more parents are choosing to have professional photos taken of their stillborn or dying babies, facilitating the grieving process by allowing themselves the time and space to honour their babies.


Dr. Dawn-Joy Leong 


Dr. Dawn-Joy Leong is an autistic artist-researcher presenting autism as parallel embodiment, with sensory-cognitive idiosyncrasy as the nucleus of her research, and an artistic practice of immersive mind-body experiences via music, visual art, photography, narrative, poetry and performance. Lucy Like-a-Charm, a rescued former racing Greyhound, is Dawn-joy’s creative muse and faithful companion. Together, they traverse blended, multidimensional terrains of neurodiversity: flipping pages of imagination, dancing around pandiatonic-chromatic-polyrhythmic fires, celebrating symbiotic connectivity, and finding new ways to sense the world and Be. Dr. Leong has an MPhil in music composition from HKU, and a PhD from UNSW Art & Design, winning the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research in 2016.

Autistic Thriving


There is a great deal of ‘awareness’ these days about Autism – mainly from non-autistic observations. However, where are the Actually Autistic voices in this cacophony of opinions and interpretations? What is it like to be autistic? In this talk, Dawn will share a glimpse of how she is learning to thrive within her autistic ecology, not despite but because of her autism.


Sankar Ananthanarayanan


Sankar is a herpetology enthusiast. He is one of the co-founders of the Herpetological Society of Singapore (HSS). The HSS is a group of herpetology enthusiasts who are passionate about educating the Singaporean public about the reptiles and amphibians that we share this island with. The HSS leads free public guided walks on a monthly basis. Sankar is entering his final year at NUS, where he studies Environmental Biology.

When animals aren’t so cuddly


Snakes, spiders and lizards. Urbanites often react in fear and

disgust when encountering them. But these uncharismatic animals play a key role in not just the ecosystem but also in our lives. How can we overcome the irrational stigma against these perhaps less cuddly creatures and uncover their hidden beauty within?


Allia Hu (Gui) 


Born in Nanging, and settled in Taiwan, Hu Chien founded Miling’an Musical Theater in 2009, and has since become an important preservationist for Paiwanese culture and a promoter for Taiwanese performing arts.He is a musical theater producer. “Miling’an Forest” was premiered in Taiwan in 2011, and this work was awarded the 2010-2012 grant of “pursuit of excellence in the performing arts” funded by the National Culture and Arts Foundation. The musical theater pioneered to be managed as a Broadway show in Taiwan, and is now played regularly twice every week.He is also an album producer. 


He produced 3 CD albums during 2004~2012, and has been nominated several times for the Golden Melody Awards.For years, he wants to send out his passion for aboriginal culture through the eyes of the tribesmen and their perspective; by means of his artitic works, he hopes this spirit would become a soothing power that reconnects the aboriginals and return to the glory that passed down by ancestors

The Most Beautiful Scenery in Taiwan


Across the world, aboriginal people have been exploited and and discriminated against. But is there something we can learn from the culture and wisdom of these supposedly ‘primitive’ people? Sometimes is it worth remembering, we are all Indigenous Peoples of earth.


Dr. Swaine Chen


Dr. Swaine Chen is a Senior Research Scientist in Infectious Diseases at GIS and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the National University of Singapore. He has a broad background in medicine, biology, and chemistry. In his lab, he studies not only why some bacteria cause infections, but also tries to develop new methods so that we can diseases more quickly in the future. Another major aspect of his work is using DNA sequencing to detect and understand outbreaks of infectious diseases, especially those that are unexpected, like the Group B Streptococcus outbreak associated with yu sheng fish in 2015 in Singapore.

DNA and genomics will transform our lives


Science is advancing at an incredibly fast rate – especially in the area of genomics. The same level of advancement in computing that took 50 years to achieve took place in the short span of 5 years in the realm of genomics. How will this technological revolution in

genome sequencing transform our lives for the better?


Teodora Pavkovic


Teodora is a Singapore and New York based psychologist and parenting coach who specializes in parenting in the age of technology. Her work draws from the fields of emotional intelligence, attachment theory and positive neuroplasticity, and her practical approach is informed by cognitive behavioral therapy and strategic intervention coaching. She has contributed to and been quoted in articles on platforms such as The Huffington Post, Thriveworks and NBC News, and has spoken at venues as diverse as schools, banks, co-working spaces and museums. She is currently in private practice, and also serves as a learning and development consultant with The School of Positive Psychology in Singapore.

Emodiversity: Add to Dictionary


Emotions are the oldest language of the human species. This talk will explore what it means to be emodiverse, what are the pathways to becoming emodiverse, and how it leads to greater well-being and to a greater sense of what we all desperately desire more of in the 21st century: connection. 


Saravanan Manorkorum


Saravanan co-founded Da Vinci Group in 2012 and is the CEO of the company. Prior to this, Saravanan has been involved in several business initiatives since 2010. Saravanan did his Bachelor of Science from the National University of Singapore with a focus in Neurobiology. He gained extensive research experience in Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory and A*STAR. His work involved understanding neuronal path finding and neuro receptor associations. Following his research career, Saravanan moved into the field of business consulting and recruitment management which gave the motivations and inspiration to start Da Vinci Group.

The Science of Thriving 生意盎然的科学

As a society, we have turned to psychological means and behavioural aspects to ascertain thriving. However, thriving has a very biological basis. This talk will explore thriving as evidence based and because it is evidence based, how we can make a real difference to ourselves and the quality of our lives from the individual, peer and community perspectives.


我们的社会 习惯用外物来衡量我们的生活品质。可是活得生意盎然其实与我们的生理息息相关。这个演讲将带我们探索生意盎然背后的科学,以及我们能够如何从中改善我们的生活。

Amutha Saravanan


Amutha co-founded Da Vinci Group in 2012 and is the Chief Operating Officer of the company. Amutha did her Masters in Social Sciences, Psychology by Research with a focus in Clinical Neuropsychology at the National University of Singapore. She did her research on mild traumatic brain injury patients and their post concussive symptoms at the National Neuroscience Institute in Singapore. Amutha also speaks Japanese and has won the championship in the Secondary, Junior College and Open categories of the Japanese Speech Contest, which is an annually held competition organized by the Japanese Cultural Society, the Japanese Association, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Japanese University Graduates Association in Singapore.

The Science of Thriving 生意盎然的科学

As a society, we have turned to psychological means and behavioural aspects to ascertain thriving. However, thriving has a very biological basis. This talk will explore thriving as evidence based and because it is evidence based, how we can make a real difference to ourselves and the quality of our lives from the individual, peer and community perspectives.

我们的社会 习惯用外物来衡量我们的生活品质。可是活得生意盎然其实与我们的生理息息相关。这个演讲将带我们探索生意盎然背后的科学,以及我们能够如何从中改善我们的生活。 

Andrew 'Bunnie' Huang


Bunnie is best known for his work hacking the Microsoft Xbox, as well as for his efforts in designing and manufacturing open source hardware, including the chumby (app-playing alarm clock), chibitronics (peel-and-stick electronics for craft), and Novena (DIY laptop). He received his PhD in EE from MIT in 2002. He currently lives in Singapore where he runs a private product design studio, Kosagi, and he actively mentors startups via HAX in Shenzhen, and students of the MIT Media Lab.

IP in China in the Internet Age


Intellectual property laws of today are largely influenced by regulations created more than a hundred years ago in Europe. But there is one country in the world where IP is handled in a radically different manner, as a result of the internet age, China. What can we learn from China in this age of innovation?


Murugaian Nirmala


Ms Murugaian Nirmala, a founder director of Child at Street 11,has extensive experience in creating strategic solutions that raises can-do children from diverse backgrounds.  The Centre started operations on 1 April 1999.


Before joining the Centre full time in 2014, she worked as a senior writer in The Straits Times, Singapore's English language daily. Prior to joining the newspaper, she was a senior research officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs. She studied Political Science in  the University of Singapore.

The Transformers


Many think of children as weak individuals who will wither without the aid of adults. But in Nirmala’s school, they view children not as citizens of tomorrow but citizens of today. The children have the right and the power to decide what their future will be. They

transform minds and transform the way society views them as powerful learners who can lead change. 


Roma Mehta


Roma Mehta is originally from India. A graphic designer, an artist, and a committed community member, she has made Taiwan her home since 1987.  She was one of the founding members of Connections, a community for expats in Taiwan, and is a core member of Red Room, a cultural arts space in Taipei dedicated to listening.  She has also acted as an ambassador for India's Joy of Giving Week — Daan Utsav, and is a dedicated volunteer for the non-for-profit group HandUp Congo.

Stir the Pot


Stir The Pot is a call to action. In a diverse, and international

climate proactiveness and engagement are essential for the benefit of the group as well as the individual. Each ingredient becomes a unique contribution of character, and flavour, to form a harmonious blend we call community.


Manav S. Mehta


Aspiring to sustaining a rhythm welcoming all walks of life to tune into, and appreciate those around them, as well as what is truest to themselves.His role at Red Room includes promoting cross culture collaboration, curation of programmes,  and gatherings for artists across a multitude of genres. This is done so upon a strong foundation of bards, stewards, faith keepers, masons, scribes, peacemakers, tavern keepers, jesters, sound-scapers, sculptors, musicians, painters, thespians and most importantly, volunteers.  

Stir the Pot


Stir The Pot is a call to action. In a diverse, and internationalclimate proactiveness and engagement are essential for the benefit of the group as well as the individual. Each ingredient becomes a unique contribution of character, and flavour, to form a harmonious blend we call community.“熬汤”是一种行动的召唤。在多元化和国际化的气氛中,主动性和参与度对于集体和个人的利益至关重要。每一点都对品质有着独特的贡献,并以此形成一个我们称之为社群的和谐融合。

Tina Fung 


Tina is a multidisciplinary designer specialising in 3dimensional Design. Currently based in Singapore, and building upon 10  years of design experience. ​From Copenhagen, Tina Fung specialises in creating unique experiences for users to interact within space; she also works predominantly in the medium of built environments, from small scale props to large scale installations.


Some of her notable works include design installations for brands including sponsor booths for Grab at Ultra Music Festival, NCF Martell at ZoukOut, product launches for  Marc Jacobs Beauty, Halloween Commercials for Universal Studios, Breathable Gin Chambers, and music video set for Singapore artist, Charlie Lim, just to name a few.