Feroza Ardeshir is the President of Alliance4Empowerment. She is on her third career, having previously been a molecular biologist on a malaria vaccine project and a sixth grade Montessori School teacher. She is passionate about her family and friends, social justice, students of all ages, education, health, nutrition, science, yoga and meditation, feminism, world peace and saving the planet and all the creatures on it. All you need is love!

Neville Billimoria is an effective communications and values leader, growing organizations through external marketing, media, and sales effectiveness, as well as internal organizational alignment, corporate communications and leadership development. He brings experience, energy and empowerment to his leadership role as SVP Membership/Marketing and Chief Advocacy Officer at Mission Federal Credit Union where he has accountability for a strategic array of crucial outward facing functions including leading and managing Marketing, Community Relations, Digital, and promoting Mission Fed’s public image and brand. Neville also serves on several boards including; the Mission Federal Community Foundation Board., San Diego Non Profit Association Board, Education Synergy Alliance Board and Real World Scholars Board of Directors among others. After graduating from UC San Diego, Neville has remained involved as a member of the UCSD Alumni Board of Directors, where he also has been teaching martial arts, yoga and meditation for 35 years. He is a frequent guest speaker & facilitator on topics including marketing, brand as culture, 21st century networked leadership, social capital optimization and civic engagement.

Chair | Co-Founder

Naila Chowdhury is a leading management professional from Bangladesh. She has served in a UN agency as well as several multinationals, locally and globally (Norway, Thailand, Ukraine, Malaysia, and Pakistan). She has worked closely with Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus for more than 15 years. Her core focus now is women’s health and economic empowerment through modern information and communications technologies. She is also an advisor for the Ashoka Support Network Members, and a technical advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She is an active mentor for Youth and Women in constructive entrepreneurship, information communication technology (ICT), global networking and the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). She is presently one of the Founding Women Members of F4D in New York, USA and Board Director of Athgo International, USA. She holds a Master Degree in Marketing from Dhaka University, and a Senior Executive Business Management Diploma from Singapore National University, as well as an Executive MBA from the Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden. Presently, she is the Chair of TeleConsult Group, US and Bangladesh. TeleConsult Group where Women come first, is an organization focused to ensure, competence and skill development, job opportunity for the under-privileged populations, and domestic violence and acid survivors.


Giovanna’s professional career has been in managing admissions & enrollment functions and marketing initiatives in graduate university settings. Her spirit, however, is always volunteering and supporting organizations that contribute to transitioning our society to respect nature, social & economic justice, and a culture of peace. She wants to be an agent of change, and make a positive impact in her community to help alleviate poverty, hunger, and help end violence against women.
Giovanna holds a Master degree in Public Administration and recently returned to update her resume to include a graduate degree in Peace and Global Education aimed at teaching skills necessary for peacemaking and replacing conflict with agreements based on mutually beneficial outcomes.
Born in Italy she is cross-culturally aware and sensitive. Her heart longs for the day she can live in both continents.
Having met & blessed by Mother Theresa, Giovanna tries to remember these words in her daily life: “If you can’t do great things, do little things with great love. If you can’t do them with great love, do them with a little love. If you can’t do them with a little love, do them anyway.” Mother Theresa.

Janet C. Salazar is a social innovator, human rights activist, global thinker and a humanist. She is the CEO and Co-Founder of IMPACT Leadership 21™, a global leadership platform that provides solutions to creating inclusive economies. Janet also serves as the Permanent Representative to the United Nations at Foundation for the Support of the United Nations (FSUN), an international NGO in General Consultative Status with UN ECOSOC and associated with UN DPI. She is the President and Co-Founder of MVI Advisors, a New York–based global firm of experts providing highly specialized consulting, coaching, training and advisory on multicultural leadership development, strategies and business platforms. A Leadership Architect for Emerging Global Leaders (EGL), Janet’s expertise is assisting leaders in creating authentic, profound, long lasting impact in their organizations and personal lives. She is a confidential advisor and sounding board to top senior and emerging women executives and leaders, CEOs, expatriates, nonprofit leaders, diplomats, entrepreneurs, artists and visionaries across the globe. Janet holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Baguio, Philippines, graduating with Honors. She also attended Saint Louis University-Philippines, where she pursued Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications. She is on hiatus from the final stage of her Master’s in Business Administration (MBA).


Reena is very experienced in volunteering, and organizing countless exciting, memorable and successful events at schools, non-profit organizations, and army establishments in the U.S, and India. She excels in her organizational capabilities with a keen eye towards detail. As a mother of two charming sons, she has set up fun lunch programs for the children at their elementary school, organized fund raisers, Veterans Day lunches, Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, special award ceremonies for more than 100 guests each year.

She has hosted admission events for the Evans, and Francis Parker schools, and has been a host parent every year at her boy’s schools. Reena is also a gifted communicator, and every year is invited to teach a foreign language, and give presentations at Parker to share her rich experiences as an immigrant during language and global learning week to middle schoolers.

Reena obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and World History, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Travel and Tourism. In her professional career, she has worked in hotel sales. She was responsible for setting up conferences for the newly established Quality Inns Hotels in India.

She has a global perspective, and is accomplished at understanding various cultures. Her home is in the U.S but has lived in India and England, and travelled extensively in U.S, Europe, and Asia. Her terrific interpersonal skills, ethics, and organizational skills were groomed in the Indian army, where she supported her dad, a decorated
3-Star Lt. General, in various cultural and social events for the infantry troops. As the wife of the current TiE President (largest non-profit organization to help startups, and Entrepreneurs) she has hosted many formal dinners with presentations, award ceremonies with entertainment, and various events for Charter Members

Dr. Ramesh R. Rao has been a faculty member at UC San Diego since 1984, and Director of the Qualcomm Institute, UCSD division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), since 2001. He holds the Qualcomm Endowed Chair in Telecommunications and Information Technologies in the Jacobs School of Engineering at UCSD, and is a member of the school’s Electrical and Computer Engineering department.

Prior to QI (Calit2), Professor Rao served as the Director of UCSD’s Center for Wireless Communications (CWC). Dr. Rao is involved on a day-to-day basis with a wide variety of research initiatives at QI. He leads several major interdisciplinary and collaborative projects and has been a PI on dozens of federal-, state-, foundation- and industry-funded grants. Dr. Rao is an IEEE Fellow and Senior Fellow of the California Council on Science and Technology. He was named a Member of the UC San Diego Health System Advisory Board, a Member of the Board of the Academy of Neurosciences for Architecture, a Member of the Rady Children’s Hospital and Health Center Board IT Task Force and serves as the Vice President of the San Diego Indian American Society.

Dr. Rao earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1984, after receiving his M.S. from the same institution in 1982. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in 1980 from the University of Madras (the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirapalli). Dr. Rao received the distinguished alumnus award from the National Institute of Technology in 2010, the ECE Distinguished alumni award from the University of Maryland in 2012, the Professional Gordon Engineering Leadership Award from UCSD’s Gordon Engineering Leadership Center in 2010. He also received the 2011 Casa Familiar Abrazo Award for engagement with underprivileged area of San Diego.

ROBIN SOL LIEBERMAN is an author and the Founder of TrueCharisma, a training and consulting firm committed to helping individuals and organizations communicate more effectively.  Robin Sol has spoken at the United Nations Headquarters, worked with emerging global leaders through events organized by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with new arrival immigrants, refugees, prisoners, ex-offenders, university students and with the marketing teams of international companies such as Pfizer.

Robin Sol was introduced to the power of non-verbal communication during her world travels as a cultural anthropologist.  Not particularly quick at picking up foreign languages, she began connecting with the world’s people using a universal language she already knew how to “speak”: charisma.  She would go on to practice as a mind-body therapist in an attempt to understand how voice, body language, beliefs and emotions can be altered at will for more coherently powerful communication.  Today, Robin Sol’s training and consulting firm, TrueCharisma, as well as her book, The Charisma Code: Communicating in a Language Beyond Words, make charisma’s barrier-breaking language accessible to the many.  Robin Sol recently appeared on WTTG-TV (FOX) “Good Day DC” and SiriusXM’s P.O.T.U.S. Channel’s “Morning Briefing” to discuss the Charisma Types of the presidential candidates.  To learn more, including what your own Charisma Type is, please visit

Rampyari Walia is the founder and CEO of a San Diego-based biotech company, Targeting Systems, started in May 1996 entirely with the help of an SBIR grant from the NIH. Her company focusses on the development of ultrasensitive bioluminescent reporter gene assays and assay reagents for drug discovery applications (high throughput screening). The company has also developed novel products for in vivo imaging applications and stem cell research. Prior to starting her company she was a faculty member in the Department of Cardiology at Vanderbilt University, and in the department of Medicine at UAB, Birmingham, Alabama.

She has diverse interests and writes and paints as a hobby. Through her writing and paintings, she hopes to inspire and empower people to live more positively while fostering courage, appreciation and determination for all facets of life’s great journey. Her work includes a coffee table book of paintings entitled “Expressions of Reflections”, a book of memoirs –“Exciting Journeys-Unpredictable Destinations (in press) and an illustrated book of poems “Unforgettable Memories-Memorable Places”.

Jay Silverman, Ph.D., is Director of Research for the Center on Gender Equity and Health and a Professor of Medicine and Global Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. He has led multiple major government, foundation and UN-funded studies of gender-based violence (e.g., IPV, sexual assault, reproductive coercion, gender-based household maltreatment, sex trafficking) across multiple global regions regarding effects on women’s and girls’ reproductive and sexual health and the morbidity and mortality of their children. Dr. Silverman has published over 170 peer-reviewed scholarly papers on these issues, many in top-tier scientific journals.  He is also co-author of an award-winning practitioner guidebook on the role of intimate partner violence in shaping family dynamics.

Barbara Sedgwick-Billimoria M.Ed. owns and operates LaunchPad Career Counselors, a

career counseling entity based in San Diego, California. As a career counselor, Barbara

has comprehensively counseled more than 400 individuals in career transition, career crisis

or in the selection of college major. Barbara provides career assessments and then

counsels individuals on assessment outcomes creating a bridge between self-knowledge and

the world of work, career choice and career satisfaction. Further, she carefully integrates

psychological findings of career assessments to help individuals develop a career and/or

educational plan. Barbara also advises clients on income potential and job forecast of

selected careers pursuant to regional, state and national forecasts. Further, she critiques

client resume and cover letters – instructs on proper format, etiquette and content and

counsels individuals on job searching strategies emphasizing the importance of networking,

social media, internships and volunteerism. Barbara is also a Career Development

speaker at UCSD Extension, UCSD Alumni Association, San Diego Diplomacy Council,

The Boardroom, and others.

Prior to working as a career counselor, Barbara worked in economic development for the

State of California – Small Business Development and International Trade Center.

During her 19-year tenure, Barbara counseled more than 1,600 people on all aspects of

owning and operating a small business including business start-up, business planning,

basic business finance and business management. In this position, Barbara also applied

and was awarded two Title VI B International Business Initiative grants from the US

Department of Education. One of 25 grants awarded in the United States, 2010 -2012.

She was also winner of the Women’s Small Business Advocate award from the Small

Business Administration, and developed the Youth Entrepreneur Program curriculum that

received exemplary acknowledgement from the Chancellors Office of the State of


Importantly, Barbara is the mother of two awesome children and understands from first-

hand experience the joys and struggles of raising 21st century children while

simultaneously engaging in a meaningful career. As a mother, she has endeavored to

raise children that embrace morals of compassion, kindness, understanding, respect and

responsibility while competing with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other forms of

social media. Barbara sees this as her greatest accomplishment and her most important

job so far. Furthermore, Barbara hopes that in the not-so-distant future that parenting

experience will become part of a standard resume as it encompasses so many skills

valued in the modern workforce.

Barbara’s Education Includes:

Master of Education Counseling, emphasis: Career Development. University of San

Diego, January, 1997. Summa Cum Laude

Certificate of International Business. Thunderbird, Graduate School of

International Management, December 1987.

Bachelor of Arts, Communications. University of California, San Diego, CA June


Navrina Singh is Director Product Management and is the head of Qualcomm ImpaQt – Qualcomm’s global innovation program. A leader in the field of mobile technologies for more than 12 years and a key architect of Qualcomm’s global innovation program vision, Singh spearheads ImpaQt to discover, develop and commercialize mobile technology breakthroughs. Qualcomm ImpaQt’s external charter focuses to engage with early stage companies and the innovation community ensuring that Qualcomm develops deeper insights into disruptive markets/business opportunities and seeds Qualcomm’s cutting edge technology with new market entrants.

Singh is also responsible for creating, managing and operationalizing the corporate-wide technology innovation incubator-ImpaQt- launched in 2012. ImpaQt serves as a catalyst for creating global connections for innovative ideas to flourish and develop to impact future technology, product roadmaps and patent portfolio for Qualcomm through employee ideas. Singh partners with technology and business leaders within and outside Qualcomm to ensure the corporation is focused on the right forward-looking challenges and their intersections with emerging technologies to create compelling solutions. In this role, Singh has led product development and R&D initiatives in diverse technology areas including advanced biometric security and authentication, machine intelligence, computer vision, novel hardware architectures etc. applied to various markets like mobile, robotics, Wearables, Internet of Things (smart transportation and infrastructure).

Singh also led the charter for Qualcomm@EvoNexus the business incubator of CommNexus™, a leading non-profit high-tech trade organization based in San Diego from 2013-2014. In this role, Singh’s strategic leadership and technical expertise was leveraged to stimulate the growth of new high technology companies in San Diego region through Qualcomm investments. Singh is also driving robotics SIG group at CommNexus San Diego, focused on a powerful vision of making San Diego the world’s capital for future breakthroughs. Singh is an avid supporter and advisor of startup incubators, volunteering in business plan competitions, hackathons and educational workshops related to technology evangelization and business practices.

Singh joined Qualcomm in 2004 as a hardware engineer in the Corporate Research and Development. In that role she was involved in the design, development and verification of cutting edge mobile technologies including cell site modems , small cells & building the next generation of peer-to-peer communication ultra wide band technologies. Following that Singh was a business development and competitive intelligence leader responsible for exploring new market segments and developing strategic relationships for Qualcomm for use in Smart grids, healthcare and automotive.

Singh is also the founder of QWISE (Qualcomm Women in Science and Engineering), an organization focused on professional and personal development of women in technology at Qualcomm and in the community. Singh was the founding president and under her leadership QWISE grew to over 1000 members worldwide in over ten years. Singh is an esteemed industry leader whose vision and passion in STEM fields, has resulted in multiple new initiatives at Qualcomm and community. She is also the lead for the Qualcomm FIRST robotics partnership, focused on building a strong future generation of leaders in STEM.

Singh holds a Master of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Wisconsin – Madison and a Masters in Business Administration from Ursula Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California.

In 2015, Singh was named the “San Diego’s Top Influentials” recognizing her work in technology innovation and strategy, building and promoting a strong startup ecosystem and inspiring leadership to STEM initiatives in San Diego. She was also honored by Athena San Diego with a Pinnacle Award as San Diego’s leading woman in technology.

In 2014, she was named among the “Top 5 women of influence in Southern California” and was nominated as the emerging leader to represent Qualcomm at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen summit. Singh also won the “Ursula Burns Diversity award” in 2013, in recognition of her contributions to visionary and insightful leadership to diversity initiatives in Qualcomm and in the community.

Dr. Rob Gailey teaches nonprofit organizational management and theories of economic development in the International Development major at PLNU and serves as the faculty advisor to PLNU’s Microfinance Club.  He holds a Ph.D. from the University of San Diego’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences, with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. As Director of the Center for International Development, Rob Gailey is actively engaged with students across campus to bring awareness and solutions to social issues that impact our global economy.  The Center for International Development has funded several students to participate in international development conferences and research in the U.S. and abroad.

Paula has a long history of designing and implementing programs to aid diverse populations with career development and job satisfaction, including career planning, employee internships and mentoring. She is particularly passionate about matters involving equity and inclusiveness. Recently, Paula retired from UC San Diego after 25 years of service. She began her career at UC San Diego as an Human Resources generalist. She also served as the manager of professional recruitment and community outreach, director of Equal Opportunity/Staff Affirmative Action and director of Disability Counseling and Consulting. During her tenure at UC San Diego, Paula served on and chaired many committees. She represented UC San Diego on the University of California Diversity Council.
Prior to working at the University, Paula worked for an international biomedical manufacturer and the San Diego Community College District. Paula has served on many community based boards, including Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and Ronald McDonald House Charities. She is committed to building inclusive communities.

Joslin Seeds is an avid proponent of confidence. She is the host, writer, and editor of her own show, “The Joslin Show” which celebrates diversity, self expression and empowerment. Having grown up in thrift shops, she has a superb eye for finding items and can dress people in much sought after and often high priced garments for a fraction of the cost. She also has her own radio show “Runway to Reality” and has become a muse and model for esteemed couture designers. Not without her own story, she prides herself on sharing that any situation can be overcome if we choose to love ourselves. Her brand is summed up in three words. Confidence. Comfort. Glamour. Three things, she believes everyone is entitled to. To feel beautiful. Everyone’s definitions of beauty and style are different and that’s what she nurtures.

Rubén is a native of Nayarit, México, where he completed studies in sustainable aquaculture and following his passion for all life, a bachelor in biology in Ensenada, Baja California.


After moving to the United States in 1994, Rubén received a Doctorate in chemistry and biochemistry from UCLA and soon after began his career in the San Diego biotechnology industry. Rubén has held a variety of positions in R&D, marketing, business development and technology commercialization. His professional career includes Becton Dickinson (PharMingen) and Biosite (now Alere), where he ran worldwide clinical trials to develop a life-saving bedside diagnostic for sepsis; Rubén later joined Chemicon (now Millipore-Sigma), where he managed R&D, worldwide clinical-trial operations, and marketing activities for the diagnosis of viral infections. While at Millipore-Sigma, Rubén founded the world-wide Scientific Collaborations group, tasked with developing novel solutions with academic partners across the globe for stem cell research, biomarkers, cancer, neuroscience, diagnostics and therapeutics.


Most recently, Rubén served as Vice President of Business Development and Technology Transfer for LA BioMed at Harbor UCLA Medical Center (an L.A. County hospital providing care to the underserved population and featured in the popular 1970’s series, Emergency!), where he focused his efforts on fostering the entrepreneurial ecosystem for startups. Working with local academic centers, the County of Los Angeles, LAEDC, LARTA and local REITs, Rubén championed the development of a 300,000 sq foot biotech park on the Harbor UCLA campus (the first of its kind in Los Angeles).


Rubén is a strong supporter of the regional innovation ecosystem. He has lent his expertise as a past member of BIOCOM’s FDA committee. Rubén has acted as a member of the Scientific Advisory board of UC Riverside’s department of Bioengineering, the advisory board to the Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program at the departments of Bioengineering at the University of Washington and at the University of Southern California, and the advisory board for graduate programs in Biotechnology at Cal State University San Marcos.

2016 Global Empowerment Summit – Event Partners