What is ASF Talks?
ASF still feels like home
Last Edition 2021
Meet this year's speakers
- José Manuel Zardain ('05)- Master of Ceremonies
- Ana Alanis ('15)
- Ángel Guzmán-Pérez ('85)
- Anita Sax ('90)
- Annie Lask ('92)
- Alejandra González ('05)
- Carla Verea ('97)
- Charles Iceland ('85)
- Connie de la Vega ('71)
- Jacques Passy ('94)
- José Ortega ('93)
- Joshua Michael Stern ('85)
- Juan Pablo Arroyo ('03)
- Nabeeha Kazi ('91)
- Roberto Keoseyan ('05)
- Sandra Khan ('84) and David Leventhal ('80)
- Wes Taylor ('03)
José Manuel Zardain ('05)
José Manuel Zardain worked in McKinsey & Company (world's most prestigious consulting firm) for seven years before quitting and following one of his biggest dreams - traveling around the world. After two years of countless adventures in his journey, he started his career as a professional photographer - first, as a photojournalist in Japan and then, as founder of two photography agencies in Mexico. During this time, he was selected as Aeromexico's ambassador. Today, Zardain is a social entrepreneur, speaker, and content creator.
Ana Alanis ('15)
Ana Alanis is a humanitarian worker and immigration scholar. After graduating from ASF in 2015, she completed a BA in International Relations (American University), and an MSc in Migration Studies (University of Oxford). Following her masters, she began working with IOM (the United Nations Migration Agency) in Costa Rica, and then in Mexico. Most recently, her work involved evaluating the conditions of vulnerable migrants on the US-Mexico border, and ensuring they got access to basic protections. She is currently completing a PhD at the University of Oxford, where she researches immigration and multicultural learning processes.
Ángel Guzmán-Pérez ('85)
Ángel Guzmán-Pérez is the Executive Vice-President and Head of Drug Discovery at Scorpion Therapeutics, a Boston MA-based start-up company focused on the discovery and development of new precision medicines for cancer treatment. Prior to joining Scorpion Therapeutics, Ángel began his professional career at Pfizer in Groton, CT, working in the discovery of new cardiovascular, obesity, osteoporosis, frailty and diabetes drugs. Ángel was subsequently Executive Director and Head of Medicinal Chemistry at Amgen in Cambridge, MA, where he led a group of scientists charged with the discovery or drugs for the treatment of cancer, inflammation, neuroscience, and cardiovascular disease. In over two decades in the pharmaceutical industry, he has contributed to the discovery of multiple clinical candidates in a broad range of disease areas. Ángel completed his high school education at the American School Foundation in Mexico City, attained a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Harvard University. At Harvard, he worked with Nobel laureate E. J. Corey on the asymmetric synthesis of natural products with quaternary stereocenters.
Anita Sax ('90)
Anita Sax was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. Her passion for writing began at a young age after a school project led her to write her first short story. She has been writing ever since. Anita finds that teaching children through reading is not only fun but also an essential tool. Each of her books is educational in one way or another; from colors, animals and positive reinforcement, to health and fitness. There's something for everyone. She also co-wrote, "Oh Can't You See?" a Christmas song available on YouTube. At age 14, Anita moved to California to attend Idyllwild Arts Academy and later the California Institute of the Arts where she majored in theater. Anita later returned to Mexico City where she appeared in soap operas and did voice-over work for Televisa, Hispanic America's largest multimedia mass media company.
Annie Lask ('92)
Annie Lask works and lives in Mexico City. She works as a creative director, fashion editor, fashion producer and fashion stylist and has constructed one of the most important and solid fashion careers in Latin America for over the past 18 years. Annie is recognized and admired all over the world because of her sharp taste in fashion styling and very high standards in editorial high-fashion production and, although she has a very unique fashion vision, her stories always deliver a strong and direct message that submerges everyone into a fantastic fashion world.
She has been a Fashion Editor and Senior Fashion Consultant for the most important international high fashion women’s publications such as Harper’s Bazaar en Español, Marie Claire Latin America, Cosmopolitan en español, GQ, Elle Mexico and Spanish V Magazine; currently Annie works as a fashion editor for Grazia Mexico.
As Creative Director she has worked for Harper’s Bazaar en español and produced campaigns with high luxury elite brands such as Mercedes Benz, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Mexico, Heineken, Sony, Sony Alpha Partners, Nike Red, Disney, W Hotels, Starwood Hotels and many others. Later being a wardrobe director she worked with Mexico’s Next Top Model TV Series and as an image consultant she has delivered with names as Gustavo Cerati, Paulina Rubio, Belinda, Eiza Gonzalez, and more.
The ingenious creative capacity of Annie Lask to deliver and create fantastic fashion messages is unlimited; reinventing herself in every story behind a very unique vision towards fashion images.
Alejandra González ('05)
Alejandra has a solid career in digital entertainment media. She has worked in Mexican and multinational companies such as Grupo Editorial Expansión, Kiwilimón, Google and YouTube. She has focused on developing strategic relationships with digital influencers, brands, and strategic players in the Latin American media industry.
As TNG Management's CEO, Alejandra focuses on translating key market insights into the business objectives of the talents she represents. She has worked with content creators such as Juanpa Zurita, Luisito Comunica, Los Polinesios, among many others. Her commitment and her goal to continue building the careers of future communicators.
Alejandra is also in favor of working on activism and social impact initiatives. Her work has prompted her to do purposeful projects where she has served as an ambassador for Diversity and Inclusion. At Women @ Google, she managed to inspire and prepare more than two thousand university students to study STEM careers, implemented visibility projects for the trans community and today, from her own company, she works with her influencers to use their powerful voices to drive visibility and empower underrepresented communities.
Carla Verea ('97)
Working as Artist-Photographer duo since 2005, Francisca Rivero-Lake Cortina (*1973) and Carla Verea Hernández (*1978) combined with their extraordinary eye, makes them one of the most exceptional and versatile phenomena in contemporary photography. Based in Mexico City, their work has been shown amid others in the Architecture Exhibition Venice Biennale, Vitra Design Museum and Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Their works are accordingly represented in the most renowned exhibitions and collections.
Charles Iceland ('85)
Charles Iceland is the Director of Global and National Water Initiatives with WRI's Food, Forests, Water, and the Ocean Program. Charles is implementing the Water, Peace, and Security Partnership with several European and American partner organizations. This project has developed a machine learning-based, near-real-time global early warning system for water and conflict hotspots and helps developing countries better address these issues.
The Water, Peace, and Security Partnership was awarded the 2020 Luxembourg Peace Prize for Outstanding Environmental Peace. Charles previously directed the Aqueduct project at WRI. In addition to overseeing Aqueduct's strategy development and management, he developed new modules for Aqueduct, including Aqueduct Floods and Aqueduct Food. Charles is also overseeing WRI's work with national governments on water resources management. This work has so far included work with the Chinese and Ethiopian governments.
Charles previously partnered with several major multinational corporations, including Mondi Group, Rio Tinto, Akzo Nobel, and BC Hydro, to develop, road test, and apply an innovative methodology for assessing corporate risks and opportunities stemming from ecosystem change. Prior to that, he worked at the World Environment Center, where he developed innovative supply chain environmental management pilot programs for Alcoa, Johnson & Johnson, Dow Chemical, and General Motors. Charles has worked at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the United States House of Representatives, and the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He also worked in the banking and finance sector for several years and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Charles earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University and a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University.
Connie de la Vega ('71)
“I went to Scripps College after a two-day train ride from Mexico City to the Nogales, Arizona border with my 13 pieces of luggage. From there I managed to get on an airplane to Los Angeles where my relatives picked me up and drove me to Scripps. After a year at Scripps I found my calling for studies – International Relations. In the Spring Semester of my Junior Year I went on World Campus Afloat. We studied and visited countries in Asia and Africa. After graduating from Scripps, I went to UC Berkeley Law School, where I met Professor Frank Newman who introduced me further to the international world – this time international human rights. I spent a summer and then a semester abroad in Geneva, Switzerland at the International Commission of Jurists where I was able to see international human rights bodies in action.
After the 1989 earthquake the commute to East Palo Alto became too much from Oakland so I applied to teach and direct the Civil Litigation Clinic at the University of San Francisco School of Law where I handled eviction cases. At one point, a student found out that I attended human rights meetings at the United Nations which I did under the auspices of a non-profit organization that I helped found in 1979 – Human Rights Advocates. Working with that student and others eventually led to teaching the international human rights class and directing the International Human Rights Clinic. Students in the Clinic prepare reports and participate in the meetings of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women in New York and the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
During all this I have continued raising international human rights standards by filing amicus curiae briefs (friend of the court briefs). The U.S. Supreme Court cited my amicus brief in the case of Roper v. Simmons when it held that the death penalty for juvenile offenders violated the US Constitution.
I have also published law review articles and books on international human rights. My most recent book is “A Practical Guide to Using International Human Rights and Criminal Law Procedures” that I co-wrote with one of my former students, Alen Mirza and Luke Fadem. I also published the Dictionary of International Human Rights in 2013. I am now working on a book on provisions for withdrawing from human rights treaties.”
José Ortega ('93)
José Ortega is a founding member of the Interactive Advertisement Bureau in Mexico. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico), a Master of Business Administration degree from Instituto de Empresa Business School (Madrid) and Executive Management Program Degrees from Harvard University and Kellogg School of Management (USA). He is married, is father to two beautiful girls and considers himself a great soccer and video game player.
José serves as Vice President of Digital Media for Fox Sports’ Spanish channel Fox Deportes in the US. He leads the team responsible for managing and developing digital content for all digital outlets, including Foxdeportes.com, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, apps, e-commerce platforms and new e-business. Under his tenure, Fox Deportes has won multiple international awards including Promax and Clio Awards. Fox Deportes is the number one sports destination across all digital platforms with over 17 million followers and was named one of the top 20 US Social Brands regardless of language.
Prior to joining Fox, José was Director of Red Viacom for ViacomCBS. He led the team responsible for expanding the online business and managing operations of all entertainment websites, apps and social media throughout Latin America.
Before joining Viacom, José was Director of Business Development at PRISA, where he was responsible for managing strategic alliances and charged with the growth of the company’s digital reach in the US Hispanic and Latin America markets. He also had a successful career path during his eight years at Terra, where he held several positions including Director of Business Development for Terra USA, Deputy Director of Products and Product Marketing Manager for Terra Mexico.
Joshua Michael Stern ('85)
Joshua Michael Stern is a writer/filmmaker, having directed films and television. Starting with the films NEVERWAS (Ian Mckellen, Aaron Eckhart, Jessica Lange) to SWING VOTE (Kevin Costner), JOBS (Ashton Kutcher) to the TV show Mr. Stern wrote and directed GRAVES (with Nick Nolte) on EPIX as well as having developed TV shows at ABC with Jimmy Kimmel and developed films with Anthony Hopkins and Robert DeNiro.
Juan Pablo Arroyo ('03)
Juan Pablo (JP for short), was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. He attended ASF from 1987 through 2003. He then went to the Facultad Mexicana de Medicina - La Salle in Mexico City. During the last year of medical school, he began a life-long affair with the kidney! This led JP to pursue a Ph.D. in renal physiology, with a focus on how salt impacts blood pressure. Upon completing his Ph.D., JP moved to New Haven CT, where JP completed an intern year in General – Surgery at Yale-New Haven Hospital, as well as a two-year post-doc focusing on the molecular mechanisms of renal salt reabsorption. He then trained in Medicine and Nephrology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he stayed on as faculty after completing his training.
Nabeeha Kazi ('91)
Nabeeha Kazi Hutchins (ASF Class of 1991), serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of PAI, the leading international non-profit dedicated to protecting and promoting access to health and championing the reproductive and sexual rights of women, youth and vulnerable communities around the world. Born in Pakistan and raised in Mexico, Nabeeha brings 25 years of movement building, advocacy, and international development experience in public health, food and nutrition security, agriculture, biodiversity and conservation, education and human rights, including fighting for the rights of indigenous communities, children and youth. Nabeeha has worked on development programs in more than 20 countries worldwide, including programs in Mexico, has received national and international awards recognizing her leadership abilities, and advocacy, communications and social justice contributions, serves on the Board of Directors of major academic and international institutions, and is a celebrated and inspiring speaker. Nabeeha holds Bachelor's degrees in Political Science, Journalism and Mass Communications from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, and dual Master's degrees in International Affairs and Public Health from Columbia University in New York. At the American School Foundation she was active in dance and theater, language, writing and poetry clubs, the Model United Nations and Student Government. Nabeeha is based in Washington, DC, where she resides with her husband and two young children, and spends summers in her beloved Mexico.
Roberto Keoseyan ('05)
Roberto Keoseyan (Class of 2005) is a Professional Strongman, Powerlifter, Olympic Weightlifter, Clinical Psychologist, Writer, and Entrepreneur. He is the only professional strongman in Mexico and Latin America and was the first Mexican to be invited to compete at the World’s Strongest Man Competition. He is currently ranked in the top 50 strongmen in the world and was ranked at 26 in 2020 and number one in Latin America and Mexico. He is one of nine people in the history of the world to achieve a steroid free 2000-pound powerlifting total and one of 92 people ever to achieve that feat. He is a member of the United States Strongman Federation, a member of the historic Icelandic Full Strong Club and has competed at America’s Strongest Man, Texas Strongest Man, The Border’s Strongest Man, Florida’s Strongest Man, Montana’s Strongest Man and World’s Strongest Man. He has trained with eight-time World’s Strongest Man Zydrunas Savickas, four-time World’s Strongest Man Magnus Ver Magnusson and eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman. He is currently training for the 2024 Olympics in Paris in Weightlifting at the Heavyweight division and will become the first Mexican to compete in that weight class.
Sandra Khan ('84) and David Leventhal ('80)
In 2005, after running the popular bed & breakfast Casa Viva in Troncones, husband and wife team, Sandra Kahn and David Leventhal, were introduced to the land that would soon become Playa Viva. They were instantly intrigued by its subtle charm, the teeming life of its estuary, the hills overlooking the beach and small lagoon (which was later discovered to be an archeological site), the broad expanse of beach and the Turtle Sanctuary. Charmed by the tiny nearby town of Juluchuca, they invested in the property.
Wes Taylor ('03)
Wes currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of a hospital in the state of Utah. He obtained his undergraduate degree in business and a Masters in Healthcare Administration. With over a decade of experience in management, Wes brings expertise and commitment to proactively improve the strategies, operations, and people of any organization that he is a part of. Throughout his academic and professional career he has developed exceptional communication and cultural aptitude from living in twelve continental states, as well as Hawaii, Japan, Mexico and Argentina.
Who will sponsor this year?