The DreamHour Speaker Series
About The Show
This is a free event, but a ticket is necessary for admission.
DreamWeek Speaker Series 2020 is series of 21 presentations that focus on the migrant experience in America. It will showcase diversity, challenges, struggles, and successes through each individual’s participation highlighting the navigation of the cultural intersection between one's home country and one's new home.
Monday, January 13, 2020
Topic: You Never Know. Navigating the cultural intersection between your home country and your new home in San Antonio, TX
Bio: Tania Kaiumova, Program Coordinator, has more than 10 years of experience in coordinating international events and programs both abroad and in the U.S. Her passion is creating and maintaining meaningful, long-term relationships both in business and personally. She graduated from the Ukrainian National University with a Master’s Degree in International Business where she was running several public events promoting regional business awareness in the European and Russian markets. She did this in her work for the Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ukraine. In this capacity, she organized business trips abroad for local businesses and worked to increase the attraction of investors to that industrial area in Ukraine. She considers herself a “mediator” between different cultures, helping people to establish mutual understanding and find safe environments to discuss and exchange experiences. Ms. Kaiumova is gaining a broad understanding about San Antonio and its communities and works to assist international visitors to see the best sides of its rich history, to have genuine learning experiences and to find opportunities for international friendships. She has come 2,5 years ago and applied for asylum due to the situation in the Eastern Part of Ukraine.
Topic: Reversing Extinction. Indigenous people of South Texas and Northeastern Mexico have been written off as extinct by mainstream scholars. Their contributions as native people have been left out of history.
Bio: Ramon Vasquez was born in San Antonio and is an enrolled member of the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation. In 1998, he was appointed and currently serves as Executive Director of the American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions. The American Indians of Texas serves the indigenous population of Central and South Texas. Ramon has spent the last 15 years specifically working on community mobilization and Community/Academic partnerships. Primarily focusing on the mobilization of men in the areas of domestic violence, promoting positive images on fatherhood and confronting male stereotypes. Currently Ramon serves as the Mayor’ Appointed Chairman for the Violence Prevention and Recidivism Reduction Committee for San Antonio’s “My Brother’s Keeper” Initiative.
Topic: Life, Love, Leadership
Bio: Sichan Siv is the international bestselling author of the American Dream memoir “Golden Bones” and the political thriller “Golden State.” From 1989 to 1993, he served at The White House as Deputy Assistant to President George H. W. Bush and at the State Department as Deputy Assistant Secretary. In 2001 he was appointed by President George W. Bush, after unanimous confirmation by the Senate, as an ambassador to the United Nations till 2006. Ambassador Siv received a master of international affairs from Columbia University.
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Topic: America and Pharmacy Have Been Good to Me. Though my dreams of advanced degree(s) and 'wealth' were not accomplished, many others were.
Bio: Mada Al-Jundi, Syrian-American Pharmacist - Mada was born and raised (mostly) in Damascus, Syria. Her American journey began in 1980 at the University of Texas-Austin. She was born to a well-known poet father and a pioneer college educated mother. She was a top graduate of the Syrian University School of Pharmacy but still dreaming of getting a PhD from UT and working in pharmaceutical research. Coming to Texas, she enrolled at UT for as an undergraduate while her language skills improved. Mada graduated with her Pharmacy Bachelor of Science in 1984. Upon graduating she spent 11 years in New York City. Returning to Texas, she chose San Antonio as her home. Mada has successfully raised her son with the help of extended family in San Antonio. She has enjoyed her 20 year occupation as a retail pharmacist and is now a clinical pharmacist at Christus Health.She works to afford her costly passion for travel and attending social and cultural events.
Topic: The American Success Story: Thriving as A Minority in (Corporate) America
Bio: Genaline Escalante-Valdez, President of the Alamo Asian-American Chamber of Commerce, is a national senior healthcare executive, with over 25 years of experience in the field of strategic & operational development of micro-hospitals, surgical boutique hospitals and free-standing rehabilitation and specialty long-term care hospitals. In 2002, she joined Post-Acute Medical (Mother Corporation of the Warm Springs Hospital Group) and progressively climbed the corporate ladder in her 16 years of service. With the company’s headquarters in Enola, Pennsylvannia, Genaline’s tenure brought diversity into the senior executive team as she is the only Filipino among the top ranks of the company’s core leaders. Fearless as she is, Genaline has operated in several capacities & roles within the company such as Corporate VP of Strategy & Integration, VP of Acquisitions, Hospital CEO, and recently in February, (a new role), as Chief Strategic Market Advisor to Hospital CEOs. Genaline travels extensively on the job and is involved in the oversight of hospitals owned by PAM in several key states namely Pennsylvania, Delaware, Texas, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Nevada, Kansas, Colorado and California. Her professional affiliations include the American College of Healthcare Executives, Post-Acute National Consortium and the Society of Healthcare Leaders International. Genaline’s tenacity and work-ethic is due to her deep Filipino upbringing. Born in Albay, Legaspi City, Philippines and later grew up in Davao City, her values hail from her parents, Dr. Dante and Nini Escalante, whose lifelong work as philantropists in the medical field helped thousands of individuals from all walks of life.
JACQUELINE OKIEMUTE JOHNSONT
Topic: “MAD” About Life. Why I get “MAD” about life and how I stay “MAD” about life
BIO: Jacqueline Okiemute Johnson (born Jacqueline Okiemute Shishe; December 10, 1976) is a student of life, teacher of life and lover of life. Jacqueline’s adventure with life began in Warri, Nigeria where she was born to a German mother and a Nigerian father. She has experienced life in Africa, Europe and North America. Nigeria is where she spent the first sixteen years of her life. The following thirteen years were spent in Germany. In 2005, she continued her life’s adventure in the United States of America where she lives today. The many varying ‘ways of life’ she experienced on her life’s journey are all reasons she lives the life she is destined and deserves to live today.
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Topic: Faith as a Fearless Lion: Life from Africa to America
Bio: My name is Joel Michael Engulu. I was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and I am the middle of 5 children. I was raised in the Dallas/FortWorth area in Texas, Graduated from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, and currently now am in the Public Policy graduate program at The University of Texas at San Antonio.
Bio: Frank lives and breathes creative web solutions. He gained hands-on experience with industry standard software and design projects at San Antonio College, and earned his degree Communications and Design. He brings with him the capacity to adapt to an ever changing digital world, and the ability to overcome obstacles. Frank is an established and innovative web developer that lives and breathes creativity and is dedicated to impacting the world with insightful web and online solutions.
Topic: My Story as an Immigrant
Bio: Anya Grokhovski is a noted chamber music artist, born into a family of professional musicians. Her father was a violinist with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra for more than forty years. Anya received her Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees in piano performance and pedagogy from the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow, Russia. She was a professor at the Gnessin State College in Moscow prior to coming to the US in 1989. The position of a staff accompanist at UTSA brought her to San Antonio in 1991. Anya’s fiery passion for music, commitment to San Antonio, and connections to world-class musicians provided a platform for the creation of an exciting new musical experience. With the avid support of a group of local music lovers in 1998 Anya designed a series of salon concerts in private residences. By 1999, programming extended to San Fernando Cathedral, and in 2000 to McAllister Auditorium. Extensive community outreach educational program Kids to Concerts offers free in-school multicultural performances. International Music Festival “Music Without Borders” was introduced to San Antonio audiences in the spring of 2014.
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Topic: “Bridges to Inclusion”
Bio: Andrew Blouet was brought to the country as a small child, from Great Britain. Being dual-cultural has many advantages, but not all the time. Even though he comes from a country with many apparent ties to the U.S., sometimes it doesn’t always feel that way. He will talk about some of the struggles that all immigrants feel, and how these can be ameliorated with compassion, understanding, and education. Andrew received a B.A. from the University of Arizona and an M.S. from Texas A&M.
Topic: Cross Cultural Misconceptions. The key lies within yourself and your environment.
Bio: Nadia Noel-Anglade was born and raised in raised in Trinidad, West Indies. She moved to New York City as an international student to study at Monroe College where she obtained a BBA in Business Management with honors. She later earned a MS in International Management from Manhattanville College. In 2019, Nadia launched her own company called “The Networking Embassy.” It is a Global Consulting Firm which provides access to exclusive networks by leveraging key relationships. Nadia currently consults with Sales/Marketing teams to increase brand awareness and profitability. She has been a part of over 15 professional Associations statewide (including nationally).
Life was full of adversity and trauma as Nadia transitioned to the US. Nadia’s story is one of perseverance, self-belief and courage to rise above the ashes in her lowest moments. Today, she gives back to others by being empower others and is highly involved in her community, sharing her story through diverse speaking engagements.
Topic: The Complexities of Accessing Opportunities as an Immigrant. In my story, I will share my journey as a legal immigrant to this country and the many complexities that I have faced in accessing opportunities along the way.
Bio: Ambika Dani was often deemed by others as a 'third-culture kid.' Having grown up in Lagos, Nigeria until the age of 13 and then attending a boarding school in Bangalore, India before moving to New York City for college at the age of 17, the question 'Where are you from?' was always a complex one to answer. Moving to the United States at a young age was overwhelming and exciting at the same time. She felt like there was a world of opportunity at her doorstep yet navigating how to access these opportunities was challenging. From researching what a social security card was to obtain her first job on campus to understanding the process to obtain an Optional Practical Training (OPT) card just to be able to intern as a teacher over the summers, every opportunity seemed to pose an unexpected layer of complexity.
She left the country soon after graduating from college, only to come back three years later to work as a teacher in New York City. Through a series of events (i.e. incredible life experiences and many immigration processes), she now finds herself in San Antonio, finally a legal resident of this country and able to do the work she has always dreamed of doing – ensuring that other children furthest from opportunity, have access to an education that will put them on a path to a life of choice and success.
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
BIO: Born in Czechoslovakia, raised in Latvia, Julya Jara studied and worked in Russia before immigrating to the US. She has attended The Boris Shchukin Theatre Institute in Moscow, from which she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater. She then worked in Russian television as a broadcast journalist, covering a diverse array of topics, including economics and weather reporting. Since settling in San Antonio, Julya has acted on stages of The Classic Theatre, The Playhouse, Attic Rep and The Overtime Theater. Julya is a photographer, videographer and video editor. In 2016 she joined Musical Bridges team where she now works as a Development Director.
TOPIC: My Life and Experience in US as an Immigrant. A presentation about a migrant experience in her new homeland.
BIO: From Pakistan, Ms. Husain is a thinker, public speaker and a writer. An award-winning advocate for human rights, civil rights and education for cross cultural understanding. Sarwat has been featured in the SA Express News, Huffington Post, The Face Behind the Veil, book authored Donna Gehrke-White. She is the founder and president of CAIR-TX, SA (Council on American Islamic Relations-San Antonio Chapter). CAIR is a non-partison organizationMs. Husain,is the co-chair of the American Muslim Democratic Caucus from 2012 to present.She is a founding member of the American Muslim Democratic Caucus and Texas Muslim Democratic Caucus. Her extensive business experience includes owner and operator of nursing homes, a child development center and a restaurant. She taught nutrition at the University Health Science Center medical School in San Antonio. Sarwat is the Bexar County Democratic party Deputy Chair for Precinct 3. Ms. Husain is a published author in the Al-Ittihaad Monthly, the largest American Muslim newspaper in Texas. She is also a guest columnist for the San Antonio Express News. Her columns have appeared in Al-Jazeera, Media Matters, Huffington Post, and other media including local, national and international papers, radio and TV channels. Ms. Husain is extensively involved in interfaith dialogue and regularly offers diversity trainings on Muslim beliefs and practices at businesses, universities, churches, and law enforcement agencies and to the Policy Makers. Ms. Husain has two children. Her hobbies include: writing, poetry, painting, cooking, knitting, sewing, reading, and gardening.
Bio: Born in Nigeria on November 2nd 1974. To Chief, Sir Gab and Lady Bessie Nwankwo. He studied Philosophy at the University of PortHarcourt Nigeria (MA) Served In the Nigerian Army for 12 years. Charles migrated to the United States in December 2007. He studied Political Science/ International Relations at the Kansas State University, Manhattan Kansas (MA); served in the United States Army for 8 years and deployed to Iraq. He is currently serving as a Federal Law enforcement Officer, with the department of Home Land security; USA Customs and Border Protection, at the Laredo Port of Entry. Mr. Nwankwo hobbies include, soccer, traveling and diversity.
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Bio: Elisa Chan was born in Taiwan and moved to the United States in 1988 for graduate study. She became a U.S. citizen in 1999 and has resided in San Antonio for 30 years. She received her Bachelor of Science in Computer Software Engineering at Beijing University of Technology in 1987, and her Master's degree in Computer Science at the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1993. For 13 years, she worked successfully in the computer software development field. Elisa and her husband, Clifford Hew, P.E. founded Unintech Consulting Engineers, Inc., a structural and civil engineering design and surveying firm in 1992. Elisa ran for San Antonio City Council for District 9 in 2009 and became the first Asian American woman on the city council. Elisa has always shown passion for San Antonio’s economic development with a special interest in international business. While a member of the San Antonio City Council, Elisa led the city's international economic development efforts. In 2010, she was co-chair of the city's delegation to the Shanghai World Expo.
Topic: You Can Do It! How I got to where I am right now. Basically my business.
Bio: Yasmin Azimi is the founder and owner of Fancy Maids. Fancy Maids opened up for business in August 2017. Yasmin was born in Iran but she grew up in Sweden. She graduated from nursing school in 1999 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Soon after graduation, Yasmin relocated to Germany where she resided for 2.5 years and worked as a LVN. In 2002 she moved to Italy to learn about Italian culture and folklore. Yasmin also desired to learn the Italian language. At the age of 27, Yasmin returned to Sweden in March of 2003 and opened up her own business. She was the founder and owner of Fast Work Recruiting Company with 15 employees. In 2005, Yasmin sold her company and married her husband in the United States and moved to San Antonio, Texas. In 2006, Yasmin was employed at her first job, in San Antonio, at Saks Fifth Avenue. After 6 months of employment, her salary was doubled. Yasmin was promoted and recognized as one of the top sellers at Saks Fifth Avenue. In 2008 Yasmin left Saks to stay home and take care of her newborn baby. After being unemployed for several months, Yasmin decided to start her own business. In August 2017, Yasmin started her commercial and residential cleaning service. Today she has over 50 clients both commercial and residential. Fancy Maids has a 5 star rating.
Topic:Mediterranean Culture Center. Serving the community through cultural programs
Bio:Shadia Khoury was born and raised in Nazareth, Israel. She started her singing career in the church of the Annunciations in Nazareth at the age of 10years. She currently resides in San Antonio and loves singing in multiple languages. In the year of 1992 she started missionary volunteer work in Italy. (Madre Teresa Di Calcutta in Rome). After two years she moved back to Israel to finish her first degree in Mathematics at Technion University.(Israel Institute of Technology) Shadia moved to Texas in October, 1998-at the age of 24andtaughtMathematics at Southwest Texas Junior College for two years. She then worked for Cactus Behavioral Health focusing on psychological evaluations and testing. Shadia Khoury is a proud graduate of North Central University with a post master degree in psychology. As a licensed professional counselor, and licensed hypnotherapist she started her own business (American Behavior counseling center) with focus on working with minorities in the Mediterranean region.In2018,she started working for Mediterranean culture center a non-profit, non-religious, and non-political organization with a mission to celebrate the richness of the Mediterranean arts and cultures with the community of San Antonio
Thursday, January 23, 2020
WALDINEI (WALLY) LAFAIETE
Topic: From Brazil to Texas Through the Lens of Wally Lafaiete. This presentation will be an insight into the mind of an immigrant photographer from Brazil who chooses San Antonio as his home and a place to express his creativity.
Bio:When photographer, Waldinei “Wally” Lafaiete snaps an image, it is more than just capturing a moment. He likens photography to conceptual art, enhanced by his subjects’ beauty and symmetry, simplicity, and colors. Through his lenses, he freezes time in the visual world his imagination inhabits. Living in San Antonio since 2009, the city’s cultural and ethnic diversity stimulates his South American soul. Wally is a San Antonio photographer and Editor-in-Chief of Maestro Magazine. Wally has photographed fashion shows, models, socialites, influencers, artists and TV personalities. His images have graced covers of magazines and his work has also been seen in international periodicals. Wally loves traveling and he has captured through his lens people and landscapes in more than 30 countries! He is constantly amazed to find beautiful photography settings from humble villages to palaces.
Topic: "The Journey of My Dreams"
Bio: Lillian Guindy is the Program Coordinator for DreamWeek2020. Born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. She always had a passion to help other people and she utilized this potentially at the time of the Revolution of January 2011 and the Arab Spring rising in Egypt. She volunteered in the KDEC Field hospital for 3 years where for the first time she witnessed the unrest of Political and Social Islamization. Lilly moved to the U.S in 2017 and worked as Event Manager at Vance Airforce base in Oklahoma from 2017 to 2019. Lilly also holds a Bachelor Degree in English Literature and Translations from Cairo University, a certificate in Human Resources Management from the American University in Cairo and an online certificate in Life Coaching. Before moving to the U.S., Lilly worked at the Public Affairs office of the Embassy of the United States of America in Cairo and was charged with coordinating many of the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership programs and public diplomacy initiatives for over 7 years. She has a passion for diversity, cultures, nonprofit and international Relations.
UCHENNA L UMEH MD.MBA aka DR. LULU THE "MOMATRICIAN"
Topic:Ije Oma (He -alone- knows the journey's destination). A brief synopsis of my life's journey so far; from relatively humble beginnings in Nigerian through medical school, moving to the United States alone and beyond. I will highlight my journey from a traditional Catholic home, to my life today as a Suicide and LGBTQ+ activist.
Bio:Dr. Lulu was born in Nigeria. She graduated from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in Kaduna State. After completing medical school in 1991, she moved to the US for her Pediatric Residency training at Howard University Hospital, Washington DC which she completed in 1998. She immediately started her own private practice in South Carolina, which she operated successfully for nearly 15 years. Following a divorce, she sold her practice, joined the United States Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel and moved to Texas where she was stationed at Joint Base San Antonio, Lackland. She received an honorable discharge after her service time ended in 2016, then she worked briefly at Communicare Health Centers, a large multi-specialty outpatient clinic in San Antonio until 2018.Over the years, Dr. Lulu noticed a steady increase in the number of patients presenting to see her with depressive illness, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, suicidal attempts, and other challenging mental health disorders. Sadly, one of her beloved patients completed his suicide attempt in 2008, but it was after a visit by an 8 year old patient in 2018, who had attempted suicide twice, that she decided to pivot into the nonclinical arena and start speaking publicly about depression, suicide and mental health challenges in children, teens and young adults. She is continuing to follow her calling to help these special at-risk youth by starting a Youth Health Center.