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Unlocking the Power of Intersectionality: Ascend NorCal and ALPFA SF Present 'Cultures Aligned, Differences Defined'


Event Details:

Date: Friday, August 4, 2023

Time: 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM PT

Venue: Robert Half, 2613 Camino Ramon, San Ramon, CA 94583 & Zoom Meeting (Hybrid)

Admission: Complimentary


5:00 PM - 6:00 PM: Registration, Networking, Food, and Beverage

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM: Program

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM: Networking, Food, and Beverage


Join us on August 4th for a groundbreaking collaboration between Ascend NorCal and ALPFA SF as we delve into the rich tapestry of cultures, exploring the depths of intersectionality and embracing the power of Ascend and ALPFA SF. In this thought-provoking event, we aim to highlight the unity and interconnectedness that lies within our communities, revealing that beneath the surface, there are more similarities than differences.


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Gene Kim

Senior Vice President

Robert Half

Gene Kim is a Senior Vice President with Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized talent solutions firm. In his role, Gene manages the company’s finance and accounting permanent placement practice teams in the East Bay market of the San Francisco Bay Area. Gene joined Robert Half in 2003 and has won multiple awards for his work. During his time with the company, he has placed hundreds of accounting and finance professionals in full-time roles at companies of all sizes. Prior to joining Robert Half, Gene worked in consulting for a public accounting firm and as a senior financial analyst at a large technology company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from UC Berkeley. Gene is the VP of Corporate Relations for Ascend NorCal. Gene and his wife Maritza reside in the East Bay with their two boys, aged 20 and 17.

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Maritza Ruiz-Kim

Regional Volunteer Board Member, Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators | Member, Storyteller Academy and Kids Comics Unite

Maritza Ruiz-Kim is an independent Bay Area artist and writer who now specializes in children’s literature. Her current projects include picture books, an early reader graphic novel, and a hybrid illustrated middle grade book. She has also published comics and an illustrated essay in MUTHA Magazine. In prior years, she exhibited her fine art studio work in gallery shows in New York, Miami, Santa Fe, and San Francisco. Maritza serves on the regional volunteer board for the Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators and is a member of Storyteller Academy and Kids Comics Unite. After growing up in Southern California's Mojave Desert, she moved north to attend the San Francisco Art Institute to earn a BFA in New Genres. She’s lived in the Bay Area ever since, settling in the Diablo Region with her husband, two sons, and two smoosh-faced dogs. 

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Silvia Li Sam

Founder & CEO

Slam Media Lab

Silvia Li Sam is a Peruvian Chinese American founder who is one of the youngest CEOs to start a multi-million dollar agency. Her award-winning agency, [Slam Media Lab]( (Slam), focuses on web design, SEO, content marketing, and brand strategy for founder-led and mission-driven companies. Her clients include startups, venture capital firms, universities, and Fortune 500 companies. Before starting Slam, Li Sam was the first hire for digital & SEO at the XQ Institute, the nation’s leading organization rethinking high schools started by Laurene Powell Jobs. She scaled XQ’s marketing efforts from 0 to over 650,000 members in 3 years, and skyrocketed their SEO from 0 to 2MM searches. Li Sam has led multi-million dollar advertising and branding campaigns, managed and executed partnerships with all social media platforms, and led two successful TV shows (Graduate Together & XQ Super School Live) on the four major networks. The shows have reached over 2B people. Li Sam is known for starting one of the largest startup publications in the world in three months, growing it from 0 to 250,000 readers with no budget.


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Miriam Scholes

VP, People

Madison Reed

Miriam Scholes has dedicated her career within the HR/People space for over 25 years across a variety of industries ranging from Manufacturing, Biotech and Transportation to Healthcare and now Beauty. A servant leader with a "people above everything" mindset, Miriam believes the strength and success of any company is predicated on employee satisfaction of the workplace experience. Born to two immigrant parents with a multicultural upbringing, Miriam is no stranger to the hardships, challenges, and resilience building experiences at the intersection of being a first-generation US, ESL minority female from a low income family. Of Japanese and Jewish-Bulgarian decent, Miriam was raised with strong multicultural traditions and customs connected to the beautiful Japanese, South American, Cuban, and Mexican cultures. Miriam was born in Hialeah, FL, a mostly Cuban and LatinX community before moving across the nation to Los Angeles, CA. With a small number of blood related relatives in the US, her parents leaned on a community of close friends and families connected by familiar cultural and shared life experiences. Growing up in this environment and observing the lack of equitable treatment and opportunity lead Miriam to follow a life long career in Human Resources. Miriam first learned about the existence of the field of HR during her 3rd year of college and fell in love during her very first course. She quickly switched majors from Accounting to Business Administration with a concentration in HR. She had found her calling - to help people improve their lives through their place of work.

Program Sponsor

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Safety of our guests is paramount to Ascend. Attendees are responsible for monitoring their own condition and agree to comply with the safety, hygiene and CDC identified pandemic level communicable illnesses (including COVID-19) guidelines established by relevant health authorities. We request that attendees not attend an event should they test positive or if they experience COVID symptoms prior to the event.

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