Next-gen entrepreneurs: Breaking barriers and building businesses

Senior Design Strategist
Senior Visual Designer

About the salon

A new generation of entrepreneurs are leveraging their unique perspectives to create businesses that reflect their identities and amplify communities. By reframing narratives and disrupting industries that have traditionally been silenced, their businesses are driven by shared values, stories, and communities. What motivates these young founders to create businesses that inspire change in an industry? How do they stay authentic to their values while balancing the desire for business growth? And what insights can other businesses learn from them?

Our panelists

Thảo Bui & Duy Vo are Founders of Vân Vân, a single-origin Vietnamese source of ingredients for the home chef. Rooted in Vietnamese home cooking, culture, and history, Vân Vân aims to showcase the country’s diverse flavors and represent Việt Nam as more than just a war. Launching in August 2023.

Melissa Gallardo is the Founder of Bonita Fierce Candles, a premium heritage-focused home fragrance brand. Her mission is to revolutionize the toxic and generic home fragrance industry and create better-for-you products that cement a space for diverse, nuanced Latin@ voices and stories.

Stephen Yaseen is the Co-Founder & CEO of GoodWeird, a new, genderless approach to the beauty aisle. They make multipurpose products that make it easy for everyone to explore beauty and put their best face forward.

About Katie Lee

Katie Lee is a Sr. Design Strategist who specializes in cultural trends, and communicating user insights through stories, innovative products, services, and strategies. Her work combines a product and service design background with human-centered design thinking at its core. She is passionate about helping brands connect with their consumers on a deeper level and translating their needs into actionable insights and strategy, with notable clients including Google, Amgen, EPRI, Nike, Apple, and Intel. 

About Yodai Yasunaga

Yodai Yasunaga is a Sr. Visual Designer who has a knack for transforming research insights into tangible design solutions. They bring expertise in visual design, interaction design, and user research and have worked across the tech, healthcare, and finance sectors. They are a key player from initial research all the way to visual design for notable clients like Instagram, Spotify, and Capital One. They hold a B.S. in Design + Environmental Analysis from Cornell University.

Let‘s design a smarter world together