Leadership 2019-01-09T18:39:53+00:00

Heather Heimerl Brunold, M.Ed., Ed.D.

President & CEO

Heather Heimerl Brunold has been a thought leader in education, specializing in adolescent development and family/school dynamics for more than two decades. After completing her doctorate in education from the University of Southern California, Heather became passionate about utilizing her expertise outside the four walls of a classroom, and instead on behalf of the greater community. Seeing an opportunity to use the TED brand in support of the local good, Heather acquired the TEDxPasadena and TEDxPasadenaWomen licenses and has focused the brands as vehicles to positively influence our community’s approach to learning. This ultimately led her to establish Words2Action, a nonprofit organization that serves as the fiscal agent for our local TEDx efforts, but also whose mission is to transform the words we speak into tangible action by providing sponsorships for girls ages 13-18. Heather is by her nature a helper, healer and teacher. Her passion for learning and her love of relationship building are the reasons she enjoys serving our community.

Shelley Arakawa

Board Chair

A dedicated advocate and change agent, Shelley Arakawa’s work in both K-12 and college/university settings are evidence of her passion to promote efforts that strengthen access and excellence in education.  Currently the Director of Regional and Campaign Giving for her alma mater, Punahou School, a K-12 independent school in Honolulu, HI. Shelley cultivates the next generation of the school’s leadership donors and creates new ways for mainland alumni to engage with and contribute to the school. Previously, Shelley was the Senior Director for Higher Education in the College Board’s Western Regional Office, where she established the Native American Student Advocacy Initiative and directed the Summer Institute on College Admissions and School Relations as well the Enrollment Leadership Academy. Prior to the College Board, Shelley managed the individual fundraising operations, college counseling program, and college retention efforts for Foundation for a College Education. Shelley received a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, and a JD from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

Jessica Carry

Curriculum Advisory

Jessica Carry, owner of SoulSpeak Wellness, serves as the Director of Curation and Digital Marketing Manager for TEDxPasadena. This is her third year working with TEDxPasadena and finds joy in coaching speakers on their journey to spark conversations. Outside of TEDx, Jessica works as a wellness coach and leadership consultant. She attended Georgia State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and is currently pursuing her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Southern California. Jessica serves as an alignment-based vinyasa yoga teacher in which she has trained both nationally and internationally. She is also a Lead Facilitator for the Leadershape® Institute™ where she co-facilitates in-depth leadership experiences.  Jessica has a passion for Wellness and Leadership and her work allows her to aid in the development of mental and physical health as well as assist others in nurturing their own voice to be of service to their communities both on a local and global scale.

Lara Chanpong

Strategic Planning Advisory

Lara Chanpong is a Financial Advisor and Partner of The Chanpong Group at Merrill Lynch.  She helps clients pursue their financial objectives through a customized wealth management approach that employs a white glove service model.  With 15 years of national and regional corporate management experience for a Fortune 500 company, Lara’s award winning thought-leadership and strategies have been utilized at national and global levels to drive organizational growth and efficiency.  She is passionate about applying these skills to personally help businesses, individuals and families achieve their goals and dreams.  Lara has been an avid TEDx fan for years and is excited to be part of this year’s TEDxPasadena / Words2Action team!  Lara is a proud graduate of the University of Southern California and resides in Pasadena with her husband and three energetic sons.

Carla Buigues

Events/Development Advisory

Carla Buigues was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina and migrated to the United States at the age of 14.
 As a student at Mount San Antonio College, Carla began her career in corporate finance at Transamerica Financial Services. She established her fist company in the business of Real Estate at the early age of 25, armed with the passion she acquired as a young girl following the footsteps of her entrepreneur father. With over 25 years of experience in the Real Estate field, she has extensive knowledge in sales, acquisitions and financing in addition to the development and building of residential properties. Carla’s greatest achievement is being a mother to her two amazing children, while continuing to be a Real Estate multi-million-dollar top producer, serving communities as a leader and volunteer both locally and internationally.

Rebecca Seiler


Rebecca is the founder to Seiler Solutions LLC, an accounting firm partnering with nonprofits and entrepreneurial companies to provide daily record keeping and interactive financial statements with a focus on solving business problems using online integrated tools.   She is a certified public accountant, bicycle enthusiast and dog lover.