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 teens who identify female 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

Shelley Arakawa is an advocate and change agent with a passion for strengthening access and excellence in education. As an executive search consultant with Witt/Kieffer, she brings a true appreciation for the role that leaders play in transforming institutions and contributing to the larger society, and provides expert counsel and guidance on searches ranging from presidents and provosts to vice presidents and deans. Previously, Shelley served as the Director of Regional and Campaign Giving for Punahou School, one of the largest single-campus K-12 independent schools in the United States. In this role, she helped build the infrastructure for regional alumni involvement, and increased financial support for key initiatives. Prior to this, Shelley held senior roles with the College Board, leading the higher education team in forging innovative and collaborative partnerships with about 350 colleges and universities. Among her many accomplishments with the College Board, Shelley launched the organization’s first Native American Student Advocacy Initiative and directed the Summer Institute on College Admissions and School Relations and the Enrollment Leadership Academy. Shelley has additional non-profit experience with the Foundation for a College Education and held admission roles with Stanford University and Dartmouth College. Shelley received a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a JD from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

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.

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.