Art of Respect Series
A journey diving into the unique practice of respect. How it relates to the environment, culture, and society. When we practice this art together we will thrive sustainably!
Consultant, Professional Emcee, Adventurer, and Humanitarian, Dennis-Michael founded Silk Road Productions to create exciting experiences and meaningful events that inspire people. He has created a multitude of acclaimed special events and he has produced successful fundraisers for numerous non-profit organizations.
He volunteers tirelessly and serves on many non-profit boards, including KPBS Producers Club, UCSD Asian Pacific Islander Alumni Counil, USS Midway Museum’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, the Philippines Honorary Consulate, San Diego International Sister Cities Association, Asian Culture & Media Alliance, and Beta Gamma Sigma Alumni San Diego Chapter and National Association of Asian American Professionals. He has a B.S. in Marketing from the University of New Orleans, and He MBA from the University of San Diego and a Master of International Affairs from UCSD.
Among many of the events Dennis-Michael has created include the Asian Cultural Festival of San Diego, the San Diego Ramen Festival, AMP Music Festival, and the award-winning Asian and Pacific Islander Festival at the San Diego County Fair. He is also co-creator and executive producer of Telly Award Winning television show Asian Voices.
In 2014 he founded the Humanitarian Project, an organization whose mission it to “help humanity” by planning and executing humanitarian projects for impoverished people around the world.
Get to know Our
Episode 1 - Art of Respect
Storytelling with Impact
For 25 years Mark Lovett held c-level executive positions in the high-tech computer industry. After five years with Action Instruments, a local company which designed and manufactured
electronic sub-systems for factory automation, Mark became a partner at Industrial Computer Source in 1987, serving as their Vice President of Operations.
With revenues exceeding $20 million Industrial Computer Source was sold to Dynatech in 1992.
In the subsequent 6 years revenue growth continued, exceeding $100 million. During the second phase of expansion Mark served as their Chief Information Officer.
In 2004 Mark became President and CEO of Chassis Plans, a high-tech startup building rugged computer systems designed for mission critical applications in telecommunications, industrial automation and defense markets.In 2005 Chassis Plans made the San Diego Business Journal’s Fast 100 as the 4th fastest growing privately held company in San Diego, and in 2006 was selected as a member of Inc. Magazine’s prestigious Inc. 500, ranking at #151 on the list, and the fastest growing privately held computer or electronics company in the nation.
In 2010 Mark joined Trenton Technology as Chief Marketing Officer. The company designs and manufactures electronic sub-systems and integrated computer systems for defense, government, telecommunications, transportation, and factory automation applications. During this period the
company was rebranded as Trenton Systems to address new product and market opportunities.
In 2013 Mark became the co-organizer for TEDxSanDiego, and in 2014 he assumed the license. The event was moved to Symphony Hall and grew to 1,800 attendees by 2017. In July 2018 this
event was moved to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and featured a program focused on the latest developments within the commercial and research-centered biotech industry. In April 2015 Mark organized TEDxMonumento258, the world’s first cross-border TEDx event that featured speakers who alternated their talks between two stages, one located in Mexico and the other in the United States, separated only by an international border fence. In 2017 Mark co-organized TEDxDonovanCorrectional, held at Donovan Correctional Facility in southern San Diego County. This event was also produced in 2018. TEDxYouth@SanDiegowas held in March 2019. All of the speakers, performers and emcees were high school students. In 2016 Mark founded Storytelling with Impact, providing speaker coaching to business leaders and entrepreneurs, educators and students, as well as keynote and TEDx speakers. He taught an extension course in storytelling at the University of California, San Diego in 2018 and 2019. Mark discontinued the production of TEDx events after 6 years and now focuses his efforts on Storytelling with Impact, helping clients to tell their most impactful story.
Epsiode 2 - Art of Respect
We See You San Diego
Holding a young woman’s hand as she is experiencing the pains of labor, looking through a glass wall into the eyes of a man serving a brief jail sentence, driving a 45 year-old woman away from the streets of San Diego to a recovery program as she leaves homelessness & crystal methamphetamine behind.
As the Director of We See You San Diego, I (along with many others) have the honor of walking with people through their most joyous & difficult times.
Through a weekly gathering that serves a home-cooked, sit-down dinner to roughly 150-200 individuals, families & veterans in our city’s homeless community, relationships are formed, trust is built, and then often, stories are shared. We are a listening ear, a hug, and a shoulder to cry on. We are a hand extended, offering options to those ready to transition out of homelessness.
Episode 3 - Art of Respect
Professor Norm Sheehan, a Wiradjuri man born in Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia. He completed a Ph.D. in Education at the School of Education at the University of Queensland (UQ) in 2004 winning the N. V. Varghese Prize for Comparative Education.
He has published two books, Stolen Generations Education and Respectful Design both these works address Indigenous Knowledge, Aboriginal community cultural development and Social and Emotional Well Being Education. His expertise is based on identifying and activating existing strengths within Indigenous communities as a basis for relevant education and development initiatives. He also led the development of Indigenous Knowledge programs at Southern Cross University until December 2019. Currently Professor Sheehan is supervising PhD research at the University of Queensland working with Elders and Academics to build a new generation of activists.
Episode 4 - Art of Respect
Audie J. de Castro
Honorary Consul of the Republic of the Philippines
Audie J. de Castro, is the Honorary Consul of the Republic of the Philippines, the first ever to be appointed in San Diego County. Although his appointed position is unpaid, he is the official Philippine government representative for all of San Diego County, where over 200,000 Filipino-Americans reside.
In addition to promoting diplomacy, trade and tourism, his responsibilities include providing consular services and protections to Filipino citizens on a daily basis.
He is U.S. born, and a dual citizen of the U.S. and the Philippines. He graduated from Morse High School in southeastern San Diego, received a B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of San Diego, graduated cum laude from the University of San Francisco School of Law, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, teaching Business Associations.”
He founded de Castro, PC, a law firm in downtown San Diego and is prominently involved in civic affairs. He is a founder and the President of Pag-Asa Law Clinic, a law clinic that assists undocumented immigrants, victims of domestic violence, and tenants of unfair housing. He previously served on the Board of Governors for the San Diego Foundation and also past President of the Asian Business Association of San Diego and the Filipino-American Lawyers of San Diego.
Epsiode 5 - Art of Respect
Mark J. Spalding
The Ocean Foundation
Mark J. Spalding, President of The Ocean Foundation is a member of the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (USA). He is serving on the Sargasso Sea Commission.
Mark is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Blue Economy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. And, he is an Advisor to the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. In addition, he serves as the advisor to the Rockefeller Ocean Strategy (an unprecedented ocean-centric investment fund) and is a member of the Pool of Experts for the UN World Ocean Assessment. He designed the first-ever blue carbon offset program, SeaGrass Grow. Mark is an expert on international environmental policy and law, ocean policy and law, and coastal and marine philanthropy.
Episode 6 - Art of Respect
Kathy Liu is Founder & President of Joey’s Wings Foundation and teacher. Kathy started Joey’s Wings in 2014, a non-profit to continue Joey’s fight by raising awareness about childhood cancer and by funding research into kidney cancer that affects children and young adults, and to provide support and mentorship programs to parents.
While Joey’s fight against the rare and aggressive pediatric renal cell carcinoma, for which no standard treatment protocol exists, ended in November 2014, the organization formed in his memory was able to fund $300,000 research project to study childhood renal cell cancers.
Additionally, Kathy advocates tirelessly for children with cancer. She helps to increase federal childhood cancer research funding by advocating for legislation that will impact the childhood cancer community.
Episode 7 - Art of Respect
Chris Cantore is a surf and skate-loving, live music enthusiast with over 25 years of radio and media experience including stints at 91X, KPRi, FM949, KFMB, The San Diego Union Tribune, NBC’s sounddiego and the founder of Yew! Media and Bridges Studio. Helping others with their branding and podcast production and launches.
In addition to years of hosting radio shows, is currently the host of his own podcasts including The Cantore Show and Monday M.A.S.S. as well as hosts events and fundraisers throughout San Diego all year long. With some new and exciting series coming soon through Yew! Media, be sure to be on the look-out!
Art of Respect Sonam Tashi Lama
Red Panda Network
Disney Conservation named him Disney Conservation Hero in 2015 for his work in red panda conservation in Nepal and was one of the nominees for the Future for Nature Award 2019.
He is the recipient of several prestigious scholarships and recently completed his Master’s in ecology and international nature conservation form both Lincoln University and the University of Gottingen, after conducting one of the most comprehensive camera trapping studies in the eastern Himalaya. He loves spending time writing and being with his family. During the camera trapping study Sonam and team from the Red Panda Network were able to record a marbled cat for the first time in Nepal.
Sonam’s research was inspired and motivated by an American named Brian Williams for his work in the conservation of the red panda in Nepal. Brian is the founder of the Red Panda Network. In 2007, Sonam became one of the founding staff members of Red Panda Network in Nepal. Sonam is responsible for implementing field activities of the Community-based Red Panda Conservation program of Red Panda Network in eastern Nepal. He mentors and supervises more than a dozen field staff and seventy plus citizen scientists known as Forest Guardians.
He was one of the important members of the team who recently executed GPS-Collaring of ten wild red pandas in eastern Nepal to better understand their ecology.
Episode 8 - Art of Respect
Actor & Filmmaker
Lane Nishikawa, a Japanese American actor, filmmaker, playwright, poet, and arts activist. He was born in Wahiawa, Hawai’i, a Sansei (third-generation Japanese American), and grew up in San Francisco. He is a graduate of San Francisco State with a degree in Asian American Theater.
Much of his work focuses on Asian American and Japanese American history and identity issues. His one-man series include, Life in the Fast Lane, I’m On A Mission From Buddha, Mifune and Me and others, has toured in over 50 cities across the US, Canada and Europe. “I’m On A Mission From Buddha” was a National PBS televised broadcast. In 2005 he directed the independent film, Only the Brave, a fictional account of the rescue of the Lost Battalion, by the 100th Infantry Battalion/42nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated Japanese American fighting unit during World War II. Lane also starred as the lead role in the film. He has written and directed two short films about World War II Veterans, Forgotten Valor and When We Were Warriors. His most recent work, a documentary about the effects of war on the Japanese American Community called “Our Lost Years” just released February 2020. A recollection of forced removal and mass incarceration of 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II. In addition, a soon upcoming film “League of Dreams” about the 90 year history of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL).
Lane has a robust history in Asian-American History theater, as artistic director for the Asian American Theater Company in San Francisco for 10 seasons and was co-artistic director of the Eureka Theatre and resident director at the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. Some awards include, Profiles of Excellence Award ABC, Harvard Foundation Honoree, Ruby Yoshino Schaar Playwright Award (National JACL), and NEA Solo Performance Fellowship.
Episode 9 - Art of Respect
Bernard R. Mauricia
Oncology and Kids
Bernard R. Mauricia, CEO, Oncology And Kids (OAK), a 501(c)3 non-profit focused on providing quality of life support programs for children battling cancer and their siblings. He helped co-found the group in 2020 with his colleagues Robby Medina and Brian Bonert.
Prior to co-founding Oncology And Kids, he served as CEO of The Seany Foundation (TSF), where he oversaw all development activities for the foundation, while increasing its exposure and standing throughout the region.
His work before his focus on childhood cancer consisted of oversight of Corporate Partnerships and Volunteer Resources for the American Cancer Society in San Diego. He was responsible for securing over $1,000,000 annually in contributions through sponsorship, cause marketing, team fundraising, employee and corporate giving.
Bernard developed and maintained four Community Leadership Councils – San Diego, Imperial Valley, Inland Empire and Palm Desert. He also served as the regional Building Volunteer Capacity subject expert – increasing overall volunteer base to 82,390 volunteers in the Border Sierra and Orange County regions. Prior to this he was the statewide program director for the California Council on Economic Education, working with 1000+, K-12 school districts to implement teacher training in economic education.
Bernard is extremely active in his community serving on the boards of Project New Village, San Diego Center for Economic Education, and San Diego Professionals Against Cancer.
Episode 10 - Art of Respect
Gill Sotu is a navy veteran, a multi-faceted poet, playwright, musician, DJ, and performing artist. He is a two time Grand Slam Poetry Champion, two time Raw Performing artist of the year, and a three time TEDx San Diego presenter.
The beauty of Gill is “a forceful undercurrent of soulful, comedic, thought-provoking passion that engages and inspires his audiences.”
Currently, Gill is a teaching artist and commissioned playwright with The Old Globe Theatre, a program director and teaching artist at Intrepid Theatre, as well as the Artist In Residence at Makers Church in San Diego. He has just finished an Artist In Residency at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation where he was commissioned to write/direct two full length plays. Gill wrote and performed all the poetic segments to Melissa Adao’s dance theatre showcase, “Hip-Hop CabHooray!” Which won an award for Outstanding Production at the 2015 Fringe Fest. He has opened for Grammy-nominated legend Sheila E, as well as Talib Kweli. Partnered and performed with the San Diego Symphony, has been commissioned to create plays for The Old Globe and CSUSM. Wrote and performed numerous poetry pieces for the United Way of San Diego, San Diego’s Fashion Week, and performed the closing number for TEDx San Diego in 2013 & 2016, hosted in 2017 and was named musical director and featured performer in 2020.
In addition, Gill hosts events throughout the county and also conducts poetry workshops in schools across California and has facilitated poetry workshops within San Diego County’s juvenile detention center for over 2 years as well as currently conducting Shakespearean performance and reflection workshops at Centinela State Prison. He finds the creativity and honesty expressed by these elementary through high school students to be an incredibly rewarding experience and reminder of the importance of speaking one’s own truth.
Gill Sotu is a paradigm shifter whose audience feels that he’s speaking to them individually, making a performance to hundreds seem more like an intimate dialogue between close friends. Charismatic and with an ability to adapt to any event, Gill quickly garners people’s attention and doesn’t let go until he says “Thank you”.
Episode 11 - Art of Respect Andy Steinman
Andy Steinman is the founder and CEO of NXTGEN, Inc., a Carlsbad, California company that designs and creates custom products used by various industries worldwide. Through NXTGEN, Inc., Mr. Steinman also owns and operates NXTGEN Automotive and Next Generation Inflatables.
NXTGEN Automotive designs, creates and manufactures custom accessories for European cars. Next Generation Inflatables is a custom designer, creator and service provider for large custom inflatable products including: giant custom helium parade balloons, advertising inflatables, trade show inflatables and special-use inflatable products.
Andy was born in Phoenix Arizona in 1985 and was a valley resident until the age of 22, when he fulfilled a lifelong dream of moving to the San Diego area.
Upon graduation from Pinnacle High School in 2004, he studied motion picture and television production until moving to San Diego in 2007.
His first job in the San Diego area was as a seasonal camera operator and audiovisual visual technician for Busch Entertainment Corporation at SeaWorld San Diego. Fondly remembered as the most fun job he ever had, Andy decided to make a career in this line of work. Over the next 7 years, he worked for Swank Audiovisuals, PSAV, as well as Tonight in San Diego. During his audiovisual career, he had extensive training and expertise in audio, video, rigging, lighting, power distribution and computer networking. His various roles included audiovisual technician, regional camera operator, certified rigger and production manager.
He was also a founding member and the technical director for over 100 episodes of Tonight in San Diego, America’s Finest City’s own take on the classic late night talk show.
Andy always had the entrepreneurial bug and resigned from his audiovisual management position, founding his first Next Generation company in the fall of 2012. Over the next 9 years, what started as a simple DBA has grown into a multifaceted corporation, which has a diverse offering of unique custom designed and engineered products that are used in various industries globally. Upon launching his new automotive company in February 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic began its fast and furious global spread. By late March, the PPE situation became dire for frontline workers, at which time Andy focused his sole attention on the design and creation of the highly acclaimed NXTGEN EasyFlow Mask™.
In his spare time, Andy loves to spend time outdoors and is an avid auto enthusiast. He lives in North County San Diego with his wife Sari and their 3-year old rescue pup Cooper.