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Keynote Speaker - Morning Session




Award-winning journalist Laura Ling is the host and reporter for two documentary series airing on the E! Network: E! Investigates and Society X with Laura Ling. The shows investigate topics such as teen suicide, the challenges faced by military spouses, and underground youth subcultures in America.


Prior to joining E! Ling served as Vice President of Current TV’s journalism department and created Vanguard, the network’s weekly investigative documentary series. As a Vanguard correspondent, she traveled the world to report on subjects like slave labor in the Amazon, the drug war in Mexico, Internet censorship in China, and women’s rights in Turkey. Under her leadership, Vanguard received numerous prestigious awards including the Alfred I. DuPont Award and several Emmy nominations.


In March 2009, while reporting on the trafficking of North Korean women, Ling and her colleague Euna Lee were detained by North Korean soldiers along the Chinese-North Korean border. The two journalists were arrested and held captive in North Korea for 140 days before being granted a special pardon and returning to the United States. She documented her experience in the 2010 memoir, Somewhere Inside: Once Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home, that she penned with her sister, Lisa.


Ling has worked as a producer for Channel One News and co-created Breaking it Down, a documentary series on MTV that aired between 1999 and 2001. Her work has appeared on ABC's Nightline, NBC, and PBS. She has also written editorials for the Los Angeles Times and CNN.com. 


Ling was named one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year in 2009.  She is a Service Ambassador for Points of Light, the nonpartisan organization dedicated to solving social problems through voluntary service.  She resides in Mill Valley, California with her husband and two children.


Keynote Speaker - Afternoon Session


Chef Marla

“Creative, whimsical, knowledgeable, a passion for perfection,” are all phrases that have been used to describe Chef Marla Cohen. A graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Marla has 30+ years experience in the food industry. Her culinary experiences range from owner of an artisan bakery and catering business, vocational college culinary instructor to a corporate Executive Pastry Chef, an Executive Chef in the private club industry and most recently she co-owned PHOOD on Main in Riverside, CA.  Currently Chef Marla is co-owner of Chef Marla's Spices along with Lyn Cloninger.  These 11 artisan spices are available for sale throughout the U.S. and Canada.


Her knack for public speaking, zany sense of humor, vast culinary knowledge and well-developed palette have made Marla a “must” at many venues.