VIP Mentor & Coach at Berkeley Law's PitchLab Workshops

Thrilled to be joining these speakers, coaches and founders at UC Berkeley PitchLab Workshops this spring.

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The series of workshops for founders who attend Berkeley Law workshops is run by my fellow SCET-BMOE pitch judge George Kopas, and the PitchLab Leadership Team*,  will address

  • pitch deck models,
  • elements of startup eco-systems,
  • case studies from successful startups,
  • coaching and mentoring for effective pitching, and
  • founder and startup eco-system pointers.

The program will also include guest speakers - VCs, founders, judges, mentors, others - sharing their insights about elements of successful entrepreneurial efforts.

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* The PitchLab Leadership Team
Silvia Segade Sanz, LLM, 2018 Berkeley Law
Felipe Saraiva Carneiro, LLM, 2018 Berkeley Law
Dax viviD, PhD UC Berkeley
Bruno Droghetti Magalhães Santos, LLM, 2018 Berkeley Law
Noha Yasmine, LLM, 2018 Berkeley Law
Luisa Scarpelli, LLM, 2018 Berkeley Law
Carlota Sáenz Guillén, LLM, 2018 Berkeley Law
Victoria Howell, Newton Distinguished Innovator Lecture Series; former Director, SCET Bootcamps, UC Berkeley

TBT, interviewed by travel writer Rolf Potts

Excerpts from a 2007 interview by Rolf Potts of Vagabonding.

How did you get started traveling? 

Anastasia Ashman: My fascination with a wider world cropped up early. As a toddler in countercultural Berkeley, CA my favorite pastime was “French Lady”, a tea party with Continental accents. I began traveling even further when I learned to read — comic books. Instead of poring over Archie & Veronica, perky storylines that revolved around characters who never graduated from high school nor breached the border of their staid hometown, I was entranced by the global expanse of history and people and culture revealed in the Belgian-made graphic adventures of Tintin. Tracking a drug-smuggling ring in Egypt, discovering a meteorite with a Polar research vessel, surviving a plane wreck on an Indonesian island — this was life!

Tintin’s travel tales, and many others after them, remain reference points. Last fall at a museum in Nazca, Peru one long-haired, head-banded Incan mummy stirred a pleasant flashback to “The Seven Crystal Balls”, as well as the awe of my twelve-year old self. It’s no wonder I pursued a degree in archaeology.

How did you get started writing?

AA: In the early ‘70s I kept a journal on childhood road trips where I recorded preferences for the wildness of Baja’s bumpy sand roads and discovering the mother-lode of sand-dollar graveyards in San Felipe to a sedate spin around British Columbia’s Lake Victoria and a fur-seal keychain from the gift shop. Later I was a correspondent, trying to explain my own culture to teen pen pals in Wales, Northern Ireland, and Malaysia, while I searched for clues about theirs hidden in precise penmanship, tarty vocabulary, and postage stamps with monarchs — some butterflies, some queens. During a slew of 20-something media and entertainment jobs I wrote and edited for years, whenever the opportunity presented itself, for a book packager and literary agency in New York, and for television, theatre and film producers in Los Angeles.

What do you consider your first “break” as a writer? 

AA: Reviewing Pico Iyer’s essay collection Tropical Classical: Essays from Several Directions for the Far Eastern Economic Review in 1997. The newsweekly magazine based in Hong Kong was equivalent to TIME in Asia. I was living in Malaysia and devoting more attention to my writing career, so it was a breakthrough to write for a major publication and huge audience about subjects which mesmerized me.


What is your biggest challenge from a business standpoint? Editors? Finances? Promotion? 

AA: Publishers and acquisition editors and publicists seem to have narrow expectations for travel literature so for my next book I plan to devote a lot of energy to a detailed marketing plan which will accompany the manuscript in its rounds to publishers. Jennifer and I learned quite a bit about marketing to publishers with Tales from the Expat Harem, which was initially turned down by 10 New York houses who liked it but couldn’t fathom its market (Turkey’s too limited a subject, they said). We’ve since determined that it addresses a multitude of distinct groups beyond the basic cells of travelers, expatriates, women writers and travel writers. In fact, we found enough specific target markets we were able to fill a hundred pages of our marketing plan with actual contacts of potentially interested people and organizations, like Turkish American associations, women’s and Middle Eastern studies programs at hundreds of North American universities, and specific Turkophile populations like the alumni of the Peace Corps who served in Turkey.

And the beauty of a marketing plan which breaks down readerships is that a writer (or if you’re lucky, a publisher) can contact all of these people. Jennifer and I also compiled more practical subsidiary audiences for the anthology, like multinational corporations with operations in Turkey, and embassies and tourism organizations which might use the book as a cross-cultural training tool or a promotional vehicle. We were successful enough in our initial efforts in academic marketing that the book is currently used in at least three university courses and is stocked by more than 100 academic and public libraries worldwide.

What travel authors or books might you recommend and/or have influenced you? 

AA: Recently I enjoyed Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Beforeby Tony Horwitz for its mix of historical research, personal experience, and contemporary journalism. Historical travel writing also connects me to the lands I find myself in, and points to the parallels which still exist. My steamy days in Kuala Lumpur were enriched by reading Somerset Maugham, whose Malayan fiction was entirely believable. A series of historical Asian travelogues and contemporary scholarship released by Oxford-in-Asia jogged my imagination and similarly, now that I am based in Turkey, I’ll be turning to the Cultures in Dialogue series at Gorgias Press, which resurrects antique writings about Turkish life by British and American women travelers and refreshes them with contemporary academic analysis.

TBT, talking about pluralism

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A peek back into my newsletter archive when I ran a group blog for global citizens.

"Remix culture": expat+HAREM newsletter, March 2011

Welcome to March's Remix culture issue  


This month we're acknowledging that where we come from counts (see this urban psychology article on the geography of temperament, and take this quiz to pinpoint how to make life choices congruent with your temperament) -- and by bringing what we uniquely have to offer, we're cross-pollinating the culture.  

And we extra-extra-extra love to hear this => Pluralism is always practical: when we draw on our own mixed identities we're more creative!
AT expat+HAREM

After 15 years of mulling a plan unsupported by the establishment, one publisher of quirky, useful books for readers living abroad decides that just because 'expat books' don't exist for many publishers, booksellers and libraries doesn't mean her business idea isn't a good one. Jo Parfitt knows whereof she speaks, and the longtime expat is going for it! If you're a writer with a global living book in you, check out her guidelines.

Meanwhile a Third Culture Kid and food activist in Colorado says no to the American predilection for huge cups of coffee consumed in the car, and yes to the communion found in ethnic dining rituals from her childhood and travels. 

An American born and raised in Japan finds a way to bridge the cultural divide through the whimsical folk art of etegami.

So much good stuff coming our way, impossible to share it's another way to get on the same page with us: we're now attempting to round up the zillions of resonant links that fly past us every day -- like these ones about global careers, and international politics and the hybrid souls we all possess.


If you're in New York on the 25th, don't miss an evening about How to Run the World and Hybrid Reality, presented by expat+HAREM's global nomad salon coproducer Janera Soerel. Global adventurer-scholar Parag Khanna and his wife Ayesha will introduce their new institute exploring human-tech co-evolution.

And for the collectors, from the filmmaker, author, producer, and musician known as DJ Spooky comes this compilation of essays examining 500 years of collaborative creation, from the history of stop-motion photography to Muslim influences on early hip-hop.

What are you remixing in your personal culture? Send us a snippet

Respecting what you bring to the mix,
expat+HAREM, the global niche


Check out February's Globalance


TBT, speaking at Microsoft HQ Turkey to the inaugural meeting of Turkish Women's International Network

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Watch the talk here, and all the talks by members of the network that aspires to become the most impactful network focusing on women in Turkey and abroad. TRWIN collaborates with companies, NGOs and individuals to amplify our collective impact and empower women to realize their potential.

I've been pleased to serve as a member of the Advisory Board of Turkish WIN since its inception.

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TBT, speaking at The Commonwealth Club & signing my book

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This talk "The Rise of Turkey" was moved to a larger room (about 100 in the audience and live-streaming the podcast to Commonwealth Club members everywhere) and we ran out of books to sign right away. 

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I was joined on the panel by:

  • Steven West, Ph.D., Fulbright Scholar to Turkey; Professor of Turkish Studies and Cross Cultural Communication
  • Bonnie Joy Kaslan, Honorary Consul General, Turkish Republic, S.F. Bay Area
  • Joel Brinkley, Professor of Journalism, Stanford University; Foreign Affairs Columnist; Former Pulitzer Prize Winning Foreign Correspondent, The New York Times — Moderator

Amidst the turmoil of the Arab Spring, Turkey has arisen as a powerful force in the Middle East. The distinguished panel will discuss the nation's culture and its sometimes bitter past, the growing influence of religion in Turkey, and her frayed alliances. In addition, the panelists will discuss how Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's dynamic prime minister, is becoming one of the most powerful voices in the troubled region.

 You can listen to the podcast  here .

You can listen to the podcast here.