About Self Evident
Our mission is deep representation through storytelling
We're in a big moment for Asian American representation, and there's a lot more work to do. Self Evident joins a long line — and a new wave — of Asian American storytellers striving for deeper, more diverse representation of our experiences and our stake in the greater American story.
Our show’s style is a blend of what you’d hear in public radio programs like This American Life, Code Switch, and StoryCorps — with an Asian American lens inspired by shows like Nancy, Second Wave by Thanh Tan, and the diverse range of independent shows by the Potluck Podcast Collective.
By and about Asian Americans
We created Self Evident because we know that while Asian Americans are not a monolith, mainstream media doesn’t always reflect that. There’s a multitude of identities and experiences that fall under the term “Asian American,” and our goal is for our stories, team, contributors, and partnerships to reflect those varied experiences, including those of South Asian, South East Asian, East Asian, Pacific Islander, and multi-ethnic communities.
Our community-driven approach
We believe that storytelling should be an act of community participation. To keep our stories as grounded as possible, we've built a nationwide panel of more than 250 individuals who reflect a diverse range of Asian American communities and identities. So far, this panel has helped shape our show by sharing their perspectives, giving feedback on work-in-progress, and even appearing on the show. We're inviting you to join this listener community!
Who we are
Our host, Cathy Erway, is host of the IACP award-winning, James Beard Award-nominated podcast Why We Eat What We Eat, from Gimlet Creative. She has also produced and hosted the podcast Eat Your Words at the Heritage Radio Network since 2009. As a seasoned writer and reporter, Cathy is the author of the cookbook The Food of Taiwan and the memoir The Art of Eating In. The rest of our team is made up of passionate and experienced producers, reporters, and advisors coming from places like Latino USA, Snap Judgment, BuzzFeed, The Moth, Audible, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and more. Our audience development team is made up of founders with experience scaling regional and national organizations and building communities like CreativeMornings/Baltimore, 826DC, and Make America Dinner Again.
Cathy Erway, Host
Cathy Erway is a James Beard Award winning writer, host of the IACP award-winning podcast Why We Eat What We Eat, from Gimlet Creative. She's also produced and hosted the podcast Eat Your Words at the Heritage Radio Network since 2009. Also a seasoned writer and reporter, Cathy is the author of the cookbook The Food of Taiwan and the memoir The Art of Eating In. She's written for Saveur, Food & Wine, Serious Eats, and Grub Street and continues to write the blog "Not Eating Out in New York."
James Boo, Managing Producer
The recipient of two storytelling fellowships at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, James delivers documentaries that make a social impact through community and partnership. For the past decade he’s created intimate, character-driven narratives that reveal how legacies are cultivated, performed, preserved, broken, and lost at the local level. His award-winning web series, 1 Minute Meal, uses food to reveal the communities, dreams, realities, and unseen forces that shape life in New York.
Julia Shu, Senior Producer
Originally from San Diego, Julia produces and reports for radio and podcasts in New York. A graduate of UC Berkeley and NYU, she has reported and produced for a range of podcasts and news outlets including NPR's Latino USA, WNYC, The Bustle Huddle, and Audible. Her story on the San Antonio 4, four queer Latina women wrongfully convicted of sexually assaulting children, won a third place National Headliner Award.
Cheryl Devall, Story Editor
Cheryl Devall is a native Californian with Louisiana roots from which storytelling runs deep. As an editor and correspondent, she's worked for Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting; the Daily World in Opelousas, Louisiana (the birthplace of zydeco music); Southern California Public Radio; National Public Radio; Marketplace; The Mercury News in San Jose, California; and the Chicago Tribune. Devall has shared in three Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for coverage of AIDS and black America, the 1992 Los Angeles riots and North Carolina 40 years after the federal war on poverty.
Katherine Jinyi Li, Associate Producer
Katherine is a multimedia journalist and youth educator based in New York City. She speaks five languages and gets her love of stories from a life of immigrant journeys.
Talisa Chang, Head of Audience Development
Talisa is a UX researcher, content strategist, and writer with over a decade of product and marketing experience. Talisa crowdsources her peers’ civic engagement through a participatory newsletter called Last2Weeks. She co-created Her Girl Friday, a group that puts on events featuring work and advice from non-fiction storytellers. Johannesburg-born and California-raised, Talisa is currently based in Brooklyn and pursing an MFA in Film & TV Writing at Stony Brook Manhattan.
Justine Lee, PR & Partnerships Director
Justine is a writer and marketer with more than ten years experience developing content strategies for creative firms, startups, and nonprofits. She’s co-creator of Make America Dinner Again, a national volunteer-run organization that brings together people of different political viewpoints to begin to build understanding. Ways to her heart: Sichuan food, comedy shows, handwritten letters, and dogs.
Kira Wisniewski, Community Director
Kira is an event organizer and community builder. She has over ten years of experience in the meeting and conference industry with an expertise in non-profit structures and operations. She co-founded the non-profit 826DC. Currently, Kira is the host of CreativeMornings/Baltimore, serves on the board for Le Mondo, and is an Awesome Foundation Baltimore Trustee (she rides hard for Charm City). She wants to sing karaoke with you.
Joy Sampoonachot, Audience Researcher
Joy is a California-born designer living in New York City. She’s a senior product designer at MongoDB, a database software company, and previously was designing for Editor, the online image editing platform by Shutterstock. Outside of work you can find her doing BJJ, Muay Thai, or Yoga.
Timothy Lou Ly, Associate Producer
Timothy is an Associate Producer at WaitWhat and on the podcast Should This Exist? He was previously the Radio Hour Program Coordinator & Podcast Producer at The Moth. and also produced and reported stories for KALW Public Radio. Having been a native and 25-year resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, Tim's adjusted fairly well to New York over the past few years... but one thing he decidedly will not entertain is using the phase "bubble tea" over "boba."
Ken Ikeda, Executive Producer
Ken is CEO of AIR (Association of Independents in Radio) and a founding partner of Studiotobe in Oakland, CA. In his many lives, Ken co-founded a hip hop label, was Executive Director of BAVC, ran a public radio/tv M&A operation, founded a youth media organization for high schoolers, served on the boards of CAAM and Youth Speaks, and was the architect of VuHaus.com.
Alex Laughlin is an audio producer at Transmitter Media, where she is the lead producer for The Argument for the New York Times. Previously, she was a producer at BuzzFeed News and a. social media editor at The Washington Post. In 2016 she was named an MJ Bear Fellow by the Online News Association, which recognizes the top under-30 digital journalists in the nation.
Angelito is a social marketing strategist currently based in Los Angeles, California, after lots of time in Jersey, Philly, and NYC. He current works in acquisition at Dollar Shave Club, and he’s always down to talk about how to reach the right audience when he’s not gaming, digging for new music, or watching his Brooklyn Nets.
Anika is a senior product manager with the Atlantic, where she works on a variety of projects. She received her Master's from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studied online comment and audience engagement at media companies. She's taught audience engagement to students at Harvard, American University and the University of Miami, among others. She serves on the leadership team for DCFemTech, a Washington DC-based collective that advances women's leadership in technology. Her essays about the South Asian experience have appeared in various online literary magazines. She lives in Washington, DC.
Blair is a marketer and tech strategist based in the Bay Area. He is a Senior Director of Client Services at 3Q Digital, a growth marketing agency based in San Francisco. He partners with tech companies such as Facebook, Instagram, Opendoor and Brandless to design and execute their user acquisition and growth strategy. Outside of his day job, Blair helps run the Oakland based non-profit SmartOakland, working to end childhood lead poisoning in Fruitvale.
Christina is a senior producer and partnerships manager for podcasts at Spotify. She also serves as a co-lead of Spotify’s Asian employee resource group SpACE. Prior to Spotify, she worked at the Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division. In her free time, she enjoys playing cello with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra and curating her K-Pop Party playlist.
Davey is a radio reporter, producer, and sound designer based in the Bay Area. His stories and scores have aired on WNYC's Snap Judgment, NPR, Marketplace, The Dinner Party Download, KCRW’s Unfictional, PRI’s The World, and KPCC. He has also taught radio at several non-profits and schools, including Oakland School for the Arts, San Quentin Prison, and Writing Pad. His side hustles include bike polo, woodworking, and botching instant pot recipes.
Nicole Colayco is the Director of Business Development at SocialCode, a Graham Holdings (formerly The Washington Post Company) business unit. Previously she held business development roles at Amazon, Criteo, and Salesforce, and specializes in ad technology, data licensing, and consumer privacy. Outside of work, Nicole is a wet market/farmers’ market enthusiast.
Ted has been in the high tech industry for more than 20 years and offers a unique combination of experience with new ventures, technology and innovation, leadership development and business operations. He most recently was the co-founder and managing partner for Opexa LLC, CEO of ParkAhead, a parking technology company and currently serves on the Boards of SkillMil and Board Check. Prior to this, Ted has held executive roles as a COO for DeskSite, a digital media company, Board Member of Kathleen Maurer Foundation and in the electronics industry as a Sr. Director of Global Business Operations for Broadcom, and VP of Operations for Exar, managing their operations, technology, and project management organizations.