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Simon Tam - . Portland, OR, US

Simon Tam Simon Tam

Author | Musician | Speaker | Activist | Troublemaker


13-time TEDx speaker & performer, and storyteller. Founder/bassist of The Slants and victor in a landmark, unanimous Supreme Court case



Simon Tam is an award-winning marketing and communications professional, musician, author, entrepreneur, and keynote speaker.

He has been a performer, presenter, and keynote at TEDx, SXSW, Comic-Con, The Department of Defense, Stanford University, and over 1,200 other events across North America, Europe, and Asia. He has set a world record by appearing on the TEDx stage 12 times.

He is best known as the founder and bassist of The Slants, the world’s first and only all-Asian American dance rock and anti-racism band. His approach to activism through the arts has been highlighted in over 2,500 media features across 88 countries, including BBC World News, NPR, TIME Magazine, and Rolling Stone. His work has involved collaborations with President Barack Obama, George Takei, and Jeremy Lin through the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to fight bullying.

Simon has been fighting a landmark case against the United States Trademark Office, which recently helped expand freedom of speech through a unanimous victory at the Supreme Court of the United States.

He designed one of the first college-accredited social media programs in the United States. Bloomberg Businessweek called him a "Social Media Rockstar." Forbes says his resume is a "paragon of completeness."

Recently, he was recognized as a Freedom Fighter by the Roosevelt Rough Writers, named Citizen of the Year from the Chinese American Citizens Alliance Portland Lodge, Portland Rising Star from the Light a Fire Awards, received a Distinguished Alum Award​ from Marylhurst University, and has earned 34 awards for his marketing campaigns work.

He is the Marketing Director for Oregon Environmental Council; on the board of directors for the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Know Your City, Color of NOW, and the Cultural Resource Centers Advisory Council for Portland State University.

You can find Simon's appearances, writing, and current projects at

Industry Expertise (5)



Political Organization

Legal Services

Social Media

Areas of Expertise (30)

Marketing Strategy


Civil Rights


Social Change


Geek Lifestyle

Comic Conventions

Anime Conventions

Human Rights



Intellectual Property


Social Media

Social Justice





Asian American Issues

Racial Justice



Higher Education

Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace

Equity and Cultural Safety

Public speaking & training

Leadership Entreprenership Startups

Accomplishments (5)

Album of the Year (professional)


Won multiple "Album of the Year" music awards from organizations such as the Willamette Week, Portland Music Awards, RockWired Magazine, AsiaXpress, and many more

Bestselling Non-Profit Books on (professional)


Simon’s book, “How to Get sponsorships and Endorsements” reached #15 on’s bestselling books for non-profits and charities within 48 hours of its release.

Featured on NPR's "All Things Considered" (professional)


Featured on nationally syndicated program "All Things Considered" for work in social justice, music, and niche marketing.

Interview with TIME Magazine (professional)


Feature/interview with TIME Magazine:

Portland Rising Star (professional)


Received a "Portland Rising Star" award from Knowledge Universe/Ignite a Fire Awards

Education (3)

Marylhurst University: Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Marketing

Received Distinguished Alumni Award (2013) Dual concentration: marketing and non-profit management.

University of Phoenix: Bachelor of Science, Business Management 2008

University of California, Riverside: Bachelor of Arts, Religious Studies & Philosophy 2003

Affiliations (16)

  • American Cancer Society
  • American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
  • Music Think Tank
  • American Mensa
  • Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon
  • Asian Professionals Exchange
  • Independent Recording Artists Community
  • Asian American Arts Alliance
  • National Council for Marketing and Public Relations
  • National Association for Campus Activities
  • The Slants
  • Oregon Environmental Council
  • Marylhurst University
  • American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers
  • Portland Center for Human Rights
  • marylhurst university

Languages (3)

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Mandarin

Testimonials (7)

Dewey Weddington, Vice President of Marketing | SakéOne

I have immense respect for the passion and drive that Simon has isn bringing his vision to life and to defend it at every turn. As a marketer he is insightful, inventive and ever in pursuit of viable channels to connect with his audience and retain that connection for the life of his brand. His leadership steers a team of creative individuals who not only share his vision but rally behind it to ensure its success. I have had many opportunities to work with Simon and have appreciated his partnership in events both here in Oregon as well as in NY, Austin and Nashville. I look forward to every opportunity to work with Simon and the ingenuity he brings to the big picture of marketing.

Bill McNally, Owner | Burnside Distribution Corporation

I enjoy working with Simon very much. He has unique and interesting ideas in cross marketing his band on multiple levels that are very effective. He secures endorsements that work well to promote his band. Simon is a very motivated marketing and promotion oriented professional.

Spencer Trowbridge, General Counsel | Rumblefish

Simon is a tremendously talented individual, and, given his strong leadership skills and deep knowledge base in the areas of marketing, promotion, and business development, it is not surprising that he has such a well-established track record of success.

Cole Stant, Senior Director of Marketing | Middle Tennessee Anime Convention

Simon is dedicated to his endeavors, and brings a natural sense of marketing and promotions to his activities. A self-starter and a creative thinker, Simon has a strong talent for problem solving.

Aaron Thompson, President/Owner | Let it Ride

Simon is just a rare gem of a human being, plain and simple. I have had the pleasure of knowing him for over 15 years and have worked with him in a variety of creative projects, from music to design and everything in between. A creative guy, intelligent scholar, and a man of integrity and honesty all around. I would recommend him in any situation for anything.

Jose Luis, President | Seattle Fashion Week

I enjoyed connecting with Simon and his group, The Slants, very motivating group of guys... all about pleasing the fans and making them want more. They have a creative value to them as an indie group and more so as a soon to be major group. Simon was always communicating with me and had reliable feedback. I would love to work with him and his group again and anytime. I wish them the best in their journey to success and if my help is ever needed I will be there for them.

Dr. Pamela Cox-Otto, CEO | Interact Communications

"Seriously loved the presentation! Simon answered the questions before I could ask. Very funny, clear, & practical. "

Media Appearances (10)

‘The Slants’ music group battles the US for its name

AlJazeera America  tv


Feature on AlJazeera America, broadcasted in over 60 million homes

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Is calling your Asian-American band The Slants racist?

CBC Radio Q  radio


Extended interview with Shad on "q" radio

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An Asian-American Musician's Five-Year Battle to Get His 'Offensive' Band Name Trademarked

VICE  online


Exclusive feature with VICE Magazine

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Activist Simon Tam and a discussion about racism

North Texas Daily  print


Extended article about Simon Tam keynote at University of Texas' Fall Forum

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“The Slants” Suit: Asian-American Band Goes to Court Over Name

TIME  print


Interview/feature with TIME Magazine

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Discussing Offensive Halloween Costumes

Think Out Loud on OPB  radio


Interview on OPB's Think Out Loud over cultural appropriation and Halloween

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The Slants Frontman Fights Government To Register His Band's Name

NPR/All Things Considered  radio


Interview and feature on NPR's All Things Considered

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Rocker Simon Tam's Toy Car

Sierra Club  print


Simon Tam is the founder and bassist of the Slants, which he calls "the world's first and only all-Asian dance rock band." His group has gotten international media attention for its hard-charging music and activism. Tam is also the marketing director for the Oregon Environmental Council. Sierra spoke to him about his work, and about the toy car that reminds him of a friend.

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The Case for Allowing Offensive Trademarks

NPR/On the Media  radio


Extended interview about race, identity, and free speech with NPR's "On the Media"

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'The Slants' Back in Court Over Band Name Trademark Battle

NBC News  tv


Feature on NBC News

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Event Appearances (2)

How to Get a TED Talk

TEDxColorado Springs  Colorado Springs, CO


The Innovation of Immigrants

TEDxFront Range  Front Range, CO


Sample Talks (1)

Give Racism a Chance

Trayvon Martin. Ferguson. Asians in the Library. Today, it’s common for people to sweep racism under the rug, as if it were an issue of the past rather than a reality faced by people of color on a daily basis. In the United States, we preach about equality, opportunity, diversity, and fighting for the underdog. Yet, we live in a society that perpetuates systemic racism and oppression in nearly all areas of our life: government policies, education, our communities, and even in our entertainment. For people of color, we’re often subject to microaggressions – everyday indignities or slights, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicates hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults. Most of the time, those who inflict microaggressions are unaware that they’ve done anything wrong or insensitive at all. When those of us who are targets of these practices explain why something is offensive, we’re told to “lighten up,” to stop being so sensitive, etc., as if we had done something wrong. The conversation is shut down before it even begins because people feel uncomfortable having candid discussions of race and identity. We’re allowing subversive racism to harm the lives of millions of Americans because of this discomfort. But it is time to step up and bring these conversations forward, to give racism a chance to exist so that we can spend more time talking about how to fix it rather than debating its existence. In this workshop, you'll learn how to use data and storytelling to overcome the challenges - whether it is stereotypes about APA's, talking about controversial topics in the news, or handling crude comments from friends, it's important to be empowered and to fight the true evil: racism.



  • Keynote
  • Moderator
  • Panelist
  • Workshop Leader
  • Author Appearance
  • Corporate Training


2000 to 5000 *Will consider certain engagements for no fee