James Zhang

James Zhang has been on the cutting edge of digital entertainment for nearly two decades. Since its founding in 2007, James has built Concept Art House into one of the video game industry’s most celebrated art services companies, and continues to establish lasting partnerships with industry powerhouses such as 2K, Activision/Blizzard, Epic games, Kabam, and Tencent. 

James is also a partner at Fifth Era which manages Blockchain Coinvestors - the World’s leading blockchain venture fund of funds. He additionally serves on several Advisory Boards including: 1World Online, a crowdsource service that combines social polling with analytics, DreamView studios, a CGI-product company for eCommerce, Playfull, a gaming rewards platform, Readyup, an Esports events platform and Redemption Games, a leading casual game developer.

3 words to describe Nature?

Cyclical . Balanced. Unpredictable

3 things Nature taught you?

Humility – I’m just one of 6+ billion people living in nature.

Symmetry (Perfect design) – As a concept artist who’s designed my share of creatures and fantasy worlds…nothing I’ve designed is as perfect as what already exists in nature. My dragons may be cool on screen or paper, but they aren’t real and not in harmony with the earth.

Serenity – I’ve found solace is more easily attained on a nice hike or laying by the beach.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Oakland hills – Just the proximity make is special for me. My weekly nature fix. I hike it almost every weekend if I can.

Sierra Nevada – Far enough to ‘get away from it all’, but close enough to get to on a weekend. From Lake Tahoe to Yosemite, from Immigrant Wilderness to Mount Whitney…Sierra Nevada mountain range is where I learned to fall in love with Nature. 

Mount Haleakala – Amazing terrain. Parts of it feels like another planet – Mars? Other parts are jungles teaming with life. During sunset, the fog sometimes rolls in under the summit. It’s an incredible view.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Depends on the time and waves, from shore or in the middle of the Ocean… Generally, I feel free and alive. At night, in the middle of the Ocean feels…I would feel insignificant. 

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Depends on the season. Spring/Summer: I feel replenished and refreshed. Autumn/Winter: I generally feel nostalgia. I feel private.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Excitement, energetic, especially an active volcano

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Reflective, emotional, humble, grateful

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Vigilant, Alert, sometimes frightened if loud/close

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Cold, lonely, melancholy 

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean or mountain. Probably ocean – I love fish/fishing.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?


Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Cat fishing in Alabama creeks. I grew up in Northern Alabama during the late 80s and early 90s. The city I grew up in, Huntsville was population 100,000 and basically nestled in between rural woods and farms. Some of my favorite memories in high school was going into the backwoods and remote farms with my buddies. For most of 1994, my 3 besties and I would go fishing just about every weekend. 

The best time to go for catfish was at night. We would eat dinner, then meet up for fishing. Sometimes, we wouldn’t get back until after midnight…even on school nights.

We had the best time exploring creeks and ponds. We’d find something different on every trip. We’d catch everything from boots to rocks, logs, turtles…sometimes even fish! On one trip we almost stepped on a cottonmouth (Copper head) sunbathing in the path. On another trip the mosquitos were so bad, we ended up making a fire to use as a repellent. It didn’t work. I came home that night with 20+ bites on my back. They got me right through my t-shirt. My back looked like a pepperoni pizza. 

Our favorite place to fish was a place we called “The Double S P”. Or “The Secret Sacred Place”. This was a place where we had a 100% batting average. Getting there was hard…we had to trek across soggy mud, a foot deep in some areas. Once you get there, it was a narrow creek only 15 feet across in certain areas. Sometimes, the fish jumping made a splash so loud, we described it as someone throwing a recliner in the water. Sometimes, the splash could get you wat while sitting on the shore. The biggest fish I caught there was a 30 inch, 5.5 pound catfish. I’m sure there were bigger fish. The S.S.P. never disappointed. We always had a good story and no one ever went home without catching a fish there. 

Those fishing trips in ‘94 turned me into a lifelong hobby angler. Sometimes, I wonder if that creek is still there. Without us to control the catfish population, there may be some real river monsters there now…


Liza Gershman

Best-Selling Author and Winner of the Gourmand Cookbook Award (2018), Liza Gershman has nearly two decades of industry experience working in all facets of Commercial and Editorial photography and writing, including 12 published books and hundreds of newspaper and magazine stories. She specializes in Lifestyle, Food, and Travel. Her passion for people, culture and cuisine, has taken her to more than 51 countries and 47 U.S. States during her career.

Her 12th book, Cuban Flavor, has garnered many accolades, and has been featured on CBS, in National Geographic, Travel & Leisure, Budget Travel, NPR and many additional local and national publications and radio shows. Liza was honored to speak for Talks At Google, and on the prestigious campuses of Twitter, Oracle, and Disney to name a few.

As a photographer and Art Director, she regularly teaches, writes and presents for celebrated companies: Creative Live and Canon USA. She was honored to nationally launch the 6D for Canon, and the T6. Prior to that she worked as the in-house Senior Digital Photographer for Williams-Sonoma and continues to freelance for clients such as Goldman Sachs, Hyatt Hotels, Restoration Hardware, Safeway, Party City, Getty Images, AirBnB, Visa. In 2010, Liza was Governor Jerry Brown's campaign photographer, and in 2014 was a photographer for the RedBull Youth America's Cup.

She has been a regular contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle Travel Section, writing tips on top destinations for a monthly column called “5 Places”, and continues to write about travel, food and culture in articles and book form.

Many of Liza’s notable clients include celebrity chefs, restaurants, wineries, beverage brands, fashion brands, spas and hotels.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Beauty. Peace. Serenity

3 things Nature taught you? 

How to go into my inner self 

How to be still

How to observe

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

The Russian River in Sonoma County

The beaches of Nantucket 

The open skies of Wyoming

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...? 


When you see a forest, it makes you feel...? 

Grounded and most like myself

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...? 

In awe

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...? 

Lucky to be part of the world, inside of a painting

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...? 

Excited! I love a great storm as long as everyone is safe

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...? 

Like getting under covers

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

Forest and lakes first, then ocean, then desert, but I love all of it!!!

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 


Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

Canoeing down the river. That's my happiest activity. Smelling the ferns and mint and redwood trees all around.


Sofia Sanchez de Betak

Sofía Sanchez de Betak (aka, Barrenechea) is a Buenos Aires born, New York based, Art Director and Fashion Consultant.

An avid world traveler and style influencer, Sofía is the author of the Assouline published book, “Travels with Chufy",where she highlights off-the-radar hideaways and secluded retreats where those in the know seek unforgettable experiences. Sofía has been named among the 10 most influential women of Argentina, together with the country’s First Lady and the Vice-President. With a keen eye and love for fashion and travel, Sofía has collaborated with several magazines and brands, working on special projects and often served as a brand ambassador. This list includes Chanel, Valentino, Rodarte, Chloe, Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto, Roger Vivier, Zara, Mango, Massimo Dutti, Globe Trotter, Jason Wu, The Luxury Collection (Starwood Hotels), VogueCondé Nast TravelerHarper’s BazaarW MagazineRevista La NaciónPaper Magazine, among others.

3 words to describe Nature?

Prestine. Pure. Amusing

3 things Nature taught you?

That we should cherish it

That we should learn from her

That she is the wisest one of all

3 most treasured Nature spots?




When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

In peace

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?


When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?


When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?


When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?


When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?


Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?


On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?


Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Long horseback rides in the mountains of Patagonia… best views in the planet!