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Amanda Koonjbeharry helps people thrive. She is a natural connector, bridge builder, a fierce advocate, and a strong facilitator. Unafraid of taking on polarizing topics, Amanda approaches her work from her heart, and brings people together to create authentic connections and community.
Amanda’s professional career has been rooted in social justice, including work to end/prevent domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking. Amanda currently works at Tunheim where she merges her enthusiasm for solving tough public policy issues with her passion for leveraging communications strategies that inspire and promote change. Amanda currently serves as a Council Member on the Minnesota Department of Human Services Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council, and on the board of Family Housing Fund. She was named 40 Under 40 by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal in 2018 and received the Rising Alumni Award from the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development in 2021.
When not working, you can find her dancing away at a Zumba class, traveling to a new city, immersed in a good book, or walking a new MN trail.
MILCK (Connie K Lim) is a singer, songwriter, producer, performer and advocate who uses music to write her most courageous self into existence.
MILCK hit an international breakthrough after her song “Quiet” went viral, becoming Billboard’s No. 1 Protest Song in 2017, and a part of NPR’s American Anthem series. Her song sparked a movement, inspiring choirs from all over the world to translate it, from Dagbali, Spanish, Chinese, to German.
As a musical performer and public speaker, MILCK has shared stages with Michelle Obama, Glennon Doyle, Amanda Gorman, Aloe Blacc, Oprah, Jason Mraz, Yoko Ono, and Ani DiFranco.
Her love for music transcends her own project as she begins writing and producing upcoming releases for artists including Phillipa Soo and John Legend.
Interwoven with her music is MILCK’s advocacy work. Her current focus is raising funds and awareness for The Somebody’s Beloved Fund, which is a fund she started to support 10 grassroots organizations that do incredible work to build power around racial healing (somebodysbeloved.com).
Ayshea Khan is the Asian Pacific American Community Archivist at the Austin History Center, a division of the Austin Public Library. She works alongside longtime community members, media-makers, and other memory workers to collaboratively collect, preserve and provide access to Austin’s vibrant Asian American history. She came to archives by way of nonfiction filmmaking, community education, and audiovisual preservation. She is a Certified Archivist, a 2021-2023 RBS-Mellon Cultural Heritage Fellow, and currently serves in leadership positions with the Society of Southwest Archivists and Asian Pacific American Library Association. She is honored to serve as the Board President of the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) and as a member of the Community Advisory Committee for the Texas After Violence Project (TAVP).
Ayshea holds a B.S. in Cinema & Photography from Ithaca College and a Masters of Information Studies from University of Texas at Austin. Community-driven storytelling within communities of color has always been at the heart of her work as an archivist, filmmaker, and educator. She is always excited to talk more about how to activate archives as a tool for racial justice and community healing.
Lena Wu (she/they) is passionate about translating great ideas into hyperlocal, scalable initiatives. She approaches community issues with an activist and intersectional feminist lens. In March 2020, Lena co-founded Feed Your Hospital, which delivered meals to frontline COVID-19 healthcare workers by supporting local Asian restaurants in America’s most impacted communities. She swiftly mobilized a group of volunteers across the country and fundraised about $350,000 in 6 months. Lena hopes to activate AAPI civic engagement as a Board member of Asian American Women’s Political Initiative (AAWPI). As part of her AAWPI fellowship in 2016, Lena interned with Massachusetts State Senator Jason Lewis. Lena is currently the Senior Product Manager of Programmatic Advertising at Effectv, a Comcast company.
Dr. Erica Brozovsky is a sociolinguist, having received her PhD from The University of Texas at Austin. There, her work centered on language and identity in the Taiwanese Texan community, and she taught courses including Asian American Literature and Culture, English Language and its Social Context, and Rhetoric of Bicultural Identity. Erica currently hosts and writes for the linguistics PBS series Otherwords; serves as Program Coordinator for Stories Within, a mini-documentary series highlighting Asian Texan voices (and featured in the inaugural Gold Futures Challenge); and sits on the national board of the Taiwanese American Citizens League (TACL) as Director of Programming
Glenn D. Magpantay, Esq. is long-time civil rights attorney, seasoned nonprofit executive, professor, and veteran LGBTQ rights activist. He is the principal of Magpantay & Associates, a nonprofit consulting and legal services firm. He is a former Trustee of the Boehm Family Foundation. For over 30 years, Glenn has been a fierce advocate at the intersection of racial justice, immigrants’ rights, and LGBTQ liberation.
Glenn co-founded and served as the Executive Director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), a national federation of Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organizations for nearly a decade. His efforts were recognized by the Walter & Evelyn Haas, Jr. Fund Outstanding LGBTQ Leadership Award for Immigrants’ Rights (2017).
Before, Glenn was a nationally recognized civil rights attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) for nearly 20 years. He is an authority on the federal Voting Rights Act and expert on Asian American political participation, bilingual ballots, elections, and census. His efforts earned him the prestigious Haywood Burns Memorial Award from the NYS Bar Association Committee on Civil Rights (2015).
Glenn is a renowned thought-leader. He has brought 15 briefs to the United States Supreme Court; testified before the United States Congress; published 20 scholarly legal and academic articles; authored impactful public reports; and has given commentary to The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Associated Press, MSNBC-TV, NBC Asian America, and The Advocate.
Always giving back, he has mentored countless students, young professionals, lawyers, and nonprofit practitioners. He is an adjunct Professor of Asian American Studies at Hunter College/ CUNY and Columbia University. He taught “Race & the Law” and “Public Interest Lawyering” at Brooklyn Law School.
Glenn chairs the LGBT Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York. Instinct Magazine showcased Glenn as one of the nation’s “25 Leading Men” in 2004.
He attended the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook on Long Island, and as a beneficiary of affirmative action, graduated cum laude from the New England School of Law, in Boston.
Greg Lutze is a mixed-race Asian American founder, advisor and artist based out of California. A polymath, his interests lie in a variety of creative pursuits including design, photography, music, painting, fragrance and fashion.
The Co-Founder of VSCO, Greg is a leader driven by creative vision and soul. VSCO has been named Apple’s “App of the Year,” Google Play’s “Best Apps” and Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies in Social Media.” Currently, his focus lies in Plaza, an experimental Web 3.0 space.
He is a member of Gold House, a non-profit collective of Asian & Pacific Islander founders, creative voices, and leaders; a venture partner at Hidden, investing in the future of creative work; and a mentor at Praxis Labs, a creative engine supporting innovators motivated to love their neighbors and renew culture.
Greg serves as an advisor to creative startups Studio, Self & Chroma.
Dancer, Strategist and Entrepreneur Gregory Cendana is President and co-founder of Can’t Stop! Won’t Stop! Consulting, Chief Creative Officer of Greg Dances and co-founder of The People’s Collective for Justice and Liberation. He was the first openly gay and youngest-ever Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and Institute for Asian Pacific American Leadership & Advancement.
Gregory was also first openly gay Chair of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, co-founder of the diversity initiative Inclusv, and serves on the board of directors for United We Dream and 18 Million Rising. He co-authored Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) Behind Bars: Exposing the School to Prison to Deportation Pipeline, a first of its kind report on the impact of mass incarceration and mass criminalization in the AAPI community.
Gregory was President of the United States Student Association (USSA), where he played an integral role in the passage of the Student Aid & Fiscal Responsibility Act and Healthcare and Education Reconciliation Act. Gregory is also a graduate of the Rockwood Leadership Institute, the Management Center’s Managing to Change the World, the Midwest Academy’s Organizing for Social Change, Training for Change’s Training of Trainers, Spitfire’s Executive Training Program, Center for Story Based Strategy’s Advanced Training and re:power’s Political Training Program.
Prior to his current role on the Board of Pharmacy, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also appointed him to serve on the Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs after he served a two year term on the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Advisory Committee under the leadership of Mayor Vince Gray. Gregory also co-founded the Washington Highlands Civic Association and served as its Vice President. He has been named one of Washington DC’s most influential 40-and-under young leaders, one of the 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30, 40 Influential Asian Americans in Washington, DC’s Inaugural Power 30 Under 30™ Award Recipients and the “Future of DC Politics”. In his spare time, Gregory enjoys singing karaoke, choreographing dances and trying new recipes. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @GregoryCendana and TikTok: @GregDances
Janet Namkung (she/they) is an active leader who is passionate about social and restorative justice through capacity-building. She currently works with the Management Center as the Administrative Director and is the Co-Founder of Asians* in Focus. Previously, she worked with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), co-founded a BIPOC focused teletherapy company, worked with the Council of Korean Americans (CKA), and OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates. She served as a Commissioner on DC Mayor Bowser’s Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Community Development, on the Board of Directors of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), and as Chair of the DC Chapter of Service Year & AmeriCorps Alums. Janet is a proud New Yorker, daughter of Korean American immigrants, and a lover of food vacations. Janet recently moved to Houston by way of DC with their partner, Jae, and their two fur babies, Dubu and Kimchi.
JiJi is an experienced disability justice advocate who has done workshops for all ages from middle schoolers to university students to adults. Their abolitionist, disability justice informed politics has led them to their career in restorative practices working with teens. JiJi has a degree in linguistics, but is currently they pursuing their Masters of Library Sciences studying information mediation to further their social justice practice in work and in organizing through giving their community much needed media literacy skills.
Juliann Anesi is an Assistant Professor of Gender Studies at the University of California – Los Angeles. Her research interests include disability and indigeneity, educational policies, and decolonial feminisms. As a community educator and activist, she has also worked with non-profit organizations and schools in American Sāmoa, California, Hawai ́i, New York and Sāmoa.
Juliann’s work has appeared in venues including Disability and the Global South, Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600 to 2000; and Disability & Society.
Manisha Bewtra, AICP (she/her) is Mayor Romero’s Planning, Mobility, and Development Advisor. In this role, she leverages her passion for planning for thriving, healthy, and inclusive communities with her love for policy-making and politics as the Mayor’s liaison on transportation and land use issues. Manisha is an experienced public process facilitator and project manager and works collaboratively with the Mayor’s team and city departments to apply an equity lens to all city initiatives.
Manisha has built her career on bringing divergent perspectives together, facilitating conversations around change, and generating data-informed solutions that move communities forward. She is driven by public service and champions equitable policies and inclusive community engagement.
Prior to her current role, she worked at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in Boston as a senior regional planner and the manager of the analytics team, at the Massachusetts Housing Partnership where she was a statewide technical assistance provider, as an adjunct city planning instructor for Master’s degree program courses at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and at Arizona State University, and in municipal government and nonprofit community development organizations in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Chandler, Arizona.
Manisha has served on various equity-focused organizations and committees and is a graduate of Emerge Massachusetts, the Initiative for Diversity in Civic Leadership, and the Massachusetts Commonwealth Seminar, three organizations dedicated to training underrepresented groups to influence public policy and to run for office. She has a Master of City Planning degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a BA in Economics and Art from The University of Iowa, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. She currently serves as a member at large for the American Planning Association Arizona Southern Section and is a member of the executive team for the Asian American and Political Islander Caucus for the Arizona Democratic Party.
Before moving to Tucson in the summer of 2020, she lived in the Boston area for twelve years. During her years in Melrose, Massachusetts, she served as a Human Rights Commissioner and subsequently as a City Councilor. When elected to the Melrose City Council, she became the first person of color ever to serve in elected office in Melrose. She grew up in Iowa and identifies as Desi/Indian-American. She, her husband, and her son felt welcomed and right at home in Tucson when they moved here – even in spite of a pandemic and searing summer heat.
Natasha Saelua, Ph.D. ABD, is a researcher at McREL International, specializing in higher education assessment and accreditation. In this role, she supports a variety of projects through research and consultation under the REL Pacific contract. She has worked as a graduate research assistant at the Indiana University School of Medicine’s Faculty Affairs, Professional Development, and Diversity office, the National Institute for Transformation and Equity at the University of California, San Diego, and the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University. She co-founded and worked as a lead researcher for Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), a national nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles, California. Natasha will be earning her Ph.D. in higher education from Indiana University in September, 2021, and holds a B.A. in history and an M.A. in Asian American studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.
As SEARAC’s Policy Associate, Phun is in charge of supporting SEARAC’s national policy activities through policy analysis, advocacy, community engagement, research, and administrative support.
Phun holds Bachelors’ degrees in public policy and Asian American studies from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Prior to joining SEARAC, Phun’s work centered on the immigrant and refugee community in North Carolina. She worked as an Outreach Lead with North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT) to civically empower the Asian American community in NC through canvassing, bridge-building, and creating culturally and linguistically appropriate materials for census and voting. Phun was also the Education and Advocacy coordinator at FaithAction International House where she expanded the FaithAction ID program and coordinated their advocacy initiatives in North Carolina, specifically driver’s licenses for all.
Phun was born in Vietnam and is a member of the Bunong community, an Indigenous and ethnic highlander group under the larger Montagnard umbrella. Phun is a co-founder of Voices of the Highlands, a virtual space that seeks to share Montagnard traditions, preserve oral histories, and connect Montagnard youth from all over the world on the shared experiences of Montagnard identity.
Hillary is the Founder & Executive Director of BOLT (Build Our Lives Together), which empowers marginalized communities to lead the change their neighborhoods want to see. She believes that building people power via proximate leaders is how we bring change. Her background is in community organizing, civic technology, local government, and business. She is a proud Philly native (class of 272 at Central High School). She holds a BA from Harvard (’17). and MBA from Stanford GSB (’22). She is also a Leadership for Society Scholar and Stanford Impact Founder fellow.
Elizabeth Yang is an online business strategist and monetization expert helping purpose-driven, service-based entrepreneurs grow online for consistent revenue in repeatable marketing and sales systems with their teams. She’s the founder and CEO of Better With Company, a high-touch business coaching and consulting agency. She specializes in high ticket sales and lead generation, charging more, high performance, leadership, and talent & team optimization. She has 10 years of experience in innovation and product marketing with Fortune 10 companies. Others describe her as an energetic and passionate speaker, trainer, mentor, and powerhouse. Most recently she was called the “Monetization Queen” thanks to her ability to help clients charge 2X-25X more creating premium brands. Elizabeth champions diversity with inclusive selling to maximize visibility and impact that converts. Happy sales start with the human connection to becoming the first choice for your ideal customers, nurturing and closing faster. She is the creator of the Customer YES! Lab, a 12-month online business mentoring accelerator that helps diverse entrepreneurs scale online faster with all-in-one software you’ll ever need online and the playbooks for implementing marketing, sales, and people systems. She’s also the founder of Hmong Women Take on the World, a Global Online Leadership Summit that brings hundreds together to globally celebrate women and girls across 8 countries. She’s helped clients and companies become better leaders, build winning teams, and achieve sales growth with better customer experiences, relationship marketing, and product communities. She’s trained in Neuro-Linguistics Programming (NLP), Tiny Habits, Gallup’s Builder Profile 10 Talents, and Predictive Index. She lives in Minneapolis with her family. She enjoys reading, music, traveling, and hula hooping. Hearty laughs are what’s most incredible in her life and network. Connect with her at TalkWithElizabeth.com.
Raised on the island of Moloka’i, and educated in New York, NY., Naehalani has worked in many different environments to foster healthy growth in her communities. As the President of Ola Brew, Naeha has been instrumental in raising funds, strategizing on business development opportunities, and executing to see the fruition of these strategic growth areas. She continues to grow the mission of Ola Brew and build brand awareness throughout Hawai’i and new regions.
The former executive director of APIA Vote Michigan, Aamina Ahmed is the Senior Grants Manager at the El-Hibri Foundation (EHF), where she provides management support to the President on grantee relationships, due diligence, and the annual grant cycle and also provides support for EHF programs. She brings to the role both professional experience and care for her greater community, in order to build a more inclusive America through capacity building for nonprofits. Prior to joining the Foundation, Aamina has held various roles on the staff and Board of many non-profits. Her most recent staff role was as Regional Program Manager at New American Leaders where she led programming in the Midwest and for a national Fellowship Program.
Chanel Miller is a writer and artist. Her memoir, Know My Name, was a New York Times bestseller and a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Ridenhour Book Prize, and the California Book Award. It was also a best book of the year in Time, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, NPR, and People, among others. She was named one of the Forbes 30 Under 30 and a Time Next 100 honoree, and was a Glamour Woman of the Year honoree under her pseudonym Emily Doe. Her first art exhibition, titled I WAS, I AM, I WILL BE, is on display at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum.
Tamlyn Tomita is perhaps best known for her role in “The Karate Kid, Part 2” which is enjoying its renaissance due to the popularity of “Cobra Kai” on NetFlix. She has 2 projects yet unannounced. Other projects she is known for are the films: “The Joy Luck Club”; “The Day After Tomorrow”; “Come See the Paradise” and the TV shows: “Star Trek:Picard”; “The Good Doctor”; “The Man in the High Castle”; “Teen Wolf”; “Berlin Station”; “Glee”; “True Blood”; and “Heroes”. A supporter of independent film, credits include: “The Right Mom”; “Real Artists”; “Daddy”; “Operation:Marriage”; “White Room:02B3”; “Awesome Asian Bad Guys” and “Robot Stories”. A native Los Angeleno, specifically from the (818) and a proud AAPI embracing her Okinawan, Japanese, and Filipino heritages, she continually advocates for stories to be told from a ‘golden’ perspective. And most importantly, she is a proud and loyal UCLA Bruin.
Weijia Jiang is CBS News’ senior White House correspondent based in Washington, D.C. Jiang’s reporting is featured across all CBS News broadcasts and platforms.
Jiang has extensively covered the rise in violence against members of the AAPI community and has broken stories related to policy changes that the Biden administration has taken to address it. Under the previous administration, she traveled with President Trump on numerous occasions, both domestically and abroad. She has covered major stories for the Network including the president’s impeachments, the 2020 presidential campaign and election, and the confirmations of Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. During her coverage of the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the answers to her questions during press briefings often made news.
Jiang joined CBS News in 2015 as a correspondent for Newspath, the Network’s 24-hour television newsgathering service for CBS stations and broadcasters around the world. Since then, she has reported extensively on both the Obama and Trump administrations, the 2016 presidential campaign and election, the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush; and the congressional baseball shooting that wounded House minority whip Steve Scalise. She has also covered national stories such as Hurricane Harvey, the catastrophic category 4 hurricane that hit Texas in 2017.
Jiang graduated from the College of William and Mary with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a minor in chemistry, and from Syracuse University with a master’s degree in broadcast journalism. In 2012, she was inducted into the prestigious Professional Gallery at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She is an active member of the Asian American Journalists Association.
She was born in Xiamen, China, and raised in West Virginia, where she immigrated with her parents when she was 2 years old.
Richard Lui has more than 30 years in television, technology, and business — often addressing Fortune 500 and Silicon Valley firms as a thought leader in media, marketing, and storytelling. Currently, Lui is a news anchor for MSNBC and NBC News, reporting on the ground for stories from terror attacks in France to slavery in Africa. Previously he was at CNN Worldwide, where in 2007 he became the first Asian American male in U.S. history to anchor a daily national cable news program. Lui is a team Emmy and Peabody recipient.
Andine Sutarjadi is a speaker, facilitator and writer on next generation philanthropy. As a Director of Next Gen Initiatives at 21/64, Andine facilitates programs and conversations to equip next gen donors with the tools they need to clarify their philanthropic identity, become more strategic in their giving and be prepared to serve on nonprofit boards.
She also leads the 21/64 Certified Advisors of Color Program that aims to build a community of BIPOC philanthropic professionals with deep knowledge on multigenerational family, wealth and philanthropy, using 21/64’s tools and resources, to guide donors in their grantmaking, governance and investing.
Previously, Andine worked at Women Moving Millions (WMM) where she was responsible for the programming and community engagement of over 300 high-net-worth philanthropists focused on giving with a gender-lens. Andine received her B.Sc. in Health Science with a Minor in Public Health from Boston University. As a next gen donor herself, Andine is a Co-Chair of the Family Prosperity Working Group at NEXUS, serves on the steering committee of the Asian Women’s Giving Circle and is a Technical Advisor for Pyramid Life Care, a social enterprise she co-founded with her mother that provides health and holistic services to elderly communities in her home city of Jakarta, Indonesia.
Sathya is a Senior Manager of Government Affairs at Groundwork Collaborative. Sathya most recently served as Political Director of Senator Ed Markey’s re-election campaign where she oversaw the campaign’s community outreach and worked alongside advocacy groups to create a meaningful political dialogue at the grassroots level. Prior to joining Senator Markey’s re-election campaign, Sathya was the Political Director at MassEquality where she managed the organization’s legislative work, including the successful passage of a bill to ban conversion therapy. Sathya began her career at a boutique public affairs firm where she worked on a variety of issues, including health care and transportation. A native of Hope Mills, North Carolina, Sathya earned her undergraduate degree in Global Studies and South Asian Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and completed her Masters in Social Work at Boston College, focusing on legislative advocacy. From the age of 14, Sathya has also studied Bharata Natyam, an Indian classical dance.
Jaslin Kaur is an Organizer at Know Your IX where she leads federal civil rights trainings for student survivors of gender-based violence. Prior, she worked at the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) in policy and communications for immigrant justice and reproductive healthcare access, focusing on detention and deportation of Asian families.
She has also worked with multiple organizations on political education regarding racial justice, immigrant rights, and voting rights, including at New American Leaders and the NYC Asian American Student Conference. Jaslin is an alumna of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC Youth Leadership Summit and the OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates Summer Internship Program. Recently, she ran for New York City Council vying to be the first South Asian candidate on the body, and was endorsed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders. Jaslin holds a B.A. in Women & Gender Studies and Human Rights from CUNY Hunter College and an A.A. from Nassau Community College.
Nancy Chan currently serves as director of philanthropy for the family office of a technology entrepreneur. Prior to this, she led the monitoring, evaluation and learning function of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Justice & Opportunity Initiative.
She was also head of community partnerships at Catalyte, a tech company with a social mission to promote access to software development careers for nontraditional candidates. Previously, as a director at philanthropy consulting firm Arabella Advisors, Nancy advised clients on strategy development and program evaluation, and served as the founding program director for the Hope & Grace Fund, the charitable grantmaking arm of the skincare brand Philosophy, Inc.
Through her work with Hope & Grace, she and a colleague compiled a set of recommendations to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion principles in grantmaking practice (download at equityinphilanthropy.org) and summarized their work in an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “Eliminating Implicit Bias in Grantmaking”. Prior to Arabella, Nancy conducted research at SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute) and the Urban Institute, and worked in Silicon Valley companies Palm, Inc. and Adaptec.
Nancy currently volunteers on the steering committee of the Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy’s (AAPIP) Silicon Valley chapter. In partnership with AAPIP, she recently led the development and publication of the report Invisible Ink: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She also hosts a blog on social impact career transitions, socialimpactyodas.org. She holds an MPP from the Georgetown McCourt School of Public Policy and a BS in electrical engineering from MIT.
Diana is the Founder/Executive Director of the Asian American Women’s Political Initiative (AAWPI), the country’s only political leadership organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women. In 2020, Diana was the first National Political and Organizing Director for She the People, a national network of women of color working to transform our democracy.
Diana was profiled as “one of Boston’s most powerful thought leaders” in Boston Magazine for her work and has been a featured speaker at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. and at several colleges, including Wellesley College, Northeastern University, Dartmouth College and Salem State University where she gave the annual convocation address.
Diana was a former candidate for the Massachusetts State Senate. She carried the city of Boston and outraised her seven opponents in the race. Diana graduated from Dartmouth College and Columbia Business School.
She values and is deeply committed to promoting equity based on her experience as a queer, multi-racial, woman in the field of philanthropy. She is currently Executive Director of Masto Foundation, a US-based family foundation rooted in the Japanese-American community.
Prior to taking on leadership at the foundation, Sparks worked in philanthropy for 12 years, as a Program Officer and founded Queer Leaders in Philanthropy (a national network focused on changing the culture of philanthropy to be more empowering of LGBTQ individuals through advocacy and community building).
Sparks has served on the Program Committee for Horizons Foundation for ten years and regularly advises the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, National Center for Family Philanthropy, Asian-American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), and Council on Foundations. She a former Board Member of San Francisco Women Against Rape (SFWAR) and the SF LGBT Community Center, and currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District and the Board of Directors for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).
In addition to volunteering her time, Sparks has led initiatives to make the field of philanthropy more accessible. She founded Horizons Foundation’s young donor circle called HYPE and was a founding member of the Funding Queerly Giving Circle which, in five years after granting out $1+ million, fundraised and allocated more money to small-budget LGBTQ nonprofits than any other US-based giving circle in history.Prior to entering philanthropy, Sparks worked as a clinical social worker for foster care youth in Harlem, New York, and received a BA from Vassar College, a Master’s in Social Work from UC Berkeley, and a Master’s in Business Administration for the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. She lives in San Francisco with her partner, Sierra, and adorable Morkie named Panda and travels up to Seattle regularly for work with the foundation.
Dr. Linda Trinh Vo is a professor and former chair of the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of Mobilizing an Asian American Community, co-author of Vietnamese in Orange County, and co-author of the report Transforming Orange County: Assets and Needs of Asian Americans & Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, along with co-editing numerous collections, including Keywords for Asian American Studies. Dr. Vo was president of the national Association for Asian American Studies and has served in leadership roles with numerous community projects and organizations, including Viet Stories: Vietnamese American Oral History Project; Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Orange County; Orange County Asian & Pacific Islander Community Alliance; and Viet Film Fest. From her campus, she has received the Pedagogical Innovation: Civic Engagement Teaching Award and the Community Service Award.
Broadly focusing on regional economic and geopolitical themes in the Asia and Pacific regions, Arnie Saiki is currently leading a working group on data, statistics and valuation in the Pacific. His book “Economic and Ecological Accounting: Towards Intemerate Values,” was published last year by the Pacific Conference of Churches, the Pacific Theological College and the University of the South Pacific.
Since the publication, this campaign has been introduced to the Ecological and Economic Justice program at the World Council of Churches and he is participating in a G8 Interfaith forum for the inclusion of Wellbeing indicators into our economic accounts.
While national statistics and ecological accounting normally fall under the purview of government, academic or international institutions, Arnie has been campaigning in democratizing our ecological data, seeking support for a proof-of-concept accounting program that would enable poor, impacted, and indigenous peoples to actively participate in how we account for our socio and economic biodiversity. Intemerate Accounting is an equation that helps to correct accounting disparities that have, to a large extent, excluded the Global South. Revising our accounting system can provide access and opportunities that cross wide campaign sectors, bringing hope, action and efficacy to reverse climate change, restore our ecological biodiversity, and redistribute global wealth more equitably.
Arnie has been actively promoting and working on global justice campaigns since 2007 when he received a “We the People” grant from the Hawai’i Council of the Humanities for his work on Hawai’i Statehood. He has organized conferences with Hawaiian national independence groups, managed the Save Rapanui campaign after the Chilean military forced a lockdown of Easter Islanders. Arnie spoke at the World Bank representing the Pacific Island Forum, and participated in discussions around regionalism in the Pacific. He was recently appointed the US-Pacific Diplomacy and Solidarity Mission for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), and is on the management team of the Deep Seabed Mining Campaign.
In 2011, Arnie received the blessing from Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell to organize a counter-conference in Honolulu while APEC was there and coordinated the Moana Nui conferences, an international partnership between the International Forum on Globalization and Pua Mohala I Ka Po. For the last ten years he has been campaigning on issues around trade, development, ecological resources, indigenous issues and militarization in the Pacific.
His essays, “TPP at the End of the Line: a briefing on economic cooperation and capacity building” was published in American Quarterly by John Hopkins University Press, and “Manifesting the Liquid Continent,” was published by Yunnan National University, as part of the 1st International conference on Asia and Pacific Ethnology and Anthropology.
Aryani Ong is an Asian American civil rights attorney, activist and consultant.
A subject matter expert on hate crimes, Aryani currently serves as Senior Advisor, Anti-Hate and Belonging program with The Asian American Foundation (TAAF). She also co-authored a report with the Urban Institute to inform the foundation of the community’s capacity to address hate crimes. Aryani has tracked hate crime data for national reports, written among the earliest community response guides in the field, lobbied for stronger federal law and spoken before audiences nationally and before the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Aryani also has worked to safeguard the civil rights and civil liberties of Asian Americans during times of heightened national security concerns between the U.S. and Asia. Since the time of Dr. Wen Ho Lee’s case, and since 2015, as former Co-Founder of APA Justice Task Force, she has spoken out against overreach in the investigations and prosecutions of Chinese American scientists and engineers. She is Co-Founder of the Asian American Federal Employees for Nondiscrimination (AAFEN), which calls for reform of policies and practices that unduly questions the loyalties of Asian Americans in the federal government.
A 30-year veteran Asian American activist, Aryani has worked with all the national Asian American civil rights organizations, including as Staff Attorney for AAAJ-Asian American Justice Center and Deputy Director the national headquarters of OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates. Also active on the local level, she is Founder of the Montgomery Asian Pacific American Network (MoCoPAAN), Senior Advisor of Communities United Against Hate (CUAH), a former member of the parent advisory group Asian Pacific American Student Achievement Action Group (APASAAG) with the school district, and past board chair of the Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy (MCAEL), among other leadership, volunteer and political organizing roles. She has been named among Maryland’s Top 100 Women.
Stephanie serves as the Executive Director of the Jeremy Lin Foundation, a private Foundation with a mission of loving and serving youth via hope, empowerment, and leadership development. The Foundation is focused on overlooked AAPI and cross-racial youth programs that wraparound their youth relationally. Prior to the Jeremy Lin Foundation, Stephanie worked with the Partnership Fund, a civic fund making catalytic investments into underserved communities in New York City. She also worked at Bain and the Bridgespan Group, consulting to some of the world’s largest Foundations. Stephanie received her MBA from the Wharton Business School and a BA from the University of Virginia, where she was President of the Asian Student Union and led efforts for Asian American Studies and an AAPI Mentoring Program.
Pawan Dhingra is Associate Provost and Associate Dean of the Faculty and is Professor of American Studies at Amherst College. He is a former curator at the Smithsonian Institution. His bylines include The New York Times, CNN, and more. He and his work have been profiled in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, TheGuardian, and other venues. His most recent book is Hyper Education: Why Good Schools, Good Grades, and Good Behavior Are Not Enough (New York University Press 2020). His other books include the multiple award-winning Life Behind the Lobby: Indian American Motel Owners and the American Dream (Stanford University Press, 2012) and the award-winning Managing Multicultural Lives: Asian American Professionals and the Challenge of Multiple Identities (Stanford University Press, 2007). He co-authored Asian America: Sociological and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, now in its second edition (Polity Press 2021). An award-winning teacher, he also appears in the documentary, Spelling the Dream. He is President-elect of the Association for Asian American Studies and has been Chair of the Board of the South Asian American Digital Archive. He has been department chair and held tenured positions at Tufts University and Oberlin College.
I am professor and chair of the Department of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington (UW). I’m also UW’s Director of the Diversity Minor Program and the Oceania and Pacific Islander Studies program. My academic research focuses on migration and culture, community change, and multicultural education. My latest book, The Ocean in the School, is an ethnography of Pacific Islander students and their allies who attempted to make meaning out of their schooling by transforming their own university. I’m currently editor-in-chief of ALON: Journal for Filipinx American and Diasporic Studies, former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Asian American Studies, and former president of the Association for Asian American Studies. I obtained my PhD degree in Communication from the University of California, San Diego.
Thushyanthi (Thushy) Muruges (she/her) is the Equitable Design Lead, People & Experience at Culture Amp, an ICF certified coach, and DEI advisor. She designs equitable people programs and practices that allow anyone to grow and thrive. She is passionate about helping others find non-linear paths to career happiness, and coaches non-traditional candidates to pivot into tech. At Culture Amp, she has formalized their employee resource group (ERG) program, ensuring that the groups are able to set ambitious goals and help their communities thrive. She has significant experience in DEI data and reporting, ERG governance and management, and organizational accessibility and compliance.
Wendy Awai-Dakroub (she/her) is a highly experienced marketing and technology professional with over 25 years of industry expertise. As the CEO and founder of ‘Ōhi’a Technology Group, she has dedicated herself to providing innovative technology solutions to a wide range of clients, including non-profit, federal, state, local, and private sector businesses. Born and raised in Hawaii, Wendy began her career in the Middle East, where she worked for Cisco Systems as their Regional Marketing Manager. During her time in this role, she managed the Middle East region and traveled extensively throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia. At the same time, she founded the first Sushi restaurant franchise in Dubai, Sumo Sushi & Bento. Upon returning to Hawaii, Wendy decided to pursue her passion for technology consulting and founded ‘Ōhi’a Technology Group. Today, the company offers a wide range of IT technology and micro-consulting services, including service management, application deployment, cloud migration, and custom web development. Under Wendy’s leadership, ‘Ōhi’a Technology Group has become a certified WBENC business and is working towards obtaining WOSB status to pursue government contracts. Additionally, she is the founder of Acton Digital Academy, a learner-driven 21st Century school that provides alternative learning opportunities for at-risk, low-income youth in Hawaii who are interested in a career in new technology. With her diverse background in marketing and technology, combined with her commitment to innovation and community service, Wendy Awai-Dakroub is a highly respected leader in the industry.
Gloria Lau (she/her) has over 30 years of experience in leading nonprofit and financial services organizations, both in the U.S. and internationally. She was formerly the CEO of YWCA USA in Washington, D.C. as well as of the YWCA Hawai’i Island in Hilo, Hawai’i. She has held executive management positions at Charles Schwab in the Advisor Services and International divisions. She served as President and CEO of a Tokyo-based joint venture between Charles Schwab and a Japanese financial services organization, Managing Director of Charles Schwab Europe, and President of Charles Schwab Asia & Americas. She also worked at Citicorp, where she was Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Consumer Banking. Gloria is a co-founder of FoundHer, the first Hawai’i-based accelerator program for women entrepreneurs, especially those of Asian American, Pacific Island, or native Hawaiian descent who are often overlooked in accelerator or incubator programs. She has also served as a business strategy consultant to a Hawai’i-based artist and non-profit. She continues to work with nonprofits and early-stage businesses through her consulting practice. Gloria received a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Veronica Deenanath (she/her) is a Senior Evaluator at the Minnesota Office of Higher Education for the Get Ready Program and the co-founder of Emergent Evaluation Group–a consulting firm that uses a system based equity approach to help organizations understand the impact of their work. Dr. Deenanath received her Ph.D. in Family Social Science with a Program Evaluation emphasis from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and is a Certified Professional Project Manager through the University of St. Thomas. She is passionate about racial equity in education, creating a diverse workforce that is representative of the communities we serve and building wealth for Black, Indigenous, Communities of Color. Her work focuses on college and career access and success, workforce development, immigrant and first-generation college students and families. She is one of the founding members of the Black, Indigenous, Women of Color Employee Resource Group and current co-chair in the state of Minnesota.
Mary Tablante (she/her) is a communications professional and advocate for the Filipino American and broader AAPI community who is passionate about raising visibility and storytelling around racial justice. She serves on the AAPI audience strategy team at AARP, working on projects and campaigns that empower the 50+ AAPI community members and their families. She also serves on the board of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance – D.C. Chapter to build worker power and promote civic engagement. Previously, Mary was the assistant director of communications at the civil rights organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC where she planned and created digital advocacy campaigns and messaging ranging from protecting voting rights, fighting for the family-based immigration system, combating xenophobia, and more. Mary has also covered AAPI issues and stories as a freelance reporter and journalist. She has been involved in Washington, D.C. AAPI community for a decade, having worked at the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and also served on the boards of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), KAYA – Filipino Americans for Progress, and more. Mary loves giving people–travelers and locals alike–D.C. recommendations and is a big fan of public libraries, public transportation, and collecting pens and notebooks.
Sara Lee (she/her) currently serves as the General Counsel at VSCO, a photo and video editing platform that equips users with creative tools and a creative community. At VSCO, she oversees all legal, compliance and Trust & Safety matters, to ensure a safe and positive community for all creators. Previously, Sara served as General Counsel at Stella & Dot, a Sequoia capital backed company focused on flexible entrepreneurship for women. Prior to that, she served as corporate and securities counsel to many startups, emerging and established companies.
Andrew Peng (he/him) is co-founder and President of The Yappie, a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to tracking the rise of Asian American and Pacific Islander power and activism. Outside of The Yappie, he serves as Communications Advisor at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, as well as Communications Associate at OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates. He is a member of the Asian American Journalists Association. A San Diego, California native who was raised on the East Coast, he graduated from Rutgers University-New Brunswick in May 2021 with a B.A. in strategic public communication and political science. He previously interned with a variety of government agencies and nonprofits in Washington, D.C., including the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC. In his free time, he enjoys photography and eating soup dumplings.
Dr. Jeremiah Cho Sataraka (he/him) is a full-time lecturer in the Ethnic Studies Department at CSUB. He teaches Pacific Studies, Asian American Studies and Ethnic Studies courses and is the co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Pride Faculty & Staff Affinity group. Dr. Sataraka’s primary research interests include conceptualizing an emergent Ocean Critical Race Theory and increasing the visibility of QTPI (Queer and/or Transgender Pacific Islander) activists and communities like U.T.O.P.I.A. (United Territories of Pacific Islander Alliance). Dr. Sataraka received his Ph.D. in Cultural Studies & Social Thought in Education from Washington State University (Pullman, WA). Prior to CSUB, he worked with a non-profit organization in Fresno serving primarily Southeast Asian communities to increase COVID-19 education and vaccination rates, and the Central Valley Pacific Islander Alliance (CVPIA).
Weonhee (she/her) was raised in Virginia and now resides with her family in Decatur, GA. Although she attended public K-12 schools, she didn’t learn of America’s diverse history until adulthood. She is now advocating for a different educational experience for students in Georgia. (Learn more about her perspective and experiences here.) Weonhee completed her studies at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Management and previously worked at Marriott Hotels, Starwood Hotels, and Hotel Commonwealth. As a fulltime caregiver of her children, she began and leads Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committees in City Schools of Decatur and is a board member of Georgia Council for History Education.
Sabrina Sha (she/her) is a daughter to Taiwanese immigrants, and a Houston transplant who’s lived in Austin since 2018. She is currently a political fundraiser having previously worked for almost every race up and down the ballot in Texas and one of the key organizers of Austin’s Stop Asian Hate Rally. She is the president of Asian Democrats of Central Texas, the precinct chair for Cherrywood neighborhood, and Vice Chair of the Travis County Democratic Party. A former public auditor and anthropologist, Sabrina’s professional and personal objective is to help those who don’t have a seat at the table get one by helping them build the resources they need to amplify their voice and tell their story. In her spare time, find her scheming with her familiars, Binx and Toki.
Trish Fontanilla (she/her) is a community and CX consultant with over a decade of experience working at tech startups and scaleups. You can find her paying forward that tech knowledge as an Advisor for Unruly Studios, as well as being a mentor and lecturer at different colleges and universities. Trish is also a proud Filipino American and co-founded BOSFilipinos, a community focused on elevating Filipino culture through events, content, and programming in greater Boston. In her spare time, Trish is a volunteer leader for Boston Cares and serves on the Board of Directors at Food For Free.
NAOMI HORIBE is a producer from Tokyo, Japan. She was an Associate Producer for IS THIS A ROOM and DANA H. on Broadway. She has worked for various theatrical organizations in NY, including Ars Nova, Manhattan Theatre Club, and New York Musical Festival. She is currently a Producing Associate at Artists at Play. Before she moved to the United States from Tokyo, she sold musicals and plays, such as some with a Japanese cast: MISS SAIGON, LES MISERABLES, WICKED, THE LION KING, THE LITTLE MERMAID, SISTER ACT, etc., and shows while they were on international tours in Japan: DREAMGIRLS, WAR HORSE, AMERICAN IDIOT, ONCE, BRING IT ON, etc. She was a participant in the inaugural group of Theatre Producers of Color. She earned her MBA from Monroe College, King Graduate School of Business in New York, and certificates in Copyright Law, Trademark Law, Operations Management, and Marketing from the University of Pennsylvania.
Jessica Nguyen (she/her) is a 2nd generation Vietnamese American who is passionate about aligning her professional experience in digital media and philanthropy with her interests in social justice, movement building, and community change.
Jessica currently works as the Racial Equity in Journalism (REJ) Fund Program Associate at Borealis Philanthropy, where she helps support their mission in strengthening the capacity and sustainability of BIPOC-led organizations that provide relevant, accurate information and increase civic engagement in the communities they serve.
Prior to her role in philanthropy, she was the founder and host of Project Voice, a podcast dedicated to increasing visibility on issues of the Asian diaspora. In 2020, she led a successful crowdfunding campaign for Project Voice’s first-ever podcast scholarship program for aspiring digital storytellers and in 2021, launched the Project Voice Fund, a giving circle aimed at supporting communities of color during COVID-19 times. She is a 2022 Asian American Women’s Political Initiative Civic Impact Fellow and serves on the steering committee of the Emerging Professionals in Philanthropy (EPIP) – Boston Chapter.
Jessica graduated from Smith College with a BS in Economics.
Lauren Balcita Garces is a city-wide event producer and artist currently based in San Diego, California focusing on diverse community empowerment and sustainable, inclusive economic development.
Currently, she directs the marketing, outreach, and events with the Asian Business Association San Diego representing over 30,000 Asian Pacific Islander owned businesses. Her work is bridged as the Special Events Director of the Convoy District, one of Southern California’s largest pan-Asian economic hubs.
A leader and advocate in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, she serves as President of the National Association of Asian American Professionals – San Diego and as the Co-Chair for the San Diego Asian Pacific Islander (API) Coalition.
Her event production passion and engagements are dedicated to providing platforms and connections for diverse communities and cultures to be highlighted, bridged, and empowered. A few of the signature projects she has worked on include: Filipino Sun Festival, Kinda Kamayan, Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Fair, Asian Cultural Festival, San Diego Night Market, San Diego Ramen Festival, Asian Pacific Islander Festival Day at the San Diego County Fair, San Diego Padres Filipino Heritage Night, Seaworld Lunar New Year, Convoy Nights, and Balboa Park December Nights.
Recently, she was the Curator of Global Shapers in San Diego, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, leading highly accomplished young professional to launch community projects that promote education, equality, and civic participation.
I got my B.S. in Management and Business Economics from UC Merced. I currently work as an Associate Accountant for a nonprofit in San Francisco focused on impact lending & donor-advised funds. My nonprofit project, Money Talk, aims to accelerate equitable access to financial literacy education to all young people.