2023 Selection Committee

Equitable Design Lead, People & Experience at Culture Amp

Community & CX Consultant

Operations and Development Manager

Restorative Practices Mentor

General Counsel, VSCO

Project Manager, Office in Diversity & Inclusion for AARP

Senior Evaluator

Business Strategy Consultant

Consultant/MVP Development & Strategist

President and Co-Founder of Ola Brew Co.

Senior Grants Manager

Thushyanthi
Muruges

Equitable Design Lead, People & Experience at Culture Amp

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.

Trish Fontanilla

Community & CX Consultant

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.

Sabrina Sha

Operations and Development Manager

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.

JiJi Wong

Restorative Practices Mentor

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.

Janet Namkung

Director, The Management Center + Co-Founder, Asians* in Focus

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.

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.

Glenn D. Magpantay

Professor of Law & Asian American Studies at Hunter College/ CUNY;

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.
Twitter @magpantay_glenn
LinkedIn /Glenn-D-Magpantay-Esq

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).

Andrew Peng

Co-Founder and President, The Yappie

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.

Sara Lee

General Counsel, VSCO

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.

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.

Veronica Deenanath

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.

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.

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.

J Naehalani Breeland

President and Co-Founder of Ola Brew Co.

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.

Senior Grants Manager

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.

Greg Lutze

Co-Founder of VSCO, Advisor, Venture Partner

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.

Erica
Brozovsky

Host and Writer for PBSDS's Otherwords; Program Coordinator for Stories Within

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

Juliann Anesi

Assistant Professor, Department of Gender Studies, University of California - Los Angeles

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 G. Bewtra, AICP

Planning, Mobility, and Development Advisor to Tucson Mayor Regina Romero

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

Researcher, McREL International

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.

Diana Hwang

Founder/Executive Director, Asian American Women's Political Initiative (AAWPI)

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.

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