CAPAL Staff

Staff currently includes the Managing Director and the Programs and Operations Associate who work closely with the Board of Directors in developing and coordinating CAPAL’s diverse programming.

Board of Directors

CAPAL is led by a dedicated and diverse working Board of Directors. Towards the end of each year we go through an official recruiting process and accept applications to join the Board of Directors.  We are happy to hear from you at any time. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Advisory Council

The Advisory Council honors founders and influential APA community leaders who believe strongly in supporting CAPAL in anyway possible and keeps the Board connected to the legacy these individuals have bestowed upon the future generations. As leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors, they continue to open windows of opportunities whenever needed.

CAPAL Staff

Elizabeth Thompson, Managing Director
 Leadership TeamPrior to CAPAL, Elizabeth Thompson worked in a development and communications capacity for Asian Arts Initiative, a community-based multidisciplinary arts center in Philadelphia. She is currently serving on the Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) Metro D.C. Chapter’s Steering Committee and is a mentor for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, DC Chapter (YNPNdc) Mentoring Program. Elizabeth served as the grantmaking co-chair for The Spruce Foundation, which cultivates the next generation of philanthropists through community giving. She is the recipient of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) Diverse Communities Conference and Bridge Conference scholarships and received a scholarship for ProInspire’s Managing for Success Program. She is an active member of AFP, YNPNdc and AAPIP. Elizabeth received her BA in Art History from Western Washington University and her MA in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Pennsylvania. When not promoting young philanthropy and leadership, Elizabeth spends her time thrifting and playing with her handsome Manchester terrier. elizabeth.thompson [at] capal [dot] org

Andrew Lo, Programs and Operations Associate
 Leadership Team A Kansas City native, Andrew received his B.A. in Philosophy and Biology at Saint Louis University. Outside of the classroom he served as president of SLU’s Asian American Association growing AAPI communities and working to to promote social justice for all. He also help to establish Forte, an organization dedicated to providing Saint Louis schools with tutors, instruments, and other resources needed to facilitate an education in music. In 2015, Andrew served as a CAPAL intern first for the USDA Forest Service where he worked to create policies to combat climate change and later as a Programs Assistant for the Foreign Agriculture Service Cochran Program providing growing Eastern European and Eurasian economies with training opportunities within the U.S.   Andrew has a passion for food and music so when he is not consuming delicious food he can often be found singing, playing instruments, and generally causing a ruckus.

Evelynn Bui, Fall Project Coordinator
 Leadership TeamEvelynn is excited to join the CAPAL team as this year’s Fall Project Coordinator. Prior to CAPAL, Evelynn served on staff for the International Leadership Foundation as the 2016 Civic Fellowship Program Manager. She has project management, communications, and advocacy experience in the health sector working across federal agencies, private institutions, and non-profit organizations. Originally hailing from Texas, Evelynn holds a Master of Public Health degree from Baylor University (sic ’em!) and aspires to cultivate and ignite the desire for positive change in her surrounding community. In her spare time she enjoys urban gardening, live music, and adding excessive amounts of garlic to all home-cooked meals.

 

Board of Directors

Carrie Kagawa, Chair
 Leadership TeamCarrie Kagawa is currently Senior Advisor and White House Liaison at the Department of Veterans Affairs and has served at the VA since 2013. Prior to this, Carrie spent four years at the Department of Defense, where she started in 2009 at the Office of Detainee Policy working on issues of detention in Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan. While at Detainee Policy, Carrie volunteered for a six-month deployment to Kabul, Afghanistan where she was assigned to the Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435, which oversaw detention operations and rule of law development. From 2011 to 2013, Carrie served as an Advance Officer to the Secretary of Defense, coordinating and leading logistical negotiations for 23 international and 10 domestic official visits. Past assignments include the White House and the Office of then-Senator Barack Obama. Carrie holds a degree in Psychology and Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dan Lam, Chair Emeritus
 Leadership Team

Dan Lam is a Management Information Specialist at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). At HUD, Dan helps oversee the Department’s financial management systems to ensure that they comply with Federal laws and regulations. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Dan graduated with a B.S. in General Science from the University of Oregon, and later received a M.S. in Information Systems Technology from George Washington University. He previously served on the Board of Directors for the National Organization for Vietnamese American Leadership (NOVAL). Dan, an avid runner, recently completed the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon and the 2015 New York City Marathon.
Christian Edlagan, Vice Chair, Programs
 Leadership Team

Christian Edlagan is a proud Filipino New Yorker, and is currently a Project Assistant at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). At NED, he supports communications and event coordination for the World Movement for Democracy Secretariat. Prior to joining NED, he provided advocacy, outreach, and digital communications support for various non-profits and projects, including Groundswell Energy, All Out, the United Nations Free & Equal campaign, and AARP NY. He graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a B.A. in Political Science, and has worked and studied in Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, and Estonia. He has travelled to over 30 countries, speaks French, and aims to improve his Filipino, Spanish, and Russian. In his leisure time, he enjoys yoga, pub trivia, and charity runs. Follow him on Twitter @EdlaganXian.
Alex Tran, Vice Chair, Operations
 Leadership Team

Alex Tran is an Associate Research Data Analyst for SRA International, currently working in the General Services Administration Office of Government-Wide Policy. At GSA, Alex queries, cleans, analyzes, and researches large data sets in order to help provide metrics and benchmarks for particular function areas throughout the government. Alex graduated in 2014 from the University of Virginia, double majoring in Political Science and Cognitive Science. During his time in college, Alex was actively involved in\u00a0 groups such as Organizing for America, the Multicultural Greek Council, and\u00a0Lambda Phi Epsilon, organizations that enabled him to engage and uplift the community. Alex’s multicultural background (French/Chinese) drives his passion for traveling and learning about new cultures, in addition to music, soccer, and service.

Jasmine Chan, Vice Chair, Development
 Leadership Team

Jasmine Chan is Assistant Director of Communications and Engagement at Ernst & Young. At EY, Jasmine manages internal communications strategy for the firm’s 210,000+ employees. Prior to EY, Jasmine managed global marketing and PR for Clements Worldwide, an international insurance brokerage and risk management provider. She began her communications career at Edelman, focusing on corporate communications, crisis/issues management and integrated brand marketing for Fortune 100 clients like Shell, GE and others. Born in Lowell, MA, Jasmine spent her childhood in Hong Kong before living in Los Angeles, New York, London and Washington D.C. Jasmine holds a M.Sc. in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics (LSE) and a B.A. in History with a minor in East Asian Studies from New York University.
Mai Ichihara, Treasurer
 Leadership Team

Mai Ichihara is currently a Program Assistant for the Government Affairs team at the Natural Resources Defense Council where she supports the legislative advocates in their implementation of governmental strategies and helps coordinate interactions with Congress, the administration, and policy experts to defend and expand U.S. environmental laws. Previously, she worked as an Associate Producer for the D.C. Bureau of TV Asahi, a Japanese broadcast network, where she covered news on foreign affairs and U.S. politics. Prior to that, she held various public service positions including at the State Department, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Congress. Mai holds a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University, and her most memorable school experience was studying abroad in Shanghai and Beijing in 2011. As a student, she was active in the AAPI community as a board member of the Japanese American Student Alliance and Vice President of an Asian interest sorority, and she hopes to continue promoting cultural diversity and service wherever she goes.
Shiv Rawal, Secretary
 Leadership Team Shiv Rawal currently serves as the research assistant for housing policy at the Center for American Progress. In this capacity, he advises the center’s economic policy team in developing policies and advocacy that further affordable housing and promote a fair, inclusive, and stable housing market. Prior to American Progress, Shiv interned for the White House Domestic Policy Council’s rural affairs team and for the City Manager’s Office in Austin, Texas. A proud Texan, Shiv graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with two bachelor’s degrees in Plan II Honors and government with a minor in sociology. At UT, Shiv served on the board for the Indian Students Association and as a co-captain for Punjabbawockeez, a South Asian fusion dance team on campus. Originally from Tyler, Texas, Shiv moved to Washington to pursue his passion for public service. He looks forward to serving the AAPI community through CAPAL.

Becky Chao
 Leadership Team Becky Chao is a paralegal specialist. Prior to this role, she worked with the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute (BALI), helping to secure funds and develop curricula for the non-profit organization’s leadership programs targeting young women and girls from minority backgrounds in the New York City tri-state area. Becky graduated in 2015 from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts. At Duke, she pursued majors in public policy studies and linguistics as well as a minor in economics. She explored the intersection of these fields in an honors thesis focusing on the development of the English language as a form of capital among students in China who study English abroad in the U.S., shedding insight on the ways in which China’s language and education policies interact with the U.S.’s immigration policies. As an undergraduate student, Becky obtained valuable experience in public service through internships with the Bureau of Industry and Security at the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of State. In her free time, Becky enjoys reading contemporary novels, discovering new artists, watching comedies and period dramas, and baking delicious treats.

Sam Cho
 Leadership Team

Sam Cho is the Special Assistant to the Deputy Administrator at the General Services Administration. Prior to his appointment in the Administration, Sam worked in the Office of Congressman Ami Bera where he managed the financial services, banking, tax, small business,  foreign affairs, trade, and defense portfolio. Sam has also worked at the US Department of State as an analyst and the Economic Section of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea during the implementation phase of the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement. He also worked on economic development and entrepreneurship issues for The White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders. He is the founder of the non-profit Pangea Initiative, and served as its Executive Director from 2008 to 2011. Sam holds an MSc International Political Economy from The London School of Economics (LSE) and B.A. in International Studies from American University where he served as the President of the Korean Student Association. He is also the recipient of the 2014-2015 APAICS Congressional Fellowship.
Michael Dee
 Leadership Team

Michael Dee is an associate at DLA Piper, where he practices commercial litigation.  He is also the Vice President of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance D.C. lodge.  A California native, Michael attended the University of California, San Diego for college where he received a B.A. in Political Science and was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.  While in college, Michael was an APAICS summer intern and worked as a Senate Doorkeeper at the U.S. Capitol.  After graduating, Michael attended Duke Law School and worked in a legal clinic dedicated to providing legal services for disabled individuals in North Carolina.  In his spare time, Michael enjoys stand-up comedy, traveling, cooking, surfing and snorkeling (although there is noticeable lack of ocean near Washington, D.C.), craft (and non-craft) beer, and unprofessionally critiquing movies.
Tiffany Hsieh
 Leadership Team

Tiffany Hsieh serves as the Development and Office Coordinator for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators and works to empower environmentally progressive state lawmakers. Tiffany previously worked at the State Climate Hub as the Program Coordinator where she assisted environmental groups and state governments with the implementation and compliance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. She has interned at the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and the United Nations Environment Programme. Tiffany graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Management and a minor in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning.
Mike Kwan
 Leadership Team

Mike Kwan is an editorial producer at a communications agency, where he works on-site at a federal agency. In this role, he produces web content and drives consumer engagement initiatives with the Digital team. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, he has served in several digital leadership roles for nonprofits and campaigns, including the Center for Asian American Media and a San Francisco mayoral campaign. Mike is passionate about elevating the voices of the AAPI community, serving on the Board of Asian Pacific Americans for Progress in 2011 and volunteering on the CA campaign to ban shark finning. In the fall of 2014, he was the social media manager for APIAVote. He graduated from the University of California – Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Politics.
Diya Li
 Leadership Team

Diya Li is the communications coordinator for the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, where she oversees the center’s media relations, publications, social media, and webpage. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in political science, Diya worked at a number of news organizations, including: KTSF, a leading Asian television station in California; Singtao Daily, the second largest Chinese-language newspaper/magazine in the world; and the Wang Post, a web journal focused on Asian affairs. She has also worked on several political campaigns, from President Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012 to the San Francisco mayoral race in 2011 and the California gubernatorial race in 2010. Diya has studied US-China relations at Peking University in Beijing, China, and Spanish language and European relations at the University of Cordoba in Cordoba, Spain. In the past few years, she backpacked alone through 17 countries, across 4 continents. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and English, and studies Spanish and Russian.
Janet Namkung
 Leadership Team

Janet Namkung is currently the Civic Engagement Associate at OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, working to mobilize and engage OCA’s members and the AAPI community in civic participation. She was also the Chapter and Membership Associate, before joining the Policy Team at OCA. Prior to working for OCA, Janet was a Team Leader for AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), in the Southwest Region. As a Team Leader, she provided experience and leadership to teams of AmeriCorps NCCC members as they worked to strengthen communities. She led a team of 8-10 Corps Members, in service projects, in areas of natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development. Janet is also the Service Committee Co-Chair for AmeriCorps Alums DC Board. Janet is a graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a Bachelors of Art in Psychology. In her spare time, Janet enjoys food vacations, craft beers, exploring new cities, and going to live shows.
Andrew-Brian Nguyễn
 Leadership Team

Andrew-Brian Nguyễn is a Presidential Management Fellow, Budget Analyst at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Prior to earning a Master of Public Policy from the McCourt School, he served as a Legislative Aide to former California Assembly member Mike Feuer. He was the primary staff person for AB 1436 (2012), which was enacted to increase voter participation through same-day voter registration in California. His extensive experience advocating for the Asian Pacific Islander community includes being the External Affairs Director of the Asian Pacific Islander Capitol Association (APICA) where he liaised with API elected officials and the greater Sacramento API community. As a former External Vice President for the Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations (UNAVSA), he advocated for increased civic engagement and education among Vietnamese youth. Andrew-Brian attended the University of California, San Diego as an undergraduate and served as President of the Vietnamese Student Association and co-founded the Coalition of Asian Pacific Islanders (CAP).
Elizabeth Thompson, Managing Director
 Leadership TeamPrior to CAPAL, Elizabeth Thompson worked in a development and communications capacity for Asian Arts Initiative, a community-based multidisciplinary arts center in Philadelphia. She is currently serving on the Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) Metro D.C. Chapter’s Steering Committee and is a mentor for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, DC Chapter (YNPNdc) Mentoring Program. Elizabeth served as the grantmaking co-chair for The Spruce Foundation, which cultivates the next generation of philanthropists through community giving. She is the recipient of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) Diverse Communities Conference and Bridge Conference scholarships and received a scholarship for ProInspire’s Managing for Success Program. She is an active member of AFP, YNPNdc and AAPIP. Elizabeth received her BA in Art History from Western Washington University and her MA in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Pennsylvania. When not promoting young philanthropy and leadership, Elizabeth spends her time thrifting and playing with her handsome Manchester terrier. elizabeth.thompson [at] capal [dot] org

Justin Trinidad
 Leadership Team

Justin Trinidad is currently the Civil Rights Fellow at OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership driven organization dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans. Born in the Philippines and raised in Richmond, VA, Justin Trinidad graduated from the University of Virginia in May 2015 with a B.A. in Foreign Affairs. At UVA, Justin served as President of the Organization of Young Filipino Americans and on the board and councils of the Asian Student Union, Madison House Medical Services, and the Multicultural Student Center Initiative. During the summer of 2014, Justin interned at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI). Through his work at the Initiative, he cultivated a passion for Asian Pacific American Issues and developed the skills necessary to advocate and provide a voice for the community. Recently, Justin interned with the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI) through the Department of State. His experiences with international and domestic issues have sparked his drive in continuing public service.

Alton Wang
 Leadership Team

Alton Wang is currently the Communications and Development Associate at Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote), working to mobilize and engage AAPIs in electoral and civic participation. Alton is originally from the San Gabriel Valley in the Los Angeles area, only moving to the East Coast when he attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut where he received a B.A. in Government and Sociology. At Wesleyan, he chaired the Asian American Student Collective and pushed for increased visibility of Asian Americans in the curriculum, as well as taught a for-credit course on Asian American history. First coming to Washington, D.C. as an intern through the APAICS Summer Internship Program, Alton is passionate about advancing AAPIs politically and building capacity for the AAPI community. He blogs regularly about AAPI issues and current events at unhyphenate.me and considers Twitter his virtual home (@altonwang).

Legal Counsel

Will Xu
 Leadership Team

Will Xuis a Public Defender in Brooklyn, NY, where he represents low-income individuals charged with criminal and family offenses. He has also previously worked to halt illegal evictions in communities vulnerable to gentrification, leveraging litigation and grassroots organizing to empower low-income, often minority tenants. Outside of the court room, Will serves on the Board of Directors for Odanadi US, an organization supporting the rescue and rehabilitation of human trafficking victims in Southern India. He is also a volunteer with the American Red Cross, where he leads trainings on the laws of armed conflict in the Great New York area. When he is not working, Will is an avid urban biker skilled at dodging city traffic, and casually engages unwilling participants in conversation about his love of airplanes – a relic of his past life as an engineer. Will graduated from the American University Washington College of Law, where he focused on human rights.

  *Titles are used for identification purposes only. All board members are serving in their personal capacity and do not represent the respective employers that they work for. 

Advisory Council

  • Chantale Wong, Chair
  • John Kusano, Vice Chair
  • Jasmeet Ahuja
  • Priscilla Baek
  • Christine Chen
  • Gene Kim
  • Jeewon Kim
  • Joon Kim
  • Michael Fung
  • Rebecca Lee
  • Hung Nguyen
  • Farook Sait
  • John Trasviña

Honorary Advisory Council

  • Daphne Kwok
  • Chiling Tong
  • April Osajima
  • Lin Liu
  • Paul Igasaki
  • Bob Sakaniwa
  • Julian Ha
  • James C. Ho

Former Board of Directors