I first heard about CAPAL when I ran into a board member at a think tank event in 2011. I was involved with Asian American initiatives as a college student but was unfamiliar with ways to continue that kind of work as a young professional. The board member invited me to a few CAPAL events, and I quickly saw that CAPAL was a great way to get plugged into DC’s vibrant AANHPI community. DC can be an intimidating place, but the CAPAL community opened my eyes to how I, as a newcomer to DC, could get involved with civic discourse and advocate for causes I care about.
My most memorable experience as a CAPAL board member was organizing events on foreign policy, which were somewhat new for CAPAL at the time. One that stood out in particular was a panel discussion I moderated with AANHPI officials from the State Department, USAID and intelligence community responsible for the US government’s policies in the Asia-Pacific region. It was fascinating to hear about their experiences, challenging perceptions abroad of what an American looks like and also overcoming stereotypes and prejudice at home. At the time, I too was working on Asia policy at the State Department, so a lot of what they shared resonated deeply with me.
A few years after my time at CAPAL, I moved to the Bay Area to start a new job in the tech industry. I ended up back in the DC area last year after my wife got matched to a pediatric residency program. Many of the board members I served with during my first stint here have become lifelong friends, and it’s a tremendous blessing to be back in the same town as some of those friends once again. Professionally, my experience in CAPAL has pushed me to seek out opportunities to promote public service wherever I am, even if I’m no longer in the public sector. Technology presents a tremendous opportunity to enable a more inclusive and representative civic discourse, and I believe CAPAL has an important role to play in realizing that for the AANHPI community.
Since my time as a board member, CAPAL has become a more professionalized organization, with an expanding full-time staff and a new cohort of Advisory Council members. I was honored to join the Advisory Council this year, which has allowed me to witness this growth up close and given me an opportunity to support the needs of a new generation of CAPAL leaders. As an all-volunteer board, CAPAL has always had to navigate a tricky balance between being accessible to professionals new to the civic/policy space (as I was when I first encountered CAPAL) and investing in the capacity to execute an ambitious, long-term vision. What’s certain is that the extended CAPAL community continues to grow, with more and more alumni living out CAPAL’s mission for expanding AANHPI representation and leadership in public service. That’s been very exciting to witness.
Andrew is a Senior Analyst on Google’s Public Policy & Government Relations team and manages Google’s engagements with the U.S. Executive Branch. Andrew plays a leading role in shaping Google’s policy agenda in security, artificial intelligence, digital trade, and transportation and infrastructure, among a wide range of other internet and technology policy issues. Previously, Andrew was a Policy Advisor on Google’s Trust & Safety team and developed product policies for Google’s Search, Android, Chrome, and early-stage virtual reality and IoT products.
Andrew started his career at the Pentagon as a Country Director for China and South Korea in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He continued his government service at the State Department, managing North Korea political-military issues in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific affairs and then moving to Embassy Rangoon to serve as the Special Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to Burma.
Andrew has lived and traveled extensively across Asia and is fluent in Mandarin and Korean. He received his MPA and AB summa cum laude from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is originally from New York and lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife.
Posted by Elizabeth Thompson
Prior 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.