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2016 Washington Leadership Program: Opening Ceremony

June 8, 2016 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

| Free

Online registration is now closed. Please register at the event.

Join us as we kick off the 2016 season of CAPAL’s Washington Leadership Program (WLP) “Redefining Public Service”. Our Opening Ceremony will act as an introduction by exploring public service through unique and diverse angles within the context of AAPI identity. It will attempt to broaden the scope of public service beyond the traditionally associated careers. Lastly, our opening ceremony will orient participants to the objectives of the WLP and overview the entire summer series.


Chris Ornelas 2016 Washington Leadership Program: Opening CeremonyChris Ornelas serves as chief operating and strategy officer of the National Association of Broadcasters. In this role, Chris directs the daily operations and provides strategic guidance to NAB’s advocacy teams in addressing the diverse legal and regulatory issues facing broadcasters today. Chris also leads NAB’s strategic alliances program, and in this capacity promotes diversity, inclusion and expanding ownership and management opportunities for minorities and women.

Chris currently serves on the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Advisory Council, and the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies’ Board of Directors.

Prior to joining NAB, Chris was chief counsel on communications and technology policy in NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith’s U.S. Senate office, overseeing all matters relating to communications, media, entertainment and technology before the Senate Commerce Committee.

Chris’ early career included nearly a decade in the Washington offices of law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP, where he represented broadcast clients on policy, regulatory and transactional matters before the FCC.

Chris earned a J.D. from the Washington College of Law at The American University and a bachelor’s degree in Rhetoric and Communications Studies from the University of Virginia.  Chris, who is of Hispanic and Asian descent, lives on Capitol Hill with his wife Maria and their son.


 2016 Washington Leadership Program: Opening CeremonyJoel Szabat is Founder of the International Leadership Foundation (ILF). Joel founded ILF in California and led it to Washington, D.C. in 2000. As an Executive Director of the Maritime Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Mr. Szabat acts as chief operating officer, improving and strengthening the U.S. marine transportation system to meet the economic, environmental, and security needs of the United States.

Prior to his current appointment, Mr. Szabat was deputy assistant secretary for transportation policy. In 2009, he oversaw DOT’s implementation of $48 billion in Recovery Act programs, including Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants. He rejoined DOT in January 2008 after eighteen months as chief of staff of the Small Business Administration, where he spearheaded the creation of the Patriot Express loan program to help veterans and their families. He also helped reform the organization’s disaster assistance, small business lending, and contract assistance programs.

Before joining SBA, he worked for Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, starting in 2002 as the deputy for policy, then budget. In 2005, Mr. Szabat served in Iraq, directing the U.S. government’s efforts to help rebuild Iraq’s railroads, ports, and airports. Mr. Szabat also served in President George H.W. Bush’s administration, first as a management advisor to the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, then as the EPA’s liaison to California’s environmental and resource agencies. From 1993 through 2001, he was the Principal Consultant for Transportation to California State legislators.


Sarah Ha Profil Pic 2016 Washington Leadership Program: Opening CeremonySarah Ha serves as the Senior Managing Director of Asian American & Pacific Islander Initiative on the Public Partnerships team at Teach For America. Education Week recently featured her work around building a more diverse, informed and culturally responsive pipeline of educators: In Efforts to Boost Teacher Diversity, Asians and Pacific Islanders Seek Inclusion.

Sarah currently serves on Teach For America’s Diversity Action Task Force aiding the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer and the Chief Executive Officer in charting the future direction of the organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusiveness commitments. Prior to joining the organization, Sarah was the Senior Director of Programs and Student Affairs at the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) and Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program in Washington, DC. She oversaw the strategic development and implementation of academic support, leadership development, and community-building programs for recipients of the APIASF and GMS scholarship awards. She also worked in partnership with the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE) to plan and host APIASF’s annual Higher Education Summits in Washington, DC.

Sarah has nearly 10 years of experience working in multicultural affairs conducting research on the educational experiences of underrepresented and underserved students in higher education in addition to coordinating diversity and inclusion programming and initiatives. Prior to APIASF and GMS, Sarah worked in the Office of the Dean of Students at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the UCLA LGBT Campus Resource Center, and served as an Intergroup Dialogue Facilitator dedicated to creating inclusive and diverse campus environments. Her previous work experience includes a legal analyst position at Cowen and Company, LLC and her litigation paralegal role at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

Sarah earned her Masters of Education degree in Student Affairs, Higher Education & Organizational Change from UCLA. She received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Faith, Peace & Justice from Boston College.

Heart + Head = Hustle Workshop

This workshop offers an opportunity to put together elements of our lives, stories, and experiences to clarify what is in our hearts, what is in our heads, and how we can merge the two to reach our hustle. “Heart” is the issues, ideas, and people that move you. “Head” is your unique gifts: the skills, abilities, knowledge, connections, and everything else you bring to the table. “Hustle” is what happens when you align your heart and your head, doing work that draws from both of these spheres. This refers to those times in which you are really moving. You are in the zone, losing track of time, doing the work you would do for free. Why? Because you are driven by something extraordinary!


 2016 Washington Leadership Program: Opening Ceremony 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.

Support for the Opening Ceremony session is sponsored by Teach for America

More About The Washington Leadership Program

The Washington Leadership Program (WLP) provides a space for young AAPI students interning in Washington, D.C. to come together, build community, and explore their heritage within the context of public service. Through eight weekly sessions over the summer, WLP introduces students to AAPI public service leaders who can inform and inspire students’ own civic engagement. The overarching theme for WLP 2016 is Redefining Public Service, and each session will challenge the conventional image of public service through its content, its speakers, or its activities.

2016 Washington Leadership Program Planning Committee Soo Koo • Amy Wantanabe • Krystal Ka’Ai • Irene Lin • Rebecca Lee • Gita Ram • Daniel Jung • YLan Nguyen • Shiv Rawal • Justin Trinidad • Mai Ichihara • Tiffany Hsieh • Sam Cho • Carrie Kagawa • Christian Edlagan • Alton Wang • Elizabeth Thompson

We encourage you to join our mailing listlike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.

Online registration is now closed. Please register at the event.

By registering for CAPAL’s Washington Leadership Program, you give permission to be recorded or photographed during the session.

CURRENTSponsorsEvent 01 2016 Washington Leadership Program: Opening Ceremony


June 8, 2016 6:00 pm
June 8, 2016 8:00 pm


HVC-215 (U.S. Capitol Visitor Center)
The U.S. Capitol Washington, DC 20035 United States