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2023 Washington Leadership Program Session I: AANHPI Diaspora & Identity: Careers in Public Service

June 7 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

This session will feature speakers who have pursued a career in various public service sectors and areas related to public service. Topics of discussion will include bridging AANHPI identity with a public service career, how to get involved with public service post-college, and impact of CAPAL programming and any formative experiences they have had during their public service journey towards their future career. 

Opening Remarks

Christine Chen | Executive Director, Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote
🎓 Current CAPAL Advisory Council Member; Board alumni

Christine Chen is a co-Founder and Executive Director of Asian Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote). APIAVote’s mission is to work with local and state community based organizations (CBOs) to mobilize Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in electoral and civic engagement. Under Chen’s leadership, APIAVote strengthened and expanded APIAVote’s partners into 29 states and made two historical milestones; attracted, then candidate Joe Biden to speak directly to the AAPI electorate, a first in history for a Presidential nominee, and second, contributed to the groundwork that led to the highest AAPI voter turnout in history.




Annie Xiao | Chief of Staff, FiscalNote
🎓 S&I alumni; Board alumni

Annie is a Chief of Staff of FiscalNote (NYSE: NOTE), a leading global technology provider of global policy and market intelligence. In her role, Annie oversees global business strategy, partnerships, and operations for the company’s ESG business unit. Prior to FiscalNote, Annie worked at National CAPACD (National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development) as the Policy Coordinator for two years and served as the Vice-Chair of External Affairs on the CAPAL Board in 2017-2018. Annie is passionate about community empowerment and leadership development; she has dedicated time over the past few years to supporting organizations that work toward the very same mission.

Most recently, Annie served as a Board Member of VIDA Fitness’ Diversity & Inclusion Board from 2021 to 2023. During her tenure, she helped launch VIDA’s 2022 Personal Training Scholarship Program, an initiative to increase diversity in the fitness industry by supporting local minority residents with a demonstrated interest in becoming personal trainers. Currently, Annie is Co-Chair of Women in Government Relations (WGR)’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, where she spearheads the planning process of WGR’s annual wine tasting event and helps organize speaker events to spotlight women leading the way in government affairs and public affairs. Annie is also a Co-Chair of the 10,000 Degrees Young Professionals Council, a diverse group of young business leaders that support students from low-income backgrounds in pursuit of their higher education and career goals.


Cassie He | Consultant, Dalberg Associates
🎓 S&I alumni

Cassie is an Associate Consultant with Dalberg’s Washington DC office. Since joining Dalberg, she has supported foundations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies in sectors including global health, nutrition, and agriculture.

Prior to joining Dalberg, Cassie was a summer associate at the Boston Consulting Group and an intern for the Africa Bureau at USAID. She holds a Bachelor of Science from The University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in Finance and minored in Nutrition.




Alain Xiong-Calmes | Director of State & Local Public Policy, Chamber of Progress
🎓 S&I alumni

Alain Xiong-Calmes is the Director of State and Local Government Relations for the Northeast at the Chamber of Progress, a tech industry coalition committed to ensuring all Americans benefit from technological leaps.

Previously, he worked for Governor Tom Wolf (D-PA), where he was the Governor’s Deputy Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs, focusing on issues related to agriculture, energy, environment, transportation, and labor. He also served as a Policy Aide and as Special Assistant to the Governor.

He has held roles with the Obama Foundation, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and the U.S. Forest Service. During the 2020 election cycle, he was a member of the Pennsylvania Asian-American Pacific Islanders for Biden-Harris Leadership Council, the Biden-Harris Health Policy Committee, and the Biden-Harris 21st Century Government Policy Committee. He is also a Google Next Gen Policy Leader.

Alain is a graduate of American University, where he was Principal Cellist of the American University Symphony Orchestra. While at American University, he was the First Place Winner of American University’s School of Public Affairs Inaugural Public Policy Hackathon. Alain is from the Philadelphia area and is an Eagles fan and Trusts the Process.


Courtney Tran | Senior Associate, Arbor Rising
🎓 S&I alumni

Courtney’s interest in community development began in California, where she served on the Oakland Public Library’s Youth Leadership Council, volunteered with the Berkeley Anti-Trafficking Coalition and assisted research into social determinants of health in America. After graduating from UC Berkeley, she moved to New York to complete a fellowship at Human Rights Watch, where she investigated attacks on medical facilities in conflict zones. She then completed an international development fellowship with the International Innovation Corps and the Self-Employed Women’s Association in India before returning to New York to earn a Master’s in International Affairs at Columbia University. In 2020 Courtney joined Arbor Rising as a Senior Associate, where she provides high-dosage capacity-building management consulting to early-stage nonprofits in the tri-state area.



Shanty Sigrah Asher | Pacific Islander Liaison, Community Relations

Shanty Sigrah Asher is the Pacific Islander Liaison Officer at the Office of Economic Revitalization for the City and County of Honolulu. Previously, Shanty served as an Education Legal Specialist for Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL). Prior to moving to San Diego for Law School in 2015, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Pacific Affairs at the Department of Foreign Affairs for the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). She is an alumnae of the Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) and Asia Pacific Security Studies (APCSS).

Shanty is a graduate of Malem Elementary School and Kosrae High School in Micronesia and earned both her Bachelor of Science in Pre-Law and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration at Chaminade University of Honolulu. After earning her Juris Doctor (JD) law degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego in 2018, Shanty returned to Hawai’i where she became fully engaged in supporting the Micronesian community.

Shanty’s leadership roles have included serving as a board member for The Legal Clinic, president of the Kosrae Women Association, president of the Asia Pacific American Law Student Association at her law school, and a board member of the National Asia Pacific Islander Prosecutors Association. In recognition of Mrs. Asher’s leadership in the Pacific Islander community in Hawaii, Governor David Ige nominated her and was subsequently confirmed by the Hawaii State Legislature to serve on the 12-member Hawaii State Board of Education (BOE).

More About The Washington Leadership Program

The Washington Leadership Program (WLP) provides a space for young AANHPI students interning in Washington, D.C. to come together, build community, and explore their heritage within the context of public service. Through six sessions over the summer, WLP introduces students to AANHPI public service leaders who can inform and inspire students’ own civic engagement.

The Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL) seeks to empower Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) youth by increasing access to public service opportunities and building a strong AANHPI public service pipeline. We envisions a future with equitable AANHPI representation throughout all levels of government and public service.

By registering for CAPAL’s Washington Leadership Program, you give permission to be recorded or photographed during the session. Food provided at this event may contain nuts, dairy, gluten, and other allergens. Vegetarian options will be available. We ask for all guests to follow our mask-required policy and masks will be provided to those without one. If you do not agree, we look forward to your virtual attendance.




June 7
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Categories:
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Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL)