Leadership Team

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.

Staff

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Shaima Ahmad

Managing Director

Shaima Ahmad is the Managing Director at CAPAL. She manages the day to day operations at CAPAL, in addition to the long-term development of the organization. Shaima has over a decade of experience working with non-profit organizations. She previously worked with Asian American LEAD where she was responsible for creating, managing, and evaluating youth development programming for underserved youth in the DC metro area. The combination of her love for travel and community service led Shaima to build and run a youth service learning immersion program with a network of nonprofits based in the Sacred Valley of Peru. Shaima grew up in Maryland and later pursued her undergraduate degree in Business Administration in Beijing, China. She loves learning about new cultures, architecture, and traveling.

Contact Shaima at shaima.ahmad@capal.org

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Hannah Park

Programs and Operations Associate

Hannah Park is the Programs and Operations Associate at CAPAL where she handles daily operations and coordinates CAPAL’s various programs such as CAPAL’s Scholarship and Internship Program and the Washington Leadership Program. Hannah graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in International Affairs and English as well as a minor in Spanish. Her interest in advancing exposure to public service opportunities stems from her previous experience of supporting refugee resettlement programs in the metro Atlanta area and assisting with program implementation at a government agency. She formerly interned at non-profit organizations such as The Carter Center and New American Pathways as well as at a women’s magazine based in Bhutan. Hannah enjoys reading, writing, and trying new food.

Contact Hannah at hannah.park@capal.org.

Donna Bebber most recently served as the Executive Director and Co-founder of Hawaii Pops Orchestra. She has worked with many non-profit organizations, planning and implementing fundraising programs. They include Senior Director of Development of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Fund, Director of Development for the University of Hawaii Foundation, John A. Burns School of Medicine, and Vice President of Development for the Honolulu Symphony Society. She also owned the Vera Wang Boutique at the Halekulani Hotel. As a board leadership and fundraising consultant, her past clients include: The Pacific Aviation Museum, Wailua Reservoir Capital Campaign, The USS Missouri Museum Association, Hawaii Pacific Entertainment, The Armed Services YMCA, PlayBuilders, Navy League, and The Hawaii Romance Festival. Donna’s commitment to community service is also extensive. She was a board member of the Manoa Valley Theatre, The Performing Arts Foundation, and the Honolulu Symphony Associates where she is the Past President. She is a past member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals- Aloha Chapter, and the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, and the Japan- America Society of Hawaii. Donna was Hawaii’s Fund Raising Executive of the Year and received the Award of Merit from the City and County of Honolulu. Donna recently relocated to Virginia to be closer to her aging parents. She received her MBA from the University of Phoenix, Hawaii Campus. She has been a Hawaii resident for 25 years.

Felicia Wong is a recent graduate from the College of William & Mary, where she double majored in Neuroscience and Asian American Studies and led the Filipino American Student Association and Global Medical Brigades chapters on campus. She was part of the CAPAL Scholars & Interns Class of 2016, and she hopes to continue the mission that inspired her to connect her interests in healthcare with the community she found in her cultural background and teachings. Felicia has been involved with a variety of media projects affording visibility to minority communities, her most recent project centering on a video for #AAPIs4BLM. Having lived in Germany for most of her childhood, Felicia makes regular trips back to visit her family, providing opportunities for her to indulge in her greatest joys: eating vanilla ice cream with hot raspberry sauce, taking fashion cues from strangers, cooking with her family. Non-country specific pleasures include: biking, music-browsing, RuPaul fangirling. felicia.wong.capal.org

Fotini “Fay” Gan is currently the Public Relations Officer for the Asian Studies Program at Georgetown University in the School of Foreign Service. In her role, she maintains and improves the brand of the Asian Studies Program as well as coordinates the program’s events agenda. Before joining the Asian Studies staff, Fay was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Kaohsiung, Taiwan where she taught English from 1st through 6th grades in rural public schools. Previously, Fay worked in with an international events and communications firm in New York City, working on assignments across three continents.

Fay graduated from Syracuse University with a B.A. in International Relations and a minor in Chinese Studies. In her free time she enjoys traveling, exploring D.C. on foot, blogging, and playing flag football.

Board of Directors

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Karman Chao

Co-Chair

Karman Chao (she/her) is excited to return to CAPAL after being a 2015 intern with the US Department of Agriculture – Rural Development. Her passion to build community power through community engagement, education, and access stems from her experience as a born and raised New Yorker of color, and as a daughter to immigrant parents. Karman’s initial exposure to public service was participating in the Chinese-American Planning Council’s Service Learning high school program in Brooklyn, where she learned the importance of being locally engaged. She later became its Program Coordinator, eventually leading her to spend a summer in Washington, DC through CAPAL. Karman has worked in NYC politics and for a NYS Senator to ensure the inclusion of communities of color in campaigns and policymaking. She is also a digital marketer, having crafted viral content that helped to pass historic NYS legislation, including the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, and the 2020 police reforms that repealed 50A and banned chokeholds. In her spare time, she can be found cooking, watching Broadway shows pre-pandemic, combatting gentrification on Lenape land, and supporting BIPOC-owned mom and pop shops. She previously served on the board of the Japanese American Citizens League – New York Chapter (JACL-NY) as their Communications Director, and remains active in the JACL’s Young Professionals Caucus.

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Kolby Keo

Co-Chair

Kolby Keo (he/him) is a Director at FGS Global where he develops and executes public diplomacy and communications campaigns for international clients. Son and grandson of Cambodian refugees, Kolby proudly worked as a legislative aide for Congressman Alan Lowenthal helping serve one of the largest Khmer communities outside of Cambodia. He previously led stakeholder engagement for the University of California Washington Program (UCDC) and served as an appointed city commissioner for his hometown, Garden Grove, California. He is a past president of the global nonprofit Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP), served as board secretary for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of DC, and continues to serve on the fellows board for the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). Kolby received his BA from UC Irvine and is a proud transfer alum from Orange Coast College, where he served as student body president, district trustee, and held regional and statewide offices advocating for California’s community college students. DC-based for the last seven years, you can typically find Kolby running, eating, or dancing his way across the DMV.

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Chingcha Vang

Vice Chair

Operating from a social justice framework, Chingcha took his passion for Asian American History to the classrooms of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a High School social studies teacher at the Hmong American Peace Academy, Chingcha received the Excellence in Teaching Award at his school during his first year and was promoted to Social Studies Department Chair where he led successful efforts in crafting culturally responsive learning experiences in not just the classrooms, but also in the curriculum. After working as an educator and at the administrative level at his school, Chingcha received his Master’s Degree in Educational Policy and Leadership from Marquette University in 2018. Chingcha shifted his energies towards recruiting and retaining extraordinary and diverse leaders from colleges across the Midwest to teach preK-12th grade students within one of the Teach For America’s 51 regions. He continued to work at TFA in a coaching type role, where he supported over 20 first and second year teachers across 10 middle and high schools in Milwaukee, WI. Most recently, Chingcha’s passion of developing young leaders and centering Asian and Pacific Islander communities at the forefront of his work has led him to Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP). He currently serves as a Program Manager at LEAP where he leads efforts in designing and facilitating inclusive workshops with hopes to continue developing API leaders in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. On his free time, Chingcha serves across a multitude of non-profits in various roles from a Founding Board Member of Our Scholarship to Mentor through APIA Scholars.

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Nisha Kurani

Co-Treasurer

Nisha Kurani is an expert in U.S. health policy. She currently work at KPMG specializing in strategy around and implementation of federal health policy. Previously, she worked at KFF researching, writing, and briefing the media on health care costs, health system performance, disparities for vulnerable populations, and reproductive health. In her spare time, Nisha enjoys creating ceramics, writing, hiking, and spending time with her partner and her dog Ravioli. Nisha received an M.P.P. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.S. from the University of California, San Diego.

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Mayura Iyer

Co-Treasurer

Mayura (she/her) is the proud daughter of Indian immigrants and a 2015 CAPAL Scholar – and is thrilled to be giving back to the AANHPI community and CAPAL by returning as a board member. Currently, she is a Senior Consultant for Alvarez & Marsal in Washington, D.C., specializing in education strategy & transformation. As a former public school teacher and a product of the Virginia public school system, Mayura is passionate about education policy, equity, and reform. Prior to consulting, Mayura was a Legislative Fellow in the U.S. Senate working on health, education, and labor policy. In this role, she helped secure funding for child care providers in the CARES Act stimulus package, and worked on several pieces of bipartisan legislation tackling mental health and maternal health. Previously, she was a Teach for America Corps Member in Dallas, TX and was a recipient of a Fulbright award to Mexico. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and checking off restaurants from her D.C. dining bucket list. Mayura holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Virginia and a Master’s degree in Education from Southern Methodist University.

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Axel Defngin

Axel was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaiʻi, and is from the islands of Yap, Federated States of Micronesia. He earned an MA in Pacific Islands Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He has served as Team Leader and Project Manager at Pacific Students Media, and he currently serves on the Asian & Pacific Islander American (APIA) Scholar Advisory Committee and for The Fourth Branch-Micronesia. Axel currently works as Program Manager for the Islands of Opportunity Alliance (IOA)-LSAMP at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

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ToQuyen Doan

ToQuyen Doan (she/hers) is the Director of Grants and Donor Engagement at RAINN, where she builds partnerships with foundations, corporate partners, and federal leaders to grow the organization’s operating budget to support survivors of sexual violence. Before RAINN, ToQuyen worked on multimillion-dollar federal proposals and contracts with the Department of Education, and fundraised for out-of-school educational opportunities for children in underrepresented, marginalized, and low-income communities, domestically and abroad. ToQuyen also worked to help end homelessness and addiction among veterans; developed resources to help small-scale farmers secure sustainable livelihood opportunities in Vietnam; assisted municipalities in Central Massachusetts applied for grants to aid in the management and development of energy projects; and consulted for various agencies on several sustainable development projects through the lens of social justice. ToQuyen also served in the Peace Corps from 2013-2015 as a rural community development specialist and educator. During her Peace Corps service, ToQuyen founded the Goght Community Resource Center in Armenia, funded through a grant in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development. ToQuyen holds a BA in Environmental Studies, MA in International Development and Social Change, and is Reiki 1 Certified and is completing her 200 Yoga Teacher Training.

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Karim Farishta

Karim Farishta currently serves as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA) at the Pentagon. He is the principal advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs on all matters pertaining to the Department of Defense’s interactions with state, local, and tribal leaders. He works to provide a unified and coordinated strategy for DoD’s outreach and communication with IGA leaders. In addition to these responsibilities, he has been a legislative liaison for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia congressional engagement.

Prior to assuming his presidential appointment at DoD, Karim was the director of strategic alliances at The Asian American Foundation. He spearheaded the $1.1 billion philanthropic launch efforts to advocate for the passage and implementation of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. To build an irrevocable sense of belonging for 23 million AAPIs, he led a $15M+ national anti-hate and belonging grantmaking portfolio by coordinating efforts on government relations, rapid response, cross-racial solidarity, and victims’ emergency services to ultimately track, respond to, and prevent hate.

In the Obama Administration, he served as the Program Manager for the White House Office of Management and Administration and supported the presidential transition team. In the 2020 presidential election, he was a coalitions director in TX and then worked for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris during the presidential inaugural committee. In the 2018 cycle, he managed a U.S. congressional campaign in Texas and executed the first-ever 27-language voter outreach program to turn out minority voters.

Karim was a Fulbright Scholar in Sri Lanka, where he launched an urban collaborative in Colombo to convene government, corporate, and community leaders to address shared concerns. A native of Houston, Texas, his family hails from Bangladesh, Burma, India, and Pakistan. Karim holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and was a Public Policy and Leadership Scholar. He graduated summa cum laude in International Affairs as a Harry S. Truman Scholar from The George Washington University.

Karim serves on the board of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership. He is a NextGen Initiative for Foreign Policy for America member and was recognized in New America’s 2022 Out in National Security Leadership List.

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Michelle Kuang

Michelle Lee Kuang is an attorney and nonprofit co-founder based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is an attorney for TikTok/Bytedance. In addition, she is the Deputy Director and co-founder of AAMPLIFY, an education nonprofit that supports Asian American youth leadership development, community advocacy, and college opportunity. She helps facilitate opportunities for youth to learn about Asian American history and systemic issues and gain the skills and support needed to be empowered leaders for social justice in their communities. Michelle received her B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from the University of California, San Diego, and her J.D. from Cornell Law School, where she was an editor of the Cornell Law Review and the President of the Public Interest Law Union. She represented workers and immigrants as part of the Farmworkers’ Legal Assistance Clinic and participated in legal clinics for agricultural workers in Central California. She spent a semester at the Obama White House in the Counsel’s office, where she worked on matters related to clemency and government ethics. Her prior affiliations also include the Center for Asians United for Empowerment (CAUSE Fellow), Justicecorps and the Asian-Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA).

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Gisela Kusakawa

Gisela Perez Kusakawa is the Executive Director of Asian American Scholar Forum (AASF). AASF endeavors to protect the rights of Asian Americans and immigrants and promote academic belonging, openness, freedom, and equality for all. She was most recently the director of the Anti-Profiling, Civil Rights & National Security program (formerly the Anti-Racial Profiling Project) at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, a national civil rights organization. She acted as the supervising attorney for legal referrals and laid the groundwork for the program. Over the years, she has worked on the intersections of national security, technology, criminal law, and immigration, including Countering Violent Extremism programs, the Muslim Ban, Southeast Asian deportation, immigration enforcement, and surveillance. Gisela has been featured on multiple media outlets including NPR, CNBC, LA Times, and WTOP Podcast “Colors: A Dialogue on Race in America.” Previously, Gisela worked with asylum seekers and detained immigrants. She served indigent immigrants under AmeriCorps in Ohio, and worked as a teacher in Ise City, Japan where she was also a disaster relief volunteer for the Tohoku tsunami. In her younger years, Gisela worked on business and job development in the rural villages of the Philippines, and was a former Rotary Scholar at Kofu City, Japan. She is a recipient of the NAPABA Law Foundation Community Law Fellowship and the Justice Thurgood Marshall Civil Liberties Award for her work in civil rights and public service. She is currently a board member and a founding member of the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Washington, DC. She is a representative of Pinay Powerhouse which seeks to uplift Filipino women in the legal profession. Gisela is admitted to practice law at the District of Columbia and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and received her J.D. from The George Washington University Law School. Originally from Tondo, Manila in the Philippines, Gisela is passionate about helping low-income families and youth feel empowered and reach their potential. She is excited to work with students and young professionals to help them overcome challenges and have a support system. Gisela enjoys calligraphy, painting, and eating delicious food with her loved ones.

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Denise Lew

Ms. Denise Lew (she/her/hers) is a US Air Force veteran who retired as a Colonel from the military after serving 26 years as a healthcare administrator. She is board certified and a Lifetime Fellow (LFACHE) in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and past chair of the ACHE’s Asian Healthcare Leaders Forum (AHLF). After retiring from the military, she spent 10 years as a healthcare consultant with Deloitte Consulting LLP, and supported multiple projects for the Military Health System, specializing in health plan operations, strategic planning, quality management, and patient safety. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she lived in Texas, Virginia, Ohio, Utah and in the Azores, Portugal, before settling in the Washington DC area. During her time at Deloitte, Denise was actively involved in several firm initiatives, including recruiting, the Experienced Hire Initiative, and military veteran transition programs, as well as a wide variety of inclusion activities, such as the firm’s Federal Inclusion Council and the Armed Forces and Asian Business Resource Groups. Denise is also an active member of the Board of Admissions and the Community Affairs Committee of the University Club of Washington DC. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA in Health Arts and Sciences, and earned an MPA from California State University, East Bay. She is a proud single mom of her daughter, Leslie, who currently serves on active duty as a Navy Surface Warfare officer and is a 2013 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and 2020 MBA graduate of the Wharton Business School.

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Mylynh Nguyen

Mylynh Nguyen currently serves as Dean of Scholar Support at the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Her career includes a blend of higher education and nonprofit management experiences with a focus on education equity and racial equity. She has previously served as an educational adviser and faculty member at Northern Virginia Community College, Program Director at Asian American LEAD, Assistant Director at Georgetown University’s Center for Multicultural Equity & Access, and Director of TRIO Upward Bound at Hagerstown Community College. Earlier in her career, Mylynh devoted many years of service to science education as a faculty member and advisor supporting college students studying biological sciences and biotechnology. Mylynh completed her undergraduate degree in physiology and neurobiology at the University of Maryland and graduate studies in biomedical sciences at Hood College and organizational leadership at Gonzaga University. She also holds an executive certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University and a graduate certificate from Columbia University. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, exploring museums, trying new foods, and spending time with her partner and two young children.

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Catt Phan

Catt Phan is the Senior Communications and Training Manager at Cause Communications, where she combines her experience in community relations, strategic communications and storytelling with a passion for amplifying community strength and developing culturally nuanced leaders from diverse backgrounds. Catt provides day-to-day support across Cause’s consulting projects and helps train cohorts on effective communications through Cause’s capacity building services. Driven by her passion to advance justice and equity, Catt has distinct expertise in using grassroots organizing to advocate for social change on every level, from local hard-to-reach communities to national service campaigns. She is a sought after and trusted thought partner and has been featured on multimedia channels, including NBC News, LAist, and Netflix, for her cultural expertise. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with her Bachelor of Arts and University of Southern California with a Master of Public Administration.

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Rachel Rho

Rachel Rho is a finance specialist working in the private sector. She is an expert in financial planning and analysis, as well as strategic corporate development decision making. She has years of prior experience working for government agencies as well, where she was an integral part of the budget cycle and developed, implemented and analyzed budgets. Rachel is interested in expanding her public service opportunities and help support those who may have an interest in a government career or the finance sector. She is always looking for opportunities to give back to the community and loves to volunteer at her local animal shelter. When she can, Rachel enjoys visiting museums, traveling, watching true crime shows, and trying new things.

General Counsel

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Michael Dee

Michael Dee is an attorney and currently works at the law firm DLA Piper. He was also the Vice President of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance D.C. lodge. A California native, Mike 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, Mike was an APAICS summer intern and worked as a Senate Doorkeeper at the U.S. Capitol. After graduating, Mike attended Duke Law School and worked in a legal clinic dedicated to providing legal services for persons with disabilities in North Carolina. In his spare time, Michael enjoys stand-up comedy, traveling, cooking, surfing and snorkeling (although there is a noticeable lack of ocean near Washington, D.C.), craft (and non-craft) beer, and unprofessionally critiquing movies.

Advisory Council

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Chantale Wong

Chair

Chantale Wong currently serves as United States Director of the Asian Development Bank. She was appointed by President Biden to represent the United States on the board of directors in this role. She is passionate about using data to tackle global issues like sustainable international development. Chantale is an expert in open data, public policy, and program management. She has served as an advisor at Amida Technology Solutions. She was the presidentially appointed vice president for administration and finance, and CFO, at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which under her leadership was the named the most transparent aid agency in the world. Prior to her work at MCC she was budget director at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, acting budget director at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the chief of staff to the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

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John Kusano

Vice Chair

John Kusano recently retired from a 35 year career with the US Forest Service from a position as a Senior Advisor to the Deputy Chief for Business Operations at the Forest Service Headquarters in Washington, DC focusing on Diversity and Inclusion Programs and Student Recruitment.

Prior to this he has held a number of positions in various fields and in various locations: Senior Advisor to the Deputy Chief for Research and Development, Forest Service Headquarters in Washington, DC | Division Director of the Human Capital Policy & Strategy Division of the Office of Human Capital Management at USDA involved with Department-wide programs in Human Resources Policy, Workforce Planning, and HR Accountability. | Assistant Director for Human Resource Management with the USDA Forest Service with responsibilities for Workforce Planning, Recruitment, Employee Development and Human Resource Technology. | Assistant Director of Civil Rights, Forest Service Headquarters in Washington, DC | Director of Civil Rights in the Forest Service’s Southwestern Region (NM & AZ). | District Reforestation Forester, Plumas National Forest, Forest Service’s CA Region

John is a graduate of University of California at Santa Cruz and Berkeley.  He currently lives with his wife and two sons in the Washington, DC area. John has been involved with CAPAL since 2007 and helped establish the CAPAL/Forest Service Internship program, served on the Advisory Council, assisted with strategic planning, HR issues, and student interviewing and selections.
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Jasmeet Ahuja

Jasmeet Kaur Ahuja is a lawyer at Hogan Lovells US LLP, where she focuses on privacy and cybersecurity matters. Prior to joining Hogan Lovells, Jasmeet served numerous arms of the U.S. government in developing defense and foreign relations policy. Early in her career, Jasmeet managed a national cybersecurity task force sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As a Presidential Management Fellow with the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense, she assisted in developing and managing the department’s priorities and assessing its capabilities in science and technology. Later, she served as the Director of South Asia for the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, where she implemented the department’s security commitments across the region and managed the distribution of over US$300 million in defense contracts. Most recently, Jasmeet served as the Professional Staff Member responsible for South Asia for the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs. In this role, she drafted legislation that continues to define our relationship with Pakistan and facilitated passage of legislation granting congressional consent to civilian nuclear cooperation with India.

Jasmeet clerked for the Honorable Kent A. Jordan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and for the Honorable Mary A. McLaughlin of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Jasmeet graduated from Yale Law School, where she was a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow for New Americans, and earned a B.S. and an M.S. in engineering from Stanford University, where she graduated with Honors and Phi Beta Kappa.

She serves on the Advisory Boards of The Sikh Coalition, the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership, Project2049, and the Anti-Defamation League of Philadelphia.

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Christine Chen

Christine Chen, the founding executive director of APIAVote from 2006-2008 returned in January 2011 to serve as its current Executive Director.  During her tenure she had strengthened and expanded APIAVote’s partners into 26 states.  In addition Chen serves as President of Strategic Alliances USA, a consulting firm specializing in coalition building, institutional development, and partnerships among the corporate sector, government agencies, and the nonprofit and public sector.

Profiled by Newsweek magazine in 2001 as one of 15 women who will shape America’s new century, Chen served from 2001 to 2005 as national executive director of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), one of the leading APIA civil rights organizations in the country. Leading an organization with more than 80 chapters and affiliates across the nation, she worked with OCA’s national board, executive council, chapter representatives, members and funders while managing a staff of 13.

Chen is well-known by activists across the county. Her track record in building coalitions and working at the grassroots and national levels established her as one of the strongest voices in the APIA community. She has more than two decades of experience in organizing and advocating on issues such as immigration, hate crimes, affirmative action, census, racial profiling, voting rights, election reform, and various derogatory and racist media incidents. Her role as a trusted coalition builder has her effectively building relationships with key Congressional offices including the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, federal agencies, and the administration.

Throughout the years with Chen’s multitasking abilities, Chen also was a member of the executive committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. She also served on numerous boards such as the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Demos Board of Trustees, Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), Youth Vote, Gates Millennium Scholarship Advisory Council, advisory board for the Progressive Majority Racial Justice Campaign, and the Board of Advisors for the Midwest Asian American Students Union, East Coast Asian American Students Union and the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association.  In 2003, she was a founding member of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund and also in 2006, a founding member of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote.

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Carrie Kagawa

Carrie Kagawa is the former Chief of Staff at Truman Center for National Policy and Truman National Security Project, a national non-profit composed of 2,000+ service members, veterans, frontline civilians, policy experts, and political professionals. Prior to this, Carrie served in roles across the government, most recently as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer in Tbilisi, Georgia. Before Peace Corps, Carrie held positions in the Obama Administration to include Senior Advisor and White House Liaison at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Carrie also served at the U.S. Department of Defense, in a range of national security roles, including the Office of Rule of Law and Detainee Policy. This included a six-month civilian deployment to Kabul, Afghanistan. Previous positions include service at the White House and U.S. Senate. Carrie holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Andrew Kim

Andrew is a Senior Analyst at 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, and transportation and infrastructure, among a wide range of other internet and technology policy issues. Previously, Andrew was a Policy Advisor at Google’s Trust & Safety team and developed product policies for Android, Chrome, and emerging 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 security 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.

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Viraj Patel

Viraj Patel is an educator, grassroots organizer, facilitator, transnational feminist, and activist based in Philadelphia, PA. Currently serving as the Associate Director at the Pan-Asian American Community House at the University of Pennsylvania, Viraj works as a member of the staff to achieve the Center’s mission to develop and implements innovative programs for leadership development and community service in close collaboration with Asian American student and community groups. Viraj is also an organizer with the Philadelphia South Asian Collective, East Coast Solidarity Summer, and a founding sister of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. Viraj is a proud past Board member of CAPAL and, during her time in Washington, D.C. worked at Georgetown University and George Washington University in student-centered positions, and was involved with a number of community and nonprofit organizations. Viraj holds a B.A. in English with a Minor in Asian American Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Education from the University of Vermont.

Chantale is an expert in open data, public policy, and program management, as she is currently and advisor at Amida Technology Solutions. She was most recently the presidentially appointed vice president for administration and finance, and CFO, at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which under her leadership was the named the most transparent aid agency in the world. Prior to her work at MCC she was budget director at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, acting budget director at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the chief of staff to the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Chantale was appointed by President Clinton to represent the United States on the board of directors of the Asian Development Bank. She is passionate about using data to tackle global issues like sustainable international development.

John Kusano recently retired from a 35 year career with the US Forest Service from a position as a Senior Advisor to the Deputy Chief for Business Operations at the Forest Service Headquarters in Washington, DC focusing on Diversity and Inclusion Programs and Student Recruitment.

Prior to this he has held a number of positions in various fields and in various locations: Senior Advisor to the Deputy Chief for Research and Development, Forest Service Headquarters in Washington, DC | Division Director of the Human Capital Policy & Strategy Division of the Office of Human Capital Management at USDA involved with Department-wide programs in Human Resources Policy, Workforce Planning, and HR Accountability. | Assistant Director for Human Resource Management with the USDA Forest Service with responsibilities for Workforce Planning, Recruitment, Employee Development and Human Resource Technology. | Assistant Director of Civil Rights, Forest Service Headquarters in Washington, DC | Director of Civil Rights in the Forest Service’s Southwestern Region (NM & AZ). | District Reforestation Forester, Plumas National Forest, Forest Service’s CA Region

John is a graduate of University of California at Santa Cruz and Berkeley.  He currently lives with his wife and two sons in the Washington, DC area. John has been involved with CAPAL since 2007 and helped establish the CAPAL/Forest Service Internship program, served on the Advisory Council, assisted with strategic planning, HR issues, and student interviewing and selections.

 Jasmeet Kaur Ahuja is a lawyer at Hogan Lovells US LLP, where she focuses on privacy and cybersecurity matters. Prior to joining Hogan Lovells, Jasmeet served numerous arms of the U.S. government in developing defense and foreign relations policy. Early in her career, Jasmeet managed a national cybersecurity task force sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As a Presidential Management Fellow with the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense, she assisted in developing and managing the department’s priorities and assessing its capabilities in science and technology. Later, she served as the Director of South Asia for the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, where she implemented the department’s security commitments across the region and managed the distribution of over US$300 million in defense contracts. Most recently, Jasmeet served as the Professional Staff Member responsible for South Asia for the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs. In this role, she drafted legislation that continues to define our relationship with Pakistan and facilitated passage of legislation granting congressional consent to civilian nuclear cooperation with India.

Jasmeet clerked for the Honorable Kent A. Jordan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and for the Honorable Mary A. McLaughlin of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Jasmeet graduated from Yale Law School, where she was a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow for New Americans, and earned a B.S. and an M.S. in engineering from Stanford University, where she graduated with Honors and Phi Beta Kappa.

She serves on the Advisory Boards of The Sikh Coalition, the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership, Project2049, and the Anti-Defamation League of Philadelphia.

Priscilla Baek is the policy lead for Asia at Uber, a smartphone app that is transforming the way cities move. In her role, she leads government and regulatory affairs, stakeholder management, and third party partnerships across the Asia-Pacific region.

Previously, she was senior manager of public affairs at Mitsui & Co, a Japanese trading and investment company, where she specialized in political risk mitigation, policy analysis, and relationship management. Prior to Mitsui, she led a national campaign for international trade at the US Chamber of Commerce, where she successfully advocated for the passage of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement in the US Congress. She was also a key adviser to leadership at the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Financial Leadership, an agency created through the Dodd-Frank Act to support financial regulators in preventing another financial crisis
Ms. Baek has serves on the board of directors and advisory council of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing the next generation of Asian American public service leaders. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Spanish Studies from Duke University and a Master of Arts in Korean Studies at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

Christine Chen, the founding executive director of APIAVote from 2006-2008 returned in January 2011 to serve as its current Executive Director.  During her tenure she had strengthened and expanded APIAVote’s partners into 26 states.  In addition Chen serves as President of Strategic Alliances USA, a consulting firm specializing in coalition building, institutional development, and partnerships among the corporate sector, government agencies, and the nonprofit and public sector.

Profiled by Newsweek magazine in 2001 as one of 15 women who will shape America’s new century, Chen served from 2001 to 2005 as national executive director of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), one of the leading APIA civil rights organizations in the country. Leading an organization with more than 80 chapters and affiliates across the nation, she worked with OCA’s national board, executive council, chapter representatives, members and funders while managing a staff of 13.

Chen is well-known by activists across the county. Her track record in building coalitions and working at the grassroots and national levels established her as one of the strongest voices in the APIA community. She has more than two decades of experience in organizing and advocating on issues such as immigration, hate crimes, affirmative action, census, racial profiling, voting rights, election reform, and various derogatory and racist media incidents. Her role as a trusted coalition builder has her effectively building relationships with key Congressional offices including the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, federal agencies, and the administration.

Throughout the years with Chen’s multitasking abilities, Chen also was a member of the executive committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. She also served on numerous boards such as the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Demos Board of Trustees, Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), Youth Vote, Gates Millennium Scholarship Advisory Council, advisory board for the Progressive Majority Racial Justice Campaign, and the Board of Advisors for the Midwest Asian American Students Union, East Coast Asian American Students Union and the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association.  In 2003, she was a founding member of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund and also in 2006, a founding member of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote.

Tim is currently the Founder and CEO of FiscalNote, a real-time legal analytics platform that uses AI and natural language processing to help global organizations take control of their government risk and understand the law. The company now powers some of the world’s largest and most influential law firms, legal departments, and governments. With Hwang’s technology and over $30M+ in funding from the likes of Mark Cuban, Jerry Yang, Steve Case, NEA, Renren and others, FiscalNote is revolutionizing access to legislation, regulations, and court cases for organizations around the world.

Prior to starting FiscalNote from a Motel 6 in Silicon Valley, Hwang started his career in politics as a field organizer for the Obama ’08 campaign. He was elected to the Montgomery County Board of Education a year later, overseeing a budget of over $4 Billion for 22,000 public employees. Tim also served as the President of the 750,000 member National Youth Association and the founder of Operation Fly. Inc., – a national 501(c)(3) organization that served inner-city children in underprivileged areas around the country.
Tim was profiled in Forbes 30 Under 30, Inc. 30 Under 30, CNN’s Top 10 Startups, Business Insiders Top 25 Hottest Startups, and many others. He is a graduate of Princeton and currently deferring Harvard Business School. He is also currently a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer and a member of the The Economic Club of Washington, D.C.

Carrie Kagawa attends Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, studying Conflict Management and Russia. Prior to this, Carrie served in various roles across the government, most recently as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer in Tbilisi, Georgia, working to build capacity in a local non-profit. Before the Peace Corps, Carrie held several positions in the Obama Administration to include Senior Advisor and White House Liaison at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Carrie also served at the U.S. Department of Defense, in a range of national security roles including in the Office of Rule of Law and Detainee Policy. This included a six-month civilian deployment to Afghanistan, working on U.S. detention policy, operations, and transition. Carrie served as CAPAL Board Chair in 2016 and remains active as an Advisory Council member.

Andrew is a Senior Analyst at 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, and transportation and infrastructure, among a wide range of other internet and technology policy issues. Previously, Andrew was a Policy Advisor at Google’s Trust & Safety team and developed product policies for Android, Chrome, and emerging 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 security 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.

Rebecca Lee serves as Communications Director for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and is currently on temporary assignment to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. At the Initiative, she oversees strategic communications, managing the organization’s national outreach to the AAPI community across traditional and digital media platforms.
Rebecca joined the Initiative as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF), selected from graduate programs across the country in 2011. As a PMF, Rebecca served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). At HHS, she coordinated communications efforts around the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.Prior to joining the federal government, Rebecca was a senior consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton specializing in strategic communications campaigns for federal health clients. Rebecca holds a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a Master’s degree from Columbia University. At Cornell, Rebecca led a diverse coalition to found the Asian & Asian-American Center (A3C).Rebecca has been involved with CAPAL since 2010, first as a scholarship recipient and now as an Advisory Council member. She served as the 2013 Chair, leading a 20-person Board of Directors to transform CAPAL from an all-volunteer organization to one with paid, full-time staff.

Lin Chun Liu is the Deputy Director in the Office of HIV/AIDS (OHA) in USAID’s Global Health Bureau. In this role, she provides front office leadership to the 175+ OHA staff for programs, policy, budget, procurement, human resources, and management. Lin also serves as a Deputy Principal for USAID to PEPFAR. In this role, she ensures USAID’s technical leadership for PEPFAR programming and supports USAID field missions in executing PEPFAR funds in host countries.

Lin joined USAID in 2015 from HHS where she served as the Deputy Associate Administrator for the Maternal and Chid Health Bureau. Most significantly, Lin served for over 21 years at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). At OMB, Lin worked for five years as Branch Chief for the Treasury Branch, providing policy and budget oversight for tax administration, financial management, District of Columbia, elections and postal service programs. In other OMB roles, she helped formulate the Global Health Initiative for the Obama Administration, special education and transportation initiatives during the Bush Administration, and multiple immigration programs during the Clinton Administration. In addition to OMB, Lin served as the Deputy Director for Policy Planning for President Clinton’s Initiative on Race and as the Assistant Commissioner for Policy at Justice Department’s Immigration and Naturalization Service (now part of Department of Homeland Security). Lin also worked as an immigration analyst for the RAND Corporation, as an appropriations analyst at the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations, and as a Legislative Correspondent for Congressman Norman Y. Mineta (D-CA).

Lin graduated with high honors in Asian Americans Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She received a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Lin is originally from Taiwan and lived in the Philippines before coming to the United States for higher education. She became a naturalized US citizen in 1990. Lin currently lives in Washington, DC with her husband, daughter, and son.

Hung Quoc Nguyen is Managing Director of HN Consulting, a business and information management consulting firm, and has been a community activist for over 25 years. He is an advocate for the small business community. He has generated over $200M in contract value for small businesses. He works effectively to promote social entrepreneurism, innovation, and philanthropy within faith-based and community-based organizations. Mr. Nguyen worked with Freddie Mac to translate CreditSmart® into Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese as part of CreditSmart® Asian. In 2009, he testified before the FCC and provided into for the Report on Broadband Technology & Impact on Small Businesses.

Mr. Nguyen currently serves as Vice Chair of the Fairfax County Consumer Protection Commission where he is responsible for protecting citizens from illegal, fraudulent or deceptive consumer practices. He was the former Chair of the Governor’s Virginia Asian Advisory Board, Commissioner and Treasurer on the Virginia Governor’s Commission on Community and National Service, Board Member on America’s Service Commissions, and the President of the National Congress of Vietnamese Americans. He also serves in advisory roles for the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership and the International Leadership Foundation. He is a recipient of the 2007 Who’s Who in Asian American Communities Award and the 2008 Fairfax County Barbara Varon Volunteer Award.

Viraj Patel is an educator, grassroots organizer, facilitator, transnational feminist, and activist based in Philadelphia, PA. Currently serving as the Associate Director at the Pan-Asian American Community House at the University of Pennsylvania, Viraj works as a member of the staff to achieve the Center’s mission to develop and implements innovative programs for leadership development and community service in close collaboration with Asian American student and community groups. Viraj is also an organizer with the Philadelphia South Asian Collective, East Coast Solidarity Summer, and a founding sister of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. Viraj is a proud past Board member of CAPAL and, during her time in Washington, D.C. worked at Georgetown University and George Washington University in student-centered positions, and was involved with a number of community and nonprofit organizations. Viraj holds a B.A. in English with a Minor in Asian American Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Education from the University of Vermont.

Honorary Advisory Council

  • Daphne Kwok
  • Chiling Tong
  • April Osajima
  • Paul Igasaki
  • Rebecca Lee
  • Tim Hwang
  • Bob Sakaniwa
  • Julian Ha
  • James C. Ho
  • Lin Liu
  • Priscilla Baek