Michael Byun, Co-Chair
Asian Services in Action, Chief Executive Officer
Michael Byun has over 12 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector, addressing health and human services, social justice, and immigrant and refugee issues. During his earlier career, he was a volunteer coordinator and later, an HIV/AIDS community organizer. Prior to joining ASIA in 2003, Mr. Byun was in the field of institutional development, assisting nonprofits and research universities to raise financial support for scholarships and programs. At ASIA, he began as a program manager for tobacco control where he was responsible for the agency’s nationally recognized Asian American Youth Against Tobacco program. During his time at ASIA, he has progressively taken on more responsibilities, and in 2005, he was promoted to deputy director and subsequently to acting executive director in July 2008.
Michael is actively engaged at both the local and national levels. Locally, he is a member of the Community Advisory Committee for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Summit County Social Service Advisory Board. Nationally, Mr. Byun was part of a W. K. Kellogg Foundation advisory committee which made recommendations that led to the $16.5 million, five year Health Through Action Initiative, a project to address health policy change as it relates to Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders. He has been a regular presenter nationally and a past peer reviewer for the Department of Health and Human Services and for the Department of Justice. He attended Bowdoin College and received his MPA from the University of Washington.
Lahela Williams, Co-Chair
Hawaiian Community Assets, Program Director
Lahela Williams joined Hawaiian Community Assets in 2011 with a background in community organizing, youth programming, and financial services, bringing with her over 15 years of experience in working in Native Hawaiian communities across the state of Hawaii. In her current capacity as Program Director, Ms. Williams manages HCA’s housing counseling and financial education programs, asset building programs and offers training and technical assistance to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations across the nation, to deliver youth and family financial education. Ms. Williams is the co-author of HCA’s Kahua Waiwai, Keiki Edition©, a Hawaiian culture-based financial education storybook for children under age 8. Lahela currently serves on the boards of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and Kula no na Po`e Hawaii.
John D. Moon, Treasurer
Walnut Creek, CA
John Moon joined the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in 2012 and directs the strategic activities of the field team. He has extensive community development experience in the public and private sectors including work at Living Cities, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the CDFI Fund, the City of Seattle, Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle, and Fleetbank. As an investor he has facilitated and invested in community development transactions ranging from affordable housing projects, small business loans, commercial-real estate, transit development, and others using a wide range of public and private capital sources. John has also advanced national community development programs and policies, including those involving community/social investments, small business credit, and affordable housing. He has also published articles and papers and spoken nationally on these topics. John earned his Bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a Master’s in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Maiko Winkler-Chin, Secretary
Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority, Executive Director
Maiko Winkler-Chin is the Executive Director of the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), whose mission is to preserve, promote and develop the Chinatown International District as a vibrant community and unique ethnic neighborhood. She has almost 20 years’ experience in community economic development including affordable housing management, asset management, real estate development, and finance.
Maiko graduated from University of Washington with a Master of Public Administration, and from the University of Puget Sound with Bachelors of Arts in International Affairs and Asian Studies. She serves on the board of Impact Capital (LISC affiliate) and the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle King County. She also serves on the City of Seattle’s Housing Levy Oversight Committee, as well as other advisory committees focused on community development, and Union Bank’s Community Advisory Board. She loves her work and her community.
Chinatown Community Development Center, Executive Director
San Francisco, CA
Norman Fong grew up in San Francisco’s Chinatown and received a B.A. in Sociology from San Francisco State University and Masters of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary. The “Good Reverend” lived in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia working on human rights issues for one-and-a-half years. He was Youth Program Director at Donaldina Cameron House for 11 years. In 1990, he joined Chinatown CDC as Program Director. As Deputy Director, Norman oversaw the organization’s work in Community Organizing, Community Planning, Resident Services, and Youth Leadership. He is also an ordained Presbyterian Minister.
Asian Americans for Equality, Managing Director, Real Estate Planning & Development
New York, NY
Thomas Yu has been involved with Asian Americans For Equality (AAFE) since 1997. In his tenure at AAFE, Thomas has been directly responsible for overseeing the development of over 250 units of low-to very-low income family housing in Chinatown, Lower East Side and Queens, and bringing $45 million of public and private housing and infrastructure reinvestment back into these communities. In his capacity as Director of Housing Development, Thomas also provides technical assistance to other non- profit organizations, such as the building of a domestic violence shelter for New York Asian Women’s Center, and real estate expertise to the Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS, to name a few. Utilizing his urban planning background, Thomas has also participated and contributed to numerous comprehensive planning studies and plans in Lower Manhattan and Flushing, Queens. Thomas has been recognized by Time Out NY as one of the up and coming new leaders in community activism, and received an Affordable Housing Finance Young Leader Award in 2008 from AHF.
Thomas has served on Manhattan’s Community Board #3, specifically on the Parks and Housing committees, and has recently helped chair the Chatham Square Redesign Taskforce. Thomas is a director on the board of Hester Street Collaborative, a local non-profit which aims to use architecture and design to help Chinatown and Lower East Side residents become civically engaged in public space planning. Thomas also sits on the advisory boards of the Chinatown Youth Initiative (CYI), as well as the Furman Center’s 2008 State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods. In previous positions held before AAFE, Thomas was a reporter at Time Inc., and summer ombudsman for the NYC Public Advocate’s Office. Thomas received a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Harvard University and a Masters in Urban Planning from the New York University Wagner School of Public Service.
San Marino, CA
Yusa Chang currently serves as one of the principals of a consultant firm specializing in advising and facilitating international corporations in business and market development. Her client list includes multi-billion dollar companies from the transportation industry; companies that manufacture clean energy vehicles; real estate investors; and others. She also facilitates companies in organizational and leadership development, change management, and strategic planning.
Yusa grounds her consulting practices on her 20+ years of hands-on experience as an executive of a large community development corporation. She guided the corporation’s five-fold growth in its operating budget and its strategic development of many new initiatives including several social enterprises, a business development center, SBA Microloan and Community Advantage lending program and a CDFI (Community Development Finance Institution).
She has a MA in Sociology and a MSBA in Business Administration. She is a graduate of the signature Achieving Excellence program sponsored by NeighborWorks® and conducted by Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Development & Communications Director
Duncan currently serves as the Development and Communications Director for Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Oregon's leading AAPI grassroots advocacy organization. He first became politicized while attending the University of Michigan where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Asian Studies. During this time he worked on numerous civic engagement and environmental campaigns. After graduating, he worked as a field organizer for a national non-profit focusing on voter registration and GOTV campaigns. Duncan then moved to Portland, Oregon and obtained his J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School. After becoming an attorney, he relocated to Asia to practice international corporate law where he advised Fortune 500 companies on their cross-border merger and acquisition activities.
Rachelle Pastor Arizmendi
Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Los Angeles, CA
Mayor of the City of Sierra Madre, was the first woman of color to be elected to the Sierra Madre City Council in 2014. In her full-time job capacity, Rachelle is the Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer at PACE (Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment). Founded in 1976, PACE is a non-profit, community development organization that annually serves over 40,000 people through job training and placement; business development; early childhood education; financial education and asset building; affordable housing; and energy, environmental and weatherization services. As VP and COO, Rachelle oversees a budget of $30 million and a staff of over 300 employees. Rachelle is a graduate of San Diego State University where she earned two Bachelor’s degrees prior to pursuing her Master’s degree at Eastern Illinois University.
CAPI USA, Executive Director
Ekta is currently serving as the Executive Director of CAPI USA, an organization that is dedicated to building vibrant communities and helping Minnesota’s newest immigrants and refugees navigate the services and systems they need to thrive. Previously, she had worked as a Programs Director at CAPI, managing its core programs to refugees and immigrants in the Twin Cities. Originally from India, Ekta earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Patna University and then later pursued her Master’s in Sociology from Delhi School of Economics. She came to the United States after finishing her education in 2001.
Asian Economic Development Association, Executive Director
Saint Paul, MN
Va-Megn Thoj is the founder and executive director of the Asian Economic Development Association (AEDA), a community economic development organization based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The mission of AEDA is to increase economic opportunities for Asian Americans in the Twin Cities. Va-Megn has over fifteen years of experience in nonprofit leadership, small business management, and community development. He has been a strong voice for equitable development, economic inclusion, and racial equity for Asian Americans in the Twin Cities. Working with the Southeast Asian communities, Va-Megn has developed an array of mutually reinforcing, cross-sector, culturally relevant strategies to support job creation, community development, and asset building. His initiatives include small business development services, creative placemaking, physical revitalization, advocacy, and civic engagement. Va-Megn has a background in literary criticism and film, and makes short films in his spare time.
Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance, Program Manager
Los Angeles, CA
Alisi Tulua is the Chief Operating Officer for Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC). While working as a health program coordinator for the Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance in 2009, Alisi, along with a group of Pacific Islander young professionals, created EPIC as a way to complement existing efforts supporting and building the Pacific Islander community. In 2011, she became the program manager for the Tongan Community Service Center while continuing to build EPIC’s work with her colleagues. Prior to becoming staff at EPIC, Alisi served as a community health liaison for Asian and Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance. She received her M.S. in Biology and her B.S. in Biochemistry/Cell Biology from the University of California, San Diego.
Freedom Inc., Executive Director
Kabzuag Vaj was born in Laos and came to the U.S. as a refugee child with her mother and siblings. She is the founder and co-executive director of Freedom Inc, an organization whose mission is to end violence within and against low-income communities of color by building the power of Black, Hmong, Khmer, women, queer folks, and youth. She has dedicated the majority of her life to ending gender-based violence. Her advocacy started when she was 16 years old, assisting and housing at-risk teens, and challenging abusive gender norms within her community. She is a strong believer that those who are most deeply impacted must be at the forefront of the movement. Those who are most impacted must have opportunities and resources to advocate for themselves and tell their own stories. In the past 20 years, Vaj has spent her life working to build collective power and social change within Southeast Asian and Black communities.
Union Bank, Director, Community Outreach/Foundation Officer
San Francisco, CA
Trina Villanueva serves as Director, Community Outreach and Foundation Officer, covering Northern California and the Central Valley for Corporate Social Responsibility. In this role, Ms. Villanueva manages a portfolio of grants focused on Community Economic Development, Affordable Housing, Education and the Environment; oversees employee engagement and volunteer activities for Union Bank employees; and creates opportunities to partner with nonprofit organizations as well as government entities and private corporations. She has more than 20 years of community development and community relations experience. Prior to joining Union Bank in 2011, Ms. Villanueva served as Program Manager at the Office of Economic and Workforce Development in San Francisco where she managed the city’s Community Benefit District program. Previously, she served as a Senior Community Development Specialist at the Mayor’s Office of Community Development in San Francisco. Ms. Villanueva began her career in the nonprofit sector working at the Greenlining Institute and PolicyLink. Ms. Villanueva serves on the Board of Directors of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development and Filipino Advocates for Justice. She is also a member of the Greenlining Academy Alumni Association and was part of the founding alumni board. Ms. Villanueva holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies and Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley.
Esther Wong, Immediate Past Co-Chair
Chinese American Service League, Executive Director
Esther Wong is a co-founder and the current Executive Director of the Chinese American Service League (CASL). She served as a member of the CASL board, including the roles of vice president, and chair of various board committees, until she came on as staff in 2002. In 1987, Mayor Harold Washington awarded her the Mayor's Commission on Women's Affairs' Woman of the Year Award. In 2004, the Asian American Coalition of Chicago presented the Community Services Award to Ms. Wong in recognition for her outstanding leadership and dedicated services to the Asian American community of Illinois.
Esther Wong holds a B.A. from the University of Hong Kong and a M.A. from the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration. Fluent in English and Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, and Taishanese), Ms. Wong is also a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Academy of Certified Social Workers.