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.
Thomas Yu, Co-Chair
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.
Angie Liou, Treasurer & Chair, Finance Committee
Asian Community Development Corporation, Executive Director
Angie has been working in the affordable housing and community development field since 2004. Previously serving as ACDC's Director of Real Estate, Angie oversaw the asset management of ACDC’s portfolio of 300+ units, and was responsible for developing a pipeline of new projects for ACDC. She has worked as a consultant and project manager in Seattle and Philadelphia assisting nonprofits in providing safe and affordable housing. She has served as the project lead on over $95 million worth of projects. Angie received a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in Community Development. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Rachelle Pastor Arizmendi, Secretary
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.
Duncan Hwang, Chair, Audit Committee
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.
Ekta Prakash, Chair, Governance Committee
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.
Trina Villanueva, Chair, Fundraising Committee
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.
Michael Byun, Ex-Officio
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.
Mekong, Executive Director
Born in Cambodia in 1978 during the fall of the Khmer Rouge Regime, Chhaya and her family sought refuge in refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines before making their way to the United States. After a refugee resettlement program abandoned her extended family along with thousands of other Cambodians and Vietnamese in urban poverty in the Bronx she began to organize her community against institutionalized oppression. When Chhaya was 16, she became a tutor in a pilot program run by CAAAV, one of the first organizations in America to mobilize Asian immigrant communities against the institutionalized violence of urban poverty, worker exploitation, police brutality, INS detention and deportation. Her summer internships soon turned into a full-time job as she became staff director of CAAAV’s new Youth Leadership Project (YLP). Taking on slumlords, overcrowded classrooms and cutbacks in translation services at public assistance centers and local health clinics, Chhoum harnesses the energy of the young in a community that has lost much of its adult generation. They would also begin to organize the adults as well as other youth to fight for justice.
In 2012, Chhoum co-founded Mekong, a community-based organization in the Bronx empowering the Cambodian and Vietnamese community through arts, culture, community organizing, and advocacy. She is currently the Executive Director of Mekong. She is also a mother of three – ages 13, 9, and 4. She was awarded Ford’s Leadership for a Changing World and awarded the Petra Foundation Award for unsung heroes in 2006. She has also received the 2013 Neighborhood Leadership Award from The New York Women Foundation.
Hana Center, Executive Director
Prior to joining KRCC’s staff in 2014, Ms. Choi worked as an independent consultant for nine years assisting community-based organizations and foundations with capacity building and strategic planning. Ms. Choi also served as the Program Director of the Crossroads Fund, the Asian American Liaison for the Harold Washington administration in Chicago and a community organizer for the Metropolitan Tenants Organization. She is a co-founder of Korean American Women In Need
Research Manager & Regional Manager
Hawaii Federal Reserve
San Francisco, CA
Laura Choi manages the SF Fed Community Development research team, which explores a variety of issues aimed at improving economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income communities. She serves as co-editor of the "Community Development Investment Review" and was an editor of "What It’s Worth: Strengthening the Financial Future of Families, Communities, and the Nation", a book jointly published by the SF Fed and Prosperity Now. Laura also serves as the Community Development regional manager for Hawaii, where she works with local stakeholders to promote cross-sector solutions that benefit low-income residents of the state. Prior to joining the SF Fed in 2008, she worked in management consulting and affordable housing development. She earned a BA in Economics and a Master of Public Policy degree, both from the University of California, Berkeley.
Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC), President & CEO
New York, NY
Wayne Ho is the President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC), the nation’s largest Asian American social services agency. He is responsible for leading this 53-year-old organization that promotes social and economic empowerment of over 60,000 Chinese American, immigrant, and low-income New Yorkers each year. CPC implements more than 50 programs at over 30 sites throughout New York City, including early childhood education, school-age care, youth services, workforce development, community services, and senior services. Under Wayne’s leadership that started in 2017, CPC launched Advancing Our CommUNITY, its organization-wide strategy to expand services to address persistent needs and emerging trends and to improve leadership skills among staff and community members.
Previously, Wayne served as Chief Strategy and Program Officer for the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), an association of 200 community and faith-based member agencies aiming to promote upward mobility of underserved New Yorkers. He was responsible for expanding policy advocacy, capacity building, and faith-rooted organizing initiatives to achieve FPWA’s strategic plan. During his tenure, FPWA has advocated successfully for a funded $15 per hour minimum wage for City contracted social services nonprofit workers, grew the number of trainings and grants to member agencies, and increased its budget by 45%.
From 2004-2013, Wayne was the Executive Director of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), the nation’s only pan-Asian children’s advocacy organization. During his tenure, CACF collaborated with other organizations to successfully pass policies to improve language access, reduce bias-based harassment in schools, baselined funding for community-based child abuse prevention programs, and increased discretionary funding for the Asian Pacific American community. He has been recognized by the City and State in the inaugural Nonprofit Power 50 cohort in 2018 and as a 40 Under 40 New York City Rising Star in 2014. Wayne was one of 10 leaders invited to meet with President Obama during the White House’s Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration in 2011.
Wayne serves on numerous boards, including the board of Coro New York Leadership Center and Partnership for After School Education, and is appointed to several New York City and State advisory boards. Wayne received his Bachelor of Arts from UC Berkeley and his Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Chinese Community Center, Executive Director
Chi-mei Lin has been the Executive Director of the Chinese Community Center [ https://ccchouston.org/ ] in Houston for the past 15 years. CCC is the largest Asian-led social services agency in the southwestern United States, serving over 10,000 families a year with educational, cultural, and social services. In 2015, CCC achieved recognition and accreditation from the Board of Immigration Appeals. Chi-mei actively engages in community work and is currently serving on the City of Houston Community Development Advisory Council, United Way of Greater Houston Care for Elders Leadership Council, Houston Immigration Legal Services Collective Executive Committee, and Houston Empower Community Initiative Executive Council.
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.