On May 3, please join the White House and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI) at The George Washington University for a community-wide celebration of AA and NHPI Heritage Month.

This historic forum will feature Biden-Harris Administration leaders including Vice President Kamala Harris, groundbreaking artists, and trailblazers. Through breakout convenings, panels, and artistic performances in the heart of our nation’s capital, we will pay tribute to our rich histories and cultures while encouraging candid dialogue on the most pressing issues our communities face, both old and new.



8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

Location: GWU Student Center, Great Hall, 800 21st Street, NW

Deep Dives

Breakout Convenings

9:30 AM – 11:00 AM

Advancing Justice Through Data Equity | GWU Student Center, Grand Ballroom

Advancing Equity Through Storytelling and Narrative Change | Corcoran Hall, Room 101

Supporting the Mental Health Needs of AA and NHPI Communities | Jack Morton Auditorium

Expanding Philanthropic Investments in AA and NHPI Communities | Phillips Hall, Room B156

Expanding and Empowering AA and NHPI Entrepreneurship | GWU Student Center, Continental Ballroom

The Impact of Local and State-Level Policymaking | Jack Morton Auditorium, Room MPA B07

Promoting Careers in the Federal Government | GWU Student Center, Room 310

Making Connections: A Community Space for Relationship-Building and Networking | GWU Student Center, Room 308

Meet & Eat


11:00 AM – 12:15 PM

Location: Pickup at GWU Student Center, Great Hall

Lunch will be provided to all in-person attendees


Main Stage Program

1:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Location: GWU Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st Street, NW

Doors open at 12:00 PM and close at 3:00 PM – no entry or reentry will be permitted after this time.

Artistic Performances and Special Remarks

Panel: Advancing Equity for AA and NHPI Communities Across Government

Panel: AA and NHPI Leadership in Public Service and the Biden-Harris Administration

Panel: Advancing AA and NHPI Creative Excellence

Panel: The Power of the AA and NHPI Voice

All events are in Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Your Questions, Answered

Here’s where you need to know and expect on May 3rd.

Do you have a dress code?

We recommend business casual, formal, or cultural attire.

How do I get to the forum?

Transportation & Parking: We strongly encourage arriving by public transportation. The closest metro station is Foggy Bottom.

For directions to the GWU Campus and parking options, visit here. For parking, we recommend using the University Student Center Garage at 2121 H St NW, Washington, DC 20052.

Campus Map: Access the campus map here.

Accessibility: For additional information please visit us here. The event is located in multiple buildings across campus, so please refer to this email or our public agenda for details.

How do I check in?

Registration is required for entry. All participants must check in upon arrival to the GWU campus from 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM at the GWU Student Center, Great Hall, 800 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20052. Use the Main Entrance on 21st St.

Please be ready to present the QR code in your Eventbrite ticket, or we will manually match your name against our registration list.

If you are bringing a guest, ensure they RSVP prior to entry – if any guests are unregistered, your entry may be delayed.

Members of the press who pre-registered to cover our main stage program may visit our designated media check-in table to pick up your credential beginning at 11:30 AM.

All attendees will receive a map or can use the above graphic to navigate campus.

I didn't register for this event. Can I still attend?

Registration is required, and all breakout convenings and entry into Lisner Auditorium for our main stage program are first come, first served. If there is capacity, you may be able to register on the spot at the GWU Student Center — however, you should expect delayed entry. If capacity is reached, we may ask you to visit our overflow space or tune in virtually.

What should I expect for security?

When entering Lisner Auditorium for the main stage program in the afternoon, prepare for airport-style security. Doors open at 12 PM ET, and we strongly encourage you to arrive no later than 12:30 PM. If you arrive later, you may expect delays. The main program will start promptly at 1 PM.

Seating at the Lisner Auditorium is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Doors will close either based on capacity or officially at 3 PM ET. No entry or re-entry is permitted after 3 PM.

Be conscientious of what you plan to bring. Please do not large bags, backpacks, purses, and luggage. If you don’t need it, don’t bring it.

I'm worried about COVID-19 or feel sick. What should I do?

Regardless of vaccination status, you should not attend this event if you are experiencing potential symptoms of COVID-19, including:

  • Fever or Chills
  • Severe Muscle or Body Aches
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing
  • New Loss of Taste or Smell
  • Congestion or Runny Nose
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or you are worried you may be sick with COVID-19, you should not attend to this event.

If you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 and you are fully vaccinated, you should stay home and get tested 3-5 days after your exposure, even if you do not have symptoms. If you are waiting on the results of a COVID-19 test based on actual or suspected exposure to someone infected with COVID-19, you should not attend this event.

If you have concerns about being exposed to or sick with COVID-19, please stay home and self-quarantine or isolate. Read more about when you should be in isolation or quarantine: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/isolation.html

I can no longer come in-person. Where can I watch the forum?

Our main stage program will stream live on the White House YouTube channel beginning at 1 PM ET: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yzqLqj_uvA

Watch the Main Program

Livestream begins at 1:00 PM ET on May 3, 2023

You Spoke, We Listened

Developed based on public input, our program includes eight breakout convenings with national experts, elected officials, and AA and NHPI leaders focused on community-building that will examine the advocacy, policy, and public service efforts to support our communities. Attendees can find deep dives and networking opportunities around storytelling, data equity, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and careers in the federal government.

Our main stage program will also feature four panels with community trailblazers and Biden-Harris Administration leaders—including members of the President’s Cabinet—focused on advancing equity, public service, creative excellence, and the power of the AA and NHPI voice.


Advancing Equity for AA and NHPI Communities Across Government


Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo), Chair, National Endowment for the Humanities

Rohit Chopra, Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Kiran Ahuja, Director, U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Erika L. Moritsugu, Deputy Assistant to the President and Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Senior Liaison, The White House

AA and NHPI Leadership in Public Service and the Biden-Harris Administration


Gautam Raghavan, Assistant to the President and Director, White House Presidential Personnel Office

Nani A. Coloretti, Deputy Director, White House Office of Management and Budget

Vanita Gupta, Associate Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice

Jenny R. Yang, Deputy Assistant to the President for Racial Justice and Equity, Domestic Policy Council, The White House

Daniel Arrigg Koh, Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Cabinet Secretary, The White House

Advancing AA and NHPI Creative Excellence


Geena Rocero, Author, Director, Producer, and Trans Advocate

Rupi Kaur, Poet, Artist, and Performer

Daniel Dae Kim, Actor, Director, Producer, and Activist

Aaron J. Salā, Founder and CEO, Gravitas Pasifika

Bing Chen, CEO and Co-Founder, Gold House

The Power of the AA and NHPI Voice


Eric Nam, Artist and Co-Founder, Creative Director at DIVE Studios/Mindset

Versha Sharma, Editor In Chief, Teen Vogue

Estella Owoimaha-Church, Executive Director, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities

John C. Yang, President and Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC

Lisa Ling, Host and Executive Producer, CNN’s This Is Life

Breakout Convenings

Advancing Justice Through Data Equity

By 2060, AA and NHPI populations are projected to increase to 10% of the U.S. population, yet the lack of disaggregated data masks the experiences, priorities, and challenges of our diverse communities and hinders the allocation of federal resources to communities with specific needs. Join us to hear about efforts underway across the federal government to collect more detailed data on AA and NHPI communities, and the decades-long community work and leadership that has helped to fuel these initiatives.

Featuring remarks and discussions with: 

Kei Koizumi, Principal Deputy Director for Policy, The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Dr. Margo Schwab, Co-Chair, Equitable Data Working Group, Office of Management and Budget, and Senior Science Policy Analyst, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

Karthick Ramakrishnan, Co-Founder and Co-Director, AAPI Data

Rachel Marks, Branch Chief, Racial Statistics Branch, Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau

Jordan Matsudaira, Deputy Under Secretary and Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Education

Jim Walker, Supervisory Economist, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor

Meina Banh, Deputy Director, Office of Financial Education, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Gregg Orton, National Director, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans

Kham Moua, National Deputy Director, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

Neil Ruiz, Head of Pew Research Initiatives, Pew Research Center

Fontane Lo, Deputy Director, AAPI Data

Ninez Ponce, Professor and Fred W. & Pamela K. Wasserman Endowed Chair, UCLA

Advancing Equity Through Storytelling and Narrative Change

The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted AA and NHPI communities and exacerbated long-standing inequities. Yet the past three years also showcased the incredible strength and resiliency of our communities. Storytelling has long been a powerful tool for advocacy, building solidarity within our communities and across movements, and humanizing our lived experiences. Join us to learn how we continue to use our collective stories to transform the narrative and empower AA and NHPI communities for generations to come.

Featuring remarks and discussions with: 

Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo), Chair, National Endowment for the Humanities

Don Young, Director of Programs, Center on Asian American Media

Kiki Rivera, Storyteller, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities

May Lee-Yang, Writer, Performer, Educator, and Co-Founder of Funny Asian Women Kollective

Rinku Sen, Executive Director, Narrative Initiative

Naomi Tacuyan Underwood, Executive Director, Asian American Journalists Association

Supporting the Mental Health Needs of AA and NHPI Communities

It is without question that the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected the mental health of AA and NHPIs. According to federal statistics, in 2019, approximately 10% of AA and NHPIs reported mental health issues. That number rose sharply to 40% during the pandemic. Yet, Asian Americans are 60% less likely and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are three times less likely to receive mental health services than their white peers. Join us to hear how AA and NHPI groups are engaging in community care to fill these gaps, the intergenerational work that is happening to reduce the cultural stigma around mental health, and how we are collectively working to improve greater access to services, resources, and programs.

Featuring remarks and discussions with: 

Sejal Hathi, Senior Policy Advisor for Public Health, Domestic Policy Council, The White House

Trina Dutta, Senior Advisor to the Office of the Assistant Secretary, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Kevin Kreider, Actor, CEO and Founder of ALLS Productions, and Sans Alcohol Free by Taejin Beverage

Richard Lui, Anchor and Journalist, MSNBC/NBC News

DJ Ida, Executive Director, National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association

David Ko, CEO and Board Member, Calm

Mina Fedor, Founder and Executive Director, AAPI Youth Rising

Sahaj Kohli, Founder, Brown Girl Therapy

Expanding Philanthropic Investments in AA and NHPI Communities

For decades, AA and NHPI communities have been under-funded and under-resourced, receiving less than 1% of overall philanthropic investments. As the model minority myth and the lack of disaggregated data render our communities invisible, AA and NHPI communities have continued to step up in creative ways to fill these funding gaps. Join us to learn how we are reimagining the funding landscape and the trends we see across the sector.

Featuring remarks and discussions with:

Doua Thor, Vice President, Strategy and Influence, Sobrato Philanthropies

Stephanie Hsu, Executive Director, The Jeremy Lin Foundation

Gia Vang, Co-Founder, The Very Asian Foundation

Georgette Bhathena, Chief Programs Officer, The Asian American Foundation

Expanding and Empowering AA and NHPI Entrepreneurship

AA and NHPI-owned businesses account for 40 percent of all minority-owned businesses in the U.S. However, the COVID-19 pandemic drastically impacted our AA and NHPI communities and small businesses. Small businesses were forced to be resilient and innovative, yet still found ways to give back and uplift our community during what was such a difficult time. Join us in this session to hear directly from small businesses, government officials, and labor leaders, and how they remained resilient and innovative in order to sustain local businesses and the communities they support.

Featuring remarks and discussions with:

Jennifer Kim, Associate Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

Christy Innouvong-Thornton, Founder, Tuk Tuk Box

Helen Nguyen, Owner and Chef, Saigon Social

Shanty Sigrah Asher, Pacific Islander Liaison Officer, Office of Economic Revitalization, City and County of Honolulu

Luisa Blue, Commissioner, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders

Chiling Tong, President and CEO, National Asian & Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship

Andrew Chau, Co-Founder and CEO, Boba Guys

David Zhao, Founding Partner, Chubby Cattle International

Raji Sankar, Co-CEO, Choolaah Indian BBQ

Lydia Zhang, Owner and Business Partner, Peter Chang Restaurant Group

The Impact of Local and State-Level Policymaking

Local and state-level legislation and policymaking affect our everyday lives. Making sure there is appropriate representation in our local and state governments can ensure our lived experiences are reflected in laws. Join us in learning about how representation impacts legislation and how it can uplift our community’s needs.

Featuring remarks and discussions with: 

Mayor Aftab Pureval, City of Cincinnati, Ohio

Neera Tanden, Senior Advisor to the President and White House Staff Secretary

Assemblymember Evan Low (CA-26)

Representative Sam Park (GA-107)

Delegate Kathy Tran (VA-42)

PaaWee Rivera, Senior Advisor, White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Promoting Careers in the Federal Government

Have you ever thought about a career in the federal government? Are you interested in making a career pivot? Did you know that there are federal jobs across the country or that there are various entry points for federal careers at all levels? As the nation’s largest employer, the federal government strives to cultivate a workforce that reflects the rich diversity of the American people. Join us to hear about different federal programs available throughout one’s career trajectory.

Featuring representatives from: 

U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Presidential Management Fellows Program

U.S. State Department

U.S. Department of Education

General Services Administration


Peace Corps

White House Presidential Personnel Office

White House Internship Program

White House Fellows Program

White House Office of the National Cyber Director

U.S. Public Health Service

Making Connections: A Community Space for Relationship-Building & Networking

Join us in this informal community space to reconnect, get inspired, and network with friends, community leaders, colleagues, and federal stakeholders from across the country who are working on various issues to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for AA and NHPI communities.

Vice President Kamala Harris

Kamala D. Harris is the Vice President of the United States of America. She was elected Vice President after a lifetime of public service, having been elected District Attorney of San Francisco, California Attorney General, and United States Senator.

Vice President Harris was born in Oakland, California to parents who emigrated from India and Jamaica. She graduated from Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of Law.

Vice President Harris and her sister, Maya Harris, were inspired by their mother, Shyamala Gopalan. Gopalan, a breast cancer scientist and pioneer in her own right, received her doctorate the same year Vice President Harris was born.

Her parents were activists, instilling Vice President Harris with a strong sense of justice. They brought her to civil rights demonstrations and introduced role models—ranging from Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to civil rights leader Constance Baker Motley—whose work motivated her to become a prosecutor.

Growing up, Vice President Harris was surrounded by a diverse community and extended family. In 2014, she married Douglas Emhoff. They have a large blended family that includes their children, Ella and Cole.

Throughout her career, the Vice President has been guided by the words she spoke the first time she stood up in court: Kamala Harris, for the people.

In 1990, Vice President Harris joined the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office where she specialized in prosecuting child sexual assault cases. She then served as a managing attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and later was chief of the Division on Children and Families for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office.

She was elected District Attorney of San Francisco in 2003. In that role, Vice President Harris created a ground-breaking program to provide first-time drug offenders with the opportunity to earn a high school degree and find employment. The program was designated as a national model of innovation for law enforcement by the United States Department of Justice.

In 2010, Vice President Harris was elected California’s Attorney General and oversaw the largest state justice department in the United States. She established the state’s first Bureau of Children’s Justice and instituted several first-of-their-kind reforms that ensured greater transparency and accountability in the criminal justice system.

As Attorney General, Vice President Harris won a $20 billion settlement for Californians whose homes had been foreclosed on, as well as a $1.1 billion settlement for students and veterans who were taken advantage of by a for-profit education company. She defended the Affordable Care Act in court, enforced environmental law, and was a national leader in the movement for marriage equality.

In 2017, Vice President Harris was sworn into the United States Senate. In her first speech, she spoke out on behalf of immigrants and refugees. As a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, she fought for better protections for DREAMers and called for better oversight of substandard conditions at immigrant detention facilities.

On the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, she worked with members of both parties to keep the American people safe from foreign threats and crafted bipartisan legislation to assist in securing American elections. She visited Iraq, Jordan, and Afghanistan to meet with servicemembers and assess the situation on the ground. She also served on the Senate Judiciary Committee. During her tenure on the committee, she participated in hearings for two Supreme Court nominees.

As Senator, Vice President Harris championed legislation to combat hunger, provide rent relief, improve maternal health care, and address the climate crisis as a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Her bipartisan anti-lynching bill passed the Senate in 2018. Her legislation to preserve Historically Black Colleges and Universities was signed into law, as was her effort to infuse much-needed capital into low-income communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On August 11, 2020, Vice President Harris accepted President Joe Biden’s invitation to become his running mate and help unite the nation. She is the first woman, the first Black American, and the first South Asian American to be elected Vice President, as was the case with other offices she has held. She is, however, determined not to be the last.

As Vice President, Kamala Harris has worked in partnership with President Joe Biden to get America vaccinated, rebuild our economy, reduce child poverty, and pass an infrastructure law that will lift up communities that have been left behind. She has led the Administration’s efforts in rallying broad coalitions to protect the freedom to vote, expand workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain, and stand up for women’s rights — supporting women in our workforce, addressing the maternal health crisis, and defending reproductive rights. The Vice President has also played a key role in engaging world leaders and strengthening our nation’s alliances and partnerships. In everything she does, she remains focused on the people of our nation—and our collective future.

Poorna Jagannathan

Poorna Jagannathan is best known for the role of ‘Nalani’ in Netflix’s #1 hit comedy series NEVER HAVE I EVER, which is produced by Mindy Kaling. The show will debut its fourth and final season this summer. Next up, Poorna will be in production for the Onyx/Hulu series, DELI BOYS which is produced by Nisha Ganatra, Jenni Konner, and Vali Chandrasekaran.

On the feature side, the actress recently wrapped production on Jon Watts’ Apple feature, WOLVES, opposite George Clooney and Brad Pitt. Additionally, she can soon be seen in the Happy Madison/Netflix comedy THE OUT-LAWS opposite Adam Devine, Pierce Brosnan, and Nina Dobrev; as well as, the film adaptation of TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN, directed by Hannah Marks for New Line.

Poorna first drew attention for her role in HBO’s Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated show, THE NIGHT OF, opposite Riz Ahmed. Since then, she has had many memorable television roles in shows such as Hulu’s Emmy-winning limited series THE ACT, HBO’s BIG LITTLE LIES, Hulu’s RAMY, and Apple’s DEFENDING JACOB.

Additional film credits include the A24 feature SHARE directed by Pippa Bianco, which was distributed by HBO after premiering at Cannes, as well as the Bollywood cult film DELI BELLI.

Jerry Won

Jerry Won | Founder and CEO of Just Like Media and Always Be Creating

Jerry Won is a keynote speaker and creative entrepreneur who speaks on the Asian American Experience, Creator Economy, and Storytelling. He is the Founder & CEO of Just Like Media, an Asian American storytelling company and home to the award winning Dear Asian Americans Podcast, whose guests include Vice President Kamala Harris and has been featured as a top Asian American Podcast by both Apple Podcasts and Spotify. He is also Founder & CEO of Always Be Creating and Asian Creator House, the premier community and events platform for Asian content creators.

His speaking and podcast partners include SXSW, Harvard Business School, Pepsi, Meta, Toyota, McDonald’s, HHS and more. He also regularly works with Asian American community organizations such as NAAAP, AAJA, ACE NextGen, and the Council of Korean Americans.

Jerry earned his B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business and an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, where he served as President of the Student Government Association. He lives in Southern California with his wife Kyunghwa and children. His 2023 highlight is coaching his son’s little league baseball team. Go Wiseburn Single A Rockies!

Mark H Taiko Connection

Kota Mizutani | Mark H Taiko Connection 

Kota found his love for taiko as a child with Sonoma County Taiko, based in Santa Rosa, CA. Upon moving to the East Coast for college, Kota joined Brown University’s collegiate taiko group, Gendo Taiko. After graduating, Kota moved to Washington, D.C. where he currently works in Congress and performs taiko with the Mark H Rooney Taiko Connection. 

Erika Ninoyu | Mark H Taiko Connection

A musician educator, cultural ambassador, policy advisor, and systems-level leader, Erika Ninoyu’s ikigai is to enact positive social change through inclusive policymaking and community-based action.  Erika currently serves as Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s (D-CA) Senior Legislative Assistant, leading her work on appropriations, health, education, labor, arts, agriculture, and poverty.  Erika is also invested in promoting U.S.-Japan relations as a U.S.-Japan Council member, Founding President of the Japan Alaska Association, and former Vice Chair of the Japanese American Citizen League’s Alaska Chapter.  

Holding a Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts in Teaching from UAA, and a Master’s in Education from Harvard University, Erika has instructed, performed, and directed numerous groups as a classically trained percussionist, composer, and conductor.  Erika’s wadaiko training is rooted in Japan, having trained for years with the world-renown professional Japanese taiko (drumming) group, Shidara, that has preserved her ancestors’ 750-year-old festival, “Hanamatsuri” within the mountains of Toei, Japan.  Erika previously joined Odaiko New England and currently performs with the Mark H Taiko Connection throughout the DMV area. 

Les the DJ 

Les The DJ a.k.a. Les Talusan is a DJ, whose musical practice immerses people in the joy of community-powered discovery. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, and now based in Washington, DC for over 20 years, Les continues to find inspiration behind the decks in the U.S. and abroad. Fueled by their own story of resilience, liberation, and courage as an immigrant, parent and survivor, Les brings to the center the songs long cherished, remembered, and celebrated by people of the global diaspora. Les is the co-founder and co-curator of SAMASAMA (Art, DC). SAMASAMA’s mission is honoring ancestral and indigenous roots while pushing creative boundaries, and understanding of current and future generations’ multicultural identities. Les is also one of the founders of Sampaguita: Filipinx Girls Rock Camp in the Bay Area. 

Melonie Leihua Stewart

Melonie Leihua Stewart | CEO, E Ala E Hawaiian Cultural Center 

Melonie Leihua Stewart, a Kūʻau Maui native, is the CEO serving E Ala E Hawaiian Cultural Center’s (EHCC) Board of Directors to preserve and perpetuate Native Hawaiian culture. Leihua holds a masters degree in Education Curriculum Studies: STEMS² from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from North Park University, Chicago, Illinois. She was president of the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association – East Coast Region and is a current lifetime member. Leihua enjoys spending time with her ‘ohana in Maryland: mother Diane Ululani Garcia, husband of 30 years, Harold Edmonds Stewart, Jr., (5) children: Jonah Ke Ali’i Kona Stewart(23), Victoria Naleialoha Stewart(21), Kalia Ka’iulani Kaiona Stewart(19), Adara Leialoha Stewart(10), and Micah Makanaokekaiohawai’i Stewart(8). 

Sonny Singh

Sonny Singh | Musician, Social Justice Educator 

“Steeped in Sikh devotional themes, with an anthemic Punjabi sound.” – NPR Music  

Simultaneously spiritual and rebellious, Sonny Singh’s music is a reminder that hope, love, and devotion are crucial to our struggles and collective survival. Based in Brooklyn, NY, Sonny has brought his fiery trumpet playing and vocals to audiences around the world for the last decade as an original member of the bhangra brass band Red Baraat.  

In 2022, he released his debut solo album called Chardi Kala, which refers to the Sikh concept of revolutionary eternal optimism. Chardi Kala is a return to Sonny’s Punjabi & Sikh roots, but with the lens he’s developed over the course of his life as a touring musician, educator, and activist. JazzTimes calls it “vibrant, ebullient, and energized… Singh, punctuated poignantly by echoing guitar, humming bass and sighing harmonium, cries out a prayer for our ailing world.” 

Jeannie Mai Jenkins

Jeannie Mai Jenkins | Emmy Award Winning TV Host, Producer, and Advocate 

Jeannie Mai Jenkins is an Emmy Award-winner and host of America’s Test Kitchen: The Next Generation on Amazon Freevee. In addition, she can be seen as a sideline correspondent for ABC’s extreme mini-golf competition series “Holey Moley.” Previously, Mai Jenkins co-hosted the nationally syndicated talk show “The Real” for eight seasons. In May 2021, Mai was included in the Gold House A100 list, recognizing the most impactful leaders in the Asian community, and in 2020 she competed on season 29 of the hit ABC series “Dancing with the Stars.” Mai and her fellow “The Real” co-hosts received multiple accolades, including a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host, multiple Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Talk Series, and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Talk Series. 

In 2019, Mai launched her weekly web series, “Hello Hunnay,” which takes fans on her journey through fashion, fitness, food, finances and relationships. As a self-described foodie, she enjoys the art of cooking and often showcases cultural cuisines with her family across her social platforms. Mai also hosts the podcast “Listen Hunnay,” where she interviews everyone from sex therapists to divorce lawyers and morticians to crime scene investigators in an effort to understand the journeys at the heart of the human being behind the career. Mai partnered with Owl’s Brew, a leader in tea-based spiked and sparkling beverages, as chief brand officer, assisting with new product innovations and overall brand strategy. In addition, Mai recently launched her first fashion collection in collaboration with Macy’s, Jeannie Mai x INC. 

In 2017, Mai executive produced “Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex Trafficking,” a documentary that investigates the international crisis of human sex trafficking from a deeply personal point of view. The follow up, “Stopping Traffic 2: Surviving Sex Trafficking,” is now available on demand. 

Philip Kim

Philip Kim | Senior Advisor, White House Office of Public Engagement 

Philip Kim (김제중) serves as a Senior Advisor in the White House Office of Public Engagement for the Biden-Harris Administration. Previously, Philip served as the White House Liaison at AmeriCorps and the Deputy Director in the Office of the White House Liaison at the U.S. Department of Education where he focused on political appointments for each of the federal agencies. Prior to serving in the Administration, Philip was the Western States Deputy Director for the Biden-Harris coordinated campaign and served in the Office of Public Engagement for the Democratic National Convention Committee. He was also the Director of AA and NHPI Engagement at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) before leading Senator Booker’s Nevada state team in 2019. Philip also served as a middle school math teacher in Clarksdale, MS and is a proud graduate of UC Berkeley. 

Mark S. Wrighton, Ph.D 

Mark S. Wrighton, Ph.D | President, The George Washington University 

Mark S. Wrighton is president of the George Washington University. He previously served as the 14th chancellor of Washington University from 1995 to 2019, and was a faculty member and provost at MIT. Wrighton served as a presidential appointee to the National Science Board, which is the science policy advisor to the president and Congress and is the primary advisory board of the National Science Foundation. He is a past chair of the Business-Higher Education Forum and the Association of American Universities. Wrighton has received many awards for his research and scholarly writing, including the distinguished MacArthur Prize. He is the author of over 300 articles, is the holder of 16 patents, and co-author of a book, Organometallic Photochemistry. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the American Philosophical Society. 

Sethuraman Panchanathan

Sethuraman Panchanathan | Director, National Science Foundation 

The Honorable Sethuraman Panchanathan is a computer scientist and engineer and the 15th director of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). Panchanathan was nominated to this position by the President of the United States in 2019, and subsequently, unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 18, 2020. NSF is a $9.5 billion independent federal agency and the only government agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation and STEM education. 

Panchanathan is a leader in science, engineering and education with more than three decades of experience. He has a distinguished career in both higher education and government, where he has designed and built knowledge enterprises, which advance research innovation, strategic partnerships, entrepreneurship, global development and economic growth. 

As director, Panchanathan maintains leadership roles on several key interagency councils and committees, including as co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and is a member of the White House CHIPS Implementation Steering Council and the White House Gender Policy Council. He is also chair of the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee and co-vice chair of the Council for Inclusive Innovation. 

Panchanathan previously served as the executive vice president of the Arizona State University (ASU) Knowledge Enterprise, where he was also chief research and innovation officer. He was also the founder and director of the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing at ASU. Under his leadership, ASU increased research performance fivefold, earning recognition as the fastest growing and most innovative research university in the U.S. 

Secretary Xavier Becerra

Secretary Xavier Becerra | U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 

Xavier Becerra is the 25th Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the first Latino to hold the office in the history of the United States. As Secretary, he will carry out President Biden’s vision to build a healthy America, and his work will focus on ensuring that all Americans have health security and access to healthcare. 

Throughout his career, the Secretary has made it his priority to ensure that Americans have access to the affordable healthcare they need to survive and thrive – from his early days as a legal advocate representing individuals with mental illness, to his role as the Attorney General of the state of California. 

Secretary Becerra served 12 terms in Congress as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. During his tenure, he was the first Latino to serve as a member of the powerful Committee on Ways and Means, he served as Chairman of his party’s caucus, and as the Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Health. 

For over two decades in Congress, Secretary Becerra worked so that every family had the assurance of care that his own family had when he was growing up. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, Secretary Becerra introduced legislation — the Medicare Savings Programs Improvement Act of 2007 — that expanded cost-sharing subsidies for low-income seniors who receive both Medicare and Medicaid benefits by increasing the amount of resources they could receive. He championed provisions of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 that required physicians who perform imaging to be accredited and trained to ensure patient safety. And he was one of the original cosponsors of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) which strengthened Medicare and lowered costs for seniors. 

As Attorney General of the state of California, Secretary Becerra helped to promote competition by taking on a number of pharmaceutical companies that restricted competition through “pay-for-delay” schemes, held several companies accountable for legal violations for not protecting patients’ health information, and took action early in the pandemic to keep Californians safe by using his authority to protect workers from exposure to COVID-19, secure key safeguards for frontline health care workers’ rights, and take on fraudsters trying to take advantage of people during the pandemic. In addition, he cracked down on Medicare and Medicaid fraud, acted to combat the opioid crisis, including holding drug makers accountable, won an unprecedented $575 million antitrust settlement against one of the largest health systems in California, and he led the three-year federal court fight to save the ACA and with it, the protections of the 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions. 

Born in Sacramento Secretary Becerra is the son of working-class parents. He was the first in his family to receive a four-year degree, earning his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Stanford University. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School. His mother was born in Jalisco, Mexico and immigrated to the United States after marrying his father, a day laborer turned construction worker. He is married to Dr. Carolina Reyes, and he is proud of his three daughters: Clarisa, Olivia and Natalia, and son-in-law Ivan. 

Ambassador Katherine Tai

Ambassador Katherine Tai | U.S. Trade Representative 

Ambassador Katherine Tai was sworn in as the 19th United States Trade Representative on March 18, 2021. As a member of the President’s Cabinet, Ambassador Tai is the principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on U.S. trade policy. 

Prior to her unanimous Senate confirmation, Ambassador Tai spent most of her career in public service focusing on international economic diplomacy, monitoring, and enforcement. She previously served as Chief Trade Counsel and Trade Subcommittee Staff Director for the House Ways and Means Committee in the United States Congress. In this capacity, Ambassador Tai played a pivotal role in shaping U.S. trade law, negotiations strategies, and bilateral and multilateral agreements, including the recently re-negotiated United-States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. 

Ambassador Tai is an experienced World Trade Organization (WTO) litigator. She previously developed and tried cases for the Office of the United States Trade Representative, eventually becoming the Chief Counsel for China Trade Enforcement. Before transitioning to federal service, she practiced law in the private sector, clerked for district judges, and taught English in Guangzhou, China. 

Ambassador Tai earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Yale University and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. She is fluent in Mandarin. 


Krystal Ka‘ai

Krystal Ka‘ai | Executive Director, White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders 

Krystal Ka‘ai is the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI) and the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. In this role, she is responsible for advising the Biden administration on the coordination and implementation of federal programs and initiatives to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities. Prior to joining WHIAANHPI, Krystal worked on Capitol Hill for over a decade, including serving as the Executive Director of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) for eight years. She previously held positions with the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the State of Hawai‘i, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation. Krystal was born and raised in Hawai‘i and is the first Native Hawaiian to ever lead WHIAANHPI. 

Erika L. Moritsugu

Erika Moritsugu | Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior AA and NHPI Liaison, The White House 

Erika L. Moritsugu serves as Deputy Assistant to the President and the first-ever Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) Senior Liaison at the White House, where she supports the Biden-Harris Administration on a wide array policies and outreach to advance the President’s priorities, and engage with a cross-section of communities to promote equity, justice, and opportunity for AA and NHPIs. 

Her past government service includes serving as the Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations at the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the leadership of Secretary Julián Castro in the Obama Administration and was the first-ever Senate Deputy Legislative Director at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

On Capitol Hill, she was a senior representative of Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Senator Daniel K. Akaka of Hawai‘i, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and served in various roles at the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. 

In the non-profit sector, Erika managed two teams at the National Partnership for Women & Families that focused on economic justice and congressional relations, advocating for gender and race equity in workforce and health policies. Erika has also led the Government Relations, Advocacy and Community Engagement teams at the Anti-Defamation League, which included championing its interreligious and interfaith work. 

Erika attended Brandeis University, the College of William and Mary, and George Washington University Law School. Born in California and raised in Hawaiʻi , Moritsugu lives on Capitol Hill with her spouse, Brian, their two children, Vianne Leilani and Chester Likeke, their two cats, and one dog. 

Stephen Benjamin

Stephen Benjamin | Senior Advisor to the President and Director, White House Office of Public Engagement 

Stephen Benjamin is the Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. In this role, Benjamin oversees the White House Office of Public Engagement, which works at the local, state, and national levels to ensure community leaders, diverse perspectives, and new voices have the opportunity to inform the work of the President in an inclusive, transparent and responsible way. 

Steve Benjamin served as Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina from 2010 to 2021. He served as the 76th President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors from 2018 to 2019 and as President of the African American Mayors Association from 2015 to 2016. He served as President & CEO of The Benjamin Firm, LLC. 

Benjamin has also been Executive Chairman of Municipal Bonds for America, a member of the Federal Communications Commission’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, and a member of the Accelerator for America Advisory Council.

Senator Mazie K. Hirono

Senator Mazie K. Hirono | Senator of Hawaii, United States Senate 

Mazie K. Hirono was elected to the Senate in 2012, becoming Hawaii’s first female senator and the country’s first Asian American woman senator. Throughout her career, Hirono has fought on behalf of Hawaii families and communities whose voices are not often heard in Congress, working to protect and build upon the progress generations of Americans have fought to secure. 

In the Senate, Hirono is a leading champion for women’s rights and reproductive freedom, voting and civil rights, the Native Hawaiian community, sustainable communities, and early education. In 2021, Senator Hirono introduced the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, legislation signed into law to help communities combat the rise in anti-Asian hate and violence.  

Hirono serves on the Committees on Armed Services, Energy and Natural Resources, the Judiciary, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Veterans’ Affairs. She is also Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, where she is leading the fight to modernize military infrastructure in Hawaii and across the country.  

Born in Fukushima, Japan, Hirono was nearly eight years old when her mother brought her and her siblings to Hawaii to escape an abusive husband and seek a better life. Hirono served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1981 to 1994 and earned a reputation as an advocate for consumers and workers. After being elected as Hawaii’s lieutenant governor in 1994, Hirono led the creation of Hawaii’s Pre-Plus Program to expand access to quality, affordable early education. In 2006, voters in Hawaii’s second congressional district elected Hirono to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she served three terms before being elected to the Senate. 


Keilana | Singer/Songwriter 

Keilana Mokulehua is an island girl who always dreamed of sharing her music with the world. Recognizing her musical talent at a young age, her parents made it their mission to nurture her abilities. She seized every music opportunity available, from winning song contests to landing lead roles in musicals, and receiving scholarships to study music at The University of Hawaii at Manoa. By 24, Keilana released her first single, “Cotton Candy Feelings,” which charted on a New York R&B Soul Radio and was well-received overseas. 

In 2020, Keilana released her debut album, “I Am,” which charted to #2 on the R&B iTunes Charts, also winning R&B Album of The Year and earning her the title of Most Promising Artist at the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards. “I Am” served as a beacon of hope and light, and encouraged listeners during the unprecedented times of 2020.

The years following, Keilana’s mission was to perform her debut album to live audiences. In 2022, she headlined at renowned showroom Bluenote Waikiki for the first time, selling out two shows. She’s opened for artists such as Jack Johnson, Anuhea, Paula Fuga, Mike Love and had the opportunity to sing with Soul/R&B Singer Allen Stone to sold-out crowds. She wrapped up the year by going on her first west-coast tour as an opener and direct support for Anhuea.  

In 2023, Keilana plans to release new music, play more headlining shows and festivals, tour, and support more artists. Her dream is to see the world through different lens, inspire others to share and create their own stories, and bridge the gap between music of her homeland and the world. 

Congresswoman Judy Chu

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-28) | Chair, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus 

Judy Chu was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in July 2009.  She represents the 28th Congressional District, which includes Pasadena and the west San Gabriel Valley of southern California. 

Rep. Chu currently serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over legislation pertaining to taxes, revenues, Social Security, and Medicare. In that Committee, Rep. Chu is a member of the Subcommittees on Health, giving her oversight over healthcare reform and crucial safety net programs, Worker and Family Support, and Oversight.  

She also serves on the House Small Business Committee, which has oversight of the Small Business Administration, as well as the House Budget Committee.  

Chu was first elected to the Board of Education for Garvey School District in 1985.  From there, she was elected to the Monterey Park City Council, where she served as Mayor three times.  She then was elected to the State Assembly and then California’s elected tax board, known as the State Board of Equalization.  In 2009, she became the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress in history. 

Rohit Chopra

Rohit Chopra, Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 

Rohit Chopra is Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB is a unit of the Federal Reserve System charged with protecting families and honest businesses from illegal practices by financial institutions, and ensuring that markets for consumer financial products and services are fair, transparent, and competitive. As Director, Chopra is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Financial Stability Oversight Council. 

In 2018, Chopra was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a Commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission, where he served until assuming office as CFPB Director. During his tenure at the FTC, he successfully worked to strengthen sanctions against repeat offenders, to reverse the agency’s reliance on no-money, no-fault settlements in fraud cases, and to halt abuses of small businesses. He also led efforts to revitalize dormant authorities, such as those to protect the Made in USA label and to promote competition.

Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo)

Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo), Chair, National Endowment for the Humanities 

Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo) is Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Lowe is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Ganado, Arizona. From 2015 to 2022 she served as a member of the National Council on the Humanities, the 26-member advisory body to NEH, an appointment she received from President Obama. Lowe’s career in higher education has included roles as Executive Director of the Harvard University Native American Program, Assistant Dean in the Yale College Dean’s Office, and Director of the Native American Cultural Center at Yale University. Prior to these positions, she spent six years as the Graduate Education Program Facilitator for the American Indian Studies Programs at the University of Arizona.

Lowe has served in a variety of leadership roles nationally, most recently as a member of the University of Arizona Alumni Association Governing Board and of the Challenge Leadership Group for the MIT Solve Indigenous Communities Fellowship. She has served on the board of the National Indian Education Association and as a trustee on the board for the National Museum of the American Indian.  

Lowe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, a Master of Arts in American Indian Studies, and has completed doctoral coursework in Higher Education from the University of Arizona. 

Senator Tammy Duckworth

Senator Tammy Duckworth | U.S. Senator for Illinois, United States Senate 

Senator Tammy Duckworth is an Iraq War Veteran, Purple Heart recipient and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs who was among the first handful of Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Duckworth served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years before retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2014. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016 after representing Illinois’s Eighth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for two terms. 

In 2004, Duckworth was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard. On November 12, 2004, her helicopter was hit by an RPG and she lost her legs and partial use of her right arm. Senator Duckworth spent the next year recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where she quickly became an advocate for her fellow Soldiers. After she recovered, she became Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, where she helped create a tax credit for employers that hire Veterans, established a first-in-the-nation 24/7 Veterans crisis hotline and developed innovative programs to improve Veterans’ access to housing and health care. 

In 2009, President Obama appointed Duckworth as an Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs, where she coordinated a joint initiative with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help end Veteran homelessness, worked to address the unique challenges faced by female as well as Native American Veterans and created the Office of Online Communications to improve the VA’s accessibility, especially among young Veterans. 

In the U.S. House, Duckworth served on the Armed Services Committee and was an advocate for working families and job creation, introducing bills like her bipartisan Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act to ensure new mothers have access to safe, clean and accessible lactation rooms when traveling through airports, which is now law. She helped lead passage of the bipartisan Clay Hunt SAV Act, which enhanced efforts to track and reduce Veteran suicides. She also passed the Troop Talent Act to help returning Veterans find jobs in the private sector and worked to cut waste and fraud at the Pentagon and throughout government, including passing a common-sense provision that was projected to save taxpayers $4 billion by reducing redundancy in military uniforms. 

In the U.S. Senate, Duckworth advocates for practical, common-sense solutions needed to move our state and country forward like rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, protecting Illinoisans from lead poisoning, growing manufacturing jobs while supporting minority-owned small businesses, investing in communities that have been ignored for too long and making college more affordable for all Americans. She co-founded the Senate’s first-ever Environmental Justice Caucus and also continues her lifelong mission of supporting, protecting and keeping the promises we’ve made to our Veterans as well as ensuring that we stand fully behind the troops our nation sends into danger overseas. In 2018, after Duckworth became the first Senator to give birth while serving in office, she sent a message to working families across the country about the value of family-friendly policies by securing a historic rules change that allows Senators to bring their infant children onto the Senate floor. As Senator, she advocates for practical, common-sense solutions needed to move our country and our state forward. 

Senator Duckworth serves on several influential committees that give her an important platform to advocate for Illinois’s working families and entrepreneurs: the Armed Services Committee; the Foreign Relations Committee; the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee; and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee. The first Senate bill she introduced—which supports Illinois jobs by helping prevent bureaucratic delays in infrastructure projects—became law in record time. As a result of her achievements, Duckworth has been recognized by the Center for Effective Lawmaking as among the top five most effective Democratic Senators overall and the most effective on transportation issues in the 116th Congress. She was also recognized as the most effective freshman Democratic Senator in the 115th Congress. 

Duckworth is fluent in Thai and Indonesian. She attended college at the University of Hawaii and earned a Master of Arts in International Affairs from the George Washington University. Following graduation, Duckworth moved to Illinois and began pursuing a Ph.D. in Political Science at Northern Illinois University and later worked for Rotary International. To this day, the Senator volunteers at local food pantries and participates in community service projects in her free time. 

Senator Duckworth and her husband Bryan are the proud parents of two daughters, Abigail and Maile. 

Gautam Raghavan

Gautam Raghavan | Assistant to the President and Director, White House Presidential Personnel Office 

Gautam Raghavan serves as Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel which oversees the recruitment, selection, vetting, and nominations or appointments of over 4,000 presidential appointees across the Executive Branch. Raghavan was promoted by President Biden into this role in January 2022 after serving as Deputy Director of Presidential Personnel. Immediately prior to joining the Biden-Harris Administration, Raghavan served as Deputy Head of Presidential Appointments for the Biden-Harris Transition Team, where he helped build an unprecedented appointments program that screened, interviewed, vetted, and appointed over 1,000 Biden-Harris appointees during the 77-day period between Election Day and Inauguration Day.  

Raghavan has previously served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and as Vice President of Policy for the Gill Foundationand the founding Executive Director of Indian American Impact. During the Obama-Biden Administration, Raghavan served as President Obama’s liaison to the LGBTQ and AANHPI communities in the White House Office of Public Engagement and as Outreach Lead for the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Working Group. 

A first-generation immigrant, Raghavan was born in India, raised in Seattle, and graduated from Stanford University. He is the editor of “West Wingers: Stories from the Dream Chasers, Change Makers, and Hope Creators Inside the Obama White House.” He lives with his husband and their daughter in Washington, D.C. 

Nani Coloretti

Nani Coloretti | Deputy Director, White House Office of Management and Budget 

Nani A. Coloretti is currently the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, where she works on issues across the federal government to fund and implement the President’s agenda to improve the lives of all Americans. Ms. Coloretti has over 25 years of experience leading public, private and non-profit organizations to achieve outstanding results. She has deep expertise on the federal budget and extensive federal agency management experience. She also has leadership, budget and policy experience at the local level, as well as in the non-profit and private sectors.  

Most recently, she led financial strategy and operations at the Urban institute, an independent policy research organization and think tank dedicated to using evidence, insight, and analysis to inform policy decisions that improve opportunity for all Americans. Prior to the Urban Institute, Ms. Coloretti served in the Obama administration for eight years as deputy secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As the second-most senior official at HUD, she managed the department’s day-to-day operations and cross-cutting program initiatives, including a $45 billion annual budget and approximately 8,000 employees. 

Before joining HUD, Ms. Coloretti spent five years in senior management roles at the US Department of the Treasury.  As the assistant secretary for management and acting chief financial officer, she oversaw all operational areas including the development and execution of the department’s budget, performance, and strategic plan; procurement; human resources; information technology; and management of Treasury’s headquarters and bureaus. She managed the development of Treasury’s systems to track and report spending and implementation under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2019.  She helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), serving as its first chief operating officer, and within six months hired initial agency staff in all areas, including enforcement, compliance and technology; and created the capacity for CFPB’s consumer complaint data base. 


Before joining the Obama administration in 2009, Ms. Coloretti served as policy advisor and budget director for San Francisco City and County working with Mayor Gavin Newsom, where she balanced its then $6.5 billion budget during the tumult of the Great Recession. Ms. Coloretti’s prior experience includes work in San Francisco to improve the lives of children, youth, and families; budget analysis in the Clinton administration’s Office of Management and Budget (as a Medicaid analyst, a Presidential Management Fellow, and in rotation to the Senate Finance Committee), work on the State of Hawaii budget; and economics consulting.   

Ms. Coloretti has been independently recognized for her management results and holds a BA in economics and communications from the University of Pennsylvania and an MPP from the University of California, Berkeley. Ms. Coloretti was raised in Hawaii and currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband, and together they have a son in college.  

Kiran Ahuja

Kiran Ahuja | Director, U.S. Office of Personnel Management 

Kiran Ahuja serves as the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Director Ahuja serves as the first South Asian American and first Asian American woman to lead OPM. Director Ahuja started her career as an attorney at the Department of Justice and later spent six years as President Barack Obama’s Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Director Ahuja served as OPM Chief of Staff from 2015-2017 and brings a deep knowledge and commitment to OPM’s mission, and expertise in human capital. In addition to her federal service, Director Ahuja spent two decades in public service as a leader in the non-profit sector; as the founding Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and most recently served as CEO of Philanthropy Northwest. Director Ahuja is a graduate of Spelman College and the University of Georgia School of Law. 

Jenny R. Yang

Jenny R. Yang | Deputy Assistant to the President for Racial Justice and Equity, White House Domestic Policy Council 

Jenny R. Yang serves at the White House Domestic Policy Council as Deputy Assistant to the President for Racial Justice and Equity.  She leads DPC’s portfolio across a broad range of equity issues, including criminal justice, democracy and voting, the racial wealth gap, disability policy, LGBTQI+ rights, and Native Affairs. From January 20, 2021 through March 2023, Ms. Yang served as the Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs at the U.S. Department of Labor where she led equal opportunity enforcement in federal contracting.  

In the Obama-Biden Administration, from 2013-2018, Ms. Yang served as Chair, Vice-Chair, and Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission where she tackled systemic discrimination, including requiring employers to report pay data and creating a task force to study and prevent harassment.  


After her EEOC service, as a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, Ms. Yang worked to revitalize anti-discrimination laws to protect workers as structural and technological changes transform work. In addition, as a strategic partner with Working IDEAL, Ms. Yang assisted employers in preventing harassment and promoting equality of opportunity through the design of employment practices.  

Prior to that, Ms. Yang spent over a decade representing workers in litigation in private practice and as a Senior Trial Attorney with the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section. A graduate of Cornell University, she earned a B.A. in Government and a J.D. from NYU School of Law. Ms. Yang served as co-chair of NAPAWF’s first national governing board. 

Vanita Gupta

Vanita Gupta | U.S. Associate Attorney General, Department of Justice 

Associate Vanita Gupta is the 19th United States Associate Attorney General and serves as the third-ranking official at the Department of Justice. Associate Attorney General Gupta supervises multiple litigating divisions within the Department of Justice, including the Civil Division, Civil Rights Division, Antitrust Division, Tax Division, and Environmental and Natural Resources Division. She also oversees the grantmaking components of the Department, including the Office of Justice Programs, the Office on Violence Against Women, and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services; and supervises the Office for Access to Justice, Office of Information Policy, the Community Relations Service, the Executive Office for United States Trustees, the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, and the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative. Associate Attorney General Gupta previously served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the nation’s oldest and largest coalition of non-partisan civil rights organizations in the United States.Before serving in that capacity, from October 15, 2014, to January 20, 2017, Associate Attorney General Gupta served as Acting Assistant Attorney General and Head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Appointed by President Barack Obama as the chief civil rights prosecutor for the United States, Associate Attorney General Gupta advanced a wide range of civil rights enforcement matters. Prior to her tenure leading the Civil Rights Division, Associate Attorney General Gupta served as Deputy Legal Director and the Director of the Center for Justice at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice 

Daniel Arrigg Koh

Daniel Arrigg Koh | Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Cabinet Secretary, The White House 

Dan Koh is Deputy Cabinet Secretary at The White House, where he helps guide the affairs related to the Cabinet of President Joseph R. Biden.  Immediately prior, he was Chief of Staff at The United States Department of Labor, a 14,000 person, $15 billion federal agency dedicated to the wellbeing of America’s workers. Previously, Dan served as Chief Operating Officer of HqO, a technology company focused on changing the way we interact with physical space.  In this capacity, he helped grow the company from 30 employees to over 150 across multiple financing rounds, leading to a $500 million valuation. He was formerly a candidate for Congress in Massachusetts, where he ran a true grassroots campaign with thousands of volunteers knocking hundreds of thousands of doors, coming within 0.2% of the Democratic primary nomination. Prior, Dan served as Chief of Staff to Boston Mayor of Boston Martin J. Walsh, managing 18,000 employees and a $3 billion budget during one of the most prosperous four-year periods in Boston’s history, with record levels of employment and educational attainment.  He also was Chief of Staff to Arianna Huffington, Editor-in-Chief and Founder of The Huffington Post, where he helped oversee a newsroom of over 700 worldwide. He has been named to the “30 under 30” list by Forbes Magazine, the “40 under 40” list by the Boston Business Journal, and was an honorable mention for “Bostonian of the Year” by The Boston Globe.  In 2023, he was named a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum.  A native of Andover, Massachusetts, Dan holds a B.A from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, where he was President of his section.  Dan is an avid runner, having completed 61 marathons across the U.S. and Canada.   

Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur | Poet, Artist, and Performer 

A breakout literary phenomenon and #1 New York Times bestselling author, Rupi Kaur wrote, illustrated, and self-published her first poetry collection, milk and honey (2014). Next came its artistic siblings, the sun and her flowers (2017) and home body (2020), both debuting at #1 on bestseller lists across the world. These collections have sold over 11 million copies and have been translated into over 43 languages, with milk and honey surpassing Homer’s Odyssey as the best-selling poetry of all time. She was also regarded as “writer of the decade” by The New Republic and recognized on the Forbes 30 under 30 list. In 2022, Kaur released her fourth book, Healing Through Words, another bestseller and a journey of guided writing exercises to help readers explore their creativity. 

As she has done from the very beginning, Kaur self-produced Rupi Kaur Live (2021), the first-of-its-kind poetry special on Amazon Prime Video. Kaur also wrote and narrated an original poem for the short film Rise with Reese Witherspoon’s media company Hello Sunshine. Rise was showcased at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and is now available on Amazon Prime Video. 

Kaur has also graced stages across the globe and completed another sold-out tour in 2023. Her shows are poetic theatrical experiences interlaced with Kaur’s own touch of stand-up.  

Kaur’s work encompasses love, loss, trauma, healing, femininity, and migration. She feels most at home when creating art, performing her poetry onstage, and spending time with family and friends.

Aaron J. Salā

Aaron J. Salā | Founder and CEO, Gravitas Pasifika 

Aaron J. Salā is Founder and CEO of Gravitas Pasifika, a boutique firm intent on harnessing the power of creative storyliving to advance Native Hawaiian, local Hawaiʻi, and Pasifika worldview through the creative industries. He is also founder of The Native Imaginative, a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation committed to the engagement with, education about, and elevation of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities through curriculum development and cultural consultancy, arts advocacy, and professional development. With a PhD in ethnomusicology from the Unversity of Hawaiʻi, his academic research in Hawaiian and Pasifika music, language, and culture has informed a robust portfolio inclusive of work especially around cultural consulting, creative direction, and media production.  In service to community, he serves on several non-profit boards including those for the Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre, Hawaiʻi Youth Symphony, Awaiāulu, PBS Hawaiʻi, and the Hawaiʻi Visitors and Conventions Bureau. Recent professional work includes: 

  • Creative and Cultural Director, Cirque du Soleil-Hawaiʻi (title forthcoming, late 2024) 
  • Executive Director, 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (Jun 2024) 
  • Producer, Yo-yo Ma at the Waikīkī Shell (Dec 2022) 
  • Creative Director and Producer, ANA Honolulu Music Week (Nov 2019) 
  • Music and Dialogue Director, Disney’s Moana ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (Nov 2018) 
  • Producer and Writer, IUCN World Conservation Congress opening ceremonies and plenary session (Sept 2016) 
  • Director and Writer, Cultural Programs and Engagements, World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Education (May 2014) 
Ikelau Misech

Ikelau Misech | Student, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 

Ms. Ikelau Misech is a Palauan born and raised in the Republic of Belau, with ties to the south islands of Angaur and Peleliu. Raised in the traditional dances of the Pacific Island nation, her mother has pioneered contemporary Belauan dance styles. Misech currently works as a Pacific Research Intern at the Pacific Islands Development Program housed at the East-West Center. With a concentration in Tourism and Hospitality at Palau High School, and one year at Palau Community College, she is now majoring in Pacific Island Studies with a minor in Education at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. 

Ikelau is a BA student in Pacific Islands Studies and a minor in Education, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 

John Taukäve

John Taukäve | Performing Artist, Rako Pasefika 

Being a Performing Artist for over 15 years now where Pacific and Rotuman culture, identity, story and traditions, hardwork, sacrifice, family and creativity have always been the foundations of what I stand for, both inside and outside of my professional career. I am inspired and partake various cultural art forms including Pacific and Rotuman performing arts, indigenous storytelling, cultural and traditional music creation as well as applied experiences in cultural research. I work with a Rotuman Cultural Arts Company namely Rako Pasefika and this has been the benchmark for most of my creative work as well as currently pursuing an Master Degree in Pacific Island Studies at the University of Hawai’i with the East West Center. Having the space to grow artistically and academically with the support of family and my community has been life changing and I would not have it any other way. 

Recent activities: 

  • Fiji Delegation to the Pacific Arts festival held in Guam in 2016,  
  • A cultural performing ambassador for Fiji and the Pacific Delegation to the Global Climate Summit at San Francisco in 2018 as well as, 
  • Participating in an intimate sharing performance with the Pacific community at the Sydney Opera House in 2019 
Geena Rocero

Geena Rocero | Author, Director, Producer, and Trans Advocate 

Geena Rocero, born and raised in Manila, Philippines, is a four time Emmy Nominated and an Award Winning Producer, Writer and Director. She’s also a Model, Public Speaker, Trans Rights Advocate and co-host of the Webby Awards honoree TV Show ASPIREist, broadcasted on HLN/CNN. She is one of “Top 25 Transgender Persons Who Influences Culture” by TIME Magazine. Her upcoming memoir HORSE BARBIE will be released on May 30, 2023 by Penguin Random House imprint, The Dial Press. She recently directed and executive produced the 2022 EMMY and GLAAD Media Awards nominated, and 2022 Webby Awards Honoree, CARETAKERS, a four-part original documentary series with PBS/WNET featuring stories of Filipino American frontline healthcare workers that premiered on October 8, 2021. For Vanity Fair’s January 2022 issue, she is featured as one of Gold House’s AAPI’s who are forging a new culture alongside Marvel director Destin Daniel Cretton, Crazy Rich Asian director Jon Chu and many other trailblazing AAPI’s. She made history as the first trans woman Ambassador for Miss Universe Nepal, an honor that’s been bestowed to her as part of the Miss Universe Organization pageant system accepting trans women into the competition. In May 2020, she was honored on Gold House’s #A100 List of the most impactful Asians and Pacific Islanders. The list includes Academy Award Winning Director Bong Joon Ho of Parasite, actress Awkwafina, former 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Vice President Kamala Harris, TV Host Chrissy Teigen and many others. On March 31, 2014, she made history as the First trans person to speak about transgender issues at the TED Conference main stage. In honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility, Rocero came out as transgender at the annual TED Conference, her viral talk has since been viewed close to 5 million times and translated in 32 languages. Geena is the founder of Gender Proud, a media production company that tells stories on what it means to be trans and gender non-conforming. She, with Gender Proud Productions produced and presented “Beautiful As I Want to Be” series and TV special on LogoTV highlighting trans youth, and received the 2016 GLAAD Media Award. Gender Proud also produced “Willing and Able”, a 2017 GLAAD Media nominated web series about transgender employment with Fusion TV and worked with Fusion/Univision to produce a TV documentary about transgender athletes, “No League of Their Own” and won 2017 Association of LGBTQ Journalists Best in Health and Fitness Coverage. She co-executive produced the 2018 GLAAD Media awards nominated “Made To Model” a documentary on 9 Pioneers and emerging trans model in collaboration with LogoTV, MTV and VH1. Geena has spoken at the White House, World Economic Forum, United Nations, State Department, Fortune 500 Companies and been featured on E’s I am Cait, Magazine Cover of Candy Magazine, Vanity Fair: Trans America, Marriott’s #LoveTravels Campaign and CoverGirl Cosmetics #GirlsCan Campaign. She was on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar India. On September 2018, published by Simon and Schuster, she contributed a chapter in the NY Times Bestseller book “American like Me” by actress America Ferrera with contributors like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjani and many others. She’s a board member of NY LGBT Center. As the 2020 National Chair for Stonewall Day in June, she helped raised close to 100k for Black and Brown led LGBTQ organizations affected by COVID-19. She’s a partner on FamilyQ.Org, a queer led volunteer network distributor of FDA-approved surgical grade PPE’s to front-line organizations. To date, they’ve donated more than 100,000 masks. She has been featured in media publications such as CNN, Al Jazeera America, MSNBC, Today Show, NHK World Channel, HuffPost Live, New York Magazine, Mashable, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, Elle, Entertainment Weekly, People, Variety, Take Part, The Advocate, MTV and others. 

Daniel Dae Kim

Daniel Dae Kim | Actor, Director, Producer, and Activist 

DANIEL DAE KIM is an actor, director, producer, and activist widely known for his work in ABC’s LOST, CBS’s HAWAII FIVE-O, Netflix’s STOWAWAY, Disney+’s RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON and Tony® Award-winning production of THE KING AND I. Kim recently wrapped production on Netflix’s live-action AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER where he will play the lead villain, Fire Lord Ozai. Up next Daniel and his production company, 3AD, will team up for a new spy thriller series for Amazon which will be shot in Korea later this year. Kim can also be seen in BJ Novak’s FX series, THE PREMISE, Nat Geo’s THE HOT ZONE: ANTHRAX, Apple TV+’s ROAR, and heard in QCode’s original podcast, PROPHECY from Audible, with whom his company recently announced a deal for original content. 3AD produces ABC’s THE GOOD DOCTOR, as well as 2023’s multi-award winning documentary BAD AXE. Kim’s advocacy for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is longstanding. His most recent testimony in front of Congress in 2021 helped lead to the passage of the “Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act,” and he currently serves on the White House’s Commission for Asian American, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Gold House and co-chairs the Advisory Council of the The Asian American Foundation, which partnered this year with 3AD and Gold House for the first official AAPI themed House at the Sundance Film Festival. 

Bing Chen

Bing Chen | CEO & Co-Founder, Gold House 

Bing Chen is an impact founder, investor, and new world builder. He is Executive Chairman and Founder of AU Holdings: a family of companies that incubate and invest in multicultural creators, companies, and communities to rebalance socioeconomic equity. He is also Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Co-founder of Gold House that powers cultural change by uniting, investing in, and championing Asian Pacific communities. He is also General Partner and Co-founder of Aum Group, a premier multicultural film fund; and serves as a Board Director and Advisor to several leading digital media companies. Previously, he was YouTube’s Global Head of Creator Development and Management, where he was one of the original and principal architects of the multi-billion dollar creator and influencer ecosystem that supports 300 million creators worldwide. He is a Hollywood Reporter Next Gen Leader and Most Influential Agent of Change; Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree; American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement and Jack Averett honoree; ABC News History Maker; Fast Company Brand That Matters; Milken Institute Young Leaders Circle Member; PTTOW! Member; ADCOLOR Catalyst Honoree; Asia Society Asia 21 Young Leader; and Asian Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year. Bing is a third culture kid across North America and Asia, finally graduating from the University of Pennsylvania. He was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, which becomes obvious at $11.99 buffets. 

Dr. Vivek Murthy

Dr. Vivek Murthy | Vice Admiral, U.S. Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 

Dr. Vivek H. Murthy was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March 2021 to serve as the 21st Surgeon General of the United States. He previously served as the 19th Surgeon General under President Obama. As the Nation’s Doctor, the Surgeon General’s mission is to help lay the foundation for a healthier country, relying on the best scientific information available to provide clear, consistent, and equitable guidance and resources for the public. As the Vice Admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Dr. Murthy commands a uniformed service of over 6,000 dedicated public health officers, serving the most underserved and vulnerable populations. He is also the host of House Calls with Dr. Vivek Murthy, a podcast highlighting the healing power of conversations. The first Surgeon General of Indian descent, Dr. Murthy was raised in Miami and is a graduate of Harvard, the Yale School of Medicine, and the Yale School of Management. A renowned physician, research scientist, entrepreneur, and author, he lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Dr. Alice Chen, and their two children. 


MILCK | Singer-Songwriter, Producer, and Advocate 

MILCK uses her artistic platform for the advancement of social change. She taps into the emotional pulse of important cultural movements and creates art in collaboration with underrepresented communities. MILCK has established the Somebody’s Beloved Fund to use her music to generate over $100K in resources for ten grassroots beneficiaries that build power around racial and gender healing. 

In 2022, MILCK made waves with the prevalent recent protest song “We Won’t Go Back” with BIIANCO, GRAMMY-winner Autumn Rowe, and Ani DiFranco, as a direct response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.  The year also marked the 5-year-anniversary since MILCK found worldwide success with her song “Quiet” during the 2017 Women’s March, where her acapella performance with 25 strangers was captured by a cell phone and went viral. “Quiet” was named Billboard’s No.1 Protest Song and selected for NPR’s American Anthem Series. 

MILCK’s songs have been featured as the soundtrack to P&G’s 2018 Winter Olympics campaign, Secret’s National 2019 Campaign, and on Grey’s Anatomy, Blacklist, Lucifer, Pretty Little Liars, Riverdale, Netflix’s Marco Polo, Mother Land, CBS’s Asian American Heritage Month, and more. In addition to her own songs, MILCK enjoys writing and producing songs of empowerment for others like “Mystery of Me” for Phillipa Soo, “Shh” by Linying, and “Stardust” for John Legend. 

Eric Nam

Eric Nam | Artist & Co-Founder, Creative Director at DIVE Studios/Mindset 

Eric Nam is a multi-faceted singer-songwriter, TV personality, actor, and entrepreneur. Named GQ Korea’s Man of the Year and Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia, Eric is a household name and one of the most extensively touring Asian artists in the world. In 2019, with the help of his brothers, Eric co-founded DIVE Studios – a K-pop-focused media company with multiple award-winning podcasts. In 2021, the Nam brothers leveraged the success of DIVE Studios to create Mindset, a mental health and wellness platform with a library of authentic and intimate video and audio collections from world-renowned celebrities. Eric received a B.A. in International Studies with honors from Boston College.- Instagram, Twitter  


Versha Sharma

Versha Sharma | Editor-in-Chief, Teen Vogue 

Versha Sharma is the Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue, where she is focused on covering social justice, culture, fashion and politics through the lens of young people. Since joining Teen Vogue, the magazine has increased its AAPI representation across the board, including several covers, profiles, and behind the scenes with feature writers and photographers. She was named South Asian Woman of the Year in 2022 by the Harvard South Asian Women’s Collective. Previously, she was Managing Editor and Senior Correspondent at NowThis, where she led audience growth on new platforms from Instagram to Facebook to YouTube, working at the social video-first company since 2014. She’s produced several short documentaries and filed dispatches on immigration from the U.S.-Mexico border, reported from mass protests in St. Louis, and traveled to Moscow, Russia for a show she hosted and executive produced called The Russia Desk. Versha won an Edward R. Murrow award with the NowThis Reports team for a short doc about the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Versha has long been an enthusiastic voice for the most innovative models in digital journalism. Prior to NowThis, she worked as a reporter and editor for Vocativ, where she managed a team of international reporters. She covered the 2012 presidential election for MSNBC and got her start in journalism with an internship at Talking Points Memo in 2009. 

Estella Owoimaha-Church

Estella Owoimaha-Church | Executive Director, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) 

Estella is the first-generation of her family born on Tongva Land (for now known as Los Angeles). While identifying as an Angeleno, deeply connected to the lands that raised her, Estella’s roots burrow deep beyond the asphalt of South Central L.A.. Her maternal grandparents are from the villages of Satufia of Savai’i and Saleilua of Upolu, Samoa; her paternal grandparents are from Calabar, Cross River, Nigeria. She transitions into the role of Executive Director at Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) post nearly two decades of service as an educator. Estella was the first Samoan to be named a finalist for the Global Teacher Prize in 2018 and awarded California Theatre Teacher of 2020. As a Black-Pacific Islander (PI), mother to a Black-PI child, and eldest sister of two Black-PI young men, she holds dear her responsibility to serve generations of past, present, and future. So long as she is capable, Estella will advocate for all those who look like her, step up as co-conspirator for others in the margins, and forge clear paths for young people where there once were none. 

John C. Yang

John C. Yang | President and Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC 

John C. Yang is the President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. He leads the organization’s efforts to fight for civil rights and empower Asian Americans to create a more just America for all through public policy advocacy, education, and litigation. 

Mr. Yang served in the Obama Administration as Senior Advisor for Trade and Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he was the principal advisor to Secretary Penny Pritzker on issues related to Asia and worked with the White House and other U.S. agencies on strategic and economic issues concerning the region. Previously, Mr. Yang was a partner with a major Washington, D.C. law firm, and also worked in Shanghai, China as the legal director for the Asia-Pacific operations of a U.S. Fortune 200 company. Mr. Yang was the 2003-04 President of NAPABA.    

Mr. Yang’s other leadership positions have included: Member, National Advisory Committee for Race, Ethnicity & Other Populations, U.S. Census Bureau (2017-2019); Co-Chair, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (2019-present); Member, American Bar Association House of Delegates (2008-18; Minority Caucus Chair, 2014–16); General Counsel, D.C. Bar (2000-02); Advisory Committee on Pro Se Litigation for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (1998–2002). In 1998, Mr. Yang co-founded the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the direct service legal needs of Asian Pacific Americans in the D.C. metropolitan area. He received his law degree from George Washington University Law School. 

Lisa Ling

Lisa Ling | Host of CNN’s This Is Life  

For nine seasons, Lisa executive produced and hosted of THIS IS LIFE on CNN, 

For THIS IS LIFE, Lisa embedded with a notorious biker club and explored the medicinal use of psychedelics in psychotherapy. 

In 2021, she executive produced and hosted TAKE OUT, an exploration of Asian American history through the lens of delicious Asian food that has become so ubiquitous in the U.S. 

Prior to moving to CNN, Lisa EP’d and hosted Our America on OWN. She was also a field correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show and contributor to ABC News’ Nightline. For these shows she reported from dozens of countries; covering stories about gang rape in the Congo, bride burning in India and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, among other issues that are too often ignored. 

Lisa was the first female host of National Geographic’s flagship show Explorer which sent her to cover the phenomenon of female suicide bombers, the spread of the MS-13 gang—considered the world’s most dangerous gang, and the humanitarian crisis inside North Korea. 

She got her start in journalism as a correspondent for Channel One News where she covered the civil war in Afghanistan at 21 years of age. She later went to become a co-host of ABC Daytime’s hit show The View, which won its first daytime Emmy during her time at the show. 

Lisa is the co-author of “Mother, Sister. Daughter, Bride: Rituals of Womanhood,” and “Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and The Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home” that she penned with her sister Laura. 

In 2014, President Obama appointed Lisa to the Commission on White House Fellows. She is an advisory board member for The First Partner of California’s CA Partners Project, The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), and a Baby2Baby angel. 

Lisa lives in Santa Monica with her husband Paul Song and daughters Jett and Ray. 


Wolftyla | Singer/Songwriter 

Wolftyla is a RIAA Gold winning songwriter and pioneering independent artist combining her love for R&B/alternative with hints of K-pop, and lauded by industry favorites like BLACKPINK’s Rosé and BTS’ V. Born and raised in New York, Wolftyla landed her first radio hit and multiple playlist placements with “All Tinted” and later followed up with her debut EP “Wolf in Color” (2020). Wolftyla’s collaborations include co-producing alongside Timbaland for “Candy” and having two feature appearances on “Wolf in Color”. She has provided vocals on chart-topping “DRUM GO DUM”, which became a Top 10 hit on the Billboard World Digital Song Sales chart (2020).  


In 2023, Wolftyla embarks on an exciting year of new music and big performances. She continues her growth in her artistry with her second EP “Trust Fall” (March 2023). 

Deeana Jang

Deeana Jang | Policy Director, White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders 

Deeana Jang serves as Policy Director at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. In this role, she supports the coordination, development and implementation of federal policy to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities. She is on loan from the National Immigration Law Center. Deeana has held senior executive roles at the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Deeana has also held policy roles at the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum and the Center for Law and Social Policy. She is an attorney who worked for several legal aid programs representing survivors of gender-based violence. Deeana is the daughter of a paper son from California. 

Kei Koizumi

Kei Koizumi | Principal Deputy Director for Policy, The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy 

Kei Koizumi (he/his) is a longtime science-policy professional in Washington, DC. Since January 2021, Koizumi has been at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), currently as Principal Deputy Director for Policy. Immediately before that, he served on the Biden-Harris Transition Team as the lead for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a member of the OSTP transition. Koizumi served as Senior Advisor for Science Policy at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) between 2017 and 2019. He was Assistant Director for Federal R&D at OSTP from 2009 to 2016. He was Director of the R&D Budget and Policy Program at AAAS from 1995 to 2009. He received his MA from the Center for International Science and Technology Policy at the George Washington University (where he has taught science policy) and his BA from Boston University in Political Science and Economics. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.   

Dr. Margo Schwab

Dr. Margo Schwab | Co-Chair, Equitable Data Working Group, Office of Management and Budget, and Senior Science Policy Analyst, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

Dr. Margo Schwab is a senior public health policy analyst with the Office of the Chief Statistician of the United States in the Office of Management and Budget.  She was the co-lead of the Biden Administration’s Equitable Data Working Group. 

In addition to equity and public health, Dr. Schwab’s portfolio includes advocating for science-based regulations and information collection requests (ICRs) to promote objectivity, transparency, and rigor in the statistical and scientific information produced and disseminated by the Federal government. Dr. Schwab applies her expertise in environmental epidemiology to policies that address particulate matter, ozone, and lead. She also provides government-wide leadership in the development and implementation of policies associated with information quality and peer review. Her work includes ensuring that the principles of integrity, utility, quality, privacy, and security are fully honored as the government makes its information ever more transparent and accessible to the public.  

Before coming to OMB, Dr. Schwab was on the faculty at the Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and was the Assistant Director of the Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute. She has conducted environmental epidemiology research at the Harvard School of Public Health, as a contractor to the Environmental Protection Agency, and for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa, and the University of Colorado. She received her Ph.D. in Geography from Clark University where she focused on exposure to air pollution in the context of equity. 

Karthick Ramakrishnan

Karthick Ramakrishnan | Co-Founder & Co-Director, AAPI Data 

Karthick Ramakrishnan is professor of public policy at the University of California, Riverside and the founder of AAPI Data. He is also a Board Member of The California Endowment, Chair of the California Commission on APIA Affairs, co-founder of California 100, and adjunct fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).   

He has published many articles and 7 books, including most recently, Citizenship Reimagined (Cambridge, 2020) and Framing Immigrants (Russell Sage, 2016), and has written dozens of opeds and has appeared in nearly 3,000 news stories. Ramakrishnan was  named to the Frederick Douglass 200 and is currently working on projects related to racial equity in philanthropy and regional development. He holds a BA in international relations from Brown University and a PhD in politics from Princeton. More information at https://karthick.com/ 

Rachel Marks

Rachel Marks | Branch Chief, Racial Statistics Branch, Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau 

Rachel Marks is chief of the Racial Statistics Branch in the Census Bureau’s Population Division. She leads a research team that analyzes data on race and ethnicity from the 2020 Census, 2020 Island Areas Census, American Community Survey, and the Current Population Survey. She advises and guides research focusing on the reporting patterns of racial and ethnic groups in the United States, Puerto Rico, and other Island Areas. 

Rachel has conducted extensive outreach, presentations, and workshops with various stakeholder groups throughout her career and was a lead researcher for the 2015 National Content Test, which examined alternative ways to collect data on race and ethnicity. She is a leading expert on the Middle Eastern and North African population in the United States – and has authored many reports and presentations.  

Rachel joined the Census Bureau in 2007 as a survey statistician in the Decennial Management Division’s Puerto Rico, Island Areas, and Overseas Enumeration Branch. She has a master’s degree in sociology from the University of New Hampshire and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. She also completed a master’s certificate in project management at George Washington University.  

Jordan Matsudaira

Jordan Matsudaira | Deputy Undersecretary and Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Education 

Jordan Matsudaira is Deputy Under Secretary and (the inaugural) Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Education.  Prior to joining the administration he was associate professor of economics and education policy at Teachers College Columbia University, where his research leveraged administrative data, working with government and institutional partners, to understand and improve education and labor market programs and policies aimed at promoting the mobility of low-income Americans. He previously served as chief economist of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, where he contributed to higher education access and accountability initiatives and policies to support lower wage workers and workforce development. He previously held appointments as a Visiting Associate Professor at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, a Nonresident Fellow at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., and a Senior Research Scholar at the Community College Research Center at Teachers College. He earned his Ph.D in Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan, and a Master’s in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. 


Jim Walker

Jim Walker | Supervisory Economist, Bureau of Labor Statistics 

Jim Walker is a supervisory economist at the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Each month he manages a team of economists writing the monthly jobs report and is one of the Bureau’s experts on labor force data from the Current Population Survey (CPS). Mr. Walker is the co-chair of the WHIAANHPI Data Disaggregation Subgroup. He is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) who served in Costa Rica. Mr. Walker received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Spanish from Albion College in Michigan and a Master of Arts degree in Economics from American University in Washington DC. 

Meina Banh

Meina Banh | Deputy Director, Office of Financial Education, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 

Meina Banh brings a diverse set of policy experience having worked in various positions within federal agencies, Congress, and nonprofit organizations. She is currently the deputy director at the Office of Financial Education with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) where she manages a team to drive the Bureau’s strategy and policies to improve the financial well-being of consumers. Prior to that, Meina spent time at the US Small Business Administration, Capitol Hill and community-based organizations focused on financial empowerment issues. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Master’s in Public Policy and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology. 

Gregg Orton

Gregg Orton | National Director, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) 

Gregg is the National Director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans where he leads the coalition in developing policy and communications strategy and advancing a joint agenda to address the needs of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities. 

Gregg joins NCAPA after spending nine years working on Capitol Hill for Rep. Al Green (D-TX). He has served as a dedicated advocate for the AAPI community, as well as a mentor for many AAPI staffers in Congress. 

Gregg hails from Arcadia, CA and attended Vassar College where he earned his B.A. in Political Science. Following graduation, he came to DC as an Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) Housing Fellow and joined Rep. Green’s office. He also served as the Congressman’s Chief of Staff.

Kham Moua

Kham Moua | National Deputy Director, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center 

Kham S. Moua oversees SEARAC’s communications, field, and policy portfolios through landscape and strategic analysis, community engagement, and legislative and regulatory advocacy. Kham has spent over a decade community building, organizing, and advocating on a wide range of issues, ranging from immigration to tech policy and military justice. 

Prior to being National Deputy Director, Kham served as SEARAC’s Director of National Policy. While in that role, he raised the profile of Southeast Asian immigration issues and helped introduce the Southeast Asian Deportation Relief Act and New Way Forward Act. He also previously served as the Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy at OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates. While there, he directed the organization’s policy, advocacy, and campaign efforts. Together with Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC, he helped to establish the infrastructure for the AAPI Technology and Telecommunications Table. Kham has also worked at Hmong National Development and previously served as a board member for the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance.  

Kham is a 1.5 generation queer, Hmong American. He was born in a Thai refugee camp but calls Saint Paul, Minnesota his hometown. He currently lives in Alexandria, VA with his partner and dog. In his free time, he enjoys jiu jitsu and staying active, writing short stories and poetry, and baking. 

Neil Ruiz

Neil Ruiz | Head of Pew Research Initiatives, Pew Research Center 

Neil G. Ruiz is Pew Research Center’s Head of New Research Initiatives. In this role, he is responsible for inspiring and advancing new opportunities for organizational growth and evolution. He works closely with the Center’s president to conceptualize and drive new strategies that expand the Center’s scope and capacity to do new research and serve broader audiences. He identifies projects that amplify the Center’s mission and develops external collaborations. 

Neil is also the principal investigator of the Center’s comprehensive study of Asian Americans, where he is also serving as an associate director of race and ethnicity research. He has a background in applying demographic, qualitative, and survey research methods in the U.S. and around the world. He utilizes this mixed methods approach to studying Asian Americans, other racial and ethnic groups, and immigrant populations. He is the founding chair of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Research and Affinity Group of the American Association for Public Opinion Researchers. He previously was an associate director for the global migration and demography research team. 

Prior to joining the Center, Neil worked as a migration and economic development expert at the Brookings Institution, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. He was also the executive director of the Center for Law, Economics and Finance at George Washington University. He is a political economist with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a master’s degree from Oxford University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Fontane Lo

Fontane Lo | Deputy Director, AAPI Data 

Fontane Lo serves as the Deputy Director of AAPI Data, a nationally recognized publisher of demographic data and policy research on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. With more than 15 years of experience in applied research, Fontane has conducted primary and secondary research in a diversity of settings and collaborated with stakeholders across philanthropic, public, and nonprofit sectors. Prior to AAPI Data, Fontane led evaluation and learning efforts at Blue Shield of California Foundation and The James Irvine Foundation. While at Irvine, she partnered with PRRI and AAPI Data on the AAPI California Workers Survey and led a funder workgroup on AANHPI data equity. Fontane understands that powerful research is more than a report; it is also about the credibility built through community partnerships and about the translation of data and learning into action. 

Ninez Ponce

Ninez Ponce | Professor and Fred W. & Pamela K., Wasserman Endowed Chair, UCLA 

Ninez A. Ponce, MPP, PhD (BS UC Berkeley; MPP Harvard; PhD UCLA), is Professor and Endowed Chair in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and Principal Investigator for the California Health Interview Survey, the largest state survey in the USA. Dr. Ponce is an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and has served on the Board of Scientific Counselors, National Center for Health Statistics.  She has participated in committees for the National Academy of Medicine and the National Quality Forum, where her expertise has focused on setting guidance for health systems in the measurement and use of social determinants of health as tools to monitor health equity.  She has received numerous awards from community organizations recognizing her work in community-engaged research. In 2019 Dr. Ponce and her team received the AcademyHealth Impact award for their contributions to population health measurement to inform public policies. Dr. Ponce is currently Associate Editor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at JAMA Health Forum. Her portfolio includes a mixture of scholarly work and real-time knowledge diffusion studies, with over 140 peer-reviewed publications, over 60 policy reports, and various creative data access tools to democratize health data. 

Dr. Ponce champions better data, especially for people from marginalized racial and ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity, and immigrant populations.  She firmly believes that equity-centered data will lead to more meaningful program and policy inferences and better care for overlooked groups. 

Don Young

Don Young | Director of Programs, Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) 

Donald Young (he/him) is Director of Programs for the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), and has been responsible for building CAAM’s stature as a national producer of documentaries and independent feature films. He is a longtime documentary production executive and advocate for Asian American storytelling, who in 2022 executive produced the Peabody Awards Nominee Rising Against Asian Hate, and served as a planning member on the historic Vincent Chin 40th Remembrance and Rededication activities in Detroit. In 2020, he executive produced the PBS series Asian Americans. That year, he also produced the critically-acclaimed independent feature Coming Home Again by Wayne Wang, APIAVote’s 2020 Presidential Town Hall, which featured a live policy conversation with then-presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, and a concert special with Tony Award winner Lea Salonga at the Sydney Opera House for PBS’s Great Performances. Young is a member of the Documentary Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. 

Kiki Rivera

Kiki Rivera | Storyteller, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) 

Kiki Rivera (We/They/Them) As a storyteller for Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), Kiki Rivera helps fulfill EPIC’s mission to advance social justice by developing and implementing narrative change strategies. They use creative skills to build political will for the organization’s advocacy agenda and expand its reach in the Pacific Islander community. As an award-winning theatre artist, educator, and arts activist; Rivera is among a group of grassroots leaders that mobilize resources to empower Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Through their creative talent, Rivera amplifies the collective voice and strengthens the advocacy work of the community organizers. 

May Lee-Yang

May Lee-Yang | Writer, Performer, Educator, and Co-Founder of Funny Asian Women Kollective 

May Lee-Yang is a playwright, poet, prose writer, and performance artist. Her theater-based works have been presented at Theater Mu, the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT), Illusion Theater, Intermedia Arts, Out North Theater, the National Asian American Theater Festival, and others. Her works include The Korean Drama Addict’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity and Confessions of a Lazy Hmong Woman.  She has received grants from the Playwright Center McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting, the Bush Leadership Fellowship, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the National Performance Network, the Midwestern Voices and Visions Residency Award, the Loft Literary Center, and the Ordway Sally Award for Arts Access. She is a co-founder of Funny Asian Women Kollective (FAWK), a group that uses comedy to combat the dehumanization of Asian women. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Minnesota where she also currently teaches. 

Rinku Sen

Rinku Sen | Executive Director, Narrative Initiative 

Rinku Sen is the Executive Director of Narrative Initiative, where she helps social justice movements develop the power to move ideas. She is formerly the Executive Director of Race Forward and was Publisher of their award-winning news site Colorlines. Under Sen’s leadership, Race Forward generated some of the most impactful racial justice successes of recent years, including Drop the I-Word, a campaign for media outlets to stop referring to immigrants as “illegal,” resulting in the Associated Press, USA Today, LA Times, and many more outlets changing their practice. She was also the architect of the Shattered Families report, which identified the number of kids in foster care whose parents had been deported. 

Her books Stir it Up and The Accidental American theorize a model of community organizing that integrates a political analysis of race, gender, class, poverty, sexuality, and other systems. As a consultant, Rinku has worked on narrative and political strategy with numerous organizations and foundations, including PolicyLink, the ACLU and the Nathan Cummings Foundation. She serves on numerous boards, including the Women’s March, where she is Co-President, the Ms. Foundation for Women and the Foundation for National Progress, publisher of Mother Jones magazine. 

Naomi Tacuyan Underwood

Naomi Tacuyan Underwood | Executive Director, Asian American Journalists Association 

Naomi Tacuyan Underwood is executive director of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), a national membership nonprofit advancing diversity in newsrooms, and ensuring fair and accurate coverage of AAPI communities. Naomi has two decades of experience in nonprofit management, coalition and stakeholder engagement, legislative advocacy, and impact-oriented program development and management. Her career has been built on empowering communities and building capacity for successful and effective civic engagement partnerships and coalitions. Through this work of empowering AAPIs and capacity building and strategic positioning of AAPI organizations and their efforts, Naomi has helped increase the visibility and the civic potential of the AAPI community. Prior to AAJA, she served as Director of Programs at The Faith & Politics Institute, where she crafted programs to foster bipartisanship on Capitol Hill. Previously, she served as legislative staff for Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo, where her portfolio included territorial issues, natural resources and the environment, and AAPI issues. 

Naomi’s prior experiences include political and constituency outreach at the Democratic National Committee, where she developed and implemented comprehensive national outreach and voter contact plans for national elections, as well as having served as Deputy Director for APIAVote overseeing training, capacity building, outreach and voter contact, and media efforts for the 2008 presidential election. Naomi is a Filipina immigrant who grew up on the island territory of Guam. She received her Master of Public Policy from UCLA, and her undergraduate degree in Journalism and A/P/A Studies from NYU. 

Sejal Hathi

Sejal Hathi | White House Senior Policy Advisor for Public Health 

Dr. Hathi serves as the White House Senior Policy Advisor for Public Health, where she drives the science, public health preparedness and response portfolios for the Domestic Policy Council. She is also a practicing internist and attending physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health. Previously, Dr. Hathi trained in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and served as a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School – during which time hosted and produced Civic Rx, a podcast on health equity and social justice, and served as a medical commentator for CNN, BBC, CBS News, and Yahoo! News. Dr. Hathi earned a B.S. with honors from Yale University and an M.D. / M.B.A. from Stanford University, where she studied as a Harry S. Truman Scholar and Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow. A former award-winning social entrepreneur, Dr. Hathi is a delegate of the Academy of Achievement, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a founding board member of Indiaspora, and an appointee to the Yale University President’s Council on International Activities. 

Kevin Kreider

Kevin Kreider | Actor, CEO, and Founder, ALLS Productions, and Sans Alcohol Free by Taejin Beverage 

Starting off in the fitness industry, he was signed with one of the most prestigious modeling agencies in NYC. He left Philly in 2008 to navigate his way in entertainment as a Korean American adoptee. In 2014, the stress and non-stop nature of the modeling industry took a toll on his body and Kevin was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata. He took a few years off, got sober in 2015, and took a leap of faith by moving to Los Angeles. There he was offered a role in Netflix’s international hit, “Bling Empire”, the first all Asian and Asian American reality show.  He started a production company to bring Asian Lead Love Stories to the world (ALLS Productions) 

Trina Dutta

Trina Dutta | Senior Advisor to the Office of the Assistant Secretary, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 

In her role as Senior Advisor, Trina provides policy and programmatic guidance to the OAS to advance the behavioral health of the nation and support SAMHSA’s mission. Trina returns to SAMHSA after spending six years working for the District of Columbia. As policy director for the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH), she led DC’s system redesign efforts which included development and implementation of a Section 1115 waiver of the IMD payment exclusion for mental health and substance use treatment as well as integration of the fee-for-service behavioral health benefit into the Medicaid managed care program. Prior to her work with DBH, Trina served as special projects officer to DC’s Medicaid Director within the Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF). In this position, her work largely focused on home and community-based services for individuals receiving long term care. In addition, Trina coordinated and/or led implementation for a variety of other initiatives, including DHCF’s Medicare eligibility initiative, electronic visit verification for personal care services, and an interagency partnership aimed at reducing inappropriate 911 calls (with DC’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department and the Department of For-Hire Vehicles).  

Before joining District government, Trina spent eight years with SAMHSA focused on behavioral health integration; this included leading the Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration program and SAMHSA’s partnership with CMS on the Section 2703 person-centered health homes program. She also staffed the Office of Behavioral Health Equity and supported establishment of SAMHSA’s disparity impact statements, which aims to address disparities in access, use, and outcomes among traditionally underserved populations. Trina joined SAMHSA in 2006 as a Presidential Management Fellow. 

Trina grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and graduated from The Ohio State University in 2000 with a joint Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Psychology. After serving in Peace Corps/Nepal as a water sanitation coordinator, Trina received a Master of Public Health-Master of Public Policy dual degree from UC Berkeley. She resides with her family in Mount Pleasant, DC. 

Richard Lui

Richard Lui | Anchor and Journalist, MSNBC/NBC News

Richard Lui is a veteran and award-winning journalist with more than 30 years in television, film, technology, and business. Currently at MSNBC and previously with CNN Worldwide, he is the first Asian American man to anchor a daily national cable news program, and a team Emmy and Peabody winner. In 2023 at Davos, Switzerland, along with AAPI Data and Momentive, Lui launched Inclusion@Work, a groundbreaking series of annual reports profiling Black, Indigenous, AAPI, Latino, and White Workers – discovering key, action-based metrics for executive leadership and DEI champions.  He is the author of the bestselling and award-winning book “Enough About Me: The Unexpected Power of Selflessness” from HarperCollins/Zondervan. In addition, Richard’s 15-year business career involves a fintech patent and launching six tech brands over three business cycles. Richard has lived, worked, and volunteered on every continent. Learn more at www.richardlui.com 

DJ Ida

DJ Ida | Executive Director, National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA) 

Dr. DJ Ida has over forty years of experience working with Asian American/Pacific Islander communities. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology and helped establish numerous organizations including the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association, NAAPIMHA, where she serves as Executive Director.  In 2017 she received the inaugural Robert Wood Johnson Award for Health Equity for her focus on the impact mental health has on the overall health of AANHPIs.  Dr. Ida has served on numerous boards including the US Dept of HHS, SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services National Advisory Council, Mental Health America, and the Annapolis Coalition for Workforce Development.  She has written numerous articles and was the primary author for OMH’s Integrated Care for AANHPIs: A Blueprint for Action.  She helped write Growing Our Own to train clinicians on how to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services; Achieving Whole Health to train community members to become Wellness Coaches; the Mental Health Interpreters Training to train interpreters to work in mental health settings, and Friends DO Make a Difference to develop mental health leadership among youth. In response to the growing anti-Asian hate, she convened a group of mental health advocates to create Asians in Focus and heART’s hope to address the healing power of art and in 2021 she took the lead to get CAPAC to present a resolution to Congress making May 10th National AANHPI Mental Health Day to raise awareness of the importance of addressing mental health for AANHPIs.  

David Ko

David Ko | CEO & Board Member, Calm 

David Ko is the CEO and serves on the Board of Directors of Calm, the leading mental health brand with the #1 app for sleep, relaxation and meditation. Prior to joining Calm, David was the co-founder and CEO of the health tech company Ripple Health Group. The company was acquired by Calm in 2022 to help build out its mental health capabilities.  

Before founding his own company, David was a Board Member, President and COO of Rally Health, a digital health company. Rally’s solutions are available to nearly 55 million people through health plans, care providers, and more than 200,000 employers. Rally was acquired by UnitedHealth Group in 2017.  

David was also the COO at Zynga, which he helped take public in December 2011. Prior to his work at Zynga, he spent 10 years at Yahoo! in various senior executive roles, including SVP of Yahoo!’s audience, mobile, and local businesses.  

He also serves on a variety of boards at his alma mater, New York University Stern School of Business, including the Stern Executive Board and Technology advisory board. Through his involvement, he helped launch the Andre Koo Tech MBA program, and in 2016 he established the NYU Stern Venture Fellows program for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Mina Fedor

Mina Fedor | Founder and Executive Director, AAPI Youth Rising 

Mina Fedor is the Founder and Executive Director for AAPI Youth Rising, a student organization whose mission is to take small actions to make positive change. The group of middle school and high school students includes over 70 Chapters in 15+ states and they believe in inclusive education, promoting safe and healthy communities, and raising youth voices. AAPI Youth Rising developed the One Day of AAPI History lesson about the untold histories of Asians in America and volunteers to teach it across the country.  

President Biden named Mina as an ‘Uniter’ at the 2022 ‘United We Stand Summit’ held in Washington DC., a bi-partisan effort to combat the rise in hate-fueled violence in America. She is the 2022 Robert Wood Johnson Health Equity Award recipient for Society for Science Broadcom MASTERS, and a Top 5 Finalist for the 2022 Time Kid of the Year. She is named to Gold House’s 2023 A100 List and GMA’s AAPI 2022 Inspiration List. AAPI Youth Rising is Asia Society Northern California’s 2023 Gamechanger West Honoree and Act to Change’s 2023 Allied Organization of the Year. AAPI Youth Rising was the 2022 American Girl partner organization for the first Chinese-American Girl of the Year Doll. The partnership announcement reached 1.3 billion impressions online.  

AAPI Youth Rising has been featured on Good Morning America, the Today Show, NPR, TIME Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Teach for America, and many others. Mina is a 9th grader attending school in Oakland, California. She loves scuba diving, following current events, and unpacking the mysteries of the human mind. 

Sahaj Kohli

Sahaj Kohli | Founder, Brown Girl Therapy 

Sahaj Kaur Kohli, MA.Ed, NCC is a mental health professional and the founder of Brown Girl Therapy (@browngirltherapy), the first and largest mental health and wellness community organization for children of immigrants. In this work, Sahaj creates resources promoting bicultural identity exploration and destigmatizing therapy in immigrant communities. Sahaj also runs a weekly newsletter community called Culturally Enough that celebrates and honors different cultural values, while also exploring ways for bicultural and multicultural folks to show up more authentically in their lives. Sahaj received her master’s degree from The George Washington University in clinical mental health counseling in 2022. 

As the first in her family to do a lot of things — be born in the West, go to therapy, and marry outside of her religion/race/culture — Sahaj understands the unique struggles of children of immigrants and bicultural folks, and she brings her personal and professional experiences to her work. She has created a series of original curriculum, keynotes, and workshops that she facilitates within corporate environments, higher education institutions, mental health agencies, professional conferences and more. As a writer and speaker, Sahaj hopes to educate on decolonized and inclusive mental health care for underserved populations. She’s interested in the mechanics of community building, and she reflects a lot on how we can develop intersectional and inclusive care, workplaces, and relationships. With a 6+ year career in journalism under her belt, her passion lies at the intersection of narrative storytelling and mental health advocacy. Sahaj is also a weekly advice columnist for the Washington Post and is writing a book with Penguin Life (2024).

Doua Thor

Doua ThorVice President, Strategy and Influence, Sobrato Philanthropies

Doua Thor is currently the Vice President, Strategy and Influence at Sobrato Philanthropies. Prior to this Doua was the Director of the English Learner Program. In her current role, she manages many of the foundation’s cross organizational programming and oversees the English Learner Program as well as the Family Initiatives and New Opportunities work. Previously, she served as an advisor to the Asian American and Pacific Islander Civic Engagement Fund and most recently was a political appointee in the Obama Administration as the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan and her B.A. from Wayne State University. Doua and her family were resettled in Detroit and are among the many thousands of Hmong refugees who were resettled in the United States after supporting and fighting alongside the U.S. during the Vietnam War. 

Stephanie Hsu

Stephanie Hsu | Executive Director, The Jeremy Lin Foundation 

Stephanie serves as the Executive Director of the Jeremy Lin Foundation, which has a mission of supporting overlooked low-income AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) and cross-racial youth through narrative change, community empowerment, and cross-racial solidarity. Professional basketball player, Jeremy Lin, started the Foundation when he entered the NBA as one of the first Asian American basketball players to make it to the League. Since 2011, the Jeremy Lin Foundation has partnered with over 30 nonprofits across the nation. Current grantees collectively serve over 35,000 underprivileged youth. Beyond multi-year flexible funding, the Foundation partners with grantees to raise awareness, build capacity, host events with our Founder, and strengthen the network of AAPI service organizations. The Foundation partners with grassroots programs that are deeply embedded in the community to support underserved AAPI and cross-racial youth by addressing the full-range of barriers faced (ranging from food insecurity, parent education, mental health, and youth empowerment). The Jeremy Lin Foundation wants to see the next generation of youth thrive cross-racially. Prior to the Jeremy Lin Foundation, Stephanie was an investor at the Partnership Fund for NYC, a civic fund making catalytic investments into underserved communities in New York City. She started her career at Bain and the Bridgespan Group, advising some of the world’s largest Foundations. Stephanie received her MBA from Wharton (Wharton Fellow) and a BA from the University of Virginia (Jefferson Scholar). She is the grand-daughter of refugee immigrants. Her family resides in the San Francisco Bay area. 

Gia Vang

Gia Vang | Anchor/Reporter and Co-Founder of The Very Asian Foundation (VAF) 

Emmy Award-winning journalist Gia Vang is the co-founder of The Very Asian Foundation (VAF), a non-profit organization that seeks to shine a light on Asian experiences through advocacy and celebration.  The foundation began after fellow journalist and VAF co-founder Michelle Li received a racist voicemail from a viewer who called her “very Asian” and said she should keep her Korean to herself.  That voicemail went “viral” and prompted a fundraiser that would raise $20,000 in less than a week for the Asian American Journalist Association.  Today, the foundation’s work continues to uplift other AANHPIs and AANHPI-centered organizations.  Gia is also currently a reporter and anchor for NBC Bay Area covering San Francisco and anchoring the weekend newscasts.  Vang is the first Hmong-American news anchor in a major media market.  That distinction came in 2019 when she accepted a morning anchor role at a TV station in the Twin Cities.  She is the daughter of Hmong refugees and was raised in Sacramento.  Gia earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Sacramento State University. Learn more about VAF here. 

Georgette Bhathena

Georgette Bhathena | Chief Programs Officer, The Asian American Foundation 

Georgette Bhathena is the Chief Programs Officer at The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) overseeing programming and strategy to achieve maximum impact. She has over 20 years of experience working across sectors in purpose-driven organizations. 

Prior to joining TAAF, Georgette led the trust-based grantmaking strategy and nonprofit partnerships on the Zoom Cares team. Zoom Cares, the social impact arm of Zoom, puts the full weight of the company’s platform, dollars, employees, and voice behind a commitment to foster equity, democratize opportunity, and address some of humanity’s biggest challenges. Zoom is a proud partner of TAAF on the AAPI Giving Challenge. Previously, Georgette held senior positions at Tipping Point Community, the San Francisco Foundation, and JPMorgan Chase, among others. 

Georgette received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington and her Master in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She is a Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellow. Georgette lives in the Bay Area with her family and favorite corgi Rosie. 

Jennifer Kim

Jennifer Kim | Associate Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

Jennifer Kim serves as the Associate Administrator for the Office of Field Operations.
In this role, she oversees 68 District Offices and 10 Regional Offices throughout the country. SBA field offices provide small businesses access to programs and services in coordination with resource partners, lenders, and other local economic development organizations. This nationwide network oversees the delivery and management of SBA’s small business programs, including access to capital, contracting assistance, and business development initiatives. 

She has worked for over 15 years to strengthen communities and advocate for the public interest. She started her career as a stakeholder engagement specialist serving as a campus organizer where she recruited, and trained student leaders to manage campaigns to increase renewable energy standards, reduce plastic waste, and worked on efforts to make higher education more affordable.  Jennifer directed the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group for four years where she led campaigns in support of toxic-free communities, affordable health care, and consumer protections. She has dedicated many years to increasing voter registration in communities of color as well as promoting youth civic engagement. More recently, she worked to strengthen ties between underserved communities and the public health system to increase vaccination rates. 

Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in History and received a Master’s in Public Administration in Urban and Social Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. 

Christy Innouvong-Thornton

Christy Innouvong-Thornton | Founder, Tuk Tuk Box

Christy Innouvong-Thornton is a Lao Isan American daughter of refugees. She is the Founder of Tuk Tuk Box and co-founder of Courageous Kitchen, a 501c3 charity for internationally displaced persons, including survivors of forced migration and trauma. As Deputy Director of a 501c3, she has nearly a decade of progressive fieldwork experience through global equity and inclusion initiatives and UN Sustainable Development Goals. Her expertise in international aid and community programming includes health advocacy, organizational leadership, mentoring, workshop facilitation, and English language education. She has experience in recruiting, and managing teams through trauma-informed care for survivors of humanitarian disasters. 

 Before pursuing her entrepreneurial career, Christy studied Hospitality Management at Brooklyn College. In 2017, she launched a social enterprise teaching Thai cooking courses for tourists with over 150 5-star ratings and began developing a Southeast Asian cookbook. Her work and recipes have been featured by Bangkok 101 Magazine, Travel + Leisure Asia, San Diego Union-Tribune, NY Mag, and Buzzfeed. She is also a recipient of Asian Hustle Network’s Unsung Hero award, ACE Next Gen Pathfinder award, U.S. Embassy’s Julia Taft Grant, IFundWomen Caress Dreams Grant, and a Silver seal on Guidestar for her charitable contributions. 

Helen Nguyen

Helen Nguyen | Owner and Chef, Saigon Social NYC 

Raised in Seattle with roots in California and Vietnam, Helen Nguyen has always had a passion for food. As a first generation Vietnamese woman, Helen spent her childhood cooking with her mother and taking in both the flavors of her heritage and the American influence surrounding her. Her path to professional kitchens was a long one, but after many years working in real estate in Seattle, she moved to New York to pursue her culinary dreams, diving head first into one of the top kitchens at Restaurant Daniel. There she trained with the Feast and Fetes catering and private events team for 3 years.

Trained in classic French cuisine, Vietnamese comfort food is where her heart resides. Helen started combining the two and sharing her love for food, culture and community via her monthly Pop-Ups. After a few years of temporary kitchens, she set her sights on opening her first restaurant. She found a space, took a year to get ready and the plan was to open on March 13th 2020. With the pandemic, she had to reassess and quickly shifted to takeout/delivery as well as hospital and community meals. She became an active member in the community, not only making meals for organizations such as Heart of Dinner and Feed Forward, but visiting the recipients and hand delivering their meals. These organizations hit home for Helen, who grew up in low income housing herself. She is deeply committed to providing meals for the community. 

Helen finally opened Saigon Social, serving Vietnamese comfort food with a twist, for full dine-in service in March 2022. She was named a 2022 James Beard Award Semi-Finalist for Best Chef New York State and she remains an active participant in community organizations. 

Shanty Sigrah Asher

Shanty Sigrah Asher (she/her), J.D. | Community Relations Pacific Islander Liaison, Office of Economic Revitalization, City and County of Honolulu

Shanty Sigrah Asher is the daughter of Deborah Neth Sigrah and Sankey Sigrah. She is the oldest of 7 siblings, wife of Ronnie Asher, and mother of three beautiful daughters (11, 16, 19 years) and is a proud daughter of Kosrae and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia.

Shanty 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). In 2010-2015, Shanty served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Pacific Affairs at the Department of Foreign Affairs for the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).  

Shanty holds a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Law, Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from Chaminade University of Honolulu and a Juris Doctor from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. After her return to Hawaii in 2018, she became fully engaged in supporting and uplifting the Micronesian community in Hawaii.  

Shanty’s leadership roles have included serving as a board member for The Legal Clinic, 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. Shanty’s most current role is serving as one of the 9 voting members of the Hawaii State Board of Education, a board that oversees 297 public schools in the entire state of Hawaii. 

Luisa Blue

Luisa Blue | Commissioner, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders 

Luisa Blue retired from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in August 2020 after serving as an Executive Vice President for four years, one of the highest ranking AAPI officials in the labor movement. During her term, she was responsible for the SEIU Asian Pacific Islanders Civic Engagement and Leadership program, was a member of the Racial Justice Task Force, Chair of the Environmental and Climate Justice Committee, and Chair of the Ethical Culture Committee. She served on the SEIU Executive Board prior to her election as Executive Vice President. Luisa continues to be active in the community and serves on the Asian Health Services Community Board, as a Trustee on Alameda County Health Systems Board of Trustees, and as Vice President of the AAPI Victory Alliance Board. Luisa is the proud grandmother of seven grandchildren. 

Chiling Tong

Chiling Tong | President and CEO, National Asian & Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship (National ACE) 

Chiling Tong is the President and CEO of the National Asian & Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship (National ACE).  National ACE represents the interests of 2.65 million AAPI small business owners and entrepreneurs and also collaborates with over 120 affiliate AAPI chambers and partner organizations across the country to assist AA&NHPI small businesses, 

Tong is the Founding President of the International Leadership Foundation (ILF), a nonprofit organization promoting civic awareness and public services for AAPI college students and the community with over twenty chapters. Previously, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary and was also the Chief of Staff and Associate Director for Minority Business Development Agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce. She was a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 

Currently, Tong is a member of the Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity, Director of the Congressional Awards for young leaders and also serves on the Census Bureau National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations and the Small Business Administration’s Council on Underserved Communities.  Tong was an Ash Center Research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. Previously, she was the Director of California’s Office of Trade and Investment in Taipei, Taiwan, and served as Assistant Secretary for International Trade in the California Trade and Commerce Agency. Tong was awarded a Coro Public Affairs Fellowship and was the Chairperson of the LA County Community Action Board.  

Andrew Chau

Andrew Chau | Co-Founder and CEO, Boba Guys
Andrew Chau is co-founder and CEO of Boba Guys and Tea People USA, a Inc. Magazine 500 award recipient. He has been featured as a top emerging business leader on CNN, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Vogue, and NPR. Prior to a career in Consumer Product Goods and corporate marketing, Andrew started and exited his first startup in 2011. In his free time, he loves traveling and is a freelance writer and an angel investor for consumer-driven businesses. His best-selling book with Penguin Random House, The Boba Book, came out in April 2020. He has his undergraduate and graduate degrees from UC Berkeley. He and his wife are based in San Francisco, CA.

David Zhao

David Zhao | Founding Partner, Chubby Cattle International

David Zhao is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and activist. He is the Founding Partner of Chubby Cattle International, a F&B holding group. His diversified portfolio includes Chubby Cattle, The X Pot, Wagyu House, Niku X, Xtra Sweet and NXT Factor/NU Media (F&B Branding & Advertising Agency). While being passionate in all he is involved in, he is also heavily involved in self growth, wellness, finance, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, education, and restauranteurship through his social media platforms.

David wishes for his audience to achieve practical knowledge, tools, and tips to succeed in their respective spaces, strategies to invest, ways to raise capital, gain inspiration, and become more self-motivated. David would like to use his various opportunities (speaking engagements and platforms) as a means to reach and mentor audiences on a large scale. He not only offers advice that the individual will find beneficial, but entities, teams, and partners alike can make use of his information. 

Raji Sankar

Raji Sankar | Co-CEO, Choolah Indian BBQ and Wholesome International

Raji co-founded Wholesome International in 2004, a multi-concept restaurant development company, which owns and operates Choolaah Indian BBQ restaurants and franchised Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants. She is co-CEO and is responsible for people, operations and infrastructure. Previously, she held executive and operational leadership positions in technology and media companies. She has served as adjunct professor of Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University and as a member on the Board of Directors for Pittsburgh Habitat for Humanity. 

Raji earned a Bachelor’s degree in Metallurgy from VNIT India, Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Science and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. 

Lydia Zhang

Lydia Zhang | Owner & Business Partner, Peter Chang Restaurant Group

Lydia was born to a restaurant family that was founded by her parents Peter and Lisa. Lydia grew up in China and various suburbs in Virginia, following her parents where their careers took them. She attended King’s College in London, graduating with a MBA degree and now oversees business operations for the Chang family’s fourteen restaurants. While Lydia is not formally trained to work in a restaurant, she has a head for business and operating to meet the demands of an evolving industry. With a keen sense of style and design and an astute head for business, she is ensuring that her parents’ legacy will continue for decades to come. 

Neera Tanden

Neera Tanden | Senior Advisor to the President and Staff Secretary, The White House 

Neera Tanden currently serves as Senior Advisor to President Biden and Staff Secretary. She has served in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, as well as presidential campaigns and think tanks. Most recently, Neera was the President and CEO of the Center for American Progress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund.  

Tanden previously served as senior advisor for health reform at the Department of Health and Human Services, working on President Barack Obama’s health reform team in the White House. Prior to that, she was the director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, where she managed all domestic policy proposals. Neera also served as policy director for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, where she directed all policy work, ranging from domestic policy to the economy to foreign affairs, and managed day-to-day policy announcements. 

Before the presidential campaign, Neera was Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at CAP. Prior to that, she was one of the first senior staff members at the Center, joining as Senior Vice President for Domestic Policy when CAP first opened its doors. In between, Neera was legislative director for Sen. Clinton, where she oversaw all policy and legislation in the Senate office. In 2000, she was Hillary Clinton’s deputy campaign manager and issues director for her Senate campaign in New York. Neera also served as associate director for domestic policy in the Clinton White House and senior policy advisor to the First Lady. 

Aftab Pureval

Aftab Pureval | Mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio

Aftab Pureval is the 70th Mayor of Cincinnati. He was raised in Southwest, Ohio, the son of first-generation Americans. He is making history as Cincinnati’s first Asian American Mayor. As Mayor, he is committed to serving Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods. He has made equitable economic growth a top priority of his administration, as well as a comprehensive reform and improvement of public safety, affordable housing, and environmental action.

He served as Hamilton County Clerk of Courts from 2016 to 2021 and was the first Democrat to hold this office in over 100 years. During his tenure, he brought modern and professional reforms to the Clerk’s office. He paid a living wage to all employees and become the first county officeholder in Ohio to offer comprehensive paid family leave. By ending nepotism, by cutting waste, and by making the office more professional, he saved taxpayers millions of dollars. 

Mayor Aftab graduated from The Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati for law school. He resides in Clifton with his wife, Whitney, and their sons, Bodhi and Rami.

PaaWee Rivera

PaaWee Rivera | Senior Advisor, White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs 

PaaWee Rivera serves as a Senior Advisor to the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Director of Tribal Affairs for the Biden-Harris Administration. Prior to his appointment, Rivera served as the Western Coalitions Director for the Biden-Harris presidential campaign. He also served as Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Western Political Director, as a Special Advisor for her 2018 Senate re-election campaign, and as Colorado State Director for her 2020 presidential campaign. He also led Senator’s Warren’s Native American engagement and helped formulate her Native American policy platform. Rivera spent 3 years at the Democratic National Committee in a number of positions, including as the DNC’s national Native American Engagement and Finance Director. Before the DNC, he worked as a government relations advisor working with Tribal governments on federal public policy and political affairs. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a major in Government and minor in Native American Studies. Rivera is from New Mexico and is an enrolled Tribal member of the Pueblo of Pojoaque located just north of Santa Fe New Mexico. 

Sam Park

Sam Park | Minority Whip, Georgia Democratic Caucus (GA-107), Georgia General Assembly

Representative Sam Park is the first Asian American Democrat and the first openly gay man elected to the Georgia State Legislature. He is the grandson of refugees from the Korean War and a son of Korean immigrants. Sam is a native Georgian, born and raised by a single mother. He became the first lawyer in his family and obtained his Masters in Law, Politics, and Legislation. After Sam’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Sam ran for office in 2016 to ensure every Georgian has access to healthcare. After unseating a three-term Republican Chairwoman in the 2016 general election, he has been re-elected to office three times winning his most recent election with more than 68% of the vote. As the Minority Whip in the Georgia House Democratic Caucus, Sam is the first Asian American in Georgia’s history elected to a leadership position in either Caucus or Chamber. He previously served as Chair of the Gwinnett State House Delegation in the second largest and most diverse county in Georgia. In his personal capacity, Sam serves as General Counsel for Positive Impact Health Centers working to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Georgia.

Kathy Tran

Kathy Tran | Delegate (VA-42), Virginia House of Delegates

When she was just 7 months old, Kathy Tran fled Vietnam with her parents as boat refugees.  As the Delegate for southern and southeast Fairfax County in Virginia, Kathy fights to protect the values that led her parents to risk everything to come to the United States: hope, opportunity, and freedom. Since her election in 2017, Kathy has introduced and passed bills to protect coverage for preexisting conditions, expand voter access, improve worker’s rights, protect waterways, and make Virginia more welcoming and inclusive. Kathy graduated from Duke University and earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan. She spent 12 years working at the U.S. Department of Labor and at the National Immigration Forum. The past president of her local PTA, she and her husband Matt live in West Springfield with their five children, all avid Washington Nationals fans. 

Evan Low

Evan Low | Assemblymember (CA-26), California State Assembly

Evan Low has represented Silicon Valley residents in the California State Assembly since 2014. He first held elected office as a Councilmember for the City of Campbell, where he went on to make history in 2010 as the youngest openly LGBTQ+ mayor in the country. Assemblymember Low now serves as Chair of the Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. In 2015, he launched the California Legislative Technology & Innovation Caucus, whose members include a bi-partisan group of Assemblymembers and Senators. During his time as an elected official, Assemblymember Low has authored numerous laws that have increased government transparency, advanced equality, reformed the criminal justice system, helped small businesses, and encouraged job growth. He is a graduate of San Jose State University and Harvard University’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program. 

Jason Tengco

Jason Tengco | White House Liaison, U.S. Office of Personnel Management 

Jason Tengco is the White House Liaison for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) under the Biden-Harris Administration. In this capacity, he serves as the primary advisor to the White House and OPM senior leadership on hiring the agency’s political appointees, manages priority projects with the Presidential Personnel Office, and supervises the processing of non-career appointments across the federal government. 

Jason brings over a decade of experience in public service and community organizing working for the White House, Congress, presidential campaigns, and non-profit organizations. He previously served as the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Outreach Lead for the Biden-Harris transition team, Coalitions Chief of Staff for Biden for President, Executive Director of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations, National AAPI Outreach Director for Hillary for America, and Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on AAPIs under the Obama-Biden Administration. 

Throughout his career, Jason has participated in fellowships with the Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute, LGBTQ Victory Institute, Filipino Young Leaders Program, New Leaders Council, Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Center for Progressive Leadership, and Public Policy and International Affairs Program. 

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason has a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA and a Master’s in Public Affairs from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. 

Kin Moy

Kin Moy | Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs 

Kin Moy is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP).  He has been a Foreign Service Officer for 30 years and is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, holding the personal rank of Career Minister.  Prior to assuming the duties of his current position, he was the Senior Bureau Official of EAP and the Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.  His most recent diplomatic assignment abroad was Chief of Mission of the American Institute in Taiwan.  He has also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, with responsibility for China, Mongolia, and Taiwan.  He was Deputy Executive Secretary in the Office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Director of the Executive Secretariat Staff in the Office of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  In addition to his Washington assignments, he has served in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, and the U.S. Consulate in Busan.  He has been selected twice for the Presidential Rank Award.  He graduated from Columbia University and the University of Minnesota, and is a Mandarin and Cantonese speaker.  Mr. Moy is married to Kathy Chen and they have four children. 

Jill Yu

Jill Yu | Director for Strategic Initiative, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 

Jill Yu currently serves as the Director for Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In her role, she oversees the national implementation of secretarial initiatives across HUD’s 64 regional and field offices. 

Ms. Yu’s career with the federal government began as a Presidential Management fellow in 2014, of which as part of the fellowship, she detailed with then White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Prior to federal service, Ms. Yu held careers in education, as a Teach for America teacher in Los Angeles, and in the legal field, as a Staff Attorney with the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law. 

Beyond her full-time job, Ms. Yu continues her serve the public in several pro bono efforts, including with the national non-profit Act To Change and the National Filipino American Lawyers Association. 

Ms. Yu is the inaugural awardee of the Monica Parham Memorial Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award from the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia. She also received the highest honor at HUD and was awarded the Secretary’s Award for her work in educating employees of the rise in anti-Asian hate experiences and helping create a safe and inclusive work culture for all employees. 

Ms. Yu is admitted to practice in New York and Washington, DC. When Ms. Yu has any free time, she enjoys traveling with her marathoner husband and competing in outrigger canoe and dragon boat competitions along the east coast. 

Jacklyn Dinneen

Jacklyn Dinneen | Deputy Chief of Staff, Peace Corps 

Jackie Dinneen is currently serving as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Peace Corps. She brings more than 20 years of experience working with organizations to enhance brand visibility, engagement, campaigns, programs, and events. She champions diversity, equity, and inclusion as fundamental priorities.  

Previously, Jackie was the Assistant Vice President of marketing & development at The Partnership, Inc. where she had worked with companies to identify, develop, retain and convene professionals of color. During the Obama Administration, she was the Director of the Office of Gifts and Grants Management and White House Liaison at the Peace Corps. During that time, Jackie was on detail as the Associate Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama, providing strategic advice and recommendations to the First Lady. She was the senior liaison and founder of Lotus Corps, the Asian American Pacific Islander employee resource group at the Peace Corps. 

Jackie had served as the Deputy White House Liaison at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Previously to joining the Obama Administration, Jackie worked at EADS North America, and served as a staff member for U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. Jackie earned a M.P.P. at George Mason University. She received her B.A. at Colby College where she was the captain of the women’s rugby club and a mentor for girls in the community through Hardy Girls, Healthy Women. Jackie is first generation Vietnamese-American. She is married with three children. 

Sonali Nijhawan

Sonali Nijhawan | Director, AmeriCorps State and National 

Sonali Nijhawan has committed her life’s work to developing service leaders and growing national service programs. Most recently, Sonali developed and led Stockton Service Corps (SSC) as Executive Director of a 6-year, $12M first-of-its-kind place-based service initiative launched by Mayor Michael Tubbs to address Stockton’s most critical needs by activating evidence-based national service programs. 

Sonali began her career in public service in her hometown of Chicago, where she served as an AmeriCorps Member with City Year Chicago. Inspired by the students, families, and the AmeriCorps community she met during her time in Chicago and Baltimore, Sonali joined the start-up and founding team of City Year Sacramento, launching the organization’s 22nd site with 50 new AmeriCorps members. In 2016, Sonali served as the California Director at Education Pioneers where she recruited, placed, and supported managers in large urban school systems and education non-profits, empowering her fellows to bring their unique vision and ideas to challenge the status quo of our public education system.  

In February 2021, Sonali joined the Biden Harris administration as the Director of AmeriCorps State and National, the first South Asian woman and AmeriCorps Alum to serve in this position. Sonali was born and raised in the Chicagoland area, she is the proud daughter of Indian immigrants, a graduate of the K-12 public school system, and holds a Bachelors in Education and Psychology from Marquette University and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. 

Seeyew Mo

Seeyew Mo | Assistant National Cyber Director, Office of National Cyber Director (ONCD) 

Seeyew Mo serves as the Assistant National Cyber Director for Cyber Workforce, Training and Education at the Office of National Cyber Director (ONCD). In his role, Seeyew leads and supports the creation and implementation of the national strategy on cyber workforce and education. He believes in taking a holistic view – doctrine, people, and technology – to making advancements in cyber workforce and digital safety awareness. He is an expert in the intersection of cybersecurity, technology, and national security with 17 years of experience that spans tech development, policymaking, and political campaigning.  

Prior to ONCD, Seeyew was at the Office of Senator Mark Warner, where he served as Senior Fellow in Cybersecurity, Technology, and National Security. In that capacity, he worked on cyber workforce, health care cybersecurity, and competition with China legislation. 

Seeyew prides himself in bringing an inclusive lens, understanding, and humility fostered by life experiences as a child of working-class parents into policy discussions. When his family first immigrated to the United States, they survived by operating a fruit stand in New York City, and the lessons learned served as the basis for his continued public service and to create positive social impact. He is the first person in his family to graduate from college. 

Seeyew holds an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, an MS in Engineering Management from Santa Clara University, and a BS in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin. He is fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin.

Sunny Patel

Sunny Patel | Senior Medical Advisor, Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 

Dr. Sunny Patel serves as a Senior Medical Advisor with the Center for Mental Health Services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). As a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, he has strengthened mental health systems locally and globally. At SAMHSA, his portfolio is focused on children, youth, and families, and mental health financing. 

Most recently, Sunny was a White House Fellow at the Department of Homeland Security, where he worked in the Office of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary on issues at the intersection of public health and immigration. Prior to this appointment, he served on the faculty at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, where he started multiple mental health services programs, including in pediatric subspecialty clinics. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, he launched a comprehensive mental health response for thousands of frontline workers and volunteered as a palliative care physician at Bellevue Hospital. 

Sunny has spearheaded health interventions for vulnerable populations in the United States and abroad, including in India, Thailand, and the Dominican Republic. His research has been published in numerous journals, and he previously served as an editor of the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics 

Sunny completed his adult psychiatry residency at Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance and his fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the NYU Child Study Center. He holds an M.D. from the Mayo Clinic, an M.P.H. from Harvard, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCLA.

Darion Akins

Darion Akins | Diplomat-in-Residence, DC Metro 

Darion K. Akins is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, who is currently serving as the Diplomat-in-Residence (DIR) for the District of Columbia Metro area which includes Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, and West Virginia.  Prior to this assignment, he served as the Consul General at U.S. Consulate General Hamburg and senior-ranking U.S. Government official to Northern Germany.  His inaugural diplomatic posting was in Malaysia, where he served as a Consular Officer.  Other overseas tours included India, Afghanistan, Australia, and Indonesia.  After earning a Master’s degree in National Security Strategy at the National War College in Washington D.C., he served as the Human Resources Division Chief in the Executive Office for the bureaus of European Affairs and International Organizations Affairs.  Though born in the Great State of Oklahoma, he calls Texas home.  He solidified his Lone Star State status after graduating Texas A&M University in College Station with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science.  His languages are German, Japanese, and ChiNyanja. 

Teika Carlson

Teika Carlson | Special Assistant to the Director, U.S. Office of Personnel Management 

Teika Carlson serves as Special Assistant to the Director at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under the Biden-Harris Administration after serving as OPM Director Kiran Ahuja’s Executive Assistant. Most recently, Teika was a Regional Organizing Director on the Biden-Harris Campaign and led campus outreach with the coalitions team in Ohio in the 2020 general election. Teika began campaigning as a Field Organizer with Biden for President. 

Prior to her experience in community organizing, Teika completed a Fulbright English Teaching Fellowship at a university in Curitiba, Brazil and worked in executive recruiting. She has extensive ELL teaching experience and is a proud graduate of Bates College. 

Theodora Chang

Theodora Chang | Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives, U.S. Office of Personnel Management 

Theodora (Theo) Chang serves as Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives at the Office of Personnel Management under the Biden-Harris Administration. Prior to this position, Theo held various positions in public sector and nonprofit organizations, including D.C. Public Schools, the U.S. Department of Education, the Center for American Progress and most recently the Partnership for Public Service. Additionally, she served as an advisor to the Director of the National Park Service at the U.S. Department of the Interior during the Obama-Biden Administration. 

Zeyen Wu

Zeyen Wu | Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Colorado & Advisor, White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI)  

Zeyen is an Advisor on detail to WHIAANHPI from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado where he is an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Zeyen has been handling affirmative civil rights cases for the office since 2016, which includes evaluating complaints, conducting pre-litigation investigation, negotiating settlements, and litigating cases under a variety of federal civil rights laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and USERRA. Zeyen hails from the South Side of Chicago, and graduated from the UCLA School of Law in 2012. 

Kadara Marshall

Kadara Marshall | Associate Director for Candidate Recruitment, White House Presidential Personnel Office 

Kadara Marshall ,tarted her career in public service in Congress working for her hometown Member, Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele of Hawaiʻi’s 2nd congressional district. Originally hailing from Hilo, Hawaiʻi, Kadara attended school at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, obtaining her A.A. while participating on the NCJAA DI volleyball team. She then went on to obtain her B.A. in Political Science at Dickinson State University in North Dakota, while participating in NAIA Volleyball and Track and Field. Kadara is passionate about being someone who “lifts as they rise” and feels that public service is one of the best ways to continuously elevate all communities.  

LT Brooke Marshall

LT Brooke Marshall | HR Specialist Team Lead, U.S. Public Health Service 

LT Brooke Marshall commissioned with the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) in 2018 where she was stationed at Indian Health Services (IHS) in Tuba City, AZ. She served for 2.5 years at Tuba City Regional Health Care Corp as a Physical Therapist for the Native American population. LT Marshall earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Hampton University, doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from Northwestern University and has a board certification in Geriatric Physical Therapy. 

Currently, LT Marshall works in Commissioned Corps Headquarters (CCHQ) as the HR Specialist Team Lead for the Public Health Emergency Response Strike Team (PHERST). She leads the onboarding process for PHERST officer to ensure readiness for rapid deployments to public health emergencies.  She also works closely with the Call to Active Duty/Recruitment Branch (CADRe) assisting the recruitment event and supporting officer candidates through the commissioning process. 

Smithsonian APAC x WHIAANHPI

Our 2023 Theme: ‘Visible Together’

This year, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and WHIAANHPI will celebrate AA and NHPI Heritage Month under the joint theme “Visible Together.”

Developed in close coordination with an array of AA and NHPI-focused organizations and the White House Office of Public Engagement, the 2023 theme invites all of us to reflect on the power of community—and acknowledges the intense, generational challenges and opportunities that come with coalition-building.

Read our announcement.

About the theme

This May we observe Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) Heritage Month knowing that we are living in a time like no other. While we have enjoyed an unprecedented level of representation in film, television, the media, and public service, we continue to experience perpetual violence against and within our communities. We continue to endure erasure and disenfranchisement. One thing we can learn from this moment is that visibility alone is not enough, especially if it is only afforded to some of us.

We invite you to mark AA and NHPI Heritage Month this year by reflecting on what it means to be Visible Together–to recognize that AA and NHPI does not describe a singular population or demographic, but rather a coalition that is powerful for its vastness and complexity. Let us honor the historic efforts that have led terms such as AA and NHPI, AAPI, and APA to become more commonly known and used, and commit to empowering all who are encompassed within this coalition–especially those who have historically been marginalized. Let us remember that representation cannot be selective–true representation must be collective. This year and into the future, we strive to be Visible Together.


It has become customary for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC) and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI) to partner every year on identifying a theme for AA and NHPI Heritage Month. This year we invited other AA and NHPI-focused organizations to join the conversation in hopes of generating a theme that more widely represents our communities.

We would like to thank the White House Office of Public Engagement and our community partners: Armenian American Action Network, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities, Ka Aha Lahui O Olekona Hawaiian Civic Club, National Museum of Asian Art, Pacific Island Knowledge 2 Action Resources, Sikh Coalition, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. In recognition of April as National Arab American Heritage Month, we are also grateful to the following organizations for joining us in discussions toward mutual support across our communities: Arab American Civic Council, Arab American Women’s Association, Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, and National Iranian American Council.