Board Of Directors

Catherina Nou

Board chair Catherina “Cat” Nou has been a public policy leader for a decade. Cat is a Policy Consultant with Everyday Impact Consulting in Sacramento, CA, a consulting firm focused on strategic development, movement building, and systems change in pursuit of social good. She previously served as Chief of Staff for a California State Assemblymember. Prior to joining the California State Assembly, Cat worked as the California Policy Advocate for the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) where she focused on policies impacting Southeast Asian Americans in California.  

Cat was recognized for her work advancing the human rights of Cambodian women and girls with the Courage and Leadership Award by Devata Giving Circle.

Cat currently serves as the Chair of the SEARAC Board of Directors and Chair of the Cultural Advisory Council for the California State Fair/Cal Expo.  She is the co-founder of Khmer Youth of Modesto (KYOM) and is the daughter and sister of refugees from Cambodia.  Her family also established the “Nou Sarin and Sum Sim Leang Scholarship” in honor of their parents’ sacrifices, an annual scholarship awarded to high school students. 

She graduated from the University of California, Davis and later obtained a Master of Arts in Higher Education at Sacramento State.

Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea

Sharon is Director of Refugee & Immigration Ministries for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  She is an employee of Disciples Home Missions, with her office located in Washington, D.C., on the second floor at National City Christian Church. She works to mobilize Disciples congregations around the country to offer hospitality to immigrants, provide refugee resettlement assistance to refugees, seek justice for farm workers, and engage in advocacy on behalf of refugees and immigrants. Prior to joining DHM, Sharon served for 19 years as the Founder and Executive Director of Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries (FIRM), which provides wholistic ministries to thousands of refugees annually in California’s Central Valley. During her years at FIRM, Sharon enjoyed working with multiple SEARAC elder, citizenship, health, and other projects.

Previously, she pastored in North Carolina and California, and served in mission in Seoul and Pusan, South Korea.  She is a pastor, ordained in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. and with clergy standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She is the wife of Disciples pastor Rev. Dr. Woodie Rea, Senior Pastor at The Inter-faith Chapel at Leisure World in Silver Spring, Maryland. She is the sister, daughter, and granddaughter of pastors. She holds a doctor of ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary, earned a Masters of Divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary, has studied in Indonesia and China, and lived for many years in a Hmong neighborhood in Fresno, California nicknamed after a refugee camp in Thailand. She loves traveling, and enjoys running daily with her beagle.

Cynthia Brothers

Board secretary Cynthia Brothers is currently a program consultant with the Four Freedoms Fund (FFF) at Public Interest Projects (PIP), a national collaborative fund supporting immigrant rights, civic engagement and integration. Recently, she’s also worked with online organizing group 18 Million Rising as editor and campaign strategist, helped coordinate arts and cultural organizing strategies in the immigrant rights movement for The Culture Group and CultureStrike, and was agenda development lead for the 2013 National Immigrant Integration Conference. Cynthia is the current managing blog editor and a social media editor for Hyphen, an all-volunteer Asian American print and online media publication. 

Cynthia has also worked and volunteered for nonprofits and government agencies around Section 203 AAPI voting and language access, tutoring and mentorship for low-income immigrant students, mental health research, and food stamps outreach. She's performed in the U.S., Mexico, and South Africa with the Tribes Project, a race-education arts collaborative. Cynthia holds a master’s degree in public administration from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, and co-founded the Asian Pacific American Student Alliance (APASA), NYU Wagner’s first AAPI student group. She's from Seattle and admits to clichés such as playing in bands and once making espresso drinks for a living – but is proud she went to the high school where Bruce Lee first demonstrated his famous “one-inch punch.”

Nerou Cheng

Born in Cambodia, Nerou Cheng founded NCheng LLP In New York City in 1989, which has grown to an 80 person accounting and consulting firm. Nerou has over 30 years of experience in public accounting dedicated exclusively to serving the not-for profit sector. He has provided invaluable services in financial statements audits and advisory services to several not-for-profit clients in areas such as financial management and reporting, internal controls, governance, and regulatory compliance.

Nerou has an MBA from Ball State University and a BSBA from Georgetown University. He also holds a Certificate in Public Accounting from Pace University. Nerou is vice-chair of the board of Friends Without A Boarder, and is an active board member of Friends of Khmer Culture, two NGOs doing work in Cambodia.

Sophal Ear, Ph.D.

Board treasurer Sophal Ear, Ph.D., is a tenured Associate Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles. He has taught political economy and how to rebuild countries after wars at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and international development policy at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

Prior to academe, Dr. Ear consulted for the World Bank, was Assistant Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme in East Timor, and Advisor to Cambodia's first private equity fund Leopard Capital. A TED Fellow, Fulbright Specialist, Delphi Fellow of BigThink, Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, and Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar, he is a Trustee of the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Partners for Development, and on the Board of Directors of the Southeast Asia Development Program.

Dr. Ear is Vice-Chair of Diagnostic Microbiology Development Program, a non-profit that builds laboratory capacity in the developing world. He advises the Faculty of Development Studies at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and serves on the Boards of the Journal of International Relations and Development (Palgrave), the International Public Management Journal (Taylor & Francis), the Journal of South-East Asian American Education & Advancement (University of Texas), and Politics and the Life Sciences (Allen Press). He is the author of Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2013, and co-author of The Hungry Dragon: How China’s Resources Quest is Reshaping the World (Routledge, 2013, He wrote and narrated the award-winning documentary film "The End/Beginning: Cambodia" (47 minutes, 2011, news blurb based on his 2009 TED Talk ( and has appeared in several other documentaries. A graduate of Princeton and Berkeley, he moved to the United States from France as a Cambodian refugee at the age of 10.