Kabo Yang (Chair)
Kabo Yang is a Strategic Services Consultant at Propel Nonprofits, working with organizations in the areas of strategic planning, board governance and organizational impact. She also teaches at St. Catherine University and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Kabo was most recently the Executive Director of the WoMN ACT (formerly MN Women’s Consortium), advocating on behalf of women throughout the state, and has worked in and volunteered for community-based organizations for 20 years. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree with research interests in women, refugees and leadership. She is a single mom to two young adults and enjoys traveling, hiking and watching cheesy horror movies.
Kathy Duong (Vice Chair)
Kathy Duong is currently the Director of Government Affairs and Community Relations at Canyon Snow Consulting, a government affairs and corporate social responsibility firm in Silicon Valley, where she focuses on local and state government affairs, policy analysis, and community engagement. She is passionate about equity access and forging successful public/private partnerships that benefit the community.
Kathy has over ten years experience in local government, serving her community as a Policy Director for a San Jose Councilmember and for a local Planning Department. Kathy is a founding member of the Bay Area Asian Pacific American Legislative Staffers Association and continues to provide guidance to promote a successful pipeline of APA staffers to secure community representation in crucial policy decision discussions in government.
Kathy constantly draws from her experience as a daughter of immigrant parents impacted by the mass diaspora of Vietnamese refugees from the Viet Nam War and is grateful that her daughter Finley will not face similar hardships. Through this lens, she fights for representation, equity, and access for Americans. On the weekends, she can be found serving coffee with her husband at their shop, Academic Coffee, in downtown San Jose.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Landscape Architecture and City Planning from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Science degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.
Sophia Giddens (Treasurer)
Sophia Giddens is the Chief Development Officer of State Voices, which promotes the civic participation of historically underrepresented and marginalized populations, including people of color, low-income individuals, single women, LGBTQ+, and youth. She manages all aspects of fundraising in partnership with the national staff, board, and many generous funders and donors, to advance the vision of a robust, multiracial democracy for all.
Sophia is a senior nonprofit strategist and fundraiser with over fifteen years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She has worked with organizations to build capacity and resources for civil rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, and the empowerment and visibility of diverse communities. She is passionate about racial justice and serving immigrants and low-income people of color. Sophia has helped build fundraising infrastructure and led successful strategies for visionary activists and progressive organizations at the grassroots and national levels.
Mike Hoa Nguyen
Mike Hoa Nguyen, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education, and a faculty affiliate at the Scrivner Institute for Public Policy and the Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of (In)Equality. His research and teaching examines the benefits and consequences of public policy instruments in expanding or constraining the operations of colleges and universities, with a specific focus on Minority-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs, HBCUs, HSIs, TCUs, etc.), race-conscious admissions, community colleges, and equity-based funding models and budgets for colleges and universities.
In addition to his academic work, Dr. Nguyen has extensive professional experience in public policy, where he currently serves as a Commissioner on the Denver Asian American and Pacific Islander Commission. Prior to receiving his doctorate, he was a senior staff member in the United States Congress. His policy portfolio included a number of key issues, including postsecondary education, immigration, and the judiciary. Dr. Nguyen completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and his graduate education at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Huong Nguyen-Yap (Secretary)
Huong Nguyen-Yap (she/her/hers) is the Director of California Programs at Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees. She oversees the California Immigrant Integration Initiative and the CA Census 2020 Statewide Funders Initiative. She has over 13 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining GCIR, she worked at Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) supporting the National Giving Circle Network. Her experience also includes providing behavioral health and recovery services and working in the field of Positive Youth Development.
Huong earned her MSW from San Jose State University and her BA in Asian American studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. Outside of work, she also serves on the board of EBAYC in Oakland and is a core member of the Hella Heart Oakland Giving Circle.
“Julie” Yihong Mao
“Julie” Yihong Mao is currently a staff attorney with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. Julie specializes in the areas of civil rights, enforcement, deportation defense, and grassroots campaign support. Previously, Julie was a staff attorney at the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ), where she provided legal and strategic support to its membership of immigrant workers in the Deep South and guestworkers across the country. She has represented immigrants in civil rights litigation against the unlawful practices of law enforcement, provided legal campaign support that led to the end of ICE holds in New Orleans, and worked with hundreds of grassroots community members to fight their deportations and demand ICE accountability. A former Equal Justice Works fellow, Julie is a 2011 graduate of NYU School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar and a student of the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic.
Trinh Nguyen is the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (OWD), an affiliated division of the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA). Prior to her role at OWD, Trinh was the Chief of Staff at the Boston Housing Authority.
Trinh has nearly 20 years of experience in operations, programs, resource, and budget management. She has worked for the Urban League of Massachusetts, the Boston Women’s Fund, the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians, and University of Massachusetts Boston. She is currently Chair of the Neighborhood Jobs Trust, a board member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council, and a board member of the Boston Educational Development Fund (BEDF). As Director of OWD, she has helped launch such recent initiatives as Boston Saves (the city’s children savings account program), the Tuition-Free Community College Plan, and the Greater Boston American Apprenticeship Initiative.
Trinh holds dual graduate degrees and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and was a community fellow at MIT’s Department of Urban Planning.
Ana Phakhin is the Sr. Community Impact Director at the United Way of Northwest Arkansas. She manages the community investments and initiatives focused on building pathways to prosperity for children and families. During her tenure, United Way has invested millions of dollars in over 200 high-quality programs across the fastest growing metropolitan area in the state. Prior to the United Way, her work focused on early learning, multigenerational family engagement and organizing rural grassroots communities to advance equitable systemic changes. Ana is a graduate of Wellesley College and a proud resident of Springdale, Arkansas. She enjoys exploring the wonders of the Natural State, from its beautiful state parks to the many delicious pies.
Anthony Tan Nguyen
Anthony Tan Nguyen currently serves as the District Director for U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) and has worked in both his San Diego, CA and Washington, DC offices handling issues on health care, seniors, housing, labor, human trafficking, national security, and Asia-Pacific affairs. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Diego State University, a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of San Diego, and a Master of Health Administration from the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy. Anthony previously worked for the U.S. Social Security Administration and started his career in public service interning for the U.S. Department of State – Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. He is the former Secretary (Executive Board Member) of the Vietnamese American Youth Alliance of San Diego, Past President of the Vietnamese Student Association at SDSU, and current Political Partner of the Truman National Security Project – San Diego Chapter. Anthony is a proud 1.5 generation Vietnamese American, born in Taiwan, and fluent in Vietnamese. He enjoys oil painting, throwing ceramics, and spending time with his wife and son at national and state parks.
As a SEARAC board member, Monica chairs the SEARAC Board Development Committee. In her day job, Monica Thammarath is leads the Human Rights Department at the California Teachers Association, a union that represents over 300,000 public school educators in California. Prior to moving back to California, Monica spent almost twelve years in Washington, DC including over eight years at the National Education Association (NEA) where she worked connect NEA’s three million members and affiliates to student, parent, and community organizing opportunities focused on racial and social justice, particularly as it impacts the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. Monica also serves as NEA’s appointee to the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA) National Executive Board and was elected National President at APALA’s National Convention in August 2017, making her the youngest and first Laotian American to serve in this role. Prior to joining the NEA, Monica was the Education Policy Advocate at the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), where she worked to build, strengthen, and oversee SEARAC’s Education Program and assisted community-based organizations across the country in connecting their direct service work to policy and advocacy. While Monica has spent the last decade in Washington, DC, working for national organizations, her work is grounded in her experience organizing campaigns around affordable, high quality public education and providing direct services to low-income, immigrant, and refugee communities in California’s Bay Area. Monica’s family arrived in the United States as refugees from Laos in 1980 but she was born and raised in southeast San Diego and is a proud product of California’s public K-16 education system. When she isn’t organizing educators, families, and students for racial and social justice, you will likely find her hosting brunch with friends, training for her next marathon, cuddling with her cat, or planning her next camping trip.
Phal is an organizer with the Youth Justice Coalition which works to dismantle policies causing the massive lock-up of people of color, the school-to-prison-to-deportation track, and the build-up of the world’s largest network of jails and prisons. He was brought to the States as an infant child of Cambodian refugees and became parentless at 16 when his father passed away. Without needed resources, Phal ended up in the juvenile criminal legal system to be tried as an adult and sent to state prison. After sixteen years inside, legislative changes gave him an early release; but as a non-citizen, he was handed over to immigration enforcement and held for mandatory detention and deportation. He eventually managed his release under an order of deportation and became an impacted leader as a public figure in the fight for an immigrant legal defense fund. Through his work, the community, and many elected officials’ support, he received a pardon from Governor Brown in 2018. Today, he continues to organize to bring truth to the human effects of mass incarceration and mass deportation.
Mike is an experienced private and public sector leader, strategist, and fundraiser. Currently, he is the Managing Director for Strategic Partnerships at The Trustees, the nation’s oldest and largest statewide land conservation organization, and one of the largest non-profits in The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Mike is a member of the leadership team, where is manages institutional partnerships. Most recently, he was the Senior Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at UMass Lowell. There he led outreach and relationship management with regional, national and global companies and corporate, private and family foundations. Prior to UMass Lowell, Mike was the Senior Manager for Partnerships and Business Development at Harvard University where he led strategic partnerships, product development, and tech transfer. Mike also helped manage a $25MM grant from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. While at Harvard, Mike was an AFP Fellow.
Mike is an experienced management consultant who has worked in school district operations and data analysis, as well as, edtech. He served as a founding member of an intrapreneurial start-up at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, where he helped start a new business practice called Analysis in Action. There he co-designed a peer district diagnostic tool for analyzing inefficiencies and ROI of district spend. Prior to HMH, he worked for The Lucas Group, a strategy and management consulting firm founded by partners from Bain & Co. where he worked on government, corporate strategy, and PE due diligence engagements. Before TLG, he worked in higher education consulting at Eduventures, Inc., and has also helped Boston Public Schools, DC Public Schools, and the School District of Philadelphia with program evaluations, revenue maximization and implemented school improvement software. Mike brings a passion for combining private sector best practices and tech to level the playing field in the public sector.
He earned a B.A. in both economics and English from Tufts University.
In the 1980s Seng So’s parents fled the Khmer genocide and settled in the Bay Area. It is from this history—the struggles and sacrifices of his ancestors—that paves his path today. Seng has been a youth organizer in California’s immigrant and refugee communities for almost two decades. At the heart of his life and work are three principles: community, love, liberation.
Chanda Womack is the Founding Executive Director of the Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE.) Chanda is a fearless and tireless advocate for social justice. Chanda provided the inspiration and vision for the creation of ARISE as a non-profit devoted to education justice. She is unapologetic for what she stands for and how she carries out her work. Her passionate, positive and proven leadership in the various organizations she serves is universally evident. Her leadership and movement building has garnered local and national recognition for ARISE and Rhode Island. Mostly recently she became a founding board member of Parents Leading for Educational Equity (PLEE,) 2020 recipient of A Leadership Journey’s, Mary Marsh “Community Leader Award, ARISE & her leadership was named in Providence Monthly’s “Who to Watch in 2020.” In 2017, Chanda was the recipient of NAACP Thurgood Marshall, the YWCA’s Women in Achievement Award and the Providence Youth Student Movement POWER Award.
Chanda was conceived and born in a refugee camp in Thailand, immigrating to the United States in January of 1981 with her family. Chanda is married to Tiger Womack, her husband of over 10 years and has a daughter Amaya and son named Justice. She is a product of the Providence Public Schools and earned a B.A. degree from the University of Rhode Island in 2004. She has a Masters of Public Administration also from the University of Rhode Island as well as a graduate certificate in Non-Profit Leadership from Rhode Island College.
Van Huynh (she/her) is a queer Vietnamese American, born in Saigon. She is an immigration attorney, having co-led several high profile deportation defense cases and whose legal and advocacy work strives to build movements with organizers in order to effectively address root causes of criminalization. She has been involved with Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago and Atlanta, PASO-West Suburban Action Project, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Law Foundation, and the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) – all working to organize immigrant communities and to connect with Black-led organizing.
Vân is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law. Currently, she splits her time between Atlanta and Chicago, and frequently visits family in Philadelphia and Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Julie Mao is Deputy Director of Just Futures Law, an organization that provides innovative legal support to the immigrants’ rights and racial justice movement to meet the needs of their bold and visionary campaigns. Julie has nearly a decade of experience in the immigrant rights, police accountability, and labor rights movement. She was a senior attorney at the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and attorney at the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice. She has represented immigrants in civil rights litigation against law enforcement abuse and labor exploitation, and worked with hundreds of directly impacted community members to stop their deportations. Recently, she has been engaged in legal strategies challenging migrant prosecutions, technology-based policing, and local police collusion with ICE. Julie is a graduate of NYU School of Law where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar. She is a Soros Justice fellow, a former Equal Justice Works fellow, and named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in Law and Policy.