Yen Le (Chair)
Yen is a full-time agent licensed in MD, DC, and VA. She specializes in residential and commercial real estate investment and sales in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Howard County, District of Columbia, and parts of Northern Virginia. She has an MBA in Real Estate from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Yen has over 7 years of experience in real estate and is a Multimillion Dollar Producer and has twice been named Commercial Agent of the Year in Montgomery County. She has experience working with buyers, sellers, and investors. Yen is an expert in marketing and utilizing technology to help clients maximize their investments.
Yen completed the Leadership Montgomery program in 2013 and has access to many valuable resources in the region. Before joining the real estate industry, Yen had a wonderful and rich career in the nonprofit organizational and program management. As Executive Director of a local nonprofit, Yen tripled its funding and led the organization to be featured in the Catalogue of Philanthropy as “one of the best small charities in the Washington region.” She’s a proud alumna of Smith College.
Kathy Duong (Vice Chair)
Kathy Duong is currently a Senior Associate at Canyon Snow Consulting in Silicon Valley and focuses on local and state government affairs, policy analysis, and community engagement. As a boardmember for SEARAC, Kathy hopes to support the organization’s efforts to represent and advocate for our Southeast Asian and vulnerable communities.
Kathy is a founding member of the Bay Area Asian Pacific American Legislative Staffers Association. 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 from Carnegie Mellon University. She was selected as Silicon Valley’s 40 Under 40 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2019. On the weekends, she can be found serving coffee with her husband at their shop, Academic Coffee, in downtown San Jose.
Sophia Giddens (Treasurer)
Sophia Giddens is the Development Director 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 a decade 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.
Sophia holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College. She is based in New York.
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.
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.
“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.
Monica Thammarath is currently senior liaison in the Center for Social Justice and Community Advocacy & Partnership Engagement Department at the National Education Association (NEA). At NEA, Monica works to 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. On behalf of APALA, Monica co-chairs the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) Education Committee. 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.
Parentless at 16 and pushed out of the school system, Phal wound up in the juvenile justice system to be tried as an adult. After 16 years inside, he became one of the first and few to benefit from enacted reforms and won early release. But as an immigrant, he was taken into immigration custody and forced to navigate the system without an attorney. Nearly a year later, he was released but taken back in for final deportation just months later. He managed his release once again, but uncertain of his future, he became a community leader, fighting for the marginalized, pushing his experience as a tool for the community, building a better tomorrow for all. Through his work, the community, and many elected officials’ support, he was pardoned by CA Gov. Jerry Brown, closing his deportation case. He continues to organize with the Youth Justice Coalition.
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.
Kabo Yang is the executive director of Minnesota Women’s Consortium, a statewide nonprofit organization comprised of 100-member groups working to close gender-based disparities through education and policy advocacy. In addition, she has her own management and leadership consulting practice and is an adjunct professor in Organizational Leadership at St. Catherine University. Kabo has been an advocate for immigrant rights and gender equity, among other social justice movements, for over twenty years. She is currently working on her dissertation for her PhD on the topic of refugee women and leadership. Kabo is a single parent of two young adults.