President Obama established the President’s Advisory Commission to work with all the agencies of the federal government to improve the health, education and economic status of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. Hailing from all over the nation and from a wide range of disciplines, the Commission members represent the diverse AAPI community.
- Dr. Tung Thanh Nguyen (Chair)
- Dr. Mary Ann Young Okada (Vice Chair)
- Dr. N. Nina Ahmad
- Michael Byun
- Ravi Chaudhary
- Lian Cheun
- Billy Dec
- Jacob James Fitisemanu, Jr.
- Bill Imada
- Kathy Ko Chin
- Daphne Kwok
- Dee Jay Mailer
- Diane Narasaki
- Shekar Narasimhan
- Maulik Pancholy
- Linda X. Phan
- Sanjita Pradhan
- Lorna May Ho Randlett
- Dr. Paul Y. Watanabe
Dr. Tung Thanh Nguyen is Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he provides medical care to a diverse patient population and teaches clinicians. He also serves as Director of the Asian American Research Center on Health, Director of the Vietnamese Community Health Promotion Project, and a Co-Principal Investigator of the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training. In these roles, he has conducted research in health care prevention for Asian Americans, including studies to increase breast, cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer screening among Asian Americans as well as on tobacco use among Asian Americans. Dr. Nguyen holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Harvard University and an M.D. from the Stanford School of Medicine. Dr. Nguyen was appointed to the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs in 2011.
Dr. Mary Ann Young Okada is President and Chief Executive Officer of Guam Community College, a position she has held since 2007. Previously, Dr. Okada served Guam Community College as Vice President of Financial Affairs from 2005 to 2007, Accounting Supervisor from 2003 to 2004, Controller in 2001, Assistant to the Vice President of Financial Affairs from 1994 to 2001, and General Accounting Supervisor from 1992 to 1994. Prior to this, Dr. Okada was a Comptroller for the Guam Public School System from 2004 to 2005 and a Finance Manager for Pacific Western Enterprises from 1990 to 1992. She has been active in community organizations, including the Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce, the American Association of University Women – Guam Chapter, the Pacific Postsecondary Education Council, and Westcare Foundation Board – Pacific Islands. Dr. Okada received a B.B.A. and an M.S. from the University of Guam and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix.
Dr. N. Nina Ahmad is co-owner and Executive Vice President of Government Affairs for JNA Capital, Inc., a real estate finance and development company based in Philadelphia that she helped to co-found in 1994. Dr. Ahmad also serves as the Administrator of Global City Regional Center, LLC, a position she has held since May 2013. From 1992 to 2005, Dr. Ahmad served as Bower Research Fellow and then held a joint assistant professorship at Wills Eye Hospital and at the Ophthalmology Department of Jefferson Medical College. Also during this time, Dr. Ahmad served as the Director of Molecular Biology for the Research Department of Wills Eye Hospital. In 2011, Dr. Ahmad joined the Philadelphia Foundation’s Board of Managers. In 2009, Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia appointed her Chair of the city’s Commission on Asian American Affairs. Dr. Ahmad received a B.S. in Chemistry from the Lawrence Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania.
Michael Byun is currently the Executive Director of Asian Services in Action, Inc., a position he has held since 2009. Previously, he held other roles at that organization after joining it in 2003. From 2002 to 2003, he was Assistant Director of Major Gifts for the Oberlin College Office of Development. From 2001 to 2002, he was Assistant Director of Development for University of Washington Development & Alumni Relations. Mr. Byun is the Past President of the Ohio Asian American Health Coalition. He serves on the Ohio Governor’s AAPI Advisory Council and the Board of Directors of the National Coalition of Asian Pacific American Community Development. He advises the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, which serves AAPI health clinics around the country, and is a founding member of AIM for Equity, a coalition of over 30 national and local AAPI organizations. Mr. Byun is a 2010 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow. He received a B.A. and an M.P.A. from the University of Washington.
Ravi Chaudhary is currently the Executive Director for Regions and Center Operations with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Prior to joining the FAA, Chaudhary was an Air Force officer, serving as an Executive Officer to the Commander, Air Force District of Washington, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Chaudhary has logged over 3,000 flight hours as a pilot and flight test engineer, including over 760 combat hours. Chaudhary also served as Commander of the U.S. Air Force’s 317th Recruiting Squadron from 2011 to 2013. From 2009 to 2011, he served as Chief of Strategy Integration in the Air Force Strategic Plans and Programs division and as a speechwriter in the Secretary of the Air Force Executive Action Group at the Pentagon. From 2001 to 2009, Chaudhary served as a C-17 Pilot in a variety of operational, deployed, staff and leadership roles for Air Mobility Command, and from 1993 to 2000 he was an Aerospace/Flight Test Engineer for Air Force Materiel Command. Chaudhary’s awards include the NASA Stellar Award, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, and Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medals. Chaudhary received a B.S. from the United States Air Force Academy, an M.S. from Saint Mary’s University, and an M.A. in Military Operational Art and Science from the Air Force’s Air University. He is currently doing research at Georgetown University Doctor of Liberal Studies for Executive Leadership and Innovation.
Lian Cheun is the Executive Director of Khmer Girls in Action (KGA). Before joining KGA, Ms. Cheun worked for a number of organizations, including the Center for Third World Organizing, Asian Immigrant Women Advocates and the Asian Migrant Center, which is based in Hong Kong. From 2000 to 2002, Ms. Cheun served as an Early Academic Opportunity Program college counselor at Skyline High School and Castlemont High School in Oakland, CA. Ms. Cheun received the 2013 Panther Award from the California Reinvestment Coalition for her efforts to help students organize for better health services and academic outcomes. Ms. Cheun received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.P.A. from the California State University at Long Beach.
Billy Dec is the CEO and Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, a hospitality and entertainment development company in Chicago, a position he has held since 2002. Mr. Dec is a regular Entertainment Contributor to ABC TV’s Windy City Live, a television program in Chicago that started in 2009. He is involved in several philanthropic organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Lookingglass Theatre Company, and Maggie Daley’s After School Matters. Mr. Dec also served as Director of Cultural Relations on the 2016 Chicago Olympic Committee. He has received an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement for Broadcast/Advanced Media and the Illinois Secretary of State’s Asian Pacific American Business Leadership Award. Mr. Dec received a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a J.D. from the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Jacob James Fitisemanu, Jr.
Jacob James Fitisemanu, Jr. is the Outreach Coordinator in the Office of Health Disparities at the Utah Department of Health, a position he has held since 2011. Since 2006, Mr. Fitisemanu has also been a Program Specialist for the Queen Center – Pacific Islander Ethnic Tobacco Prevention Network. He currently serves on several boards, including the Mana Academy Charter School Board of Directors, Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations, and the Intermountain Healthcare Community Advisory Board. From 2011 to 2014, he served as Chair of the Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition Week and Founder and Director of the Samonana Integrated Language Initiative. He served as Co-Director the Pacific Islander Medical Student Association from 2007 to 2014. Mr. Fitisemanu received a B.S. and M.P.H from Westminster College.
Bill Imada is the Chairman and Chief Collaboration Officer of IW Group (formerly known as Imada Wong Communications Group), an advertising and public relations agency that Mr. Imada co-founded in 1990. Prior to founding the IW Group, Mr. Imada was a Partner at the Imada/Schulte Group from 1987 to 1989. Mr. Imada is the co-founder and former chairman of the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship, co-founder of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund, and former president of the Asian American Advertising Federation. Mr. Imada serves on a number of boards and advisory councils, including the Advertising Educational Foundation, California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, Center for Asian American Media, and Coalition for Asian Pacifics in Entertainment. Mr. Imada received a B.S. from California State University, Northridge.
Kathy Ko Chin currently serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, a position she has held since 2010. Previously, from 2002 to 2009, she was the Program Director for the Community Clinics Initiative, a joint project of Tides and The California Endowment. From 1997 to 2002 she was an independent consultant to non-profits and foundations in areas of leadership development and strategic planning. Ms. Ko Chin was the Associate Director at Asian Health Services from 1984 to 1997. She has worked in a number of health care settings and community clinics across the country, including San Francisco General Hospital, the University of California San Francisco Institute for Health Policy Studies, Planned Parenthood SF, and South Cove Community Health Center in Boston. Ms. Ko Chin received a B.S. from Stanford University and an M.S. in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Daphne Kwok is Vice President of Multicultural Markets & Engagement for the Asian American & Pacific Islander Audience at AARP. Ms. Kwok was previously Executive Director of Asians & Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California. She was also the Executive Director of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation. In DC, Ms. Kwok focused on increasing political participation of the AAPI community and working with AAPI elected officials as Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies. For 11 years, she was the Executive Director of OCA, a non-profit, civil rights organization with more than 10,000 members. She coordinated programs and services for its chapters and affiliates across the country and monitored issues pertaining to the Asian American community. During her OCA tenure, Ms. Kwok was the first elected Chair of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, a network of national AAPI organizations. A 1984 graduate of Wesleyan University in East Asian Studies and Music, Ms. Kwok is the first Asian American to serve on its Board of Trustees. Ms. Kwok is outgoing Chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs.
Dee Jay Mailer is the former Chief Executive Officer of Kamehameha Schools, a position she held from 2004 to 2014. Prior to this position, Ms. Mailer served from 2002 to 2004 as the Chief Operating Officer of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a private foundation based in Geneva. From 1999 to 2002, Ms. Mailer was Chief Operating Officer for Health Net of California. Prior to that, from 1986 to 1999, Ms. Mailer served in various leadership capacities at Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, Hawai’i Region, where she was named Chief Executive Officer in 1995. She is the recipient of the University of Hawai’i Distinguished Alumni Award, YWCA Woman Leadership Award, and the Hawai’i Governor’s Proclamation of Service to Community. Ms. Mailer received a B.S. and an M.B.A. from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.
Diane Narasaki has served as the Executive Director of Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) since 1995. While at ACRS, Ms. Narasaki co-founded and currently chairs the King County Asian Pacific Islander Coalition, a network of community organizations serving AAPI immigrants and refugees in Washington State. From 1987 to 1991, Ms. Narasaki served as the Executive Director of the Northwest Labor and Employment Law Office. Ms. Narasaki has served as Co-Chair of the Seattle Community Police Commission since 2013. In 2012, she was a member of the Behavioral Healthcare Disparities Committee of the Washington State Governor’s Interagency Council on Healthcare Disparities. She previously served on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Mental Health Services National Advisory Council from 2010 to 2013 and the Washington State Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission from 1996 to 2003. Ms. Narasaki received a B.A. in History and a B.A. in Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of Washington and a Master’s degree from Seattle University’s Master of Nonprofit Leadership Program.
Shekar Narasimhan is the Managing Partner at Beekman Advisors which provides strategic advisory services to companies and investors involved in real estate, mortgage finance, affordable housing and related sectors. He also serves as Chairman of Papillon Capital, focused on sustainable infrastructure investing, and is Co-founder of the Emergent Institute in Bangalore, India. Prior to Beekman Advisors, Shekar Narasimhan was a Managing Director of Prudential Mortgage Capital Company, one of the nation’s leading providers of commercial mortgage financing. Immediately prior to Shekar’s time at Prudential, he was Chairman & CEO of the WMF Group, a publicly traded, commercial mortgage financial services company. WMF was one of the largest such firms in the country before being acquired by Prudential in 2000.
Shekar is currently serving on the boards of Broadstone Net Lease, Inc., Broadtree Homes, Inc. and Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. and is a Senior Industry Fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. He has served on many boards, including the Low Income Investment Fund, the Community Preservation and Development Corporation, the National Housing Conference and the National Multi Housing Council. He is a sought-after speaker on housing finance and affordable housing and is considered a leading expert on rental housing issues in the United States.
Shekar is a Member of the President’s Advisory Commission for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and a Member of the Board for Housing and Community Development for the State of Virginia. He is also on the founding board of Indiaspora, a nonprofit organization founded by community leaders to unite Indian Americans and to transform their success into meaningful impact in India and on the global stage. He was Co-Founder of Upakar Foundation, a higher education scholarship fund.
Shekar has served several terms on the Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBA) Board of Directors, was the first Chair of the MBA’s Commercial/Multifamily Board of Governors, and founded its Multifamily Steering Committee. He was elected as the first Chair of the Fannie Mae DUS Advisory Committee.
Shekar has received numerous awards and recognition in the real estate industry including the MBA’s highest honor in 1999 and the Fannie Mae Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Dean H.J. Zoffer Distinguished Service Medal from the University of Pittsburgh. Shekar holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, India and an MBA from the Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has earned the designation of Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB).
Maulik Pancholy is a film, television, and stage actor widely known for playing the role of Jonathan for six seasons on NBC’s award-winning series 30 Rock. He also appeared in six seasons of the Showtime series Weeds and played Neal on the first season of the NBC series Whitney. He is the voice of Sanjay, the title character in the Nickelodeon animated series Sanjay & Craig, as well as the voice of Baljeet in the Disney animated series Phineas and Ferb. He shared the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series with the cast of 30 Rock in 2009. He has also appeared in numerous films and plays. Mr. Pancholy is active with a number of non-profit and social policy organizations such as Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the New York City Anti-Violence Project, and the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission. He worked closely with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center on its exhibition “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation,” which opened at the National Museum of Natural History in February 2014. Mr. Pancholy received a B.S. from Northwestern University and an M.F.A. from Yale University.
Linda Phan is the Executive Director Asian Family Support Services of Austin since 2005. A major component of her work is focused on Systems Advocacy and working with institutions to develop best practices around responding to the needs of immigrant survivors of violence. For the last 5 years, she has worked on language access issues and helped court systems develop language access plans across Texas. Additionally, she has developed trainings and workshops on a wide range of issues including cultural competency and best practices and co-authored medical journal articles on domestic violence featured in Texas Family Physician and the Texas Osteopathic Medical Journal.
Her professional and volunteer work with gender-based violence spans 15 years. Prior to her position at AFSSA, she was the volunteer and communications manager for the Texas Advocacy Project, a statewide legal agency for survivors of violence and worked at the local domestic violence shelter. Before committing to the non-profit sector, Ms. Phan honed her fiscal and organizational development skills through her tenure at a technology start up. She joined AFFSA when there were only two employees and have grown the organization to 17 staff positions and 16 contract employees. Leveraging this experience, she provides technical assistance on organizational growth and sustainability to small and emerging non-profits.
She has served on the Public Policy Committee for the Texas Council on Family Violence providing guidance on legislative issues affecting survivors, served as an advisor to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and was appointed as Chair to the City of Austin Commission on Immigrant affairs.
Sanjita Pradhan is the Executive Officer of the Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs at the Iowa Department of Human Rights, a position she has held since 2013. From 2010 to 2013, Ms. Pradhan served as Resettlement Director at Catholic Charities of Des Moines, Iowa. She was previously the Employment Coordinator of Lutheran Services of Iowa’s Refugee Cooperative Services from 2009 to 2010. From 2007 to 2008, Ms. Pradhan was Marketing Coordinator at Principal Financial Group. She has served on numerous volunteer and community organizations, including as Commissioner of the West Des Moines Human Rights Commission and as a Member of the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. Ms. Pradhan also serves on the Advisory Board for the Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center. She received a B.A. from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science in Nepal and an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Technology.
Lorna May Ho Randlett is a Communication Specialist and Reach and Relevance External Relations Manager at McKinsey & Company, a position she has held since 2006. She currently represents the Global Semiconductor Practice at McKinsey and worked in the U.S. State and Local and Infrastructure Americas Practices. Previously, Ms. Randlett was the Communications Director of the San Francisco Unified School District from 2002 to 2006. Ms. Randlett established LMH Consulting in 2001, and worked as a broadcast journalist in the San Francisco media markets. She is active in the community, including serving on the San Francisco Library Commission and advising the civic innovation startup, Fusecorp. Ms. Randlett received a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Dr. Paul Y. Watanabe
Dr. Paul Y. Watanabe is currently Director of the Institute for Asian American Studies, a position he has held since 2003. Concurrently, he serves as an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Boston, a position he has held since 1985. His focus areas include American foreign policy, American political behavior, ethnic group politics, and Asian Americans. Since 2012, Dr. Watanabe has served as Chair of the Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations. He has also been President of the Board of Directors of the Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund since 2012, and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts since 2009. Dr. Watanabe has been a Member of the Advisory Board of the New Americans Integration Institute since 2011 and a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Harry H. Dow Memorial Legal Assistance Fund since 2013. Previously, he served as a member of the American Political Science Association’s Status of Asian-Pacific Americans in the Profession Committee from 2010 to 2013. Dr. Watanabe received a B.S. from the University of Utah and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.