WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on April 24 announced his intent to appoint 14 individuals to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The commission is charged with working to improve the quality of life of AAPIs through increased participation in and access to federal programs. These members will advise the president on innovative ways to engage AAPIs across the country and to improve their health, education, environment, and well-being.
Hailing from all over the nation and from across a wide range of disciplines, these accomplished individuals will work to advance the inclusion of the AAPI community and to uplift the community’s contributions to America.
“I am pleased to announce that these experienced and committed individuals have agreed to join this administration, and I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years,” Obama said.
For more information, visit www.ed.gov/edblogs/aapi/.
The appointees are:
• Dr. N. Nina Ahmad, 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. Ahmad also serves as the administrator of Global City Regional Center LLC, a position she has held since May 2013. From 1992 to 2005, 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, Ahmad served as the director of molecular biology for the Research Department of Wills Eye Hospital. In 2011, 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. 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, 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.
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. Byun is a 2010 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow. He received a B.A. and an M.P.A. from the University of Washington.
• Lt. Col. Ravi Chaudhary, an Air Force officer currently serving as executive officer to the commander, Air Force District of Washington, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. He has logged over 3,000 flight hours as a pilot and flight test engineer, including over 700 combat hours. Previously, Chaudhary 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 as well as 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. He received a B.S. from the U.S. Air Force Academy, an M.S. from Saint Mary’s University, and a master’s in military operational art and science from the Air Force’s Air University.
• Lian Cheun, executive director of Khmer Girls in Action (KGA). Before joining KGA, she worked for a number of organizations, including Asian Immigrant Women Advocates and the Asian Migrant Center, which is based in Hong Kong. From 2000 to 2002, Cheun served as an Early Academic Opportunity Program college counselor at Skyline High School and Castlemont High School in Oakland. Cheun received the 2013 Panther Award from the California Reinvestment Coalition for her efforts to help students organize for better health services and student outcomes. Cheun received a B.A. from UC Berkeley and an M.P.A. from CSU Long Beach.
• Billy Dec, CEO and founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, a hospitality and entertainment development company in Chicago, a position he has held since 2002. He 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. 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. 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.
• Bill Imada, the chairman and chief collaboration officer of IW Group (formerly known as Imada Wong Communications Group), an advertising and public relations agency that he co-founded in 1990. Prior to founding the IW Group, Imada was a partner at the Imada/Schulte Group from 1987 to 1989. 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.
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. Imada received a B.S. from CSU Northridge.
• Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, a position she has held since 2010. 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. 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 UC San Francisco Institute for Health Policy Studies, Planned Parenthood SF, and South Cove Community Health Center in Boston. 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.
• Dee Jay Mailer, former CEO of Kamehameha Schools, a position she held from 2004 to 2014. She 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, Mailer was COO for Health Net of California. From 1986 to 1999, she served in various leadership capacities at Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, Hawaii Region, where she was named CEO in 1995.
She is the recipient of the University of Hawaii Distinguished Alumni Award, YWCA Woman Leadership Award, and Hawaii Governor’s Proclamation of Service to Community. Mailer received a B.S. and an M.B.A. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
• Diane Narasaki, the executive director of Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) since 1995. While at ACRS, she 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, Narasaki served as executive director of the Northwest Labor and Employment Law Office. 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. 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, who has been managing partner at Beekman Advisors since 2003 and chairman of Papillon Capital since 2012. He was the managing director at Prudential Mortgage Capital Company from 2000 to 2003 and the chairman and CEO of The WMF Group Ltd. from 1988 to 2000. From 1987 to 1988, Narasimhan was the executive vice president of Clark Financial Services Inc., and from 1984 to 1986 he was the corporate vice president of real estate for the National Cooperative Bank. Prior to that, Narasimhan was the general manager of Greenbelt Homes Inc. from 1981 to 1984.
Narasimhan has also served as associate director of Rural America Inc. from 1979 to 1981, director of housing of the Human/Economic Appalachian Development Corporation from 1977 to 1979, and executive director of the David Community Development Corporation from 1975 to 1977. Narasimhan is co-founder of the Emergent Institute (formerly known as the Indian Institute for Sustainable Enterprise) in Bangalore, India, a nonprofit institution training entrepreneurs to build social ventures. He received a B.S. from the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi and an M.B.A. from the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh.
• Dr. Mary Ann Young Okada, president and CEO of Guam Community College, a position she has held since 2007. She served the 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, 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. 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.
• Maulik Pancholy, 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.
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 last February. Pancholy received a B.S. from Northwestern University and an M.F.A. from Yale University.
• Linda X. Phan, who has served as executive director of Asian Family Support Services of Austin, an anti-violence organization supporting immigrant families, since 2005. She was communications manager at the Texas Advocacy Project from 2004 to 2005 and development associate at the United Way Capital Area in 1999. Phan has served on the Texas Council on Family Violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and the Austin Commission on Immigrant Affairs.
Phan received the Human Values Award from Art of Living Foundation in 2007, the Social Services Award from the University of Texas Division of Diversity and Community Engagement in 2010, and the Community Award from the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce in 2013. Phan received a B.A. in biology and a B.S. in ecology, evolution, and behavior from the University of Texas at Austin.
• Lorna May Ho Randlett, 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. Randlett was communications director of the San Francisco Unified School District from 2002 to 2006, established LMH Consulting in 2001, and worked as a broadcast journalist in 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. Randlett received a B.A. from UC Santa Cruz.
Current commissioners Dr. Tung Thanh Nguyen and Daphne Kwok will continue to serve. Nguyen will serve as chair and Okada as vice chair.
A swearing-in ceremony was held on May 6 at the Department of Labor.