2022 Forward Leadership Program

2022 Forward Leadership Program Overview

Project partner: Home Forward

Home Forward aims to increase housing stability for households and families that receive rent assistance but reside in homes in the private market. Historically, Home Forward does not play a role in the attempts to stabilize this population at the point that an eviction case is filed.


However, Home Forward has established a focus on improving housing stability and reducing evictions amongst the people it serves. This work is especially important because of the extreme housing stability and eviction disparities for Black, brown, and Indigenous people, women, and children. Home Forward seeks to improve housing stability by using the expertise of API Forward program scholars to match eviction filings data against Home Forward participant data, identify demographic trends, and propose solutions for future implementation.

2022 Forward Leadership Program Scholars

Andrew (pronouns: he/him/his) is majoring in Computer Information Systems and is a lover of all things tech. He is a first-generation Cambodian American born in Portland, Oregon. He is enrolled in Portland Community College. He is an aspiring junior programmer and self-identifying crypto-preneur. Whether it’s software or hardware, Andrew enjoys exploring, learning, and creating projects. He has three amazing humans who call him “daddy” and is married to his beautiful wife. In his free time, he enjoys riding his bike, motorcycle, or skateboard. He also owns a few guitars that he picks up from time to time. The climate has changed immensely since he was a kid, and he hopes to be part of an equitable and equal future, for the generations after him.

Anita Tang (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a first-generation Cambodian American, born and raised in Hillsboro, Oregon. She is currently studying Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University. Her core values are focused on growth, education, and empowerment of herself and others. She has been heavily involved in the coordination of the pilot program “Southeast Asian Leadership & Unity Retreat,” which aims to empower middle and high school students to be better leaders for themselves and their communities. She currently works full time as a Plastics Component Operator at Nike AIR Manufacturing Innovations in Beaverton. In her free time, she enjoys peer mentoring, kickboxing, and watching anime. Anita hopes to further her career in community development and support youth empowerment. She aims to be conscious of her privileges and is aware that she has a lot of opportunities to be better for herself and others. 

Daisyli is a student at Portland State University majoring in Marketing and Business Management. Outside of school, she loves volunteering, exploring the city, and finding places to eat. Her hobbies include online shopping, buying shoes, and eating out. Daisyli’s personal goal is to work on her physical fitness. Her professional goal is to start her own entertainment business and provide jobs for her friends and peers.  Daisyli grew up on the island of Pohnpei. Her grandparents raised her with four of her other older siblings. Daisyli moved to the States six years ago without knowing how to speak English. One thing her grandpa taught her is that life is a one-time opportunity–to wake up every day and add value to your life and those around you. Her grandma taught her to be kind and humble.

Min Uk Jeong was born in Busan, South Korea, and immigrated to the United States in 2005 when he was five years old. His experience as a person of color in a predominantly Caucasian population was a culture shock. His first experience of racism was when he was in kindergarten and a classmate stretched their eyes like his. That experience motivated him to learn English to adapt to American culture. COVID-19 has affected my higher education and my race as well. I want to represent my ethnicity and Asian race as a leader in the United States of America and end Asian hate. 

2022 Forward Leadership Program Mentors

Jackie Leung has years of experience in policy and decision-making. Currently, Jackie is a city councilor in the city of Salem, the state capital of Oregon. At the county level, Jackie is a member of the Marion County Health Advisory Board and a former director of the Pacific Islander Coalition at Multnomah County Health Department. At the state level, Jackie is a Commissioner with the Oregon Commission of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs and also serves on the Department of Human Services Domestic and Sexual Violence Fund Committee, the Hunger Task Force, and the Maternal Mortality Review Committee. Jackie is also a member of the Mayor’s International Council for the City of Salem and a former Commissioner with the Salem Human Rights Commission.

Jackie has an educational background in law and public health. Before moving to Oregon, she lived in Iowa, where she attended the University of Iowa and graduated with a master’s in Community and Behavioral Health. In Iowa, Jackie worked extensively with the Latinx and migrant farmworker communities, focusing on healthcare access and utilization of health services, and was an HIV tester and counselor. Jackie moved to Oregon in 2011 to attend Willamette University College of Law, where she graduated with her law degree in 2016. After graduating from law school, Jackie worked as a Hatfield Fellow through Portland State University at the Department of Transportation.

Jackie has extensive experience working in non-profits. She is the Executive Director and Public Health Advocate of a statewide non-profit that provides services and programming to Micronesian and Pacific Islanders in Oregon and in Southwest Washington. She is the President of the Asian & Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health (APIC) and a 2020 Health Rising Fellow with the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum. As a domestic violence survivor, she spends a significant amount of time advocating for survivors of violence.

Jackie is married with four children. She enjoys visiting a local community garden with her family.

Ashlan Glazier-Anderson identifies as Native Hawaiian, Filipino, and Japanese. She is passionate about creating leadership opportunities for students, especially those who identify as Asian and/or Pacific Islander. She is a seasoned marketing professional with over 15 years of experience in the field.

In January 2021, Ashlan launched her own business, AshbeanPDX Marketing, working with nonprofits and small business owners to define and execute their marketing strategy. Ashlan holds a Master’s degree in Strategic Communications from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Marketing from Portland State University (PSU). She completed a Certificate in Nonprofit Program Evaluation with the PSU Nonprofit Institute. During her time at Portland State University, she served on the board of Kaibigian Filipino American Student Association and volunteered with the Pacific Islanders Club. She has been a mentor in the past through the Portland State University School of Business and AMA PDX Mentorship Program. She is an active volunteer in her community and serves as the Board Chair of Betties360, President of AMA PDX – the American Marketing Association in Portland, and board member at large with the Willamette Valley Development Officers (WVDO).

Through these organizations, she continues to increase her knowledge, strengthen her leadership skills, and expand her network to better serve her clients. In March 2020, she was recognized for her service to the community as a Portland Trail Blazers Hometown Hero by Director’s Mortgage. Ashlan lives in North Portland with her husband Jon.

Program Results

Daisyli Dick, Min Uk Jeong (Left to Right)

$6,000 Scholarship for Team The 3 Ps

What the Team has to say:

“Over three months in the program, I experienced teamwork, humility, and time-management skills. I balanced my schoolwork during the week, and set aside an hour of time every Wednesday to meet with my group and mentor, Ashlan.”

“I learned how to filter out a large data set to variables using pivot tables and equation shortcuts for calculating an average or count of data set.”

“The program helped me network with like-minded people with the same interests as me.”

“With this experience, it gave me confidence and motivation I couldn’t get anywhere else. I am very confident in using excel to create graphs and understand bigger data.”

“I have learned how to communicate effectively and worked under stressful situation. This project helped me learn dedication and self-actualization.”

“… had it not been for this experience, I wouldn’t learned about the eviction rate here in the Multnomah County. The knowledge, experience and confidence, I owe it all to this incredible experience.”

Andrew Jackson, Anita Tang (Left to Right)

$3,000 Scholarship for Team The A Team

Team Reflection:

“Working with my partner in the A-Team, I was able to lean on him to offer support when my nerves were getting the better of me and I was able to do the same for him.”

“[I have learned that] it’s important to advocate for myself and take action rather than wait for someone to check-in.”

“[I have learned that] building a rapport with my teammate(s) needs to be a focus at the beginning of the project process to help each other get comfortable communicating with one another to move forward with the project.”

“[I have learned that] keeping my ego in check; asking for help when needed and admitting when I don’t know something are important parts of being a leader.”

“Navigating through work, school, and anything in general post COVID — has proven to be a difficult yet worthy learning experience for me. Participating in this project was a true testament of perseverance to me.”

“… the great resources API Forward offered in providing help, and any needed accommodations. It all made for a good project environment.”


2020 Forward Leadership Program

2020 Forward Leadership Program Overview

The 2020 Forward Leadership Program partnered with the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) on a project opportunity focused on the 2020 U.S. Census. Nine scholars were selected and assigned into three teams to collaborate with one another along with the guidance of a mentor. This year’s project aimed to understand the importance of the Census and support accurate count of API communities and community of color

Assignment:

Each team was assigned four counties, where they were to conduct outreach and engage local non-profit agencies primarily serving API communities and people of color over the course of three and a half months. Their assignment was to encourage these agencies to actively promote and encourage their members or constituents to answer the Census survey.

Despite the tremendous challenges brought forth by the coronavirus pandemic, each team persevered and pursued innovative and unique outreach strategies. The project culminated in a final virtual presentation where each team reported their teamwork and outreach efforts to a panel of judges from the community and API board members. Each team presentation was evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Ability to navigate power relationships
  • Ability to lead across cultures
  • Potential to become a strong and compassionate leader
  • Ability to lead through an equity lens

API Forward recognizes the following teams of scholars for their dedication and hard work. Congratulations!

2020 Forward Leadership Program Scholars

Alina is a passionately curious second year student at the University of Oregon working towards a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, exploring a concentration in Business Operations and Analytics. She is also pursing a Food Studies minor and hopes to apply this to the food industry of the business world. In her free time, she loves climbing, traveling, graphic design, and photography. Alina is apart of the UO Climbing team and Vietnamese Student Association Media Team, and hopes to study abroad in the next upcoming years.

Ania Ty was born in the Philippines, but her family immigrated to the United States when she was three years old. Despite growing up a world away from her homeland, her childhood was deeply entrenched in Filipino culture. Hands, not spoons and forks, were the primary utensils in her family. Ania’s mother would sing folk songs to her, interweaving Tagalog and English as her mother braided her hair every morning. As a child, Ania felt comfortable in Filipino culture, but upon entering university, she realized she needed to take a more active role in her community. It wasn’t enough to eat sinigang and sing karaoke – Ania wanted to be a true leader capable of creating tangible, necessary change. Her hope as a scholar in the API Forward Leadership Program she can serve the API community by listening to and amplifying valuable voices, unique experiences, and stories that often go untold but must be said.

Chivon Ou (pronouns: he/him/his) is a first-generation, Khmer-American and a freshman pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a Minor in Neuroscience at the University of Portland. Chivon grew up listening to stories from his family about the struggles they experienced during the Khmer Rouge regime and surviving as refugees. Chivon aspires to become a nurse to serve communities who are disproportionately affected by trauma. More specifically, Chivon is intersted in learning about the LGBTQ youth and the charlatan practice of conversion therapy, military servicemen/servicewomen, and survivors and/or refugees of war. Chivon is passionate about service and exploring the world; he dreams of someday working for NGOs like Doctors Without Borders as a nurse to serve war-torn regions. He hopes to learn more about the health systems of other countries in order to optimize the standards of healthcare models within his community.

Danica Gascon is a Filipino-American student pursuing to become an oncologist. Currently, Danica is a Sophomore at Portland State University majoring  in Biology (Pre-Med) with a minor in Business Administration. At PSU, Danica currently involved in the Kaibigan – Filipino American Student Association and serves as a student leader (Historian). Danica is also involved in other API organizations as well. Danica enjoys  playing the piano, percussion instruments, and drawing. As a Forward Leadership scholar she hopes to learn from this experience and connect with not only her Filpino culture, but wants to be able to connect with cultures as well.

Dawa Gyalpo is a junior studying Business Administration with a minor in Planning, Public Policy & Management at  the University of Oregon. She is a Tibetan-American born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She is honored to be a part of the Forward Leadership Program and work with other API students in the community. Dawa is looking forward to share her experiences with others while also learning from her peers. Dawa is thankful for the opportunity as a scholar of the Forward Leadership program and connect with students and mentors in the community. 

Sean Wei is a senior at Portland State University majoring in Public Health Education with a focus on the Health Science on the Pre-Physicians occupational track. Sean is highly involved in the PSU community. Sean is the President of the PSU tennis club and coordinates practices weekly and competes in numerous tournaments through the NW. In addition, Sean is also part of  the PSU Rec Council, where he oversees 40+ other rec clubs at PSU. Sean is an active member of the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) and enjoys learning about the Vietnamese culture and meeting new people. Outside of school, Sean enjoys volunteering in the Oncology unit at St. Vincent’s Hospital. In between his busy schedule, Sean always strive to improve himself with different goals and to give back and improve his community.

Talianna K. Magofna is a 3rd year molecular biology student at Eastern Oregon University. She is originally from Saipan, the capital of the Northern Mariana Islands. Talianna comes from a multicultural background, with English being her 3rd language. She is a second generation college student pursuing a degree that will help her successfully enter the health/medicine field. She has spent many years volunteering at local agencies on her island and educating youth about the importance of the local marine ecosystems. Talianna’s primary interests and career goals have always involved biology. Since starting her undergrad journey, she has developed a new love for medicine and the healthcare industry. Talianna’s goal is to pursue a career that will serve her community and wants to attend college overseas. She intends on continuing her education to the highest degree so she can prepare herself to perform to the best of her abilities.

Tammy Tran, (she/ hers/ her pronouns) was born and raised in Portland Oregon and is a first generation student who is a transfer from PCC  and is majoring in Finance at Portland State University. Outside of school, Tammy is involved in multiple organizations and events in the Portland community. Tammy was the club coordinator for Passion Impact at PCC that focuses on volunteerism and hosting nonprofit fairs around campus. She is involved with APANO with the Annual Jade Night Market and Unity Through Diversity as a coordinator for the Multicultural event. Tammy is also active in Student Government and has organized lobbying at the State Capitol, registered students to vote, and participates in committees with staff and administrators. Tammy also held a position at PSU at the Women’s Resource Center as an Events and Outreach Coordinator to further her social justice skills. 

Yuman Ng was born in Hong Kong and is an ambitious McNair Scholar at Portland State University. He is completing a biology degree and working towards a MD/PhD program. Raised by a single immigrant mother, the importance of accessible healthcare was instilled in him when his parent was severely injured by a drunk driver before his 10th birthday. As a result of those experiences and ordeals, strives to advocate health care awareness and accessibility for all. Passionate about biomedical research to treat diseases and focusing on personal growth. Seeks to bridge cultural and communication gaps and works at the Cultural Resource Center at Portland State University. He enjoys cooking and hopes to one day cook well enough he can also enjoy eating his own cooking. 

Program Results

Alina Wei, Ania Ty, Tammy Tran (Left to Right)

$9,000 Scholarship for Team Meadowlark

A homage to the state bird, Team Meadowlark represented students from Oregon’s top state universities, Portland State University, Oregon State University and University of Oregon.

In their winning presentation, Alina Wei, Ania Ty and Tammy Tran showcased a strong team mission statement, meticulously conducted research, clear and intentional communication strategies, effective team dynamics and thoughtful analysis and learnings to take on this year’s project.

One of the judges praised the team and said, “Team Meadowlark showed great command and understanding of the project…The API community is going to benefit from their contribution but I would hope that they do not wait until their graduation. It would be awesome to see them engage and become young leaders now.” 

Dawa Gyalpo, Chivon Ou  (Left to Right)

$4,000 Scholarship for Team Census Koalas

Team Census Koalas faced unprecedented changes when working on their outreach to API Community-Based Organizations (CBOs).

On top of there being a few minority CBOs in their assigned counties, COVID-19 instantly altered the landscape of communication. Many of the target communities were unprepared to engage online and dealing with the new reality of a pandemic. The team found people were preoccupied and difficult to reach in such a turbulent time.

In spite of this, Team Census Koalas was able to identify key takeaways and opportunities to increase the connection between Oregon’s API CBOs. They suggested that the API community will need to find ways to catch up on online platforms and technology to operate competently in 2020 and beyond.


Danica Gascon, Sean Wei (Left to Right)

$2,000 Scholarship for Team Healthcare Professionals

Team Healthcare Professionals represent students from Portland State University pursuing a career in the healthcare industry.

Sean and Danica were presented with real-life challenges during their project, but the team pivoted and shared their strategies on outreach using social media as an efficient platform to share resources and info. The team worked through the pandemic by using COVID-19 as a way to relate to community members and develop dialogue.

One of the panel judges shared their support for the team: “Great learning experience and I hope it will prove dividends as they encounter other projects in their young adult lives.” API Forward commends Sean and Danica for their commitment and perseverance throughout their teamwork.


2019 Forward Leadership Program

2019 Forward Leadership Program

Born in Shanghai, China, Yiqiu (Viv) Cai was raised by a single mother until the age of 10 before immigrating to Portland, Oregon. Since a young age, they have explored the many intersectionalities of their identities. However, it was with time before Viv was finally able to de-internalize all the racism, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia they faced growing up. Today, they proudly introduce themself as a queer nonbinary immigrant from China. Viv currently attends Oregon State University (OSU) for their bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and hopes to study student affairs in higher education for their graduate program. Viv currently serves as a Leadership Liaison at OSU’s Women & Gender Center, as well the project manager for Rainbow Continuum (student group dedicated to LGBTQIA+ individuals). Viv dedicates their time to creating programs and workshops that aim to tackle current issues within social justice in hopes to bring justice and equity for all. Through the positions they have held and their own identity journey, they hope to be able to continue their advocacy for underrepresented communities and transcend from being a student leader into a community leader.

Erin San Antonio identifies as a first generation Filipino-American and is ambitious in pursuing her goals. Hoping to embark on this journey, she will be transferring to Portland State University to earn a Bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in women’s studies next fall.Passionate about helping others, she currently works as a Student Advocate at the Southeast Campus of Portland Community College’s Women’s Resource Center and served a term in Sylvania’s Illumination Project. Being a member of both communities, she works in the direction of tackling and applying the principles of intersectional, multicultural feminism to resist, dismantle and bring more awareness towards sexism, racism, and other forms of oppression.Striving to feed her seed of compassion, she is driven to learn and speak up against the injustices around her to help others find healing in shared stories amongst their communities and through their collective strength and voices.

Sara Tajanlangit is a student at Oregon State University, studying chemistry and psychology. She hopes to become an emergency room doctor and psychiatrist so she can be a first responder for mental illness. She works on research projects to increase awareness about the lasting effects of society and the media on Asian-American mental illness. She dedicates her hard work and motivation to her dad and uncle, both of whom have taught her how to own her identity and succeed while doing so. She strives to be a role model for young children, like her two-year-old brother, and loves to teach and communicate with children through art and language. She is learning Korean and Spanish and how teach complex mathematical theories to children via art and graphical displays.

Taryn Yamauchi was born and raised on the island of Oahu in Hawaii and is a 5th generation Japanese-Okinawan American. Taryn graduated from Henry J. Kaiser High School as a valedictorian. She is now expanding her knowledge as she joined the Portland State University community in Fall of 2017. At Portland State, Taryn is double majoring in business advertising and marketing, as well as a certificate in athletic and outdoor sports marketing. She is an active member of PSU’s Pacific Islanders Club, the Panhellenic sorority Alpha Chi Omega and has been working at the PSU Millar Library. Taryn is passionate about traveling the world and exploring new environments. She will be embarking on a study abroad program to Kansai Gaidai University in Japan in the fall of 2019. After graduation, Taryn plans to obtain her MBA at PSU’s Graduate School of Business.


2021 Forward Leadership Program

2021 Forward Leadership Program Overview

Project partner: Port of Portland Women+ Development Network

Students participating in the 2021 Forward Leadership Program will be working with the Port of Portland’s Women’s+ Development Network to understand the reasons behind apparent disparities by gender and ethnicity regarding advancement at certain pay levels within the Port of Portland.

Through this project, the students will help the Port:

  • Understand factors that may have, and may continue to, contribute to disparities associated with employees’ gender and racial identifications.
  • Perform comparisons with other similar organizations.
  • Develop suggestions, both general and specific, to mitigate these factors at the Port.
  • Provide recommendations on how other organizations or community-based groups can use lessons learned from this project or its methods to advance pay equity and opportunities for people of color within their own organizations.

2021 Forward Leadership Program Scholars

Alena Arounpradith (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a Lao-American student at Oregon State University majoring in BioHealth Sciences with an option in Pre-Pharmacy, and minors in Business, Chemistry, and Public Health. Outside of school, Alena is involved in multiple organizations. She currently works as the Communication Representative at OSU’s Asian Pacific Cultural Center. She is also the Public Relations Officer for the Asian Pacific American Student Union, and the Chapter Liaison for Phi Delta Chi, a professional pharmacy fraternity. In addition, Alena is an active member of other API organizations, like the Cambodian Student Association and the Vietnamese Student Association. Through the API Forward Program, Alena hopes to become a more culturally competent leader. She wants to be more socially conscientious of the social justice issues that exist within the API community and gain more experience engaging in diversity, inclusion, and equity work.

Cian Gentner (pronouns: he/him/his) is a 20-year-old college sophomore currently attending Clark College with hopes of transferring to the University of Washington in the fall. He majors in chemistry with the intention of attending medical school to become an anesthesiologist in the future. He enjoys activities such as watching movies and TV shows, walking his dog, and hanging out with friends. By joining the API Forward Leadership Program, Cian is hoping to be able to effectively and passionately promote diversity within our community in order to create a more safe and secure atmosphere for all people. He has a lot of volunteering experience through his high school’s clubs such as the Red Cross Club and the National Honor Society. He intends to utilize the experiences and lessons that he learned with these volunteering opportunities in order to more effectively contribute to this program.

Jordan Huynh (pronouns: she/her/hers) is 20 years old and currently a sophomore at Portland State University. She majors in Business Administration, focusing on Management and Leadership, along with Human Resources as a backup. Jordan is hoping that after she earns her degree in a couple more years, she will be able to not only work alongside other professionals, but also help guide and become a leader in her expertise. Jordan hopes to get more experience working with others and learning how to adapt to new situations that come across our daily lives. She also hopes to be able to serve Portland as it has become a home for not only her but for many others that live here.

Raleigh De Leon (pronouns: he/him/his) is a first-generation college student currently enrolled at Mt. Hood Community College’s Nursing program and will soon obtain their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). As he continues to navigate through higher education, it becomes more apparent that institutional systems such as the healthcare field demands an integrated critical analysis via personal lived experiences. This understanding aids in shaping their end goal of achieving their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in education to support and guide youth on the importance of social justice as a fundamental value in how they provide care to all patients.

Roselie Agulto (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a senior majoring in public health and a first-generation college student at Portland State University. She was raised on the island of Saipan where her pride and joy in her Filipino and Chamorro cultures stem. Health disparities are no stranger to Roselie as she grew up witnessing the lack of resources, unstable healthcare infrastructure, and unhealthy behaviors that have been plaguing the health of her community. She is passionate about research and collaboration as it would help prepare her to become a public health leader in Micronesia. Part of her journey includes the work she does as an intern at the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network where she supports the outreach, screening, and referral of community resources among patients for health-related social needs. As an API scholar, Roselie looks forward to connecting with other API community members and learning more about leadership, diversity, and advocacy. 

Taylor Nguyen (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a junior at Portland State University. She is a first-generation Vietnamese-American and a first-generation college student. Taylor is majoring in Supply Chain Management along with an International Business and Real Estate certificate. After college, she would like to work in California or abroad as a buyer or Supply Chain analyst. She is the Treasurer for PSU Kaibigan- Filipino American Student Association for two years and is a part of the Vietnamese Student Association(VSA) ACE program. She enjoys traveling, hiking, swimming, baking, and doing outdoor activities. Growing up in a small town in California, where there was no API community, she never felt represented. When she moved to Portland in 2015, she started being involved in many API clubs in high school to connect and represent her culture. Since then, she has continuously been involved in the API community to help others connect to their culture.

2021 Forward Leadership Program Mentors

Jenny Kim currently serves as the National President of the Korean American Coalition (KAC), a non-profit, non-partisan community advocacy group with nine chapters throughout the United States. Dedicated to the ideals of inclusiveness, Jenny works to represent the interests of immigrants, refugees, women, children, and any marginalized and under-represented community members.

She is also serving as an appointed Commissioner of Home Forward, Housing Authority for Multnomah county. Her previous non-profit experiences include The Portland Montessori School, Korean Society of Oregon, Divided Families USA, American Cancer Society, and Special Olympics to name a few.

Wylie Wan, Ph.D. (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a Hong Kong Chinese American and a first-generation college graduate with a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology. With over a decade of research experience in higher education, Wylie currently works as a Research and Data Specialist in K-12 education and provides professional development to educators.

In her work, she shows teams and leaders how to use research and data in the decision-making process to create equitable conditions for students to succeed. Wylie has also been mentoring students for over a decade. Her focus is to help students express their identities and apply their knowledge and experiences to a variety of spaces. She strongly believes that by setting up the right conditions, people can make sound decisions that lead to improvement in their work and lives.

Program Results

Roselie Agulto, Raleigh De Leon, Jordan Huynh (Left to Right)

$7,500 Scholarship for Team Southeast Aces

Coming from a diverse background of business, healthcare and research, Team SouthEast Aces (SEA) has come together representing students from Portland State University and Mount Hood Community College.

Team SEA was able to build upon existing skill sets to conduct research, present key findings, and provide recommendations to eliminate workplace inequities and improve opportunities for women and people of color within the Port of Portland. The team had the chance to learn more about our local communities here in Portland, Oregon. The team is grateful for the many opportunities to gain knowledge through data analysis, critical thinking, and showcasing our findings. 

During a pivotal time in history for transformational change, this meaningful experience has given Team SEA the opportunity to become leaders and advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Team Sea takes this chance to grow as strong individuals who will not only represent API, but will also become the future leaders who will give back to our community, for many years to come.

Alena Arounpradith, Cian Gentner, Taylor Nguyen (Left to Right)

$4,500 Scholarship for Team Metro

Team Metro is made up of students from three higher education institutions: Portland State University, Oregon State University, and Clark Community College.

Team Metro’s presentation discussed the Port of Portland’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts, which includes the Women+ Development Network employee resource group’s survey project. To better understand gender and ethnicity regarding advancement at certain pay levels for female employees and employees of color, they first told two real-life stories of women of color that they interviewed for the project. The stories of these two women of color were not isolated cases but part of an overarching problem of systemic racism and sexism that has shaped the modern corporate setting. They then tied in their survey finding responses, and discussed the deeper meaning behind the survey responses and percentages.

To finish the presentation, Team Metro made some recommendations that were pulled from three other companies they interviewed and what the Port could do that is working well for these companies. They also presented a roll-out plan on the next step the Port could take in the next two years. They ended it with a note that change takes time to implement and that there is nothing drastic that can be done right away. However, it is about small changes and effort over time that can lead to maintainable results.


Upcoming Events

API Forward Student Leadership Conference

Date: Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022
Time: 9:45 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. PST
Location: Virtual Conference

See Full Program

“If you want to build a ship, do not task people with collecting the wood. Do not assign them tasks and orders. Instead, teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” – Shan-Lyn Ma, CEO of Zola.

There’s more to leadership than having a title and there’s more than one type of leader. Join API Forward in a leadership conference designed specifically for college students of Asian or Pacific Islander descent.

Understand what it takes to be a leader in the 21st century and shift from unconscious bias to conscious inclusion. Students will discover possibilities, explore their own journey from “me” to “we,” and what you can do to help bring diversity, equity, inclusion and justice to our communities.

Topics of discussion include:

  • Leadership in the 21st century
  • Leadership in public service
  • Leadership in social and racial justice

Speakers include (more announced soon):

  • Octaviano Merecias-Cuevas, Organizational Training & DEI Education Manager, OHSU
  • Sheila Murty, Executive Vice President of People and Culture, Tillamook County Creamery Association
  • Amanda Park, Project Manager, Prosper Portland, and Co-Founder of My People’s Market
  • Makerusa Porotesano, Multicultural Student Services Coordinator, Portland Community College Sylvania
  • Rep. Khanh Pham, State Representative for Oregon House District 46
  • Toc Soneoulay-Gillespie, Director of Community Health, Health Share of Oregon
  • Ian Davie, Deputy Executive Director, Home Forward
  • Theresa Mai, Co-Chair, Multnomah County Charter Review Committee

FREE and open to API college students. The first 40 to register and attend will receive an adidas employee store pass. Other door prizes will be given away at the event.

See Full Program

API Forward Student Leadership Conference

Date: Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022
Time: 9:30 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. PST
Location: University of Oregon – Portland
70 NW Couch Street,
Room 142/144,
Portland, OR 97209

“If you want to build a ship, do not task people with collecting the wood. Do not assign them tasks and orders. Instead, teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” – Shan-Lyn Ma, CEO of Zola.

There’s more to leadership than having a title and there’s more than one type of leader. Join API Forward in a leadership conference designed specifically for college students of Asian or Pacific Islander descent.

Understand what it takes to be a leader in the 21st century and shift from unconscious bias to conscious inclusion. Students will discover possibilities, explore their own journey from “me” to “we,” and what you can do to help bring diversity, equity, inclusion and justice to our communities.

Topics of discussion include:

  • Leadership in the 21st century
  • Leadership in public service
  • Leadership in social and racial justice

Speakers include (more announced soon):

  • Octaviano Merecias-Cuevas, Organizational Training & DEI Education Manager, OHSU
  • Sheila Murty, Executive Vice President of People and Culture, Tillamook County Creamery Association
  • Amanda Park, Project Manager, Prosper Portland, and Co-Founder of My People’s Market
  • Makerusa Porotesano, Multicultural Student Services Coordinator, Portland Community College Sylvania
  • Rep. Khanh Pham, State Representative for Oregon House District 46
  • Toc Soneoulay-Gillespie, Director of Community Health, Health Share of Oregon

FREE and open to API college students. Snacks and lunch included. Door prizes and other giveaways.

Special thanks to University of Oregon – Portland for sponsoring this conference.

Seating is limited. RSVP is required by January 19, 2022.

  • Out of concern for our guests, in order to attend this conference, attendees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have received a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours prior to attending. Additionally, attendees must follow safety protocols based on CDC and local guidance at the time of the event.
  • The event facility or organization may have additional safety measures, including but not limited to wearing masks, regardless of vaccination status.

  • Smart Park Garage is located on the corner of NW Naito Parkway and NW Davis (1.5 blocks away). Payment is required. If this poses a financial hardship, please contact API Forward at communications@apiforward.org.
  • Do not park on the street as it is limited to 2 hours.

Vision 2021: Moving Forward

Date: Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Time: 5:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m.
Location: Virtual Event – Free Registration!

RSVP Now

Join us for an evening of inspiration, community-building, and fundraising as we share our hopes and dreams for the new year. Don’t miss your opportunity to bid on a suite of auction items just in time for the holidays, including Asian-fusion dinner packages, decadent desserts, artwork, and many more. 

Besides the fun, we also have a special keynote speaker from KGW-TV, Christine Pitawanich, who will share stories from the field and discuss leadership in a time of misinformation.

About Christine Pitawanich:
Christine Pitawanich has been working in local TV news for nearly a decade. She is currently a reporter and fill-in anchor for KGW-TV on channel 8. She joined the team in 2015. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and main anchor for KOBI-TV NBC 5 News in Medford, Oregon. During the pandemic she has mostly covered stories on the impact of COVID-19 on education and also covered the Beachie Creek Fire that swept the Santiam Canyon destroying homes and businesses in early September. She is always open to hearing from her community about issues they feel are newsworthy, so feel free to contact her if you’d like to discuss any ideas.

With your loyal support, API Forward can continue to develop more conscientious, strong, and compassionate leaders at a moment when our mission is more vital than ever. Your generosity will also allow us to raise the $5,000 necessary to make the 2021 FLP program a success. Now and always, thank you for the impact you make possible.

Thank you to our sponsor, Port of Portland.

RSVP Now

SPONSORS

Lotus Sponsor

Orchid Sponsor

Jasmine Sponsor


Past Events

Vision 2022

Date: Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021
Time: 5:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Location: Virtual Event – Free Registration!

Missed our event? Watch the recording of this celebration!

Join us for an evening of inspiration, community-building and fundraising as we share our vision for 2022.

The virtual event is FREE to attend, however a donation is greatly appreciated. It will be a chance for you to learn about the impact API Forward has had on the community.

In addition, you will

  • Meet students in our Forward Leadership Program.
  • Get inspired by our keynote speaker, Dr. Karen Eng, CEO of CSMI, an engineering firm; board member for National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship (ACE)

About the Keynote

In today’s working environment, there are two obvious problems we must face: Problems with known solutions that only require the application of existing knowledge/experience and workflows to solve, and problems with unknown solutions that require innovation, experimentation, and adaptation to transform and survive. The Practice of Adaptive Leadership is a process to allow yourself to lead your organization through the difficult, uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous process of adaptation.

Please join us to hear from Dr. Karen Eng of her experience in dealing with these challenges, finding effective interventions, accomplishing results ever thought possible, and achieving a purpose while going through the process.

Dr. Karen Eng is the President and CEO of CSMI, an engineering firm. Initially a successful optometrist with a Doctorate from the New England College of Optometry, Dr. Eng surprised her family with her bold decision to switch careers and industries to take over the family business.

Dr. Eng has used her professional success to support, promote, and mentor other girls, women, and minority business owners, particularly those in STEM-related industries. Her company is especially dedicated to collaborating with other diverse firms.

Dr. Eng is a member of several prominent Boards, including National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship (ACE), Illinois College of Optometry, and Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote (APIA Vote). The Illinois State Treasurer has given her an award for Outstanding Service in Business. In addition, she also has had positions on the State of Illinois Business Enterprise Program Council and The Illinois Census Count Commission 2020. Her most recent honor is receiving the National Executive Excellence award from OCA National in September 2021.

6th Annual Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration

Date: Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Time: 5:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m.
Location: Virtual Event – Free Registration!

Missed our event? Watch the recording of this celebration!

Please join API Forward for the 6th annual Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Celebration on May 19, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. This event honors our diverse community and raises funds to educate local students and young professionals of Asian and Pacific Islander descent to become leaders in our community.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:
Simon Tam, founder of the Slants and the Slants Foundation

EMCEE:
Chanpone Sinlapasai, partner at Marandas, Sinlapasai and Garcia

The virtual event is FREE to attend, however, a donation is greatly appreciated. It will be a chance for you to learn about the impact API Forward has had on the community. In addition to being a celebration of the Asian and Pacific Islander culture, you will:

  • Meet current and past students in our Forward Leadership Program.
  • Hear from community leaders about the importance of advancing API leadership.

About Keynote Speaker

Simon may best be known for winning a landmark case in 2017 that helped expand civil liberties for minorities, unanimously, at the Supreme Court of the United States (Matal v. Tam). He is the founder and bassist of The Slants, one of the first all-Asian American dance rock bands in the world, and also leads The Slants Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides resources and mentorship for artists that incorporate activism into their work.

 

About Emcee

Chanpone Sinlapasai-Okamura is a partner with Marandas & McClellan. She represents clients regarding general immigration law matters including visas, citizenship issues, consular processing, deportation defense and appeals. She is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA Oregon) and currently serves as the co-liaison for Immigration Custom’s Enforcement.  Her volunteer work includes chairing the DOJ’s Immigrant Crime Victim’s Rights Enforcement subcommittee, member of the Victims of Crime Act Advisory Committee for the State of Oregon, DOJ’s Immigrant Crime Victim’s Right Compliance Project Advisory Committee, F.B.I. Citizen’s Alumni Board (Oregon FBI Council on Community Outreach), Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Oregon Minority Lawyer’s Association, and Oregon Women’s Lawyer’s Association. She is currently the Chair of the Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs.

Lotus Sponsor:
OHSU, Port of Portland, City of Portland

Orchid Sponsor:
Tillamook, K&L Gates

Jasmine Sponsor:
TVideography

Vision 2021: Moving Forward

December 15, 2020
Virtual Event – Free Registration!

Join us for an evening of inspiration, community-building, and fundraising as we share our hopes and dreams for the new year. Don’t miss your opportunity to bid on a suite of auction items just in time for the holidays, including Asian-fusion dinner packages, decadent desserts, artwork, and many more. 

Besides the fun, we also have a special keynote speaker from KGW-TV, Christine Pitawanich, who will share stories from the field and discuss leadership in a time of misinformation.

Speaker:

About Christine Pitawanich:
Christine Pitawanich has been working in local TV news for nearly a decade. She is currently a reporter and fill-in anchor for KGW-TV on channel 8. She joined the team in 2015. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and main anchor for KOBI-TV NBC 5 News in Medford, Oregon. During the pandemic she has mostly covered stories on the impact of COVID-19 on education and also covered the Beachie Creek Fire that swept the Santiam Canyon destroying homes and businesses in early September. She is always open to hearing from her community about issues they feel are newsworthy, so feel free to contact her if you’d like to discuss any ideas.

With your loyal support, API Forward can continue to develop more conscientious, strong, and compassionate leaders at a moment when our mission is more vital than ever. Your generosity will also allow us to raise the $5,000 necessary to make the 2021 FLP program a success. Now and always, thank you for the impact you make possible.

API Forward Student Leadership Conference

January 11, 2020
World Trade Center
Portland, OR

What does it mean to be a leader? What does it mean to be an Asian or Pacific Islander leader in the current political and social environment? 

On January 11, 2020, API Forward hosted the 2nd annual Student Leadership Conference designed for undergraduate college students of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. Students explored what it takes to rise up, how to find their voice as a person of color, the impact of unconscious bias, the importance of emotional intelligence, ways to bridge the cultural divide and more.

The conference was FREE and open to undergraduate college students. Snacks and lunch included. Special thanks to Partners in Diversity for providing the space and continued support.

Speakers:

  • Chanpone Sinlapasai, J.D., partner, Marandas Sinlapasai Garcia, LLC
  • Corissa Saint Laurent, professional speaker
  • Octaviano Merecias Cuevas, M.A., lead diversity trainer, OHSU Center for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Sandy Tsuneyoshi, Ph.D., former director, Asian and Pacific Islander American Student Services, Oregon State Universit

Knowing Your Rights Workshop

September 16, 2019
APANO Orchards of 82nd
Portland, OR

API Forward and APANO presented “Knowing Your Rights,” a workshop to help individuals understand their general legal rights. Having basic knowledge of what the law says empowers us to ask deeper questions to better protect ourselves, our family and our community. The workshop was led by attorneys Shenoa Payne and Matthew C. Ellis.

It covered general rights in the following areas:

  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Education
  • Government and public entities

Speakers

Shenoa Payne is a solo practitioner and founder of Shenoa Payne Attorney at Law PC. She practices employment discrimination, disability rights, fair housing, and appellate law. Payne’s litigation practice focuses on representing individuals under state and federal civil rights statutes against large corporations and public entities in state and federal court.

Matthew C. Ellis, who followed his 1998 BFA in acting with a five-year stint in New York, says the progression from acting to litigation was fluid. “Actors are at their best when they’re authentic and believable,” the Seattle-raised Matthew explains. “That’s also what makes a good trial lawyer. … It’s not just being conscious of your voice and trying your best not to bump into the furniture, it’s about telling a story that resonates with people on a gut level.” After a post-September 11th bout of soul searching, he and his modern dancer wife moved to Portland so he could attend law school and she could pursue a career as a high school counselor.

4th Annual Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration

May 2, 2019
Ocean City Seafood Restaurant
Portland, OR

Together as a community, we raised more than $34,000. Special thanks to keynote speaker Bill Imada, founder of IW Group and former member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific Islander, for his inspiring message of courage and confidence. He also surprised us all by matching each of the student’s scholarship money.

A big congratulations to Erin San Antonio, Taryn Yamauchi, Sara Tajanlangit and Viv Cai for their successful completion of the Forward Leadership Program. Their work over the past 4 months exemplified the kind of excellence and leadership skills needed to create culture-change.

Event Sponsors

We are also grateful to the following sponsors for their commitment to equity and inclusion in our community.

Gold: Trimet
Silver: OHSU
Jade: Metro, Port of Portland and U.S. Bank
Champion: Portland State University and the City of Portland Procurement Services

Thank you to our program partner, the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2); our donors; and our amazing volunteers.

Student Leadership Conference

January 12, 2019
Portland Business Alliance
Portland, OR

API Forward hosted a leadership conference designed specifically for undergraduate college students of Asian or Pacific Islander descent.
The conference programs helped participants explore what it takes to be a leader in the 21st century and how cultural norms play a factor.

Speakers

  • Grant Yoshihara (NW Natural, retired): Leadership in the 21st Century<-
  • Kilong Ung (Golden Leaf Education Foundation): Focus, Grit and Determination
  • Rosella de Leon(Foundation for Philippine Progress): Embracing Culture, Diversity and Equity
  • Octaviano Merecias Cuevas (OHSU Center for Diversity and Inclusion): The Impact of Unconscious Bias
  • Anna Canzano(That Expert Show, former KOIN TV anchor): Delivering the Best You
  • Jo Ann Hardesty (Portland City Commissioner): Seeing the Big Picture

Supporter Appreciation Night

September 27, 2018
K & L Gates
Portland, OR

API Forward hosted an evening of food, appreciation, and fun to thank our supporters for being a part of API Forward.

Event Sponsor: K&L Gates

3rd Annual Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration

May 10, 2018
Ocean City Seafood Restaurant
Portland, OR

API Forward’s annual Asian Pacific Island Heritage Month dinner, celebrates leadership, honoring our diverse community. It also serves to raise much-needed funds to educate local students and young professionals of Asian or Pacific Islander descent to becoming local leaders. In addition to enjoying a delicious 9-course Chinese meal, guests bid on exciting prizes in a silent auction.

Keynote Speaker

Swan Sit is currently the Vice President of Global Digital Marketing at Nike and has spent the past decade of her career accelerating digital into legacy companies. She was the Vice President of Global Digital for Revlon. As part of the Revlon portfolio, she developed Elizabeth Arden’s first digital platform, grew retailer sales by double digits, launched augmented reality makeover and skin diagnostic apps, and spearheaded the company’s award-winning “Desk of Liz Arden” social campaign. As the Executive Director of Online Strategy for the Estée Lauder Companies, Swan helped grow their global marketing, ecommerce and mobile sites from 125 to 450, with double digit sales growth across 30 brands and 50 countries.

Swan was voted a Brand Innovators Top Woman in Marketing to Watch and 40 Under 40, Consumer Goods Technology Visionary and Luxury Daily’s Woman to Watch. Her campaigns won the Glossy Awards’ Best Social Campaign and Best in Show awards. A regular on the conference circuit, this year she has spoken at SXSW, Cannes Lions, Etail East, Women in Retail, Web Summit and the largest digital conferences in Scandinavia, South Korea and Iceland.

Swan graduated with BA in Economics from Harvard and an MBA from Columbia. Having traveled to 73 countries, her favorites include Antarctica, North Korea, Mongolia, Rwanda, Bhutan, Myanmar and climbing Kilimanjaro. She sits on several boards, including Consumer Goods Technology Executive Council, Women in Retail, the Impact Network and Foundation Rwanda philanthropies. She can often be found smashing a volleyball or chasing restaurant openings around NYC and now in Portland.

Leadership Through Civic Engagement

April 12, 2018
K&L Gates
Portland, OR

API Forward brought issue-focused individuals and organizations together with local leaders to discuss ways to get civically involved and how we can work together to make meaningful changes to our community.

Topics Covered

  • The leadership skills needed to impact local issues and policies;
  • How to get your voice heard;
  • How to influence decision makers;
  • A better understanding of “the system” in order to take action.

Panelists

State Senator Michael Dembrow is the state senator for District 23, covering portions of NE and SE Portland and the city of Maywood Park. First elected by voters in 2008 to the state house, he is serving his first term in the senate after being appointed to the seat in November 2013. Voters re-elected Michael to the senate in November 2014 and again in November 2016 to a full term. Michael currently serves as Chair of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.  He also sits on the Human Services Committee and the Judiciary Committee. In addition to his legislative committee assignments, Michael also serves on the Oregon Workforce Investment Board, the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps Advisory Committee and the Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs. Michael is a retired English instructor at Portland Community College’s Cascade campus in North Portland. He taught writing and film studies at the college beginning in 1981, and served as the President of the PCC faculty union for 16 years.  He continued to teach one or two classes per term after being elected to the House in 2008, and recently retired fully from teaching.

In 2007, Michael was appointed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski to the State Board of Education. Michael’s passion for film drives his involvement in the Cascade Festival of African Films, which he helped create in 1991. The Festival, which Michael is co-director of, has grown in size each year since its founding.  He was also one of the first members of the Portland chapter of Jobs With Justice.

Commissioner Nick Fish is a Portland City Commissioner. He leads the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Water Bureau. He’s an advocate for affordable homes, older adults, small businesses, and the arts. He is deeply committed to making our city more welcoming and inclusive for all. When he’s not in City Hall, you’ll find Nick listening to jazz, riding his bike, or watching his son play soccer.

Commissioner Lori Stegmann grew up in the Rockwood neighborhood in west Gresham after being adopted as an infant from an orphanage in Korea. She has been a small business owner and insurance agent for more than 20 years, specializing in commercial insurance. She chose to live and locate her Farmers Insurance agency in the same neighborhood she grew up in.Lori served six years on the Gresham City Council and served as City Council President in 2014.  Her duties as Gresham City Councilor have included committee assignments on the Public Safety Committee, Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce, Gresham Sister City Association, Youth Advisory Committee and the Council Employee Performance Subcommittee. Before being elected to the Gresham City Council in 2010, she served on the Gresham Planning Commission, Rockwood Stakeholders Group and Rockwood Light Rail Station Art Committee, as well as Vice Chair of the Gresham Redevelopment Commission Advisory Committee. She has also served as a board member of the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce.

Born in Hong Kong, Helen Ying came to the United States at age 11 to join her extended family. Helen’s grandfather was the first of her family to immigrate to America, leaving China in the late 1800’s. Helen’s professional career encompasses 30 years of experience as a mathematics teacher, high school counselor, and high school vice-principal. Currently, she serves as a Hearings Officer for a local school district. In addition to her professional work, Helen has also been active in the community – serving in various capacities over the years rallying for the causes of youth, civil rights, and leadership development.  She desires to engage and empower people in improving their communities.  She was elected in May 2017 as a Multnomah Education Service District Board Director representing the entire Multnomah County. In addition, she is also serving on a myriad of boards and in leadership positions involved in efforts connected to education, health care, civil rights, environment, and social justice issues. Helen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and a Master’s degree in Education and Counseling from Portland State University.  She is fluent in Chinese. Today, she lives in SW Portland with her husband, Stephen.  Her daughter, Melanie lives in NW Portland and her son, Geoffrey, lives in Corvallis.  In her leisure time she enjoys walking, hiking, reading, and traveling.​

Moderator

Christine Chin-Ryan is a business owner, consultant and community activist. Her company, Synergy Consulting, Inc., provides comprehensive IT software solutions, as well as consulting services in the area of diversity, inclusion and facilitation. Among the many committees and organizations she’s a part of, Christine currently is the executive vice chair of the Democratic National Committee Small Business Council, board member of the Greater Portland Chapter of the National Organization of Women, and a member of the City of Portland Small Business Minority Evaluator Program. She has also served as an ambassador for the Asian Pacific American Chamber of of Commerce of Oregon, testified in front of the Portland City Council in support of the resolution to declare the city as a Sanctuary City, and coordinated AAPI focus groups for Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Healths’ One Key Question advisory council. ​


Advisory Board

Advisory Board

Michael V. Tom, J.D.
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Michael V. Tom, J.D.
Pronouns: He/Him/His


Michael is the Director for the Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity department (AAEO) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). The department is responsible for investigating discrimination complaints, leading affirmative action planning, and facilitating reasonable accommodation and religious accommodation requests at OHSU. Michael develops and conducts employment law trainings for staff, faculty and management. He also represents OHSU in conducting community outreach with diverse populations and serves on the Community Transitional School Board. He serves as Co-Chair to both the Diversity Advisory Council and Physical Access Committee at OHSU.

Prior to joining OHSU, Michael was a litigation defense attorney, advising employers in all aspects of employment and civil rights litigation. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Washington and his Juris Doctorate and Dispute Resolution Certificate from Willamette University College of Law. He is licensed to practice law in Oregon and Washington.

Alma M.O. Trinidad, Ph.D, MSW
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Alma M.O. Trinidad, Ph.D, MSW
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Alma M.O. Trinidad, PhD, MSW is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at Portland State University (PSU). As a first generation college graduate and professional, born and raised on the island of Molokai, Hawai’i with family roots of Filipino immigration through the sugar and pineapple industries, she describes her voyage of serving the people and community as becoming a Pinay (Filipina) scholar warrior and guardian of kapu aloha (sacred love)/mahalaya (love and freedom). She earned her PhD in social welfare from the University of Washington, Seattle, her MSW from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her BSW from the University of Hawai’i, Manoa.

She is a macro social worker and scholar activist. She brings an array of work in community organizing, health promotion, and education among diverse communities that impact children, youth, and families. Her scholarly work focuses on critical Indigenous pedagogy of place, youth empowerment, social determinants of health and education, youth and family participatory action research, social movements, and leadership and mentorship for social change. Her published work can be found in social work professional journals. Other research and teaching interests include critical humanist design thinking, community practice, and culturally responsible research methods. Dr. Alma has passion for the arts, creative work, nature, spirituality, and spending quality time with her family. Raising her kids keeps this work real.

Kayla Victor
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Kayla Victor
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Kayla brings over 25 years of experience to the business of developing, implementing and managing successful projects. Whether working with small, two-person partnerships or Fortune 500 companies, Kayla provides both practical and professional experience to guide her clients through the inherent challenges of project management. Kayla helps companies produce the positive outcomes they seek by identifying opportunities, building and cultivating professional relationships, fostering cooperation and designing programs designed to produce positive outcomes. Industries and areas where Kayla has applied her skills include:
• Health Care
• Government Affairs
• Entertainment
• Food & Hospitality
• Business Development
• Marketing
• Project Management

Kayla uses an integrated, strategic approach to unite people with mutual interests and objectives. Her guidance has helped companies and individuals cultivate and develop relationships into lasting and productive partnerships, which grow more effective, respected and credible over time.Most recently, Kayla was appointed by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee to serve on the Council for Independent Living. In her ongoing effort to facilitate effective, meaningful communication and create avenues for meaningful change, Kayla serves in various capacities on several volunteer and advisory board, which include: president-elect for the Portland Chapter of Elevate Network, the Oregon Bioscience Association Annual Conference committee, the International Prisoner’s Family Conference committee, Breast Friends and Sisters Network‑Portland, the One in Four Chronic Health Board, Ambassador for the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce and is a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy. Previously, Kayla was a hands on board president who helped restructured a $4.5 million “Camp for Kids with Disabilities” facility – 501(c) (3) non-profit.

Anselmo Villanueva, Ph.D
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Anselmo Villanueva, Ph.D
Pronouns: He/Him/His


Anselmo Villanueva’s father came to this country from the Philippine Islands in the late 1920’s and his mother was of German/English background from Montana. He and his brother grew up in Santa Barbara, CA., did his undergraduate at UCLA in the 1960’s where he met and married Rose Mary. They attended Graduate School in University of Southern California and began to teach at Oxnard, CA, moving to Eugene, OR, in 1979 and working for District 4J. They adopted one son, Martin, in 1988. In 1992 he received his PhD from the University of Oregon.

Dr. Villanueva has been a career educator at all levels from elementary school through higher education both at Lane Community College and the University of Oregon. He has been teacher, administrator, consultant. Anselmo has served on many boards, task forces and initiatives relating to diversity and equity issues, locally, statewide and at the national level. Dr. Villanueva is committed to life-long learning, serving the next generation through recruitment, supporting, and mentoring and administrating the Rites of Passage Program hosted at Lane Community College. Dr. Villanueva is committed to equity, diversity, human dignity and social justice with his actions and his voice. Dr. Villanueva makes time for his family, friends and colleagues and has learned how to balance family, work, professional interest and personal growth. He finds time to have fun, surf, swim in the ocean, collect old cars, sit by campfires and have friends over for a BBQ.

mari watanabe headshot portrait partners in diversity
Mari Watanabe
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Mari Watanabe
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Mari is the executive director of Partners in Diversity and the program director for Leadership Portland. As Executive Director of Partners in Diversity, Mari oversees this non-profit whose mission is to help companies recruit, support, and retain professionals of color in Oregon and SW Washington. As the Program Director of Leadership Portland, Mari manages all aspects of the 10 month leadership program designed to develop community leaders for today and tomorrow.

Prior to joining the Alliance, Mari worked in the corporate arena for 25 years before switching to the nonprofit sector. She was the first executive director of Oregon Nikkei Endowment, a Japanese American history and culture organization. Appointed by Governor John Kitzhaber in May 2011, Mari serves as vice-chair on the Oregon Commission for Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs under the umbrella of the Oregon Advocacy Commission. Mari graduated from Washington State University and studied for one year in Japan as a foreign exchange student at Japan University. Raised in Seattle, Mari moved to Portland in 2000 and enjoys golfing, biking, hiking and spending time with family and friends.

Anita Yap
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Anita Yap
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


A first generation mainlander, Anita was born and raised in Portland Oregon. She attended Parkrose Elementary and graduated from Reynolds High School. She is a seasoned professional with deep experience in community development, public policy and community engagement. Anita has been a leader in innovation and sustainability, leading communities in alternative systems planning and innovative approaches to community planning. Anita is keenly involved professionally and personally in community service and brings a focus on equity and a culturally competent approach to working with people and communities.

Anita holds a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning, Planning Public Policy and Management from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Oregon State University. She is also a Fellow with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Anita received the Governor’s Livability Award, the Excellence in Downtown Award and the Distinguished Leadership for a Professional Planner from the American Planning Association.

Grant Yoshihara
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Grant Yoshihara
Pronouns: He/Him/His


Grant is the chair emeritus and vice president of operations at NW Natural. He is responsible for overall management and coordination of utility operations for NW Natural, a local natural gas distribution company headquartered in Portland, Oregon serving 680,000 customers in the Northwest Oregon, Southwest Washington area.

Grant has over 30 years of experience in the energy industry. He spent 12 years in the electric utility and independent power development industry before joining Northwest Natural in 1991. Prior to his current assignment at NW Natural, he has managed gas supply contracts, major accounts, commercial services, marketing, sales and advertising, construction operations, and customer service. He is also involved in supporting several community and charitable organizations and has been or currently is a board member of Volunteers of America Oregon, Japan-America Society of Oregon, the America Leadership Forum, and Community Vision. Grant earned bachelors and master’s degrees in nuclear engineering from Oregon State University and an MBA from the University of Oregon. He is a licensed professional mechanical engineer in the State of Oregon.

Jenny Kim
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Jenny Kim
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Jenny Kim currently serves as the National President of the Korean American Coalition (KAC), a non-profit, non-partisan community
advocacy group with nine chapters throughout the United States. Dedicated to the ideals of inclusiveness, Jenny works to represent the interests of immigrants, refugees, women, children, and any marginalized and under-represented community members.

She is also serving as an appointed Commissioner of Home Forward, Housing Authority for Multnomah county. Her previous non-profit
experiences include The Portland Montessori School, Korean Society of Oregon, Divided Families USA, American Cancer Society, and Special Olympics to name a few.


Board of Directors & Subcommittees

Board of Directors

Ping Khaw
President
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Ping Khaw
President
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Born in Malaysia, Ping immigrated to Portland in 1990. Her two decades of community outreach efforts include community art projects with disadvantaged youth, communities of color and immigrants that have gained her multiple awards. Her business endeavors include product export, strategic sales, fundraising management, and event production. In the 2010 U.S. Census, she served as the Oregon partnership co-team lead that assisted in hard-to-count operation. Since 2016, she has managed the CELs (Community Engagement Liaisons) program which pairs experienced liaisons to assist government agencies and private entities to effectively engage underserved populations and immigrants to integrate more effectively into local communities.

In 2014, Tracey Lam and Ping co-founded API Forward Foundation. In the past, she has served on the board for New Portlander Policy Commission, Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (OCAPIA), Golden Leaf Education Foundation, state adviser for the US Civil Right Commission, Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce of Oregon and SW Washington (APACC), IRCO Works LLC, Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), and Mass Mutual women advisory council.

Tracey Lam
Secretary
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Tracey Lam
Secretary
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Tracey is a proud immigrant from Hong Kong, whose parents gave up everything to come to the U.S. in hopes of providing a better future for their children. Today, Tracey is an award-winning communications professional with more than 20 years of experience in journalism, public relations, program development, fundraising and equity work. She is the director of programs and communications at Partners in Diversity, a nonprofit that helps employers enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.

Prior to Partners in Diversity, Tracey worked at the OHSU Center for Diversity and Inclusion, served as the communications manager at Make-A-Wish Oregon and executive producer of special projects at KATU-TV.In 2014, she co-founded API Forward with Ping Khaw. She served on the boards of the Public Relation Society of America Oregon Chapter and the Asian American Journalist Association. She also organizes a monthly book club.

Yuhan Kinder
Board Member
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Yuhan Kinder
Treasurer
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Yuhan is born and raised in Taiwan. She came to the states after high school in late 1997 as an international student and later decided to start her career here in the US as an immigrant and to call America her new home. She started out in Tacoma, WA, ended her higher education at the city by the bay in California, and lived there till 2013 then moved to Portland, OR. The time she spent in Oregon is when she found her passion in social justice and workplace diversity and inclusion. While she worked for a fortune 50 company here in Portland, she found herself
involved in Employee Recourse Group a lot and later helped launch the Asian Pacific American group in its region as the last one onboard nationwide.

By sharing her story, and her own struggle as an international student in a foreign country and later being a new immigrant, she was hoping to inspire other employees to share and understand different cultures. After she left the company and working for herself in the real estate industry now, she had the opportunity to continue her passion through API Forward hoping to inspire more young API members with leadership skills to bring more diversity into senior leadership at workplaces. If she is not trying out new restaurants or traveling, you may find her debating social justice issues on social media.

David Pan
Treasurer
Pronouns: He/Him/His

David Pan
Board Member/Past Treasurer
Pronouns: He/Him/His


David Pan is a marketing and communication specialist by day, and a health and fitness nut and TV series junky by night. He is originally from Taiwan and has a background in multiple industries including education, hospitality, and for-profit and non-profit marketing. He is currently working as the Marketing and Brand Manager of Succession Resource Group.

David received his MA in Communications in 2014 from Wichita State University, and moved to Portland, Oregon and currently resides in Milwaukie. For him, giving back to the community and the world is important. He has participated in hunger awareness initiatives and supports LGBTQ human rights. He joined API Forward to make a difference in the Asian and Pacific Islander community. He believes education and advocacy are essential to improving one’s current status, and serves to create opportunities for the community to continue to grow and prosper.

Christian Aniciete
Board Member
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Christian Aniciete
Board Member
Pronouns: He/Him/His


Christian Aniciete is a story of firsts: first to build the social media program at Oregon’s largest university; first in his family to graduate with a business degree and give the commencement address; and first social media manager of one of the best airports in America. An accomplished marketing and communications professional, community leader, youth mentor and champion for social justice, Christian brings over a decade of experience in the private and public sectors. Born in Manila, Philippines, Christian emigrated to Hillsboro, Oregon at the age of 10 and was raised in a bi-cultural home. His leadership journey dates back to organizing canned food and voter registration drives, volunteering in the retirement center and working with local city council at a young age. A graduate of Portland State University’s business school, Christian’s deep involvement includes building PSU’s culturally responsive training program, leading organizations like Kaibigan – Filipino American Student Association, PSU’s Programming Board and student government.

For his contributions, Christian has been recognized with industry awards including the President’s Diversity Award, “Best In-House Marketing,” and Rising Star in Marketing. Currently, Christian does corporate marketing and communications with the Portland International Airport and the Port of Portland. In addition to his interests of traveling, reading, speaking at conferences, dining, listening to music, networking and spending time with his wife and family, Christian dances with local Michael Jackson Thriller flash mobs and serves as a volunteer for Lakad PDX, American Marketing Association, SEMpdx and Kaibigan alumni advisory board. Christian is passionate about API Forward’s mission because of his commitment to making a positive difference, breaking the bamboo ceiling and paving the way for the next generation of API leaders.

AnnieKris Diego
Board Member
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

AnnieKris Diego
Board Member
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Born in Bauang La Union, Philippines,  AnnieKris Diego immigrated to Portland, Oregon at the age of 4 with her mother. She spent her early years immersed in dance. As a high school student, she became involved in her local community by establishing an after school dance team program for Kellogg Middle School. There she became a dance coach who created a fun and safe place for the youth in her community. In addition, she volunteered at The Children’s Museum and Portland Impact as a youth mentor. Her leadership roles continued as she became a college student at Portland State University. She helped lead organizations like Kaibigan – Filipino American Student Association, the Vietnamese Student Association, and Steps of Rhythm.

She’s the first in her family to graduate with a Bachelor degree in Human Resource Management at PSU. After college, she worked for the bank and insurance industry, where she developed an expertise in sales, finance/accounting, and underwriting. Currently, she manages her household with two wonderful children as a stay at home mother and serves as a volunteer for the Centennial School District. Her goal in life is to inspire others to give back in any way they can, not because they have to, but because they want to. She hopes to share her knowledge and experiences to help improve the quality of life for the future generation.

Carrissa Hsieh
Board Member
Pronouns: She/Hers/They/Them

Carrissa Hsieh
Board Member
Pronouns: She/Hers/They/Them


Carrissa is a queer, first-generation Taiwanese-American born and raised in the East Bay Area of California. Her parents (and uncles and aunties) immigrated from Taiwan to Northern California in the 1980s where they owned and ran their family Chinese restaurant, The Dragon Palace. While attending UCLA as an undergraduate student, Carrissa found her passion for cultivating meaningful relationships and community. She went on to teach at a Hawaii public elementary school, where 74% of the student population experienced economic hardship and 97% were students of color. She moved to Portland in 2013 where she continued to teach and direct summer camps.

Carrissa now works as an HR Manager for a language learning startup and continues to build relationships in the workplace and in her community. She serves as a disciplinary committee member and match official coach for the Pacific Northwest Rugby Referee Society, volunteer camp counselor for Providence’s Camp Erin for bereaving children, and mentor for undergraduate students through UCLA’s career center. She enjoys going on adventures in her 1984 Volkswagen camper van with her wonderful partner, taking her dog to the dog park, and singing karaoke. Carrissa is humbled to be a part of the API Forward board and hopes to help build more accessible leadership and development pathways for Asians and Pacific Islanders.

Subcommittees

Communications: David Pan, Christian Aniciete

Forward Leadership Program: Tracey Lam

Fundraising: Ping Khaw, Yuhan Kinder, AK Diego


Forward Leadership Program

2022

Forward Leadership Program

Thank you for your interest in API Forward Foundation’s Forward Leadership Program for college students. The program aims to inspire, motivate and empower undergraduate college students to develop their leadership potential.

Through three and half months of mentorship, collaboration and leadership training, we hope to instill confidence, integrity, knowledge, experience, connection and greater understanding of the importance of equity practice. Our program seeks to inspire participants to lead change for Asians, Pacific Islanders and others.

Please submit your application by October 15, 2021, 11:59 p.m. PST.

Apply Today

Thank you for your interest in API Forward Foundation’s Forward Leadership Program for college students. The program aims to inspire, motivate and empower undergraduate college students to develop their leadership potential.

Through three and half months of mentorship, collaboration and leadership training, we hope to instill confidence, integrity, knowledge, experience, connection and greater understanding of the importance of equity practice. Our program seeks to inspire participants to lead change for Asians, Pacific Islanders and others.

Applications for Forward Leadership Program 2022 are now closed. Applications for 2023 are coming soon!

Program Overview

This program contains five components:

1. Leadership training
2. Pairing with mentors
3. Research and field work
4. Project presentation
5. “Pay it forward” volunteer work with a nonprofit organization

Participants of the API Forward Foundation’s Forward Leadership Program must participate in all five components.

Learning Outcomes

  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Leading across cultures
  • Planning and delivering effective presentations
  • Identifying and mitigating unconscious bias
  • Fostering an inclusive climate at work or school
  • Becoming a strong and compassionate leader
  • Interpersonal communication skills
  • Time management skills

Expectations

  1. Attend the half-day orientation or monthly leadership training (depending on status of the pandemic)
  2. Agree to participate in a mentorship program
  3. Dedicate time to research, planning and implementing the assigned project
  4. Be available for the final presentation in late April
  5. Attend the API Forward fundraising event in May
  6. Commit to a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer work at a local nonprofit organization

Ideal Candidate

  • Self identifies as an API community member
  • Willing and open to learn about diversity, inclusion and equity in API community
  • Strong desire to become a leader in the API community
  • Currently enrolled at least part time (with six credits or more) in a higher education institution in Oregon or southwest Washington
  • Be at least 18 years old by December 10, 2021

Benefits of this program

  • Opportunity to engage in diversity, inclusion and equity work in the Oregon and southwest Washington.
  • Opportunity to participate in hands-on leadership training.
  • Opportunity to build relationship with local government, private industries, and/or communities that are not offered in regular classes.
  • Receive scholarship award ($1,500-$2,500 per participant) toward educational cost.

Timeline

  • October 15, 2021 – Application Due
  • November 1 – 14, 2021 – Interviews
  • Late November 2021 – Final Applicants Notified
  • January – April 2022 – Leadership Program
  • Late April 2022 – Final Presentation
  • May Gala (Date TBD), 2022 – Award Ceremony

*Disclosure: Applicants must disclose any personal relationships with an active board member.

Apply Today

Please submit your application by October 15, 2021, 11:59 p.m. PST.

Applications for the 2022 Forward Leadership Program are now closed.


About Us

Tagline

Our Mission

API Forward’s mission is to develop, through education, civically-engaged, socially-responsible Asian American and Pacific Island leaders and professionals.

Our Vision

API Forward believes in a world where Asian American and Pacific Islanders have equal opportunities and are contributing to the well-being of their local communities.

Our Core Values

* Cultural sensitivity and awareness
* Diversity and inclusion
* Respect and integrity
* Community
* Innovation
* Accountability
* Leadership
* Compassion

Why Asian Leaders are Needed

As our population grows more diverse, people in high-level positions remain overwhelmingly white.

According to a 2011 study by the Center for Talent Innovation, Asian Americans are far more likely to have a college degree than the average person, and while they make up just five percent of the population, they constitute 18 percent of the student body at Harvard and 24 percent at Stanford. They have little trouble getting hired, yet they struggle to reach senior management. Asian Americans account for just 1.4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs and 1.9 percent of corporate officers overall.

In Oregon, Asians represent 4.3 percent of the population, yet there hasn’t been an Asian to serve in the 90-member Oregon State legislature since Senator John Lim left office in 2009.

The story is the same at educational institutions. According to the American Council on Education, nearly seven percent of tenured faculty members in American universities are Asian American, but make up just less than one percent of presidents and chancellors, compared with Hispanics (3 percent of faculty and 4.6 percent of presidents) and African Americans (4.5 percent of faculty and 5.8 percent of presidents).

In national politics, there are 11 Asian Americans in the House (4%) and one in the Senate (1.8%). Currently, there are no Asian Americans in the Obama cabinet. In Oregon, Asians represent 4.3 percent of the population, yet there hasn’t been an Asian to serve in the 90-member Oregon State legislature since Senator John Lim left office in 2009.

The disparity is important. It means API voices are not being heard, leading to policies that fail to take their needs into account. Diversity in leadership helps us better connect with an increasingly multi-ethnic community and enhances inclusiveness.