- Maulik Pancholy, Chair & Co-Founder
- Rebecca Lee, Managing Director & Co-Founder
- Jill Yu, Managing Director & Co-Founder
- Belinda Lei, Managing Director
- Ru Bhatt
- Josef Canaria
- Elaine Dang
- Mindy Kordash-Shim
- Richard Leong
- Jamie K. Lok
- Saad Qureshi
- Anthony Reyes
- Nancy Tien
Act To Change Fellow
Maulik Pancholy, Chair & Co-Founder
Maulik Pancholy is an award-winning actor, author and activist whose work has spanned hit television shows, the Broadway stage and films. He is best known for playing Jonathan on NBC’s award-winning comedy 30 Rock, Sanjay on the Showtime hit series Weeds, and Neal on the NBC comedy Whitney. He is also the voice of Baljeet on Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, and the title voice of Sanjay on Nickelodeon’s Sanjay and Craig – the first lead Indian-American character on a network cartoon.
His debut novel, THE BEST AT IT — about a gay, Indian American boy coming into his own — was named a 2020 Stonewall Honor Book, a 2019 Junior Library Guild Selection and received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, The American Library Association’s Booklist and Kir
As an activist, he has long been an advocate for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and LGBTQIA+ communities. He is the recipient of the Asian American Arts Alliance Award, the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award, and was named to Out Magazine’s Top 100 list. He regularly speaks at universities and corporations on the topics of diversity and inclusion.
In 2014, President Obama appointed Pancholy to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs. During his three-year tenure at the White House, he helped launch Act to Change.
Rebecca Lee, Managing Director & Co-Founder
Rebecca Lee is an entrepreneur, seasoned communications professional, and community advocate. Rebecca delivers more than a decade of strategic communications experience across government, consulting, and nonprofit environments. Rebecca serves as Partner and Chief Marketing Officer of DAWN, a communications and marketing agency that specializes in start-ups and social impact organizations.
Rebecca was previously Communications Director for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. At the Initiative, she launched the award-winning anti-bullying campaign Act To Change that she now leads as a nonprofit today.
Rebecca has served in public affairs roles at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Rebecca joined the federal government as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF), selected from graduate programs across the country in 2011. Rebecca holds a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a Master’s degree from Columbia University. At Cornell, Rebecca led a diverse coalition to found the Asian & Asian-American Center (A3C).
Rebecca serves on the Advisory Council of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL). Her leadership as Chair in 2013 helped transform CAPAL from an all-volunteer organization to one with paid, full-time staff.
Jill Yu, Managing Director & Co-Founder
In 2015, Jill served as an Advisor at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She worked on critical initiatives including “Act to Change”, promoting enrollment for healthcare, organizing the philanthropic and public and private partnership event at the White House, and working with senior federal agency executives in how their agency can better serve Asian American populations.
Jill came to federal service as a Presidential Management Fellow. Prior to federal service, Jill was a Staff Attorney for the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, and worked on the cross-section of foster youth and education as well as policy issues impacting vulnerable youth.
Jill is an active member of the National Filipino American Lawyers Association. Jill also founded and served as the inaugural President of the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Washington, DC, an affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
Belinda Lei, Managing Director
Belinda is a software engineer at Citibank in their Global Consumer Technology division. She previously served as a Strategy Consultant Associate at Tyton Partners, an advisory and investment banking firm that specializes in the global knowledge sector where her duties included working with companies, investors, and organizations in the private and public sectors to drive insights for capitalizing on education-related opportunities. Prior to joining Tyton Partners in June 2018, Belinda completed her first year of business school at Yale School of Management. She is currently enrolled in the Yale Silver Scholars program, a program at Yale for recent college graduates who pursue their MBA straight after graduation. Before attending Yale SOM, Belinda held multiple internships in the public and private sector, including the White House Initiative on AAPIs and FiscalNote. While at the White House Initiative, Belinda worked as a Senior Intern to spearhead the launch of the AAPI Bullying Prevention Task Force, a coordinated cross-agency effort to address community concerns about bullying across the country.
Ru Bhatt, Board Member
Ru Bhatt is a Partner in the Associate Practice Group at the world’s largest and the nation’s top-ranked legal search firm, Major, Lindsey & Africa. He has been a member of the firm’s New York office since 2008. Ru graduated from Fordham Law School in 2007 and received his bachelor’s degree, in Theatre Arts, from The University of Miami in 2002. Ru specializes in placing attorneys of all levels in top-tier national, international, regional and boutique law firms. He also places attorneys in prominent in-house positions at companies and financial institutions. Ru distinguishes himself by taking pride in acting as a career counselor and a strong advocate for his candidates by helping them identify opportunities that are consistent with their diverse career goals.
Ru follows his passion for music as a DJ, and co-founder of Occupy The Disco (OXD), a New York-based DJ collective with a musical repertoire that defies the confines of a single genre. OXD has headlined events at NYC Pride, The Fire Island Pines Party (2018), and at their residency at Le Bain at The Standard Highline. OXD started out as a casual experiment between three friends to reintroduce underground dance music to the gay dance floor. The mission was simple: reclaim the queer identity’s role as tastemakers, and hence the name ‘Occupy The Disco’ was borne. Their sound is permeated by a collective love of nightlife’s past and present; it’s unabashedly queer, underground-inspired, and ever eclectic.
Ru is actively involved in fundraising efforts for local and national LGBT charity organizations such as Lambda Legal and The Trevor Project. Ru also recently sat on the Associate Board for The George Jackson Academy, a middle school in Manhattan that provides a place for bright boys from all incomes to thrive in a culture of challenging academics, supportive community, and social and moral development.
Josef Canaria is currently a Program Manager at the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence (MCEDSV) where he works to promote an understanding of domestic and sexual violence intervention and prevention best practices for advocates, allied organizations and professionals, and the general public. He was previously the Campus Coordinator at the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault (LaFASA) for six years, where he worked with colleges & universities throughout the state to help improve their policies and protocols related to the response and prevention of sexual violence. He also serves on the board of Shift Change, an organization working to prevent sexual harassment in the hospitality industry.
Josef is actively involved with the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans as one of the leaders of “NOLA Gaymers”, a social group for queer folx who have interests in board games, video games, and other less mainstream pop culture fandoms. Prior to living in New Orleans, Josef served as an Americorps member through CIty Year San Antonio and is also a proud Colorado State University alum. He is an outspoken fat, femme, Filipino immigrant and hopes to help make spaces he is a part of more feminist and inclusive of all identities.
Elaine Dang is an Engagement Manager with McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, based in San Francisco. She is passionate about helping public sector organizations on a variety of topics, and supporting organizations specifically on culture change and DEI.
At McKinsey, Elaine founded and leads the West Coast Mental Health Initiative, a group aimed at cultivating a company culture of awareness and openness, about issues related to mental health. She is also a leader of Asians at McKinsey (AAM), an employee resource group, and is one of the co-authors of their recent report: COVID-19 and advancing Asian American recovery, which highlighted the significant impact that COVID-19 has had on the Asian American community.
Prior to McKinsey, she worked at Teach For America (TFA) and with startups in Kenya. At TFA, Elaine taught high school math on a Navajo Reservation in New Mexico and later led teacher recruitment campaigns in Southern California. In Kenya, she worked at an education startup and a hospitality tech company in Nairobi. These experiences, along with her roots as a daughter of Vietnamese refugees, have cemented her belief that change in a community should be led by people from that community and shaped her passion for social justice, mental health, and the AAPI community.
Elaine holds dual degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.
Mindy Kordash-Shim, Board Member
Mindy is a long time educator in the city of Los Angeles. She immigrated from South Korea with her family at the age of 8 and lived in Irvine (CA), Portland (OR), Philadelphia (PA) before moving back to Southern California to start her teaching career with Teach For America. After years of being in the classroom, she made a recent transition to work for a school board member in L.A. Unified School District as the Director of Communications.
Mindy has been and remains curious about solving social problems that typically place groups of people at a disadvantage. She is passionate about changing the status quo so that historically marginalized people groups can live and lead a happy life, while also having the liberty to define their own “happiness.” She continues to be in the struggle and quest to close gaps of all forms: wealth, academic achievement, income and more.
Mindy is living out her own “happiness” soaking in the California sun, residing in Downtown Los Angeles with her husband, where she also serves as an elected Board Member for the Neighborhood Council. She loves to run, hike, socialize and get away to nearby destinations in her free time.
Richard Leong, Board Member
Richard Leong is a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consultant and leadership development coach. He has successfully facilitated DEI workshops and coaching conversations for over 1,000 participants collectively around the world, and is currently an Associate Strategist at Collective – A DEI Lab. He identifies as Chinese and Taiwanese American, the son of immigrants, and uses he/him/his pronouns.
Richard brings a diverse set of skills ranging from learning/development facilitation, data analytics, and program/project management to support Act to Change. Richard began his career as a Teach for America teacher serving low-income students of color in St. Paul, MN. His experiences working directly with students and families ground his commitment to partnering with others to drive systemic change. Prior to consulting, Richard ran national and statewide campaigns to recruit and train equity-oriented civic leaders in running for public office, working in policy/advocacy, or community organizing. He is particularly passionate about building spaces that invite folks from marginalized communities to be their full and authentic selves.
Richard is proud to live in Los Angeles where he spends his free time trying new restaurants, listening to podcasts, and coming up with excuses to avoid hiking. He has a BA in Sociology from Columbia University and an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.
Jamie is committed to advancing health equity and social justice, particularly for women and children. Her public health career spans academia, county government, and federal government. In 2015, Jamie served as an Advisor at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She worked on initiatives including the historic White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and efforts to improve federal agency engagement with AAPI communities around grants. Prior to federal service, Jamie worked for the Montgomery County (Maryland) Department of Health and Human Services’ Asian American Health Initiative managing capacity building and community outreach programs. Her research at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland focused on international health and the socio-cultural influences of substance abuse.
Jamie holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Maryland College Park, where she was active with the Asian American Student Union and received the President’s Ethnic Minority Achievement Award recognizing outstanding contributions to the University’s equity efforts for her campus activism. She is a founding member of the University’s Asian Pacific American Alumni Network and is a former board member of the American Public Health Association’s Asian Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health. Jamie is a second-generation Cambodian American and a mom to three young children. Her family fled to the D.C. area after escaping war and genocide under the Khmer Rouge regime.
Saad Qureshi, Board Member
Saad currently serves as an Outreach Director at Educators for Excellence – New York. As an organizer he has engaged educators by informing them about various education policy topics such as Common Core, Every Students Succeeds Act, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Student Discipline Code, School Climate, Restorative Justice and Union Engagement. Over the course of two years he hosted a total of 48 campaign specific events with schools and community partners collecting over 1,000 advocacy action responses.
At the age of 10, Saad and his family migrated to the United States. Raised in Flint, Michigan, Saad experienced a decline in the quality of education due to lack of funding. While his parents worked odd jobs to make ends meet, Saad enrolled at the University of Michigan-Flint to study biology. During his sophomore year, Saad began working for a nonprofit that provided assistance in housing, rent, utilities, food and job training. Working with the youth inspired Saad to apply to teaching programs which resulted in his acceptance as a 2013 Teach For America corps member. Saad taught high school biology and anatomy while continuing to advocate for education policy changes which resulted in accepting a full time position at an education policy and advocacy organization.
Originally from Miami, Florida, Anthony Reyes currently works as a staff member in the United States Senate. In addition to his day job, Anthony also serves as co-Senate Vice President of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association, or CAPASA. Prior to his current role, Anthony led programming at a national non-profit organization in DC focused on filling the political pipeline of Asian Pacific Americans across the country. Before moving to DC full-time, he gained experience organizing the AAPI community in the 2016 election and intern at various think tanks, trade associations, and on Capitol Hill. He is excited to support the important mission of Act to Change and empower our youth.
Nancy Tiên (she/her) is a project coordinator, community organizer, diversity, equity and inclusion facilitator, education advocate and former educator. Nancy served as a bilingual teacher for seven years in the Dallas area, while also pursuing advocacy and policy opportunities as a Racial Justice Fellow with Teach for America Dallas-Ft.Worth, Campaign Activities and Management Program (CAMP) Fellow and Leadership ISD Dallas Campus Voices fellow.
As a child of Vietnamese immigrants and a first-generation college graduate, Nancy is passionate in pursuing equitable outcomes and systems for communities of color. In 2013, she returned to her hometown and district and taught in Dallas ISD as a Teach for America Corps Member. After seeing the crucial connection between policy and students’ success in the classroom, she left teaching to pursue policy and advocacy roles to further improve educational systems. She now serves as an education consultant with Education Powered, an election coordinator with Dallas Kids First and a lead organizer and founding member of Dallas Communities Organizing to Reach Equity (CORE), an organizing alliance pursuing the creation of equitable systems for Dallas youth. With Dallas CORE, Nancy led efforts to amend local district policy to advance racial equity through improving transparency and accountability.
As an Asian American and woman of color, Nancy feels strongly to advocate for social justice and breaking the cycle of bullying. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her partner and two dogs, cooking and trying new food, and playing video games. Nancy received her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Learning and Development from the University of Texas at Austin.
Advisory Council Members
Bing Chen, Chairman, Gold House & General Partner, AUM Group, Advisory Council Member
Bing Chen is an entrepreneur, creator, and an equalization builder. He is Chairman and Co-founder of Gold House, the largest collective of pioneering leaders dedicated to forging stronger bonds that enhance Asian representation and success. He is also General Partner and Co-founder of AUM Group, a multicultural film fund; and serves as a Board Director and Advisor to several leading digital media companies including Google’s Global Marketing Board, Snap’s Yellow Incubator, Omnicom’s Sparks & Honey, Baobab Studios, Oura Health, and more. Previously, he was YouTube’s Global Head of Creator Development and Management, where he was one of the original and principal architects of the multi-billion dollar influencer ecosystem that supports 500 million creators worldwide. He is a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree; a Hollywood Reporter Next Gen Leader; a Hollywood Reporter Most Influential Agent of Change; ADCOLOR Catalyst Award Honoree; Asia Society Asia 21 Young Leader; Magic Johnson’s 32 Under 32 Leader; and Asian Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year. Bing is a third culture kid across North America and Asia, finally graduating from the University of Pennsylvania. He was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, which becomes obvious at $11.99 buffets.
Philip W. Chung, Creative Director, YOMYOMF, Advisory Council Member
PHILIP W. CHUNG oversees the creative content for YOMYOMF, director Justin Lin’s (STAR TREK BEYOND, FAST & FURIOUS franchise) Asian American-centric digital company, and has worked in various capacities in film, TV, theater and digital. Previously, he was the co-founder/co-Artistic Director of Lodestone Theatre Ensemble, an Asian American theater company, for ten years. Chung has developed projects for Google, Machinima, Comcast/NBCUniversal, Ovation TV, IFC, Legendary Pictures, ABC and others. Upcoming projects include FAMILY STYLE (an Asian food series for Warner Bros/Stage 13), MOONSHADOW (a LGBTQ-centric horror feature for Gunpowder & Sky), a Christmas musical for Disney Channel, and a theatrical adaptation of the beloved children’s book, EVERYONE POOPS.
Tan France, TV Personality, Advisory Council Member
Tan France has been a successful fashion designer behind-the-scenes for over 15 years and became a breakout star following the launch of the Emmy-winning reboot of the reality makeover series “Queer Eye” in 2018. Surrounded by an all-new cast, France is the witty wardrobe wiz leading the charge in the fashion department, ready to make America fabulous again one makeover at a time. But the series is about so much more than just new clothes to the British-born fashion advisor; it’s about real-life issues, representation, and acceptance on all sides.
Tan can currently be seen starring as the co-host of Netflix’s new global design competition series, “Next in Fashion” alongside Alexa Chung. Tan also released his NY Times best-selling memoir “Naturally Tan” as well as the first season of his viral YouTube series “Dressing Funny,” which features him making over his celebrity friends including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Nick Kroll, Miranda Sings, Pete Davidson, and John Mulaney.
Prior to his media career, Tan was the creative mind behind successful brands including the popular women’s clothing lines Kingdom & State and Rachel Parcell, Inc. In Tan’s early years, he spent his summers working in his grandfather’s denim factory while he secretly enrolled in fashion college in preparation to start a new chapter as a fabulous design star.
Sarah Ha, Vice President, National Community Alliances, Teach For America, Advisory Council Member
Sarah Ha serves as the Vice President of National Community Alliances at Teach For America (TFA). In this role, she is responsible for driving the organization’s external engagement strategy with national civil rights and aligned organizations, leading and working alongside a team of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion senior leaders who manage the Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Community Alliances, Black Community Alliances, DACA Initiative, Latinx Community Alliances, LGBTQ+ Community Initiative, and Native Alliances. Her team collectively works to bring the intersectional partnerships, advocacy, resources, and opportunities to further cultivate the skills and mindsets necessary for systems change in their networks to shape a child-centric educational equity ecosystem.
Previously, Sarah launched and led TFA’s National AAPI Initiative, which aimed to work alongside other organizations committed to deliver on the promise of equal opportunity for every child and help grow the leadership of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) educators inside and outside of the classroom. In that role, she was responsible for cultivating and building relationships with external grassroots and grasstops organizations, influencers, and media committed to strengthening AANHPI educators, students, and their communities. In 2018, TFA’s AAPI Alliances, through Sarah’s leadership, advocacy, and partnership building, was awarded the Leadership Education for Asian Pacific’s (LEAP) Community Award.
Prior to joining TFA, Sarah was the Senior Director of Programs and Student Affairs at the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) in Washington, DC. There, she oversaw the strategic development and implementation of academic support, leadership development, and community-building programs for 16,000+ recipients of the GMS and APIASF scholarship awards.
Sarah has over 15 years of experience working in multicultural affairs, conducting research on the educational experiences of underrepresented and underserved students in higher education and implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion programming and initiatives. Prior to serving with APIASF and GMS, Sarah worked in the Office of the Dean of Students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the UCLA LGBT Campus Resource Center, and served as an Intergroup Dialogue Facilitator dedicated to creating inclusive, affirming, and diverse campus environments.
Sarah earned her Masters of Education degree in Student Affairs, Higher Education & Organizational Change from UCLA. She received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Faith, Peace & Justice from Boston College. She currently lives in Queens, NY with her beloved husband and younger sister.
Michelle Lee, Editor in Chief, Allure, Advisory Council Member
Michelle Lee is the Editor in Chief of Allure. Since taking the helm in 2015, Lee has been committed to championing diversity and expanding the definition of beauty.
She was named Adweek’s 2017 Editor of the Year while Allure won Magazine of the Year for their groundbreaking covers, such as the July 2017 This Is American Beauty cover featuring model Halima Aden in her hijab. Lee and her staff declared the “End of Anti-Aging” in their September 2017 issue and took an oath to remove the term “anti-aging” from their own lexicon. It was a bold statement that challenged readers and brands to look at and speak about aging in a more positive way — and it has made ripples in the beauty industry and beyond.
Throughout her time at Allure, Lee has been uniquely committed to Asian-American issues and representation, featuring stars like Gemma Chan, Naomi Osaka, Priyanka Chopra, Fei Fei Sun, Fernanda Ly, Soo Joo Park, and K-pop stars Jihyo and JB on the cover of Allure; and she’s highlighted notable Asian-American voices on The Allure Podcast, including Awkwafina, Prabal Gurung, and Phillip Lim.
Lee was previously the Editor in Chief and Chief Marketing Officer at NYLON, Co-Founder and Chief Content and Strategy Officer at branded content agency Magnified Media, and held senior positions at Mademoiselle, Glamour, and more.
She is a Board member at ColorComm, a member of Adweek’s Advisory Council and Twitter’s Content Council, and she was named to the Gold House A100 of most influential Asians in 2018, 2019, and 2020, as well as Digiday’s Glossy 50, and Create & Cultivate’s Creative 100 in 2017. She was a recipient of a 2019 ColorComm Circle Award, and Allure was nominated for a National Magazine Award for its March 2018 issue The Culture of Hair featuring Lupita Nyong’o.
Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA
19th Surgeon General of the United States,
Advisory Council Member
Dr. Vivek H. Murthy served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States appointed by President Barack Obama. As the Vice Admiral of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, he commanded a uniformed service of 6,600 public health officers globally. During his tenure, Dr. Murthy launched the TurnTheTide campaign, catalyzing a movement among health professionals to address the nation’s opioid crisis. He also issued the first Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, calling for expanded access to prevention and treatment and for recognizing addiction as a chronic illness, not a character flaw. Dr. Murthy continued his office’s legacy on preventing tobacco-related disease, releasing a historic Surgeon General’s Report on e-cigarettes and youth. In 2017, Dr. Murthy focused his attention on focused loneliness and chronic stress as prevalent problems that have profound implications for health, productivity, and happiness. An internal medicine physician and entrepreneur, he has co-founded a number of organizations: VISIONS, an HIV/AIDS education program in India; Swasthya, a community health partnership in rural India training women as health providers and educators; software company TrialNetworks; and Doctors for America.
Dr. Murthy received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard and his M.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Yale. He completed his internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and later joined Harvard Medical School as faculty in internal medicine. His research focused on vaccine development and later on the participation of women and minorities in clinical trials. Dr. Murthy’s book Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, will be published HarperCollins in April 2020. Dr. Murthy resides in Washington D.C. with his wife Dr. Alice Chen and their two young children.
Hudson Yang, Actor (Fresh Off the Boat), Advisory Council Member
Hudson Yang, named by Variety, The Wrap and other publications as a rising star to watch in young Hollywood, spent six years as irrepressible protagonist Eddie on ABC’s historic Asian American family sitcom Fresh Off the Boat. His performance garnered him multiple NAACP Image Awards nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Youth, and Teen Choice Awards nominations as Choice Scene Stealer in 2016 and Outstanding TV Comedy Actor in 2017 and 2018. Yang has also appeared on Family Guy, Disney’s Sophia the First, Liv and Maddie and The Lion Guard and PBS’s Cyberchase. He starred in indie rapper Jason Chu’s acclaimed music video Marvels as Chu’s younger self and was cast in Orange Is the New Black co-executive producer Lauren Morelli’s directorial debut, Hum, opposite Samira Wiley (“Poussey” on OITNB). Born and bred in Brooklyn, Yang now lives in Ladera Heights, California.
Dikshant Rajbhandari, Act To Change Fellow
Dikshant Rajbhandari is a Digital Marketing Associate with DAWN Design Studios, a marketing and communications agency. He was born and raised in Nepal and later immigrated to the US, where he attended Colby-Sawyer College. After receiving his Bachelors in Business Administration, he worked as a Community Manager for ACE Next Gen, a non-profit organization focused on bringing together Asian-American entrepreneurs to share ideas and help each other in growing their businesses.
Dikshant is fluent in four languages – German, English, Nepali, and Hindi – and currently resides in Berlin, Germany.