- Maulik Pancholy, Chair & Co-Founder
- Rebecca Lee, Managing Director & Co-Founder
- Jill Yu, Managing Director & Co-Founder
- Belinda Lei, Managing Director
- Ru Bhatt
- Nicholas Hatcher
- Mindy Kordash-Shim
- Richard Leong
- Saad Qureshi
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.
Nicholas Hatcher, Board Member
Nicholas L Hatcher is a Media Relations Associate at Megaphone Strategies, a not-for-profit communications firm that works to uplift diverse voices and progressive issues. He also serves as the Associate Director of the East Coast Asian American Student Union, which hosts the largest and oldest conference by-and-for Asian American and Pacific Islander Students and is a part of the A-Doc Network, a supportive network of Asian American documentary filmmakers and industry professionals. He is also a founding member of the National Coalition for Asian American/Pacific Islander studies, a network of students, alumni, faculty, and community members working to promote and establish resources and programs for Asian American and Pacific Islander studies.
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 currently works as a Program Coordinator at Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE), a non-profit leadership development organization that empowers current and former educators to make lasting civic change through public leadership.
As a Program Coordinator, Richard manages the logistics and operations for various leadership development workshops. This includes messaging, program recruitment and selection, identifying and managing relationships with vendors, and data analysis. Richard also leverages strong communication and facilitation skills with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion, which he first honed through teaching 5th grade and after-school martial arts in the most underprivileged neighborhood of St. Paul, MN through Teach For America.
After leaving the classroom, Richard continued to hone his skills at problem-solving and data systems management as a Student Data Coordinator for Bright Star Schools, a charter network serving low-income students in the Greater Los Angeles area. At Bright Star, Richard led a complete redesign of the master scheduling process by integrating data and teacher voice to improve equity and student agency.
Because of his childhood experiences being bullied as an Asian American and the son of immigrant parents, Richard is passionate about social justice, education, and breaking the cycle of bullying. In his free time, he enjoys exploring the Los Angeles food scene, listening to podcasts, and practicing martial arts. He has a BA in Sociology from Columbia University and an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.
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.
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.