(Left to Right) Ed Lew, Yun Kim, Rick Eng, Michelle Sugihara, Janet Ly, Jennifer Chau, Albert Lu, Henry Lo, Steven Chow, Dave Ong, Tom Eng
Missing: Shirley Thao, Bonnie Chen
Jennifer Chau, Executive Director
Jennifer Chau was born and raised in Northeast Los Angeles to Chinese immigrants. She has been actively involved with API and youth serving community organizations for the past 5 years. She served as an AmeriCorp VISTA for the California YouthBuild Coalition for one year term, which inspired her to pursue a career in nonprofit and community organizing. Previously, she worked for Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON) as an Outreach Associate. Her responsibilities include building capacity and advocating for the rights and needs of the Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) Community in the greater Los Angeles area, particularly focusing on low income, immigrant, refugee and other disadvantaged sectors of the population. Jennifer currently serves as the Executive Director of OCA-Greater Los Angeles, a civil rights advocacy organization serving the Pan Asian community. She is working on obtaining her Master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management from Cal State Northridge. In her spare time, she enjoys playing mah jong, which helps her feel close to her Chinese traditional roots, and hiking in the wondrous mountains.
Janet Ly, President
Janet is an attorney with Garcia Hernández Sawhney, LLP, where she provides a wide range of legal services to public and private entities. Janet has been involved in the community for a number of years. Prior to law school, she was a passionate therapist-volunteer at the UCLA Psychiatric Hospital where she helped and provided therapy to young children with Autism. While living in Boston, Janet was actively involved with the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC), where she devoted her time in mentoring at-risk youths to ensure they develop the necessary personal and leadership skills to contribute back to their families, schools and communities. Janet received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from University of California, Los Angeles. She earned her law degree from Boston College School of Law.
Michelle K. Sugihara, Vice President
Michelle Sugihara hails from Honolulu, Hawaii and was blissfully unaware of the struggles faced by Asian Americans until she landed in smoggy Los Angeles for college. During college, she interned for OCA National in Washington, D.C. and has been committed to social justice and the Asian American community ever since. In 2015, she received OCA’s Unsung Hero award. Michelle graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a dual major in Economics / Psychology and a minor in Asian American Studies, followed by a law degree from UCLA. Michelle is the Executive Director of CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment). She is also an entertainment attorney and film producer. She is the Co-Chair of the Multicultural Bar Alliance of Southern California, past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County, VP of Development and founding member of the Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theater, Director of Community Relations and founding member of the Japanese American National Museum’s New Leadership Advisory Council, and a member of PBS-SoCaL Asian Pacific Islander Community Council. She is also an ensemble member of Cold Tofu, the nation’s premiere Asian American comedy improv and sketch group.
Yun Kim, Treasurer
Yun was born in South Korea and moved to the San Fernando Valley at 5 years of age. She attended Cal State Northridge for Business while working full time. During her last year in undergrad, Yun and her family started a b2c, business to consumer. After 3 years of operations, Yun decided to take her experience into accounting in the legal industry. Working less hours she felt the need to give back. She ran a young women’s group which help develop basic adult skills. The group met weekly to discuss relationships, meals, how to get physically active for little to no money, and taking care of yourself financially. Moments of bonding helped the young women feel open to discuss the good and not so good times in their life. Based on these experiences. Yun wants to be more involved with the community.
Rick Eng, Secretary
Rick Eng is a community volunteer with a professional background encompassing communications/marketing, education and nonprofit management. His civic engagement includes present and past board membership on Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, Chinese American Citizens Alliance, El Pueblo Park Association and the Asian Pacific Community Fund. He also served as Executive Director of the Alhambra Education Foundation. In his spare time he likes sunset strolls, cooking homemade ramen noodles and playing with his two cats Nipsy and Forbes.
Lawrence Joe, Immediate Past President
Lawrence is a southern California native with roots in Los Angeles Chinatown and the San Gabriel Valley. Lawrence is currently an attorney at Garcia Hernández Sawhney, LLP, where he provides a wide range of legal services to public entities. Prior to joining the OCA-GLA board, Lawrence worked or volunteered for a number of grassroots, community-based organizations in Los Angeles, Oakland, and Boston before returning to Los Angeles to pursue law school in 2006. Lawrence has a law degree from UCLA School of Law as well as a Masters Degree in Urban Planning from UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. He also has a Masters Degree in Education from Harvard. He received his Bachelors Degree from UC Berkeley with a double major in Asian American Studies and Political Science. He is still trying to figure out how to turn that student loan debt into riches, while staying committed to public service.
Steven Chow, Director of Membership
Steven was born and raised in Los Angeles to Chinese-Cambodia refugees. Currently, he works at the Santa Maria Group, a government advocacy and business consulting firm in Los Angeles that specializes in real estate development. Prior to joining SMG, Steven was a legislative assistant in Washington, D.C. for United Parcel Service (UPS) Corporate Public Affairs, where he handled governmental affairs issues and public relations crises on the national and international level. Steven has worked on political and civil rights campaigns on the local, state, and national level, including advocating for immigration and education reform with the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC). Steven was also an intern at the OCA National Center in Washington, DC. Steven graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Sociology.
Ed Lew, Director of Community Relations
Ed Lew is Assistant Cheif Counsel for The Walt Disney Company in Burbank, where he provides legal support for Disney Technology Solutions and Services and Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. A native of Los Angeles, Ed moved north to attend UC Berkeley, graduating with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and Ethnic Studies. He returned to L.A. after college and received his law degree from the UCLA School of Law. While at UCLA, Ed served as Editor-in-Chief of the UCLA Asian Pacific American Law Journal and Co-Chair of the UCLA Asian Pacific Islander Law Students Association and Southern California Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. Ed served as OCA-GLA President in 2008 and from 2011-2013. He also was President of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association (APABA) of Los Angeles County in 2009 and remains active as a member of its Advisory Board. Ed currently serves as OCA National Executive Vice President. He also serves on the board of the Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theatre and Immediate Past President of the Asian Pacific Alumni of UCLA.
Tom Eng, Director of Education and Culture
A graduate of UCLA, Tom Eng is presently employed as an engineer with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Tom Eng has been very active with the community. In addition to serving as Board member of OCA-GLA, he is also a board member of Chinatown Public Safety Association (CPSA), board member of Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA), advisory board member of the Friends of the Chinatown Library, and member of the following: Chinese Historical Society, LA County Asian American Employees Association, Friends of Chinese American Museum, as well as a volunteer for the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and former member of the Firecracker Run Committee. Tom Eng’s photographic hobby has allowed him to be a photographer for OCA-GLA and various other organizations and events. He has attended every OCA National Convention since 1994. Through his hobby and affiliations, Tom has been networking and interacting with the Asian Pacific American community for over 25 years.
Henry Lo, Director of Public Affairs
Henry Lo has been serving the community for many years. Currently, he is a School Boardmember for the Garvey Elementary School District and was first elected in 2003. During his past 12 years on the Board of Education, he has served as its President three times. Henry is also an elected delegate to the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and has been a member for the past ten years. For 17 years Henry has also worked in the district offices for several of California’s State Legislators including State Senator Gloria Romero, State Assemblymember Mike Eng and State Assemblymember Ed Chau. Henry also serves on the Board of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Los Angeles Lodge. Issues which Henry feels passionate about are civil rights, social justice, education, the environment, transportation and civic engagement. A graduate of Colby College in Maine, Henry received his B.A. in Government and East Asian Studies.
Shirley Thao, Director of Youth Programs
Shirley is a recent graduate of Whittier College with a degree in English Literature. Since moving to the Los Angeles-area, Shirley has been active in K-12 education and racial justice issues. During college, Shirley had the opportunity to lead great teams of organizers in both issue campaigns and electoral campaigns that demonstrated the impact of community empowerment. Shirley is deeply invested in the empowerment and healing of Southeast Asians, especially as it relates to the Hmong people and their experiences during the Vietnam War. Shirley first got involved with OCA-GLA as a CTO intern and later as OCA-GLA’s Civic Engagement Field Specialist, where she led OCA-GLA’s youth civic engagement program.
Bonnie Chen, Director-at-Large
Bonnie Chen graduated from UCLA in 2013 with a BA in International Development Studies and a minor in Urban and Regional Studies. During her time at UCLA, she studied abroad at the University of Hong Kong for a year. She is currently the Program Coordinator for Diversity Programs with UCLA Alumni Affairs. Prior to this position, Bonnie was the Marketing Manager for the Asian Pacific Community Fund in Downtown Los Angeles and previously served as Development Coordinator for the Chinatown Service Center in Chinatown. Bonnie enjoys hiking, playing tennis and traveling.
Albert Lu, Director-at-Large
Albert is a lifelong resident of Alhambra, CA who currently works as a Software Test Manager for a tech startup in Downtown LA. In addition to his day-job, Albert is also a freelance photographer for LAist.com and an external affairs intern for the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District. Albert first got involved in the community while he was the President of Alhambra High School’s Tri-M Music Honor Society when he attended a city council meeting in Alhambra to urge support for arts and music. After graduating from High School, Albert worked on a small local water district campaign in Monterey Park and interned at a public affairs firm in Pasadena. In 2014, Albert became the youngest person to be appointed by the Alhambra city council to the Parks and Recreation Commission where he served as Vice President until 2016. Outside of work, Albert continues to keep himself busy as an active member of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance – Los Angeles, the nation’s oldest Chinese civil rights organization as well as an active member of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses where he serves as one of 935 white suits who organize the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game.