Meet the 2015 OCA Outstanding Citizen Achievement Honorees
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OCA Outstanding Citizen Achievement Award
The OCA Outstanding Citizen Achievement Award is OCA's highest award. The recipient is someone who is an exemplary inspiration and role model for the community and future leader; excels in their field of endeavor/passion; has made numerous contributions that have had a positive impact on the community and on society; and shown exemplary commitment and dedication to advancing the visibility and livelihood of Asian Pacific Americans.
Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye
Sworn into office on January 3, 2011, Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye is the twenty-eighth Chief Justice of the State of California, the first Asian-Filipina American, and the second woman to serve as the state’s chief justice.
Nominated by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010, she was unanimously confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, and in the November general election, elected to the position by an overwhelming majority of voters. As Chief Justice, she also chairs the Judicial Council of California, the administrative policymaking body of state courts, and the Commission on Judicial Appointments.
Prior to her elevation to the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye served for more than 20 years on California appellate and trial courts. She was appointed to the Sacramento Municipal Court by Governor George Deukmejian in 1990, and elevated to the Superior Court of Sacramento County by Governor Pete Wilson in 1997, where she presided over both criminal and civil cases and established and presided over the first court in Sacramento dedicated solely to domestic violence issues.
Appointed to the Judicial Council of California in September 2008 by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, she has served on numerous committees including the council’s Advisory Committee on Financial Accountability and Efficiency for the Judicial Branch, the Domestic Violence Practice and Procedure Task Force, Rules and Projects Committee, and the Commission for Impartial Courts Implementation Committee.
Born in Sacramento, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye attended C. K. McClatchy High School and Sacramento City College before graduating with honors from the University of California, Davis. After taking a year off to visit her ancestral homeland, the Philippines, she entered law school and received her JD from the UC Davis, Martin Luther King, Jr., School of Law. She was a deputy district attorney for the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and went on to serve on the senior staff of Governor Deukmejian.
A recipient of the Filipina of the Year Award, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye has been active in numerous nonprofit organizations and professional community organizations, including membership in the California Judges Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and the Sacramento Asian Bar Association. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Conference of Chief Justices, The American Law Institute, the Board of Visitors for UC Davis, an Advisory Board member of the Sacramento Federal Judicial Library and Learning Center Foundation, and is an honorary member of the Foundation for Democracy and Justice, a private nonprofit organization devoted to civics education.
She is married to Mark Sakauye, a retired police lieutenant. They have two daughters.
Ginger Lew is Managing Director of Cube Hydro Partners, LLC – a $700 million clean energy company that invests in the hydroelectric power sector by buying and upgrading existing hydro power plants and building new hydropower facilities at existing dams. She serves as the Chief Operating Officer and the General Counsel.
Ginger is also a senior advisor to I Squared Capital, a New York private equity infrastructure fund with $3 billion under management. Prior to joining the company, she served as Senior Counselor to the White House National Economic Council in the Obama Administration. Her portfolio included technology policies, small business, capital access and formation, innovation and economic development, working across a broad spectrum of federal agencies. Before joining the Obama Administration, Ginger was CEO of TDF, an early stage venture fund, and an advisor to Amplifier Venture Partners where she provided hands on advice to start-up companies.
Under the Clinton Administration, Ginger was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Deputy Administrator and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Small Business Administration where she provided day to day management and operational oversight of a $42 billion loan portfolio. She also was appointed by the White House and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the General Counsel of the Department of Commerce. Ginger was also the Carter Administration’s youngest Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia in the U.S. State Department’s history. She was also the Chief Counsel of the U.S. Department of Energy for the western United States.
Upon leaving the Obama Administration at the end of 2011, Secretary Hillary Clinton appointed Ginger to the Board of Governors of the East West Center, a think tank on U.S.-Asia policies where she is on the executive committee and chairs the audit committee.
From 1998 to 2009, Ginger was on the board of the NASDAQ Listing Council, serving as its Co-Chair. In 2006, she co-founded the Association of Asian American Investment Managers (AAAIM), a national organization for Asian American led or Asian American majority owned investment funds; today, its members have over $47 billion under management. AAAIM also provides scholarships to encourage more Asian Americans, especially women, to enter the financial services industry.
Born in San Mateo, where her Chinese immigrant parents moved to in the 1940s, Ginger received her undergraduate degree in Political Science from UCLA and her Juris Doctorate from University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law. She and husband, Lennart Ehn, live in Naples, Florida and Portland, Oregon. They have two children and three grandsons.
Sululagi A Paelga, Sr.
Sululagi A Paelga, Sr. was born in American Samoa on July 16, 1948, to Palega "Alivia" & Lisi Palega. Sulu and his parents, along with his brothers and sisters, moved to Hawai’i where his father continued to serve in the Navy. After grade school at the Kamehameha School, he and the family moved to San Francisco where his father worked as a supervisor in the Navy shipyards in Hunters Point.
After graduating from Mission High School and attending college in the sixties, Sulu became an outreach counselor and formed “The Mission Rebels,” assisting low income families, single mothers and the elderly by handing out food vouchers and groceries to those in need. Working with the police department’s Gang Task Force at the height of gang violence in the late seventies and eighties, he would leave his family, wife Dorothy and five children, in the middle of the night to go help another family through the death of their child or to help save another child's life. Even after the 1994 murder of his only son Sululagi Jr., who was only 21 years old, Sulu continued his commitment to the community and was instrumental in creating a safe environment for teens and young adults to work through their differences; to this day he continues to work with the task force.
As President of the San Francisco Housing Authority, Sulu assisted in the rebuilding of housing developments to make them a more livable environment. As President of the Southeast Community Center in Hunters Point, he worked closely with District Supervisors and the Mayor to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the city’s citizens. Currently the Board President of the Samoan Community Development Center, he provides leadership to ensure the organization’s mission “to improve the quality of life for Samoans and Pacific Islanders through self-help, economic self-sufficiency, community solidarity and the preservation of Samoan and Pacific Islander cultures, customs, and traditions" is being met through programs for youth, families and seniors.
Sulu is currently a manager for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Muni Transit Assistance Program. His mission on the buses is to create a safe environment with focus on the youth and the elderly. Highly regarded in San Francisco as a community leader who works with people from all walks of life without judgment and an advocate for all communities of color, Sulu is an exemplary role model for the Pacific Islander community and for the next generation in the art of giving back.
Antonio M Taguba, Major General, U.S. Army Retired
Major General Tony Taguba retired on January 1, 2007, having served 34 years on Active Duty with the United States Army.
Currently serving as President of TDLS Consulting, LLC, providing business consulting services to small businesses – disabled veteran owned and 8a certified, Major General Taguba is also Chair of Pan Pacific American Leaders and Mentors (PPALM), a non-profit, 501(c)(3) tax exempt professional organization dedicated to mentoring and professional development of military and civilian leaders, and Vice Chair on the Board of the Armed Forces Insurance Corporation. He also serves on a number of other nonprofit boards and volunteer organizations assisting veterans and families, fundraising for college scholarships, supporting children of incarcerated parents, and with the United Service Organization (USO).
Born in Manila on October 31, 1950, Major General Taguba’s service tours included the United States, South Korea, Germany, and Kuwait. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he served as Deputy Commanding General for Support, Coalition Forces Land Component Command/Army Central Command/Third U.S. Army, and forward deployed to Kuwait and Iraq. He was responsible for logistical and services to U.S. and Coalition Forces totaling over 150,000 troops conducting combat operations.
Major General Taguba’s military awards include two Army Distinguished Service Medals, four Legion of Merits and a Bronze Star Medal. He has also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Pentagon, and later as Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserve Command
Major General Taguba graduated from Idaho State University with a BA in History, an MA in Public Administration from Webster University, an MA in International Relations from Salve Regina University, and an MA in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. College of Naval Command and Staff. He also graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and U.S. Army War College. In 2008, the Major General received Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of San Francisco.