College Leadership Track | Featured Speakers
Come join college students from all around the country for a two day jam-packed leadership conference! Heighten your leadership skills through personal and professional development, experience OCA’s renowned APIA U Leadership training, and hear from amazing speakers within the Asian Pacific American community. You won’t want to miss this FREE event with FREE food.
Fernandez is Founder and President of The Multicultural Foodservice &
Hospitality Alliance (MFHA).Fernandez is MFHA’s chief visionary and thought
leader on multicultural strategies, Cultural Intelligence and talent
founded MFHA in 1996 while employed as national account manager at
Minneapolis-based General Mills, Inc. He began his research and development
career with General Mills in 1992. Before joining General Mills, Fernandez
spent more than 10 years as a senior manager for restaurant company RARE
Hospitality, Inc, (now owned by Darden), which known for such fine-dining
concepts as The Capital Grille, Hemenway’s Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar, and
The Old Grist Mill Tavern.
is currently a trustee of Johnson & Walles University, a member of the
board of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and a founding member of the
Reseaerch Chef Association. He is a life member of the NAACP and an active
member of the Women’s Foodservice Forum.
received the General Mills’ "Champion’s Award” in 1997. He was the first
recipient of MFHA’s Ernest Henry Royal "Pioneer Award,” a recipient of Nation’s
Restaurant News’ "Innovator of the Year” award, and was named a "Rising Star”
by Restaurant Hospitality magazine in 1988.
received his Bachelor of Science degree in Foodservice Management and Culinary
Arts from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. In addition, he
holds and honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from Johnson &
The Call to Mobilize
Elizabeth R. OuYang is
president of OCA-New York chapter. Under her leadership, OCA-NY led the fight
for justice for Private Danny Chen, a 19 year old American soldier who died in
Afghanistan after being racially taunted and hazed by his superiors and secured
a governor’s pardon for Qing Wu, a lawful permanent resident facing removal
from the U.S. because of an old and minor teenage criminal record. Her article, "Can Military Courts Deliver
Justice to A Subordinate Hazed by Superiors?” was recently published in the
Spring 2013 issue of the Asian American
Policy Review Journal, a publication of Harvard Kennedy School of
Ms. OuYang supervises
OCA-NY’s Hate Crimes Prevention Art Project, now in its 7th year. Ms. OuYang teaches a comparative
constitutional course at New York University’s Department of Social and
Cultural Analysis and Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and
Race, where she also teaches a course, "Post 9-11 Immigration Policies Impact
on Immigrant Communities.”
In 2000, Ms.
OuYang was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as special assistant to
the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Ms.
OuYang received the 2010 "Ambassador Award” from Mayor Michael Bloomberg for her leadership on behalf of Asian
Americans in New York City and "Outstanding Teaching Award” from New York
University. Ms. OuYang has been a civil
rights attorney for the past 26 years. Her areas of expertise include combating hate crimes, voting rights, media accountability, and immigration.
Minh Nguyen is the
founder and executive director of the Vietnamese American Young Leaders
Association of New Orleans (VAYLA-NO), a youth-led community-based organization
dedicated to youth organizing and youth empowerment.
second generation Vietnamese American, born and raised as in New Orleans, Minh
has dedicated his life to giving voice to the Asian American community in the
Gulf Coast region. His long-term advocacy and organizing efforts have
invigorated the political energy of the Vietnamese youth in New Orleans to
unite, fight, and protect their communities from government-inflicted
environmental injustices, such as negligible flood protections planning, water
contamination, and the conversion of their largely African American and Vietnamese
American community into a toxic dumpsite. His collaboration with youth
organizers in education has blocked English-only policy initiatives from
passing in Terrebonne Parish High School. Through his tenacious leadership, the
first youth center in Village de l’Est opened in 2007, which currently serves
as a hub for youth-focused leadership development and youth-led community
organizing activities in this still under-resourced area of New Orleans. In
2008, Minh engaged college and high school students in electoral politics
through his coordination of a voter mobilization drive that aimed to
enfranchise the Vietnamese American vote in the critical November election
graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a double major in management
and marketing. His leadership as a student includes his services as the
External Vice President of the Union of North American Vietnamese Student Association
(UNAVSA) and the Executive Director of the UNAVSA Fourth
Annual North American Vietnamese Student Conference.
Keeping Yourself In Check
Rosie Abriam became the President/CEO for The Center for Asian Pacific American Women in
2008. "The Center” is a non-profit organization dedicated to building
leadership capacity within our communities. Previously, her career spanned
multiple disciplines across government and corporate entities. Her background is
in Biology & Computer Science. She left the technical sector to provide
opportunities for women and our communities. However, she periodically consults
on "technical projects of interest”.
multiple patents in manufacturing, software and laser applications. These
patents were developed while working for New Focus, Inc., a startup photonics
company in Silicon Valley where she led multiple projects in the US, Europe,
Asia and South America. Her work focused
on laser development and fiber sensing applications in the biomed, oil &
gas and civil engineering sectors.
Prior to New Focus,
Rosie worked in the Geophysical Division of Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory (LLNL) with Atmospheric Release Advisory Capability (ARAC), a
national emergency response program. While at LLNL, she received multiple
awards including the Distinguished Physics Award from the Director of the Lab. Rosie also teaches
martial arts and is a Gura Fifth Degree of the Kamatuuran School of Kali. She is
a 2002 Fellow of the Asian Pacific American Women's Leadership Institute
(APAWLI) and a graduate of Leadership America 2007. In 2009, she was named one of the 100 Most
Influential Filipinas in America.
Public Affairs, manages State Farm’s relationships with national Asian American
Pacific Islander organizations. She
partners with leaders to help create safer, stronger, and better-educated
communities through teen driver safety, youth and adult leadership training,
financial education and professional development offerings.
previous responsibilities include training, communications and Asian American
marketing. She also planned and
implemented Asian communications and cultural patterns programming. Prior to State Farm, Leslie founded a
consulting firm that developed strategies for Fortune 500 companies entering
the China market, and developed relationships with Japanese financial
institutions to facilitate East-West trade.
Her first career was in academia specializing in Asian Art History and
serves on the Business Advisory Council of OCA, National Advisory Council of
the Asian American Justice Center, President’s Council of the Japanese American
Citizens League, National Advisory Council of the Asian Pacific American
Institute for Congressional Studies, and is Board Co-Chair of The Center for
Asian Pacific American Women. She is a
2003 National Fellow of the Asian Pacific American Women's Leadership
Institute, and listed in Who’s Who in the Humanities, 1992-93. She is president of OSF St. Francis Medical
Center Women’s Services Advisory Board, Peoria; past-president of OCA-Central
Illinois, and served on the Illinois Valley Mental Health Association Board.
holds a PhD in Educational Administration of Higher Education from Illinois State
University. Her MPh and MA are in Asian
Art History from University of Kansas; her BBA in Accounting from University of
Hawaii. She did post-graduate studies at
Sophia University in Tokyo. She holds the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)
designation and is a USPTA certified tennis pro. She and her husband Greg have
a son, Kurt, and daughter, Kristine.
James Kyson, Voted by TV
Guide as "Hollywood’s 25 Hottest”. James recently finished Hawaii Five-O on CBS, and a 4-year run
on NBC's Heroes as ‘Ando’. He
will next be appearing in the new series Daybreak, from the producers of 24 & Touch (FOX),
as well as the feature films PLUSH,
directed by Catherine Hardwicke, the Romantic Comedy DON’T KNOW YET, the Action thriller CRITICSIZED, & the Race Car driving film BORN to RACE 2. James
currently recurs on the Political Series Chasing the Hill & will star in the new pilot Armed Response.
A native of NYC, James graduated from Bronx
H.S. of Science, then went on to study communications & broadcasting at
Boston University, and New England Institute of the Arts. After a
stint in a hip-hop rap group in college, and trying out improv comedy, James
moved to LA on a one-way ticket & a single suitcase, where he began his
training in music, dance, and acting.
first ever Television audition landed him on CBS’s "J.A.G.”. Other TV
credits include "CSI", NBC's "Las Vegas", "The
West Wing", "Heist", ABC's "Threat
Matrix", and FOX's "All About the Andersons". James
has also starred in numerous feature films such as "Star Runners”,
"Shutter”, "How to Make love to a Woman”, "White on
Rice”, and the Rich Mullins bio-pic "Ragamuffin”.
James plays basketball for The Hollywood Knights, a charity
celebrity team, and participated in Robbie Williams’ Soccer Aid for UNICEF, at Manchester United’s Old Trafford
in England. An avid outdoorsman, James enjoys scuba
diving, ultimate frisbee, and playing basketball for the Hollywood Knights, a charity celebrity
team for USO. He is also an active member of the Global Green eco
campaign & the Creative Coalition.
Anh Nguyen runs one of the most
successful new State Farm Agencies in the Mid-Atlantic Region, she, owns and
operates her office in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. She opened her
own location in August of 2009 after working with the company for a little over
two years. Within less than two years her office has achieved many
company milestones such as being the number one life insurance producing new
agencies in the nation and more recently recognized as one of the top
performing 3% agencies in the entire State Farm Enterprise. She continues
to strive to set records to help promote the advancement of young minority
agents within the company.
Aside from her
business, she is involved in the community through philanthropy and
volunteerism. She enjoys leveraging her own business as well as her
business connections to help give back to the community as much as she
can. She was elected as the External Vice President for the Union of
North American Vietnamese Student Association (uNAVSA) in July, 2010.
Prior to that, she served as the External Vice President for the Mid-Atlantic
Union of Vietnamese Student Association (MAuVSA, a 501 c(3) nonprofit
organization and a region under uNAVSA. Additionally, she is a board
director and Membership Committee Chair of the Vietnamese American National
Chamber of Commerce (VietAmCham) which aims to provide advocacy and development
resources for 150,000 Vietnamese American businesses in the country.
Anh finds the most
joy in helping others reach their fullest potential; this includes her staff
members, fellow agents, friends, family or any of the individuals she meets
from different walks of life. Her other interests include cooking,
singing, flag football, and spending time with friends and family.
Networking and Getting to Talking
Gregory Cendana was Born in Guam, raised in
Sacramento and a graduate of UCLA. Gregory is excited to be in Washington, DC
pursuing his life’s passion for serving others & making this world a better
place for everyone. He is the first openly gay and youngest ever-Executive
Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO. Prior,
he served as President of the United States Student Association (USSA) where he
was the first openly gay Asian American to be elected.
Gregory has a wealth of
experience having served or currently serving on the boards of the National
Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Asian Queers United for Action-DC, Jobs
with Justice, and the Generational Alliance. This year he was appointed by DC
Mayor Vincent Gray to serve on the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender
Advisory Committee. In 2009, he started a DC business called Can’t Stop Won’t
Stop Consulting, a firm dedicated to support youth of color and LGBT youth
leaders and organizations. He is also the founder and co-captain for SOULcial
Justice, a dance team of the District’s movers and shakers.
Angry Asian Man named Gregory
one of the 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30 and the DC Spotlight
called him the "Future of DC Politics.” He was awarded the Next Generation
Award from Metro Weekly, which recognizes the accomplishments of LGBT
activists, artists & leaders under the age of 30. The National Asian
Pacific American Women's Forum presented him with the inaugural Fierce Ally
recognition in 2011 and Pride at Work gave Gregory a Celebrating Solidarity
Award for his efforts to organize at the intersections of many communities and
Gregory is also a graduate of
the Rockwood Leadership Institute, the Management Center's Managing to Change
the World, the Midwest Academy’s Organizing for Social Change, Training for
Change’s Training of Trainers and Wellstone Action's Political Training
Program. In his spare time, Gregory enjoys singing karaoke, choreographing
dances and trying new cooking recipes. Be a part of his journey by following
him on twitter at @GregoryCendana.
Lee is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Conference on Asian Pacific
American Leadership (CAPAL), an educational nonprofit dedicated to building the
pipeline of Asian Pacific American leadership in public service. In this
capacity, Rebecca manages day-to-day operations, external relations, and
year-round programming to create leadership and career development
opportunities for emerging Asian Pacific American leaders. As her day job,
part of the federal government’s Presidential Management Fellows Program,
currently serving as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Public
Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where she is
actively involved in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Prior to
joining the government, Rebecca was a senior consultant with Booz Allen
Hamilton’s strategic health communications practice. She has spent time with
the Asian & Pacific American Islander Health Forum and began her career at
the Kaiser Family Foundation. Rebecca received an undergraduate degree from
Cornell University and a master of public health degree from Columbia University.
At Cornell, she led a diverse coalition to found the Asian & Asian-American
Center, which has become a model student community center in the nation.
Rebecca is a native of Silver Spring, Maryland and the daughter of immigrants
from Hong Kong and Burma.
APIA U: Leadership Training
In her tenth year
working with APIA U, Dr. Connie Tingson-Gatuz serves as the Lead
Facilitator. She is Vice President for Student Affairs and Mission
Integration at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan. Over
the last seventeen years, Connie has worked in various Academic and Student
Affairs areas. She has created dozens of APIA serving initiatives
atMichigan State University and the University of Michigan and
advised multiple Asian American student organizations. Connie has served
as a consultant for nine years for the Gates Millenium Scholarship (GMS)
Program, consulted with OCA on various APIA scholarships, served as
theMidwest Association for Filipino Americans (MAFA) organizing committee
Advisor, and served on the Board of Advisors for the Midwest Asian American
Student Union (MAASU). In addition to authoring government and
corporate grants to support college students, she co-authored a book
chapter, Unwritten Rules: Organizational and Political Realities on the
Job, for new Student Affairs professionals. Honored with the 2010 National
Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) API Knowledge
Community Outstanding Mentor award, she continues to develop students and
professionals in higher education. She earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in
Higher Education Administration from Michigan State University.
Nick Sakurai is an
educator, consultant, and human rights advocate. Nick began as a facilitator
with APIA U in 2004 and since then has trained new facilitators and created the
Critical APIA Leadership Framework (CALF model) with Dr. Connie Rose
Tingson-Gatuz and Nicholas Centino. Nick has worked as a college administrator
and a national non-profit manager, and has been deeply involved in social
justice work for over a decade. His speaking and training engagements have
brought him to dozens of colleges, including Yale, Cornell, University of
Michigan, NYU, and UCLA. Nick has been interviewed by CBS News, and quoted in
the Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, and many other media outlets. Nick’s
work, studies, and family have led him to live or spend time in many world
cities, including Madrid, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Mexico City, and Washington,
D.C., and to a minor extent Chicago, Tokyo, and Sarajevo. Nick has an M.A. in
International Training and Education from American University in Washington,
D.C. and an International M.B.A. from the Instituto de Empresa (IE Business
School) in Madrid, Spain. Nick received his B.A. in Sociology from the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During his free time, Nick enjoys
spending time with friends, learning, travel, food, cultural events, and film.
Ankita Rakhe is the
Assistant Director in the Student Activities and Leadership at Stanford
University, where she advises community service organizations, ethnic/cultural organizations,
and campus publications. Previously, Ankita worked at Santa Clara University
where she taught and re-developed the curriculum for a freshman leadership
course based on the Social Change Model of Leadership. Ankita earned a BS in
Child Development and a Spanish minor from Vanderbilt University (TN). She also
earned a MA in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Ohio State University.
Her professional interests include diversity and social justice training,
leadership education, gender empowerment, and interfaith discussion and
dialogue. Ankita is active in South Asians for Opportunity and South Asian
Americans Leading Together (SAALT).
serves as the Assistant Director for the Asian American Center at Northeastern
University in Boston, MA. He oversees the mentoring program, Asian
American Heritage Week, and several initiatives to increase the visibility and
involvement of the Asian American community on campus. He also works with
several multicultural efforts to empower and engage students of color on
Prior to Northeastern, Douglas worked as a graduate assistant working with
Asian Pacific American students in the Multicultural Involvement and Community
Advocacy (MICA) office at the University of Maryland. He also worked at
NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education as a graduate
assistant and the Office of Student Conduct. After graduating from the
University of Virginia, Douglas worked for four years at OCA helping to oversee
the high school and college student programs. He helped to provide
structure to the APIA U Leadership 101 and OCA summer internship program as
well as assisted in the maintenance of the OCA National Center and
Convention. He is also a proud OCA Summer Intern alum (Summer 2004) and
APIA U Leadership 101 alum.
Douglas has a Master’s degree from the University of Maryland in Counseling and
Personnel Services and wrote his thesis on the relationship between collective
racial esteem and leadership self-efficacy among Asian American college
students. He received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and
minored in Asian Pacific American studies from the University of Virginia.