Board & Staff

Our Board

Rachelle Arizmendi

Vice President
Grant Sunoo

Shakeel Syed

Kimmy Maniquis

Members at Large

Linda Akutagawa
Estella Owoimaha-Church
Eunice Song

Committee Chairs

Civic Engagement Task Force
Nancy Yap
Hina Ahmad

Environmental Justice
Celia Andrade

Housing and Economic Development
Patima Komolamit
An Le

Mental Health
Trang Hoang
Mahtab Javed Siddiqui

Myron Dean Quon
Doreena Wong

Human Trafficking
Chancee Martorell
Panida Rzonca

Older Adults
Amy Phillips
Yvonne Sun


Our Staff

Manjusha P. Kulkarni (Manju) is the Executive Director of AAPI Equity Alliance, which serves and represents the 1.6 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Los Angeles County. In March 2020, Manju co-founded Stop AAPI Hate, the nation’s leading aggregator of COVID-19-related hate incidents against AAPIs.
Alongside fellow Stop AAPI Hate co-founders Cynthia Choi and Russell Jeung, Manju has been recognized as an honoree of the prestigious TIME100 Most Influential People and Bloomberg 50 lists, and as a recipient of the 2021 Webby Social Movement of the Year awardMore recently, she was awarded a spot on the 2022 Forbes 50 Over 50 list for her leadership in advancing the Stop AAPI Hate movement. 
Manju’s work has been featured in the New York TimesNPR and CNN, as well as in numerous local and ethnic media outlets. As part of her advocacy work on behalf of AAPI communities, Manju has shared her expertise with countless individuals and entities including the Aspen Institute, the World Bank and the United Nations.
Manju serves on the Board of Directors of LA Voice and is a member of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission and the California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board. Manju holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University and a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law.

Contact Manju at

Norbert K. Tan is the Deputy Director at AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity). He is also a certified executive coach, consultant, and certified interim leader who works with senior leaders and their nonprofit organizations to optimize peak performance.

Norbert brings over 25-years of leadership and management experience from diverse fields as non-profits, the performing arts, higher education, entertainment, advertising, new media, and legal. He recently served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement at Antioch University, Executive Director for the Ventura College Foundation, and the Managing Director of Rubicon Theatre Company. Norbert has been directly involved in raising over $30M over his career with regional non-profit organizations. He has volunteered on boards of directors including East West Players, Ventura County Ballet, and the Ventura County Leadership Academy.

Norbert earned his MBA in Non-Profit and Arts Management from The Anderson School at UCLA and his BS in Business Administration from the Haas School at UC Berkeley. He was selected as one of six Americans to join the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in D.C. as an Arts Management Fellow.

Contact Norbert at

Kiran Bhalla is the Project Director at AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity). Kiran brings over a decade of experience from the consulting world where she worked on municipal and environmental issues. She conducted surveys, interviewed stakeholders, collected and analyzed data, wrote reports, and provided policy recommendations. Kiran also managed contracts and projects providing services to municipal clients. 

Kiran received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Political Science from Boston University, and a Master of Arts in Security Studies from Georgetown University. She was born and raised in Orange County, California.

Contact Kiran at

Candice Cho is the Managing Director of Policy and Counsel at AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity). Candice brings over a decade of experience leading collaborative policy efforts at the federal and local levels. As Deputy Chief of Staff at the New York City Law Department, one of the largest public law offices in the country, she served as the city’s chief legal advisor on immigration and sanctuary city policies protecting immigrant New Yorkers during the Trump Administration. She also served as Chief of Staff to a New York City Charter Revision Commission whose proposals to increase democratic participation in local government were approved by the voters. Candice began her career as a legislative staffer for U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL).

Candice received a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University, a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University, and a Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School. She is admitted to practice law in New York and California. She was born in San Francisco and raised in Los Angeles.

Contact Candice at

Brian Ilagan is the Intake Manager at AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity). Prior to AAPI Equity, Brian was a participant recruiter, clinical interviewer, and therapist at a psychology research lab that worked primarily with people with psychosis and veterans who experienced homelessness. He has a decade of experience in direct services for people who have experienced or have a history of homelessness in Los Angeles. 

Brian received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Minor in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, San Diego, and a Master in Social Work from California State University, Long Beach. He is an Associate Clinical Social Worker in California. 

Contact Brian at

Miso Jang (she/her/hers) is the Program Manager at AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity). Prior to joining AAPI Equity, Miso worked at higher education institutions where she focused her work on holistically supporting student development, leadership, and advocacy. In the past years working in higher education, she led the management of a Basic Needs Center, spearheaded APIDA serving programs and continuously advocated for the support of APIDA-identifying students and staff. Additionally, she interned at the Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute (APALI) to support their Youth Leadership Academy with small group mentorship, workshop facilitation, and community building to high school and community college students, and graduated from their Civic Leadership Program in 2022. Through these experiences as a values-based leader, she is dedicated to supporting and advocating for the AAPI community. 

She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Asian American Studies with a minor in Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and her Master of Arts in Higher Education Leadership and a Restorative Justice Certification from the University of San Diego (USD). Miso is a 1.5 generation Korean-American who was born in South Korea and grew up in LA County.

Contact Miso at

Jess Ju is the Administration Coordinator at AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity). Prior to joining AAPI Equity, Jess was the Director of Programs and Operations at the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE), a non-profit dedicated to championing Asian American and Pacific Islander artists and leaders in entertainment and media through talent and professional development programs, DEI consulting, and more. She has also worked with other arts and entertainment non-profits such as East West Players and American Conservatory Theatre. 

Jess received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Theater and Performance Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Asian American Studies with a minor in Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and her Master of Arts in Higher Education Leadership and a Restorative Justice Certification from the University of San Diego (USD). Miso is a 1.5 generation Korean-American who was born in South Korea and grew up in LA County.

Contact Jess at

Hoang Nguyen is the Director of External Affairs at AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity). Prior to joining AAPI Equity, Hoang served as a policy deputy at the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, which has governing jurisdiction over more than 2 million residents within 20 cities and 23 unincorporated communities in LA County and 25 neighborhoods in LA City. While there, he oversaw a variety of policy and community issues such as immigration, AAPI affairs, older adults, redistricting, Census, and board operations. He was also the district’s representative and liaison for the areas of Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Historic Filipinotown and Thaitown.  

Hoang received a BA in Political Science from UCLA.

Contact Hoang at

Corina Penaia (she/her) is the Program Manager at AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity). Prior to joining AAPI Equity, she worked for a nonprofit organization where she collaborated closely with policymakers and community stakeholders to address prevalent health issues that impact underserved populations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Penaia co-founded the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Data Policy Lab at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research to increase visibility of the data and health needs of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. She brings ten years of community-engagement and public health experience serving Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander and Asian American communities. Penaia is committed to elevating community knowledge and addressing social injustice in historically disadvantaged populations through education, community outreach, and advocacy.

Penaia received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Pitzer College and a Master’s degree in Public Health from California State University, Fullerton.

Contact Corina at

Tina Pham is the Communications Coordinator at AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity). Prior to joining AAPI Equity, Tina worked at Good Hause, a woman-owned and led marketing agency based in Los Angeles. She worked directly with Asian-American business owners and entrepreneurs to craft their brand in the digital space and strategize resonating campaigns that activated their communities. In 2021, Tina led a 5-week crowdfunding campaign (Help Heal Vietnam), along with The Vietnamese with Kenneth Nguyen podcast, Vietcetera International and The Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation of Vietnam, to raise over $10K for Vietnam’s COVID-19 crisis. This initiative provided food packs, medical supplies and rent assistance to over 500 families. After cultivating and witnessing the power of a mobilized digital community, Tina realized AAPI activation is where her heart is.

Tina received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Public Relations and Minor in Business Administration at California State University of Fullerton (CSUF). She was born and raised in Little Saigon, Orange County. 

Contact Tina at

Darin Tokunaga is the Director of Finance and Administration at AAPI Equity Alliance
(AAPI Equity). After starting his career over 20 years ago as an intern at the Little Tokyo
Service Center working to establish the National Coalition of Asian Pacific American
Community Development, Darin’s path has led him back full circle to support the AAPI
community. With a background in social work and nonprofit management, Darin has
worked at numerous organizations throughout Southern California tackling issues
including child abuse, lack of quality child care, re-entry rights, and the need for health
care for all.

Darin received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from California State University
Stanislaus and a Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California.

Contact Darin at

Stacey is a Stop The Hate Program Manager with AAPI Equity Alliance. Her expertise lies in the implementation and delivery of public health interventions in communities most impacted by systemic oppression through advocacy, health education, and capacity building. Through a public health lens, Stacey aims to utilize community-driven approaches to enact change to systems that serve as barriers to community health, wellness, and opportunity. Stacey earned her BS in Public Health Sciences from Santa Clara University where she researched systemic violence as a public health crisis. She obtained a Masters in Health Administration with George Washington University to improve the reach and longevity of community providers advancing health equity. Stacey is a fifth generation Asian-American woman whose ancestors continue to light her path in the fight for racial justice.

Contact Stacey at

Michelle S. Wong is the Managing Director of Programs at AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity). Prior to joining AAPI Equity, Michelle worked at the Children’s Aid Society, one of the largest poverty-fighting organizations in NYC. While there she oversaw the implementation of the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, a nationally recognized, evidence-based program that aims to reduce risky behaviors in adolescents. Throughout her almost 20 year career Michelle has worked in many capacities throughout the five boroughs of NYC. She has worked as a public school educator, held leadership positions in youth-servicing organizations and taught pre-natal yoga to low-income women in the BIPOC community. These experiences have provided her a deep understanding of the barriers to progress facing low-income, immigrant and marginalized communities.

Michelle received a BS in Finance from the University of Florida and an MS in Public and Urban Policy from the Milano School of Policy and Management at The New School.

Contact Michelle at