Board & Staff

Our Board

President
Rachelle Arizmendi

Vice President
Tavae Samuelu

Treasurer
Grant Sunoo

Secretary
Nayon Kang

Members at Large

Linda Akutagawa
Dennis Arguelles
Shikha Bhatnagar

Committee Chairs

Environmental Justice
Celia Andrade
Dean Toji

Housing and Economic Development
Patima Komolamit
An Le

Mental Health
Trang Hoang
Ravina Wadhani

Health
Myron Dean Quon
Doreena Wong

Human Trafficking
Chancee Martorell
Panida Rzonda

Older Adults
Amy Phillips
Yvonne Sun

Our Staff

Manjusha P. Kulkarni (Manju) is Executive Director of AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity), which serves and represents the 1.5 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.  

In 2021, Manju was recognized by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential individuals and by Bloomberg/Business Week as one of the 50 individuals “with the ability to move markets or shape ideas and policies” with the co-founders of Stop AAPI Hate, Cynthia Choi and Russell Jeung. Cynthia, Russell and Manju also were awarded the 2021 Webby Social Movement of the Year.

Manju’s work has been featured in the New York Times, and on CBS News and CNN, as well as in numerous ethnic media outlets. Manju is a member of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission and was recently appointed to the California Racial and Identity Profiling Adivsory Board by CA Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.

In 2014, she received the White House Champions of Change award from President Barack Obama for her dedication to improving health care access for Asians American communities. In March 2021, she testified before Congress at the House Judiciary Committee on the issue of anti-Asian hate. 

Manju holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University and a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law. Manju lives in Los Angeles with her daughters Vaishali and Meghana and her husband Shai Halbe.

Contact Manju at MKulkarni@AAPIEquityAlliance.org.

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 NTan@AAPIEquityAlliance.org.

Kiran Bhalla is the Intake Manager 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 KBhalla@AAPIEquityAlliance.org.

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 CCho@AAPIEquityAlliance.org.

Sonali Pustam is the Administrative Assistant at AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity). Sonali has previously interned with the ACLU of Florida’s Campaign for Criminal Justice, worked as a paralegal, and assisted City Commissioner Jack Porter’s office in Tallahassee.

Sonali is a recent graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and a minor in Communications. She was born and raised in South Florida.

Contact Sonali at SPustam@AAPIEquityAlliance.org.

Michelle S. Wong is the Program Director 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 MWong@AAPIEquityAlliance.org.