About the Pennsylvania Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs
Established by Executive Order 2015-10, the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs is dedicated to ensuring that state government is accessible and accountable to the diverse Asian Pacific American communities in Pennsylvania.
The commission is composed of up to thirty volunteer members appointed by the governor for a term of two years.
Why Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Matters
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 2017
Governor’s Advisory Commissions Stand Against Hate
Executive Director Tiffany Chang Lawson’s Dumpling Recipe for the Lunar New Year
Celebrating Diwali and Tihar in Pennsylvania
Recognizing October as Filipino American History Month
Filipino American History Month, 2016
India Day 2016: Celebrating Pennsylvania’s Cultural Diversity
BLOG: Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage in Pennsylvania
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 2016
Governor Wolf Names New Members to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs
Tiffany Chang Lawson – Executive Director
Narasimha (Nick) Shenoy, MSEE, MBA, PE – Commission Chair
Bibhuti Aryal – Vice-Chair & Chair | Schools that Teach Sub-Committee
Thomas S. Lee, Esq. – Vice Chair & Chair | Government that Works Sub-Committee
Kannu Sahni – Vice-Chair & Chair | Jobs that Pay Sub-Committee
Rob Buscher – Chair | AAPI Arts Collective Sub-Committee
Dr. Fariha I. Khan – Chair | Civil Rights Task Force
Anuj Gupta – Co-Chair | Language Access Working Group
Anna Perng – Co-Chair | Language Access Working Group
Dr. A. Suresh Canagarajah
Dr. Shuhua Fan
Amy J. Hever
Pearl Kim, Esq.
Dr. Helene K. Lee
Dr. Salvador Parco
Kiran P. Patel
Sancha Man Rai
Dr. Phuong Truong
Kay Kyungsun Yu, Esq.
Wen Qin Zhang
Tiffany Chang Lawson
Tiffany Chang Lawson is a life-long Pennsylvania resident. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA but moved to Hershey, PA when she was eight years old to attend the Milton Hershey School (MHS).
During Tiffany’s sophomore year at MHS she was selected to become a Rotary Youth Exchange Student and was sponsored by the Hershey Rotary Club during her junior year to study in the Republic of Hungary for an entire academic year. After graduating from MHS Tiffany pursued her undergraduate studies at Dickinson College located in Carlisle, PA. During her time at Dickinson College, Tiffany created a self-developed major entitled Global Feminisms and spent a year in Beijing, China studying at the prestigious Peking University where she pursued advanced Chinese language and cultural studies. Tiffany graduated from Dickinson College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in a Self-Developed Major of Global Feminisms and a minor in Chinese Language.
In 2013, Tiffany transitioned into a career in Government when she was appointed as the Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs. In this position, Tiffany provides strategic development for the Commission which is comprised of 29 Commissioners that have been appointed by Governor Wolf from across Pennsylvania. The Commission is the state’s advocate agency for the diverse Asian Pacific American communities across the Commonwealth and Tiffany travels across Pennsylvania to meet with community based organizations, local, state and federal agencies as well as other stakeholders.
Narasimha (Nick) Shenoy, MSEE, MBA, PE
Narasimha Shenoy is the President and CEO of Kedar Corporation, an engineering and construction company.
Born in India, he immigrated to US in 1972. He completed his Bachelors and master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and MBA with honors. He is a Registered Professional Engineer.
He has served Asian community by working with many national and local community organizations for the past twenty five years. At the local level, as the Chairman of Pan Asian Association of Greater Philadelphia and the President of Council of Indian Organization in Greater Philadelphia, he brought mainstream visibility to Asian American Community. He organized the first “Festival of India” program in 1993 at the Penn Landing facility in the City of Philadelphia where community at large enjoys display of Indian Culture and heritage. He organized the first Asian American Parade in City of Philadelphia in 1996 to provide mainstream visibility to Asian Americans. He also organized first Asian American Heritage Month Celebration Event in 2006.At the national level, he served as a board member to National Federation of India Associations and Asian American Voters Coalition.
He has served the Asian American Business community to provide access to markets and working capital. He conducted seminars with SBA, state and local government agencies to provide business opportunities to Asian American Businesses. He served as a board member of Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Agency. He is the founder and the current President/CEO of Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia
He actively participated in political process. He served as a member of Municipal Commission of East Whiteland Township. He served as a member of Pennsylvania Heritage Commission; He lobbied for the formation of Asian American Advisory Commission during Governor Ed Rendell Administration and Mayor’s Asian American Commission with Mayor Michael Nutter. He served as a Vice Chair of Governor Ed Rendell’s Asian American Advisory Commission.
He received Community Service Awards from National Federation of Indian Associations, National Asian American Voters Coalition, Pan Asian Association of Greater Philadelphia and Council of Indian Organizations, Unsung hero award from Keystone Mercy Health, and Outstanding Community Service Awards from Channel 6 ABC. He, along with other community leaders serving Asian American Community, was invited to the White House to meet President George Bush.
A Pittsburgher since age 9, Aryal finished an undergraduate degree in two years, graduating magna cum laude from Robert Morris University, before earning his MBA from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.
He now is a technology and business consultant at Pittsburgh’s SDLC Partners, and in his free time he is a founding member of the Pittmandu soccer team, the epitome of western Pennsylvania’s blend of cultures. He is the CEO at the Rukimini foundation, which he started to honor his grandmother, an organization dedicated to reaching out to girls in Nepal and giving them an education.
Thomas S. Lee, Esq.
Thomas S. Lee is a Pennsylvania lawyer in the practice areas of banking and finance. He was appointed to the Commission in November 2015 and was selected to serve as a Vice-Chair of the Commission.
Tom is an elected Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Membership as a Fellow is limited to one percent of lawyers admitted to practice in the United States, its territories and lawyers in jurisdictions outside the United States. The American Bar Foundation is affiliated with the American Bar Association and was founded in 1955.
Kannu Sahni brings almost a decade of experience with the University of Pittsburgh and in his current role develops and coordinates relationships and initiatives of University schools and departments with local and regional community groups, governmental entities, business and professional organizations.
He facilitates the University’s community impact through academic outreach, civic engagement and service. Mr. Sahni also works with University, community and neighborhood entities, and student organizations to enhance University – community relationships.
Kannu is a highly professional community leader, and is involved at many organizations including the Mayor’s Welcoming Pittsburgh Advisory Council, the University Senate Community Relations Committee, Pitt Office of Child Development Advisory Board, the Matilda Theiss Health Center Advisory Board, the Oakland Business Improvement District board and executive committee and the Collegiate YMCA Advisory Board.
Rob Buscher, Festival Director of Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, is a film and media specialist who has worked in many aspects of film including production, administration and distribution.
Due in part to his multi-racial Japanese American heritage, Rob’s expertise is Japanese and East Asian Cinema although he has worked as a professional film programmer in a wide variety of genres. Some of his career highlights include co-founding Zipangu Fest – the UK’s premier Japanese Film Festival, co-hosting and programming Philadelphia Japan Arts Matsuri Tohoku Earthquake charity film festival and creating the Japanese Cinema Studies curriculum at Arcadia University. Rob is an active member of Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia and serves on the National Strategic Planning Committee of Japanese American Citizens League and Philadelphia Chapter Board. Rob also works as a freelance marketing consultant on film projects and other creative endeavors.
Dr. Fariha I. Khan
Fariha Khan is the Associate Director of the Asian American Studies program at the University of Pennsylvania where she also teaches courses on South Asians in the U.S, Asian American Communities, as well as Muslim Identity in America. She received a Master’s degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Yale University and a PhD in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania.
Her current research focuses on South Asian American Muslims and the Bangladeshi American community. Actively involved in the Philadelphia community, Dr. Khan is Chair of the Board of Directors for the Pan Asian American Community House at Penn and Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Philadelphia Folklore Project. She is also a member of the Board for Intercultural Journeys, is a Trustee of the Friends’ Central School, and was appointed in 2015 to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.
Mr. Anuj Gupta served as Chief Financial Officer of CCL International Limited. Mr. Gupta is employed at Duet Group.
He joined the group in March 2008. He is the Founder, Member of Investment Committee, and Chief Executive Officer, South Asian Real Estate Fund at Duet Private Equity Limited. He is a Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer at Duet India. Mr. Gupta has also served as a Director of the Desein Group, since 2002, in India. His real estate expertise has been gained from executing real estate and power projects pan India. He has also successfully built and exited businesses operating in business process outsourcing, IT services and aviation services. Mr. Gupta is a member of the Young President Organization. Mr. Gupta graduated with a B.Com. degree from the University of Delhi in 1984 and attended the Harvard President Seminar in 2009.
Anna Perng has volunteered to speak with newly diagnosed families (and providers) of children with autism through CHOP’s Next Steps Workshops.
She is a member of the board of the Philadelphia Autism Project Seed Money program, where she is helping the Philadelphia Museum of Art become more inclusive, and helping Asian American-serving health, education, grassroots, and faith leaders to organize a one-day summit about autism.
Helping undeserved communities and ensuring they have access to the resources to which they have a right is her passion. For many years, she worked for Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, and served on the board of Asian American Women’s Coalition and OCA-Greater Philadelphia Chapter, which is dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States. In 2008, she was a part of the Obama Campaign as a Field Organizer for Philadelphia’s Fifth Ward, where she and her volunteers ran a successful grassroots operation and funded our own field office from the heart of Philadelphia Chinatown. She was later invited by the Obama Biden Administration to serve on the Presidential Transition Team as Special Assistant to Tom Perez and was later appointed to serve as Special Assistant in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. As HUD’s designee to the White House Interagency Council on Women and Girls, she has coordinated with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Labor on improving services to women and girls.
Brad Baldia attended The Hill School, a private school in Pottstown, PA. Brad received his BA in English and Biology from Bucknell University and a masters degree in Public Health from Temple University.
In 1995, Brad served as a White House Intern in the Office of Presidential Personnel. He currently serves as President of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of PA & Southern NJ. Brad works extensively with Asian community organizations on a local and national level, such as the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs and the National Association of Asian American Professionals. Brad is Founding President of the Philadelphia Chapter, was elected in 2006 as Executive Vice President of NAAAP National and served as National President & CEO from 2008-2012. He serves on various boards including the Multicultural Affairs Congress (Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau), Power Shift and National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) PA. Brad is a member of the FBI Philadelphia Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee. Previously, he served as faculty for the Center for Progressive Leadership – Pennsylvania. Most recently, Brad was appointed to the board of the Library of Congress Asian Division Friends Society, a DOJ Arab/Muslim/Sikh/Asian Working Group and the board of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia. Mr. Baldia has received numerous awards for his efforts, including the “Unsung Heroes Award” by Keystone Mercy Health Plan and “National Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award” by the National Conference on Community and Justice. In 2002, he was recognized as one of the “Top 30 Most Influential Asians in America Under the Age of 30”. In 2007, Brad was one of fifty individuals citywide that was nominated for the “Spirit of Philadelphia” award by Greater Philadelphia Cares. In July, 2008, Mr. Baldia was named one of Philadelphia’s 101 Top Connectors by LEADERSHIP Philadelphia.
Dr. A. Suresh Canagarajah
Dr. Suresh Canagarajah was born on the island of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean; he came from a family of teachers.
He began teaching when he was still in school, which led him to discover his passion for teaching, and to become a professor. He has written a multitude of articles and books, some exploring the issues surrounding non-native English speakers. He has also received many notable awards such as the Feliks Gross Endowment Award for the outstanding junior faculty in the CUNY system, as well as the Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Research and Scholarship. Dr. Suresh has also been the editor of TESOL Quarterly, a professor at Baruch College, and a staff worker with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in the New York Metro region. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Kelaniya, a Master’s degree in English from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and finally his Ph. D in Applied Linguistics from the University of Texas.
Dr. Shuhua Fan
Dr. Fan has made remarkable contributions to global education at The University of Scranton since her arrival in 2009.
Her academic credentials reveal her expertise in this area. She received BA in History, with distinction, from Sichuan Normal University, China and an MA in Modern World History with focus on US-China relations from Jilin University China. She earned an MA and PhD in Global History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before joining the University of Scranton she was Assistant Professor, and Coordinator of the Asian Studies Program at Marshall University. Dr. Fan teaches the required survey courses in her department and she has also developed a series of important new courses focusing on Asia. These include: Modern East Asia, History of Modern China, Women in Modern China, and History of Modern Japan. She is currently working on a Study Abroad course linked to her alma mater – Sichuan Normal University. She has authored two books, the most recent entitled Cultural Engineering: The Harvard-Yenching Institute and the Remaking of the Humanities in China, 1924-1952 was published in 2014. She is also working on her three other book projects. She has also published over 15 papers, done 8 translations, and over 20 scholarly presentations. Dr. Fan provides important service to many projects related to global education. Two of these include her service on the Steering Committee for Asian Studies Program, and her role as main founder and Principal for the Scranton Chinese School.
Naimah Hares is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where she was part of the Undergraduate Advisory Board for the South Asia Studies Department.
She is currently conducting research on the migratory settlement patterns on the Bangladeshi Community in West Philadelphia.
Amy J. Hever
Amy Hever served as the Senior Advancement Officer at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., where she oversaw fundraising and capital campaign efforts for the Asian Pacific American Center.
Prior to the Smithsonian, Amy Hever was the Executive Director at the acclaimed Schoolhouse Children’s Museum in Boynton Beach, FL, and has worked with such revered organizations as the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Catholic Charities, The Scripps Research Institute, and the American Red Cross. She holds a degree in History and East Asian Studies from Binghamton University. She currently works with the Sixers Youth Foundation as Executive Director.
Pearl Kim, Esq.
Pearl Kim currently works as an Assistant District Attorney in the Office of the District Attorney, Delaware County, PA in the Special Victims and Domestic Violence Division.
As a special victim’s unit prosecutor, Ms. Kim handles Protection from Abuse matters, child physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, rape, and Internet Crimes Against Children cases. In an effort to more effectively reach out to underrepresented communities, she was designated the Asian Outreach Liaison and has been cross deputized as a Special Assistant District Attorney in Montgomery County, PA.
Ms. Kim was appointed to serve on the Joint State Government Commission’s Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking and to report back to the PA Senate any recommendations for changes in state law, policies, and procedures. She secured the first trafficking of person’s conviction under Pennsylvania’s trafficking statute and was a faculty member for the 2012 Institute on the Prosecution of Human Trafficking. She has spoken at several national conferences on issues relating to human trafficking and sexual violence.
In 2012, Ms. Kim was appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian American Affairs. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania, the Board of Directors for the Pearl S. Buck International, and is on the leadership board for the Villanova Law Minority Alumni Society.
Ms. Kim obtained her J.D. from Villanova University School of Law where she was the recipient of the Villanova Achievement Scholarship, and received her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College. The Legal Intelligencer has recognized Ms. Kim as one of the 2011 Lawyers on the Fast Track, as one of 2011 Diverse Attorneys of the Year, and as one of the 2012 Women of the Year.
Kao Nhia Kue is a Hmong American storyteller and educator who resides in Upper Darby, PA.
Kao strives to integrate her rich Hmong folklore experience into her classroom. Kao is also dedicated to sharing the power of storytelling with various diverse communities to build solidarity around issues of equity and justice. Kao has performed and led art workshops to empower children and youth through the use of song, poetry, and stories. The songs and stories that Kao has inherited from her ancestors have taught her resiliency, perseverance, and a deep love for community.
Dr. Helene K. Lee
Helene Lee’s areas of interest are in immigration/migration, racial/ethnic identities, globalization and transnationalism.
Her research focuses on return migration projects back to the ancestral homeland, motivated by the search for “home” and a sense of belonging by members of the diaspora, particularly within the Korean context. She is currently at work on a book manuscript, which explores how the economic, political and social lives of Korean Americans and Korean Chinese migrants are shaped by ideas of ethnic authenticity and hybridity in Seoul, South Korea.
Samip Mallick is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the South Asian American Digital Archive.
He was formerly the Director of the Ranganathan Center for Digital Information (RCDI) at the University of Chicago Library. Mallick holds a M.S. in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Illinois, a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan College of Engineering, and has done graduate work in Indian History at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. He was also previously the Assistant Bibliographer for the Southern Asia Collection at the University of Chicago Library and has worked for the South Asia and International Migration Programs at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC).
Dr. Salvador Parco
Salvador Parco was born and raised in the Philippines. Earned AB and commissioned 2nd Lt. through ROTC at Ateneo de Naga University.
Worked for the Philippine government (Office of Presidential Assistant on Community Development) and Asia Foundation in Afghanistan. He earned MS ’63 from Cornell University and PhD ’70 from Pennsylvania State University. He also taught full-time at University of the Philippines Los Banos, Ateneo de Manila University (Sociology & Anthropology Department chairman), Behrend College of Penn State, and as adjunct professor at Villa Maria College, Gannon University, Thiel College, and Mercyhurst College. He has acquired valuable life experiences in community development, college and university teaching, financial and legal services, community education and financial literacy education. Currently, he is still active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Lattere-day Saints as home teacher, ward and stake employment specialist, and Palmyra NY Temple ordinance worker. Active in several boards of directors, including Lakeshore Community Services, Inc., Mental Health Association of Northwestern Pennsylvania.
Kiran P. Patel
In 1992, Mr. Patel founded Kunj Inc, a strategic consulting company focusing on structuring commercial transactions, development strategies, and real estate development.
Kiran Patel has been involved in the Hersha Group since 1993, and has served them in many capacities. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hersha Hospitality Trust, and serves as the Chief Investment Officer. He manages the company’s complex development and financing. He has also worked at a senior manager with AMP. Mr. Patel has served, and continues to serve, as a board member for various community service organizations. These affiliations include
The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, Asian American Indians of Central Pennsylvania, India Heritage Research Foundation, and Harrisburg Regional Chamber of Commerce. Along with his business Partners at Hersha Group, philanthropy is one of his passions.
Kiran Patel earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from M.S. University in India and a Master’s Degree in industrial from the University of Texas.
Sancha Man Rai
Sancha was born in Bhutan, but due to political persecution of Nepali ethnic minorities in Bhutan, he and his family were forced to flee to a refugee camp in Nepal where he spent the following 18 years.
He arrived in the U.S. in 2009. Prior to coming to the U.S., he was an English and social studies teacher and a school assistant administrator. He served as general secretary of the All Bhutan Artists Association (ABAA) and central executive member of the Refugee Rights Co-ordination Council of Bhutan (RRCC-Bhutan). Sancha is a founding member and regional representative of www.bhutaneseliterature.com, a website that represents Bhutanese writers scattered all over the globe as a result of refugee resettlement.
In Nepal, he was fortunate to secure a graduate-level education. Sancha holds a bachelor’s degree in geography and English literature; and a master’s degree in sociology from Tribhuwan University, Nepal.
Dr. Phuong Truong
Born in South Vietnam, Phuong obtained his Baccalaureate Degree in Philosophy at the Adran College in Dalat and a Graduate Diploma in French Literature at the Saigon University.
He also obtained his Post-graduate Diploma in Journalism at the School of Advanced Social Studies in Paris, France.
Phuong came to the United States in 1967 to pursue various professional endeavors, including serving as a Supervisory Instructor of Foreign Languages for the Crowell Collier Institute in Arlington, Virginia, while moonlighting as a Translator-Announcer for the Voice of America in Washington, DC; serving as an Associate-Professor of Foreign Languages, for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Language Institute in Washington D.C and Monterey, California.
In 1976, to address the critical unmet needs of the newly arrived Southeast Asian refugees, Phuong left the government service to establish the International Service Center, a non-profit social service agency in Harrisburg, PA, where he has been serving as its Executive Director since then.
Phuong’s civic and community services include the founding of community development initiatives such as the Spirit of Vietnam Radio Program, the Mutual Assistance Association Technical Assistance Consortium, the Asian-American Business & Professional Association, and the New Americans Leadership Council.
He also served on various Boards and Commissions, such as the Pennsylvania Heritage Affairs Commission, the Governor’s Commission on Children and Families, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s Cultural Diversity Council, the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian American Affairs, and the Attorney General’s Advisory Commission on Asian and Pacific Islanders Affairs.
James Wang is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Asian Bank. James also is the Chairman of Asian Financial Corporation, the holding company for Asian Bank.
James was an organizer of the Asian Bank, where he has served as a member of the Boards of Directors of Asian Financial Corporation and its subsidiary Asian Bank consistently since the opening of the Bank in 1999. James previously held the positions of Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer of Asian Bank.
James is an active and visible community leader. James serves on the Board of On Lok Senior Citizen House; the Finance Committee for Philadelphia’s Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School (FACTS); and is a Board Member and Finance Committee Member of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC). James is a member of many community organizations that promote business, culture, and social services in Chinatown and other Asian communities in and around Philadelphia.
In addition, James is a member of several banking, financial, and business organizations including the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce; American Bankers Association; Financial Managers Society; and, the Pennsylvania Bankers Association.
James cares especially about business and economic development that leads to growth in income, savings, education, and services benefiting the community.
Hani White is an Economic Development professional with more than 10 years’ experience in Asset Building, Business Development, and Nonprofit Management.
She has expertise in Immigrant and Refugee populations. She is currently serving as the Deputy Director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs for the City of Philadelphia.
Carol Wong is the director/owner of the Chinatown Learning Center in Philadelphia, a bilingual preschool and school age program that she started over 23 years ago.
She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Penn State University and a Master’s Degree from West Chester University. Carol enjoys working with children and youth to help them reach their potential. Teaching, mentoring, and volunteering have been important to her and very rewarding. Carol is a very active board member in organizations such as:
the Philadelphia SUNS (youth athletic & lion dancing group), PCDC (Phila. Chinatown Dev. Corp.), Asian American Women’s Coalition, On Lok Senior Citizen housing, Nat’l Assoc. for Asian American Professionals (NAAAP_Philly), Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Phila., and several educational advisory boards. She is the proud mother of 2 daughters and spends her free time with family and friends and enjoys traveling. Carol is looking forward to working with her fellow Commissioners to help others in PA.
Kay Kyungsun Yu, Esq.
Kay Kyungsun Yu leads the Litigation and Employment & Labor Groups of Ahmad Zaffarese LLC.
Her practice focuses on complex civil litigation, employment matters, including ERISA claims, general commercial actions, and representation of public employers in Act 111 interest arbitration. Understanding that people are at their best when they feel empowered, valued, and connected, Kay helps employers navigate civil rights, employment discrimination, and constitutional law to foster positive workplace relationships to efficiently resolve conflict and increase productivity. She has represented clients in matters involving Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, the Pennsylvania Criminal History Record Information Act, and the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance.
Kay has also represented companies in single-plaintiff and multi-plaintiff litigation, as well as class actions, involving traditional pension plans, cash balance plans, non-qualified deferred compensation plans, and various welfare plans including long-term disability, short-term disability, life insurance, health, and severance plans. Her experience includes representing insurers and service providers in litigation involving claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and state law claims involving individual disability income policies. Kay has counseled clients on such issues as fiduciary obligations, interpretation of plan terms, standards of review, standing, preemption, misrepresentation, contingent workers, discrimination / interference with benefit rights under ERISA § 510, and COBRA continuation health coverage.
Prior to joining Ahmad Zaffarese LLC, Mayor Michael A. Nutter appointed Kay to serve as the Chairperson of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, the local agency charged with authority to enforce the City’s civil rights and anti-discrimination laws. Under her leadership, the PCHR convened 11 public hearings in 2010 to hear from the community on issues relating to intergroup tensions and violence in the City’s public schools. “Widening the Circle of Our Concern: Public Perceptions of the School District of Philadelphia’s Response to Intergroup Conflicts,” the report that presented the findings and recommendations from the public hearings, was published in March 2011. During the same period of time, partnering with the Mayor’s Office and City Council, Kay worked to overhaul, update and restate the City’s civil rights law. While the Fair Practices Ordinance had been amended in a piecemeal fashion from time to time since it was enacted in 1963, it had not been reworked in this fashion in nearly 60 years. Kay served as the Chair of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations from March 2009 until January 2013.
Before her service with the Commission, Kay was a partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP from 2004 to 2009, and an attorney at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP from 1999 to 2004.
An avid marathoner, Kay has completed 30 marathons including 10 Boston Marathons, 6 ultra-marathons, and 5 IronMan-distance triathlons.
Wen Qin Zhang
Wen’s interest in community engagement, government and policy led to his appointment by Governor Tom Wolf to serve as a commissioner on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.
His expertise in planning and developing allows him to promote business, cultural, and social initiatives in the Asian American communities in Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Currently, Wen serves as the President of the Philadelphia Fujian Hoyu Chinese American Association and the Pennsylvania Fujian Economic and Cultural Exchange Association where he works to expand and promote Chinese culture. In June of 2007, Governor Edward G. Rendell appointed Wen as a member of the Pennsylvania Travel and Tourism Partnership.
For more information about the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, please contact:
Tiffany Chang Lawson, Executive Director
508 E Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120