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.
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Governor Wolf Names New Members to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs
- Tiffany Chang Lawson – Executive Director
- Bibhuti Aryal – Commission Chair
- Dr. Helene K. Lee – Vice Chair & Chair | Schools that Teach Committee
- Thomas S. Lee, Esq. – Vice Chair & Chair | Government that Works Committee
- Rob Buscher – Chair | AAPI Arts Collective
- Dr. Fariha I. Khan – Chair | Civil Rights Taskforce
- Lanica Angpak
- Abbas Badani
- Brad Baldia
- Dr. A. Suresh Canagarajah
- Niken Astari Carpenter
- Anuj Gupta, Esq.
- Naimah Hares
- Amy Hever
- Dr. anupama jain
- State Representative Patty Kim
- Marian Mei-Ling Lien
- Wasiullah Mohamed
- Alka A. Patel, Esq.
- Thanh Quach
- Padam Lal Rizal
- Dr. Anjali Sahay
- Stephanie Sun
- Richard Tsai Ting, Esq.
- Hani White
- Carol Wong
- Kay Kyungsun Yu, Esq.
- Wen Qin Zhang
Tiffany Chang Lawson – Executive Director
Tiffany Chang Lawson serves as the Executive Director of Governor Tom Wolf’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs. The Commission is state’s advocate agency for the diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander communities across the Commonwealth. In this role, Tiffany oversees state-wide Commission communications, events, initiatives, and community partnerships.
Tiffany was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA but moved to Hershey, PA when she was eight years old to attend the Milton Hershey School. After graduating from the Milton Hershey School 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.
Bibhuti Aryal – Commission Chair
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.
Dr. Helene K. Lee – Vice Chair & Chair | Schools that Teach Committee
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.
Thomas S. Lee, Esq. – Vice Chair & Chair | Government that Works Committee
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.
Rob Buscher – Chair | AAPI Arts Collective
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 – Chair | Civil Rights Taskforce
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.
Lanica Angpak is a second generation young woman residing in South Philadelphia. She is an artist, activist, and young professional. Lanica is a Temple University and Community College of Philadelphia alum. Lanica’s professional career is focused in youth development and youth programming. She is dedicated to bringing young people to all levels of dialogue and decision making.
She has worked with local and international youth programs and continues to seek opportunities that allow her to bridge intergenerational gaps, undo injustice, and advocate for young people everywhere. Lanica is currently a program liaison for the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services’ Out-of-School Time/Prevention Programs.
Outside of work, Lanica is an organizer. Lanica is the founder and director of Cambodian American Girls Empowering (CAGE), a nonprofit dance troupe whose mission is to create a safe space where Cambodian Americans feel safe and free to explore and/or learn more about their shared identities, culture, heritage, and history. CAGE uses Khmer arts and culture as a way to build bridges between generations, communities, and identities. Additionally, Lanica is a board member of the 1Love Movement, in which she works with other board members and community leaders to create awareness, advocate, and create policy change for the unjust deportations of Cambodian Americans and our allies.
Abbas Badani serves as the Director of Multimedia and Print Center (MPC) at the Pennsylvania State University. MPC is responsible for managing the Mail, Print, Digital Print and Copying activities at Penn State with an annual budget of more than $15 million.
The unit currently has a staff of 50. The unit responsibilities include both internal production and external procurement for the above products. I was recruited at Penn State, to reinvigorate an existing operation that was facing financial jeopardy, (losing over a million dollars a year), and failing to meet the university and customer expectations for product and service.
The MFD program is the largest program of its kind in the country in the Higher Ed space encompassing all the campuses, the medical school, and all Penn State Health locations totaling approximately 2400 devices. The program has saved over million dollars annually in hard costs and continues to be the gold standard nationally in terms of leveraging office print savings. The Penn State Print Portal has been featured and at multiple events as an exceptional innovation/initiative including the recently concluded IPMA conference in Denver in June 2016.
Both these initiatives have been embraced by all stakeholders across the commonwealth and provide a model of how to roll out institutional wide initiatives that require significant change in business practices successfully.
Two units that were developed successfully under the auspices of the MPC umbrella have now been spun off into their own successful units are the A&BS Marketing Office and The University Records Center.
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.
Niken Astari Carpenter
Niken Astari Carpenter is originally from Indonesia. She works at the Office of the Mayor of the City of Erie, where she serves as the mayor’s executive assistant and liaison to the city’s refugee and immigrant communities.
Niken also serves as a member of Governor Tom Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs. She received her law degree from the University of Indonesia in 2003, and served as a judge in Indonesia for 12 years. Carpenter has been an active member of American Association of University Women – Erie Branch since 2011, an organization for which she’s the President-elect. In 2014, she received the career Development Grant from the American Association of University Women National to study Project Management at Pennsylvania State University. Carpenter also taught Asian culture, part of the World Languages and Cultures Department, at Mercyhurst University. From 2012 up to the present time, Carpenter has served as an advisory board member of Mentari – Human Survivor Empowerment Program, Inc. Beginning in 2013, she has been involved in the organization One Table, Erie’s Multicultural and Interfaith Bridge Builders.
Anuj Gupta, Esq.
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.
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 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.
Dr. anupama jain
anupama (anu) jain, PhD, is the owner of a small consulting business called Inclusant, which focuses on building capacity in Pittsburgh for diversity, equity, and inclusion by connecting individuals, organizations, and even sectors.
Previously, anu spent more than a decade as a professor of interdisciplinary studies, conducting original research, teaching varied topics, and supporting diversity initiatives in higher education. Her scholarly affiliations have included Union College in upstate New York, Colby College in Maine, and the University of Pittsburgh. Her major publication is the book How to Be South Asian in America: Narratives of Ambivalence and Belonging (Temple University Press 2011), which investigates Asian immigration, storytelling and politics, the American Dream, gender, and racial economics.
Recently, anu has taken on more collaborative community organizing and public humanities initiatives, partnering with diverse local groups and designing original programming such as Color Me Pgh, Scholars at Large, and 12×12: Connecting Pittsburgh to the World. In Fall 2017, she also became the inaugural Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Gender Equity Commission in the Mayor’s Office.
State Representative Patty Kim
State Representative Patty Kim, a former news anchor and reporter and Harrisburg City Councilwoman, was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2012 and has been a leader in government reform and transparency.
She returned her cost of living increase (COLA) and introduced a bill to eliminate the yearly pay increases. She is also one of the only members of the House to post all of her expenses on her legislative website for public review.
Kim’s priorities in the General Assembly include taking a solution-based approach to statewide issues, working in cooperation and collaboration with colleagues, and utilizing her record of service to support initiatives that stand to better the lives of the citizens she represents.
Leading her caucus’s charge to provide a livable wage for all Pennsylvanians, Kim twice introduced bills to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. She continues her fight for a minimum wage increase to restore the middle class by lifting thousands of Pennsylvanians out of poverty.
Kim serves on the Appropriations, Education, Local Government, Transportation and Urban Affairs committees. She is Vice Co-Chair of the Southeast Delegation. During her second term, she served as Treasurer for the Legislative Black Caucus.
Prior to her work in the legislature, Kim was elected to Harrisburg’s City Council where she served two terms. She was elected as council Vice President by her colleagues during her second term.
A 1995 graduate of Boston College, Kim is married to John Sider and together they have two children, Brielle and Ryan.
Marian Mei-Ling Lien
Marian Mei-Ling Lien is the Executive Director of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition. For over 20 years, her interests and desires to create a more socially just society has led her down a professional path creating safer environments for patients in rural health care; teaching diversity in higher education; and building a more sustainable community.
She holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy Management from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, and strives to understand how people’s lives can be enhanced through public and governmental systems.
Born in Taiwan and raised in California, Marian straddles the two worlds of Chinese Eastern and American Western ways; she is fluent in three Asian languages but dreams in English. Marian currently serves on the board of the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, on the Diversity, Inclusion and Global Centers of Excellence Committee for the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh city’s Commission on Human Relations, and the board of OCA-Asian and Pacific American Advocates, Pittsburgh Chapter.
Wasiullah (Wasi) Mohamed is a life-long Pennsylvania resident. He was born in Harrisburg, raised in Enola, and moved to Pittsburgh in 2011 to attend the University of Pittsburgh.
During his time at the University of Pittsburgh, Wasi served in the leadership of many campus-wide organizations and initiatives, most notably he spent his four years helping to build the Office of PittServes, an arm of the Division of Student Affairs meant to ensure Pitt has a lasting positive impact on the local community while students grow from relationships and experiences with our neighbors.
After serving as the Director of Islamic Center of Pittsburgh Food Pantry for two years, Wasi was selected to be ICP’s next Executive Director in 2015. In this position, Wasi works to empower, educate, and unite the diverse community in Western PA through social services and outreach programs. In 2016, he was appointed by Mayor Bill Peduto to the Commission on Human Relations and Welcoming Pittsburgh Commission, he was elected chair of the latter. He also sits on the All for All steering committee and works with other partners toward immigrant and refugee inclusion in the region. Also in 2016, Wasi was named the Executive Director of Emgage PA, a Muslim political education and empowerment organization.
Alka A. Patel, Esq.
Alka Patel is the inaugural Deputy Director of the Risk and Regulatory Services Innovation Center at Carnegie Mellon University with the Heinz College. In her position, she is responsible for developing and executing the daily and long-term strategic mission of the Center, which is sponsored by PwC and focuses on data analytics, cybersecurity/privacy, artificial intelligence, and safe cities.
Alka has been recognized for her professional achievements as well as for her contributions to the community, with recognitions such as: the “Outstanding Achievement” award from Duquesne University Law School Alumni Association, the “Innovator Award” from Heinz College, CMU; “High Impact Leader Award” from ASCEND; “Business Women First Awards” from the Pittsburgh Business Times; “Tribute to Women, Young Leader” by the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh; “Rising Star” by the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers; a “Fast Tracker” by The Legal Intelligencer & PA Law Weekly; “Community Builder/Social Engineer” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Minority Attorney Committee; 40 Under 40 recipient by Pittsburgh Magazine; and Distinguished Young Alumni from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering.
Alka holds a Juris Doctorate and Masters in Business Administration from Duquesne University and a Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.
Alka, a native of Pittsburgh, lives in Collier Township with her husband and three children.
Thanh is graduate of Millersville University of Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in accounting, finance, and management. She is currently employed as a staff accountant in the Small Business Services Group at RKL LLP, one of the top public accounting firms in the nation.
She enjoys helping clients gain a better understanding of their financial position through reviews, compilations, and the preparation of necessary financial statements and tax returns. She is working towards becoming a certified public accountant. She enjoys volunteering with Junior Achievement, a program that educates young youth on financial literacy and work readiness.
She was born and raised in Vietnam and immigrated to the U.S. with her parents when she was eight years old. She considers herself blessed to have experienced both cultures. Since 2016, Thanh has been serving as the secretary of the Vietnam Mutual Assistance Association of Central PA (VMAA of Central PA). In addition to this role, she also enjoys collaborating with other association members to organize events that unite the Vietnamese community, especially the annual Tet Festival. On top of serving the Vietnamese community in Lancaster, PA, she is a supporter of the Phuc Dai Charity, a non-profit based in California that aids rural families and community development. She has given monetary assistance and her own time to help the charity’s mission to provide better lives for rural families. Some projects include constructing bridges and temples, as well as providing scholarships and medical assistance in remote villages.
Padam Lal Rizal
Padam Rizal was born and raised in Southern Bhutan. His family was subjected to ethnic cleansing and expelled from Bhutan in 1990. Prior to coming to the United States, he lived in a refugee camp in Nepal and worked in UNHCR’s Bhutanese Refugee Project for fifteen years.
He served as Primary Curriculum Planner/Teacher Trainer in Bhutanese Refugee Education Program, Camp Secretary elect in Goldhap refugee camp, Program Coordinator for Bhutanese Community Development Center and Program Officer in SAHARA Nepal. After coming to the United States, he volunteered as grant research assistant in Chaparral House in Berkeley, California and took nonprofit management course at California State University.
He has organized many Bhutanese community organizations such as the Bhutanese Community of California in Alameda, CA, the Bhutanese Community Resource Center in Seattle WA, the Organization for Hindu Religion and Culture in Harrisburg, PA and Punya Foundation USA.
He brings humanitarian crisis management, community mobilization, community organizing, participatory decision making, team building, nonprofit startup, organizational development, strategic planning and community based program implementation, monitoring and evaluation skills to the commission. He is self-employed, and runs a language solutions business that provides translation, interpretation and transcription services to clients throughout North America. At present he serves as advisor to the Trustees at the Organization for Hindu Religion and Culture (OHRC) and Punya Foundation USA.
Dr. Anjali Sahay
Dr. Anjali Sahay is an Associate Professor of International Relations and Political Science at Gannon University, Erie, PA since 2008 and received tenure in 2014.
She serves as the Program Director of the International Studies Program (undergraduate) from Fall 2009 as well as the Director of Gannon’s Model UN Program that hosts the high school conference every Fall. Prior to being at Gannon, she was appointed as Visiting Assistant Professor of International Relations at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC from 2006 – 2008. She has received her PhD. in International Studies from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA in 2006. A recent article in Gannon Magazine on their Focused Faculty Feature also discusses her passion for Model UN that has stayed in her career throughout.
Her current research focuses on topics relating to International Relations and International Migration. Her dissertation on international migration and international relations was released in April 2009 titled: Indian Diaspora in the United States: Brain Drain or Gain? and republished for the South Asian market in 2011. She has also received several awards and grants most notably the ‘Excellence in Teaching Award” and was awarded first prize for Gannon President’s Award for ‘Teaching with Technology’ in 2012 and was awarded the second prize for Gannon President’s Award for “Teaching with Technology’ in 2015.
Dr. Sahay is also a performing artist of Indian classical dance Kathak. She has performed in various cities in India and internationally in Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA during her time there. Recently, she has given various performances in Erie, PA and at the Ethnic Dance Festival auditions in California in 2014.
Stephanie Sun works on corporate philanthropy in a global corporation, facilitating the support from the for-profit to the non-profit sector, both internationally and domestically. She has been working with the non-profit organization Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians as the project manager of the business development department, specializing in supporting the immigrant community with entrepreneurship cultivation, community integration, and youth empowerment.
In addition, Sun serves at the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, as an advisory board member. Born and raised in China, Stephanie received her master’s degree in journalism and communication and was a college senior lecturer in China. Before moving to the United States, she studied in a doctoral program in international relations and worked in international corporate and diplomatic agencies in South Korea for five and half years.
Sun is also a journalist, and served as the senior director of the main local Chinese language newspaper based in Philadelphia.
Richard Tsai Ting, Esq.
Rich is a partner at Beck & Thomas, PC, an intellectual property law firm in Pittsburgh. Rich has counseled and represented clients in a wide variety of intellectual property matters, including patent infringement and validity assessments, freedom-to-operate analyses, intellectual property litigation, and patent and trademark prosecution.
Rich has technical expertise in the life sciences and has assisted clients with intellectual property analyses in preparation for filing Abbreviated New Drug Applications.
Rich is active with the American Civil Liberties Union, serving on the board of the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter. Rich also is a former board member and the current Corresponding Secretary for the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania, and is a former chair of the Asian Attorneys Committee of the Allegheny County Bar Association.
Rich is a Pittsburgh-area native, has a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Brown University, a master’s degree in toxicology from the Massachusetts institute of Technology, and a law degree from Harvard Law School.
Hani White is the co-founder of Feed the Barrel a movement to turn used cooking oil into bio-diesel, compost, and soap. She is an Economic Development professional with more than 10 years’ experience in Asset Building, Business Development, Nonprofit Management, and an expertise in Immigrant and Refugee populations.
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.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration
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For more information about the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, please follow us on Facebook or contact:
Tiffany Chang Lawson, Executive Director
601, 5th Floor, Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120