Kathy Wai was born in the South East Asian country of Myanmar (formally called Burma). She immigrated to the U.S. with her family at 6 years old, growing up in San Francisco and Portland. She is a proud alumni of St. Mary’s Academy, the only all-girls high school in Oregon. This empowering environment propelled her interest in women’s rights, leadership development, and social justice. Her most rewarding job has been helping refugees from Burma resettle to a new life in Oregon. She’s active in the Asian and Pacific Islander community, having served previously on APANO’s Board from 2009-2012 and is currently on the Steering Committee for the Asian and Pacific Islander Community Leadership Institute (APICLI). Kathy received The Asian Reporter’s “Exemplary Community Volunteer” award” in 2010 and the “We Are Portland” award in 2012 from the City of Portland, Office of Equity and Human Rights for her community organizing and advocacy efforts.
Kathy lives in Happy Valley, OR with her family. She enjoys the outdoors, cooking, and volunteering. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Portland State University’s School of Community Health in 2008.
Kathy coordinates our civic engagement program to increase voter registration, issue education, and turnout during elections. She also manages health equity work through Our Families, Our Health campaign. Kathy is also expanding APANO’s work in other cities and rural areas through the Statewide Network, a regular convening of API community organizations to understand needs and build stronger partnerships.
Gender pronouns: She/Her/Hers