January 6, 2014

API Community Leadership Institute: Mentors

APANO is thankful to the following Asian and Pacific Islander leaders who have agreed to mentor our 2013-2014 Fellows:

Roselle De Leon

An organizer at heart, Rossella De Leon is a higher education professional, a community leader, and the people's servant. She currently serves as the Residency Officer & Records Administrator for Portland State University. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Social Science with a minor in Black Studies and is close to obtaining her Master's Degree in Educational Leadership & Policy in the Graduate School of Education at Portland State University, where she is also working on obtaining a Graduate Certificate in Student Affairs in Higher Education. She is a contributor in Salem Press' Great Lives from History: Asian & Pacific Islander Americans and the editor of the recently published book Center of the Movement: Collecting Hip Hop Memorabilia.

Beyond her academic endowment, Rossella possesses the heart of an activist. She co-founded and currently serves as the Secretary General of Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP) and as the Chair of the Alumni Advisory Board for PSU Kaibigan, the Filipino American Student Association at Portland State University. More recently, she was awarded the Dr. Mary Kinnick PACE Scholarship, an accolade given to an individual with an outstanding commitment to the advancement of social justice and educational access and equity in post-secondary education. Her life's work is built on social justice and equity, a reflection of her ongoing desire for genuine freedom and sovereignty of her motherland and all oppressed nations and individuals.

Helena Huang

Helena Huang has dedicated the last 25 years working to promote social justice through government, advocacy, and philanthropy. She currently directs Oregon Voice, “Oregon’s C3 Table,” a state-based, civic engagement network founded in 2009 to strengthen and amplify Oregon’s nonpartisan advocacy organizations and increase year round participation in policy making by traditionally underrepresented voters.

Oregon Voice is a project of the national State Voices network.

Prior to moving her family from Brooklyn, NY to Portland, OR, Helena spent nine years in philanthropy: she was a senior program manager with the JEHT Foundation, where she worked with government leaders and grassroots organizers to advance juvenile justice reform at the state level, and a program director with the Open Society Institute (OSI), where she was jointly responsible for the strategic planning, budget and management of what was then the largest private fund dedicated to criminal justice reform. At OSI, she designed and supervised a fellowship program for academics, activists, and journalists, and established a grantmaking program to support grassroots organizing and advocacy in communities most affected by high rates of incarceration.

Earlier in her career, Helena worked with homeless women and their children, ran a housing relocation program, and investigated housing discrimination as a paralegal with the MA Attorney Generals Office.

Helena received a bachelor degree in social policy from Cornell University and a MPA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She currently serves on the board of the Northwest Health Foundation, Oregon’s leading health and policy advocacy foundation.

Jiro Isetani

I like providing communication training, sharing team building and leadership skills. I graduated MACFOC program at Process Work Institute 2011 and very excited to join mentor program. I'm also a Computer System Engineer, Japanese speaking tour guide and interpreter. I was grown up mainly in Japan and I have been living in Portland since 1996. If there is anything I can do for you, please just let me know!

Phillip Kennedy- Wong

Phillip Kennedy-Wong is an advocate with Oregon Food Bank where he lobbies for state policies that reduce hunger and poverty. He has been a government relations and public affairs professional for over 15 years, working on a wide range issues ranging from poverty, health care, tax reform, land use/transportation, equity, to economic justice. Phillip is a native Portlander, growing up in SE Portland. He is the first person in his family to go to college, attending with the support of the GI Bill through his enlistment with the US Marine Corps Reserves. His mother is a Chinese immigrant and his father is American born Chinese. He holds a bachelor’s in Political Science from Lewis and Clark College and a master’s in public policy from Rutgers University. He still lives in SE Portland with his wife, Elizabeth, and two children, Luci and Claire.

Suliasi Laulaupeaalu

Mr. Suliasi Laulaupea’alu was born in the Tonga islands where he started his career as a Tongan Correctional officer, and the Secretary of the Tongan youth Workers Association. During his service, the Tongan government offered Suliasi a scholarship as a youth exchange student, to where he studied Youth Development and Community work in Australia. His travels later took him to Hawaii in 1989, and eventually migrated to Oregon in 1992.

He is now happily married with an 8 year old son and works as a Lay Leader for the Tongan United Methodist Church. He is often referred to as “Seaweed”, because he is super laid back and goes with the flow.

Bobby Lee

In late 2011, Governor John Kitzhaber appointed Bobby Lee to his administration to manage the Regional Solutions Center in the Portland Metropolitan region, a State agency team that works with local and federal governments in solving complex regional problems. Prior he served as Strategic Planning Manager for Hynix Semiconductor, world’s second largest semiconductor manufacturer, for six years. His background also includes serving on the Eugene City Council, Oregon State Board of Higher Education, and US President Bill Clinton campaign staff. He was elected as ASUO President for University of Oregon student body where he received his undergraduate and graduate degree in public administration. (Go Ducks)

Jenny Lee Berry

Title: Deputy Director for Diversity & Inclusion/Affirmative Action, Office of John Kitzhaber

Jenny Lee Berry serves as the Deputy Director for Diversity & Inclusion/Affirmative Action. She works with state agencies on their Affirmative Action plans, and assists with program planning, design and implementation around diversity and inclusion initiatives. Prior to joining the Governor’s Office in August 2012, Jenny worked for Dept. of Human Services’ Public Health Division in the Office of Multicultural Health (renamed OHA/Office of Equity and Inclusion) for 9 years. She worked towards ending health disparities for racial and ethnic communities through

Mary Li

Mary Li works for Multnomah County in the Department of County Human Services. She is the Division Manager for the Community Services Division, and the Community Action Director for Multnomah County.

Mary is a founding of APANO and currently serves on the board.

Connie Kim Yen Nguyen- Truong

Connie Kim Yen Nguyen- Truong, PhD, RN, PCCN, is the Project Director of the Vietnamese Women’s Health Project III (VWHP). This is a funded community-based participatory research study to primarily explore primary health care providers’ (PHCPs) experiences with Vietnamese American women’s symptom perception, preventive care-seeking, and their impact on cervical cancer screening. She works with community members to continue to find innovative ways to move through the empowering process together so that community members could have more control in their lives as being active participants in their own learning process about conducting high quality, rigorous research. Community members define what it means to have meaningful collaborative involvement with the project. She provides mentoring for these roles so as to provide support to community members. She is a nurse scientist and completed her Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (cancer health disparities with a minor in education) and Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Research in Individual and Family Symptom Management Program at Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing. Her community-based program mission is to research and promote the health of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with a particular focus on cancer screening among Vietnamese Americans. Five research papers were published from her research work with VWHP and she has also co-authored several presentations at professional health conferences with community members and academic investigators. She has an extensive background of prolonged community engagement/involvement with the underserved, non-insured, under-insured communities including communities of color as a passionate and dedicated volunteer. She is an Advisory Board member for IRCO/Asian Family Center and a member of APANO, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Western Institute of Nursing, Oncology Nursing Society, and Oregon Public Health Association. She was also a member on the Oregon Data Equity Coalition where findings from the VWHP studies helped drive health policy change, House Bill 2134, for improved data collection on race, ethnicity, language, and disability status in health and human services. She has an extensive combined background in nursing care, teaching, mentoring, training of community members to actively conduct research, research management, instrument development and innovative translation method, moderating and facilitating focus group discussions, and conducting several in-depth interviews, and community assessments. She is a senior API Leadership Fellow.

June Schumann

June Arima Schumann's is the former executive director of Oregon Nikkei Endowment who led the planning effort that resulted in the establishment of the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center. She retired from this position in July 2008 after ten years. She serves on the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon Board of Directors and served as co-chair of the board previously. She serves on board of other civic and private non-profit organizations.

June' professional life began as an art teacher in Kansas and Pennsylvania. She changed her career path to social work and spent over 30 years in the field of gerontology planning and managing community based social services for older adults in Pennsylvania, California and Oregon. She left her position as Community Services Manager at the Multnomah County Department of Aging and Disability Services in 1998 to become the director at the Legacy Center.

June is a Japanese American born in Japan. Her mother is a Nisei (second generation Japanese American) from Seattle and her father was a Japanese national. During WWII, her family was separated with her part of the family in Japan and her maternal grandparents and two aunts in the US. June came to the United States in 1953 at age 11 as an alien dependent of a US citizen.

Gauri Shanker Rajbaidya

Gauri is an immigrant from Nepal, Architectural Designer by profession, currently serving as the Vice chair for APANO advocating for the API community and the Resource council member of Colored Pencils Art Council promoting art and culture of immigrants and refugee community

Gordy Toyama

Gordy is the Director of Multicultural Affairs at Willamette University, located in the Office of Student Activities on the second floor of Putnam University Center.

Alma Trinidad

Transforming communities, one student at a time Young people can change their communities for the better. That’s a lesson Social Work professor Alma M.O. Trinidad strives to teach freshmen in her popular Race & Social Justice course. The first in her family of Filipino immigrants to go to college, Trinidad encourages students to learn about their identities and their role in the world while creating their own social movement.

Growing up in Hawaii, Alma M.O. Trinidad loved school but never thought she would go to college, let alone earn a doctorate.

Her parents were Filipino immigrants who worked in the pineapple fields, and she lived in a community that struggled with poverty and oppression. Teachers and mentors helped her to succeed in school and go on to higher education.

Now a Social Work professor, Trinidad draws on the lessons of her childhood and research to inspire her students to promote social justice in their communities

"My work has been rooted in knowing your own identity and history," she says. "For me, it’s a transformative process of not only learning about yourself but learning how to see yourself in this world and how to serve your community."

In her popular freshman inquiry course, “Race and Social Justice,” Trinidad asks students to connect theory to community-based service projects, such as producing a talent show with a social justice theme or volunteering for a youth outreach program.

Trinidad pushes all her students — whether they are first in their families to go to college or from privileged backgrounds — to think about the meaning of their education and their role as informed, socially conscious citizens.

"I appreciate and value the baby steps that students can take in recognizing their role in social justice and embracing human diversity," she says.

In doing so, her students create their own social movement.

Jason Trombley

Jason currently works in the Public Relations/Marketing and Community Relations sector in Portland, Oregon. For the past 7 years, he has advised small and large companies in the consumer technology industry, as well as non-profit organizations. A Portland native, he leverages his experiences in those fields to support a myriad of community efforts to support the community that is his hometown. He currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Education Equity committee for APANO. In that capacity, he is one of APANO’s representatives to both the Oregon Alliance for Education Equity (OAEE), a state-wide network of organizations advocating for policies and efforts that better serve historically-underserved students, and the Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC). Through the work of the CCC, he helped develop the strategic plans for two of the organization's committees - the Community & Economic Development committee and the Education Justice Committee. Additionally, he serves as a Co-Chair of the Fair Housing Advisory Committee (FHAC), and advisory group to the Portland Housing Bureau. Further, he is one representative of the CCC that supports Portland Public Schools (PPS) as the school district implements their Racial Educational Equity Policy. Currently he represents the CCC on two PPS committees which incorporate racial equity into their work: The Achievement Compact Advisory Committee, which sets goals and recommends strategies for improving student academic achievement for the district, and is current co-chair of the Superintendent's Advisory Committee on Enrollment and Transfer (SACET), which evaluates policies and practices on how students enroll in or access school programs in Portland Public Schools. Outside of this work, he coaches the 4-time National Champion Constitution Team at Lincoln High School, and serves as Board Secretary of Mission: Citizen, a non-profit established by his former students, which provides educational support to immigrants who are working towards becoming U.S. citizens in the Portland-metro area.

Helen Ying

Born in Hong Kong, Helen Ying came to the United States at age 11 to join her extended family. Helen’s grandfather was the first of her family to immigrate to America, leaving China in the late 1800’s. Staying closely connected to the Chinese community through her church and community involvement has enabled her to fully embrace the best of both cultures: East meeting the West.

Helen’s professional career encompasses 30 years of experience as a mathematics teacher, high school counselor, and high school vice-principal. Currently, she consults on strategic planning and collaboration for local governments.

In addition to her professional work, Helen has also been active in the community - serving in various capacities over the years rallying for the causes of youth, civil rights, and leadership development. She is passionate in helping to improve livability and quality of life for people in our community and is engaged in various capacities to empower people to do the same. She is currently serving on a myriad of boards and in leadership positions involved in efforts connected to education, health care, civil rights, environment, and social justice issues. (see list below)

Helen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and a Master’s degree in Education and Counseling from Portland State University. She is fluent in Chinese.

Today, she lives in NW Portland with her husband, Stephen. Her daughter, Melanie also lives in Portland and her son, Geoffrey, lives in Corvallis. In her leisure time she enjoys walking, hiking, reading, traveling, and spending time with her mother who lives in a care home on Mt. Scott.