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Boards & Staff

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Executive Board

Patricia Kinaga, Chair and Co-Founder, is an attorney at Frandzel Robins Bloom & Csato, L.C., where she specializes in employment law. In addition to representing employers in litigation, she provides advice and training on numerous topics in the workplace, including disability accommodation.  A former member on the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, she is a past president of the Japanese American Bar Association, and is an appointed member of the American Bar Association Commission on Disability Rights.

Johnna Cho, Vice Chair, is Senior Vice President, Legal & Business Affairs for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc. She handles and provides advice on a broad range of legal matters relating to the home video, digital distribution and game businesses of Warner Bros. in the Asia-Pacific region.  Prior to joining Warner Bros., Ms. Cho developed an expertise in corporate transactions as an attorney with Graham & James. Ms. Cho formerly served as the Executive Sponsor for the Network for Asian Pacific Americans, the business resource group for Asian American and Pacific Islander employees at Warner Bros. She received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her J.D. from UCLA.

Akiko Koh, Treasurer, is Director, Quality Center of Excellence at MUFG Union Bank.  Previously, she spent over 22 years at GE in various leadership positions including Managing Director, Global Asset Management at GE Equipment Services and Executive Operating Officer at GE Edison Life Insurance, Japan.  She was co-chair of the GE Women’s Network in Japan and a leader of the GE Asian Pacific American Forum in NY.

Jackie Dai, Secretaryis an Associate Supervising Attorney with the Health Consumer Center, which is part of Neighborhood Legal Services of LA County.  Prior to this position, she served different roles within disability law including Administrative Law Judge, mediator, disability rights attorney, and advocate.  She is extremely passionate about working with people with disabilities and their families, which motivated her to join APIDC.

Jennifer Kumiyama was born with Arthrogryposis and uses a wheelchair daily.  She is a vocalist/performer and was cast in Disney’s “Aladdin; a Musical Spectacular” at Disney California Adventure Theme Park, where she was the first performer in a wheelchair to be on any Disney stage in the world. In 2010, Jennifer was crowned Ms. Wheelchair California and Ms. Wheelchair America 2011, 1st Runner Up. During her reign she spread the message of hope through her platform “Empowering Children with Disabilities to Make Their Own Dreams Come True”. Jennifer was cast in a major role as ‘Carmen’ in Sundance Film Festival hit and Academy Award Nominated film “The Sessions”, MTV’s teen sensation “Awkward” and became the founder and owner of The Ms. Wheelchair California Foundation in 2011 and has since retired as the State Coordinator in 2016.

Mark Matsui is the Director of Disabled Students Programs and Services at Rio Hondo College in Whittier, California. He worked in programs serving students with disabilities in the California Community Colleges and the California State University system for over 35 years. He established the “GO Project” and co-created the “College to Career” program at Long Beach City College. Mr. Matsui is also a Past-President of the California Association for Post-secondary Education and Disability (CAPED), the oldest professional organization of post-secondary educators of students with disabilities in the nation.

Advisory Board

Mario Galdamez currently serves as Immigration Services Officer II for USCIS – Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Galdamez has 12 years of experience providing direct service and administrative oversight of Independent Living and Employment Services. Most recently, he was Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living (SCRS-IL), a nonprofit organization that assists individuals with disabilities with a wide range of services. For over three years, he led SCRS-IL’s Workforce Department, providing oversight of training, development, advocacy, and placement services for qualified individuals with disabilities into competitive employment in five southern California counties. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science & Latin American and Latino Studies from UC Santa Cruz and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA).

Stewart Kwoh is founding President and Executive Director of the legal and civil rights organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles, and served on APIDC’s Board of Directors from its inception. Stewart is a nationally recognized leader on civil rights, race relations, human relations, and legal services. Stewart has served on numerous nonprofit boards of directors and as Chair of the California Endowment. Through his leadership, Advancing Justice acts a fiscal sponsor and provides capacity training for nonprofit organizations.

The Honorable Norman Y. Mineta has embraced the inclusion of people with disabilities from his earliest years as a public servant. During 1971 he spent his first day as Mayor of San Jose in a wheelchair, accepting the challenge from a colleague that the new mayor might better understand the perspectives of a person with disabilities. As a member of Congress, Mr. Mineta played a key role in the passage of the transportation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Mr. Mineta has been a long-standing supporter of APIDC and received APIDC’s first Lifetime Achievement Award. He was the first Asian American to hold a post in a Presidential cabinet as Secretary of Commerce for President Clinton, and as Secretary of Transportation for President George W. Bush.

Alice Wong, a research associate at the Community Living Policy Center at the University of California San Francisco School of Nursing, has received numerous prestigious awards, including the American Association of People with Disabilities Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award, for her pioneering advocacy work. Alice created and manages the Disability Visibility Project, an on line community research dedicated to documenting stories of people with disabilities. A former board member of APIDC, Alice was appointed by President Obama to serve on the National Council on Disability.

Staff

Vanessa Gallardo, Program Managervgallardo.apidc@gmail.com
Ms. Gallardo received her master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California and her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine. A product of immigrant parents, Ms. Gallardo has made it her life’s work to service communities that are considered underprivileged and underrepresented.  She comes to the team after serving 4+ years in the homeless sector of nonprofit agencies such as People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) and Downtown Women’s Center (DWC). She also has a total of 2 years of experience at a skilled nursing facility where she led the social services department. In her spare time Ms. Gallardo also held classes with the Transitional Age Youth (TAY) population for about 14 years, where higher education and learning to think for oneself were the topics of conversation. Ms. Gallardo will be taking the lead on our new pilot project within community colleges, decreasing the barriers for individuals with disabilities to access clinical support.

Chester Hashizume, Administrator | admn.apidc@gmail.com
Mr. Hashizume has served in leadership roles for many Asian American non-profit organizations, with experience in event planning and execution, organizational development, fundraising, and financial management. He is President of the non-profit Pacific Film Currents, which creates, distributes, and promotes educational media addressing issues in the Asian American community. Mr. Hashizume is an information technology project manager with expertise in managing enterprise projects.

Peter Wong, Ph.D., Research Director | peter.apidc@gmail.com
Dr. Wong received master’s degrees in public policy from the University of Michigan and economics and planning from the London School of Economics, and Ph.D. in public policy and urban planning from UCLA.  His dissertation topic from UCLA focused on employment challenges and successes for Asian Americans with disabilities. As APIDC’s Research Director, he conducts research on employment barriers facing Asians and Pacific Islanders with disabilities. Dr. Wong is an Adjunct Professor at California State University Long Beach and works part-time for Special Services for Groups. Previously, he served as a senior advisor at the White House National Economic Council to President Clinton, where he specialized in income maintenance and poverty statistics.