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Sept 8th: AAPI Leadership Pipeline

Representation matters in all levels of government. This panel will discuss the importance of having diverse decision makers and feature tips for those who are interested in stepping into a leadership role by running for office or seeking an appointment to local or state boards and commissions.

Dr. Richard Pan

State Senator, California District 6

Dr. Richard Pan is a pediatrician, former UC Davis educator, and State Senator proudly representing Sacramento, West Sacramento, Elk Grove and unincorporated areas of Sacramento County.  

Dr. Pan chairs the Senate Committee on Health and the Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. He also chairs the Senate Select Committee on the 2020 United States Census and serves as Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs and Vice-Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. He serves on the Senate Committees on Budget and Fiscal Review; Education, Business, Professions and Economic Development; Human Services; Labor; Public Employment and Retirement. 

First elected to the State Assembly in 2010, Dr. Pan strives to keep our communities safe and healthy.  When local governments planned to close fire stations during the recession, Dr. Pan authored legislation to bring over $100 million in federal funds for fire departments including $6 million for the Sacramento region.  He partnered with law enforcement and local businesses to establish a statewide database to catch thieves attempting to sell stolen property to pawnshops, and he authored legislation to allow campus police to use body cameras.


Facebook: SenRichardPan

Manufou Liaigi-Anoa’i

Commissioner, County of San Mateo Commission on the Status of Women

Manufou Liaiga-Anoa’i, warmly known as “Fou” to friends and family. A proud San Francisco native and first generation Samoan-American. 

Manufou is the Health and Nutrition Services Manager for Institute for Human and Social Development which administers Head Start and Early Head Start – Early Childhood Education sites throughout San Mateo County. 

In 2015 she became a Board Trustee and has served as Past President on the Jefferson Elementary School District in Daly City. Manufou is currently running for re-election. For the past ten years she has served as a Commissioner to the San Mateo County and was just elected as the Vice President on the Commission of Status Women. 

She is also on the City of Daly City Personnel Board, Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, San Mateo County & Pacific Islander Complete Census Count Committee, Regional Pacific Islander Health Task Force and Lowell High School Alumni Board of Directors. 

Manufou is a social justice advocate who was drawn into these circles at the young age of 9 serving as a translator on many occasions for her mother and other community members during protests and community meetings throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. 


Annie Lam

Founder, APIs Mobilize

Annie V. Lam, principal of the Lam Consulting Group, is a recognized expert in public and nonprofit service. The Lam Consulting Group specializes in governmental affairs, organizational development, and nonprofit management. She is well known for her strategic approach to enhancing and revitalizing organizations.

Of particular note, she was instrumental in helping both the League of CA Cities Asian Pacific Islander and Women’s Caucuses achieve revitalization goals by strengthening programs, increasing fund development, expanding membership recruitment, and nurturing new collaborative opportunities. Both Caucuses support and advance local elected officials.

Annie is very passionate in helping increase participation of elected and career professionals in government through leadership and professional development programs. Annie founded APIs Mobilize to build the community power of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders through its statewide educational programs.

She has served in various capacities in the political arena for over 15 years, working in the California Legislature as a legislative aide to Assemblymember Judy Chu and legislative director to Assemblymember Mike Eng.


Facebook/Instagram: APIsMobilize

Mona Pasquil Rogers

California Women Lead, Former Appointments Secretary in the Office of Gov. Jerry Brown & Gavin Newsom

Mona Pasquil Rogers of Walnut Grove was appointed to the Board in 2019, and was elected to serve as the Board’s representative on the CalPERS Board during 2019.

Before joining the Board, Ms. Pasquil Rogers served as appointments secretary in the office of Gov. Jerry Brown from 2011-19 and was responsible for helping the governor build his administration by recruiting top candidates to serve the state. She is the first Filipino-American in California history to serve as the appointments secretary.

Ms. Pasquil Rogers served as chief of staff to California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi in 2008-09 and as acting lieutenant governor in 2009-10 after Garamendi was elected to Congress. This marked the first time a woman, Asian Pacific Islander or Filipino-American, had served as lieutenant governor of California.

She is a veteran political advisor and strategist, having directed presidential, gubernatorial, and local campaigns across the nation. Her work includes serving as political director for twice-elected California Gov. Gray Davis.

Ms. Pasquil Rogers served as deputy CEO for the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, California political director for the Gore/Lieberman campaign, and western political director for the White House Office of Political Affairs under President Bill Clinton. She was a member of the Democratic National Committee from 2003-09, and also worked as a strategic consultant for IBM’s national, state, and local government sales team.

Her awards include a Presidential Citation to commemorate her service as the first Filipino-American lieutenant governor of California from Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Ms. Pasquil Rogers founded the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Project of California, an organization dedicated to boosting Asian and Pacific Islander youth involvement in California policy.


Sheng Thao

Member, Oakland City Council

Sheng Thao was elected November 2018 to the Oakland City Council, representing District 4 with 11,736 votes. She is the first Hmong American woman to be elected to City Council in the State of California and the first Hmong to be elected in the City of Oakland. Sheng Thao is the daughter of Hmong refugee parents from Laos. Sheng was born and raised in Stockton and is the 7th of 10 children. She is a domestic violence survivor and as a single mother, Sheng put herself through college while working and raising her son. She graduated as Valedictorian from Merritt College and transferred to U.C. Berkeley, where she earned her degree in Legal Studies. During her time at U.C. Berkeley, she helped established the Bear Pantry, a food access program for students with families who could not afford to buy healthy food.

In her first year in office Councilmember Sheng Thao fought for more resources for Oakland’s unhoused community, won funding for marginalized and underrepresented youth, helped add transparency to the budget process, fought for wildfire prevention policies, including undergrounding utilities in high fire severity risk zones and ensuring the city prioritizes wildfire prevention, helped passed policies to incentivize immediate increase in housing options in Oakland, created equity programs and incentives for the changing cannabis industry, and more.


Lisa Thong

President, Board of Barbering and Cosmetology

Lisa Thong leads the policy work for API Forward Movement’s clean air efforts in the San Gabriel Valley where she was born and raised. With more than ten years of experience in government, nonprofit and private sectors, Lisa has extensive experience collaborating with and building coalitions alongside communities.

The daughter of Chinese refugees from Vietnam, Lisa believes in building access to systems and institutions that often leave behind communities of color. In addition to her role with API Forward Movement, Lisa consults for nonprofit organizations and companies on strategic marketing, communications, and public affairs.

​In a volunteer capacity, Lisa currently serves as President of the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, a consumer protection board. She was appointed to a public member position by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016. Lisa also serves as Vice Chair of the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition.

Additional Resources

Responses to unanswered questions during panel: AAPI Leadership Pipeline

San Diego Regional Leadership Academy Flyer & Registration: DEADLINE EXTENDED 9/15

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