Executive Board

Patricia Kinaga

Chair and Co-Founder

Patricia 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

Johnna is a former 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.

Nicole Williams

Treasurer

Nicole is the Assistant Director for Advancement Information Services at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). She has been involved with nonprofits and philanthropy for over 15 years. She also serves as the Board Secretary for Asian Business League – Southern California, is a committee member of Pasadena City College’s Asian American and Pacific Islander President’s Advisory Council, and is the Chair for Asian Pacific Americans at Caltech, the campus’s first employee resource group. She received her undergraduate degree for UC Irvine and her Masters of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University.

Jackie Dai

Secretary

Jackie is 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.

Mark Matsui

Member

Mark 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.

Tho Vinh Banh

Member

Tho Vinh is a Special Counsel for Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement at Disability Rights California (DRC) where she works in partnership with the Executive Director to manage strategies for engagement to support community goals and represent DRC in strategic partnerships with disability leaders and organizations, disability community members, civil rights leaders and organizations.  Prior to this current position, Tho Vinh supervised the Multicultural Affairs (MCA) Outreach Unit and oversaw DRC’s outreach efforts to ensure people with disabilities from diverse communities know about their rights and receive equitable services and supports.  A refugee from Viet Nam and a person with a visual disability, Tho Vinh lives at and cares about the intersection of race, disability, gender, language and culture, among others, and how it shapes and impacts people’s lives and opportunities.  She received her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and her law degree from the UC Hastings College of the Law.

 

Advisory Board

Mario Galdamez

Mario 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

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

Norman 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

Alice, 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

Mlou Aquino

Program Coordinator

Mlou Aquino is an alumni of Orange Coast Community College & California State University, Long Beach They graduated with a Bachelor’s degree of Psychology in Fall 2020. Throughout their time in college, they were highly involved in community service, mental health advocacy, & LGBTQIA+ community building. They’ve had the privilege as serving as various leadership positions in LGBTQIA+ and Transgender & Non-Binary Specific organizations. Currently, as Program Coordinator, they assist with developing workshop presentations, managing the resource database, and assist with program development.

Chester Hashizume

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.

Renee Te

Renee Te is a Master’s graduate student at San Jose State University studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She received her dual Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Religious Studies from California State University, Long Beach. She has worked with multiple DSP&S offices and is passionate about working with college students that have intersectional identities. Her professional goals include becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist as well as working in post-secondary schools advocating for students with disabilities.

Gabrielle Waring

Garbielle Waring earned her MSW from the University of Southern California in 2015. Gabrielle has over 6 years of post-MSW experience and has supervised BSW and MSW interns in clinical, mezzo, and macro practice. Gabrielle has clinical experience providing mental health services to various populations. Gabrielle has also macro practice experience in program development, program implementation, compliance, and capacity building.

Peter Wong, Ph.D.

Research Director

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.

Vinky Zheng

Program Coordinator

Vinky Zheng is a graduate student at National University working on her M.A. in Counselling Psychology to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) as well as a licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in California (LPCC). She received her B.S. in Rehabilitation Services program with a specialization in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) from California State University, Los Angeles. In 2018, she graduated from APIDC’S YLI Program. Currently, she is working with individuals with disabilities in the field of ABA at A Change in Trajectory, INC. as the lead behavioral instructor that works directly with the Regional Clinical Director, Respite Care, and Child Development Specialist. All the while, working with ARCH as one of our Program Coordinators. In the past, Vinky has worked briefly at a training center for Adults with Disabilities and a Drug/Alcohol Rehabilitation Center as a Counselor and Case Management Intern.