Our Team


Board of Directors



George Wu, Esq., Chair

Washington, DC
Partner, The Veng Group


Bradley Cooper, Esq., Immediate Past Chair

Philadelphia, PA
Chief Operating Officer, The Hana Group


KC Choi, Vice Chair

Sunnyvale, CA
Senior Vice President, Global Systems Engineering, Dell EMC

Jim Lactaoen, Vice Chair

Atlanta, GA
Vice President, Franchise Leadership, Coca-Cola North America Group, The Coca-Cola Company


William M. Kaneko, Esq., Secretary

Honolulu, HI

Ashley Lee, Treasurer

Duluth, GA
Chair, Ken and Ashley Lee Foundation


Linda Akutagawa, President & CEO

Los Angeles, CA
Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc.


Karen Wong, Legal Counsel (ex-officio)

Los Angeles, CA
Partner, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, LLP




Deborah Buhles

Philadelphia, PA
Vice President, Administration, Comcast

Scott H. Higashi

Honolulu, HI
President and CEO, Locations

Rizwan Kassim

Los Angeles, CA
Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder, Ultra Mobile


Na-Ri Oh, MD

Foster City, CA
Director, Commercial Planning, Gilead Sciences, Inc.


Erik Takayesu

Pomona, CA
Vice President of Transmission, Substations & Operations, Southern California Edison


Bruce Thao

St. Paul, MN
Director, Center for Health Equity, Minnesota Dept. of Health


Julie Xiong

Detroit, MI
Global Diversity Initiatives Manager, General Motors




Linda Akutagawa
President & CEO
(213) 485-1422 ext. 4115


Linda Akutagawa is President and CEO of LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc.) where she is responsible for LEAP’s strategic direction, sustainability, relationships and collaborations. A passionate social entrepreneur for over 25 years and beneficiary of LEAP’s leadership programs, Ms. Akutagawa is an advocate for diversity and believer in the value and urgent need for diverse leadership. She has dedicated herself to continuing the cycle of leadership development and inspiring Asian and Pacific Islanders to step up to leadership roles across sectors, industries, and communities.

She is an appointed member of the California Department of Insurance (CDI) Diversity Task Force. Additionally, she is a member of the Asian/Asian American Institute Advisory Board at California State University at Los Angeles and a Board member of Japanese American Community Services (JACS), a community grantmaking organization. Linda received her B.S. in International Business with a minor in Economics from California State University at Los Angeles.


Grace Toy
Sr. Vice President of Administration & CFO
(213) 485-1422 ext. 4117


Grace Toy, CPA is the Sr. Vice President of Administration & CFO at Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP), a community-based, non-profit leadership training and development organization. She is responsible for the organization’s administration and operations, which include finances and human resources. She was previously a Manager at Sasaki Shishima Yamanaka & Co and a Senior Accountant at Deloitte Haskins and Sells. Ms. Toy is a graduate of the University of Southern California.


Nancy Yap
Director of Development
(213) 485-1422 ext. 4119


Nancy Yap is the Director of Development at Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP). Her responsibilities include fundraising for the organization and building external relationships through community and alumni networks. In addition to her development responsibilities, she represents LEAP as a trainer, facilitator, and speaker across the country. Prior to working at LEAP, she was an artist manager for artists such as Suheir Hammad, Denizen Kane, Beau Sia and the Visionaries. She has worked at numerous nonprofits including the Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW) in New York City and Youth Speaks in San Francisco. She has also consulted on various projects including the 2003 Tony Award winning Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam on Broadway.

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Sophia Tian
Director of Business Development
(213) 485-1422 ext. 4112


Sophia Tian is the Director of Business Development at Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP). As Director of Business Development, Sophia is responsible for the formation and implementation of marketing, sales and business development strategies for LEAP’s corporate focused programs and services. Prior to joining LEAP, she had her own consulting firm, specializing in integrated marketing communication strategy development for clients including Optimum Health Institute and Whole Life Marketing. She also has extensive experience in direct marketing from both agency and client sides through her work at Alliance Data System (Victoria’s Secret account) and Lamps Plus. She received her Master’s Degree from Northwestern University in Integrated Marketing Communications.

She is dedicated to applying all her skills in empowering people to grow and succeed. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and volunteering at local community events.


Connie Oh
Program Manager
(213) 485-1422 ext. 4118


Connie Oh is the Program Manager for Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP). She oversees all planning, delivery, and evaluation of LEAP's programs and events to empower Asian and Pacific Islander (API) leaders and their communities. She also assists in LEAP's research regarding the diverse needs of API and other marginalized communities. Prior to joining LEAP, she was a Development Associate at Visual Communications. She received her BA in History and East Asian Studies from Occidental College.

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Akira Nakano
Executive Assistant
(213) 485-1422 ext. 4100


Akira Nakano is the Executive Assistant at Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP). He assists LEAP's President & CEO, CFO, and Board in executive duties. Akira has spent most of his career in corporate. He did video marketing for TRW, a former LEAP sponsor, for 12.5 years and spent the last 9 years in architecture/engineering as an Executive Assistant at Johnson Fain, Gensler and Walter P Moore. He is passionate about music as both a classical pianist and a composer, and he is currently spearheading a music education program.


2017 LEAP Faculty

‘Alisi Tulua
Program Coordinator, PATH for Women
Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance

Abe Ali
VP, Human Resources
Mt. San Antonio College

Alan Kumamoto
Founding Partner
Kumamoto Associates

Alison De La Cruz
Director of Performing Arts & Community Engagement
Japanese American Cultural and Community Center

Alvenia Rhea Albright
Owner, President and CEO
Alvenia Rhea Albright & Associates, LLC

Audrey Yamagata Noji
VP, Student Services
Mt. San Antonio College

Berenecea Johnson Eanes, Ph.D.
VP, Student Affairs
California State University, Fullerton

Bindu Garapaty
The Happy Leader

Brian Tsukimura
California State University, Fresno

Calvin Chen
Calvin Chen Coaching International

Chui Tsang
Interim President
Contra Costra College

Colleen Yamaguchi
Colleen Yamaguchi Coaching & Consulting

Daniel Naha Ve’evalu
Community Program Specialist II, PI Outreach Worker
County of San Mateo

Deborah Ching
Principal (Retired)
Nonprofit Consulting Group

Dyrell Foster
VP of Student Services
Moreno Valley College

Erin Yoshimura
Chief Empowerment Officer
Empowerful Changes

Ernest Mark
Ernest Mark Consulting

Ernelyn Navarro
PEARL Coaching and Consulting

Farah Bala
Leadership Coach and Trainer
Performance of a Lifetime

Fatima Bustos-Choy
Gaia Flow Consulting

Frank Chong
Santa Rosa Junior College


Gerald Napoles
Lone Star College – North Harris

Gloria Chan
Senior Vice President
Coach Diversity Institute

Grace Toy
SVP of Administration & CFO

Hayden Lee
Executive Leadership Coach
Hayden Lee Coaching

Henry Gee
VP, Student Services
Rio Hondo Community College

Hikaru Kozuma
Chief Student Affairs Officer
Amherst College

Jag Soni
Results Inc.

Jane Mi Jansen
Jane Mi Jansen Consulting

Janice Won
The WON Principles

Jody Hironaka-Juteau
Dean, College of Health and Human Services
California State University, Fresno

John Gotanda
Hawai’i Pacific University

Karen Watai
Welcome Change

Kyle Reyes
VP of Student Affairs
Utah Valley University

Leroy Morishita
California State University, East Bay

Lily Tang
Researcher, Author
International Council of Psychologist, International Leadership Network

Linda Akutagawa
President & CEO

Linus Yamane
Professor, Economics
Pitzer College

Lori Ideta
Interim Vice Chancellor for Students
University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Mamta Accapadi
VP for Student Affairs
Rollins College

Marilyn Tam
President & CEO
Marilyn Tam & Company

Mark Nozaki
President & Founder
Odyssey Leadership Consulting



Mary Ann Takemoto
Associate VP for Student Affairs
California State University, Long Beach

Matthew Woolsey
Matthew Allen Woolsey Consulting

Michael Tuitasi
VP, Student Affairs
Santa Monica College

Nancy Wada-Mckee
VP for Student Life
California State University, Los Angeles

Nancy Yap
Director of Development

Patrick Hayashi
Associate President (Retired)
University of California System

Penelope Hsu
Guiding Clarity

Pratichi Shah
President & CEO
Flourish Talent Management Solutions

Sam Bersola
Assistant Vice Provost for Graduate Education
University of California, Los Angeles

Stacia Kato
Vendor Management Consultant
Toyota Financial Services

Stacy Lee
International Students Program Specialist
Mt. San Antonio College

Steve Lin
Steve Lin Consulting

Steve Terusaki
CEO & Certified Business Coach
SEIDO Consulting

Teresa Dreyfuss
Rio Hondo Community College

Tria Vang
Program Implementation Manager
Minnesota Office of Higher Education

Vanna Novak
President & CEO
Speak to Persuade

Wyman Fong
Vice Chancellor, Human Resources
Chabot-Las Positas Community College District

Wynne Chin
Bauer College of Business
University of Houston

Yengee Lor
Leadership and Team Coach
Faithful Consulting