Board of Directors

 
CAUSE Board Cahri Charlie Woo

Charlie Woo, Board Chair

Co-Founder & CEO, Megatoys

Charlie Woo is the co-founder and CEO of Megatoys, an international toy manufacturer headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in Hong Kong, and manufacturing plants in China and in City of Commerce, California.

As a major property owner in Downtown Los Angeles, Charlie is regarded as the founder of the Toy District, credited with turning the once blighted inner city area into a thriving international trade district, where hundreds of toy businesses are located, creating thousands of jobs.

He currently chairs the Workforce Development Board for the City of Los Angeles, a city commission that oversees the nation’s second largest workforce development system. He was first appointed by Mayor Bradley to this body and has been reappointed subsequently by four different mayors as its Chair. Under his leadership, the City’s workforce development system has become a model for the country, recognized for its innovative approach to outreach to the traditionally underserved communities, as well as its ability to bring business and labor together to create customized training programs to prepare jobseekers for in-demand careers in growth industries.

Charlie is a former Chairman of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, as the first Asian American to head the 129-year old prestigious civic organization. During his tenure, he initiated efforts to reinvigorate the Chamber, resulting in the organization becoming the leading advocate for the diverse business community.

He is a co-founder and chair of Center for Asian Americans United for Self-Empowerment (CAUSE), a non-profit organization that promotes leadership development and civic engagement. He currently serves on the boards of the Committee of 100, an international organization of prominent Chinese Americans, Southern California Public Radio, a Los Angeles NPR station, the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles, and the UCLA Alumni Scholarship Steering Committee.

Charlie is an immigrant from Hong Kong. He received his BS and MS degrees in Physics from UCLA. He and his wife, Ying, reside in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. His older son, Geoffrey, a Stanford graduate, is a successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and his younger son, Justin, a UC Berkeley graduate, works at Megatoys.


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Adam Ma, Vice Chair

Community Relations Manager, SoCalGas

Adam is a Community Relations Manager in External Affairs with the Southern California Gas Company since 2015.

Previously, a Senior Political Advisor to Congressman and Chairman Xavier Becerra of the House Democratic Caucus and formally with CA Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, CA State Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero and Los Angeles City Council Member Wendy Greuel. He also has a background in political and campaign experiences with Jeff Prang for Los Angeles County Assessor, Judy Chu for Congress and the LA County Federation of Labor. He is active in our communities serving on the Board of Directors with Center for Asian Americans United for Self-Empowerment (CAUSE), Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Los Angeles (Chinatown) and on the advisory boards with the Korean American Coalition and Friends of the Chinese American Museum.

Adam has a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Texas, Dallas and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from California State University, Northridge.


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James Hsu, Legal Counsel

Partner, Squire Patton Boggs

James Hsu leads the corporate finance group of the Los Angeles office of Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP. James represents clients in a broad range of corporate finance and securities matters including mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity offerings, joint ventures, public finance transactions, tax exempt financing, fund formation, and private equity/venture capital transactions.

James has particular experience representing clients in complex multijurisdictional acquisition and divestiture transactions. Fluent in Spanish and Chinese, James has focused on practices in Latin America and the Greater China region. Over the last two decades, he has represented numerous clients in inbound and outbound matters involving jurisdictions such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, Spain, Australia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and Vietnam.

In addition to his cross-border corporate transactional practice, James also has extensive litigation experience representing clients in US federal and state court actions, arbitrations and alternative dispute resolution proceedings.

James was selected by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) as one of the Best Lawyers under 40 in 2005. He has been consistently recognized as a Southern California Rising and Star and Super Lawyer by the Los Angeles magazine from 2004 to 2011. In 2007, James received the California Lawyer’s Angel Award for outstanding pro bono service.

James serves on the boards of Asian Business League (ABL), Center of Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE), Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), and UCLA Department of Political Science.


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Wen Hong, Treasurer  

Principal, PAC-RIM Advisory  

Over the past 30 years, Wen Hong has been involved in the banking, financial, investment, public service and food service industries and is recognized as an influential advisor and expert for companies doing business between China and the United States.   He served as Senior Advisor for the Global Advisory Committee of Redwood Securities.

Wen previously served as California State Deputy Treasurer.  During the earlier part of his state government service, he was in charge of the Health and Education Financing Authorities responsible for the approval of billions of state tax exempt bonds for non-profit healthcare institutions such as Kaiser Permanente and Catholic Healthcare System and educational institutions such as the University of Southern California.  Later, he was appointed head of the Investment Division of the Treasurer’s office responsible for investing billions of State revenue in short term fixed income securities.  Wen also represented the Treasurer on the governing board of both the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers Retirement system (CalSTRS) responsible for the oversight of both investment funds with a combined asset total of over $175 billion.

Wen also served as Senior Executive of Panda Restaurant Group; which operates over 1500 Panda Express stores in the US and Mexico. He is a Senior Advisor for the Beijing based China Global Advisory, Ltd.


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Ben Wong, Secretary

Public Affairs Consultant

Ben Wong is a public affairs professional with nearly three decades of experience in business, community, political, inter-governmental, and public utility fields. Ben currently works as a Board Consultant to the South Coast Air Quality Management District Governing Board Member, representing the 34-city Los Angeles County Eastern Region.

Ben is past Executive Director of the Industry Manufacturers Council, where he revitalized programming and advocacy in support of 3,000 businesses in the East San Gabriel Valley. Before that, Ben was a Local Public Affairs Region Director for Southern California Edison, managing the governmental and community relations with a portfolio of cities in the Los Angeles County region of the utility’s 50,000-square-mile service area. Ben also served as Executive Director for the Los Angeles County Division of the League of California Cities, coordinating the League’s local programs for municipal officials within the County. Prior to working for the League, Ben served for three years on the League’s statewide Board of Directors.

Ben has also served as Assistant to California Board of Equalization Member John Chiang and as general manager of the Great Wall Restaurant in West Covina, where Ben was a three-term member of the City Council, from 1992 to 2005. When an unexpected Council vacancy occurred in early 2015, Ben was appointed to serve a seven-month interim appointment on the West Covina City Council, until a successor was elected in the November election.

Beside his longtime service on the CAUSE Board of Directors, Ben currently serves as Treasurer of the San Gabriel Valley Public Affairs Network. With more than 30 years of community service, Ben has served on the boards of directors for numerous community and nonprofit organizations, including BizFed (Los Angeles County Business Federation), USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association, Foothill Transit, San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership, Citrus Valley Medical Center Foundation, Mt. San Antonio College Foundation, and West Covina Chamber of Commerce.

Ben earned his bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Southern California, where he and his wife met as students. Ben and Debbie are parents to a daughter and two sons, all USC Trojan alumni.


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Gary Arakawa, Board Member

Managing Director, Covington Capital Management

Gary Arakawa is a founder of Covington Capital Management and serves as Chief Investment Officer and a member of the firm’s Management Committee. He is responsible for directing strategic policy and managing the investment team. With over 30 years in the financial services industry, he was previously a Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager in the Los Angeles office of U.S. Trust Company. He is a member of the CFA Society of Los Angeles and the CFA Institute.

Gary graduated from California State University, Fullerton with both a BA and MBA in Finance. He graduated from the Pacific Coast Graduate School of Banking and Finance at the University of Washington and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

Gary serves on the Athletic Council of Whittier Area Community Church, is a board member of Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE), and is a youth basketball coach.


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Ralph Barnes, Board Member

General Manager, Union Station

Ralph Barnes is the current general manager of Union Station and is responsible for the day-to-day direct oversight and long-term delivery of services to Los Angeles Union Station, owned by LA Metro.

Union Station first opened in 1939 as the last great train station built in the United States and is on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to facilitating public transportation in all its forms, Union Station is a destination in and of itself and hosts significant film production, private events, as well as numerous cultural events throughout the year including music, dance, filmscreenings, art displays, holiday celebrations and other entertainment events.

Ralph Barnes has over fifteen years in commercial property management and development. In his most recent role, as the general manager of Beverly Center, Ralph Barnes was responsible for overseeing all functions related to the daily operations including retailer and community relations, marketing and sponsorship, as well as continuing to play a key role in high-profile, luxury leasing initiatives for Southern California’s premier fashion destination. Barnes currently serves on the Board of Directors for CAUSE and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Past board appointments included the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce as well as West Hollywood Travel & Tourism.


Tami Bui, Board Member

Associate Vice President, Government & Community Relations, California State University, Fullerton

Tami Bui is the Associate Vice President of Government and Community Relations for California State University, Fullerton. In her role, she manages oversight of the University’s relationships with policymakers, nonprofit organizations, corporations, academics, and civic leaders to identify mutually beneficial partnerships encourage advocacy, investment and support of the University, its mission, goals, and programs in support of student and alumni success.

Tami has had community and public affairs experience in local, state and corporate sectors. Prior to Cal State Fullerton, she served as the head of Corporate Philanthropy for Southern California Edison. She held several roles at SCE as well as the parent company, Edison International.

Prior to Edison, Tami worked in Sacramento for several members of the State Legislature including now Superintendent of Education Tom Torlakson, Congressmember Judy Chu, Senator Don Perata and Congressmember Lou Correa.

Tami grew up in Santa Ana, is a first generation college student and received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UC Irvine. She and her husband have a daughter, age 7 and son, age 5.


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Larry Chung, Board Member  

Director, External Affairs & Government Relations, The Walt Disney Company

Larry serves as Director of External Affairs & Government Relations for the Walt Disney Company. In this role he is charged with leading global external stakeholder engagement and strategic community initiatives for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.

He previously served as Senior Vice President for Strategies 360, the leading full-service research, public affairs, communications, and marketing firm in the West where he oversaw Southern California operations for the firm and managed a portfolio of Fortune 500 clients in Technology, Telecommunications, Transportation, Water, Entertainment, and Affordable Housing.

A native of Southern California, Larry was the first member of his family born in the United States. After graduating from U.C. Riverside with a degree in Political Science, he spent several years working in local government. During this time, he spearheaded the largest alternative fuel program in Western Riverside County and worked to promote the advancement of low- emission and zero-emission vehicles to improve air quality throughout the Inland Empire.

At the urging of his mentor, Riverside Mayor Ronald Loveridge, Larry left his job to pursue the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs. Upon graduation from the program, he served as Special Assistant to Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and quickly became one of the Speaker’s closest and most trusted staff members.

Larry was then recruited by Kearns & West, a top public affairs consulting firm based in the Bay Area. Charged with expanding the firm’s presence in the Greater Los Angeles region and responsible for overseeing some of its largest accounts, Larry built a reputation for successfully orchestrating complex legislative campaigns on behalf of his clients.

Larry believes in building a strong civic fabric and empowering current and future generations of Asian Americans in all sectors. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for CAUSE, APIs Mobilize, Breathe LA, and the Anaheim Family YMCA. He is also serving a four-year term on the California State Bar Lawyer Assistance Program Oversight Committee appointed by California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.

He resides in Irvine, California with his wife Cynthia, daughter Mia and two rescue dogs, Marley and Dexter.


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Wendy Greuel, Board Member

Commissioner, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority

A working mom and lifelong Angeleno, Wendy attended LA public schools and graduated from UCLA. Wendy started her career in public service working for her mentor, former Mayor Tom Bradley, where for ten years she worked on a wide range of public policy issues including child care, senior care homelessness, housing, public health and education.

While in Mayor Bradley’s office, Wendy was a leader in the creation of LA’s BEST, a nationally recognized after school program that provides a safe and supervised environment for children after school, and helped found the city's first childcare center.

Wendy’s commitment to affordable housing led her to Washington D.C., where she served in President Clinton’s administration as the Deputy Director of the Interagency Council on Homelessness and later as the Southern California Regional Director at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In 1997, Wendy transitioned into the private sector, working for five years in the film industry as an executive at DreamWorks SKG. She provided strategic guidance in their civic and philanthropic efforts in the Los Angeles Region.

In 2002, Wendy was elected to the Los Angeles City Council and quickly developed an impressive record of accomplishment by creating jobs, preserving open space and reducing traffic congestion.

In 2009, Wendy was elected City Controller, becoming only the second woman in LA’s history elected to citywide office. As Controller, she brought a laser focus to examining government finances ensuring our taxpayer dollars were spent efficiently and she brought greater transparency to government.

In 2013, Wendy was engaged by the Orange County Discovery Science Center to help open their new facility, Discovery Cube LA, in the San Fernando Valley. She is providing strategic advice on Board development, fundraising and civic engagement for Discovery Cube L.A.

In addition, in 2016, Wendy was appointed as an Executive in Residence and Strategic Advisor at the California State University Northridge Nazarian College of Business and Economics.

She currently serves on the LAHSA Commission working on homeless issues, as Co-Chair of the LAUSD Task Force, as a member of the Women And Girls Initiative Governing Council, and on the boards of Emily’s List, , Emerge CA, East Valley YMCA, Oakwood School, Discovery Cube L.A., Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project, CAUSE, ABODE, Pico Union Project, Homeland Security Advisory Council, UCLA Luskin Advisory Board and on the L.A. Kings Business Advisory Board.

Wendy and her husband Dean are the proud parents of Thomas, who is a high school freshman.


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Victor King, Board Member

Legal Counsel, Cal State Los Angeles

Victor King has been the University Counsel at Cal State Los Angeles since 2002. He is a member of the Human Resources Team, and is the Office of General Counsel’s resource attorney for Disability/ADA, Benefits, and Intellectual Property. He also is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources and a Certified Information Privacy Professional/Government.

Before becoming an education attorney, he was a Partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith in Los Angeles, specializing in business and professional liability litigation. From 1997 to 2009, Victor was a thrice-elected member of the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees. More recently, he has served as an appointee to the California Law Revision Commission (where he was the Chair in 2015-2016 and is again in 2019-2020) and the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians (from 2010 to 2013).


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Dan Schnur, Board Member

Professor, University of Southern California

Dan Schnur is a Professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications and the University of California –Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies. He is the Director for the “California Influencers” project, a statewide program in which 60 of the state’s foremost experts in politics, policy and government discuss the 2018 campaign on a regular basis through the November election.

He has been teaching courses in politics, communications and leadership at UC-Berkeley since 1996 and at USC since 2004. Dan has also taught at the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics at Harvard University and George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. He is the founder of the USC/LA Times statewide political poll.

Previously, Dan worked on four presidential and three gubernatorial campaigns as one of California’s leading political strategists. He served as the national Director of Communications for the 2000 presidential campaign of U.S. Senator John McCain and was the chief media spokesman for California Governor Pete Wilson. In 2010, Dan was appointed Chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), where he implemented groundbreaking campaign finance disclosure requirements. Dan also was a founder and cochairman of the Voices of Reform project, the bi-partisan statewide effort whose work laid the foundation for California’s landmark redistricting reform.

After completing his FPPC term, Dan registered as a No Party Preference voter and launched Fixing California, an organization dedicated to campaign finance and political reform. In 2014, Dan ran for statewide office as a non-partisan candidate for California Secretary of State.Dan has been an advisor to the William & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Broad Education Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the James Irvine Foundation, the Public Policy Institute of California and the Stuart Foundation on a variety of K-12 education and college and workforce preparedness efforts.

Dan’s commentaries have appeared in several newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. In addition, he has been an analyst and political commentator for CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and National Public Radio. Dan is a graduate of the American University in Washington, D.C.


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Nita Song, Board Member

President & Chief Momentum Officer

Nita Song is the President and Chief Momentum Officer of IW Group, an award-winning, top ranked ad and marketing agency specializing in the growing Asian American consumer segment in the U.S. Agency capabilities include advertising, public relations, public affairs, digital marketing, social media, research, and experiential marketing. With offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and NY, the agency works with many of the country’s top marketers including McDonalds, Walmart, Verizon Wireless, Wells Fargo, Lexus, MetLife, Godiva, City of Hope and Southern California Edison.

Nita has over 25 years of experience in marketing and communications. Nita joined IW Group in 1991 to lead Asian marketing strategy for several of the agency’s key clients. In 1996, she made a move to the client-side to join AT&T, as the Director of Marketing and Community Affairs in the Pacific Region, with responsibilities for corporate affairs, community relations, marketing and promotions. In 2000, she left AT&T to join Netsperanto, a start-up internet company, where she led the development and marketing of eight online community portals, as Vice President of Marketing. She then returned to IW Group in 2000 as President, to lead new business development and expand the agency’s advertising capabilities. Under her leadership, IW Group has grown significantly and currently has over $40 million in annual billings and ranks as one of the top award-winning Asian marketing agencies in the U.S.

A strong advocate for the Asian marketing industry and community, Nita currently serves as Chair of the Board of Advancing Justice – LA, and she is the past President of the Board of Directors of the Asian American Advertising Federation (3AF), an industry organization comprised of advertising agency principals, media, advertisers and strategic partners. Additionally, Nita serves as Co-Chair of the Asian Pacific American Advisory Council for Nielsen. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Los Angeles Chapter, and the Center for Asians United for Self-Empowerment (CAUSE).

Nita is a graduate of the University of Southern California, and resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two kids.


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Tammy Tran, Board Member

Senior Manager for Community Engagement, Local Public Affairs, Southern California Edison

Tammy Tran is a Senior Manager for Community Engagement, Local Public Affairs, Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the nation’s largest electric utilities. Tammy has also served as a Senior Community Liaison at SCE. She had responsibility for developing, maintaining, and enhancing strategic engagement and partnerships with community stakeholders across SCE’s 50,000 square mile service territory. In this role, she also served as a strategist to inform SCE’s senior management about important matters that impact diverse communities including the Asian Pacific Islander (API) communities. Tammy currently serves as the President for SCE’s Asian Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group, called Asian Society for Cultural Exchange, Networking, & Development (ASCEND). ASCEND was established in 2016 to promote workforce diversity, employee engagement, and leadership development for API employees.

Tammy has over 15 years of experience working in government, election campaigns, media, and grassroots nonprofit organizations. Prior to coming to SCE, she served as Deputy Chief of Staff and District Director for a California State Senator in central Orange County. She has also served as a campaign manager, executive director for a nonprofit, which she helped start, policy advisor to a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, and field representative for a California State Assembly Member. Tammy has also worked as a co-host for a weekly bilingual television program aimed at bringing government closer to the people.

Tammy is a strong supporter of youth leadership development and civic participation. She regularly volunteers to help local high schools and nonprofits with career coaching, mentoring, and internship placements. She is an active board member of Orange County Youth, Vietnamese Alliance to Combat Human Trafficking, and the Center for Asian Americans United for Self-Empowerment.

A proud product of Orange County public schools, Tammy earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations with a minor in Health Communications and Masters in Public Administration. Both degrees are from the University of Southern California. Tammy and her husband live in Little Saigon and are the doting parents of two active toddlers, Annalise-Quynh & Viet-Zander.


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Robert Yap, Board Member

Full biography coming soon.


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Kim Yamasaki, Board Member (Ex Officio)

Executive Director, CAUSE

Kim Yamasaki is the Executive Director of the Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE). In her position, Kim manages and oversees the entire organization, including its staff, programs, and fundraising efforts. Kim is passionate about finding creative and innovative ways to appeal to the younger generation of future community leaders and voters.

Under her tenure, CAUSE has expanded in vision and more than quadrupled in capacity. Her strategic leadership has allowed the organization to streamline its services and broaden its base of stakeholders.

Prior to CAUSE, Kim gained valuable work experience through internships and work with CAUSE, US Congressmember Judy Chu, the US House of Representatives Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Imprenta Communications Group, and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. She is a proud CAUSE Leadership Academy alumnus.

She has been featured in news articles and stories on NBC, KCRW, the Rafu Shimpo, World Journal, and was named one of the top sixty California Influencers to comment on important issues affecting the state by the Sacramento Bee and other McClatchy newspapers.

Kim was born and raised in Silverlake, Los Angeles. She is fourth-generation Japanese and Chinese American. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations and a minor in Asian Languages (Korean) from UCLA. She currently serves on the Community Advisory Council for SoCalGas and has previously served on the Board of Directors for Kizuna, a local nonprofit organization for Japanese American youth empowerment.