The CAUSE Leadership Institute (CLI), is a six-month fellowship program for high-potential working professionals that develops leaders to effectively advocate for the Asian Pacific American (APA) community.

6 Months

Fellows must be able to commit to attending all mandatory full-day training sessions  from January 2019 to June 2019. Sessions occur in and around Monterey Park, CA and Downtown, Los Angeles.

Fellowship Experience

Additional readings and assignments may be required in between sessions to ensure an optimal learning experience.

Program Fee

Each fellow is required to pay a $400 program fee ($200 upfront, $200 before graduation), $100 security deposit. Dues will go towards funding session facilities, resources, and meals.


The CAUSE Leadership Institute (CLI) is a community leadership and advocacy training certificate program for high-potential professionals with seasoned leadership experience and a passion for serving the needs of the APA community in California. Participants complete the program armed with the skills and connections vital to advocate for the APA community. Graduates of this program have gone on to change the civic landscape in the region through elected office and leadership roles in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

CLI sessions are comprised of policy overviews, civic leadership skill development trainings, and leadership roundtables with some of the top movers and shakers of our region. Training sessions and activities are led by a unique array of seasoned political professionals, civic leaders, and other issue experts who will share their best practices and personal insights.

CLI is open to participants through a nomination-only process. Nominations can come from CAUSE Board Members, select nonprofit partner organizations, or elected officials at the county, state, and federal levels. Nominators are invited to identify and nominate two candidates per year for the program who show political and civic promise. All individuals with a desire to pursue community leadership roles in the public, private, or nonprofit sectors are encouraged to apply.

The program was co-founded by CAUSE and USC Dornsife’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics to ensure a pipeline of political and civic leadership for the APA community.

Program Components

Policy Overviews

Participants will meet with political thought leaders for candid discussions on the current state of various policy issues. These intimate, off-the-record conversations provide exclusive insight into the latest policy developments. Policy issue focuses vary by year and have included: K-12 education, healthcare, energy and the environment, workforce development, transportation, and housing.

Civic Leadership Skill Development

CLI participants meet with experts to develop essential modern leadership qualities needed to effectively advocate for our community. This may include public speaking, messaging, and cultivating individualized authentic leadership styles. Skills gained will prepare CLI participants for civic leadership after the program’s end.

Leadership Roundtables

CAUSE’s network gives CLI Fellows exclusive access to the movers and shakers in California. Each speaker shares their personal experiences and leadership journeys. Speakers share their own best practices on public service and civic leadership and provide deeper perspective into what it takes to lead our community. Past speakers have included The Hon. Ed Chau, The Hon. John Chiang, Rusty Hicks, Gary Toebben, and The Hon. Betty Yee.

Connections & Community

The CAUSE family is a network united around a shared desire to advance the APA community. Each CLI cohort is encouraged to connect with each other, the speakers, and the larger community. CLI participants are also invited to exclusive networking, political, and community events (as space allows).

2019 Fellows

Our program is highly selective and each member of our cohort is selected based on their leadership abilities, public service, and community involvement. All of our program fellows are identified and nominated by leading elected officials, select nonprofit partner organizations, or a CAUSE Board Member.

Leadership Institute

Augustine Han

Field Representative
California State Senator Janet Nguyen

Leadership Institute

Bianca Nepales

Director, Impact in Schools
Teach for America

Leadership Institute

Carmen Chang

Former Field Director, CA-25
California Democratic Party

Leadership Institute

Carmille Lim

Consultant: Global Programs & Operations
Muppies: Muslim Urban Professionals

Leadership Institute

Carolyn Chu

Programs Associate
Equality California

Leadership Institute

Chris Teng Balmaseda

Vice President; Taiwanese American Professionals-Los Angeles Chapter (TAP-LA)
Co-Founder & CFO; Arclyte Technologies, Inc.

Leadership Institute

Cindy Wu

School Board Member
Mountain View School District

Leadership Institute

Clint Weirick

Principal Consultant
Clint Weirick Consulting

Leadership Institute

Denise Luu

Communications Specialist, Public Affairs
Southern California Edison

Leadership Institute

Derek Oye

Chair, Board of Directors
Taiko Community Alliance

Leadership Institute

Eileen Ung

Public Finance Analyst
Los Angeles Chapter President, MUFG

Leadership Institute

Eunice Kang

Office Manager
Young Kim for Congress

Leadership Institute

Hoang Nguyen

AAPI Liaison, Field Deputy
Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis

Leadership Institute

Jason Galisatus

Community Relations Associate
Stanford University Office of Government & Community Relations

Leadership Institute

Jasmeet Bains

California Healthcare Policy Commission

Leadership Institute

Jeffrey Lee

Senior Analyst / Planning Commissioner (Vice Chair)
Southern California Edison

Leadership Institute

Jingjing Cheng

Senior Director
Colliers International

Leadership Institute

JunHee Doh

Policy & Research Analyst
Advancement Project California

Leadership Institute

Kenneth Ahn

Office of Congressmember Karen Bass

Leadership Institute

Kyle Lee

Community Coordinator
Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles

Leadership Institute

Melody Zhang

Senior Accountant
East West Bank

Leadership Institute

Meredith Maimoni

Community Relations Manager
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Leadership Institute

Stephanie Cherng

Project Manager ll

Leadership Institute

Steven Chow

Vice President

Leadership Institute

Taylor Quan

Staff Assistant
Office of Senator Ling Ling Chang

Leadership Institute

Xeres Villanueva

Project Director
WE Empowerment Center

Important Dates & Deadlines

Event Date
Application Opens Friday, September 7, 2018
Application Closes Friday, December 5, 2018, 11:59 PM PST
Nominations Due Friday, December 5, 2018, 11:59 PM PST
Leadership Institute Session #1 Saturday, January 12, 2019
Leadership Institute Session #2 Saturday, February 9, 2019
Leadership Institute Session #3 Saturday, March 23, 2019
Leadership Institute Session #4 Saturday, April 27, 2019
Leadership Institute Session #5 Saturday, May 18, 2019
Leadership Institute Session #6 Saturday, June 15, 2019

What Our Alumni Say

  • "The CAUSE Political Institute was tremendously valuable in helping me gain insight on the challenges and opportunities of public service from leading political practitioners."

    The Honorable Thomas Wong President of the Board, San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District
  • "This is a great program to learn how to be an active agent in your community and not a passive bystander."

    The Honorable Henry Lo Boardmember, Garvey School District