Our Staff

 
 
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Kim Yamasaki
Executive Director

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.


 
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Richard Leong
Director of Programs & Strategic Innovation

As the Director of Programs & Strategic Innovation, Richard leads all of CAUSE’s programming and serves as a thought partner for all staff on how to innovate and improve on organizational systems and processes. His leadership combines extensive experience with data analytics and strategic planning with a genuine love for helping others unlock their potential. He is excited to serve the APA community, particularly with respect to working towards greater equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Before CAUSE, Richard coordinated national leadership development programs at Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) for teachers interested in working in policy/advocacy, organizing their communities, and/or serving in elected office. Prior to LEE, Richard also managed data systems and reporting as a Student Data Coordinator for Bright Star Schools. However, Richard is grounded by his experiences in his first job, teaching 5th-grade in St. Paul, MN through Teach For America. It is his former students that inspire Richard to continue learning how best to serve marginalized communities.

Richard graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from Columbia University in the City of New York, and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.


 
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Evette Kim
Director of Development

As Director of Development, Evette is responsible for the development, management, and delivery of all of the organization's fundraising events and activities. She is excited to build new and stronger relationships with the APA communities and be a part of an organization that empowers APA leaders to participate in civic and political spaces.

Before joining CAUSE, Evette served as a District Representative at the Office of California State Senator Anthony J. Portantino where she represented the Senator in various cities and communities, including the Asian Pacific American and veteran community. She also worked for the Los Angeles City Clerk--Election Division as a Bilingual Outreach Specialist where she translated the official city election materials into Korean and coordinated voter education.

Evette was born in South Korea and raised in Vietnam. She received her Bachelor of Arts in both Political Science and Peace Studies with a minor in French from Chapman University. She joined the U.S. Army Reserve in her junior year in college and is proudly serving her country.


 
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Haidee Pan
Director of Marketing & Communications

As Director of Marketing & Communications, Haidee manages CAUSE’s branding, content creation, and general marketing/communications strategy. She hopes to see an increase in political awareness and activism among Asian Pacific Americans and is excited to be part of the CAUSE’s work in contributing to the empowerment of the APA community.

Before joining CAUSE, Haidee provided visual design and consulting services for a variety of startups in the Bay Area. She has experience in providing branding and front-end web design services for her clients, and has also offered consulting in UI/UX and online marketing strategies.

Haidee received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.


 
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Audrey Soriano
Manager of Leadership Development

As Manager of Leadership Development, Audrey is responsible for implementing and supporting CAUSE’s leadership development programs. She also provides key operational support to ensure a high standard of efficiency and effectiveness for the organization. She is excited to work with CAUSE in its efforts to educate and inform the APA community through political and civic empowerment.

Before CAUSE, Audrey gained work experience through internships and fellowships with the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez. Her work within the Filipino American community as Regional Field Director for the AD51 campaign for State Assembly inspired her to continue empowering political participation and civic engagement within the Asian Pacific American community.

Audrey graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Policy from Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles.


 
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Richard Park
Manager of Voter Engagement

As Manager of Voter Engagement, Richard manages all of the organization’s voter engagement programs. He is excited to work with CAUSE in its efforts to educate and inform the APA community through political and civic empowerment.

Before CAUSE, Richard gained experience through internships on campaigns and at district offices. He worked at Senator Ben Allen’s office, as well as being involved in the Jesse Gabriel for Assembly campaign.

Richard graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor’s in Political Science.


 
Justine Ventura-Mejia
 

Justine Ventura-Mejia
Programs Coordinator

As Programs Coordinator, Justine executes and supports all programming at CAUSE to ensure programs and organizational success. She is excited to work with CAUSE to educate and elevate the APA community through political and civic empowerment.

Before CAUSE, Justine gained experience engaging with the APA population through various Filipino- American community organizations and advocacy groups. She has also completed internships in local politics with the County of Orange and in large- scale community programs with ABC7.

Justine graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor’s in Political Economy.


 
Thalia Campos
 

Thalia Campos
Development & Administrative Coordinator

As Development & Administrative Coordinator, Thalia provides key operational support to ensure a high standard of efficiency and effectiveness for CAUSE. She is excited to work with CAUSE in its efforts to educate and inform the APA community through political and civic empowerment.

Before CAUSE, Thalia gained experience through campaigns and at district offices. She worked for the California State Senate, as well as being involved in a Municipal Water District campaign.

Thalia graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor’s in Political Science.