Celebrating 30 Trailblazers this Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

This month we're recognizing API leaders who are lighting up their respective industries by making powerful movements towards change. Mindr is honored to share our 2022 list of 30 Trailblazers.
Thomas Southworth, Quality Assurance Manager, Mindr
Thomas Southworth manages the delivery of software that brings employee communities together and fosters mentorship, engagement and belonging in the workplace. As an SQA Manager, he leads Mindr's efforts for multidimensional levels of quality, from the software platform to customer service. He does his best to remove the bugs from our devices, sets them free to the trees, and works in close collaboration with the other talented teams at Mindr to define strategies and execute tactics that meet the goals of himself and his peers. What are some words of advice from Thomas? "I would rather you try and fail, than wonder 'What if?”
Pooja Jesrani, Flight Director, NASA
Pooja is one of 29 NASA flight directors responsible for managing operations for all human spaceflight programs including the current International Space Station (ISS). Pooja has managed the life support and motion control systems on the ISS, and has also been a capsule communicator (CAPCOM), speaking directly with the astronauts in space. Recently, Pooja has been working to integrate mission operations for upcoming commercial crew flights. As NASA’s first South Asian female flight director, Pooja also has a unique lens on building inclusive environments in high stakes circumstances. How does Pooja think about teamwork? "I’m not significant unless there is a team behind me. Unity was the symbol I wanted because no matter how many different pieces there are to the puzzle, we all have to act as one."
Ida Liu, Global Head, Citi Private Bank
Ida Liu is a Global Head at Citi Private Bank and a member of the Global Wealth Management Leadership team. Ida leads the Private Banking activities in 50 offices across 18 countries and delivers wealth management solutions to ultra-high net worth families and their businesses globally. Before becoming the Global Head, she was the Head of Citi Private Bank North America and held numerous other leadership roles. Ida created Citi Private Bank’s North America Asian Clients Group, and she started her career at Citi by launching and heading the Fashion, Retail and Entertainment Group. Ida shares: “A lot of the Asian values instilled in me from a very young age like: hard work, focus, determination, that can do attitude, and ambition, all drive and are a big part of my leadership today.”

Peter Wang, Chief Technology Officer, Buzzfeed
Peter is the Chief Technology Officer at Buzzfeed. He is an experienced operator in scaling teams, building products, and growth strategy –– from early-stage, growth-stage to corporate environments, across financial services, ad tech, media, commerce, and health. Peter has over 15 years of tech experience and began his career in financial services, where he managed trading and wealth platforms at Morgan Stanley, Citi, and UBS. Peter shares: “I believe all of us need and can be mentors, no matter where we are in life. As we grow, help others grow. As we learn, help others learn. If someone reaches out for advice, answer it.”
Peter K. Kim, Vice President, Culture and Counsel, Thermo Fisher Scientific
Peter K. Kim is Vice President, Culture and Counsel at Thermo Fisher Scientific. In this role, Peter focuses on elevating the employee experience by shaping the culture of the company. Diversity and Inclusion and Employee Engagement are part of the Culture and Counsel platform. Prior to leading the Culture and Counsel Platform, Peter served as the Chief Employment Counsel, which is a position that he still currently holds. Peter shares: “I saw the importance of acknowledging, listening, and understanding diverse perspectives so that employees feel that they matter and can do their best work.”
Yuka Itami, Director, Houlihan Lokey
Yuka is a Director in Houlihan Lokey’s Financial and Valuation Advisory business, where she specializes in corporate financial advisory, expert witness, and dispute resolution services. Yuka sits on the firm’s Technical Standards Committee and is a dedicated member of the Dispute Resolution Consulting and Financial Expert Opinions practice, leading its Contract Compliance services. She is based in the firm’s Los Angeles office and is a Japanese national and bilingual in Japanese and English. Yuka advises: “Instead of judging, seek to understand why others are doing what they’re doing.”
Orina Chang, Alternative Investments Director, Senior Portfolio Manager, and International Client Advisor, Morgan Stanley
Orina is an Alternative Investments Director, Senior Portfolio Manager, and International Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley. She has over 25 years of experience managing institutional and retail investments, and has been with Morgan Stanley since 2016. Orina was born in Taiwan, and moved to California at the age of fourteen. Becoming a mother helped Orina access a new level of meaning and fulfilment. And in terms of her professional focus: “I am focused on helping Mandarin-speaking entrepreneurs with cross-border asset transfer, tax planning and asset preservation strategies, investment management and lending solutions.”
Howard Wang, Managing Director, Ares Management
Howard is a Managing Director at Ares Management, where he focuses on U.S. credit and is responsible for capital deployed in the gaming, lodging, leisure and broadcasting sectors. Additionally, Howard serves on the Ares Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and is Co-Chair of the Elevating API Voices Employee Resource Group. Prior to joining Ares in 2000, Howard was a Senior Associate in the Assurance and Business Advisory Services Group at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Howard serves as Co-Chairman on the Advisory Board of Changeist, a non-profit focused on expanding the social capital of youth, and as a Trustee on the California Science Center Foundation Board. What’s one of Howard’s commitments? “Amplifying diversity, equity and inclusion by approaching every conversation and experience with a “Student Always” mindset.”
Jasmine Tay, Global Strategy Program Lead, EY
Jasmine is the Global Strategy Program Lead for People Advisory Services at EY. She is a strategy and operations professional with 10 years of global experience working alongside senior leaders to set strategic direction and drive initiatives on topics such as Sustainability, Employee Wellbeing and Work Reimagined. Outside of work, Jasmine brings her skills to advise Black women entrepreneurs in growing their business. She believes in intersectional allyship and is committed to “having open conversations about systemic racism and taking meaningful action for racial equity”.
Feifei Wu, General Partner, Edward Jones
Feifei is a technology executive with 25 years of successful track record leading and building partnership to solve critical, time sensitive global business challenges leveraging technology.  She is currently a General Partner with Edward Jones and prior, Feifei was Global Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Brown Brothers Harriman, where she was responsible for the firm's technology across all lines of business, Investor Services, Capital Markets, Investment Management and Wealth Management, as well as leading BBH's Data and Digital transformation. Prior to BBH, Feifei served as a Managing Director at Royal Bank of Canada and a Managing Director at BNY Mellon with a wide range of responsibilities in Capital Markets and Investor Services Technology.  A few words that Feifei stands by: "Confident, Passionate, Authentic and Inclusive."
Vincent Quan, Co-Executive Director, J-PAL North America
Vincent Quan is Co-Executive Director of J-PAL North America. Together with Laura Feeney, his Co-Executive Director, Vincent leads the office’s efforts to reduce poverty by ensuring policy is informed by rigorous evidence in the North America region. Vincent provides strategic direction to the policy and training teams and oversees partnership development and outreach for the office. He works closely with policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and donors to promote evidence generation and increase the use of evidence in policy making. Vincent shares: “Evidence-based policy is an opportunity for me to blend my intellectual curiosity with my passion to make the world a better place through effective social programs and policies.”
Jennifer Park Szeto,Senior Director, Global Head of Corporate Partnerships, Adobe
Jennifer Park Szeto is the Senior Director, Global Head of Corporate Partnerships at Adobe. Jennifer has 20 years of experience building and leading high-performing BD teams that drive meaningful impact to $B organizations. She is currently developing key growth opportunities and product-enabling strategic partnerships across Adobe's entire digital media and digital experience businesses. What do Jennifer’s colleagues call her? “A people maximizer”.
Akash Pugalia, Global President of Trust & Safety, Teleperformance
Akash is the Global President of Trust & Safety at Teleperformance. Akash is a creative and business savvy professional with 20 years of experience across a broad range of business process services. He has served in different functions and diverse industry segments. Akash is the former Global Trust and Safety Lead at Accenture and is now the Global Trust and Safety President at Teleperformance. What’s a quote that Akash stands by? "Being an inclusive leader boils down to trust, and during these challenging times - your workforce is looking to you for support and guidance."
Jumi Cha, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Filevine
Jumi Cha is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Filevine, based in New York City. Prior to her time at Filevine, Jumi was a Marketing Director for Outlaw (acquired by Filevine), where she developed and scaled go-to-market strategies and successfully helped lead the company to acquisition and high growth revenue. Jumi also provides powerful marketing guidance to women-led startups in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion space, including Mindr. Jumi believes in the power of teams: “Collaboration is a habit. To make it real it needs to become part of who we are.”
Jessica Wey, SVP, Creative Director, FCB Health Network
With 15 years in healthcare advertising, Jess has focused her creative leadership on areas of high unmet medical need. From developing disease awareness campaigns to launching novel treatments, Jess has shaped the brands of life-saving cancer breakthroughs and life-changing neurology therapeutics. Jess has worked on a range of portfolios, partnering with large pharmaceutical companies, biotechs, and community health organizations. Her work has been recognized in the Clio Health and Med Ad News (Manny) Award Shows. In Jessica's words: "Life becomes more Interesting when, instead of wondering, “what if?” you insist, “why not!”'
Himaja Yenikepati, Engineering Manager, Prudential
Himaja is an Engineering Manager at Prudential where she collaborates with clients, teams and businesses to complete projects. Himaja has 10 years of professional experience in financial digital technology. As a woman in tech, she is brave and fosters courage in every step of her career. Himaja is a strong believer in encouraging girls to choose STEM careers in order to continue to move in the right direction to close the gender gap in her field. Himaja believes that having mentors and getting honest advice can really help in order to make this change. What’s a quote that Himaja believes in? “Be brave, choose courage over comfort, make mistakes and learn from them.”
Pearl Fernandes, Manager, AML Advisory, Bank of Nova Scotia
Pearl has over a decade of experience in the financial crimes industry. Her expertise lies in Anti- Money Laundering Compliance and Quality Assurance. In the financial crime space, Pearl has held varied roles in law and compliance giving her an eagle eye view of the industry and its challenges and currently serves as an acting advisor in Scotiabank's Anti-Money Laundering internal controls.  In addition to this, she has been entrusted with tasks pertaining to the management and assessment of compliance wherein she developed and conducted training programs, conducted internal audits to identify & tweak effective and efficient measures and has represented her prior Firm with Regulators. Pearl shares: "Your definition of success will continue to change with the ebbs and flows of your life. Let it truly reflect what it is that you most strive for in the season of life that you are currently in."
Dags Chen, Managing Director and Head of U.S. Real Estate Research & Strategy, Barings
Dags Chen is a member of Barings Real Estate, a global real estate platform with extensive capabilities across both debt and equity strategies. Dags is a Managing Director and Head of U.S. Real Estate Research & Strategy, responsible for driving proprietary research analysis and monitoring property and capital market fundamentals, trends and pricing across major U.S. metro areas and property sectors. In addition, he serves on the Barings Real Estate U.S. Private Equity Investment Committee and U.S. Debt Investment Committee. “The opportunities presented before our industry are massive, exciting, and challenging."
Carol Song, Senior Engineering Manager, PayPal
Carol is a Senior Engineering Manager at PayPal. She is a technology leader with 20 years experience in web applications design and development. Carol has built scalable systems that are used across many applications supporting a highly available production environment. She leads development and QE teams that are creating complex, business critical applications and thriving fast-paced release cycles. What’s a quote that Carol stands by? “Every person has a story that makes them real.”
Michelle Zung, Senior Sales, Director, Microsoft
Michelle is a proven and passionate sales leader, focused on driving Microsoft Advertising business results with a diverse and inclusive culture. She energizes and empowers sales executives to increase Microsoft Advertising revenue while adding value for customers. Michelle is deeply committed to up-leveling Microsoft Management capabilities and ensuring authenticity. How does Michelle understand empathy? “In order to fully understand what empathy means, you need to be a bit more hands-on and up-close to people in need. It's not just about growing yourself. The more you grow and the more you help others, the better you can make other people's lives.”
Aleli Evangelista, Solutions Consultant, Google
Aleli is a Solutions Consultant at Google where she is nurturing Google Cloud's largest cloud adopters through cloud strategy consultations, incident/case management, and cloud architecture reviews. She is responsible for executing large-scale cloud initiatives to meet business objectives. What does Aleli enjoy? “Sharing great opportunities for women leaders to gain valuable insights from amazing women across leadership and a variety of industries from tech to medicine, business and more.”
Tiffany Yu, CEO, Diversability
Tiffany is the CEO of Diversability, an award-winning social enterprise that elevates disability pride through disability community, visibility, and engaged allyship. Tiffany is on a mission to increase intersectional disability representation and democratize visibility. She is building and funding the things she wished existed when she was younger. What are Tiffany’s values in action? “Learning, honesty, justice, creativity, leadership”.
Madison Jinhee Lee, Head of Financial Services & Bank Partnerships, Meta
Madison leads a team that manages strategic Fintech and Financial Services partners to power payments and commerce experiences, drive economic impact for small businesses, and activate mutual customers across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Oculus. What drives Madison? “Helping women (especially the badass working moms), connecting and supporting each other, driving financial inclusion, and raising kids with big hearts.”
Amanda Chin, Associate Partner, Bain & Company
Amanda is an Associate Partner at Bain & Company, based in Singapore after stints in Australia and Denmark. She has more than 12 years of global management consulting experience in areas including strategy development, commercial excellence, operating model design, and due diligence. Amanda enjoys working with Retailers (customer loyalty & personalization, omnichannel, promotions optimization etc.); and has deep experience in end-to-end B2B commercial excellence across industries. Prior to Bain – she started up an APAC office for a boutique strategy firm in Singapore. She is passionate about cultivating other female leaders in consulting – especially working mothers. What’s a quote that Amanda stands by? “Leading is hard – akin to defying gravity."
Shinobu Sasaki, Gender Parity Specialist, UN Women
Shinobu is a Gender and Diversity professional, in the field of gender parity, gender mainstreaming, inclusive education for children with disabilities, the inclusion of persons with disabilities and LGBTQI+ personnel in the workplace and diversity management. Shinobu is skilled in project design/management, strategic partnership building/resource mobilization and human rights training facilitation. Shinobu shares: “I was brought up in a liberal family and was taught that it is a good thing to be ambitious and to believe in possibilities. Family values led me to become a feminist.”
Jessica Lin, Co-Founder and General Partner, Work-Bench
Jessica is a Co-Founder and General Partner at Work-Bench, where she focuses on investments in the future of work and teams. Jessica is passionate about growing and supporting women in enterprise tech. She is also a Forbes contributor, writing about emerging tech companies that are creating and enabling jobs for Americans. Prior to Work-Bench, Jessica was a Learning and Development Manager at Cisco Systems, where she worked with the Engineering organization on Agile transformation, innovation and culture. Jessica is actively involved with the education and workforce development community in New York City, as a longtime adult GED educator. Jessica shares: “The best part of being a VC = always learning. The hardest part of being a VC = always learning.”
Anjulika Saini, Regional Sales Leader, LinkedIn
Anjulika is a Regional Sales Leader within LinkedIn Sales Solutions. Her team is responsible for showcasing the value of the LinkedIn platform to drive revenue growth via a digital selling approach. She is passionate about connecting others to opportunity, a key reason she joined a nonprofit board shortly after joining LinkedIn. Additionally, she is one of the global co chairs of LinkedIn's Employee Resource Group, Parents at LinkedIn. Anjulika shares: “We know career breaks can be valuable in assessing priorities in work and life. Let's normalize this. Today and now.”
Carolyn Moore, Founder, Wildlight
Carolyn is a career coach for women of color and a proud stay-at-home mom for her two girls. With 15+ years of experience in marketing, sales, and leadership at high-growth startups and years of self-care and personal reflection, she created a curriculum that merges clarity through inner work with proven sales and communications strategies. Carolyn’s goal is to help women of color expand professionally by discovering their authentic self and using their voice to rise up in their careers with confidence. Carolyn shares: “It’s okay to ask for help. Despite some cultural teachings, it’s not a burden and most people are willing to help — especially if you ask the right way.”
Clara Zapanta, Recruiter, Morgan Stanley
Clara is an HR professional with around 10 years of experience. She is currently working as a Recruiter at Morgan Stanley. Prior to her role there, she served as a People & Culture Specialist at the World Economic Forum where she managed people operations for the US offices. She is passionate about empowering people by providing continuous learning and development, generous salaries and benefits, and a work culture that allows people to thrive as their full selves. She lives in New York with her husband and daughter and enjoys visiting Rockaway beach on the weekends to reconnect with the ocean and recharge. Clara shares: “People come into our life for a reason at just the right time…There is purpose in every meeting.. Be present, be open, and be curious. Appreciate every encounter.”
Dharin Nanavati, Group Product Manager, Twitter
Dharin Nanavati is a Group Product Manager at Twitter. Focused, driven, and calm under pressure - Dharin is a customer-obsessed leader with a proven record of delivering high-impact products at scale. His experiences have ranged from driving delight in a heavily regulated Federal Tax space at TurboTax, to having led a Global Product strategy at StubHub during this unprecedented pandemic. Dharin uses his empathy, analytical prowess, and penchant for navigating through obstacles, to rally the teams he supports towards delivering immense value to their customers, and the business. His new role at Twitter is focused on building products that help Professional Publishers around the world create more meaningful content on the platform. In his words “The first step is to just care...Care about your customers, care about your colleagues, care about the business. Everything else will follow.”