Meet Our Board

Our Board and founding members support the work of TeachAAPI through being laser-focused on delivering on its mission of connection, communication and celebration, to strengthen identity and self-advocacy for future generations for AAPI children.

“We are inspired to shift perceptions of the AAPI community through creating meaningful resources to support families and educators while advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Ann Kono

Co-Founder, Executive Board

Ann Kono is an experienced executive with over 20 years in the finance industry.   She has helped scale both public and private enterprises and has a specialty in problem solving and the design and implementation of complex infrastructure. Ann most recently served as Partner, Chief Information and Risk Officer at  Ares Management. Currently, Ann serves on public and private boards, specializing in operations, governance and risk management.  

Having served as a prior Chairperson and current board member of Junior Achievement in Southern California (JaSocal) for a decade, Ann understands the impact an effective non-profit can have on the lives of young people. 

Ann will work with fellow TeachAAPI board members to develop the roadmap for meaningful change in our schools and community.  Together, we will enhance the pride, identity and resources for future generations of AAPI through our passionate activism.   

Renee Yang

Co-Founder, Executive Board

Strategic. Dynamic. Tenacious.  With over 20 years of experience in CPG Strategy and Marketing, Renee Yang adds exceptional value by tackling her initiatives with a consumer-first mindset.  Leveraging her innate ability to connect and collaborate, she is highly effective in distilling complexity while driving results and transforming businesses for long-term sustainable growth.  Most recently at Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Renee had the opportunity to tap into a deep passion for purpose and community as the Corporate Social Responsibility Lead for the Neutrogena brand. Focused on driving systemic change in skin cancer reduction, environmental sustainability and social equity, Renee is working to maximize Neutrogena’s positive impact across a wide audience.  Renee has two sons at Curtis School that are eager to learn more about their Asian American identity and what it means to be strong allies. She is excited to bring the best of her knowledge to grow TeachAAPI from a nascent idea to a leading non-profit organization in teaching new generations about the vast range of Asian American experiences, heritages and contributions.

Carol Koh Evans

CFO, Executive Board

Carol Koh Evans is an experienced Finance executive with over 20 years leading emerging technology, ecommerce, and digital media companies. Carol is currently the CFO of HopSkipDrive, a leading provider of safe youth transportation matching CareDrivers with students who need rides to/from school in 21 markets across the U.S. Prior to HopSkipDrive, Carol served as CFO of Baby2Baby, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles that provides diapers, clothing and other essential items to children in need across the country. Over the last ten years, Carol has focused her time and energy supporting female founders and underrepresented entrepreneurs to scaling finance and operations at high-growth companies, including The Knot/XO Group, Tradesy, Beboe, Happiest Baby, and Sunscoop.

With her experience spanning digital media, ecommerce, CPG, and nonprofit organizations, Carol will help TeachAAPI build a strong foundation by managing operating budgets, fundraising, and scaling operations to promote teaching Asian American Pacific Islander history in schools across the U.S.

Gloria Chang Yip

Founding Board Member

Gloria is an Executive Director at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. She works with founders and entrepreneurs in the tech, healthcare, real estate, food and retail sectors, with a focus on liquidity events and multigenerational wealth transfer.  Prior to joining J.P. Morgan, Gloria worked at Cartier, where she led the Jewelry group in China, managed the Beverly Hills flagship and was responsible for client development strategy across the firm’s high net worth portfolio. She has held domestic and international brand marketing roles with PepsiCo and Procter and Gamble. In her early career, Gloria was an investment banking analyst for Merrill Lynch in the Global Energy and Power group and a Derivatives analyst in Equity Capital Markets.

Her passions include promoting Asian American interests, advocating for equal education opportunities, and connecting the art world with commerce. She is also Vice President of the board of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce Los Angeles, advisory board member to Brain Trust Founders Studio and advisor to Visionary Women. She has two young children at John Thomas Dye and Belair Presbyterian, who are equally eager to share their language, culture and heritage with the world around them.

Ellen Chen

Founding Board Member, Board Member of Mendocino Farms, Investor/Advisor

Since stepping down from the “day to day” of running Mendocino Farms, 41 unit premium fast casual gourmet sandwich and salad concept that she founded 16 years ago, Ellen has focused her time, energy and passion investing and supporting female and minority founded businesses.  Ellen is using her twenty years of experience growing food brands to help early-stage founders understand their purpose, operationalize their values, get the resources they need and hopefully avoid some of the mistakes she made. 

Ellen continues to offer the restaurant group a big business perspective with an entrepreneur’s passion. In 2015 Nation’s Restaurant News included her on their annual Power List, and 2020 Nation’s Restaurant News named her the 50 most influential women in foodservice.  She sits on the Board of Directors of the California Restaurant Association, UCSD Alumni Board of Directors and in 2017 was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to be the Entrepreneur in Residence for the city of Los Angeles.

Calvin Cheng

Founding Board Member 

Calvin Cheng has practiced corporate law for 15+ years with law firms in Beijing, Palo Alto and Los Angeles.  He is currently a partner at TroyGould, where he advises on venture financings, M&A and public offerings.  Prior to law, Calvin served as an organizer with the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Union, Local 2.  He is honored to have served the multi-racial, multi-lingual, predominantly immigrant and LGBTQ+ friendly communities of the SF Bay Area where he was born and raised.  He cherishes his past experiences organizing people from diverse backgrounds to take concerted action for a common cause (including a few labor strikes), and to have used his Chinese language capability to do so.  Calvin is the proud parent of a daughter who attended Harvard Westlake and Westridge School for Girls, and a son who currently attends Harvard Westlake.  You may catch his daughter on the banks of the Charles River studying the works of Toni Morrison, global health policy and Asian American literature or his son performing with his jazz combo at a local LA farmers’ market near you.

Katie Chin

Founding Board Member

Celebrity Chef Katie Chin is an Award-winning cookbook author, caterer (Wok Star Catering) and blogger.   Katie has been featured in many publications such as USA Today, O Magazine, Cooking Light, Bon Appetit, Elle, Real Simple, The Wall Street Journal, HuffPost and Epicurious.   Her numerous appearances on national television include Live with Kelly & Ryan, The Real, The Today Show, Hallmark Channel, Cooking Channel, Cutthroat Kitchen, Beat Bobby Flay, ABC’s Localish, Supermarket Stakeout and as a guest judge on Food Network’s Iron Chef America.  In 2013, Katie was a featured chef at the annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House under the Obama administration.  Her fifth cookbook “Katie Chin’s Global Family Cookbook” was released in June 2021.

She is a fierce advocate of promoting #AAPI interests by serving as Co-Chair of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s #AAPILA Task Force. She is also passionate about her philanthropic endeavors by serving as the Culinary Ambassador to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation and as SW Regional Ambassador to Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. Katie’s One Woman Show “Holy Shitake: A Wok Star is Born” is currently in development at Theater Mu, an AAPI Theater based in her hometown of Mpls. In her spare time, Katie throws karaoke dinner parties and performs in the band she formed with her hubby during the Pandemic, “Never Too Late.” Katie’s 14 year-old twins attend Calabasas High School. Katie and her daughter Becca’s Facebook livestreaming show “Cooking with Katie and Becca” (featured on ABC, New York Live and Today in LA) airs every Sunday at 5pm PST.

Maya Dharwarkar

Founding Board Member

Maya Dharwarkar is a Los Angeles native, graduate of Marlborough School, UCLA, and Harvard Law School, and current Brentwood School parent. She is a seasoned litigator, providing litigation, risk management services and litigation counseling to the Wonderful Company LLC and affiliates. Maya is the past President of Brentwood School’s Parents Association (Lower School, 2020-2021), Current Brentwood School Parents Association Executive Board Member (2019- present), and current member of Marlborough School’s Alumnae Board (2021-present). Maya is passionate about bringing an anti-racism and DEI lens to every table and igniting ideas and aspirations into tangible change. She is excited to work with TeachAAPI to broader AAPI representation in school curricula and inspire AAPI children and their families to advocate for themselves and others.

Serena Ling Minikes

Founding Board Member

Serena grew up in San Francisco, earned an Economics degree from Cal Berkeley and her MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Serena spent 20 years imagining, creating and growing products and brands. From nurturing multiple categories within the Neutrogena global portfolio to taking Honest Beauty from idea to shelf, Serena has defined her career by helping brands achieve seemingly impossible goals by thinking, planning and acting strategically. 

Serena has three young children at the Willows Community School and Little Dolphins by the Sea Preschool. Bringing tiny humans into this world reshuffled her priorities and deepened a sense of responsibility for future generations.  Serena serves on the Willows Board of Trustees and is a Co-Chair on the Library and Communication Committees of TeachAAPI.

Amita Ramesh

Founding Board Member

Amita is a Los Angeles native and alumna of Chadwick School, UCLA and Georgetown Law School. Amita is a current parent at Curtis School (6th and 3rd grade) and Brentwood Sunshine Preschool. After leaving the practice of corporate law, Amita has focused on enriching her community and her childrens’ school communities. Amita has served in volunteer leadership roles at her childrens’ schools and is currently serving a second year on the Curtis Parents Association Executive Committee. Amita has conceptualized, organized and led cultural celebrations for Diwali at her childrens’ schools for years and has a passion for sharing cultural traditions with her friends and her childrens’ friends. Outside of school, Amita serves as an ambassador for the “Power of Words” by Thale Blanc, a fashion brand focused on raising awareness around mental health issues. She has also sat on the Independent School Alliance Advisory Committee and Event planning committee. Amita is excited to join Teach AAPI in raising awareness of AAPI education as part of every child’s education and to share her rich cultural experiences as well as learn about other AAPI cultural traditions and histories.

Hamdeep Singh

Founding Board Member

Hamdeep Singh grew up in Central Valley California. Having completed her education at UCLA and medical school at Kasturba Medical College, India, she saw the positive impact education can have on an individual. Therefore, it has been important to her to be involved in her children’s education in independent schools. She was the Executive Board Member as Secretary of Forest Ridge Academy (FRA) in Schererville, IN. She served diligently for six years in advocating for teachers and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. She was the founding member of the Parent Club Organization at FRA, and served as Vice President for two years. She was the founder of commemorating International Peace Day annually at FRA, which strengthens the ideals of peace making among students’ community and world. With her background as a medical doctor, Hamdeep has had several publications related to topics of Family Medicine.

Hamdeep has two children, Sehanjot, a ninth grader at Brentwood School, and Asmanideep, a fifth grader at John Thomas Dye School. She hopes to continue advocating for diversity and equity in Los Angeles schools.

Brooke Thatawat

Founding Board Member

Brooke Thatawat has been in the Film & Television Industry as a Costume Supervisor and Costume Designer for over 25 years. She has two young children at The Buckley School and this has led to her involvement in AAPI causes and activism. She is determined to make our schools and community a better place for Asian children compared to her personal experience as a student in Los Angeles. She is also a founder of DINE-1-1, a non-profit born out of the pandemic focused on helping front line workers and restaurant industries.

Jeanne Yang

Founding Board Member

Jeanne Yang has been one of the world’s top fashion stylists for 20+ years. She began her career as the Managing Editor and Associate Publisher at Detour Magazine. Since focusing her career on freelance fashion styling many years ago, Yang has amassed an incredible roster of clientele. She currently works with A-list talent including Christian Bale, Robert Downey Jr., Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Jamie Dornan, Kumail Nanjiani, Anthony Mackie, Colin Farrell, and more. She has contributed to top publications such as GQ, InStyle, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Esquire, and Vogue and continues to consult for major fashion and cosmetic companies on their national advertising campaigns. In her new role at Anonymous Content, Jeanne is managing directors and actors, developing and producing TV and films and as she continues to consult with major brands and style her top clients.

Jennifer Yen

Founding Board Member

As a mother and an entrepreneur, Yen is passionate about supporting women, children, education and mentorship. She is on the Leadership team of Visionary Women, on the host committee of Rise of the Female entrepreneur, host for Children Action Network, Curtis Celebrates Chair, Judge for Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year and a member of YPO Hollywood. Yen also gives back to the beauty industry yearly. Donating to Look Good Feel Better and Dress For Success with her brands. International Women’s Day is an important day for YENSA, as the brand regularly partners with Dress for Success, a charity that inspires women to seek economic independence.