AHN Top 50 Unsung Heroes 2022

Chloe Chan & Anna Huang, Cofounders of Mott Street Girls

Chloe and Anna are the cofounders of Mott Street Girls and second-generation Chinese Americans. They cofounded Mott Street Girls during the COVID-19 pandemic to make Chinese American history more accessible, amplify AAPI voices and help struggling small businesses in the community.

Carol Chen, Founder of Maskela

Carol is an award-winning fashion designer and serial entrepreneur who has built five businesses, including having started a fashion label in LA, built a uniform factory in China, designed an MMA brand in Hong Kong, and established Singapore’s top designer rental company which dressed the stars in the movie “Crazy Rich Asians.” Carol also created Maskela, a brand of luxury face masks

Alex Chester, Editor-in-Chief of Mixed Asian Media

Alex is an Actor and the EIC of Mixed Asian Media – A Collaborative Media Platform for Mixed APIs, recognized by the Nielsen Consumer Report on Asian Americans. She is also the Director of Mixed Asian Media Fest – a creative festival celebrating mixed APIs.

Phoenix Chiang, Co-Founder of Odeka.io, Typhoon Investment, FNX Partners Real Estate

Phoenix co-founded Odeka.io, an e-commerce data services company, with her husband and a team of strong developers. She continues to create a positive impact in the Asian American community by encouraging others to learn more about themselves.

Sam Cho, Commissioner of Port of Seattle

Sam Cho currently serves as the Commissioner of the Port of Seattle, which operates the country’s 4th largest container port and 8th busiest airport. Sam was elected to this position by voters in 2019 at the age of just 29, making him the youngest port commissioner in its 111 year history.

Angelina Hong, Owner & Founder of Gourmand Group

Gourmand Group was ultimately created so Angelina could serve as many people as possible while maintaining her core values. She thinks it’s of utmost importance to keep the food industry accountable and to share the stories and food of thought leaders in a respectful and responsible manner.

May Lee, Founder & CEO of Lotus Media House

May Lee is an award-winning broadcast journalist, host of “The May Lee Show,” adjunct professor at USC, and founder of Lotus Media House who has been a US-based and international anchor, host, correspondent and producer.

Youngwon Lee, Chief Dokkaebi

Youngwon Lee is the Founder and CEO of Dokkaebier. He brought his Asian-inspired creation Dokkaebier to fruition in 2020, with a mission of bringing innovation and much-needed diversity to the craft beer scene.

Brandon Leung, Founder of Baisun Candle Co.

Baisun Candle Co. hand pours soy candles inspired by nostalgic cultural Asian scents. Since Baisun Candle Co.’s inception in 2020, the Company is incredibly fortunate to have such tremendous support from the AAPI community and can’t wait to create more iconic scents for everyone to experience.

Cindy Li, Founder & Tea-EO of Uproot Teas

Cindy always thought she would build an ethical tea business, but thought she had to wait until retirement to do something that fun. After working in management consulting at Bain & Company and volunteering at her local farmers markets, she realized she had the tools & inspiration she needed to do it now.

Kevin Li, Magician of Kevin Li Magic

Kevin has made an impressionable mark on the magic industry as the Youngest Returner and Fooler on the widely celebrated and respected TV show “Penn & Teller Fool Us” and one of the youngest adult members at the world famous “Magic Castle” in Los Angeles.

Willow Li, Founder of Ayi, PBC

Willow Li is the founder of AyiConnect, a culturally inclusive care platform to provide job opportunities to helpers from diverse Asian cultures and backgrounds. Passionate about her clients and helpers, she has spent countless hours designing and improving the platform which has enabled thousands of helpers to find positions with great families.

Jack Liang, AAPI Community Leader

When hate crimes against Asians were spiking across the US, Jack left his job at Instagram and became the founding organizer of the Rally Against Hate, the largest ever recorded Asian-American rally, which in March of 2021 brought over ten thousand people together in Manhattan to stand in solidarity against AAPI hate crimes.

Megan Liang, Director of External Relations of The Asian Americans with Disabilities Initiative (AADI)

AADI is an organization that aims to create space to explore the ways in which disability and Asian American identity intersect. Joining AADI’s executive team has empowered her to advocate for the disabled Asian American community and herself.

Nelson Lin, Educator at Subtle Real Estate

Nelson helps the AAPI community get from 0 to 1 in Real Estate with over 12,000 members in Subtle Asian Real Estate group.

Robert Lowe, Co-Founder of United Peace Collaborative

In March 2020, Robert and his partner, Leanna Louie, started patrolling in San Francisco Chinatown due to the rise in hate crimes at the beginning of the pandemic. They quickly formed United Peace Collaborative and got the message out on social media, which attracted many volunteers to patrol with them.

Raymond Luu, Podcaster at Fung Jen Productions

Raymond is an active member serving the AAPI community starting his time with Project by Project, and now working with Hate Is A Virus. As a passion, Raymond produces a show called Reel Asian Podcast, which discusses Asian diaspora films and its impacts on the Asian American experience.

Mike Mak, TPS Motorsports

Mike decided to chase his dream and passion for cars. He started TPS Motorsports to see if he could make a living from it. Fifteen years later, TPS is one of the most successful auto parts resellers and installers for American Muscle Cars in the world, in an industry where he is 1 of only 3 Asian American owners.

Jennilynn Nguyen, Em Collective

With her entrepreneurial mindset, Jennilynn co-founded a multi-media events & media production company and also started a non-profit called Em Collective, empowering Asians to embrace the Asian culture through storytelling.

Raquel Olsson, Motherbot

Raquel Olsson is a mindset and lifestyle content creator, and former national television news anchor. Passionate about the power of mentality and unlocking one’s inner potential, her videos explore mental hacks and life advice, with a focus on emotional intelligence and growth mindset.

Yobe Qiu, CEO of By Yobe Qiu, Inc

Yobe Qiu is an educator and serial entrepreneur from NYC. Having worked as a preschool owner, a business consultant, and a bestselling author, Yobe is no stranger to the business world. Her passion for writing, education, and diversity has led her to many incredible opportunities.

Ashlyn So, Fashion Designer & Youth Activist

Ashlyn So is a 14-year-old fashion designer, and accidental activist. She has organized two rallies. Today, Ashlyn continues to spread her message of inclusion, unity, and love through large platforms as well as local acts of kindness. Her hope is to bring visibility through representation of the AAPI community to others.

Mylen Yamamoto Tansingco, Founder of Clique-Now

Mylen is the founder of Cropsticks as well as a Talent Manager and Producer for top digital influencers and CEOs at the boutique talent management firm, Clique-Now. In 2020, the firm was recognized as a Top Management Company by Business Insider.

Tuan Tu, Broker and CEO of Statewide Mortgage Services

Tuan Tu is a Real Estate and Mortgage Broker. He also volunteers his time as a Basketball Coach and a Scout Master. Tuan often donates back to the community and employs Veterans at his company.

Kevin Wong, Co-founder of Lunar

Kevin is the co-founder of Lunar, an award-winning craft hard seltzer made with real fruits from Asia. He is also an investing partner at Lorimer Ventures where he backs early stage B2B SaaS startups, with a personal focus on supporting AAPI and minority founders.

Randall Yip, Founder & Editor of AsAmNews

Randall Yip launched AsAmNews 9 years ago to fill the void left by the closure of several Asian American media outlets. Since then, it has grown from a one-person operation to a staff of 18 people.

Urooj Alam, Urooj Photography

Urooj Alam is a portrait photographer living in Frisco, TX with her two children, a cat, and a dog. Urooj specializes in providing a fun, laid-back experience with authentic moments captured in clean, modern imagery. She began photography after quitting her teaching profession to become a stay-at-home mom.

Justin Chang, President of Asian Creative Network

Justin Chang is a 25-year old Korean American living in New York City. Justin is the President of Asian Creative Network (ACN), a community of over 50,000 Asian Creatives of all different creative mediums in over 25 city chapters across the globe. Asian Creative Network aims to connect and empower Asian Creatives by providing an inclusive, global platform and resources for active community building, collaboration, and growth. In his free time, Justin enjoys writing music in his home studio, singing songs to his dog Waffle, and making himself some coffee or tea to unwind.

William Chiem, B2B Ecosystem Builder of GritEquity

William Chiem serves as the Head of Business Development at Ardius, a Gusto Company. Head of BD may mean many things in the startup tech world, but his role holds responsibilities of an intrapreneur developing sales and channel partnership strategies. While unconventional for many Asian professionals, he started his B2B sales career over a decade ago breaking barriers and norms. He also participated as a Founding Co-Lead for an Asian ERG and continue to evangelize ERGs.

Maria-Kassandra Endaya Coronel, Founding Chief Executive Officer of Coronel-Endaya Foundation

Dr. Coronel is currently a global merit scholar at Harvard Medical School for postgraduate research training with a concentration in clinical epidemiology. When she is not at the hospital or clinic, Dr. Coronel works with her sister – Mia-Kyla Endaya Coronel – through their 501(c)3 nonprofit philanthropic organization, the Coronel-Endaya Foundation, to fund and deliver charitable services, provide scholarships to promising young children, and lend a helping hand in promoting education for indigent, under-served and in-need people.

Mia-Kyla Endaya Coronel, Co-Founder of Coronel-Endaya Foundation

Mia-Kyla Endaya Coronel, BSN, RN, TCRN has been honored with the Sharp HealthCare Guardian Angel Award for her excellent bedside care. Currently, Mia-Kyla simultaneously works as a full-time Intensive Care Unit nurse and studies as a graduate student to obtain her Master’s of Science in Advanced Practice Nursing of Adults. On her free time, she functions as the founding Secretary of the Coronel-Endaya Foundation. She believes we should never underestimate the difference one can make in the lives of others.

Nathaniel Epstein, Attorney

As a healthcare attorney, Nathaniel provides legal assistance and advocates for hospitals. As President of the Los Alamitos Youth Center (LAYC), Nathaniel oversees and manages the Board of Directors in providing after school programs and activities for children in the community.

Will Lex Ham, National Community Organizer

Will Lex Ham is a community organizer who had volunteered full time for over 2 years to activate the very broad and diverse Asian American community and led marches and rallies around the country to stand up against anti-Asian Hate and Violence.

Christy Innouvong-Thornton, Founder of Tuk Tuk Box

Christy is a Lao American daughter of refugees. She is the Founder of Tuk Tuk Box and co-founder of Courageous Kitchen, a 501c3 charity for internationally displaced persons, including survivors of forced migration and trauma. She is also a recipient of the ACE Next Gen 2021 Pathfinder award.  

Jessalin Lam, Co-Founder of Asians in Advertising

Jessalin Lam is currently the VP Member Development and Diversity at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), where she leads the learning and development department integrating DEI into everything they do. She is also the co-founder of Asians in Advertising, a non-profit organization focused on growing an inclusive community by connecting Asians in the advertising industry, elevating them to the next level in their career, and shining a light on them.

Joyce Lam, Executive Director of Kaimore

Joyce Lam launched Kaimore in 2020 to provide essential financial and career training to the most vulnerable individuals affected by the pandemic. Since then, they have been growing exponentially and helped over 1750 Angelenos improve their economic stability.

Kristyn Leach, Second Generation Seeds

Kristyn lives and works in California’s Central Valley, growing crops of the Korean diaspora. Her project, Second Generation Seeds preserves, adapts and imagines new cultural foodways and agricultural methods through focusing on our relationships to seeds.

Victoria Lee & Jennifer Tam, Co-Founders of Welcome to Chinatown

Victoria Lee and Jennifer Tam, two Asian American women living in Chinatown, knew that small businesses were integral in preserving this culturally significant ethnic enclave for future generations. Welcome to Chinatown centers its mission on empowering small business owners, fellow community partners, and other marginalized voices through its relief and innovation programs, outreach, and storytelling.

Ennie Lim, CEO & Co-Founder of HoneyBee

Ennie Lim is the CEO and co-founder of HoneyBee, HoneyBee was the result of Ennie’s journey through her own personal financial challenges and it made her want to help others take control of theirs by providing tools for working Americans to manage their finances better and thrive without the distraction of financial distress. HoneyBee is a Certified Benefit Corporation that allows employers to provide free and equal access to financial tools in the workplace.

Akemi Look, Actor, Activist, Community Organizer

Akemi Look is an actor, writer, and producer based in Los Angeles. She is a fierce advocate for the Asian American community and a champion for Asian American stories told on-screen. In addition to organizing community rallies and distributing pepper spray to Asian women, Akemi has spoken at art and activism events such as WE RISE, INTO ACTION, and THE COSMOS as an advocate for survivors of sexual abuse, and has appeared on ABC’s 20/20 sharing her story as a Larry Nassar survivor.

Salong Namsa, Laos Supply

A Culture and Community builder for Lao and Southeast Asians.

Lynn Nguyen, Young Adult Librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library

Lynn Nguyen leads popular programs including career workshops for the Teen Council and a Teens Leading Change project that delivers free groceries to seniors impacted by food insecurity. Lynn is committed to raising awareness about mental health and advocates for #StopAAPIHate. In 2021, she was honored as a “KNX Helpful Honda Hero” for her positive energy and dedication to serving the community.

Brian Pang, Product Development Director at Electronic Arts

Brian Pang serves as a Product Director at Electronic Arts, working on EA SPORTS products. Over his 17+ year tenure with EA, Brian has helped teams deliver over 40 AAA game titles, and the development of relatable, safe, inclusive player experiences. He also serves as the Global Board Chair for ASPIRE, EA’s Asian, Native Hawai’ian, & Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group with 1,500 members across 5 continents.

Tu David Phu, Chef

Bravo’s Top Chef Alumnus, Tu David Phu, is a Vietnamese-American chef from Oakland. His extensive resume reflects a wide range of interesting experiences centered around food; cutting his culinary teeth in the kitchens of some of the nation’s top restaurants; cooking with incarcerated men in San Quentin Penitentiary; his role as co-executive producer for Bloodline, a film about his family and food prejudice; to his advisory work for Real Food Real Stories to help democratize food injustices; to being a community ambassador in Oakland and working with the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.

Sam Tanabe, Mixed Asian Media

Sam Tanabe is an actor, writer, and managing editor for Mixed Asian Media. Struggling to find his identity as a mixed-race performer led him to develop Mixed Asian Media alongside Alex Chester. He was part of the original Broadway company of Allegiance, the musical inspired by George Takei’s experience in the Japanese internment camps.

Jeremy Tran, Executive Director of Gold House

Jeremy is the Executive Director of Gold House, the leading Asian and Pacific Islander (API) changemaker community. Gold House unites APIs and other marginalized communities to fight for social justice; champions authentic API representation to reshape public opinion, and accelerates economic success and commercial representation through API founders.

Paul Thien Tran, Servant & Entrepreneur at Crypto Badger Clan

Paul Thien Tran grew brands like Freshii, Elevation Burger, and many other case studies in between. He currently co-owns The Halal Guys, their largest franchisee; and runs a $15 million operation. In addition, he writes, consults, directs a nonprofit, and is building an NFT collection for creators and newbies to the space.