National CAPACD Staff
Photo by Les Talusan
Seema Agnani has nearly 20 years of experience working in the community development and immigrant rights sectors, focused primarily on the challenges of providing housing, economic opportunity, and support systems for new immigrants. She is a founder and former Executive Director of Chhaya CDC, a member of National CAPACD that works with New Yorkers of South Asian origin to advocate for and build economically stable, sustainable, and thriving communities. Chhaya CDC reaches thousands of new immigrants each year through its organizing, education, and service work. She was formerly the Coordinating Consultant to the Fund for New Citizens at The New York Community Trust, where she managed a donor collaborative of more than 20 foundations supporting immigrant rights work in New York City. Seema also served as the Director of Training and Technical Assistance at Citizens Committee for NYC, developing the core training curriculum and implementation of a capacity building program to support volunteer-run organizations addressing poverty and hunger. She began her work in New York City with Asian Americans for Equality where she stayed for eight years, initially as a project manager developing affordable housing, and later in other roles including fundraising, communications, and coordinating the Lower Manhattan Health Care Coalition. Her parents emigrated from India in the mid-sixties to Chicago where she was raised and earned a Masters in Urban Planning and Public Policy.
So Yeon has several years of experience in outreach, program development and management and community organizing, particularly in Asian American communities. Most recently, she managed both an anti-trafficking and preventive domestic violence outreach programs at New York Asian Women’s Center. So Yeon also served on the board of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum- DC Chapter from 2006 to 2008 and helped to organize events and mobilize communities of color around platform issues areas such as immigrant rights and reproductive justice. So Yeon holds a Master of Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and a B.A. in International Studies from American University.
Nahida Uddin currently serves as National CAPACD’s Membership & Communications Manager. Nahida is originally from NYC, where she worked for several years as a Community Organizer at Chhaya CDC, a member of National CAPACD that works with New Yorkers of South Asian origin to advocate for and build economically stable, sustainable, and thriving communities. She has a BA in History & International Studies from Fordham University and an MA in South Asian Studies from Columbia University.
Annie Xiao, Policy and Civic Engagement Program Assistant
A native of San Francisco from a family that emigrated from China, Annie knows first-hand the struggles of finding affordable housing and the importance of community based organizations. She joins National CAPACD after having worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agriculture Service as an intern over the past few years supporting research, inter-agency convenings, and outreach efforts. She also previously interned at the DC Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (OAPIA) as the community outreach intern, focusing on outreach efforts to local businesses and AAPI stakeholders to inform them about the new District initiatives. She provided English to Chinese translation assistance, planned community engagement events for youth, and developed an agency newsletter for District community members. She has also helped coordinate community events for the 1882 Foundation, a project foundation that seeks to broaden public awareness of the history and continuing significance of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. She is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz and fluent in Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese).
Originally from Houston, Texas, Kelley worked in her hometown for over five years at the Chinese Community Center, promoting important issues that were key to the Asian community there. As a 3.5 generation Chinese-American, she was first exposed to AAPI issues while studying for her Bachelors in Social Work at The University of Texas. Impassioned to learn more about advocating for her community, she completed her Master of Social Work degree at Washington University in St. Louis. Kelley is passionate about advocacy, giving back to her community and volunteering - in her spare time, she runs for causes that are close to her heart, and has been a Big Sister through the Big Sisters Big Brothers program for over five years.
Lauri comes to National CAPACD most recently from the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) and Congresswoman Grace Meng, where she worked on a range of legislative and policy issues surrounding low-income AAPI communities. She is a graduate of New York University and moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue law at American University, focusing on financial services regulation and consumer protection. Lauri has also worked for the New York State Office of the Attorney General in the Investor Protection Bureau, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the House Committee on Financial Services under Ranking Member Maxine Waters where she focused on housing finance, consumer protection, and capital markets issues. During her free time, Lauri loves to practice yoga. She is a certified instructor and teaches yoga classes regularly around Washington, D.C.
Anj joins National CAPACD from CAAAV: Organizing Asian communities in New York City, where as Lead Organizer, they organized Asian immigrant communities in public housing and fought for a resident- led rezoning of Chinatown. Prior to CAAAV, Anj served as the Lead Organizer at Chhaya CDC, where they worked with South Asian tenants and homeowners facing foreclosure. In addition to organizing around housing and economic justice, Anj has advocated for LGBTQ rights, including winning two same sex marriage campaigns in Minnesota, and serving on the Board of Directors for the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance. Anj began their career at South Asian Americans Leading Together, where they conducted outreach to South Asians in Maryland after the 2008 recession. When not organizing, Anj can be found cooking, practicing meditation, and studying ayurvedic medicine.
Jane has a wealth of knowledge in housing, pre-purchase and foreclosure counseling, and financial education in low-income communities of color. She has developed and implemented programs addressing the financial and asset development needs in the Latino community through housing counseling at Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) in California. Jane is a NeighborWorks Certified Housing Counselor and Foreclosure Intervention & Default Counselor. She also is a trainer for the National Council of La Raza in pre-purchase counseling and education. She comes to National CAPACD with experience at one of our founding member organizations having spent several years working as the Property Management Assistant at Chinatown Community Development Center in San Francisco. Jane graduated from University of California, Berkeley with High Honors in Sociology and received her Master of Public Administration from New York University's Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.
Josh has more than a dozen years of experience in building nonprofit housing and community facilities. He was most recently Director of Real Estate Development at one of National CAPACD’s founding member organizations— Little Tokyo Service Center in Los Angeles, California—and partnered with a number of National CAPACD members in the Los Angeles region in community development projects. Josh has a joint JD and Masters in Urban Planning from UCLA and is based out of National CAPACD's West Coast office.
Alvina currently serves as National CAPACD’s Housing Program Manager. In this capacity, she works directly with CAPACD’s portfolio of local housing counseling organizations to provide technical assistance and oversight through site visits, regular communication and program evaluation activities, and assists in coordinating grant awards and reports to funders. Prior to National CAPACD, Alvina worked as the Operations Manager and a Homeownership/Rental Counselor for Asian Community Development Corporation (Asian CDC), a non-profit community organization in Boston, MA. Through Asian CDC’s Comprehensive Housing Opportunities Program, she helped facilitate and teach sections of the first-time homebuyer class and provided rental counseling assistance to Cantonese-speaking clients. She also managed day-to-day office operations, which included human resources duties, board liaison, communications, and bookkeeping. Alvina graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a BA in Geography and a minor in Political Science, and received her Master of Regional Planning from Cornell University.
Jennet Sambour, Director of Finance and Operations
Jennet is originally from Rhode Island. She worked at the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) in Washington DC, first as the Women’s Leadership Advocate before transitioning to Director of Operations and Resource Development. As Director of Operations and Resource Development, Jennet directed financial operations, coordinated fundraising activities, and created internal organizational infrastructure. During graduate school, she interned with PATH, an international health nonprofit, in Cambodia. She also was a graduate extern with the Office of Leadership and Organization Development at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. She has a BA from Brown University and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.
Gabriela currently serves as National CAPACD’s Housing Program Coordinator, supporting a portfolio of community-based organizations in the development and implementation of housing counseling related activities. In her two years with the organization, Gabriela has also played an integral role in the development and implementation of National CAPACD's asset building, small business and community development programs. Prior to joining National CAPACD, Gabriela was an Economic Development and Research Intern at Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), responsible for community outreach, event planning, and data collection within the city's Little Saigon neighborhood. Gabriela has also worked with the US Food and Drug Administration through the Student Pathways Program. She graduated from Seattle University with a BA in Public Affairs and a minor in Sociology.
Christina joins the team at National CAPACD from Project Sentinel, where, as the Fair Housing Testing and Outreach Coordinator, she was responsible for investigating housing discrimination allegations, and building lasting partnerships with local community agencies and stakeholders throughout several Northern California counties. Prior to Project Sentinel, Christina researched barriers in communication between various discourse communities, specifically between that of academia and community practitioners, for the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research. Christina is from Berkeley, California and graduated from University of California, Davis, with a BS in Community and Regional Development, and minor in Asian American Studies.