National CAPACD Staff


National CAPACD Staff at 2015 Annual Convention
Photo by Les Talusan
Since 2000, Lisa has led National CAPACD's efforts to be a powerful voice for the unique community development needs of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. She is the former Chair for the National Council for Asian Pacific Americans and currently serves on the Board of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. In 2003, Lisa was a Fellow in the Rockefeller Foundation's Next Generation Leadership Program.

Prior to joining National CAPACD, Lisa was the Community Liaison for the White House Initiative on AAPIs where she worked to involve and inform AAPI community groups across the country about Initiative activities. She also worked for the U.S. DHHS Health Resources and Services Administration and the Office of Minority Health. Lisa previously worked at two community health centers serving low-income AAPIs in Los Angeles and Oakland, California.

Seema Agnani, Director of Policy and Civic Engagement

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.

Melvin Tabilas, Senior Government Affairs Advisor

Melvin has served as a Legislative Assistant for Congressman Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, advising the Congressman on legislative matters pertaining to transportation, agriculture, taxes, budget, appropriations, trade, immigration, tourism, labor, small business, the Asian Pacific Islander community, and other issues. He also worked previously as a Field Deputy for Congressman Xavier Becerra of California and a Field Representative for California State Senator Debra Bowen. Melvin has a Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

So Yeon Kang, Events and Fundraising Manager

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. 
Jeanelle Sáles, Administrative Assistant

Jeanelle has been able to gain experience in various areas with her experience in human resources, healthcare, finance, and payroll. With a B.A. in Humanities and working towards an MBA, she strives to use her experience and knowledge, so she can continue to serve and build others. As a Filipino-American and local native of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area, Jeanelle is honored to currently serve as the administrative assistant for National CAPACD.

Nahida Uddin currently serves as National CAPACD’s Membership & Communications Coordinator.  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.  


West Coast Office

Jane Duong, Director of Programs and Advocacy

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 Ishimatsu, Director of Research and Capacity Building

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 Condon, Housing Program Coordinator

Alvina joined National CAPACD in September 2012.  As the Housing Program Coordinator she oversees CAPACD’s Housing Counseling Program.  In this capacity, she works directly with National 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.  In prior roles 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  that develops affordable housing and provides housing counseling 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, a native San Franciscan, 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.

Joyce Pisnanont, Deputy Director of Programs

Joyce Pisnanont has over 15 years of experience working with Asian Pacific Islander community development organizations, including for several National CAPACD members in New York, California and Washington. Most recently, Joyce worked with Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority as the Director of IDEA Space – an economic development resource and design center. Her previous experiences have ranged from fund development and grants management, to advocacy and community organizing, to establishing and growing programs that build local leadership capacity. Joyce is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley’s Masters in Social Welfare program.

Jennet Sambour, Business Manager

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 Program Assistant where she will be providing support to the housing counseling network and our growing programs in financial capability, asset building, small business and community development. Prior to working at National CAPACD, Gabriela was an Economic Development and Research Intern at Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda).  At this position she gained experience in community outreach, event planning, and data collection.  She worked primarily with the Vietnamese community in Seattle's Little Saigon.  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.

Lailan Huen, Community Development & Organizing Manager

Lailan Sandra Huen has been a community organizer for over 15 years working to build people power through leadership development, political campaigns, civic engagement, strategic communications, participatory action research, and grassroots coalition-building.  She served as Senior Field Representative for Assemblymember Sandré Swanson on affordable housing, foreclosure prevention, public education, youth services, and community development in the Bay Area, and was a political consultant for measures and candidates with top progressive firm SG&A Campaigns in Los Angeles.  As a Research Fellow at the DataCenter, she developed curriculum, led trainings, and empowered students to elevate their voices for system-wide changes in the Oakland Unified School District.  She founded youth leadership and afterschool arts programs in East Oakland, and served as a Board Member for Youth Together, a multiracial education justice organization, for six years.  During her six years living in New York City, she worked on campaigns for immigrant rights, labor rights, and criminal justice reform.  Proud to be born and raised in Oakland, Lailan holds a Bachelors in Asian American Studies and Urban Studies from Columbia University and a Masters in Media Studies from The New School.

Brian provides support for programs in the areas of housing counseling, asset building, small business and community development. Prior to working at National CAPACD, he interned at the U.S. Department of Defense assisting senior military officials manage U.S. security alliances with South Korea and Japan. Having developed a passion for public service through an internship with OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates during college, Brian interned for other affirmative action internship programs with the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership and Korean American Coalition – Los Angeles. Brian graduated from American University with a BA in International Relations.