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About: Our Story


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As an all-volunteer organization, Central California Asian Pacific Women (CCAPW) remains a dynamic space for new leaders and ideas to emerge. The current board of directors reflects the diversity of the API community in the Central Valley, with both emerging and seasoned community leaders possessing a wide range of professional experience both locally and statewide. These women are committed to strengthening the organization as vehicle for API women’s empowerment in the Central Valley.



Central California Asian Pacific Women (CCAPW) was founded in 1980 and continues to thrive as the only pan-Asian women’s organization addressing the needs and concerns of API women in the Central Valley. Over the years, CCAPW has diversified across cultures and generations, with a multiethnic group of young, middle-aged, and elderly women have emerged in the past few years to lead the organization. We are also proud that we are beginning to reap the fruits of our labors in that several past scholarship recipients have now advanced in their professional careers and have become re-engaged with CCAPW as board members, funders, volunteers, and speakers. We hope to continue to build on this momentum and continue to be a crucial resource and support network that crosses generational and ethnic lines.

Since 1980, CCAPW has awarded more than $350,000 in scholarships to women and girls pursuing higher education, and this year, awarded its highest annual scholarship total of $25,000. The scholarship funds are raised every year from grants, individual donations, and revenues from special events. A majority of our scholarship recipients are from low-income, refugee families and are among the first women in their families to attend college. We are extremely proud to see our investments return in these young leaders who come back to the community and cite CCAPW as part of their early success.

To promote sustainability and to bridge the gap between young and old, the organization has successfully recruited a younger generation of emerging leaders with deep roots in the Central Valley. We hope to build on our rich history of women leaders and continue to recruit and retain a broad cross-section of leaders from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

2024 Board of Directors

President: Joanne Lai, Licensed Psychotherapist (Term began: 2022)

Joanne is a psychotherapist. She specializes in mind-body approaches in the areas of trauma, stress-related struggles, relationship challenges, and cultural issues. Her main passions are supporting women to find safety and comfort in their own bodies, reconnect to their authentic selves, and reclaim their voices.  As a Taiwanese and Chinese-Thai female immigrant growing up in Asian and Western countries, Joanne has a unique perspective in her work with the API community and with the clients she serves. Joanne is also a Gyrotonic® Movement Instructor at her private studio in Fresno. In her free time, she enjoys exploring new foods, traveling, being in nature, and spending time with her family and pets.

Vice President: Dr. Dana Riley, Child Psychologist (Term began: 2021)

Dana is a Child Psychologist who specializes in Infant Mental Health for children 0 to 5 years old. She describes herself as a hapa (multiracial) Japanese-Portuguese, cisgender woman from Hawaii. Her favorite thing about her culture is the food, particularly malasadas (Portuguese donuts) and andagi (Okinawa donuts) – both fried dough, both have no hole!

TreasurerMaybo Heu, Nurse Practitioner (Term began: 2021)

Maybo is a Nurse Practitioner in the Central Valley and is honored to serve on the CCAPW Board of Directors as the Treasurer. She is a first-generation Hmong American woman who believes in empowering AAPI women through higher education. Maybo’s other community work includes working with local community-based organizations to advocate for health and wellness in the AAPI community. 

SecretaryJennifer Xiong (Term began: 2024)

Bio coming soon 

Board Member: Dr. Varaxy Yi, Associate Professor, California State University, Fresno (Term began: 2021)

Varaxy Yi is an associate professor of Higher Education Administration and Leadership at Fresno State. She also serves as the Director of the Research Center and is a core faculty member in the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. As a first-generation Khmer American graduate and faculty, Varaxy is committed to advancing knowledge to serve racially minoritized communities, specifically Southeast Asian American (SEAA) students. She appreciates the collectivism within her Khmer community and how we show love for each other through food and nourishment.

Board Member: Dr. Vicky Xiong-Lor, Lecturer at Kremen School of Education & Human Development, California Sate University, Fresno (Term began: 2022)

Vicky has a passion for preserving languages for future generations. Her work in Hmong language reclamation has been instrumental in developing Hmong language, literacy, culture, and history standards and Hmong-centric ethnic studies curriculum for Hmong teachers nationwide. Vicky is also a member of the National Hmong Educator Coalition and serves as a Hmong language consultant and Hmong-centric ethnic studies curriculum leader where she works with teachers across the nation in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and California under the non-profit organization, MN Zej Zog. Alongside teaching full-time as a World Language teacher at Clovis High School and Buchanan High School in the Clovis Unified School District, she is a Hmong language consultant for three charter schools in Minnesota. In addition, Vicky prepares future Hmong teachers to teach in the dual language immersion programs and high school world language classrooms in the Central Valley in the Hmong Bilingual Authorization Program (Hmong BAP) at Fresno State. 

Board Member: Dr. Ahran Koo, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Art Education, California State University, Fresno (Term began: 2023)

Ahran is an associate professor of art education at Fresno State. As a first-generation Korean immigrant artist and art educator, she promotes the efficacy of art to address cultural and social awareness. Locally and globally, she focuses on Asian art and culture, socially engaged and community art, and critical multiculturalism, encourages interdisciplinary collaboration through civic engagement, and advocates culturally responsive/sustaining pedagogy.

Board Member: Audrey Tan, Physical Therapist (Term began: 2023)

Audrey is the owner of Body Ease Physical Therapy and Yoga, and has been helping people improve their health and wellness for more than 20 years. She is a licensed physical therapist, specializing in Fascial Counterstrain, and a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Audrey is a first-generation Chinese-American, who has a strong desire to support and empower others through education, wellness, collaboration and community building. She credits both her mother and grandmother for setting examples of resilient Asian women business owners, as well as instilling in her the belief that through education and hard work, anything is possible.

Board Member: Crystal Togo Ansay, Broker/Owner, Diamond Realtors (Term began: 2023)

Born and raised in Clovis, California, Crystal is the oldest daughter of 3 girls and is Japanese American. Crystal is a 2nd generation Realtor and the broker/owner of DIAMOND REALTORS®, a local real estate company. She runs her brokerage, actively helps buyers and sellers, manages/trains all her agents and if that isn't enough, manages all her personal rentals too. Crystal has been very active in AREAA (Asian Real Estate Association of America) since 2010, she's been on the local board for over 13 years and is one of founding members. Holding the position of President, Vice President, past President/advisor, secretary, and membership director. She is currently sitting on the AREAA National board as VP of Member Services and just finished her term as National A-List chair. Crystal also sits on two committees at her church, United Japanese Christian Church. The women’s league and the Healthy Church Initiative task force where she can share her talents and insights with her church community. Crystal is engulfed in her community and had donated hundreds of hours volunteering her time to numerous organizations. Crystal has her master's in teaching specializing in curriculum and instruction allowing her to take complex real estate transactions and break it down for her clients to understand. Crystal's passion for real estate is obvious and is reflected in her going above and beyond to exceed all her client’s expectations. She made the AREAA A-list (Top Real Estate agents in the country) 4 years in a row. She is the wife to her college sweetheart and the mother to a passionate 7-year-old girl and energetic 3-year-old boy!     

Board Members: Ziang Her, Owner, Ziang Enterprises LLC (Term began: 2023)

Born in Luang Prabang, Laos, Ziang emigrated from the refugee camps in Thailand after fleeing Laos to the United States with her family after the end of the Vietnam War and has made the Central Valley her home. She graduated with both a BS and a BA from Fresno State. As an artist and business owner, Ziang uses her experience to educate and empower artists and business owners with the necessary tools to succeed as an adjunct professor, a guest speaker and a consultant to small business through the California Hmong Chamber of Commerce, the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Fresno Arts Council. When not working, Ziang spends her spare time with Nick and Sally, her Mini-Rex Hotot rabbit, and tending to her growing collection of house plants. You can find her art online at 

Board Members: Rosalyn Jamili(Term began: 2023)

Bio coming soon

Board Member: Michelle Fabros (Term began: 2024)

Bio coming soon 

Board Member: Dr. Monica Chahal, Vice President of Instruction, Clovis Community College (Term began: 2024)

Monica is an educator with more than thirty years of experience working on behalf of students in the California Community College system. She immigrated to the Central Valley from Punjab, India with her parents and sister. Her family moved to Northern California, which is where she grew up, but she returned to her Central Valley roots five years ago, and she is now again proud to call the Central Valley home. As a third-generation educator, Monica believes in the power of education to open doors to opportunities and in the limitless potential of each human being to create, innovate, and make progress on behalf of all. She is pleased to serve this organization alongside the many amazing women who make up CCAPW. Her greatest joy comes from spending time with her husband and two children. 

Board Member: Jenny Banh, PhD, Associate Professor, Asian American Studies and Anthropology, California State University Fresno (Term began: 2024)

Jenny is an keynote speaker, memoirist, curriculum developer and Associate Professor at California State University, Fresno in Anthropology and Asian American Studies. She received her  Anthro BA from UCLA, her  Cultural Studies (public Policy focus) MA from Claremont Graduate University, and her Anthro MA & PhD from the University of California, Riverside. Her research focuses on Asian American/Asian studies, cultural anthropology, and Asian female characters in popular culture. Her current research is on Asian restaurants, barriers/bridges to SE Asian college students, and a Hong Kong transnational corporation.  She is the author of “I Have an Accent in Every Language I Speak!”: Shadow History of One Chinese Family’s Multigenerational Transnational Migrations." (Genealogy Journal) and “Workers’ View on Indigenization of Theme Park: A Case Study in Hong Kong” (International Journal of Business Anthropology). She previously has published in and co-edited Anthropology of Los Angeles (2017) and American Chinese Restaurants (2019). 

Board Member: Dr. Mai See Xiong, Clinical Manager, Fresno Hospice (Term began: 2024)

Dr. Xiong has been a Registered Nurse since 2014. She earned both her ASN and BSN through Brigham Young University-Idaho. Her background in nursing includes Medical Surgical, Oncology, Hematology, and Hospice Care. She completed her Master’s in Nursing Education with a Certificate in Gerontology and Doctorate in Nursing Leadership at the University of Utah. Dr. Xiong is currently a Clinical Manager for Fresno Hospice and is an Adjunct Faculty for Arizona College of Nursing for the Murray, Utah and Aurora, Colorado campuses. Dr. Xiong’s program of research is focused on enhancing the diversity in the nursing workforce to mirror the diversity of the community. Dr. Xiong has shown a passion for teaching and gerontology.

2024 Advisory Board

Dr. Gena Lew-Gong, Lecturer, Asian American Studies at California State University, Fresno (Term began: 2024)

Ya-Shu Liang, Program Director, Fresno Clinical PsychD Program, Alliant International University (Term began: 2024)

Pa Nhia Xiong, Assistant Professor at California State University, Fresno (Term began: 2024)

Past Board Members

Jamie Xiong-Vang, Attorney, McCormick Barstow LLP

Term: 2019-2023

Joydee Padua, Owner and Director, Halau Hula I Ka La (Hula Studio) and Halau Hula I Ka La Cultural Foundation

Term: 2021-2022

Dr. Kimiko Vang, Deputy Director of Employment & Training Branch, Merced County Human Services Agency

Term: 2021-2022

Millie Thao, Director, Physician Marketing & Communications, Community Health System

Term: 2022-2023

Gaonoucci Belle Vang, Student Success Project Coordinator, California State University, Fresno

Term: 2022-2023

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