2023 CAPA Board of Directors
Dr. Suchiraphon McKeithen-Polish
Dr. Suchiraphon McKeithen-Polish, President
Julie Rosario, Vice President
Julie Rosario is an entrepreneur who owns a Filipino Inspired Full-Service Catering Company, Julie Ryan Philippine Cuisine & Catering. With a passion for serving delicious meals, Julie has taken her business to new heights and has earned recognition for great tasting cuisine and high rating service.
In addition to her entrepreneurial ventures, Julie also serves as a community CMS Navigator under EMU-CHDIS, where she partners with the federal government’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Her dedication to helping others navigate the healthcare system and access the services they need has made her an invaluable resource in her community.
Julie’s commitment to community extends further as she holds the Vice President position for both the CAPA and Circulo Pangpangqueno in Michigan. Through these organizations, Julie actively contributes to the development and support of the Asian American community in her area.
Julie is an accomplished professional with a diverse educational background. She is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Nursing in the Philippines, showcasing her dedication to the healthcare field. Additionally, Julie also holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration majoring in Financial Management, highlighting her expertise in managing the financial aspects of her business.
With her entrepreneurial spirit, community involvement, and impressive educational background, Julie Rosario continues to make a positive impact in both the business and local community sectors.
Melanie Steele, Executive Director
Melanie Steele is a Partner and Chief Operating Officer for Stateline. Melanie oversees all facets of the company’s operations from Marketing, Sales, Operations, IT and Finance. She was named Crain’s 40 under 40 for the extraordinary contributions she has made both to her former employment and her community. She has led an award winning team and works to bring to bear similar successes to Stateline. Her expertise in strategic planning, productivity and efficiency will add depth and breadth to Stateline’s key strengths. Melanie provides project oversight and brings Stateline’s seasoned team to assist, train and start the project implementation phase for its clients. She combines entrepreneurial drive with aggressive business strategies to enhance the overall quality, productivity and bottom line performance. Melanie has cultivated and managed accounts valued at over $50M.
Melanie attended University of Detroit Mercy with a degree in Political Science, completed classes at Walsh College for Project Management and successfully completed training as an energy manager at The Association of Energy Engineers. She regularly takes Executive Education classes at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business focusing on leadership, strategy and high performance. She has also created energy efficient curriculum and taught at Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP), Pontiac School District and Detroit Edison Public School Academy (DEPSA).
Melanie currently mentors other small businesses ranging from engineering firms, health care to technology start ups.
|Communications & Marketing||Mudmee Manthongkhamfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Communications & Marketing (Co-Chair)||
Daniel Moen, Communications Chair
Dan is a passionate Filipino-American multimedia artist, photographer, musician, performer, and graphic designer. He was born in Manila, Philippines, and adopted into his American family. Dan graduated from Oakland University with honors in 2019 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Integrative Studies focusing on Advertising, Marketing, Sociology and Communications. He also has obtained two associates degrees from Macomb Community College graduating in 2012 in Photographic Technology & Animations with Summa Cum Laude honors.
Dan currently works for HOUR MEDIA LLC who own HOUR Detroit Magazine as an Advertising Designer/Production Staff employee. He also does a lot of freelance work in graphic design and photography for various clients around Southeast Michigan. Dan always had a passion for studying various cultures and people which led him to CAPA as well as other organizations. He is a graphic designer for Paaralang Pilipino, a photographer for Refuge for Nations, and a member of the Filipino-American National Historical Society (FANHS). He is also co-founder of #LetMeListenToYou, a round table discussion group focusing on opposing viewpoints dealing with heavy topics while creating a brave-space for civil dialogue and progressive solutions for society with a sense of belongingness on a multi-political and multi-diverse basis.
Musical instruments have always been a passion for Dan he collects various instruments from around the world and educate others about them as well as writes and produces his own music. Dan also has been a stage performer for the Michigan Renaissance Festival and has been juggling the diabolo Chinese yo-yo for 18 years. His work can be found on Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, Tic-Toc and other music platforms. Dan also is the owner of his own business Dijuri Media – www.dijurimedia.com.
|Community Services (Co-Chair)||Kalaya Petekemail@example.com|
|Community Services (Co-Chair)||Joy Janadiafirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Cultural Program (Co-Chair)||
Gongju Zoe Baek
Gongju "Zoe" Baek, Cultural Program (Co-Chair)
Zoe has been in Financial services over 8 years since she began her career in 2012 from Kalamazoo, Michigan. She immediately knew she loved the career and what it can do for people and she was promoted to Partner in March 2016. Currently, she is with MassMutual Financial group in the Southfield office. Her passion is to help clients achieve their financial goals so they can fulfill their financial future. She believes in developing client relationships based on integrity, accountability, and exceptional services. Her goal is to become a lifetime resource for each and every client.
She actively serves her community as a President for KAWA (Korean American Women’s Association) and an Advisory Board Member of KACMD (Korean American Community of Metro Detroit).
Her passion for CAPA is connecting all the Asian communities together for better understanding and helping each other. Also, she would like to provide opportunities for younger generations to build a strong self-esteem and pride and to become great leaders in the communities.
Zoe has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Daegu National University of Education in South Korea. Before she came to US, she enjoyed very much working as a public Elementary school teacher in South Korea. Zoe has lived in Michigan for 18 years, currently residing in Okemos with her husband and their two sons. She enjoys outdoor activities, nature, and watching her sons’ hockey games.
|Cultural Program (Co-Chair)||
Jacqueline Dinh, Cultural Program (Co-Chair)
Jacqueline (Jackie) is very active in providing support and leading cultural events in the Vietnamese community. She is one of the community leaders who is active and advocating for her community from the city to the state level. Jackie is one of the main organizers of many events, including the Vietnamese New Year. She is looking forward to joining the CAPA team and has expressed her interest in assuming the role of the Cultural Committee Chair.
|Cultural Program (Co-Chair)||Dr. Mayuree Wadhawanemail@example.com|
Luna Xiong, Education (Co-Chair)
Luna is currently studying at WSU Nursing School, with expected graduation in 2024. Luna has worked as a volunteer in her community as well as in other communities as a youth leader. In 2018, she was a youth leader for one of the CAPA Youth Leadership Programs. Luna’s passion is also in education. She plans to continue her studies, including education. She worked as a summer program lead teacher at Macomb Intermediate School District last summer. She’s experienced in working with students of K-12. Her specialty is working with students of diverse cultural and language backgrounds. Her other attributes include the ability to speak and understand Hmong.
She is interested in being the Educational Committee Chair.
Rita Phongphila, Education (Co-Chair)
Rita graduated from WSU with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She has extensive experience in managing and coordinating businesses, in particular restaurants. However, her passion is working with people beyond the food industry. She’s currently working as an English Language Development instructor, providing educational support to both multilingual & multicultural students, families, and communities.
Rita has been actively volunteering to recruit members for the Thai and Lao for community events and fundraising. She acts as a spokesperson, representing the Southeast Asian communities at the city level. She’s interested in joining the Membership Committee.
|Fund-raising||Dr. Suchiraphon McKeithen-Polish,
Ryan Rosario, Advisory Board
Mr. Rosario past awards include:
In addition, Ryan has chaired numerous events including the following:
Mr. Rosario holds a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Detroit-Mercy.
|Membership (Co-Chair)||Nattapa Mularskifirstname.lastname@example.org|
Pina Vyas, Nominations and Past-President
A seasoned and strategic business professional, Pina Vyas has comprehensive experience across a broad range of strategic leadership roles. An inclusive thinker, Pina looks to developing solutions that are collaborative to drive long term business growth and create sustainable outcomes. With 25 years of experience in the consumer goods and energy industries, Pina has core competencies in contract negotiation, strategic & operational planning, lean & Six Sigma leadership, process optimization, productivity improvement, product & brand management, project management and building motivating cross-functional teams that exceed expectations.
As manager of DTE’s Joint Use business that facilitates third-party attachments to DTE assets, Pina is responsible for $56M of revenue that helps offset customer rates. Pina joined DTE Energy as the program owner for the Outdoor Protective Lighting business, a part of DTE’s Electric Sales & Marketing organization and has held various roles of increasing responsibility throughout the enterprise. She has been one of the architects behind DTE’s annual strategic planning process and has been a Chief of Staff (business advisory role) to DTE executives for most of her career at DTE, providing strategic oversight and organizational accountability for business success.
Prior to joining DTE Energy, Vyas was a professor at an MBA institute in India, where she taught most of the marketing and advertising courses. Her international experience also includes working as a product manager for an engineering firm in Singapore.
Vyas holds an MBA and a Bachelor of Science degree. She is also a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. She has significant experience in strategic and operational planning, change management, event planning, project management and designing and implementing highly successful marketing strategies and promotional campaigns. Vyas is consistently recognized for exceptional organization and planning abilities balanced with interpersonal and talent-development skills.
Pina has served on the boards of the Energetic Women Conference (affiliated with the Midwest Energy Association) and the Council of Asian Pacific Americans (CAPA) as the Vice President, President Elect, Executive Director and the Communications & Marketing committee chair. She currently serves as the President of CAPA, as a consultant to the Structure & Operations Committee for 313 Connect (United Way of Southeastern Michigan) and is a board member with Micah 6.
Pina is a certified personal trainer, an avid reader, home chef and lover of all four-legged beings!
Joseph Paul Pacis Javier
Joseph Paul Pacis Javier, Publicity Chair, Communications (Co-Chair)
Joseph Paul Pacis Javier is Filipino-American who is passionate about diversity and strengthening the community. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Joseph has also lived in the Philippines and Canada. During his time as a journalist, he has traveled extensively throughout the Asia-Pacific region and brings his global perspective to support the Council of Asian Pacific Americans.
Joseph has over 15 years of experience working in the media in the Philippines. He was an award-winning radio broadcaster at 89.9 DWTM as well as a travel and lifestyle show presenter on Studio 23 Television. Joseph has also worked as a columnist for the Manila Bulletin, editor for the Manila Times, and writer for several other publications. Aside from his experience in the media, Joseph has worked in the fields of public relations, strategic brand management, and event production.
Currently, Joseph is a PharmD candidate at Wayne State University’s Doctor of Pharmacy Program. He completed his undergraduate studies at Oakland University where he graduated with honors obtaining a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. He has done additional studies in Integrated Marketing Communication at the University of Asia and the Pacific as well as Neurobiology and Genetics at Harvard University. Joseph also obtained a graduate certificate in Sustainable Business Strategy through Harvard Business School and is now in the process of completing an additional certificate in Business Analytics.
Joseph has served as president of the Alpha Omicron Rho chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and president of Spectrum LGBTQ Alliance. He is currently an active member of WSU’s Mu Omicron Pi chapter of Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity, Theta Chi Fraternity at Oakland University and the Student Pharmacist Diversity Council at the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Given Joseph’s diverse background and passion for building partnerships, he offers these talents to bolster CAPA’s presence in the Asian-Pacific community and inform the public about the many resources and events that CAPA has to offer.
Nikhil Sabharwal, Publicity (Co-Chair)
Keira Hale, Youth Committee
Keira is a student at Skyline High School in Ann Arbor. During the school year, I spend most of my time outside of school rowing and studying. However, I still find time to learn more about my own culture and the issues that Asian Americans currently face. Through CAPA, I plan to learn more about other Asian American experiences and share my own.
Nithila Balaji, Youth Committee
Nithila is a high school student at Skyline High School, Ann Arbor. She is passionate about Asian American issues and is the co-president of the Asian American Youth Club at her school. In her free time, she rows for her school’s crew team year-round. She also serves as a youth commissioner in the Washtenaw County, where she hopes to tackle issues faced by teens in the community.
Al-Azhar Pacha, Webmaster
Al Pacha is owner and President of ALPAC, Inc., minority owned software development and IT consulting company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
He has a Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Technology) from India.
He is an innovative Information Technology leader with a proven track record managing technology development teams along with conceptualizing and directing development of business-driven technology solutions. Proficient in formulating strategies for technology acquisition, integration, migration, and implementation. Provides vision and dedicated leadership to C-suites for key technologies including application solutions, network infrastructure, database management systems, quality assurance testing, and internet solutions.
Co-founded three startup companies in the areas of vendor management, home-garden management software, and student soft skill assessments.
Serves as an Advisory Board member for Wayne County Community College District, Detroit.
Awarded ‘2012 Emerging Leader Award’ by Leadership Detroit/Detroit Regional Chambers – recognizing individuals who have shown unrelenting commitment to making a difference and positively impacting those around them and the community.
Anshi Pacha, Youth Director
In the winter of her high school freshman year, she ran a successful socks drive for CAPA by collaborating with Detroit Children’s Center.
She sails during the summer and actively teaches youth how to sail at the Michigan Sailing Club.
Josie Sanders, Director
Advocacy/Initiatives: Civic Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion, Medical Mission, Feeding Program for Under Priviledge, Human Trafficking Prevention, History and Culture, Humanity.
Member of: Salvation Army Magkapuso Dance Group and Ukalele and Heartstring Band, Kiwanis Club, NAFFAA, PACCM, ABM
Lavinia Mateo, Director
Lavinia O.V. Mateo is currently serving as President of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Michigan (UPAAM). An active member of both the local and national Filipino community, she is also serving on the Advisory Counsel of the Auxiliary to the Philippine Medical Association of Michigan (PMAM), as the Presidential Advisor for the Auxiliary to the Association of Philippine Physicians in America (APPA), and is the President Elect for the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists-Michigan. In addition to her work with the organizations that she serves, Lavinia is a property manager in Ann Arbor for Gralni Group. Although she closed her designer boutique in Pontiac during the mid 1990’s, she continues to custom design and sew women’s couture evening wear. Lavinia travels home to the Philippines each year to participate in several medical missions over a 6-8 week period.
Graduating from the University of the Philippines in 1961 with a bachelor’s of science degree in hygiene, she immigrated to the United States and studied medical technology at Carney Hospital School of Medical Technology in Boston. She then received her board certification as a medical technologist by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists.
Lavinia met her husband, the late Dr. Rolando Mateo, in 1964 while working as a medical technologist at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown, Ohio. After marrying and having her first two children there, they moved to Michigan and settled down just north of Detroit in Troy. She continued to work as a medical technologist at Alexander Blain Hospital then at her husband’s private practice while raising her four children and continuing to build and develop relationships throughout her community. Together with her husband, Lavinia worked hard to give her children a strong foundation on which to build their own lives and growing families. She is often regarded by her 14 grandchildren as their “amazing Lola.
Lisa Gray, Director
Dedicated and Results Oriented Executive with broad proven track record in Global Non-Profit General Management, Marketing and Strategic Planning. Adept at organizing global resources and promoting innovative solutions. Skilled at mobilizing cross-functional global support to accomplish the task at hand. Excellent leadership and relationship building skills. Accomplished cross-cultural ambassador between the US and China.
Lisa Gray is a former anchor and reporter for the BBC and Guangdong Broadcasting Corporation in China. Out of the passion in serving the community, Lisa formed APIA News Network, AAPI Voice and Dragon Eagle TV to be the voice of Asian Pacific Islander Americans and promote cross cultural education and diversity. She has interviewed many influential people such as Governors, Senators, Business and Community Leaders. She has covered many community events and the News Network has become the media partner of major APA organizations, local governments as well as large corporations and beyond. Lisa’s efforts have made a big impact within the community.
Lisa is also a respected community leader who has served as a Governor appointed commissioner for Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (MAPAAC), the Co-chair for North American Chinese Coalition (NACC), and President of Chinese Association of Greater Detroit (CAGD). Lisa also served on the board of American Citizens for Justice, Council of Asian Pacific Americans, and many different community organizations.
Lisa is an outspoken advocate for AAPI community as well as Michigan and for collaboration with China to create jobs within the state. Lisa has been actively engaged with the State of Michigan and City of Detroit on bridging China in economic, cultural, and educational areas, having helped organize delegations from Michigan to China and China to Michigan.
Lisa has a master’s degree in broadcasting and journalism.
Lisa’s involvements of some major activities:
Suman Desaraju, Director
Suman Desaraju is the Principal Supervisor of DTE’s Customer Service Operations and Support Continuous Improvement team. She holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Michigan and has been with DTE for 12 years. Before coming to DTE, Suman worked in various industries which included positions at GE Transportation Systems in Erie, PA and Tiffany & Co in Manhattan, NY.
As a first generation Indian American, Suman has stayed close to her cultural roots through the arts. A trained classical Indian dancer since the tender age of 4, Suman has always felt most connected to her heritage while performing on stage. Her pursuit of dance has led to performances all over the world and she has expanded her repertoire to include numerous classical and folk-dance styles of India. Aside from being an accomplished soloist, Suman has choreographed numerous performances for individual students and groups across the state. Throughout her college years, Suman was an active member of the Indian American Student Association and helped choreograph and execute the organization’s annual cultural program which brought in an audience of 5000 people each year. She went on to help organize large cultural programs for various Indian community events over the years and in 2015, she started her own company offering Indian dance inspired fitness classes which she continues to teach on the weekends.
A strong advocate of female empowerment, Suman also serves as a board member for Sikhya, an organization that provides educational opportunities for underprivileged girls in rural India. When she’s not working or dancing, Suman loves cooking, reading, playing the piano, and spending time with her husband, daughter and son.