Patsy Surh O’Connell,
APCC Founder, and Artist
Patsy Surh O'Connell was born in Shanghai, China to Korean parents, and lived her early life in Korea before immigrating to America as a student in 1963. She graduated as an Interior Designer in San Francisco, CA. She and her husband lived in and visited many Asia Pacific regions before settling in Gig Harbor, Washington in 1985.
Patsy has received numerous awards to name a few; Moon Jae In Korean President’s Award; Washington State Governor’s Arts and Heritage Award. Graduated from National American Leadership Forum (ALF) Pierce County Chapter Class IX, Governor appointed as Arts Commissioner 1996-2003, Board of Trustees of Western States Arts Federation 1997-2004, Founder and President of Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) in Washington in 1996.
Patsy studied Chinese ink painting, Sumi-e, oil, watercolor, pastel, acrylic, lapidary, weaving, pottery, quilting, and batik in Korea, Japan, China, and in the United States. She has shown her paintings in many juried art shows and received numerous awards. Her works are in private collections in Korea, Japan, Sweden, and United States. She has been a juror, a water media teacher at the college level for 37 years (Pierce, TCC), served as President of the Korean American Artists of Washington (KAAW) for 5 years, a member of Women Painters of WA (WPW), and is a Signature Life Member of the Northwest Watercolor Society (NWWS).
Belinda Y. Louie, Ph.D.
Professor of Education - UW Tacoma
Belinda Louie was born in Macau and grew up in Hong Kong before she came to Seattle for college. Dr. Louie is a founding faculty of the School of Education at the University of Washington Tacoma. She began her career as an EL teacher in public elementary schools and went on to highly influence the teaching of English learners.
After helping to develop bilingual and EL curriculum and policy in Seattle Public Schools and working with refugee children and teaching Hispanic LEP students in Los Angeles, Dr. Louie conducted research on children’s literature to identify quality works for culturally and linguistically diverse students. In 2007, she received the Virginia Hamilton Essay Award in honor of her contribution to the scholarship of multicultural children’s literature. Dr. Louie holds 3 bachelor’s degrees in English, History, and bilingual and bicultural education, a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Washington, Seattle. She has received numerous foundation, state, and federal grants to support her work in teacher education and English learner instruction.
Dr. Louie and her husband, Dr. Douglas Louie who is a physician, have lived and served in the Tacoma community for over 30 years. They have 2 adult children and 2 grandchildren. Drs. Louie started the International Chinese Christian Church of Tacoma in 2002 as well as the Evergreen Chinese Academy, Ruston Christian Childcare and Preschool, and Chinese Community Center in 2005. They have been active and dedicated members of the Asia Pacific Cultural Center since 2003. Their commitment to building connections in the community resulted in the 2006 Top Contributor Award and in 2017 the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation, recognizing their contributions to the community.
Albert Q. Cosio, MS, LTC, (Retired)
As an Asian American son of a U.S. soldier of Filipino descent, Al Cosio has seen and experienced the challenges of cultural and social class distinctions throughout his life. His parents taught him important principles and values, such as do unto others as you would have others do unto you, respect your elders, respect the law, respect life, and respect others. These values helped him to overcome these challenges. His parents came from simple beginnings but instilled in him self-sacrifice, dedication, the value of education, and many other values that he learned are also shared by many other Asia Pacific cultures. It is these shared values that drew him to APCC. APCC was a place that showcases the uniqueness as well as the commonalities of the many cultures of the Asia Pacific, including his own Filipino heritage. After retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel having served 27 years in the U.S. Army, he wanted to continue a legacy of making a difference in the community through active participation and engagement with APCC. He fondly considers APCC as his extended family and for over two decades has demonstrated his dedication and commitment to carrying out the APCC mission and vision.
In addition to serving as APCC Secretary, he teaches Filipino culture, mentors students, and supports many APCC projects and activities. He is also a leader and active member in the Filipino community, including serving as President of the World War II Philippine Scouts Heritage Society, Calugas Chapter.
Gim S. Seow, Ph.D., M.B.A., B.E.
UW – Tacoma / Milgard School of Business
Gim S. Seow grew up in an ethnic Chinese community in Penang, Malaysia. He received his B.E. (Electrical Engineering) from the University of Singapore and worked at Texas Instruments, Singapore (1977-1980) before leaving for North America for his M.B.A. (Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada) and Ph.D. (Accounting) (University of Oregon, Eugene, USA).
Gim started teaching accounting at the University of Washington, Seattle (1985-1990), University of Connecticut, Storrs (1990-2014) and joined the faculty at the University of Washington, Tacoma (UWT) in 2014. He served as Academic Fellow (1997-98) at the Financial Accounting Standards Board, Norwalk, CT, helping the Board develop Financial Accounting Standard No. 133: Accounting for Derivatives and Hedging Activities. Gim has consulted and provided derivatives-related training for clients like JP Morgan Chase, Northeast Utilities, Prudential, and the Securities & Exchange Commission, Boston office. Gim has taught financial accounting seminars at Shandong University, Shanghai University of Finance & Economics and Xiamen University in China. As faculty, Gim mentors students from minority-ethnic backgrounds and is currently a Principal of the Center for Financial Wellness at the Milgard School of Business, UWT. The Center’s vision is to promote and provide education on financial literacy to our students and community to help them achieve financial security. Besides teaching, he also conducts research and has published research papers in Accounting, Organizations & Society, Contemporary Accounting Research, Decision Sciences, Journal of Accounting & Economics, Journal of Banking & Finance, and Journal of Forecasting, among others.
In 2014, Gim was recruited by President Patsy Surh O’Connell to join the APCC Board and subsequently became its Treasurer. He enjoys working with the Board and staff to support and enhance APCC’s mission.
Tuyet Nguyen, MA
CRC Loving Kindness Meditation Center Founder/President, Lakewood, WA
Tuyet Nguyễn is a devoted community activist. Came to the US as a boat people fleeing Việtnam after the communist took over South Việtnam in 1980, she understood the life an immigrant and refugee are about.
Tuyet graduated from Western Washington University with a master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and was working for the DSHS/DVR as a Certified Rehabilitation counselor until her retirement in 2017.
Tuyet has a passion for serving the API community, especially the Vietnamese community. She was a founding member of the Vietnamese Community in Pierce County. She is also a founder of the Loving-kindness meditation center in Tacoma.
Elaine S. Ishihara
APICAT for Health Director, Seattle, WA
Elaine Shoji Ishihara is the Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Advocating Together for Health (APICAT), a coalition she helped organize to address commercial tobacco and health in the Asian American Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community.
With over 40 years of community organizing and non-profit experience, Elaine values her family, mentors, and cross-cultural partnerships that have allowed her to fulfill her passion and commitment to social and health justice.
Elaine received a BA in Sociology from the University of Washington and earned a Master’s in Public Administration as a National Urban Fellow from Baruch College, City University of New York.
Elaine and her husband Jon live in Seattle, WA, and are the proud parents of their adult children Derek and Brianna.
Producer and Director of Large Scale Festivals in WA State and WA State Arts and Cultural Leader, Redmond, WA
Latha is an educator, trained musician, bandleader, and winner of Kirkland Performance Center’s You Rock award for community service. She has been a Washington State Arts Commissioner and a Redmond Arts & Culture Commissioner/Chair. She serves as a board director for several state and regional cultural organizations. She holds a master’s degree in English Literature.
Xiaoming Melody Zhang
Chief Human Resources Officer - Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Melody Zhang serves as Chief Human Resources Officer for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, providing human capital leadership to align talent and business strategies with the company’s vision and business objectives. She is responsible for all aspects of human resources, including talent management, total rewards, diversity and inclusion, organizational development, internal communication, and HR systems and infrastructure.
Melody joined Ste. Michelle in November 2020. Melody brings a wealth of experience to Ste. Michelle having served in senior human resources positions across several global enterprises including Anheuser-Busch InBev, The Hershey Company, Carlisle Companies, and most recently at Milgard Windows & Doors as Vice President Human Resources. Melody holds a bachelor’s degree from the School of Labor Relations and Human Resources at Renmin University of China, as well a master’s degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of New Hampshire. Melody currently serves on the boards of Asia Pacific Cultural Center and Milgard Women’s Initiative. She is a bilingual business professional fluent in both English and Mandarin Chinese.
Tina Huynh, D.M.A.
Assistant Professor of Music Education University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA
Tina teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in elementary and secondary music education and Music of the Vietnamese Diaspora. Her interests lie at the intersection of music in early and middle childhood, cultural diversity, and culturally responsive teaching. Her film, Songs of Little Saigon (2021) (SongsofLittleSaigon.com) (First Light Productions), about the resilience of eight Vietnamese American refugee musicians throughout Orange County, California, has won 13 recognitions and awards to date, internationally and nationally. Tina serves the Asia Pacific Cultural Center as a board member by bringing music and film educational programming to students in the community.
Artist, University Place, WA
June Sekiguchi is an artist represented by ArtXchange Gallery and a curator for Era Living properties in Seattle. June was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas and her family was one of the few Asian families in the area in the 1960s and 70s. Therefore, supporting the AAPI community is very important to her. She graduated with a degree in Studio Art from the University of California at Santa Barbara and currently lives in University Place. www.junesekiguchi.com
Katie Condit, CEO
Workforce Central, Tacoma, WA
Katie Condit is the CEO of WorkForce Central, Pierce County’s local workforce development board that aligns the needs of employers and workers to build a robust talent pipeline into living-wage jobs. Prior to her role at WorkForce Central, Katie served as the Executive Director at Better Together Central Oregon, an organization working across sectors and communities to transform policies and practices to eliminate gaps in opportunities for young people. She was a National Science Foundation research fellow at University of Notre Dame in the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity and has served as a Program Director leading job-training programs for young people impacted by the juvenile justice system. Katie holds an MA in Sociology from University of Notre Dame and a BA in Sociology and Theatre from University of Puget Sound.
Director of Philanthropy and Executive Director BECU Foundation
Gloria Dixon leads the BECU's philanthropic community giving across Washington, North Charleston SC, and parts of Oregon and Idaho.
A transplant from Milwaukee, WI, Gloria previously worked for a nonprofit in Wisconsin that focused on anti-poverty work. She managed a portion of the USDA TEFAP grant in Milwaukee County awarding commodity grants to nonprofit emergency feeding outlets.
She is passionate about grassroots community work and has spent much of her professional career providing strategic guidance and capacity building for small nonprofits. Additionally, she serves on the board of directors for College Possible WA and Asia Pacific Cultural Center. She is also an advisory board member for Puget Sound Asset Funders Network and United Way of Snohomish County CORE Collaboratives.
She attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for a degree in Sociology. She also received leadership certifications at Marquette University and Cardinal Stritch University.
Personally, she is the mother to one son and two stepsons, a new grandmother, and lives in Tacoma with her husband Troy. She is an avid scrapbooker and loves to take long walks.
Attorney at Law, Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
Robert Yu is the son of Korean immigrants who moved to the U.S. in the 1970s. He was born in Michigan and grew up in a small midwestern town in the only Korean family in the area. Robert attended college at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, then came to the Pacific Northwest to attend law school. He has remained in the area ever since. Robert serves as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office. Robert has a young family whom he strives to teach and immerse in the richness of Asian culture. In addition to serving on the board of the APCC, Robert also serves on the board of The Children's Fund.
Residential Loan Officer, Sound Community Bank
Francisco is a native of Washington state born and raised in the Seattle area. He is a second-generation Filipino American. He grew up learning about his culture through his Lola, mother, and aunties. Francisco has built a career in the financial industry for the past 20 years holding various roles in banking and lending. He is currently a Mortgage Consultant for a national bank and services his clients across the US. Francisco is a family man first and foremost and enjoys spending time with his wife and four children. He also enjoys cycling, gardening, golfing, and watching his kids play sports.
OUR ADVISORY BOARD
Art Wang, Retired - WA State Superior Court Judge
Diane Narasaki, Retired - Former Executive Director Asian Counseling Referral Services
Clare Petrich, Former Commissioner, Port of Tacoma
Dr. Chang Mook Sohn, Retired - Former Executive Director, State Forecast
General Oscar Hilman, Retired US Army
Sharon McGavick, Ph.D, Former President, Clover Park Technical College
Tom Hilyard, Retired, Director, Pierce County Community Services
Connie Bacon, Former Commissioner Port of Tacoma
Felicity Wang, Executive Director Asian Pacific Education Council
Lisa Hoffman, Ph. D., Professor, UW Tacoma
Rosa Franklin, Retired WA State Senator
Debbie Regala, Retired WA State Senator
John Beckwith, Retired Community Developer
Pat McCarthy, WA State Auditor
Steve Conway, Senator, WA State Senate
Pam Roach, Former State Senator
Barbara Johns, Art Historian and Curator
Brian Ebersole, Former Tacoma City Mayor
Shiao Yen, President, Taichung Sister Cities Association
Bill Evans, Former Tacoma City Council
Jasmel Sangha, Business Owner, Wendy’s Franchise
JJ Kim, Branch Manager HOPE Bank
Brad Owen, Former Lt. Governor, WA
Reverend Dr. Frances Lorenz, Center for Spiritual Living
Jeff Brown, Jeff Brown Architecture
Wayne Williams, Former Metro Parks Administrator
Lee Agnes, Artist