Atkinson started his community involvement while studying mechanical engineering at UCSD. During his college career, he volunteered with the Vietnamese American Youth Association (VAYA). Life later brought Atkinson to Houston where he worked with the Hope Initiative, a charity that fundraised to help children in Vietnam. The Bay Area called him back home where he got involved with VAR, VietAYA/ MAYS, Tet, and Golden Hearts which are all organizations he still supports. As VAR President and Boardmember, his focus is growing a strong foundation for VAR’s future. Professionally, Atkinson is an Account Manager at NMB.
Christina was raised by a single mother in east San Jose and this is where her passion for community advocacy developed. As a child of Vietnamese refugees, she saw first hand how inequities impacted families in her community including her own, this motivated her to dedicate her life to social services. After graduating from UC Davis with a BA in Women & Gender Studies and Asian American Studies, Christina came back to San Jose to start her career in fundraising and development for various nonprofits in Silicon Valley. She currently works for Assemblymember Ash Kalra and lives in San Jose with her husband, son, mother and dog.
In 2018, I joined Vietnamese American Roundtable (VAR) as I was exploring different interests in life. At the time, I found myself wrapped up in my usual daily routines and felt the need to grow my knowledge and capability. Serving our community has always been an item on my list, thus I took the opportunity when two VAR members asked me to join the group. Needless to say, it has been a wonderful, unique, and rewarding experience. As I interacted with other VAR members through different community activities, I have learned so much from them. Leadership and communication are the two most outstanding skills that I have been continuously improving through VAR’s activities. In addition, I treasure the friendships fostered with other VAR members. They are my friends, teachers, brothers, and sisters.
Besides VAR’s responsibilities, I also have other roles in life. I am also a father of a 6-year-old son. His name is Lawrence, and we enjoy spending time with each other. I have an 8 to 5 job working as a Financial Management Specialist. I am also the Vice President of Education of Jetstream Toastmasters; an in-house public speaking club at my work. After work hours, I like to spend at least an hour at the gym. I spend free time on my hobbies such as watching movies, reading self-improvement books, and getting together with friends. Last but not least, I love taking my parents to grocery shopping on weekends.
Amy is one of VAR’s founding Board members. She has been actively involved in her community, currently serving as a Board Aide to President of the Board Supervisor Cindy Chavez to support access to County services for underserved communities and specifically the establishment of the Vietnamese American Service Center. Amy previously served as the Development Director at the Asian Law Alliance to support low-income community members and as Congressional liaison, human rights advocate, and refugee attorney for an international human rights organization focusing on resettling stateless Vietnamese refugees in Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines. Amy received her J.D. from Santa Clara Law, M.A. in Economics at the University of South Carolina, B.A. in Ethnic Studies and B.A. in Economics from the University of California, San Diego.
Anthony Lê is a driven leadership consultant, coach, and trainer with over 15 years of transforming how people show up in their leadership during their pivotal moments. His mission is to guide others to become more effective strategically while championing diversity, inclusion, and equity building. He has managed, directed, facilitated multiple leadership programs over the years, and is currently leading an immersive leadership class for participants showing passion to transform their work ranging from private, public, nonprofit, higher education, and tech sectors. During his downtime, Anthony can be found creating and planning events for the Silicon Valley and SF Bay Areas or immersing in photography as part of his mindfulness practice.
By day, Christine serves as an attorney for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration at Ames Research Center, where she advises on agreements and contracts for aerospace technologies and unmanned aerial systems. She has been recognized with the NASA Early Career Medal and the Exceptional Service Medal, and by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as a 40 Under 40 recipient in 2017. Since starting her career, she has been active in a number of community organizations and non-profit organizations, such as the Vietnamese American Roundtable, PIVOT, and the VABANC Law Foundation. Christine grew up in San Jose and is an alum of East Side Union High School District and Mission Community College before transferring to Santa Clara University for her bachelor degree in political science and J.D. She and her husband recently welcomed their first-born daughter during Summer 2020. One of her favorite VAR program is SEEDS because she is inspired by the bright young students with great potential to change the world. She has served as the past-president of VAR.
Huy Tran is a partner with Justice at Work Law Group, a law firm he co-founded in 2013 which focuses on social justice and worker’s rights. In that capacity, Huy is also a Steering Committee member for the Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition, which seeks to eliminate wage theft in Santa Clara County, and has pushed wage theft ordinances all across the South Bay. Huy’s firm was awarded the Small Business of the Year Award in 2016 by California State Senator Jim Beall, and Huy was awarded the Community Hero Award by Assemblyman Kansen Chu in 2018. He also served as an appointed member of the Housing and Community Development Commission for the City of San José from 2017 to 2019. Huy is one of VAR’s founding board members and former President as well. His favorite VAR project was VARoween, a family-oriented Halloween event that brought public safety and public health resources to the Vietnamese community. The best part of VARoween was the Haunted House, which was planned and put together completely by volunteers and donations who dedicated hours of creativity and work to create an immersive experience that children and adults could enjoy.
Maggie Le-Chuong is a Vietnamese American who was born in Vietnam and raised in a conservative society. The migration journey to the United States has opened her eyes and mind about being liberal. She is somehow still trying to balance between the two cultures to which she would call it “when the East meets the West.” By joining VAR, it gives her that balance and the opportunities to learn and think from others’ perspectives. By working along with her friends in VAR, she will work to ensure that the organization will continue to host/co-host through coalition more cultural events, educational workshops, extracurricular activities and informative forums. When Maggie first volunteered with VAR in 2016, she had the opportunity to help out with VAR’s 2nd Halloween Family Night (aka VARoween) as the resource fair coordinator. Then became the board members in the year after. She is glad to be a part of this organization and to learn from the best.
Mimi Nguyen is a San Jose native, born and raised by Vietnamese immigrant parents. As a product of the East Side Union High School District, she went off to the University of California, Davis to receive her B.A. in Economics and Communications and a Minors in Managerial Economics. She then received her J.D. from Golden Gate University. Mimi has dedicated her career to public interest work. She is currently an immigration attorney with Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County and she was previously at Step Forward Foundation and Asian Law Alliance. Her immigration work includes: affirmative cases; defending immigrants in removal proceedings; and humanitarian cases assisting victims of human trafficking and crimes. She was involved with human trafficking operations with law enforcement and she has assisted women and children in detention centers with asylum claims. As one of the founding members of VAR, Mimi has served two terms as secretary and one term as president. She also serves as the President of the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California and a Board Member of Step Forward Foundation. Through her plethora of community work, she received a Community Hero by Assemblyman Kansen Chu in 2019. In 2020, Mimi and her husband, Vietnam Nguyen, welcomed a beautiful baby girl named Sophia. In her free time, she enjoys calligraphing, weightlifting, traveling, and spending time with her two Shiba Inu dogs.
Oscar joined VAR in 2017, where he has assisted as a volunteer in various VAR programs and projects including: Black April, SEEDS Summer Program, VAR Civic Engagement Program, and VARoween. He was elected to the Board of the Directors August 2019. In his spare time, he enjoys studying Classical Indian dance, traditional Vietnamese music, and singing in a choir.