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 Johnson grew up in East San Jose and learned how to advocate at young age due to be a cultural and language translator for her single mother. 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. In 2020 she decided to leave her job as a staffer for Assemblymember Ash Kalra to be a stay at home mom.
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.
Isabella Luong (she/her) has pushed for increased civic awareness among young Vietnamese Americans since serving as a high school VSA officer. Combining academic and activist perspectives, Isabella applies a structural lens to civic engagement work. Isabella is involved with multiple organizations carrying out different scopes of engagement: ICAN, a local CBO serving the Vietnamese community; VietUnity South Bay, a grassroots organization dedicated to social change and justice; and PIVOT– the Progressive Vietnamese American Organization. Isabella Luong graduated with a B.S. in Toxicology from UC Berkeley in 2019. She currently works in the nonprofit sector, doing community-based outreach and research.
Alicia Luong is a fourth-year student at UC Berkeley who has taken on a variety of roles in the Vietnamese-American community and in the classroom. In addition to VAR, she volunteers with local non-profit and student organizations like Hoa Khôi Liên Trường, Cal Vietnamese Students Association, Cal VSA’s VISION mentorship program, and Vietnamese American Professional Women’s Association of Silicon Valley. Alicia was formerly a Youth Advisory Member for Allcove, where she outreached, collaborated with, and represented youth needs in the development of Allcove’s newly opened integrated mental health and primary care sites. As a budding psychologist, Alicia plans to intersect her dedication to the Vietnamese-American youth community with her foundation in academia. She is currently a research assistant in a clinical psychology lab at UC Berkeley, helping to advance research in interpersonal emotional regulation. She hopes to soon achieve her Bachelor’s and, eventually, Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D) degrees in order to practice clinical psychology in a community health care center in the near future.
Cindy became involved with her local Vietnamese community through her participation with the Vietnamese Student Association at her high school, where she held various officer positions. Her love for Vietnamese culture blossomed during her involvement in Miss Teen Vietnam of Northern California, where her experience led to other meaningful opportunities such as VAR, UVSA, and VietAYA. As a participant of VAR’s inaugural SEEDS program, Cindy’s contributions did not stop there, as she began to volunteer at many other VAR events such as the Black April Commemoration, Civic Engagement project, and VARoween. On top of volunteering with Vietnamese organizations, Cindy is an advocate for ensuring that all families in need receive basic necessities through her work with the American Red Cross and Second Harvest Food Bank of Silicon Valley.
Cindy is now a senior at UC Berkeley where she is pursuing a B.A. in Social Welfare and minors in Public Policy and Global Poverty & Practice. She hopes to work in the public sector, advocating for underrepresented and diverse populations. In her free time, Cindy enjoys watching sunsets and sipping on strawberry matcha lattes.
Linda Nguyen was born and raised in the Bay Area. She has worked in local government for over a decade advocating for marginalized populations (unhoused, farm workers, immigrant, and low-income) in the fields of utility, public health, social services, and environmental stewardship. She currently works in the field of diversity, equity and inclusion at a utility agency and was appointed to the Human Services Commission for the City of San José in 2021. She volunteers with various non-profits and causes, such as PIVOT, serving on the fundraising committee and assisting with social media efforts.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s in Public Administration from San José State University. Her hobbies include live music, the arts, traveling, interior design and her cats (Teddy and Mocha).
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.
By day, Christine serves as an attorney for the National Aeronautics and Space
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.
Christine serves as lead of the commercial law team for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration at Ames Research Center, where she advises on agreements and contracts for aerospace technologies. She is the agency lead for the unmanned aerial systems law team, working to balance risks while supporting the development of future UAS/drone technology. Christine has previously served at NASA Headquarters as the Directorate Lead Counsel for the Human Exploration and Operations mission directorate, which supports the nation’s human spaceflight programs, including the commercial development of low-Earth orbit, the International Space Station, and Moon to Mars. She received the NASA Exceptional Early Career Medal and the Service Medal, in addition to being recognized as a Rising Star in the legal community. She was recognized by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as a 40 Under 40 recipient in 2017.
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.