Grace Yoo is a public policy advocate and implementer. She has spent the past 30 years advocating on behalf of foster care youth, working-class families, seniors and neighbors in all walks and stages of life. Grace began her legal career representing abused and neglected children as an attorney in Los Angeles County’s Edelman Children’s Court. In 2000, she became Executive Director for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, where she spearheaded efforts related to voting rights, language access, and diversifying the judges who served on the courts to ensure fair representation and to better reflect the population they served. In 2005, as the Executive Director of the Korean American Coalition, Grace Yoo became a staunch advocate for youth, non-English speakers, immigrants, and the needs of underserved communities. She has also served as a Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation Commissioner including four years as Vice President for four years. Beginning in 2021, Grace served as the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Los Angeles Aging Advocacy Coalition for almost two years. Grace is currently an announced candidate for Los Angeles City Council 10th District (Primary Election – March 5, 2024), which includes all of Koreatown as well as dozens of other neighborhoods. In 2020, Grace received nearly 40% of the vote, behind Mark Ridley-Thomas, the now convicted criminal found guilty of seven criminal charges on March 30, 2023.
Jason S. Kim is a deal lawyer. His practice focuses on representing domestic and foreign companies, financial institutions, funds, and serial entrepreneurs in acquisitions, mergers, and divestitures and related financing and capital raises with special emphasis on cross-border deals.
Jason also served as an Adjunct Professor at USC Gould School of Law from 2009 through 2018 and taught International Business Transactions covering the legal principles and practices involved in private business transactions and movement of goods, services, capital, knowledge, and technology across the boundaries of different nation-states.
Jason is fluent in Korean.
Jin Hee Lee is a lawyer licensed in South Korea and a Foreign Legal Consultant registered with the State Bar of California. He worked as a Corporate and M&A attorney for nearly a decade at Lee & Ko, one of the top law firms in Korea. In 2020, he founded K-Law Consulting in LA where he handles work related to Korea-US business, investment & M&A, Korean real estate, and Korean inheritance. Before he joined Lee & Ko, he passed a Korean bar exam and completed the Judicial Research and Training Institute of the Supreme Court of Korea. He also graduated from Seoul National University and USC Gould Law School. He is currently serving as an economic advisor at the LA Consulate General of Korea about Korean-US Business Law Consultation and as a columnist for the Korean law section of the Korea Daily.
Professor David Y. Choi holds the Conrad N. Hilton Chair of Entrepreneurship and directs the nationally ranked Fred Kiesner Center for Entrepreneurship at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). He was instrumental in launching and growing LMU’s undergraduate Entrepreneurship major, the Business Incubator, the M.S. program in Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Innovation, Ascend LA (a program for developing diverse business owners), and the LMU Family Business Entrepreneurship Program.
Professor Choi has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in new venture creation, venture capital, social entrepreneurship, and technology management at LMU as well as other leading institutions around the world including Peking University and Korea University. Professor Choi is a recipient of The President’s Fritz B. Burns Distinguished Teaching Award at LMU and the winner of the Innovative Pedagogy Award from the United States Association of Business and Entrepreneurship. As director of the Fred Kiesner Center for Entrepreneurship, Professor Choi provides co-curricular programs for students across the university. Under his leadership, the entrepreneurship program at LMU continues to be ranked among the top programs in the U.S. by US News & World Report and Princeton Review.
Professor Choi writes broadly in the areas entrepreneurship and innovation and is a co-author author of a book titled Values-Centered Entrepreneurs. His articles have been published in such journals as Academy of Management Executive, Journal of Small Business Management, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Technovation, and Business Horizon. Professor Choi has been featured or quoted in major news outlets including Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Business Journal, Fortune Magazine, The Guardian, and Wall Street Journal. Professor Choi has started, managed, or owned businesses in several industries including biotechnology, software, financial services, and foods – several of which have been acquired or gone public. He continues to advise several prominent startups and venture capital firms. Professor Choi started his career working with The Boston Consulting Group, Harvard Business School, Diamond Technology Partners, and several startups. Professor Choi received his B.S and M.S in Industrial Engineering at UC Berkeley and Ph.D. in Technology Management from UCLA.
Ms. Jin Sung is the founder and Executive Director of OASIS Center International, an arts non-profit organization serving the youth of low-income communities of Southern California. Ms. Sung currently serves as the Board Chairman for National Diversity Coalition, a national advocacy organization focusing on elevating corporate social responsibility across sectors. Ms. Sung also is a member of the community advisory boards to the following organizations: Royal Business Bank, Charter Communications, PG&E, T-Mobile, Frontier Communications, Faith & Community Empowerment, MSM of St. Mary’s College of California, and Public Policy School of Azusa Pacific University. In addition to her leadership roles in business, she serves as pastor of Oasis Christian Church, a multi-cultural church based in Anaheim, California. She is passionate about bridging corporate America with underserved communities and affects public policy by advocating for minority access and social justice. Ms. Sung is also the Chairman and Executive Director of EPICENTER Foundation, a nonprofit organization that positively impacts the underserved communities by providing programs that empower development, healing, and innovation of community members. As a child, her father was a prominent Korean diplomat allowing Ms. Sung to explore the diverse cultures, languages, and art of the nations: Vietnam, Denmark, India, Indonesia, and Korea. This early childhood experience was rich with opportunities to meet not only wealthy and influential people, including ambassadors and national dignitaries but also with many whose fortunes were less than secure. She emerged from this experience with a passion for the arts and for those in need of encouragement to achieve the dreams of their lives. She was convinced that through the transformative power of the arts, a generation could be inspired to translate their dreams into reality. Thus, was born the vision for OASIS Center International. Her degree in Psychology and Business Management from the University of California, Irvine, and subsequent professional and practical experiences in the automotive industry as business analyst for companies such as Volvo Cars, Kia Motors America and Young & Rubicam Advertising has given her a unique ability to see issues both from a social as well as a practical view. Ms. Sung currently resides with her husband and three children in Laguna Hills, CA.
Robert J. Apodaca, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Two Hundred for Homeownership, is the leading advocate for homeownership in California. He has introduced legislation to reform CEQA, construction defect litigation, develop small lots for townhomes & condominiums, and amending the California Statewide Housing Plan to increase homeownership of first-time buyers.
Previously, Robert was a partner of Kennedy Associates, an asset management firm focused on institutional public and Taft-Hartley funds throughout the country. Robert secured the initial CalPERS contract of $300 million in 1992 that led to more funding and eventually selling one-third equity to CalPERS. Kennedy and CalPERS interests were sold to BentallGreenOak who currently has $84 Billion assets under management. Robert secured pension fund investors from NYC, Chicago, San Diego, Dallas, Kansas City, and Oakland.
Robert’s business development experience also extends to architecture and real estate development. As Senior VP of McLarand Vasquez Emsiek, & Partners, an international architectural and planning firm, he secured contracts to open and grow its first satellite office to 38 employees within 5 years. Subsequently, Robert founded ZeZen Advisors, a boutique advisory firm to raise capital for institutional quality real estate developments and source development opportunities for private affordable housing developers.
Robert J. Apodaca is involved with numerous nonprofit organizations throughout California.
Son Nguyen is the Founder and President of the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP), a Veteran Service Organization (VSO) dedicated to improving the lives of veterans through education, housing, economic development, and philanthropy.
Responsible for overseeing all facets of the organization, Nguyen drives the mission, fundraising, operations, and engagement with the board of directors. His vision of creating an organization to advocate and provide solutions on veteran issues such as economic development, workforce development, affordable housing, homelessness, suicide prevention, mental wellness, alternative therapy treatments, and successful military to civilian reintegration are trail blazing – VAREP is the ONLY VSO to provide these services.
As a Vietnamese refugee, Nguyen, immigrated to the U.S. in 1975 with three siblings and his mother. Being raise by a single mother, Nguyen saw what dedication, sacrifice, and strength really was. Those lessons are ingrained in his DNA. Besides his 12 year old son, his love for America along with and affinity for country and classic rock music, Nguyen is proud to say he is foreign born but American made respecting his diverse roots.
An entrepreneur, Nguyen has founded two other nonprofits – USA Homeownership Foundation, Inc. and VETCares, Inc. These are sister companies to VAREP providing Housing Counseling services, mortgage-free home donations, and many community grant programs to deserving heroes.
In conjunction with running nonprofits, Nguyen keeps busy working in the real estate, lending, closing services, and government contracting arenas.
In his spare time, Nguyen supports his son’s baseball, basketball, and football activities. He also loves to cook, travel, theater, and play golf.
Nguyen has decades of experience in the real estate, public speaking, business consulting, content creation, and diversity inclusion training. His record speaks of innovation and leadership at the highest level. A proud U.S. Navy Veteran, Mr. Nguyen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida and a Master’s in Organizational Management.
Kawata Dental has been providing quality dental care in West Los Angeles for over 60 years. It was originally established by Dr. Sakae Kawata who was one of the Japanese-American dentist pioneers in the area. He graduated USC Dental School in 1956, served two years in the US Army deployed to Korea, then started private practice in 1958. Dr. Bennett Kawata joined his father’s practice in 1988 and took over ownership in 2001. They practiced together until 2015 when his father retired. Dr. Bennett continues the practice to this day along with his associate dentists. Our staff speaks Japanese and English. Dr. Bennett’s wife, Sandra, who is a real estate broker and helps run the office, is from Singapore and speaks English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese, and Teochew. We have built our practice on the foundation of trust. We are compassionate and truly care about your experience as a patient and about your overall health. You can feel secure knowing that you will be treated with respect, honesty and care.