Leadership Awards

Aruna Miller                            Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 5.15.40 PM
Delegate of Maryland

Delegate Aruna Miller was first elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. She was born in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh and arrived to the United States in 1972 with her father, mother and two siblings.

She serves on the House Appropriations Committee and is the Chair of the Oversight Committee on Personnel Subcommittee, Vice Chair of Capital Budget Subcommittee and Vice Chair Transportation and the Environment Subcommittee. Delegate Miller serves on the Joint Committee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology and Biotechnology. In 2016, Delegate Miller was appointed as a Commissioner to serve on the 21st Century School Facilities Commission, which will review innovative approaches to school construction. She is the President of Women Legislators of Maryland.

Delegate Miller has devoted a lifetime of public service to the citizens of her community. As a transportation engineer she has spent over 25 years implementing roadway/transit/bicycle-pedestrian facilities for Montgomery County. As a Maryland State Delegate she is a champion of strengthening.

Maryland working families, protecting children, empowering victims of domestic abuse, improving Maryland’s business climate and advancing gender equality in the workplace. Delegate Miller, her husband, their three daughters, her mother, and two dogs live in Darnestown, Maryland.

In 2011, Aruna championed a sister state relationship between Maryland-Andhra Pradesh and travelled to India with Governor O’Malley. Together, they participated in a ceremony with Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy to formalize the economic, educational and cultural exchange between Maryland and India. In 2014, she led Montgomery County to establish a sister-city relationship with Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh/Telangana. Aruna serves on the following Committees/Boards:

• 2012 Delegate for President Obama at the Democratic National Convention

• Montgomery County Public Schools Educational Foundation

• Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB)

• Business Climate Workgroup, Maryland House of Delegates

• Black Rock Center for the Arts, Board Member; 2012-2015

• Montgomery County Public Schools Educational Foundation

• Indian Biomedical Association

• Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)

• Maryland Women’s Caucus, President, 2016-207

• Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats (CAPAD)

• Universities at Shady Grove, Board Member

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 5.48.55 PMChristine Chen
Executive Director, Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote
Arlington, Virginia

Christine Chen, the founding executive director from 2006-2008 returned to APIAVote in January 2011 to serve as its current Executive Director. During her tenure she had strengthened and expanded APIAVote’s partners into 22 states. APIAVote’s research and polling of Asian American voters and their regional trainings and field programs have strengthened the local grassroots programs in reaching and mobilizing Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. Through all these efforts, APIAVote has played a key role in elevating the Asian American and Pacific Islander electorate to an unprecedented national level in recent years.

In addition Chen serves as President of Strategic Alliances USA, a consulting firm specializing in coalition building, institutional development, and partnerships among the corporate sector, government agencies, and the nonprofit and public sector.

Profiled by Newsweek magazine in 2001 as one of 15 women who will shape America’s new century, Chen served from 2001 to 2005 as national executive director of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), one of the leading APIA civil rights organizations in the country. Leading an organization with more than 80 chapters and affiliates across the nation, she worked with OCA’s national board, executive council, chapter representatives, members and funders while managing a staff of 13.

Chen is well-known by activists across the county. Her track record in building coalitions and working at the grassroots and national levels established her as one of the strongest voices in the APIA community. She has more than two decades of experience in organizing and advocating on issues such as immigration, hate crimes, affirmative action, census, racial profiling, voting rights, election reform, and various derogatory and racist media incidents. Her role as a trusted coalition builder has her effectively building relationships with key Congressional offices including the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, federal agencies, and the administration.
Throughout the years with Chen’s multitasking abilities, Chen also was a member of the executive committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

She also served on numerous boards such as the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Demos Board of Trustees, Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), Youth Vote, Gates Millennium Scholarship Advisory Council, advisory board for the Progressive Majority Racial Justice Campaign, and the Board of Advisors for the Midwest Asian American Students Union, East Coast Asian American Students Union and the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association. In 2003, she was a founding member of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund and also in 2006, a founding member of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote.

Chen currently serves on the Kennedy Center Community Advisory Board, Center for Asian American Media, OCA Northern Virginia Chapter, and the advisory boards for the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association (APAMSA), and CAPAL.

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Ceyan Birney
Stone Mountain Properties
Houston, Texas

Ceyan Birney is President of Stone Mountain Properties, a second generation, family owned real estate company founded by his mother in 1981. He joined the company full-time in 1992 where he has been instrumental to the overall development of the family’s business strategies and investment decisions. He helped to build the portfolio to over 2.8 million square feet of commercial and residential real estate totaling more than 2500 apartment units, 6 office buildings, an office-warehouse, self-storage and various parcels of land.

Ceyan, the oldest of three children, started contributing to the family business early, helping to prepare business documents as a precocious 10 years old. In college, he even lived at home so he could continue to support the family business and help look after his two younger sisters as his parents expanded to an entirely new geography in Houston, TX in 1989.

A talented young man, Ceyan still managed to graduate from New York University (NYU) Stern School of Business in only three years with a double major in Economics and Management/Organizational Behavior. After graduation, he went on to various roles in the family business including Director of Marketing and Design in 1994, and later Real Estate Business Principal in 2006, when he fully took over the New Jersey operations and is a key member of the Family Council.

Since 2007, Ceyan has gone on to earn numerous other distinctions and degrees in his continual pursuit of growth and lifelong learning, including an Owner/President Management (OPM) degree from Harvard Business School (HBS) and a Master’s degree in Real Estate, concentrating in Strategic Asset Management from NYU – Schack Institute of Real Estate.

Ceyan still finds time to contribute back to the community as a: NYU-Stern MBA Career Mentor; NYU-Stern Center for Real Estate Finance Research Advisory Board Member; Harvard Club of NJ Executive Committee member; HBS Class Secretary / Alumni Bulletin Editor; Property Owners Association of NJ Board Member; and ILF-Houston Advisory Board Member. In 2015, Ceyan was honored with The President’s Volunteer Service Award for focusing on Economic Opportunity.

In his spare time, Ceyan can be found pursuing his passion for racetrack driving and enjoying time with his wife, Cynthia and newborn daughter, Celine.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 5.50.10 PMLarry Lee
Vice Chairman, China Daily (Holding) Co. Ltd
Bethesda, Maryland

Larry Lee is vice chairman of China Daily (Holding) Co. Ltd, which is the parent company of China Daily USA, China Daily UK and China Daily Africa. Between 2009 to March, 2016, he had held the positions including president and editor-in-chief of China Daily USA, a subsidiary of China Daily Group, which is the largest English-language newspaper publishing company in China. As vice chairman of China Daily (Holding) Co. Ltd., and publisher of China Watch, he is responsible for the business development of China Daily worldwide.

Lee began his career as a correspondent for the People’s Daily of Beijing. He later worked as a senior reporter for Sing Tao Daily in San Francisco, becoming that newspaper’s Washington bureau chief and then overseas editor-in-chief. In 2005, he joined China Daily as executive director of its Shanghai operation. He led the shareholder reform of China Insurance Media Co., the first such initiative in the Chinese media industry. Lee was China Daily’s chief international editor. He has won a number of awards in China and the US, including China Media Leadership Award by US-China Policy Foundation. He is one of 50 Outstanding Asian Americans in Business for 2012. During his tenure as president of China Daily USA, the circulation of this newspaper had grown from less than 1,000 copies to over 120,000 copies, audited by BPA.

He graduated from the People’s Liberation Army University of Science and Technology, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School; he has bachelor’s, LLM and executive MBA degrees. Lee has written the books Taiwan’s General Election and The Last 100 Days of Colonial Hong Kong.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 5.50.23 PMDr. Richard Sun
Vice Mayor of the City of San Marino, California

Richard Sun received his D.D.S. in 1982 from University of the Pacific, San Francisco and started his dental practice in San Gabriel in 1983. In addition to practicing dentistry, Richard is an entrepreneur. Seeing the trend of HMO in dental health care, Richard founded the first dental HMO, Ideal Dental Health Plan, in San Gabriel Valley partnering with more than 300 dentists providing affordable, quality dental care. After retiring from dentistry in 2000, Richard became more involved in real estate development. He completed the very first mixed-use project in 2004 in old downtown Alh1ambra which had lost its luster for many years. Because of his landmark project, many other similar projects followed and the once blighted old downtown area was eventually turned into a thriving district. Richard has also served as board director of Trust Bank and Omni Bank.

Richard was elected the first Chinese American President of San Gabriel Chamber of Commerce in 1989. During his tenure in the Chamber, he noticed cultural impacts on the local community by new immigrants from Taiwan, which sometimes led to misunderstanding among different cultural groups. He and his wife, Ivy, then spearheaded a sister city program promoting inter cultural awareness through exchange activities between San Gabriel and her sister city, Chang Hwa, to have a better understanding of different cultures. Richard was very much involved in Methodist Hospital Foundation since 2008 and was elected chairman of the board in 2013. He and Ivy were the 2015 Crystal Ball Honorees of Methodist Hospital Foundation. In 2015, Richard was elected President of Chinese American Elected Official (CEO) providing a platform for Chinese American elected officials to network with main stream politicians, civic organizations and advocating voter education. Other civic organizations he has served on the board includes YMCA of West San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, Los Angeles County Workforce Committee, and Pasadena Symphony Association. In 2015, Richard also received an Outstanding Alumni Award by National Cheng Kung University Alumni Association, Richard has found time to serve City of San Marino. He and Ivy chaired the major capital fundraising campaign for San Marino Public Library. He also served on the Design Review Committee of the City. Richard was elected council member in 2009. He served as Mayor in 2012. At present, he serves as Vice Mayor.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 5.50.32 PMClaire Wu
Vice President, Sequoia Dental Studio
Willowbrook, Illinois

Claire Wu came to the United States right after she graduated from college to pursue a master’s degree in Computer Science. After graduating she got her first real job as a computer programmer and for ten years was the main source if income for her family of six while her husband worked to startup a software company for dental office management. Claire worked at Sears as their IT Project Manager for 20 years. Now Claire is a freelance medical and court interpreter. She gets a lot of satisfaction from helping people at their most vulnerable or depressed situations. With her husband’s business expansion, she now manages one of his companies. Ms. Claire Wu is very active in the Chicano Community and has championed the cause of charity as a dedicated philanthropist. She has always believed that education and youth development is the the best way to help others and achieving significant progress. She has always showed her strong leadership and support for the Asian community, but also actively dedicates her valuable time to the events and activities organized by other associations. Claire chaired the ILF Chicago Advisory Board.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 5.51.23 PMPedro Cheng
Chairman of Red Rock Asian Capitol Investor Group
Miami, Florida

Pedro Cheng is leading the development of China City in Miami and Latin America, a high profile real estate project. He is Chairman of Red Rock Asian Capitol Investor Group, an investment company that focuses on mining, real estate development, distribution of high tech products and insurance in the United States, Asia and Latin America. Mr. Cheng is cofounder of Asia Connect Media Corporation and President of Promotech (Miami) Inc., a high tech company that distributes cutting edge hand held products. He has more than 30 years of experience as a highly successful businessman with expertise in technology, international business, real estate investments, personal and corporate financial management, product sales and marketing.

Mr. Cheng has been at Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) for 15 years and received several awards for his business excellence and contributions. Before HP, he was a Senior International Executive at Polaroid Corporation, where he developed Polaroid’s new Digital Imaging business in Latin America. Mr. Cheng also represented Acer Corporation, from Taiwan, in the Miami market, and began his career working at Payless Shoe Source Corporation, where he was ultimately responsible for managing the Hong Kong and Taiwan offices along with a $600 Million USD annual budget. Pedro is licensed in international real estate and personal finance planning area.

Mr. Cheng lived in China, Korea, Costa Rica, Taiwan, and the U.S. and is trilingual – fluent in Chinese, Spanish and English. He holds an MBA in International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from The University of Kansas. Mr. Cheng serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Overseas Chinese Business Chamber, is currently the Chairman of Miami Chapter of the International Leadership Foundation, and is an Advisor to the City of Miami EB5 Advisory Board in collaboration with Mayor of Miami Tomás Regalado.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 5.51.32 PMDr. Hon Yuen Wong
Chairman of the Chinese Community Benevolent Alliance
Rockville, Maryland

Born in China, Dr. Hon-Yuen Wong graduated from National Taiwan University in 1973. He completed his residency at Yonkers General Hospital in Yonkers, New York. He is board-certified in Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine. Dr. Wong is the former President of Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and the Chinese Health and Medicine Association. He is currently Chairman of the Chinese Community Benevolent Alliance and the Overseas Chinese Association of Washington, D.C. Dr. Wong initially practiced medicine in Clarion, Pennsylvania from 1975 to 1998, where he had also served as Chief of Staff and Director of the Intensive Care Unit at Clarion Hospital. Since then, he continues to practice medicine at his current location at Rockville, Maryland. He spends thousands of hours to volunteer volunteer his medical practice to the Chinese Community low income earners for the past few years.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 5.51.37 PMMr. David Jian
CEO Marketing Director
World Financial Group
Atlanta, Georgia

David Jian immigrated to the U.S. from China in 1995 to pursue a Master’s degree in professional accountancy. After graduating, he received the opportunity to work for PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the biggest four accounting firms in the world, for five years. The training and experience he gained at a big firm combined with his passion and perseverance shaped him into a successful entrepreneur and leader. Now, he is the CEO Marketing Director of World Financial Group, a financial service marketing company whose affiliates offer a broad array of financial products and services in the United States and Canada.

More than a decade ago, Jian started his financial services business from scratch and has grown it steadily in the past years. Under his strong leadership, the business successfully spread its operations to multiple states and now has more than one thousand licensed associates in the U.S.

Even with his busy work schedule, Jian always remembers to give back to his community. He sponsored underprivileged students and donated school supplies to a village school in Hunan, China. Along with his wife, Laura, he supports Global Health Action, a non-profit organization aiding left-behind children in China. He strongly believes in education and hard work, which have changed his life and led him to pursue his American Dream. Years of experience also allowed him to realize that many young Asian Americans need more training and opportunities to develop leadership skills so that they can become the future leaders of this country. This notion sparked his desire to begin his work with ILF. In 2014, he founded the Atlanta chapter. The establishment of the Atlanta chapter allows him to more directly impact young Asian Americans in his community.

Currently, Jian resides in Johns Creek, Georgia with his wife, Laura, and his two daughters, Kathryn and Ashley. In his free time, he enjoys reading, traveling, and meeting new people.