Meet the board
LISA THONG, CHAIR
Lisa Thong leads the policy work for API Forward Movement’s clean air efforts in the San Gabriel Valley where she was born and raised. With more than ten years of experience in government, nonprofit and private sectors, Lisa has extensive experience collaborating with and building coalitions alongside communities.
The daughter of Chinese refugees from Vietnam, Lisa believes in building access to systems and institutions that often leave behind communities of color. In addition to her role with API Forward Movement, Lisa consults for nonprofit organizations and companies on strategic marketing, communications, and public affairs.
In a volunteer capacity, Lisa currently serves as President of the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, a consumer protection board. She was appointed to a public member position by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016. Lisa also serves as Vice Chair of the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition.
AMBER MALTBIE, SECRETARY-TREASURER
Amber Maltbie is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Nossaman, LLP, specializing in campaign finance compliance and disclosure, election administration, and governmental ethics. She also teaches Election Law at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento as an adjunct professor.
Ms. Maltbie serves the community in a variety of capacities. She has served on the Emerge California Board of Directors since 2014, and was elected to serve as Chair of the Board in 2016. She was also elected to the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council in 2016, where she represents the interests of community stakeholders before the Los Angeles City Council.
Amber has been widely recognized as a leading expert in gender and elections, and her work on women's voting rights in emerging democracies has been cited in United Nations Development Programme reports and published by international NGOs. In addition to her scholarly work on women's voting rights, Amber has worked with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems in North Mitrovica, Kosovo during Kosovo’s first Parliamentary elections in 2010.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Amber worked for Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee as a district aide and political advisor, including managing her contested 2002 re-election campaign after the Congresswoman gave the only “no” vote against authorizing George Bush to wage an unchecked war. Amber also spent two years developing and implementing campaigns to increase voter participation in historically disenfranchised communities in Kentucky, the Cheyenne Reservation in South Dakota, Louisiana, Georgia and New Mexico. Amber proudly co-founded both Fem Dems of Sacramento and Mills College Fem Dems.
LARRY CHUNG, BOARD MEMBER
Larry Chung specializes in public affairs, legislative affairs, and government relations and leads the Southern California office for Strategies 360. Larry brings years of experience in both the public and private sectors. He has worked on numerous corporate public affairs and legislative campaigns building messaging from the ground up and providing high-level strategic guidance for his clients.
Prior to working for Strategies 360, Larry spent several years consulting in technology, entertainment, telecommunications, and energy providing public affairs and legislative strategy to Fortune 10 companies.
Prior to consulting Larry served the State of California working for California Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez as a top aide providing strategic guidance and counsel on matters of state governance and coordinating all communication between staff and external stakeholders including heads of state, top CEOs, and the community at large.
Larry has worked on local, statewide, and federal campaigns coordinating grassroots mobilization efforts and strategic messaging for numerous candidates and initiatives throughout the State of California.
Larry received his B.A. from the University of California, Riverside in Political Science and is a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs.
ANNIE LAM, FOUNDER/CEO
Annie V. Lam, principal of the Lam Consulting Group, is a recognized expert in public and nonprofit service. The Lam Consulting Group specializes in governmental affairs, organizational development, and nonprofit management. She is well known for her strategic approach to enhancing and revitalizing organizations.
Several groups she leads have complementary missions with leadership development focus: APIs Mobilize, the League of California Cities Asian Pacific Islander (API) Caucus, the League of California Cities Women’s Caucus, and the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus Institute.
Annie founded APIs Mobilize to build the community power of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders through its statewide educational opportunities. The League of California Cities API and Women’s Caucuses support and advance local elected officials. Of particular note, she was instrumental in helping both Caucuses achieve revitalization goals by strengthening programs, increasing fund development, expanding membership recruitment, and nurturing new collaborative opportunities. And, through the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus Institute she helped increase participation of elected and career APIs in government through leadership and professional development programs.
She has served in various capacities in the political arena for over a decade. She has worked in the California Legislature as a legislative aide to Assemblymember Judy Chu and legislative director to Assemblymember Mike Eng.
She is the recipient of the Sacramento Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Award, the National Association of Asian Pacifics in Politics and Public Affairs inaugural Forward Award, the Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment’s Partners in Public Service Award, and the California Democratic Party’s API Caucus Rising Star Award.
She holds a Master of Public Administration degree with honors and certification in public policy from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from UC Davis majoring in Asian American Studies.
Judy Chu was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in July 2009. She represents the 27th Congressional District, which includes Pasadena and the west San Gabriel Valley of southern California.
Rep. Chu currently serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over legislation pertaining to taxes, revenues, Social Security, and Medicare. In that Committee, Rep. Chu is a member of the Subcommittees on Health and Human Resources, giving her oversight over healthcare reform and crucial safety net programs.
She also serves on the House Small Business Committee, which has oversight of the Small Business Administration, and is a member of the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access.
Chu was first elected to the Board of Education for Garvey School District in 1985. From there, she was elected to the Monterey Park City Council, where she served as Mayor three times. She then was elected to the State Assembly and then California’s elected tax board, known as the State Board of Equalization. In 2009, she became the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress in history.
Fiona Ma, CPA was selected as Chairwoman of the California State Board of Equalization in 2016 and represents approximately 9.5 million residents in the Second Equalization District. Ms. Ma served in the California State Assembly from 2006 to 2012, and was the first Asian woman Assembly Speaker pro Tempore since 1850. While in the Assembly, Ms. Ma focused on improving California’s bottom line, authoring legislation to create jobs, and grow the state’s economy. As an Executive Board Member of the National Conference of State Legislators, she worked to keep California competitive with other states. Ms. Ma has been a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in California since 1992.
Dave Low is the Executive Director of the California School Employees Association (CSEA), where he has worked since 1981. He is responsible for all aspects of managing the statewide union, which represents over 230,000 classified employees in California's public schools and community colleges. Mr. Low is the Chair of the Labor Coalition, representing over 25 public employee unions with over 1.5 million members. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley.