Consultant- K-12 Language Learning, Leadership and Policy Education Veronica Maria Gallardo is a K-12 Educational leader who partners with communities, district and state leaders across the United States to design, expand and maximize funding for students who are English Language Learners in K-12. After spending 15 years as an elementary principal, Director of English Language Learners and International Schools, and division director for K-12 Education for the City of Seattle, Veronica has a keen understanding of what resources, policies and supports are needed for communities, districts and state institutions. Language learning and the values and benefits of it for students are her passion. She can speak directly to the values and benefits of language development and work across systems to implement needed changes. Examples include the creation of the Seattle World School, the inclusion of the Language Credit for Proficiency, and the redesign of the K—12 Education Levy for the City of Seattle. Ms. Gallardo is the board President for One America, former member of the State Bilingual Education Advisory Board and the ELL RoadMap Group. In addition to her K-12 Education Experience, Veronica is a certified Urban Education Leader coach through Columbia University.
Veronica holds a BA in American Ethnic Studies from the University of Washington, an MA in Teaching from both the University of Washington and Columbia Teachers College, and also possesses Principal Credentials from the University of Washington.
Director, Community Programs, Seattle Foundation
Alice Ito is Director, Community Programs at The Seattle Foundation. She previously served as a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Community Change, a national nonprofit that works to build the capacity of low-income people to improve their communities and public policies that affect them. Prior to that, she was a program officer at the Marguerite Casey Foundation, and has worked on staff or consulted with community based nonprofits and philanthropic organizations for more than 20 years. Her work included strategy development, research, education, and training on practices and policies to support democracy and equity. She conducted oral history interviewing and research at Densho, a nonprofit that documents and educates about principles of democracy and the experiences of Japanese Americans incarcerated by the U.S. government, on the basis of their ancestry without due process of law.
Alice is a founder of API Chaya and the Nonprofit Assistance Center in Seattle, and the Asian Women’s Shelter in San Francisco. She has served as a board member for numerous organizations, currently including Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants & Refugees, and Social Justice Fund Northwest. Born and raised in Washington State, Alice is a grandchild of immigrants. She is a graduate of Stanford University and attended the program in Public Policy at Claremont Graduate University in California.
Davis Wright Tremaine
Chris Helm practices general business and international law, with a focus on Asia–particularly on Japan, where he lived for 24 years–and works extensively on business immigration matters. He counsels foreign companies and individuals in structuring investments in manufacturing and other operations in the Pacific Northwest, and helps American clients entering Asian markets. Chris provides immigration assistance, including visas and labor certifications, to executives, managers, researchers and other professionals, and is a frequent speaker on immigration and employment sanction issues. He serves on the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee, and as chair of the firm’s pro bono committee.
Pia is a hands on business leader with a unique blend of strong finance, operations and technical expertise. With an MBA from a top tier program, over sixteen years of progressive career as a business leader and as an entrepreneur impacting financials of startups to fortune 100. As an East Indian immigrant herself and nurturing an immigrant life in this far off land for the last 25 years, she feels the urgency and importance to work for immigrant advocacy had never been so important and the importance to cultivate people of color leadership at the local, state and federal level has become a priority. She also serves in the Equity Advisory committee to the Board at Bellevue School District. She has spent a significant time mentoring social entrepreneurs.
Immigration Resource Attorney, Washington Defender Association
Enoka Herat is a public interest attorney at the Washington Defender Association’s Immigration Project where she advises defense attorneys representing noncitizens in order to avoid deportation. She trains criminal defense attorneys across the state about the immigration consequences of convictions so they can provide their clients with holistic representation. She graduated from the UW Law School in 2010, where she was co-president of the Immigrant Family Advocacy Project, a member of the Innocence Project clinic, and an editor on the Washington Law Review. After law school, Enoka served as a judicial law clerk at the Seattle Immigration Court for two years through the DOJ’s Honors Program.
Enoka is a past president of the South Asian Bar Association of Washington and has served on the board of API-Chaya. She is the child of Sri Lankan immigrants and growing up in northern Virginia always felt torn between the pressures to assimilate and the desire to value her own culture. OneAmerica’s work to support integration over assimilation is an inspiration to her. Enoka lives in Beacon Hill with her husband and daughter.
Dr. Mudit Kakar
Choi Capital Law
Dr. Mudit Kakar practices intellectual property law, at Choi Capital Law, PLLC, with a focus in IP litigation, technology transactions, licensing, privacy and regulatory compliance. He represents clients in industry sectors ranging from tech companies to pharmaceuticals and life science companies. Dr. Kakar uses his first-hand experience in developing new technologies to help clients achieve their business goals by leveraging their intellectual property. Through the combination of science education and training, and legal skills, he helps companies evaluate, implement, protect and monetize intellectual property.
Dr. Kakar grew up in New Delhi, India, and moved to the United States in 2003 to pursue graduate studies. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where he focused his research on the use of gene therapy for treatment of leukemia and other cancers. Dr. Kakar moved to Seattle after completing his Ph.D. to attend law school at the University of Washington. He was actively involved with the student body leadership as the vice-president of the Moot Court Honor Board, and the president of the Technology Law Society. He was also an active member of OutLaws (LGBT law student’s association). He continued his community involvement after law school by joining the board of the South Asian Bar Association of Washington (SABAW), and served as the president of SABAW in 2016. Currently, he also serves on the board of Washington Initiative for Diversity to promote an inclusive work environment and diverse workforce in the legal profession.
An immigrant himself, Dr. Kakar, relates to some of the issues faced by the immigrant community. He has been in the United States for 14 years, first on a student visa, and then work visa. He understands the restrictive nature of our immigration system. Apart from his intellectual property work, Dr. Kakar maintains an active pro bono practice helping victims of persecution seeking asylum in the United States.
Immigration Lawyer, Sound Immigration
Community Police Commission, City of Seattle
Fé Lopez was appointed as Executive Director of the Community Police Commission (“CPC”) by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and confirmed by the CPC and the Seattle City Council in early 2014. Prior to working for the CPC, Fé was the director of alumni relations and annual fund at Seattle University School of Law. She is a past president of the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington (“LBAW”) where she was the co-chair of the Judicial Evaluation Committee, chair of the Banquet Committee, and co-chair of the Community Outreach Committee. During her time with LBAW, Ms. Lopez also worked with communities of color on the MEDC Task Force on Police Accountability in Seattle from 2010-2012 and with the United for Fair Representation Coalition advocating for minority-majority congressional and legislative districts and the Washington State Voting Rights Act.
Ms. Lopez has developed diversity initiatives with LBAW, other minority bar and community organizations, law students and lawyers. Some of the past programs include the Racial Justice Leadership Institute at Seattle University School of Law, Disability Rights: Ethics and Practical Skills, Dealing with Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courtroom, and Advocacy Skills for Protecting Civil Rights that specifically addressed police accountability issues. Fé also co-founded and was a past co-chair of the Judicial Institute. Now in its third year, the Judicial Institute’s goal is the promotion of court benches that reflect the richness and diversity of the communities and populations served by our judicial system throughout the State of Washington. The Institute encourages qualified diverse attorneys to seek judicial positions through a comprehensive education and mentorship program.
Fé currently serves as a board member of OneAmerica and immediate past co-chair of the SchroeterGoldmark Bender/LBAW Free Legal Clinic at El Centro de la Raza.
Ms. Lopez is a 2006 graduate of Seattle University School of Law. She has received the Seattle University Law Justicia Award, Seattle University Athletics Inaugural Women in Leadership Award, LBAW President’s Award, and the Washington State Bar Association’s Excellence in Diversity Award.
Alberto J. Rodríguez
City of Seattle
Originally from Honduras, Alberto moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2010 after getting his degree in Biology and working on several environmental conservation and research projects in Honduras and Guatemala. In the U.S., his work has focused on community-led environmental conservation, with an emphasis in advancing environmental justice and racial equity. From 2011-2016, Alberto was the Environmental and Community Health Programs Manager for the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition / Technical Advisory Group (DRCC/TAG), a non-profit that works to engage and build power for the environmental justice communities affected by the Duwamish River Superfund site in Seattle. In this capacity, Alberto was appointed by Seattle’s Mayor Edward Murray to a 16-person committee that developed the nation’s first municipal Equity & Environment Agenda. In June 2016, he joined the City of Seattle to lead the new Duwamish Valley Program, a placed-based effort to advance environmental justice, address racial and neighborhood-level disparities, reduce health inequities, and create stronger economic pathways.
Locally, Alberto’s work has been recognized with awards from the South Park Neighborhood Association (2012) and Sustainable Path Foundation (2013). In 2014, he was recognized as one of three finalists for the first-ever Emerging River Professional Award, an international award sponsored by the International River Foundation and the International Water Centre Alumni Network.
Alberto was a member of the Leadership Team of the Seattle Chapter of the Environmental Professionals of Color from 2012-2016, and an Executive Committee member of the Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club from 2015-2016. On his spare time, Alberto enjoys traveling, scuba diving, paragliding, hiking, reading, dancing, independent movies, and live music.