San Diego Civic Leadership Forum

Date: Saturday, March 30, 2019
Forum: 2:00PM-5:00PM
Reception: 5:00PM-7:00PM
Location: Jacobs Center – Celebration Hall
Address: 404 Euclid Ave, San Diego, CA 92114

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is organizing a forum focused on civic leadership and empowerment within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Sponsored by Civic Leadership USA, the forum will feature prominent leaders and elected officials who will discuss efforts to increase the community’s representation in all levels of government. Whether you’re looking to network, get more involved in the community, or even run for office, please join us on March 30!





Agenda Overview

FORUM (2:00-5:00PM)

Opening Remarks
Emcee: CK Suero-Gabler, Region Chair, NaFFAA
U.S. Anthem: TBD
Bennett Peji, Vice President, Impact & Partnerships, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation
Keynote Remarks: California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria, 78th Assembly District
Chris Cate, Councilmember, City of San Diego
Anthony Ng, Executive Director, Civic Leadership USA

Asian American Data/Representation Presentation
Tom Wong, Professor, University of California, San Diego; Board of Advisors, New American Leaders

Civic Leadership Panel
Moderator: Andrew Amorao, Region Vice Chair, NaFFAA
Mark Bartlett, Commissioner, Chula Vista Veterans Advisory Commission
Carol Kim, Director of Community Engagement, San Diego Building & Construction Trades Council
Jee Manghani, Elected Rancho Santa Fe School District Board of Trustees
Ditas Yamane, Former Mayoral Candidate, National City

Closing Remarks
Jason Tengco, Executive Director, NaFFAA


Susan Davis, Member of Congress, 53rd House District

Ben Hueso, State Senator, 40th Senate District
Shirley Weber, State Assemblymember, 79th Assembly District
Nathan Fletcher, County Supervisor, 4th County District
Monica Montgomery, City Councilmember, City of San Diego
Audie de Castro, San Diego Honorary Consul, Consulate General of the Philippines

Biographies (in speaking order)

Assemblymember Todd Gloria

In December 2016, Todd Gloria was sworn in as the California State Assemblymember for the 78th Assembly District making him only the second person of Filipino heritage ever elected to the California State Assembly.

A native San Diegan, Todd’s lifelong career in public service was inspired by a lesson his parents – a hotel maid and a gardener – taught him at a young age: if you truly care about something, then you should leave it better than you found it. That lesson continues to motivate Todd to improve the San Diego region and the State of California every single day.

Todd began his public service career working for the County of San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency. He went on to join the office of U.S. Congresswoman Susan Davis serving as a community representative and eventually her district director.

In 2008, Todd was elected to the San Diego City Council. During his two full terms on the City Council, Todd served as City Council President for two terms and as the City’s Interim Mayor from August 2013 to March 2014.

In the Assembly, Todd has continued his advocacy for increased infrastructure investment and pragmatic and innovative solutions to housing and homelessness. To date, Todd has been able to successfully author, pass, and receive the Governor’s signature on nearly 30 pieces of legislation.

Todd is a graduate of the University of San Diego and an enrolled member of the Tlingit Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. He lives in the neighborhood of Mission Hills.

Councilmember Chris Cate

Councilmember Chris Cate proudly represents the Sixth District of the City of San Diego which includes the neighborhoods of Clairemont Mesa, Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa, Miramar, Park Village, and Sorrento Valley.

As Councilmember, Chris has been lauded for his solution-oriented approach to public safety, economic development, and the environment. The community’s support has been steadfast and unwavering. Chris has received numerous awards and accolades, including Board Member of the Year (Asian Business Association), Taxpayer Champion of the Year (San Diego County Taxpayer Association), 40 Under 40 (Daily Transcript), 40 Under 40 (San Diego Metro), 40 Under 40 (Republican Party of San Diego County), and the Filipino American Community Empower Luminary Award, to note a few.

Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of San Diego. During his time at USD, a high school friend and he started a successful small business that specialized in auto glass replacement and windshield repair. During his free time, Chris enjoys playing basketball, spending time with his family, and trying new restaurants. Chris and his wife, Maria, live in Mira Mesa.

Anthony Ng

Currently serves as the Executive Director of the Civic Leadership USA (, Anthony also served as Vice President of the Life Transformation Foundation. Anthony brings over 30 years of experience in working with an array of institutions ranging from state government, arts and culture, education, and social services to community development and private foundations, including the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Prince Music Theater, African American Museum, Pew Charitable Trusts, and Barnes Foundation. He is the former VP & COO of Nueva Esperanza/Esperanza USA, President and CEO of the Latin American Economic Development Association, and Executive Director of the Chinese Newcomers Service Center.

Tom Wong

Tom K. Wong is an associate professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego. He served as an advisor to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) under the Obama administration where he co-led the immigration portfolio and was recently appointed by Governor Gerry Brown to serve on the State of California 2020 Census Complete Count Committee (CCC). He is also Director of the International Migration Studies Program Minor.

His research focuses on the politics of immigration, citizenship, and migrant “illegality.” As these issues have far-reaching implications, his work also explores the links between immigration, race and ethnicity, and the politics of identity. His first book, Rights, Deportation, and Detention in the Age of Immigration Control, analyzes the immigration control policies of twenty-five Western immigrant-receiving democracies (Stanford University Press, 2015). In analyzing over 30,000 roll call votes on immigration-related legislation in Congress since 2005, his second book, The Politics of Immigration: Partisanship, Demographic Change, and American National Identity (Oxford University Press, 2017), represents the most comprehensive analysis to date on the contemporary politics of immigration in the United States.

Wong’s research has been used by policymakers both in the U.S. and in Mexico, as well as by organizations that serve immigrant communities. Wong and his work has been covered byThe New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, NPR and major media outlets across the country. He is also on the leadership committee of the California Immigrant Policy Center and the board of New American Leaders. Wong also consults on campaigns and elections, specializing in mobilizing low-propensity voters of color and immigrant communities.

Carol Kim

Carol Kim is the Director of Community Engagement for the San Diego Building & Construction Trades Council (SDBCTC) Family Housing Corporation and Political Director for the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council

After graduating from UCLA in 1998, Carol began her career as a classroom teacher in an inner city school in Los Angeles. Her years as a teacher were followed by several more working in HIV prevention, where she served high-risk groups including active and recovering substance users, adolescents in the foster care and judicial systems, LGBTQ communities, as well as communities of color. Following a move to San Diego, she carried her experience as a practitioner in the fields of education and public health to work as a Research Associate in the Health & Human Development program for an education research nonprofit, working with schools, school districts, and community colleges both in San Diego County and throughout the state of California. In 2013, she took a leap into politics, and has been an advocate for working families and underserved communities ever since, whether she is running electoral campaigns, advocating for legislation, or organizing community coalitions as the Political Director of the SDBCTC & the Director of Community Engagement for the SDBCTC Family Housing Corporation.

Carol also serves on the boards of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, the San Diego Convention Center, the California State Building & Construction Trades Council, Run Women Run, the Climate Action Campaign, the Middle Class Taxpayers Association, and is a member of the San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee. She is the married mother of two and lives in San Diego with her family.


Board Member Jee Manghani

Jee Manghani grew up in San Diego, in several communities, including Rancho Penasquitos and Poway. He graduated from Poway High School and attended UCSD, attaining a degree in Computer Science. For over 20 years, he has worked in the software engineering field in several fields, including e-commerce and defense. He helped to found several startups around social media. Currently, he runs a software consulting company, focused on helping his clients create apps and web services. He is a 15-year General Partner for the Soledad Investment Partnership, which focuses on value investments in the vein of Warren Buffett and Benjamin Graham.

In 2018, he decided to step up and serve his community by running for the Governing Board for the Rancho Santa Fe School District. The community elected him to serve a 4-year term, and he was sworn in on December 13, 2018.

He has traveled to India to help care for orphans through the Light Partnership and donates monthly to the charity. Locally, he has helped coach RSF Attack soccer teams and leads the praise and worship team in his church every Sunday.

Ditas Yamane

Ditas Yamane is a California licensed real estate broker and business owner with numerous years of experience in budgeting, financial analysis, and business contracts. She is currently the Director of the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors. Ditas is committed to the principle that residents of neighborhoods and communities are participants in their own development. As a community planner, Ditas has worked effectively with volunteers, high-level administrators, customers, stakeholders, and community members to organize community events. As a business entrepreneur and realtor, Ditas is knowledgeable about housing and business development policies, procedures and programs, including innovative and practical approaches to help neighborhoods and communities thrive.

Ditas’ commitment to her community is exemplified in her work ethic. She has previously served as Executive Director of the Mabuhay Festival, an annual event celebrating Philippine Independence Day, and as Executive Director for the Health & Wellness Fair, an annual event serving the underserved, underinsured, and uninsured members of the community by providing free health & wellness services. She has also served as President on the board of the National City Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee for Sweetwater Union High School District’s Proposition O (the school district’s comprehensive Capital Facilities Plan), a Commissioner on the Housing & Community Economic Development City of National City, and President of the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of San Diego County.

Congresswoman Susan Davis

Congresswoman Susan Davis proudly represents California’s 53rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Her interest in public affairs and service grew out of her experiences as a social worker, parent, youth mentor, and military spouse. Through these life experiences, Susan developed an understanding of and deep commitment to improving her community and country.

Prior to Congress, Susan served in the California State Assembly (1994-2000).  She served three terms and focused on what would become her signature issues – education, health care, and consumer protection.  She chaired the Committee on Consumer Protection, Government Efficiency, and Economic Development. In the House, as she has throughout her public service, Susan has approached legislating as a bipartisan consensus builder achieving legislative successes in education, military families and veterans support and health care.

Susan attended public school in northern California.  She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in sociology.  After college, she worked with at-risk youths in Israel and also lived on a kibbutz. Susan returned to the United States and she earned her master’s degree in social work at the University of North Carolina.  When her husband Steve was stationed in Japan for his military service, Susan and their sons, Jeff and Ben, joined him. The Davis family later settled in mid-city San Diego in 1972 and Susan and Steve have lived in the same house ever since.  Today, Susan and Steve are the proud grandparents of Henry, Jane, and Theo.

Senator Ben Hueso

Ben Hueso was elected as California State Senator for the 40th District in March of 2013. He represents the cities of Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, National City, portions of the City of San Diego and the Imperial County. In January 2019, Senator Hueso was reappointed by the Senate Pro Tempore to serve as Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications. He was also reappointed to the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions, Insurance, Natural Resources and Water, and Governmental Organization Committees.

Since assuming office, Senator Hueso has worked extensively on initiatives regarding water quality, consumer protection, public safety and job creation. He is also a strong advocate for education, environmental issues and bi-national affairs, and serves as Chair of both the Latino Legislative Caucus and the Select Committee on California-Mexico Cooperation.

Prior to being elected as Senator, Hueso served in the California State Assembly from 2010-2013, where he championed legislation helping small businesses, protecting victims of domestic violence, prohibiting the sale of synthetic drugs, securing clean and reliable water resources, and stimulating the economy.

Senator Hueso held his first elected position as San Diego City Councilmember for the 8th District from 2006-2010. During his tenure, he was elected Council President from 2008-2010 due to his strong leadership and consensus-building skills. He served as Commissioner for the California Coastal Commission, where he worked to protect California’s beautiful coastlines. In addition, he served as a board member for San Diego’s Association of Governments and the California League of Cities.

Senator Hueso holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA and lives in Logan Heights with his four sons.

Assemblymember Shirley Weber

Assembly Member Shirley Nash Weber was elected in November of 2012 to represent California’s 79th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Bonita, Chula Vista, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, National City and San Diego.

Born to sharecroppers of Hope, Arkansas, Shirley Weber has lived in California since the age of 3. She attended UCLA, where she received her BA, MA and PhD by the age of 26. Prior to receiving her doctorate, she became a professor at San Diego State University (SDSU) at the age of 23. Dr. Weber also taught at California State University at Los Angeles and Los Angeles City College before coming to San Diego State University.

Prior to being elected to the Assembly, she served as the mayor’s appointee and Chair on the Citizens’ Equal Opportunity Commission. Dr. Weber has also served on the Board of the NAACP, YWCA, YMCA Scholarship Committee, Battered Women Services, United Way, San Diego Consortium and Private Industry Council, and many more.

Assembly Member Weber has lived in the 79th Assembly District for over 30 years. Her children attended public school in the district and she was elected to the school board. As a board member, and subsequent board president, she became known for her advocacy for closing the achievement gap and a higher standard of excellence for all children.

Assembly Member Weber is the mother of two children and the widow of the late Honorable Daniel Weber, a California state judge.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher

From the Marines to the State Legislature to teaching at UCSD, Nathan Fletcher has a proven record getting things done and making a difference in people’s lives.

In the Marine Corps, Nathan served as a Counterintelligence Specialist and did two combat tours in Iraq, the Near East and the Horn of Africa.

As an Assemblyman, Nathan was known as one of California’s most effective legislators, passing more than 30 laws to expand healthcare coverage, protect homeowners during the foreclosure crisis, strengthen public safety and increase support services for veterans and the homeless.  Nathan authored Chelsea’s Law, landmark public safety legislation that strengthened penalties for violent crimes against children.

A Professor of Practice in Political Science at UCSD, Nathan has been teaching courses on public service, political science, California government and American history at the University of California San Diego since 2013.  Fletcher’s class on the Voting Rights Act of 1965, was featured recently in the Union-Tribune.

As a Veteran’s Advocate, Nathan founded the Three Wise Men Foundation to help eliminate the stigma surrounding Post-Traumatic Stress and launched the ‘Honorably Discharged, Dishonorably Deported’ campaign to shine a light on the injustice of deported veterans.

A Proud Father, Nathan understands the challenges every parent faces and knows the basics all our families rely on: safe neighborhoods, good schools, clean parks.

Nathan is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys surfing, mountain climbing and competing in Ironman triathlons.  He lives in the City Heights community of San Diego with his wife, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, and their five children.

Councilmember Monica Montgomery

Monica Montgomery grew up in the Fourth Council District and represents these communities on the San Diego City Council. Monica earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Spelman College and a Juris Doctor from California Western School of Law. After passing the California Bar, she practiced law in the areas of civil rights, consumer, real estate, and bankruptcy. Prior to being elected to San Diego City Council, Monica served at the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties as a Criminal Justice Advocate, leading the local campaign to reform the money bail system.

Before joining the ACLU in 2016, Monica worked at the City of San Diego for three elected officials. As a Senior Policy Advisor, Monica focused on the following policy areas: criminal justice reform and public safety, neighborhood revitalization, workforce development, small business development, equal opportunity contracting, and youth services.

Monica serves on several committees, including serving as the Chair of the Committee on Public Safety & Livable Neighborhoods and the Vice Chair of the Committee on Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations. Monica is also a RISE fellow and the 2018 Voice of San Diego Voice of the Year.

Audie de Castro

Audie J. de Castro is the Honorary Consul of the Republic of the Philippines, the first ever to be appointed in San Diego County. His position is a volunteer position, but he is responsible for all of San Diego County, where over 200,000 Filipino-Americans reside. In addition to promoting diplomacy, trade and tourism, his responsibilities include providing consular services and protections to Filipino citizens. He is also the President of the San Diego Consular Corps, which represents all 26 foreign consulates in San Diego County.

He is a corporate lawyer and founded de Castro, PC, a law firm in downtown San Diego. Mr. de Castro received his law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law, graduating cum laude while working. He is also a former Certified Public Accountant, with a business degree from the University of San Diego.

For many years, Mr. de Castro has served in various leadership roles within the San Diego community. He served on the Board of Governors for the San Diego Foundation. He has received numerous political appointments from the San Diego Mayor and City Council and is Past-President of the Asian Business Association and Filipino-American Lawyers of San Diego.