OCA Announces 2014 OCA Unsung Heroes Awardees
15 July 2014
Kenneth Lee | Acting Chief Executive Officer
202 223 5500 | firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership-driven organization of community advocates dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), is proud to announce its 2013-2014 OCA Unsung Heroes presented by Buick. This year, OCA will honor four individuals whose time and effort towards advancing equity and equality for Asian Pacific Americans are not often publicly recognized.
They will be acknowledged during the 2014 OCA Gala Awards held on Saturday, August 9, 2014 at the OCA National Convention in Los Angeles, CA. OCA will celebrate their spirit of volunteerism and advocacy, and members will learn about the significant contributions each Unsung Hero has made to their communities in 2013.
“The advocates awarded are selfless in their commitment and devotion to advancement of Asian Pacific Americans. Their actions demonstrate the values and mission of OCA. It is because of our chapters and members like them that OCA continues to exist as an organization dedicated to the empowerment of all APAs,” said Clifford Yee, OCA Vice President of Chapter Development. “We thank these individuals for their commitment to strengthening our communities.”
"Buick has sponsored the OCA Unsung Heroes Award since 2001 and is proud to be a returning sponsor this year. It is our absolute honor and privilege to help recognize the people who work so diligently to advance the entire Asian Pacific American community and celebrate their accomplishments,” said Global Chief Diversity Officer Ken Barrett, General Motors.
The 2013-2014 Unsung Heroes Awardees are as follows:
was born in 1937 in Nanjing, China, a few months before the Japanese occupation. His family moved to Tokyo in 1948 and he came to America in 1955 with a one-way ticket on a freighter with $100 in his pocket to study Engineering at Purdue University. David Chai retired in 2000 after 30 years with AT&T Bell Laboratories. While at Bell Labs, he encountered the glass ceiling that affects so many Chinese Americans, especially those of the immigrant generation. To help combat this, he became involved with employee affinity groups to improve the promotion prospects of all minority groups. He recognized early on the lack of Asian “role models” to emulate or to serve as mentors at Bell Labs and elsewhere. Moving to Foster City in 2004, he joined OCA San Mateo, and was elected to its Board in 2005.
In 2006, as he was planning for a candidate debate sponsored by OCA San Mateo, he met Roger Dong who was interested in starting a project about Chinese Americans. David has received the Community Service Award of the Asian American Heritage Council of New Jersey (1998), the Outstanding & Distinguished Service Award from the OCA New Jersey and the Aletha R. Wright Volunteer Leadership Award from Leadership New Jersey in 1999. He has served on many boards, including the Board of 80-20 (2005-2008); the United Way of Monmouth County [NJ]; Leadership New Jersey; OCA San Mateo, where he is the Chair of Speak & Lead with Pride.
is a senior account executive at Crossings TV. She has worked at the Sacramento Bee as an Audience Development Sales Manager in the Circulation Department for over nine years. Jinky has successfully established new business partnerships with the Press Club, utility, cable, phone companies, builders, grocers, retailers, magazines, etc. She is an avid activist on anti-domestic violence, mental health awareness, problematic gambling, human trafficking and other civil rights issues impacting Asian Americans. Her community involvement has helped me build an extensive network build coalitions. In turn, she connected local non-profit organizations to key grant opportunities such as those with philanthropic businesses.
Jinky served on many diverse and non-profit organization boards, amongst which she is most impressed with OCA Sacramento’s mission, its advocacy work for the Asian American community and its leadership standing in the community. Jinky joined OCA Sacramento four years ago serving on different capacities. Currently, she is the Executive Vice President. For the past three years, she has chaired the chapter’s signature fundraising event, the Dragon Boat Festival Celebration. She was able to successfully secure new corporate and community sponsorships, and has raised event attendance to more than 500 guests. Jinky also enjoys working with her business partners on the Business Advisory Council, which brought successful education and leadership programs to the community that include the Youth Speak and Lead with Pride Program, API Business Women Luncheon, and Legislative Reception at the Capitol.
JERI OKAMOTO FLOYD
is the first attorney in her family. Jeri is a third-generation Japanese American who spent her youth in Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada, Montana, California, and Oregon. She graduated summa cum laude from UC Santa Barbara and received a full scholarship to Loyola Law School, where she served as Managing Editor of the Law Review. She is a lifetime OCA member and first volunteered with OCA Greater Los Angeles (GLA) during the 1994 convention in Los Angeles. She has served as the OCA GLA Director of Education & Culture, an advisory board member, and volunteers and continues as a liaison to the China adoption community. Jeri's family underwrites wish lists for the API Community Holiday Toy Drive and annually sponsors OCA GLA summer interns.
Jeri found her heart’s calling when she and her husband adopted their two daughters from China. She initiated youth mentorship programs at UCLA, such as the China Care Bruins Buddy Program (2005-present) and Chinese Cultural Dance Club's Junior Dance Program (2002-present) -- connecting Chinese adoptees (ages five to teens) with API college mentors. She has conducted transracial adoption workshops with the FCC, Vista Del Mar Family Services, OCA, Pact, and the international Half the Sky/China Care Foundation and North American Council on Adoptable Children. She facilitated FCC/OCA roundtables at two national conventions; helped start the FCC/OCA family picnics; and coordinated FCC/OCA screenings of the China adoption film Somewhere Between. Her articles and essays have appeared in Adoptive Families, The Sun, Guideposts, Nikkei Chronicles, OCA Image, FCC China Connection Journal, and other publications.
joined OCA New York (NY) in 2008 and has been a Board Member since 2010. In 2013 and for the last five years, Michael has served as co-captain of OCA NY’s dragon boat racing teams where he and his co-captain led the team to win divisional 1st place in 2009 and 2012 in the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. After attending the 2013 JACL-OCA Leadership training in Washington, D.C., Michael spearheaded OCA NY’s voting rights work in the summer and fall, where his team of two interns and over 20 volunteers exceeded the committed goals. Michael has also been active with the campaign for justice for Private Danny Chen in 2013 by volunteering his time to drive a vanload of supporters to North Carolina to monitor one of the courts-martial and by helping to collect signatures in support of the successful street co-naming petition for “Private Danny Chen Way” in Chinatown.
Michael is currently the Founding Managing Partner of Blue Angel Partners, a seed stage and technology-focused venture capital fund with partners in New York, Atlanta, Raleigh, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. Prior to that, Michael was a VC at Chart Venture Partners investing in startups with dual-use technologies for both commercial and defense applications. In addition to volunteering for OCA NY, Michael also volunteers his time as a Board Member of Long Island Angel Network, Advisory Board Member of Clean Energy Business Incubator at Stony Brook University, Advisory Board Member of WBT Innovation Marketplace, and mentor to startups and technology incubators and accelerators such as The Cleantech Open, NEXUS-NY, R/GA Connected Devices Accelerator, LaunchPad Long Island, PowerBridge NY, among others.
About General Motors
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com. GM is also a recognized leader in the automotive industry for its pioneering efforts in diversity. To learn more, visit http://www.gm.com/diversity.