Founder and Former President 2009 - 2019
Lily Chan is a forward-thinking service leader who has started popular programs both nationally and locally. Lily has a strong background in sales and business development. Lily's previous experience includes: work at ILGWU as business agent and worker's advocacy representative, overseeing more than 140 manufacture and contract firms and over 3,000 workers. Her responsibility includes negotiation, conflict and dispute settlements, contract, OHSA and fair labor practice enforcement. Lily’s experience also includes ownership and executive management of a high volume sportswear production company.
As the founder of the Asian Focus Corporation, Lily brings more than 30 years of non-profit and management experience to the organization. She has served in numerous community programs; including service as the Vice President and President of the Triangle Area Chinese American Society.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Benjamin UySmith is a passionate, big hearted, critical thinker. He joined Asian Focus in 2013 as a project manager and day-of-operations for Asia Fest. Over the last seven years, he mentored under Lily Chan (founder) and Yun-Lieh Chuu (Vice President) to prepare for being the leader of Asian Focus. He has an extensive background in project management and a deep understanding of personal and business finance and taxes.
He calls Durham his home with his wife and their two daughters. His family doesn’t stop there! They also have quite the “menagerie” of animals including dogs, fish and several chickens. A partner in Prestige Financial Group, he enjoys working in our local community. When he isn’t volunteering or working, he enjoys traveling with his family and rolling up his sleeves on DIY home and old car projects.
Yun is a Taiwanese immigrant. From young age, she developed a deep passion for charitable work which she continued while pursuing both a B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering. Yun worked at IBM for 20 years before switching her career path to dedicate her personal and professional life to helping people and servicing the community. She became a well trusted LPL independent financial consultant who always places clients’ interests first.
Yun has served on the Asian Focus core team with Lily since its founding in 2009. Together they worked hard to create a great team to further the goals and mission of Asian Focus. The core team members each contribute their special talents, and through mentorship and collaboration, they create an even more sustainable future for Asian Focus.
Treasurer | Director, Program Management & Performing Arts
Christin joined Asian Focus as the program coordinator in 2016, primarily organizing the performance program for the Annual Dragon Boat Festival. She enjoys working with local artists and performers, and promoting all types of culture.Over the years, Christin has been involved in a variety of community service organizations in the Triangle area including Raleigh Chinese School, TACAS, Food bank and Habitat for Humanity.
Director of Marketing
Tho H. Nguyen
Tho Nguyen grew up in Greensboro, NC and is an avid foodie, traveler and blogger. Tho holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from North Carolina State University and an MBA in International Business from England as an Ambassadorial Scholar from the Rotary Club. Tho works in the data and analytics industry for over 18 years and has recently published a book Leaders and Innovators: How Data-Driven Organizations Are Winning with Analytics with all proceeds going to charity. Tho and his wife live in Raleigh for over 20 years and have been very active in the community to preserve the Asian culture and values for their daughter and the future generation.
Director of Corporate and Community Relations
Rajesh is originally from India but moved to US with his family in 2013 from Singapore. Has more than 15 years of experience in information technology field and currently works in Swiss financial organization. Beside regular technology job, Rajesh is an active volunteer in local community organizations. Currently live in Cary, NC with family, he loves spending time with family and friends as well as gardening.
Education: Master of computer Applications, India.
Gregoria Smith, PhD
A professor at the University of Guam (UOG) College of Arts & Sciences, Gregoria taught health & dance, did research on Coping with Illness, and directed Dance Theatre Guam, performing in the South Pacific Festival of Arts held in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Australia & New Zealand. Appointed Chair of the Commission on Status of Women, she gave papers on women’s health in Asia.
After UOG, she managed QI at the Guam Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse. Following her passion for peacemaking, she founded the International Women’s Club of Guam. In 1998, she moved to Houston where she tracked and trended quality performance for Blue Cross Blue Shield, working with Price Waterhouse Cooper Consultants in getting accreditation after merger & acquisition.
Education: Gregoria attended the University of the Philippines, came to the USA as an H2 Contract worker to teach on Guam in 1967. She holds an MA in Behavioral Sciences, MA in Community Psychology (New York University) and a PhD in Human & Organizational Systems (Fielding). Her goal is to help improve the
adaptive capacity of groups or individuals to cope with internal & external challenges. She also served as a Stephen Minister for 18 years in Houston. Gregoria is a member of the Midtown Rotary Club, the AAUW, and a parishioner at the St Michael’s Episcopal Church of Raleigh.
Outreach Liaison | Grant Writer
Angela Hicks, Ed.D.
Angela joined Asian Focus in 2014 to grow its annual grant writing efforts. She began serving as outreach liaison in 2015, coordinating VIP engagement with local elected and appointed officials. A career grant writer, she is CEO of Grant Professional.
Angela became connected to Asian culture in 2006 when she was hired to teach English in Beijing for
one year. Upon her return, she partnered with Asian Focus founder, Lily Chan, and Confucius Institute for several years to host dozens of minority youth to travel throughout China. For a decade, she housed Chinese visiting scholars from NC State Univ. in her home and they helped her son gain fluency in Mandarin. In 2016, she sponsored a dragon boat for friends to introduce the art of dragon boat racing to more minorities. Angela enjoys learning and sharing culture.
Education: Bowie State University (M.A.) and NC State University (Ed.D.).
Director of Program Management and IT
Chien-Yi Hou was from Taiwan. He came to the United States to earn his Master degree in Computer Science. He is currently an IT manager who is responsible for developing and managing web applications at UNC. Since Chien-Yi and his family moved to Chapel Hill, Chien-Yi had served in several non-profit activities, including serving as the advisor for the Taiwanese Student Association and serving as the PTA Chair for the Chapel Hill Chinese Language and Culture School.
Chien-Yi joined the Asian Focus Board of Directors, because he was inspired by Asian Focus's mission and values to help Asian Americans and immigrants to fit into the US and also to promote the diverse Asian culture to the Americans.
Eileen Culliney, CPA
Graduate from UNC Greensboro, Eileen Culliney is a financial auditor with concentration in non-profit organizations and insurance industry. She also prepares tax returns for individual, corporate and partnership. In her free time, Eileen loves reading, watching online soap operas, travel, spend time with family, friends and her two cats.
Marko Fong is a writer, teacher, and attorney who moved to Durham in 2014 with his wife June, their two dogs and a cat. For the last several years, he has been helping students to improve their writing and working with adult English language learners on sharpening their interview skills. Prior to that, he represented Northern California Public School Districts in Special Education matters and election matters, worked as a national advocate for urban high school reform, worked as a researcher/writer for the George Lucas Educational Foundation, and taught middle school and high school.
Film and Video Manager
Gowri Goli is a resident of RTP Area for about 20 years and contributes to the community through video and photography. Gowri works as an IT consultant helping organizations to establish self-organizing teams consisting of motivated people to take ownership and deliver.