Past Catalyst for Change Gala 2018



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The Catalyst for Change Awards honor Asian Pacific American (APA) leaders who are a force for positive change in the community and in their fields of work. Past honorees include APA leaders in media, in education, in urban design, and in leadership development. The Catalyst for Change Awards Gala draws 350 diverse New Yorkers, many innovators and change makers themselves, who are interested in investing in the Asian Pacific American community. The evening includes a cocktail reception, seated dinner, and silent and live auctions.






Comedian & Writer

Hari Kondabolu is a Brooklyn-based comedian and writer who the NY Times has described as “one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today.” His new album Mainstream American Comic is a follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut Waiting for 2042, which was also released on legendary indie label Kill Rock Stars. Paste Magazine named the album one of the Top 10 Standup Albums of 2014 and The Portland Mercury wrote that “the marriage of careful joke structure and fiercely intelligent commentary elevates this album from a collection of solid progressive punchlines to a work of art.” It is currently on high school and college curriculums around the United States.

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Hari recently released his documentary film, THE PROBLEM WITH APU, about the stereotypical Indian character on The Simpsons, on TruTV to rave reviews (The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times, The New Yorker). Hari’s standup special, HARI KONDABOLU: WARN YOUR RELATIVES, is now streaming on NETFLIX and was filmed at the historic Neptune Theatre in Seattle.

Hari was a writer and correspondent on the Chris Rock produced TV show Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell on the FX network. Kamau has described his long-time friend and collaborator as “the comedy equivalent of a punk rock concert that breaks out at a human right's rally.” The duo are currently co-hosting a weekly political podcast through First Look Media called “Politically Reactive.” He also is a co-host of “The Bugle” podcast with Andy Zaltzman. Hari has appeared the Late Show with David Letterman, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live, John Oliver’s NY Standup Show, @midnight and has his own half-hour Comedy Central Presents special. On the podcast front, he has made appearances on WTF with Marc Maron, Death, Sex and Money, You Made It Weird, Too Beautiful to Live and 2 Dope Queens. He currently has a podcast called The Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Podcast with his brother Ashok (Dapwell from Das Racist). In the UK, he has established himself with a month-long run at 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and TV appearances on Russell Howard’s Good News, Live at The Electric and 8 out of 10 Cats. He has also been profiled in The Guardian and New Statesman. Hari attended both Bowdoin College and Wesleyan University, graduating from the former institution with a BA in Comparative Politics in 2003. A former intern with then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and a former immigrant rights organizer in Seattle, Hari received an MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics in 2008. He was named the NYU APA Institute’s “Artist in Residence” for the 2014-2015 Academic Year. In 2015, political website Mic named him one “the next generation of impactful leaders, cultural influencers, and breakthrough innovators.” In 2016, he was chosen to have a public dialogue with legendary feminist academic and writer bell hooks as part of St. Norbert College’s "Delight in the Fight: Disarming Injustice with Humor & Joy” series.

Hari Kondabolu’s website is and he can be found on Twitter at @harikondabolu.




Larry Lee is a distinguished social work administrator, community leader and civic advocate. His career reflects a rare ability to make positive impact both globally and locally. He is a change agent who administers using dynamic leadership, excellent stewardship, and creativity.

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Larry is perhaps best known for founding the first dual language dual culture Mandarin and English public school in the nation. During his tenure as the board chair the Shuang Wen School (PS M184) annually was rated among the top ten schools in NYC and was named one of the top ten schools nation-wide. The school presaged the establishment of dual language and bilingual education schools in NYC.

As executive director of Womankind Larry wrote and established MAP (Moving Ahead Positively) perhaps the only practice model to heal survivors of violence. In 2015 Womankind received the Social Work Image Award from the National Association of Social Workers-NYC for the design and implementation of MAP.

At Womankind, Larry successfully led a collaborative of Asian DV agencies to change Asian community attitudes toward domestic violence. He inspired an art therapy program that creates a community for teen children of DV survivors and launched a wellness program for highly probable human trafficking survivors.

Larry founded the 40 year old Asian Health and Social Service Council as well as the Chinatown Voter Education Alliance. Now defunct, CVEA blazed the trail for
nonpartisan voter registration in Asian communities.

Larry pioneered a community-based acupuncture treatment program for substance abusing mothers of children at risk of foster care placement. He created a program for mothers to teach children in the classroom of low performing first grade students in the South Bronx.

Larry has been honored as an inspiring individual; leading New Yorker; top social worker; and outstanding alumnus of Hunter College.



CEO and Co-Founder, ARK,

Ayesha catalyzes communities to feed kids, get them back to school, and create new markets with an innovative P2.50 School Lunch. As CEO and Co-Founder of ARK, she is revolutionizing social impact. ARK’s signature co-investment model inspires rural communities to invest in themselves and their solutions. It enables them to get out of struggle, be self-sustaining in three years, access different futures, and live happy.

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She dares to scale her award winning and game changing model throughout the Philippines and across the developing world with #badasses like you.

Prior to founding ARK, Ayesha was the youngest Director and Business Team Leader at BNP Paribas, one of the world’s largest investment banks. She helped grow the bank’s acquisition and leverage finance business, and structured and led highly visible and cross border multi-billion dollar debt financings across all industries. You name it, and she probably financed it.

While in Wall Street at the height of M&A activity, Ayesha was presented an opportunity to invest in the family farm. Ayesha restructured the farm from a synthetic chemical-based model to an organic and natural ecosystem—the first of its kind in Capiz. She did away with sharecropping and created a company that
provided farmers a living wage, revenue sharing, health care and continuing education. She also changed the way the farm sold its product from selling to a trader to direct to consumer. This foray led her to founding ARK.

Ayesha studied biochemistry, developing world politics, and art history at Mt Holyoke College. She earned her Executive MBA from Columbia University while working in BNP Paribas full-time. Ayesha is recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader.

She is a proud probinsyana and grand daughter of farmers and self starters. She only likes to do things that are fun, sexy and impactful. She grows ARK while growing her own family, loving and caring for her husband, son, and extended family.







Reporter/Host of the 6-time Emmy nominated show “Asian American Life”  Contributing Reporter for “Arts in the City” and “Science and U” CUNY-TV Channel 75, 25.3 and now on NYC Media, Channel 25




Actor/Director, Sesame Street




Co-Founder, International Auctioneer




Managing Director, Moore Capital Management




Vice President of Population Health & Clinical Quality, Meridian Health




Managing Director, Grand Street Settlement








Abigail E. Disney & Pierre Hauser







Ruchika Bajaj & Olivier Levitte
Host Committee Co-Chairs

Julie Azuma

PAU | Vishaan Chakrabarti

Liliana Chen

Noel Collo

John J. Chin, Ph.D. & Haftan Eckholdt, Ph.D.

Jose Davila

Peter Gee & Jeffrey Helfgott

Wayne Ho & Eda Chao

Geoffrey James

Alice Lee

Jessica S. Lee

Dr. Stephen Pan & Ms. Elizabeth L. Mo

Ronald G. Raptalo

Annetta Seecharran

BJ Sung | Pinnacle Social Impact Consultancy

Udai Tambar

Norma Tan, Ph.D.

Dr. Alexander Tsui & Susan Tsui



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Sponsor Packet

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