Leading Women:
Political and Civic Engagement
Date: Friday, December 1, 2017     Time: 9AM to 12:30PM

Place: Joseph S. Murphy Institute
25 West 43rd Street, 18th Floor, Manhattan



Mercedes S. Cano is the sole proprietor of the Law Office of Mercedes S. Cano. She has extensive experience in the area of immigration law, and more specifically in matters involving deportation, immigration petitions with criminal issues and criminal defense in both immigration and criminal courts. 

In addition, she is Special Counsel for New York City Council Member Rory Lancman.


In 1999, with funds from the Initiative for Public Interest at Yale University, Ms. Cano formed a not-for-profit organization that helped over 1700 immigration families. She was published by the New York City Law Review, Volume Twelve, Fall 2008 in the collaborative article titled “Public Interest Practice Section Notes from the Field: Challenges of Indigent Criminal Defense.”


As a staunch advocate for immigrants and their families, Ms. Cano continues working with the community, with a particular focus on family petitions for same-sex couples, after the SCOTUS decision in US. v. Windsor. Ms. Cano can be seen on television for her weekly program on Channel 47 Telemundo Noticias, Pregunte Sin Miedo, where she analyzes immigration issues and answers viewer questions. Ms. Cano served as the President of Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County between years 2012-2014.




Carol Huang is Assistant Professor of the School of Education at City College of New York/CUNY. She received her Masters degrees in Theater Arts from Michigan State University and Bilingual & Special Education from NYU, and her doctorate in Educational Policy from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research areas are the history of Asian Americans, Chinese foreign students in the United States, and the education of immigrants. She has won an International Biographical Literature Award for a biography of the first Chinese Ph.D. on Railway Engineering and Management, Dr. Ching-Chung Wong. She produced a documentary on classical Chinese arts for PBS, Art and Power in China, and is completing two new documentaries: one on New York City subway, “Metroxical New York,” and “Chiapas on the Prairie: Mexican Migrants in the Midwest.”

Prof. Huang currently serves on the Program Committee of the American Educational Research Association, and is Secretary of the AAARI Board. She is also Chair of PSC-CUNY's City College of New York Chapter. 




Teresa E. Kamara is a seasoned international organization and leadership development professional, well-versed in effective project and people management. She has more than 20 years’ experience working with non-profit, multi-lateral, government and private sector organizations dedicated to providing humanitarian and/or development assistance to vulnerable communities, primarily in Africa.


Ms. Kamara is well-rounded, having served in a range of senior management positions and independent consultancies. Her clients include the African Development Bank, People-In-Aid (now CHS Alliance), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the Government of South Sudan, International Federation of the Red Cross and various United Nations agencies. Her most recent former employer is CARE International, where she capped her 10-year career there as Deputy Regional Director for Organization and Leadership Development in East and Central Africa. She is a founding member and Director of Business Development for Agro-Health Africa (A-HA!), an agri-business based in Sierra Leone.


As a leader, her passion and purpose is tied to building the capacity of other leaders at all levels who are committed to dismantling social injustice and poverty and their underlying causes in all their forms. Ms. Kamara helps organizations re-imagine talent management and unlock potential among leadership through organization assessments and climate surveys; designing and delivering learning events; facilitating team trust-building and performance enhancement interventions; conducting trainings on mission-critical skills; and coaching individuals on core behavioral competencies.


Ms. Kamara holds an MBA from United States International University (USIU) in Kenya, and a BA in Journalism from Syracuse University in New York. She is a member of the Association for Talent Development (ATD). She is a native New Yorker.




Ailun Ku is currently serving as the President and Chief Operating Officer of The Opportunity Network where she oversees the organization’s operations, strategic growth, and program division to ensure excellence in all aspects of program delivery and services. Prior to The Opportunity Network, she worked as Director of Enrollment Management at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service (NYU Wagner), managing the admissions and scholarship selection process. In this role, she saw first-hand the importance of access to higher education through early investments in youth development.


AiLun has deep experience working with social justice organizations in areas of program management, organizational growth and staff development. Through her former role as Programs Manager at the Research Center for Leadership in Action, she supported the design of a talent development model for some of the most influential youth development organizations in the nation today. AiLun received her M.P.A. in nonprofit management from NYU Wagner and her B.A. in sociology from NYU College of Arts and Science.




Mayra Linares-Garcia Director of Public Affairs and Communications for New York City and Puerto Rico at The Coca-Cola Company and Member of The City University of New York Board of Trustees. Prior to that she served as Director of Latino Affairs in the office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. From 2011 to 2015 she was Special Assistant for Community Affairs in the Cuomo administration, working on community affairs with a focus on the Latino community throughout New York State, including Latino outreach and building and improving the government’s relationships with New York’s communities.


From 2008-2010 Ms. Linares-Garcia was a member of the Executive Board, and then Chair of the Community Association of Progressive Dominicans (ACDP), which focuses on social services in northern Manhattan and the Bronx including mental health, education/adult education, youth development, immigration, citizenship, housing, economic development, daycare and a food pantry.


From 2007-2011 she was President and CEO of The Maylin Group, Inc., a public relations firm specializing in corporate/community partnerships. From 2001 to 2007, she served as Director of Community Relations at World Vision, Inc., an international relief agency, where she was responsible for cultivating partnerships and alliances between World Vision’s New York operations and their targeted constituencies, including community and faith-based organizations in the Bronx and Manhattan




Joyce Moy is the Executive Director of the Asian American and Asian Research Institute (AAARI), of the City University of New York (CUNY). Her field of focus is economic and community development, and entrepreneurship. She was the first Asian American director of a New York State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) funded by the US Small Business Administration.


Joyce has been involved in numerous research projects, and education and outreach on immigrant communities. She developed a unique curriculum for financial counselors embedded in community based organizations serving New York City’s poor, working poor and immigrants. The training was adopted by the non-profit, Cities for Financial Empowerment, and replicated nationally by over a dozen US cities, including Philadelphia, Miami, Honolulu, New Haven, San Francisco and Austin, becoming a national model in the field of financial empowerment.


She has served on the Governor’s Taskforce on Small Business, as co-chair of the past NYC Comptroller’s Taskforce on Public Benefit Agreements, the board of Asian Women in Business, and as Vice-Chair of the board of the North East Regional US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce. She is a former practicing attorney. She taught Asian Americans and Law at Cornell Law School, and has taught at the CUNY School of Law. She currently serves on the advisory board of the Queens Borough President’s General Assembly, and the NYC Comptroller’s Advisory Council on MWBEs .She received her B.A. from Stony Brook University, and J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law.




Lily Tang is a member of the American Psychological Association’s International Council of Psychologist. She is currently engaged in a project to be published next year. She also works with reDEFINE, the generational insight, ideation, and activation group of IW Group taking a grassroots approach to connecting with emergent consumers. Lily co-founded and was most recently President of the Everest Project, Inc. She was a leading author of Eve of Change: Women Redefining Corporate America published in 2016.

A former CEO of an international holding company, associate professor, business journalist, and corporate strategy consultant, she has led global employee engagement assessments for Fortune 500 companies across six continents. She created a signature framework for coaching teams to execute on change and innovation. Lily was an advisor to the National Academies’ Government-University-Industry Roundtable.

She holds a doctorate in developmental psychology, an MBA in organizational development and is a certified executive leadership and systems coach. Lily is active in professional development efforts for women and people of color and serves on the national board of Ascend.





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Leading Women




CUNY Diversity Projects Development Fund

Planning Committee
Carol Huang
Joyce Moy

Claire Chun


Asian American / Asian Research Institute 2018

25 West 43rd Street, Room 1000, New York, NY 10036   
Phone: 212-869-0182 / 0187   
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