Dr. Allen W. Chan is a family man, a well-respected Doctor of Chiropractic, successful entrepreneur, and community leader. His achievements demonstrate his passion to improve the community and help those who are less fortunate, locally and around the globe.
Despite a respectful and well-paying career as a pharmacist in Los Angeles, Dr. Chan went back to school and received his doctorate degree in chiropractic after he discovered this holistic approach to relieving patients’ pain without medications or surgeries. He received his doctorate degree in chiropractic in 1985 from the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic. In 1988, he settled in San Diego and founded Chan Chiropractic Center and later the multi-disciplinary Jasmine Health Center. Successful years of practice led to other opportunities including establishing the largest and most popular local Asian restaurant.
Dr. Chan’s community work serves to empower the various Asian ethnic communities in San Diego. In 2010, he was recruited as the Partnership Specialist for the US Census Bureau. He helped organize the Complete Count Committees for the various Asian communities to ensure an accurate count of this “Hard to Count” Asian population. He was the co-founder and co-chair of The Alliance for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in 2001 and Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC) in 2011. Thorough these organizations he played a leading role in San Diego’s 2001 and 2011 City Council redistricting processes for fair representation of San Diego’s Asian American community. His relentless effort successfully leads to the first ever Asian City Council District in 2012 and has successfully helped to elect the first Asian American City Councilman representing the first Asian City Council District in San Diego in 2014.
Dr. Allen Chan is the recipient of the “San Diego Asian Business Association Community Service Award”, the “Special Congressional Recognition for Outstanding and Invaluable Community Services” award and the “Community Service Award” of the Citizens Oversight Committee, San Diego Community College District, among others. He is also the recipient of the 2014 KPBS’s “Local Heroes” program for his achievements and contributions in the community. On May 9, 2015, Dr. Chan received the prestigious “Ellis Island Medal of Honor” from National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO). as an outstanding immigrant who has fulfilled his American Dream.
About Dr. Aurora Cudal
In her volunteer work as community organizer and advocate for social justice, Aurora Soriano Cudal-Rivera gained recognition as “multi-ethnic bridge builder”, and an inductee to the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013.
Her painted portrait also hangs in the San Diego County Library as the first Filipino chosen as one of the Legends: Living Well, in 2015, an annual recognition of individuals who exemplify “lifestyles that embrace inclusion, spiritual integrity, humanism and healthy living.”
Aurora considers herself as a successful professional in the field of public health education, having worked in this field since she graduated from the University of the Philippines at the age of 18. In a ladder-like promotion from that of a community health educator in one of the remotest town in the Philippines, she reached the top of her career as WHO Health Education Consultant in Geneva, Switzerland and the first woman from Asia to receive a UNESCO Fellowship on “Problems Related to the Use of Drugs,” which granted her a four-month travel to Denmark, Netherlands, France and Switzerland. Her training and experience catapulted her in the international field.
However, despite her accomplishments, she remained humble and unaffected by all the recognition and awards she received along the way, E.g. California Legislature Woman of the Year (1999; 2016). University of the Philippines Alumni Association in America’s Distinguished Community Service Ward (2003); Doctor of Humanities (h.c.) from the Pamantasan Ng Lungsod ng Maynila (2003), and so many others.
She blended her life of service as a mother of seven children, grandmother of 25 grandchildren, and great grandmother of 6 great grandchildren, and as a wife, first to the late Winlove Abello Cudal and to her second husband, Judge (ret.) Peter de Castro Rivera, Jr., into her life of devotion and commitment to church and society, always making a difference in the lives of others.
She came to retire in Chula Vista, California after almost 40 years of trail-blazing service in government and non-government institutions in the Philippines. Now an octogenarian, she is still active with the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) San Diego and Imperial Counties, Board of Missions and Outreach and Committee on Social Responsibility of the Community Congregational Church of Chula Vista, and Congregational Tower Resident’s Association, an independent living facility of two hundred seniors from all walks of life. An optimist, Aurora believes that one is never too old to make a difference in the lives of others.
About Debbie Espe
Debbie, a recognized leader known for crafting strategic vision to achieve business goals, is currently the Executive Director of Retina World Congress, the first-of-its-kind international congress focused on uniting retina societies from around the world and leading retina specialists to support global scientific and clinical exchange on advances in retinal health.
A 20 Plus-Years public servant, Debbie brings to her current role significant experience in asset and process management, financial and reporting policy, and leadership development. Debbie’s former role at the San Diego County Water Authority, the regional water agency that provides about 90 percent of all the water used in San Diego County, delivered results by aligning board initiatives with long-term solutions.
Her role worked closely with various agencies and internal departments, linking programs and policies to management strategies and operations. With a reputation for judicious use of resources – and resulting cost containment – Debbie’s work has been instrumental in providing the Water Authority analyses key to saving San Diego’s ratepayer dollars.
Prior to the Water Authority, Debbie worked for M&E Pacific, Inc. (hotel and resort development in Hawaii); Simpson Engineering, Inc. (commercial development); and Santa Clara Valley Water District (flood control capital improvement programs).
Debbie served nine-years on Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center’s Board of Directors and returned to the Board as the Medical Center raised and opened its newly constructed tower. She is also active as a Board Member of the South County Economic Development Council and serves as its Membership co-chairperson. Debbie also sits on the World Trade Center’s Global Competitiveness Council, a group of senior business, academic, government and civic partners that oversee WTC San Diego’s execution of the Go Global San Diego initiative. Debbie also served as Chair (and continues to serve on its Board) of the Chula Vista Charitable Foundation; an affiliate of the San Diego Foundation responsible for granting more than $20 million per year to local nonprofit organizations.
Debbie has a bachelor’s degree in art and a master’s degree in public administration, both from San Diego State University. She also holds a certificate of Management for Developing Entrepreneurs from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.
About Jantima Danford
Fluent in Thai and Lao and English – Subject Matter Expert (SME) of Thai language and cultural studies. Over twenty years in the United States of America, as a community leader, helping the Thai community and Asian Pacific American communities. Innovative and highly motivated individual with strong experience in foreign language acquisition and intercultural communication. Specialized background in counseling, training, and organizational development. Strong interpersonal skills and organizational communication.
Over thirty years experience working as a Medical Convention Organizer managing international conventions and exhibitions in several specialties in Thailand and in the United States. Offered full-service organization for convention and exhibition of any size and type. Planned, programmed, budgeted and directed the acquisition of conventions and exhibitions involving millions of dollars, thousands of people, and state-of-the-art technical equipment in coordination with both civilian and government agencies in Thailand and other countries. Experience working in Sales and Marketing/Project Manager/Office Manager, Casino Marketing, Payroll, Executive Secretary,
Marketing Coordinator, and Fundraising fields. Managed staff, payroll, office management, equipment procurement, and financial matters.
About Ellaine Esteller
Ellaine Esteller is currently a full-time student in San Diego State University, studying to be an environmental engineer and will be graduating this coming spring in May 2020.
She currently interns for the County of San Diego, Planning and Development Department and has been with the department for three years.
In her early years in undergraduate, she was involved in many organizations such as Andres Bonifacio Samahan and Alpha Phi Omega. She has also interned for Silk Road Productions for several years and volunteers in many Asian-American and Pacific-Islander community events throughout San Diego. She hopes to continue helping the community through APAC and through different facets
About Tom Hom
Tom Hom, a second generation Chinese-American, was born in San Diego in 1927, year of the Rabbit. Throughout his life, he helped transform San Diego into the vibrant city it is today. In 1963 he made San Diego history by becoming the first minority ever elected to the San Diego City Council. In 1968 he won a seat to the California State Assembly, serving along side then Governor Ronald Reagan.
As a successful civic, business, and community leader, Tom has become a legacy in San Diego. Among his accomplishments, he was instrumental in the transformation of what was San Diego’s skid row into today’s vibrant historic Gaslamp Quarter District – now a major destination.
He also played a key role in the establishment of the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum. This pioneer has received numerous accolades for his efforts and contributions to improve his community and beyond.
Tom recently published his memoir, “Rabbit on a BumPy Road, a Story of Courage and Endurance.”
About Alan Sioco
Alan is a Branch Manager and Vice President at Banner Bank and manages the Balboa-Clairemont office. He has been working in financial services for almost 20 years, helping small business and individuals with their financial needs by providing banking and credit solutions.
Alan is a board member of the Clairemont Chamber of Commerce and Asian Pacific American Coalition, and works to promote business and provide resources and networking for local small businesses.
He also volunteers his time helping the youth of San Diego achieve financial literacy. By partnering with other organizations and schools, Alan teaches students of different age groups about personal finance seminars and the importance of credit, budgeting, saving, etc.
About Mitsuo Tomita
Mitsuo “Mits” Tomita, M.D., a retired family physician, has served on the boards of the health and human services local non-profit Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC), LEAD San Diego, Planned Parenthood, and other non-profits including APAC.
He currently serves on the board of the San Diego chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and is a volunteer for the Lupus Foundation of Southern California.
He also co-chairs the SD County Medical Society’s Bioethics Commission. Mits is an Assistant Clinical Professor on the voluntary faculty of the UCSD School of Medicine.
About Michael Wong
Michael Wong is the owner of Michael Wong Consulting. He is a seasoned real estate professional with over 25 years of experience in real estate and economic development. His prior experience includes working as the Manager at Keyser Marston for over 20 years.
Mr. Wong’s experience includes working with the private and public sector on some of the most recognizable projects in San Diego like Las Americas, Liberty Station and
the Cross Border Facility.
Mr. Wong is currently serving on the Advisory Board for the Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC) and the Convoy District and has served previously on the Board of Directors for the Asian Business Association (ABA). Mr. Wong earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Planning and Development from the University of Southern California.
About Sandy Spackman
Sandy Spackman has enjoyed volunteering at her church, work, and the community for over 30 years. She has served in the Relief Society (Global Women’s Organization) and Young Women organizations at her church as president at different times.
As president, she was responsible for the spiritual and physical well-being of about 500 women in her congregation. Her duties included coordinating the weekly activity, Sunday instruction, and assisting with the physical and emotional needs of each member.
At work, Sandy served as the Civilian Morale Welfare Recreation (CMWR) COO for a two-year term where she was responsible for coordinating the day-to-day operations and execution of the CMWR programs and activities; including oversight of standing committees and clubs at SPAWAR.
In the community, Sandy served as secretary and president of the Lao Community Cultural Center of San Diego at different times and currently serves as president of the Lao American Coalition (LAC), secretary of Lao Advocacy of San Diego (LAOSD), and as a local representative for JustServe.org. Some of her efforts included planning of and executing the annual Lao New Year celebration at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, Chollas View Neighborhood Clean-Up, the annual New Year’s Eve Fundraiser, Community Health Fair, Southeast Asian Refugee Experience, and the annual Asian Pacific Islander Culinary Health Cuisine.
Presently, Sandy is involved with LAOSD to advocate with local and state legislators for the inclusion of Lao American refugee stories in K-12 public schools. At work, she leads the Happiness Committee in planning and executing social events in order to build comradery and facilitate good rapport between employees and cross-team collaboration in her organization. As a JustServe.org local rep, she promotes volunteerism in the community by connecting non-profit organizations and volunteers through the website. Sandy works as a configuration management specialist for the Navy. She and her husband have four children and two grandchildren.