Julie Kim is a founding trustee of AAPI Montclair and the current Chair of the Board. She is a second-generation Korean American with a passion for building community. As co-chair of the Events committee, she has helped organize big-tent cultural celebrations including Light Up Montclair (Diwali), Lunar New Year, Color Run, and Lantern Festival, which have attracted thousands of people from the wider community. Julie is a realtor at Sotheby's International Realty and has previously worked in a professional capacity for international human rights organization Doctors of the World, working with doctors and mental health professionals to aid political refugees who were tortured. A mother of two, she has been an active volunteer in her children's schools.
Amber Reed has worked to advance equity in public education through research, policy, and data analysis for over a decade, after beginning her career in publishing and finance. Amber is a Korean American adoptee, writer, and mother of two school-aged children. She graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University with a BA in English literature and holds an MFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College. She is proud to serve on the Episcopal Diocese of Newark’s Racial Justice and Healing Commission and the New Jersey AAPI Commission.
Sumeet Kapoor has volunteered for the Chinmaya Mission for the past 10 years, as well as conducting Bala Vihar Classes for children in the area. Sumeet also served on the board of St James Preschool in Montclair for 2 years, and was an active member of the PTA at Nishuane Elementary School. Sumeet is highly passionate about spreading awareness of diversity and culture, and has organized numerous events and activities at her children’s school and in the community. Sumeet is co-chair of the Fundraising committee and has played a key role in producing AAPI Montclair’s large-scale events, including Light up Montclair 2021/2022, Lunar New Year 2021, The Color Run 2022 and Lantern Festival 2022.
Danielle Iwata is a cultural consultant and nonprofit administrator working towards social impact and community transformation. She has served on advisory committees, grant panels and mentor cohorts for various arts organizations in the tri-state area. Danielle holds a BA from Colgate University and unaccreditedly continues her education through facilitating spaces for visioning and healing, deepening connections with her community, and reading the works of adrienne maree brown.
Meredith Nahra works as a pediatric speech-language pathologist specializing in language and literacy disorders. She is a commissioner on the Montclair Civil Rights Commission. Since 2018, she has served as a volunteer for ASIA Families, an organization committed to supporting the life-long journey of Korean adoptees. Meredith is also an active volunteer at her children’s schools and was previously a CASA volunteer.
Susan Shin Andersen’s passions for community-building, direct impact volunteer service, and connecting individuals to resources that can empower them has led her to work with a range of non-profit organizations over the last 15+ years. Since AAPI Montclair’s inception, she has been an active member of the Advocacy Committee. A Montclair resident, she is a longtime volunteer at Toni’s Kitchen and is a member of the Advisory Committee. Susan is also a supporter of the Montclair Scholarship Fund, was a class parent at Nishuane Elementary School, and is a member of the Vestry of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, where she serves on committees addressing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and new leadership development. Trained in law, Susan has been in the field of research administration for over a decade, working for academic medical centers in regulatory support, contract negotiation, and policy and procedure development.
Amy Hong-Bethards is a staff attorney with The Legal Aid Society in NYC. She represents low-wage workers in various employment law claims under the federal, state and city laws and represents her employment law clients in various immigration related proceedings for humanitarian relief. She also works closely with workers' centers, community-based organizations and other advocacy groups to provide staff and member trainings. Amy also serves as a Board member of the New York Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA/NY), as an Advisory Board Member to the Salvation Army’s Montclair Citadel and as a Deacon at Redeemer Montclair Presbyterian Church. She lives in Montclair with her husband and two kids.
Jeffrey Chang, Esq. has over a decade of experience in the legal, government & non-profit sectors, and currently is a member of the leadership team at the non-profit Lawyers For Children where he oversees communications, fundraising and advocacy strategies. He also is a board member of Rise.
Varsha Hathiramani is the owner of Little Earth Travel. An active volunteer in the Montclair Public Schools, she is also co-chair of AAPI Montclair’s Events committee, playing a leading role in planning events such as the Harvest Moon Soiree, the Light Up Montclair Diwali celebration, and Color Run.
Soo Najarian has been active in nonprofit leadership roles for over 15 years. She served as a field work volunteer for Stand Up For Kids NY, an organization serving homeless youths and adults, distributing food and goods to the homeless youth and adults in NYC. Also, served as a team leader in several NY Cares projects as well as a site captain for NY Cares, working with Brooklyn School of Leadership and Community Service for several years to beautify the school and make it a warm, inspiring environment for the students. She has recently been on the executive boards of school PTA at the Northeast Elementary School first as a co-VP, then then as a co-President.
Toral Patel is a proud second-generation Indian American born and raised in NJ. She strives to be a social change agent through increasing civic engagement among underserved communities and helping empower individuals to drive policy change. She has worked for the Governor of New Jersey, serves as the co-chair of the South Asian American Caucus and has served as a thought partner for numerous organizations over the past few decades whose mission has aligned with her purpose. Toral is also active in her community of Verona on the topic of DEI-focused initiatives for the Township and within the school system.
Ruth Ro is a member of the Build Out Alliance (501c3) Board of Directors for the years 2021 and 2022 and was involved with the organization prior to nonprofit status and through its decision-making process. She is a member of the AIANY (American Institute of Architects) Diversity and Inclusion Committee, working with colleague firms to establish an EDI baseline for all architecture firms. Within Dattner Architects, Ruth heads the EDI Committee and recently organized a fundraising event to benefit the nonprofit organization Heart of Dinner.
Mona Shah works in a professional capacity in healthcare consulting with the majority of her experience in the areas of minority and women’s health issues. She has volunteered much of her time helping the Montclair community in the past decade. Mona was on the Executive Board of the PTA at Bradford Elementary School as the Membership Chair for five years. She is also an Admissions Ambassador as well as Parent Representative for the past two years for PAMKA (Parent Association at Montclair Kimberley Academy). Finally, she is also a part of the Asian American Alumni Group to spearhead new programming for fellow alumni and an Admissions Interview Committee member for her alma mater.
Roslyne Shiao is a second generation Chinese American, born and raised in California. She has over 20 years of brand strategy, digital marketing, and ecommerce experience in the field of fashion retail. A mother of two, she has made Montclair, New Jersey her home for 14+ years and is an active community builder and PTA member. Roslyne served as the Principal of Livingston Chinese School from 2019-2021 and is a founding Board Member of AAPI Montclair. In her new role as Director of Strategic Initiatives, Roslyne will work to build greater organizational capacity for AAPI Montclair and lead the statewide initiative, Teach Asian American Stories.
Winnie Lam Wu grew up in NYC and has worked in the film industry for over two decades as a location manager. She enjoys bringing cultural activities to her communities because cultural engagement helps foster understanding and develop trust. Winnie graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Communications and Asian Studies.
Chair: Jeffrey Chang
Vice-Chair: Danielle Iwata
Co-Chairs: Amy Bethards, Linda Kow, and Winnie Wu
Co-Chairs: Varsha Hathiramani, Julie Kim, Deepika Misra
Co-Chairs: Soo Najarian and Sumeet Kapoor
Chair: Iris Shih
Vice-Chairs: Liyan Chen and Debra Yoo
Co-Chairs: Chathu Ranwalage and Josie Williams
Giving Back Committee
Co-Chairs: Susan Shin Andersen and Soo Najarian
Co-Chair: Meredith Nahra (interim)
Youth Programs Committee
Co-Chairs: Amy Bethards, Lavi Raghavan, Mona Shah
Arts and Culture
Chair: Amber Reed (interim)
Health and Wellness Committee
Chair: Monica Gelinas
Director: Billy Liu
AAPI Montclair’s work is sustained by dedicated volunteers of all ages.