The Team


The LEAD Filipino Team is composed of two parts: our Organizers and Advisors. Both groups are integral to the growth, development, and success of our organization, yet carry out different work and serve L.E.A.D in a variety of ways. Please read more to learn about our Team and the individuals that make it incredible.


Our Organizers are a group of Pin@y activists and educators from within a range of professional sectors in the Silicon Valley.  They meet monthly to develop L.E.A.D Filipino’s programs such as Awareness in Action, Fly Pinays, Policy. Politics. & Puto Trainings, and various research initiatives and campaigns. Organizers develop strategic collaborations, community outreach, and identify critical issues that L.E.A.D Filipino works to address year-round. If you have any questions, please reach out!

The Organizers meet the second Sunday of each month from 4PM-6PM in San Jose.

AC - 2018 Headshot


Influenced by the importance of cultural identity, political participation and public interest issues, Angelica founded LEAD Filipino in 2015. Since LEAD Filipino’s formation, the organization has grown to serve hundreds of community members each year. Angelica’s professional background blends nonprofit work,  local government, and policy advocacy. She previously worked for California State Assemblymember Rich Gordon and a number of policy organizations in the Bay and Los Angeles Areas. She’s currently a Director at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group – a business trade association – and is active in many political and nonprofit groups in the South Bay. In 2017, she was honored by Asian American Recovery Services with their Sister-to-Sister “Legacy Award” and NBC Bay Area for her work with API communities. Angelica’s a graduate of SJSU and USF and is a current doctoral student at USC.

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Fly Pinays

Carina is LEAD Filipino’s Outreach Manager.  In this role, she helps cultivate our mentor network while building our outreach and partnerships with other community organizations.  She is an Eastside San Jose native who developed a passion for community involvement by observing her grandmother’s impact as a leader in the Filipino community.  As a young leader and professional herself, she has had the opportunity to develop programs that have impacted the lives of youth, seniors and families in Santa Clara County.  As an employee of the City of San Jose and member of LEAD Filipino, she plans to continue applying her passion toward building strong, healthy communities and motivating others to do the same.  If you’re interested in getting involved or partnering with us, please contact Carina.

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Marketing & Graphic Design

Daniel has always had a profound love for San Jose and Filipino community.  Born and raised in the diverse Silicon Valley, he continues to grow his identity as a Filipino American entrepreneur in the arts, graphic design and fashion.  During high school, he served as a president for Piedmont Hills’ Filipino Parent Student Association for two years, and a core member of the Filipino Youth Coalition (FYC) for three years.  He currently attends San Jose State University where he is working toward his BS in Advertising.  Continuing his social, political and creative involvement in college, he is an active member of Akbayan SJSU and Anakbayan Silicon Valley.  Through LEAD Filipino, his goal is to give back his knowledge and creativity to the community.  Feel free to get to know him on Twitter @dinomandaniel.


Focus Area / Education Programs: Awareness in Action

Angelo is the Co-Director for our Awareness in Action Program. This past summer, he assisted in organizing and running our first Awareness in Action Leadership Program cohort of Pin@y college students.  Angelo brings his knowledge of Philippine folk dance and arts, Filipino American history, and passion for healthcare to his LEAD Filipino work.  He is a Registered Nurse at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.  As a founding member of the Filipino Memorial Project (FMP) in San Jose, Angelo continues to find ways to give back to the Filipino and larger Silicon Valley communities.  He’s an alum of San Jose State University.

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Focus Area / Education Programs: Awareness in Action, Spring Training, and Mental Health Workshops

Jay is the Co-Director for our Awareness in Action Program.  She played a key role in the curriculum development of our “Coalition Building & Student Led Movements” class this past summer, where she invited two seated Commissioners to speak to our students about Public Service.  Born in Pasay City and raised in Milpitas, Jessica has always been proud of belonging to two vibrant cultures.  Because her family comes from one of the least colonized parts of the Philippines (Kalinga), she has a love for learning about pre-colonial histories of the Philippines and other countries.  She likes to study how Pilipino culture interacts with the mental wellness of Pilipino-American youth and women.  From high school outreach to advising in state prison, she’s long been passionate about advancing her community.  She holds two A.A. degrees from Mission College and a B.A. in Psychology from UC Davis.  Jessica is working toward her MSW to become a counselor for young Pilipinos and similarly underserved youth.

Focus Area / Civic Leadership & Engagement: IBOTO Pilipino, Voter Registration, and Natz. Ceremonies

Kevin currently serves as LEAD Filipino’s Naturalization Ceremony and Voter Registration Organizer. Born and raised in San Jose, Kevin hopes that his work will provide the local Filipino community with a much needed voice in the political process. In the past, Kevin served as Executive Vice President of De Anza College’s Student Government (DASB) Senate. He has also worked on several political campaigns in the South Bay, and most recently, completed an internship with the City of San Jose’s Council-member Lan Diep. Besides his work with LEAD Filipino, Kevin also serves as a NaFFAA (National Federation of Filipino American Associations) EPYC Ambassador. He currently attends San Jose State University, where he is working towards a B.S. in Economics. Outside of his professional and academic career, Kevin enjoys music, tennis, and developing his skills in Filipino Martial Arts.

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Focus Areas / Fly Pinays and Civic Leadership & Engagement: Fly Pinays Mentor Manager / IBOTO Pilipino, Voter Education, and Statewide Legislative Issues

Vanessa is a legislative staffer for CA State Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian. She received her B.S. in Political Science from Santa Clara University. Her work with the Filipino American community ranges from serving in her local church to working with Filipino American youth through Filipino American Youth Ministries. She previously worked for Congressman Mike Honda in Washington D.C. and in Santa Clara, CA. She worked closely with the congressman and his staff on a resolution recognizing October 2015 as Filipino American History Month. Vanessa plans to pursue a Master’s in Public Policy or a JD in the near future.

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Focus Area / Education Programs: Awareness in Action Program 

James oversees our Linguistics and Philippine centered material which empowers our leadership programs and workshops.  Through L.E.A.D, he has led workshops on the influences of Spanish Colonization in the Philippines and Regional & Colonial Mentalities in the PI.  He received his B.A., Asian Studies and Masters of Public Affairs from USF. James‘ interaction with the Filipino-American community includes: interning at the Philippine Consulate General, Bayanihan Center, and West Bay. He also worked as an outreach coordinator at the Pilipino Senior Resource Center. In 2013, James was given the opportunity to engage with Filam community leaders and orgs in Socal with his involvement with APIEquality-LA. During his tenure at USF, James conducted societal and cultural studies in the Philippines as a Fulbright scholar. His volunteer experience in the Philippines galvanized him to embody social justice. Currently, James works at SalesforceIQ. His goal is to incorporate the value of social justice and social awareness with his career in tech, by working to bridge corporation entities with communities members. Aside from LEAD Filipino, James serves as a member of FANHS and an advisor with Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity.

Focus Areas / Fly Pinays and Civic Leadership & Engagement: 

After participating in our Awareness in Action Leadership Program, Jenna shadowed meetings, joined the IBOTO Pilipino Collaborative, and then became an Organizer. She is working toward a B.A. in Social Work and a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at San Jose State University, where she creates social justice programming, mentors other students, and facilitates a meetup for asexual and aromantic people. Outside of school, she volunteers at YWCA as a sexual assault crisis line counselor and organizes with Anakbayan Silicon Valley. Jenna‘s work is grounded in a passion for helping women and combatting sexual violence, as well as a growing interest in issues pertaining to the LGBTQ+ and Pilipinx communities.


Focus Area / Civic Leadership & Engagement: Voter Registration, Local Politics, and Campaigns. 

Ian Crueldad grew up in East San Jose, CA. He was raised by a single mom. After being bullied in high school, Ian grew a passion for helping others. He did not exactly know how to pursue his passion at first, but after volunteering on his first campaign, Ian realized that he wanted to help people through politics. Ian has worked on local campaigns, non-profits, and other government institutions. He also has been involved in the democratic party through being an officer of local democratic clubs as well as being a state delegate. The issues he has worked on over the years include the environment, housing, education, immigration etc.. Through scholarships, Ian studied political science and eventually graduated from the George Washington University in 2015.  Also having a passion for business, Ian was able to receive investments for his first company, which he started before graduating from college. On his free time, Ian likes to read philosophy, volunteer in the community, and simply getting to know others.

Focus Area / Civic Leadership & Engagement: Natz. Ceremonies and Voter Registration

Katrina serves as LEAD Filipino’s Naturalization Ceremony and Voter Registration Organizer. She recently graduated from San Jose State University with a B.A. in Political Science and Minor in Human Rights. During her time at San Jose State she joined Akbayan’s Kuya/Ate Ading Mentorship Program (K.A.A.M.P) which inspired her to continue her cultural learning. She is the campaign manager of eRace, a student founded initiative that aims to institute a “Diversity Day” at San Jose State. She’s currently interning at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group in San Jose, CA.


L.E.A.D Filipino’s Advisors are pivotal to the direction of our organization.  They provide guidance and stewardship, while offering hindsight (and insight) that informs the strategic and programmatic paths taken by our Organizers. The Advisory Committee is composed of a small group of Filipin@ professionals who have proven histories of organizing, engaging, and inspiring young Pin@ys in the San Jose/Silicon Valley and Greater Bay Area communities.

Our Advisors convene in September for their Yearly Update, but you can find them at our events – making guest appearances – from time to time.


City of San Jose

Aurelia is a San Jose resident and received a B.A. in Sociology from San Jose State University.  She worked several years in the nonprofit world, for the Filipino Youth Coalition (FYC) and Asian American Recovery Services (AARS) just to name a few.  She also worked briefly for Santa Clara County Juvenile Probation with the Milpitas Police Department.  15 years ago, she started working for the City of San Jose, Parks Recreation Neighborhood Services (PRNS) leading and creating various programs such as the Safe School Campus Initiative, Youth Programs, and Anti-Graffiti and Litter Program.  She was also able to create and design the Youth Obesity Prevention Initiative that promotes physical and nutritional standards implemented in all youth camps and after school programs.  Aurelia is currently working with the City of San Jose’s Housing Department, managing the Place Based Initiative Program in several neighborhoods.  Her work addresses various neighborhoods’ needs and looks to create “Clean, Safe and Engaged Neighborhoods”.  When Aurelia is not working with families to improve their quality of life, she loves running around town, exploring restaurants, and site the Bay Area has to offer.

Asian American Recovery Services – A Program of HealthRIGHT 360

Razelle is the Managing Director of Clinical Services for Asian American Recovery Services, a program of HealthRIGHT 360.  She oversees the operations of Santa Clara County and East Palo Alto programs.  Razelle attended San Jose State University and the College of San Mateo where she studied Social Work and Addiction Studies.  For nearly two decades, Razelle has served Asian/Pacific Islander and Latino communities as a social worker and youth advocate.  Most notably, she has been an advocate for gender responsive services, and has taken the lead in coordinating the annual SISTER-to-SISTER:  Celebrating Asian & Pacific Islander Women of Tomorrow Leadership Conference.  In 2011, Razelle was recognized for her work with girls by the Asian American Women’s Alliance and Congressman Mike Honda.  In 2016, she was awarded as an “Innovator for Change” by the New Leaders Council.  Razelle is often invited to speak on various topics, including:  Filipino community issues, effective outreach strategies, girls and gangs, and substance abuse among youth.  Her work has led to the development of the Teens Teaching Teens Handbook, and various culturally and ethnically specific programs in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Razelle is an active member of the City of San Jose’s Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force Technical Team, Behavioral Health Contractors Association of Santa Clara County, Innovative Partnerships, Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits’ Leadership Team, and has dedicated countless hours to volunteering at several Bay Area programs.

De Anza College

Once upon a time, I was a De Anza student finding my way. As a community organizer, artist, educator and globe trotter, I seek to contribute to humanity. I am an Intercultural Studies part time instructor teaching “Intro to Pacific Islander History and Culture”. My research interests include education, critical pedagogy, youth studies, global citizenship, indigenous rights, spirituality, ethnic studies, Hip Hop, Pin@y scholarship, transformational education & experiential learning. As I come full circle, I found my way back to De Anza hoping to inspire the next generation. Come to my class and experience fun, interactive and thought provoking classes!


Bill Wilson Center
Commission on the Status of Women

Dr. Jennifer Briscoe is an experienced program administrator, evaluator, and facilitator of process improvement.   She has been employed with non-profit organizations in the Bay Area for twenty years.  These organizations include Head Start programs where she has held management positions vital to the success of at-risk children, 3-5 years of age, and families by ensuring that no child goes without adequate health care, dental services, mental health or sufficient day care services. She has successfully implemented on-site flu clinics for pre-school children, which was the first of its kind on the west coast and third in the nation.   Jennifer is a commissioner for Santa Clara County’s Commission on the Status of Women.  Jennifer operated a private practice internship in Oakland, California and provided mental health counseling to Victims of Crime.  Jennifer holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Health Sciences from California State University, Hayward, a Masters of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from John F. Kennedy University and a Doctor of Education degree in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University.


Stipe Elementary School

Vern Caruz is the Principal of Stipe Elementary School in the Oak Grove School District.  Vern has spent the last fifteen years of his educational career focusing on socioeconomically disadvantaged and ethnically diverse communities.  He believes that schools are centers of their communities.  While schools primarily provide academic guidance, they also ensure that student’s basic needs are met, including social and emotional care while at school.  Prior to his current tenure, Vern held positions as a teacher where he presented at multiple conferences in employing Exercise Physiology instruction within the Physical Education Curriculum.  Previously as Academic Dean and Assistant Principal, his area of focus was the implementation of Early College High School programs and transformational Small Learning Communities.  Vern received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Kinesiology from San Jose State University, and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the Principal Leadership Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.