Meet MASC’s Team of Board Members and staff!!
Biographies, selected photos, and direct contact info are below.
Sonia Smith-Kang, President of Multiracial Americans of Southern California (MASC). Sonia is an advocate in the multicultural space. A proud military brat born in Puerto Rico and stationed on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu, she brings her rich heritage into everything she does. She is the Designer/Founder of Mixed Up Clothing, an ethnic-inspired children’s fashion brand that celebrates global diversity and inclusion, co-founder of Culturas and Mixed Heritage Day both providing a diverse and inclusive space and community. Sonia is a wife and busy mom of 4 based in Los Angeles. Additionally, Sonia holds a BS in Nursing from the University of San Francisco.
Contact Sonia at email@example.com.
Larissa Chiari-Keith is a first generation multiracial advocate of Persian and Italian heritage. She serves as the Vice President of MASC. She discovered MASC when looking for a community for her multicultural family and shortly after volunteered to become the Parent Liaison. She has developed multiple family events, parenting workshops, and playdates including the popular MASC Multicultural Santa event. Larissa is active in her community and also serves as the Programs Director for Women in Homeland Security, Southern California creating events which highlight subject matter experts in public safety. Larissa is proud to be a Girl Scout Troop Leader and active volunteer for Girl Scouts of Orange County. She is also a facilitator and organizer for Walking Together, an Orange County interfaith program. Ms. Chiari-Keith has written about her multicultural family experience for Orange Coast Magazine. During school breaks she hosts a children’s music program with her daughters called Two Kids, a Turntable, and a Microphone on KSPC, 88.7 FM, Claremont, CA.
Contact Larissa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sandi Tamkin is a marketing and events consultant with more than 25 years of nonprofit experience. She received her Masters in Social Work with an emphasis in Community Organizing from the University of Southern California.
In 2019 she produced and directed her first documentary Iric – https://youtu.be/jt6c2hiWSKs. Sandi is a Los Angeles native and part of a transracial adoptive family with Mexican, African and white ancestry.
Contact Sandi at email@example.com.
Treasurer, Past President
Thomas has been a member of MASC for over fifteen years and is a past president of the organization. He has made numerous television, print, and on-line media appearances and speaking engagements as a keynote and panelist. As a long-time board member he has also organized conferences, a mini-film festival, and diversity training workshops. Apart from MASC, Thomas is a mechanical engineer having worked in multiple industries the most recent being medical devices. He was born and raised in Southern California with parents from Mexican American and German-Polish roots.
Contact Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Relations Director
Delia Douglas is the Owner of DDHPR, a boutique public relations firm catering to an eclectic roster of fashion, beauty, multicultural, curve, non-profit and artist clients. Passionate about diversity, Delia is co-founder Multiculti Corner, a culturally diverse community of multiracial people and families for social, educational, and celebratory news and events. An advocate for positive body-image messaging within the media, Delia is the US Ambassador for Slink Magazine, UK’s premiere print plus-size fashion and lifestyle magazine. A California native, Delia, her husband, and their 4 year old daughter reside in Venice, CA most commonly referred to as “Venice Beach: Where Art Meets Crime.” Catch up with Delia and her family on Instagram @heartandsol and her business @ddhpr
Contact Delia at email@example.com
Nancy G. Brown
Board Member, Co-Founder, Past President
Nancy is a first generation American, born in New York City and raised in New Jersey, and is of German-Jewish heritage. Nancy is a clinical nurse specialist in mental health, having received her B.S. in nursing from Boston University in 1975, and her M.S. in Psychiatric Nursing/Community Consultation from UCLA in 1980. Nancy currently works as a therapist at the Kaiser Department of Psychiatry in West Los Angeles. From her interracial marriage, Nancy has two adult multiracial daughters of African American and European-American descent. She co-founded and became president of MASC in 1987 and remained president for 7 years. MASC was also one of the founding organizations of the Association of MultiEthnic Americans (AMEA) in 1988. She held the position of Western Regional Vice-President since 1994. She was elected President of AMEA in May, 2001, and under her leadership AMEA held their first National Conference on the Multiracial Child in October, 2002. Nancy has been a co-author in two books; The Multiracial Experience by Maria P.P. Root (1996) and New Faces in a Changing America Edited by Loretta Winters and Herman DeBose (2003).
Contact Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lesli Mitchell is an Licensed Clinical Social Worker, childrens book book author, natural hair enthusiast and artist. Lesli, mixed race African-American and White, is excited to bring her knowlege and support to MASC. Lesli lives with her husband Ernie and 15 year old daughter, Ava, in Lake Forest CA (Orange County) and is excited about creating programming and events for teens and thier families in Orange County. Lesli received her B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and her MSW from Cal State Long Beach, and grew up in Los Angeles. In addition, Lesli is co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion task force at Irvine United Congregational Church and hopes to house some of our MASC events at IUCC.
Contact Lesli at email@example.com
Advisory Board Member
Kiyoshi Kamehanaokalā Houston is a second-generation multiracial activist who grew up between Santa Monica, CA and Waikiki, HI. Raised in the midst of the multiracial conferences and discussions of the late-80’s and 1990’s, he has traveled the globe from the age of 18 months, exploring what it means to be of mixed descent, how to embrace one’s own multiple cultures within mono-racial or mono-cultural societies, and what it means to be a contributing member of our global society. Kiyoshi has a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Biological Sciences from the University of Southern California, a M.A. in Bioethics from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and is currently pursuing his MD from St. George’s University School of Medicine. He has been a student of singing, Shotokan Karate, and traditional Hawaiian dance from a young age. His personal mission is to explore how we can pursue both improved individual and society-wide futures through empowerment, education, and knowledgeable self-care. He believes this is possible through a balance of micro- and macro- perspectives and via embracing both the sciences and the arts. He does this through his community work, work in medicine, and personal relationships with others.
Athena Mari Asklipiadis
Advisory Board Member
Athena Mari Asklipiadis, Japanese, Greek, Armenian, Italian, and Egyptian, was born and raised in South Los Angeles, California. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting from Pepperdine University and is an alumni member of Kappa Alpha Theta’s Zeta Phi Chapter. While working in LA market radio, Athena began her work in the multiethnic community working with such sites as Eurasian Nation, Addicted to Race and We Are Hapa. After recognizing a lack of multiethnic and minority marrow donors, she started Mixed Marrow in 2009 as an outreach through A3M (Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches) and Be The Match, the US national registry.
Athena currently operates Mixed Marrow and has recently started working on documentary film, Mixed Match with filmmaker Jeff Chiba Stearns (One Big Hapa Family, Yellow Sticky Notes). Mixed Marrow became an official project of MASC in April, 2013.
Farzana Nayani, MA
Advisory Board Member
As a multicultural educator and intercultural trainer, Farzana Nayani has conducted research, trainings, and curriculum design around the topics of identity, race, diversity, and inclusive education for over 15 years. Farzana has facilitated discussions and conducted workshops about multiracial, multiethnic, and multi-religious issues facing families and children at schools, cultural centers, and conferences. Farzana was part of the curriculum design team for the Smithsonian Filipino American Curriculum centennial project (http://www.filam.si.edu/curriculum/) and is the author of MASC’s publication, Being All of Me: A Handbook for Teachers and Parents of Multiracial, Multiethnic, and Transracially Adopted Children. She has been featured on DiversityInc on working with multiracial and multiethnic colleagues, and in LA Parent and on NPR about raising multiethnic children. Her published research “family communication patterns of multiethnic youth” focuses on how communication within the family can shape the identity of youth in multiethnic households. She is the mother of 2 young sons who are of Filipino – Pakistani – Malaysian and German background. She has been on the MASC Board of Directors since 2007 and is currently an Advisory Board Member for MASC.
Jennifer Noble, PhD
Advisory Board Member
Jennifer Noble received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles with an emphasis in Multi-Cultural Community Psychology. Jennifer is a tenured Associate Professor of Psychology in the Social Sciences Division at Pasadena City College. She has a specialty in psychotherapy with children, adolescents and their families. She especially enjoys addressing parents and helping them gain a deeper awareness of their child and the impact of their parenting. Jennifer was an instructor for MASC’s grant funded high school course on the mixed race experience, the first high school class of its kind. She seeks to raise awareness about how mental health looks different in culturally diverse populations. It is of utmost importance that these differences be properly acknowledged and addressed. Jennifer strongly believes that sociopolitical and sociocultural factors impact one’s ability to achieve mental health, and that the larger societal structures and institutions which created marginalized and oppressed groups must be dismantled. She is a former President and Vice President and has been a MASC member since 1999. Jennifer is a native Californian of Sri Lankan Tamil and African American descent.
Rudy Guevarra, PhD
Advisory Board Member
Rudy Guevarra received his Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research and teaching interests include comparative and relational Ethnic Studies, specifically histories of Asian Pacific Americans and Chicana/o-Latina/os, race and ethnicity, immigration and transnational migration, labor history, and multiracial/multiethnic identity. As a self-identifying Mexipino (mixed Mexican and Filipino descent), Rudy has written extensively on the subject, which was also the basis of his dissertation and upcoming book manuscript. He is co-editor and contributing author of Crossing Lines: Race and Mixed Race Across the Geohistorical Divide (Alta Mira Press 2005). His work has also appeared in Mavin Magazine and Urban Mozaik Magazine Online. Rudy is currently an Assistant Professor in the Asian Pacific American Studies Program (APAS) at Arizona State University. He is also an Affiliated Faculty member in the Department of Transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies at ASU. In addition to his scholarly work, he is also owner of Multiracial Apparel, a clothing line dedicated to celebrated the mixed race experience (www.multiracialapparel.com).
G. Reginald Daniel, PhD
Advisory Board Member
G. Reginald Daniel, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Sociology, at University of California, Santa Barbara and is Affiliated Faculty at the Latin American and Iberian Studies, the Departments of Black Studies, Asian American Studies, History, and Chicana and Chicano Studies. Since 1989, he has taught “Betwixt and Between,” one of the first and longest-standing university courses to deal specifically with the question of multiracial identity comparing the U.S. with various parts of the world. He has published numerous articles, and chapters, and has written a number of books about the relationship between social structure and racial formation—especially multiracial identities. Dr. Daniel is a member of the Advisory Board of AMEA (Association of MultiEthnic Americans), the Advisory Council of the Mixed Heritage Center of MAVIN Foundation, and is a former Advisory Board member of Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally), receiving media attention and invitations as a guest speaker at various conferences. Daniel’s own multiracial identity includes African, European, Asian, Arab, and Native American origins.
Faye I. Mandell, LCSW, BCD
Advisory Board Member
Faye I. Mandell earned a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and a Masters in Social Work from USC. She is the founder and president of Mandell Consultants, a psychological consulting group that provides psychotherapy, counseling, and coaching to adults, adolescents, children, families, couples, and parents. Faye, who is an African-American Catholic, married Dave, who was Caucasian and Jewish. They joined MASC after having Arielle, their daughter. Faye served on the MASC Board of Directors, and became its president from 1997-1999. As president, she and the Board of Directors led the tenth anniversary Kaleidoscope Conference and first Teen Summit. Sadly, Dave died during Faye’s presidency. He contributed much to the organization. Faye continues to support the principles, philosophy and activities of MASC while serving in the capacity of Advisory Board Member.
Advisory Board Member
Jonathan Brent is a first generation hapa of Japanese and European descent. The founder and former President of USC’s Hapa Student Community, he is currently a full time student at the University of Virginia School of Law. He is also an accomplished spoken word artist, having performed at various collegiate and professional venues, including the Village Gate Theatre in Los Angeles and Highways Theatre in Santa Monica.
MASC also has a cadre of volunteers who help us with community events, tabling, outreach activities, event planning – and more! We thank all the volunteers who have helped MASC serve the multiracial community. If you are interested in volunteering with MASC, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org with what you are interested in and how you can help.