Romana Lee-Akiyama shines in the nonprofit sector

Romana Lee-Akiyama is no stranger to the nonprofit sector. She’s taken on various roles for the greater good.

Lee-Akiyama has been the director of grantmaking and diversity and inclusion initiatives in the nonprofit sector, for WOMEN’S WAY. She was also the deputy director of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development. Hence, Lee-Akiyama understands better than many, the importance of diversity.

Seeing the film The Joy Luck Club as a child was the first time she saw a family on the big screen that looked like hers.

Lee-Akiyama is, therefore, working to ensure other young people find mentors who look like them and understand their background. She started her career over a decade ago, working with refugee and immigrant communities. Lee-Akiyama felt it made sense. The daughter of a Chinese refugee herself, she started working at the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation.

Lee-Akiyama said that her childhood had a large influence on her desire to give back. Furthermore, her father’s life as a political refugee affected her deeply. She wanted to advocate for Chinese immigrants in need, much like her father. As a result, she started work in the nonprofit sector. Her work there focused on empowering Chinese immigrants in her city.

She worked for other Asian-American nonprofits throughout her career as well including the Philadelphia chapter of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.

Lee-Akiyama is also the co-founder of Women of Equity. Women of Equity is a nonprofit guidance community for women of color. She’s hoping to create a more peaceful world around her by mobilizing her experiences into different ways to give back. A true heroine for her community, Romana Lee-Akiyama proves that an immigration background is something to be proud of.

You can learn about public administration and non-profit jobs in USAHello’s career resources.

Akudo McGee is a recent graduate from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. McGee has a Masters degree in European studies. Her field of focus is forced migration.

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