Lisa Khang, Operations and Data Coordinator: Ms. Lisa Khang implements administrative systems, data collection, procedures, and policies for AEDA. She manages the day to day operations and program coordination with a “can do” attitude and enjoys the opportunities to work with staff and community members. In addition to her professional background, in her free time, Ms. Khan has volunteered for other organizations as a leadership team member and a volunteer coordinator.
Tinh Le, Business Counselor: Mr. Tinh Le provides in-language (Vietnamese) client training and consultation, outreach, business analysis, TA plan development, and assists with loan packaging and servicing. He brings expertise and experience in small business development and has helped LEP Asian immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs navigate public systems, access private capital, and comply with government.
Evelyn Mouacheupao, Events & Project Manager: A creative project manager, Ms. Evelyn Mouacheupao plays a key role in AEDA’s micro-entrepreneur incubator initiatives in the Little Mekong District. She brings to AEDA five years of creative arts organizing and management of arts projects. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from Concordia University. She is also is also the co-owner of Mark My Word by Evie & Thao, a small business providing screen printing, airbrushing, mural work, designs and crafts.
Va-Megn Thoj, Executive Director: Mr. Va-Megn Thoj is the founder and executive director of the Asian Economic Development Association (AEDA), a community economic development nonprofit based in Saint Paul with the mission to increase economic opportunities for Asian Americans in the Twin Cities. As a strong voice for equitable development, economic inclusion, and racial equity, Mr. Thoj works with the Southeast Asian communities and has developed an array of mutually reinforcing, cross-sector, culturally relevant strategies to support job creation, community development, and asset building. He has a background in literary criticism and film, and makes short films in his spare time.
Tong Thao, Business Development Officer: A trained financial advisor, Mr. Tong Thao provides training and consultation to clients to increase their financial literacy, access lending, and help start and expand their small businesses. He graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2012 with a bachelor’s in Geography, spent over five years working as a community organizer, and served as President of the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council and Treasurer of the Hmong American Day Committee.
Vong Thao, Director of Business Development and Lending: Mr. Vong Thao leads AEDA’s business development and lending initiatives. Fluent in Hmong, he has worked in combination of Agriculture, Banking and Food industry for over 8 years for entities such as USDA/FSA, Kraft Foods, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Hmong American Partnership and Wells Fargo. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Society Ethics and Human Behavior from University of Washington and an MBA from City University of Seattle.
Katie Ka Vang, Director of Artist & Maker Entrepreneurship: A creative writer and theatre artist with over 10 years of art program management, artist engagement and development, Ms. Katie Vang directs AEDA’s artist entrepreneurship development and creative placemaking. She has created and led numerous artistic projects in the Twin Cities, such as creative writing residencies for youth, acting in productions like Asiamnesia (Mu) Breaking Ice (Pillsbury House Theatre) and writing the full-length play called WTF (Mu Performing Arts). More recently, she started her production company and produced a full-length production called FINAL ROUND. Katie has two undergraduate degrees in marketing management and a Master’s degree in creative writing.
HueZong Yang, Artist Entrepreneur Coordinator: A visual artist and community organizer, Mr. Zong Yang provides administrative and programming support for AEDA’s artist entrepreneur initiatives. He graduated from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Mr. Yang is an active member of ManForward, an organization dedicated to train and organize young men and boys to end gender violence in the Hmong and Southeast Asian community. As a visual artist, he focuses on themes of social justice through the medium of oil painting and charcoal. In his spare time, Mr. Yang is a competitive volleyball player in sports tournaments.