2012 Operations Committee
ERIN YOSHIMURA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Erin Yoshimura began volunteering with the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival in its first year, 2001, and was the chair of the Performing Arts Committee and worked with public relations for seven years. She was named Executive Director of the festival in 2010. Erin is a certified Personal Brand strategist, certified Emotional Intelligence trainer, and a certified coach. She’s the recipient of the Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Women of Distinction Award and the Minority Enterprise & Educational Development Advocate of the Year Award.
TARIKA CEFKIN, OPERATIONS MANAGER
Tarika recently graduated from the University of Denver with an M.A. in International and Intercultural Communications, concentration in Human Rights. A long-time Colorado resident, Tarika grew up very involved in Colorado’s Thai community performing with various Thai music and dance troupes around the Denver Metro area. She is passionate about raising intercultural awareness. Most recently she worked for the Nathan Yip Foundation, an organization that funds educational projects for children around the world. As a performer and spectator at the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival since its inception, Tarika is very excited to be joining the CDBF staff as Operations Manager and looks forward to further serving Colorado’s Asian American Pacific Islander community.
RACES & SPONSORSHIP
Ding-Wen Hsu is co-owner and President of Pacific Western Technologies Ltd. (PWT), a Colorado company established in 1987. PWT specializes in information management, and environmental management. Currently, PWT employs over 80 employees in Colorado. Ding-Wen, a native of Taiwan, has been very active in the Asian and Chinese American communities in Denver since she moved to Colorado in 1978. She is one of the founders of Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, the largest Asian American festival in the Rocky Mountain region. In addition, she also serves on the Boards of Chinese American Council of Colorado. Ding-Wen is a national fellow of Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute. She is also the co-founder of International Multi-Cultural Institute, a nonprofit organization that promotes understanding and interaction among various cultures.
JEN NGUYEN, MAIN STAGE
Born and raised in Colorado, Jen Nguyen has been a long time volunteer with the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. She has assisted in managing volunteers and is back because she feels that this one of the ways to give back to the Asian community. “It is such a great way to connect so many different communities together. It is an honor to serve as this year’s volunteer manager.” Jen graduated from the University of Denver with a Bachelors in Psychology and is currently pursuing her masters degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology at the University of Colorado at Denver. When she is not studying or volunteering you can find her curling, cooking or reading the Harry Potter series.
JUNE HOMDAYJANAKUL, MAIN STAGE
June Homdayjanakul is Thai-Chinese Asian American and grew up performing with the CDBF. June is a senior at the Metropolitan State University of Denver working on an Individualized Studies Degree in Global Health with a concentration in International Relations. Besides volunteering, she loves to travel, play tennis, and ski. June is a Group Leader for the Sierra Club ICO and also a member of Thai Harmony, Denver’s Thai classical music and dance troupe. Her first year joining the Ops Committee, June is passionate about intercultural exchange and is excited to get more involved with the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival!
SEREVI NAQICA, BAND STAGE
Serevi was born in Suva, Viti Levu, capital of the Fijian Islands and a member of the Clans of the Natitasiri, Na-gonicole of Nawaisomo. Born to a native Fijian father and an Irish American mother, he enjoyed the experience of connecting with his traditional Fijian heritage and the American culture. At the age of 12, Serevi’s parents moved their large family of eight to Aurora, CO. He graduated from Eaglecrest High School and is now a student at Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Auraria campus. On the weekends Serevi is a flight attendant for Republic Airways, the parent company for Frontier Airlines. Serevi enjoys music and is a member of the Denver Chorale as a Tenor and Contra-tenor. As a Flight Attendant Serevi has enjoyed the luxury of traveling to many countries in Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. He has also enjoyed living in cities around the US, such as Honolulu, Washington DC, Atlanta and Columbus, Ohio.
GATEWAY TO ASIA
SACHIE NINOMIYA, OPENING CEREMONY, GATEWAY TO ASIA CO-CHAIR
Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Sachie is a fourth-generation Japanese American who graduated from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and is a geriatric nurse for Kaiser Permanente. She enjoy doing martial arts, softball and volunteering. This is Sachie’s second year volunteering for the CDBFas Co-Chair of Gateway to Asia, and she’s also returning as the Chair of this year’s Opening Ceremony, a unique and popular aspect of the festival. “I am excited to volunteer again for the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival because I feel it represents the uniqueness of our Asian cultures here in Colorado, and is an enjoyable weekend activity to spend with your friends and family,” she says. “This festival allows an opportunity for us to share our history, arts, traditions, and cuisine with others. We hope to make the experience entertaining, educational, fun-filled, and memorable.”
C.J. DE DIOS, GATEWAY TO ASIA
C.J. is an upcoming third-year student at the University of Denver majoring in International Business and minoring in Communications. Much of his time is devoted to being an executive officer of DU’s Asian Student Alliance. In addition to being the co-chair for Gateway to Asia, he will be spending this summer as a sales intern for a leading company in the food industry. He will also be preparing to study abroad in Osaka, Japan during the fall. In his free time, he enjoys being outdoors, writing & listening to hip-hop, and learning more about cultures and traditions outside of the US. This is C.J.’s first year on the committee, and he is looking forward to providing an insightful & enjoyable experience to all festival attendees!
LEO TSUO, CULTURAL UNITY CO-CHAIR
Leo Tsuo helped launch Cultural Unity, and is thrilled to serve as co-chair with Jared for the 11th annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. “Cultural Unity has been a unique opportunity for me to share my pride in Asian culture and Hip-Hop culture!,” says Leo. “CDBF is a great opportunity to bring a park jam for the Colorado Hip Hop scene where the best DJs and dancers come out to chill to a fresh positive vibe… and to bring an opportunity for the Hip Hop community to gain a better understanding of Asians in Hip Hop!” Between the two of them, Jared and Leo will being a whole new level of cross-cultural performances to Cultural Unity this summer, and make Hip Hop culture hipper than ever!
When Joie Ha first got into the hip-hop scene, she was surprised at the warmth and spontaneity that it emanated. Inspired and empowered, Joie embarked on a journey to start her own jam. At Smoky Hill High School, she created and ran T.O.E.jam for two years, inviting renowned showcasers and judges such as Bboy Taiyo, Hype 303, D2L, Audrey Gibson, and more. Currently, Joie is President of Next Generation Voices (an organization for Asian American Pacific Isander youth), as well as Vice President of Pioneer Breakers at the University of Denver. Joie is ecstatic to be working with the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, especially the Cultural Unity Tent!
Elaine is a native of Colorado who has been involved with the festival, playing many roles over the last 10 years. Starting as a patron to the festival, she quickly signed up to be part of the volunteer group. Over the years she has volunteered for multiple areas of the festival including VIP and First Aid. Elaine, along with her twin sister, sang the National Anthem at the festival. In 2012, she figured out a way to volunteer and race on the Dragon Boat, Saturday was her volunteering day and Sunday was her racing day! Outside of the festival, Elaine is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Psychology while working full-time as a senior pharmacy technician. She also enjoys competing in pageants and has won multiple titles. During her limited free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, especially her twin sister Emily.
Emily was born in Denver, Colorado in the year of the Dragon! She has been involved with the festival for the last 10 years as a patron, performer, and volunteer. She has dedicated more years as a volunteer than she has as a patron and performer combined at the festival. Emily, along with her twin sister Elaine, sang the National Anthem at the festival in 2011. Emily is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Psychology and plans to continue on to a doctorate degree. In addition to her full-time school load, she works as a senior pharmacy technician. During her spare time, she enjoys competing in pageants and has won multiple titles. She also owns a horse, which she competes in numerous competitions, and won the Aurora Horsemen’s All Around title in 2012. Of course, spending time with her family is her favorite, especially with her twin sister.
MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS
Gil is a veteran of the local media scene from Westword to The Denver Post and many online sites including serving as adviser to the CU Independent, CU Boulder’s student news website. He has volunteered for the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival since its 2001 debut. He manages the content for the festival’s website and newsletters, and is the lead emcee on the Main Performing Arts Stage. He is also a blogger and social media expert, and manages CDBF’s online social media presence.
Tesia is a recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she studied philosophy and English. Afterwards, she returned to her home state, having heard the siren call of the mountains and of Colorado’s hot, hypnotic summers. Tesia has celebrated dragon boat festivals since childhood, and is very excited for her first year being able to bring the festival to life here in Colorado. Her passions are for languages and bringing people together. With her love of these two things, she works to assist in communicating with local and out of state communities about the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival.
Michael Johnson is not an original Colorado Native, however he’s lived here since the age of five. As a resident of 40 years, he calls no other place home than Colorado. “I am honored to share in this opportunity to assist in the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival as a way of giving back to my community. Being of mixed ethnicity, the Festival also allows me to extend appreciation of my Asian/Pacific rim heritage.” Michael’s education originally centered around art, but his career path evolved into the age of Software and information Technology where he’s been conducting the practice of Software Configuration Management over the last 18 years. “I am a proud parent of a wonderful daughter and again by aiding in this Festival I can provide my child a means to understand the wonderful heritage, culture and people of the Asian community.”
Tom is originally from Japan and moved to Colorado when he was a teenager. He has been with the festival since 2002 and has served in many capacities. He was one of the paramedics providing emergency medical care to the festival patrons and staff. In 2006, he decided to give up his paid duty and volunteer for the festival as the liaison to the paramedics providing coverage for the festival. In 2011, he joined the Operations Committee as one of the Public Safety co-chairs.
Ngoc moved to Denver from San Francisco in 2007 where she earned her BA in Music. She works for Ricoh as a Marketing Coordinator at Denver Public Schools. She is involved with the Denver Public Schools Asian Education Advisory Council, the Mile High Japanese American Citizens League and joined the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival’s Operations Committee in 2013. One of her interests and strengths is helping people, which led to her position as the Volunteer Chair. Some of her other interests include food, graphic design, music, anime, video games and her border collie, Ichi.
VIP RECEPTION, HOSPITALITY & PUBLIC SAFETY
My real name is Emelda, named after the former first lady of the Philippines, but I go by Bing. I was raised in Hawai’i and cultural diversity plays a big role in my life. Throughout the years I have been actively involved with various community organizations, however, I’m most fond of groups that have a cultural connection. I had been a commissioner for the City of Lakewood’s Commission on Cultural Diversity and Human Relations and the advisor for the University of Denver’s Ho’ailona o Lokahi (Hawaiian Club). I began working with CDBF in 2002 and have taken on a variety of roles: assistant volunteer coordinator, volunteer coordinator, Explore Asia, public safety, and VIP/Hospitality. I enjoy being a part of this great event and encourage everyone to learn about Asian cultures. On a professional level, I graduated with a PhD in Higher Education Administration and work for the State as a rehabilitation counselor trainer/mentor. I also promote cultural diversity in the workplace by sharing ethnic foods, stories, and items. Much Aloha!
NON-PROFIT PARTNERS PROGRAM
I am going to graduate from CU Boulder in May with a major in Political Science. I was born and raised in Colorado and have attended CDBF since its first year. I finally became a volunteer in 2009, running the snow cone booths. I have worked with non-profit organizations since high school, joining the executive board of Next Generation Voices in 2008, and establishing my own political student-run non-profit organization in college. This will be my first year on the operations committee at CDBF. I love working in operations and am passionate about expanding the Asian American community through awareness and equality. I am passionate about politics and the news, indulging in piano and the musical arts during my spare time.
Robert Garcia is currently the Coordinator of the University of Colorado at Boulder’s CAMP Scholarship program. The Colorado native is expecting his second child with his wife Kim and is a doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado at Denver. Robert has been involved in the festival for nearly two years as a web developer, graphic designer and festival volunteer. “I am always finding ways to be involved in community efforts that promote cultural unity and the Dragon Boat Festival exemplifies this effort. I am proud to be a part of such a great event, even in just a small way.”
WELLNESS & EDUCATION VILLAGE
IVY HONTZ, WELLNESS VILLAGE COORDINATOR
Ivy Hontz began her human services career in 1983 in the field of juvenile justice in Pennsylvania and Maryland. After moving to Colorado she was employed by the Asian Pacific Development Center for 13 years, and is currently a board member of the Asian Chamber of Commerce, a steering committee member of the Beeler Community Garden, and a volunteer for the Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network and the Aurora Symphony Orchestra. She has degrees in Criminal Justice Administration, and Counseling Psychology, and has traveled extensively throughout Asia. Ivy began participating in the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival in 2001, and this is her first year to be on the CDBF operations committee, and the Wellness Village.
Jim, an attorney and Colorado’s Honorary Consul General for Mongolia, has been involved with the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival in many ways since its inception, including by co-sponsoring a race team, Wagenkamp’s Frozen Fishsticks.
DESIGN COMPETITION & SIGNAGE
Wendy Barile, half-Japanese and half-Italian, was born and raised in Brazil. She has a Bachelor and a Master degree from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro with majors in Foreign Languages and Linguistics. Besides Brazil and USA, she has also lived in Yokohama, Japan, and London, UK. Wendy loves to travel and learn about different cultures including arts, people and food. She likes to go hiking and camping, although in the winter she enjoys cooking different ethnic foods and watching a good foreign movie. A woman of free spirit, open mind and a big heart, Wendy has been volunteering at the CDBF office since August and she is excited for helping the festival even more!
SPONSORS & COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Jaejin Kim has a M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University, and has worked in varied aspects in behavioral health and the non-profit sector, including research, counseling, and executive administration. During her undergraduate studies at Miami University, she served as VP of Campus Affairs for the Korean Student Association, and delegate to the Diversity Affairs Council. She is passionate about cultural diversity and education, the arts and humanities, and is currently working on a writing project inspired by her mother. She has volunteered for CDBF in the past as part of the performing arts committee, and is honored and excited to be involved once again.
Lisa Maurer began her nonprofit career in 1985 working for a small outdoor art museum, the Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA). During her time at MOA, Lisa finished her degree in Business Management and built a successful career advancing to the Museum’s Administrative Director where she worked closely with employees and independent contractors ranging from teaching artists to sculptors, conservationists, donors, members, and elected officials.Lisa enjoyed managing the day-to-day office operations as well as developing and managing art exhibitions, openings and other events. Lisa also spent a few years in chamber work as well as logistics and event planning for a large library district. She served last year as Operations Manager for CDBF, and now runs a virtual assistant business. She’s volunteering with the festival this year to help with sponsor fulfillment.
Pamelah has a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts, and is a multifaceted artist: she’s a teacher, dancer, drummer, festival event planner, stage manager who manages CDBF’s production logistic from stages and sound to duct tape and cord ties. She’s also performed with her African drum troupe at the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival.
As manager of Current Events, LLC, Lora provides event management consulting services specializing in association management, event operations and logistics. Clients include the Colorado Festivals & Events Association, the Foothills Foundation, Summerset Festival, Colorado Irish Festival, Bandimere Speedway, Old Glory Antique Fair, Blue Star Blues Festival and the Academy of Model Aeronautics Annual Expo. Lora serves as Contest Director for Warbirds Over Denver, a nationally known event for radio-controlled airplanes and is a founding member of the Columbine Memorial Foundation, Inc. Hobbies include flying radio-controlled airplanes and collecting antique glassware.
The Operations Committee meets monthly on Wednesday evenings. For more information on this committee, please email: [email protected]