Our Board Members

Janice Won, President

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Janice Won is an Executive Coach and Consultant who uses her 25+ years of human resources and business experience with a global Fortune 50 company, nonprofit organizations and government agencies to enhance leadership effectiveness of executives. Her coaching clarifies vision, hones purpose and develops leadership excellence in the workplace. Successful coaching of Asian and multicultural talent requires a profound understanding of how to communicate about corporate culture with this critical succession and advancement pool. Janice's background and experience make her particularly adept at developing Asian and multicultural talent. She is known for the multitude of ways she infuses greater leadership capacity into organizations.

Before founding The WON Principles, Janice, as Senior Vice President of Human Resources with JPMorgan Chase, advanced corporate diversity initiatives, coached business executives on effectively managing change, and increased profitability through transformational initiatives. She was co-founder and architect of professional development strategies for the Asian network and the first-ever Women of Color network on Wall St. In recent years, Janice coached executive talent in major corporations, government and nonprofit organizations to advance their careers and manage challenging transitions arising out of mergers, acquisitions and reorganizations.

Janice believes in giving back to the community through nonprofit board service and her work in building leadership capacity of boards and staff of nonprofit organizations. She is a founding member and serves as president for the Asian Women Leadership Network, and previously served on the board of directors for the New York Chinese Cultural Center. She formerly served as interim executive director for the Asian-American Arts Alliance in 2010 and Museum of Chinese in America in 2014, leading both through its executive transition. In April 2015, she became Interim President & Chief Executive Officer for the Chinese-American Planning Council, one of the largest Asian American nonprofits in the U.S.


Iris Chau, Treasurer/Financial Officer

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Iris is a senior project manager at Chartis and the co-founder of GreenSoul Shoes, a charitable organization dedicated to providing footwear for underprivileged children in an environmentally responsible fashion. She is also the co-owner of Nature Couture Flowers, a floral design and gift company. She is a former vice president of equity research technology at JPMorgan Chase & Co., where for eleven years she has implemented enterprisewide systems in the areas of search and content management. She created many applications to support the research business. Prior to JPMorgan Chase & Co., she was the Technical Resources manager for IKON Office Solutions, specializing in Document Management.

Iris sits on the Board of Directors of the Asian Women Leadership Network and she was an executive member of AsPIRE (Asians and Pacific Islanders Reaching for Excellence), JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Asian employee networking group. Iris also served from 2001 to 2004 as a member of the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Diversity Council through which she helped drive the diversity agenda for the $116.35 billion financial-services firm.

Iris holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in computer science from Queens College, The City University of New York. She completed the Executive IT Management program at Columbia University.


Linda Akutagawa, VP, Professional Development and Events

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Linda Akutagawa is senior vice president of resource and business development at Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics Inc., where she is responsible for LEAP's fund-raising, business development and oversight of program design, development and delivery. Linda is a member of LEAP's Executive Management Team and co-manages the operations of the national nonprofit organization. As chief fundraiser, she develops and executes strategies focused on increasing earned and contributed income, building interest among clients and donors to support and participate in LEAP's leadership programs.

Linda bridges her development and program design and delivery roles through her consulting with LEAP's diverse range of clients, which include nearly 500 nonprofit, community and student organizations; federal, state and local government agencies; colleges and universities; and Fortune 1000 companies. She works with clients locally, nationally and globally to determine the best programs and services to support their Asian talent development needs and brings together the resources needed to deliver a solution. In addition, she collaborates with LEAP's consultants to co-design and customize new and existing programs.

Linda is certified to facilitate LEAP's Leadership Development Program as well as to deliver several of LEAP's foundational courses, including the 21st Century Leadership, Understanding Your Cultural Values, and Effective Work & Communication Styles. She previously was vice president of resource and business development for Los Angeles-based LEAP, developing and implementing fund-raising, marketing and sales strategies for its programs and services.

A beneficiary of LEAP's leadership training, Linda first began as a volunteer for the 501(c)(3) entity. Now in her 17th year there, she speaks and presents globally on topics such as leadership, Asian cultural values and influences, employee resource groups, diversity, networking and branding to a range of audiences such as corporations, student groups and community and professional organizations. Prior to joining LEAP, she was the marketing manager for Japan & Orient Tours Inc., a travel operator specializing in Asia and the Pacific.

Linda serves on the Board Directors of the Asian Women Leadership Network and Japanese American Community Services of Southern California Inc. (JACS), a provider of grants with a focus on community service, leadership development, cultural arts, and health and human services. Linda received her Bachelor of Science in international business with a minor in economics from California State University at Los Angeles. Married, she is auntie to six nieces and nephews ranging in age from one to 21 years old.


Charmaine Russo, Director

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Charmaine Russo started her public accounting career at Coopers & Lybrand, where she managed general practice, tax, and information-technology audits for the financial-services sector. After four years, she accepted an executive position at Shearson Lehman/American Express to oversee the deployment of a multimillion-dollar brokerage operations IT project.

In 1988, Charmaine joined Credit Suisse First Boston IT Systems and subsequently became one of the 70 founding members to launch a technology start-up. In 1990, she undertook an international assignment to head consulting services and software support in the Benelux region and Iberian Peninsula. After taking some personal time in 1996 to launch a retail company in New York, she accepted a client management position with IBM Network Services. Since 1999, Charmaine held management positions in marketing, sales and supply chain organizations. In August 2006, she joined corporate finance as an audit manager with responsibilities for worldwide IT application audits.

In 2004, Charmaine formed the Tri-State ADNG (Asian Diversity Networking Group) and served as its chairperson until 2006. She also has been a chapter leader for Women in Technology (WIT) in New York City since 2000. Charmaine is a 2001 alumna of Women Unlimited and a member of Asian Women in Business (AWIB). She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Asian Women Leadership Network (AWLN), a nonprofit organization supporting professional Asian women. Passionate about leadership initiatives and women's issues, Charmaine is actively involved in various mentoring programs as well as local charities and community initiatives. She welcomes invitations to speak at local universities and conducts workshops on leadership, networking and communications.

Charmaine holds a Master of Business Administration in marketing and finance from Columbia Business School, and a Bachelor of Arts in accounting and information systems and a Bachelor of Science in compuer science, both from Queens College, The City University of New York. She attended the Global Leadership Program at the London Business School in 2002 and Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in Beijing, China.


Meow Yee, Director

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Meow Yee is currently Program Director of Communications & Programs, North America Channel Marketing, IBM. She returned from a 2.5 year assignment in China working as IBM's mainframe business development leader. There she was responsible for developing the unit's growth strategy for expanding the company's mainframe business in emerging markets in the region. Prior to that as the project executive for Asian Initiatives, in Corporate Communications, Meow led a groundbreaking project to drive new levels of collaboration to share best practices across multiple global companies around the Asian marketplace and Asian talent.

While in the Software Group, Meow was the marketing and strategy lead for the corporation's business intelligence software product portfolio. Her career at the world's top provider of computer products and services includes technical accomplishments spanning expert systems research at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, software architecture, design and development and business expertise that includes mergers and acquisitions, marketing and business partner development. She has been recognized within the company with numerous excellence awards for delivering millions of dollars of savings and benefits to IBM.

Meow is past president and co-founder of the Asian Women Leadership Network, a multi-company nationwide organization whose membership has grown to about 500 Asian American women in the U.S., and previously served as president of the Westchester & Hudson Valley Chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans. She was profiled and photographed for the "Pathways to Power" feature by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen in the Nov. 7, 2005, issue of Time magazine.

In October 2004, Meow received the National Women of Color Technology All Star award. She was honored with the Salute to Women and Racial Justice Technology Award in June 2007 from the YWCA of White Plains and Central Westchester. More recently, the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, which was created by President Bush in 2003, saluted her with a President's Volunteer Service Award.

Meow graduated with a Master of Science degree in computer science from Imperial College, University of London, and a Bachelor of Science in mathematics with second upper honors from the University of Malaya in Malaysia.