Home Wisconsin Wisconsin’s 34 Most Influential Asian American Leaders, Part 5

Wisconsin’s 34 Most Influential Asian American Leaders, Part 5


This is the fifth of a five-part series. Part 1 is here, Part 2 is herePart 3 is here and Part 4 is here.

Lori M. Lee is the author of speculative young adult novels and short stories. Her seven published novels include this year’s release PAHUA AND THE SOUL STEALER (Disney/Rick Riordan Presents), FOREST OF SOULS and the sequel BROKEN WEB (Page Street), and more. She’s also a contributor to the anthologies A THOUSAND BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS and COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES. A native of Oshkosh, considers herself a unicorn fan, enjoys marathoning TV shows, and loves to write about magic, manipulation, and family.

Dang Yang is the Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. In this role, he leads the OMA team in providing direct services for students of color, supporting university-wide efforts in equity and inclusion, and collaborates with stakeholders in strategic initiatives to foster a welcoming climate across the campus. Prior to joining UWEC, Yang served as the Diversity Manager at Chippewa Valley Technical College, where he supported multicultural students, students with disabilities, international students, and nontraditional occupation students. In addition, Yang also spent a number of years serving as the Multicultural Recruitment & Retention Coordinator for the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where he served as the Director of the TEACH Support Network, a program providing comprehensive support for traditionally underrepresented pre-service teachers in training. His academic background includes a B.A. in Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an M.A. in Multicultural College Teaching & Learning from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. 

Bruce Yang, Kao Shoua Yang and Tara Yang are the family behind Main Oriental Market, which has become a cultural hub of Green Bay’s Hmong community. Especially since the Hmong Center of Green Bay closed down in 2016, Hmong folks from the area have come to rely on the store for everything from help getting driver licenses to translating letters. The family also stepped up in the early days of the pandemic, making and donating authentic Hmong meals to health care workers. Bruce and Kao Shua opened the store in 2005 and Tara acts as manager. She is also a member of the Green Bay Civil Rights Commission.

Dr. Wujie Zhang is an associate professor in Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Physics and Chemistry Department, where he has led several senior projects based on a biomaterial known as pectin that have focused on drug delivery for cancer treatment, 3D printing for tissue engineering, and engineering artificial red blood cells. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering and food science from the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology and a doctoral degree in biomedical engineering from the University of South Carolina in 2011. Among many awards and accolades, Dr Zhang was named one of Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2019 and honored with the MSOE Student Life Department’s Diversity and Inclusion Advocate Award in 2020.

Dr. Vallabh (Samba) Sambamurthy is the Albert O. Nicholas Dean of the Wisconsin School of Business. Prior to his current role, Dr. Sambamurthy served as Eli Broad Professor and associate dean of the MBA and professional master’s programs at the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University. He previously served as the school’s associate dean for outreach and engagement and chair of the accounting department, leading the launch of the top-10 MS program in business analytics. He previously held faculty appointments at the University of Maryland and Florida State University. A leading expert on how businesses compete in the digital economy, Dr. Sambamurthy’s work has been featured in leading academic journals. Several Fortune 500 firms have engaged him as a consultant. Working with executive clients and academic colleagues in China, Taiwan, Singapore, India, and Hong Kong, he has focused on digital business transformations, strategic alignment, governance, and innovation. He has co-authored several books on digital transformation. Dr. Sambamurthy has been recognized for his contributions to teaching, research, outreach, and mentoring. The Association of Information Systems honored him with the LEO Lifetime Achievement award. He was selected as distinguished fellow of the Information Systems Society at INFORMS, and he received the William Beal Distinguished Faculty Award – the highest honor accorded by Michigan State University. Dr. Sambamurthy received his PhD from the University of Minnesota, his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, and his B.E. from the National Institute of Technology (Tiruchirappalli, India).

Adam Carr is deputy editor for community engagement at Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. He was co-chair of March On Milwaukee 50th, which commemorated Milwaukee’s Open Housing Marches with 200 Nights of Freedom in 2017-2018. In 2016, he authored the children’s book Explore MKE: Your Neighborhood, Our City, working with five 3rd grade classrooms and SHARP Literacy. Sometimes called a “Milwaukeeist,” he regularly gives tours of Milwaukee communities covering a wide variety of topics and has collaborated with filmmaker Wes Tank to produce two short films featured in the Milwaukee Film Festival Carr has collaborated on neighborhood-based public art projects in Milwaukee, including Listening to Mitchell in 2014 with artist Sonja Thomsen and TypeFace in 2013 with artist Reginald Baylor. He was the producer at 88Nine RadioMilwaukee from 2008-2011. 

Cheeia Lo is executive director of Golden House, a nonprofit organization in Green Bay whose mission is to provide safety and support for victims of domestic abuse while leading efforts to end domestic violence in the community. A domestic violence survivor herself, she has 12 years of experience in the field of domestic abuse. Her career began as a part-time Hmong youth specialist at the Family Center in Wisconsin Rapids.

Who’d we miss? Give us our suggestions for next year’s list at [email protected]!