Home Wisconsin Wisconsin’s 35 Most Influential Asian American Leaders, Part 4

Wisconsin’s 35 Most Influential Asian American Leaders, Part 4


This is the fourth in a five-part series. Part one is here, part two is here and part three is here.

Yoshihiro Kawaoka is a virologist in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences in the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, and one of the world’s leading authorities on influenza and Ebola viruses. Born in Kobe, Japan, he also holds a professorship at the University of Tokyo. Following the West African Ebola virus epidemic of 2014, Kawaoka began development of an Ebola vaccine. He has been honored with numerous awards and recognitions, including the Robert Koch Prize, Japan’s Medal of Honor, Membership in the United States National Academy of Sciences, Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award, Carlos J. Finlay Prize for Microbiology, Japan Academy Prize and Sir Michael Stoker Prize.

Kevin J. Miyazaki is a graphic designer, photographer, and educator based in Milwaukee. Born and raised in Milwaukee, he traces his heritage to Japan and Hawaii. His work has been published in several nationally circulated magazines. Miyazaki began his career as a staff photographer at The Cincinnati Enquirer in 1997 and 1998 he became the photo editor at Cincinnati Magazine. He has been a regular contributor to Milwaukee Magazine since the early 2000s. Other publication credits include Time, Newsweek, Forbes, Fortune, National Geographic Traveler, GQ, The New York Times, Food & Wine, and numerous others. Miyazaki’s art photos have been featured in galleries all over the United States, including Seattle, San Francisco, New Jersey, and New York City. He has also received several honors for his work, including being a recipient of the Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowship, and being hosted as an artist in residence at the Center for Photography at Woodstock. He attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1990.

Angela Jenkins is an accomplished DEI leader and strategist with experience building sustainable and innovative programs focused on aligning equity and business priorities. She is currently a Technology Project Manager at American Family Insurance with oversight on the recruitment and placement of top tech talent into the Data Science and Analytics Lab. Angela has worked with community, nonprofit organizations, and large corporations across diverse industries and sectors such as technology and pharmacology research and development. Angela is a proud University of Washington Husky with diversity and inclusion certifications from Cornell University and the Institute for Diversity. She holds various leadership positions on several non-profits such as The River Food Pantry, The Sessions At McPike Park, and Collaboration for Good. She is a commissioner on City of Madison’s Zoning Board of Appeal and is a member of the AAPI Coalition of Wisconsin, a statewide organization that amplifies AAPI voices and leads advocacy projects that stand against hate and racism. 

Bryan Cayabyab is human resources director at food and beverage manufacturer JBS USA in Green Bay, where he manages the human resources needs for a staff of more than 1,200 employees. He’s worked his way up to that position since he joined the company as a training and development manager in 2014. Cayabyab began his career in nursing, volunteering at the Dagupan Doctor’s Veterans Memorial Hospital in the Philippines and working in memory care at Tender Rose Home Care in San Francisco, before transitioning to human resources there in 2013. He holds a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Springfield College.

Dr. Nhi Lê is an accelerator catalyst at Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. Born in Vietnam and raised in Georgia, she earned a PhD in material science from UW-Madison with a research focus on stem cell engineering and biomanufacturing. She is also a deep tech investor at Paeonia Capital, based in Singapore, and founding partner of the venture firm Mariton Partners. She has her name on six patents.

Dr. Jay Balachandran is a physician with Ascension Medical Group in Brookfield, specializing in critical care, pulmonary medicine and sleep medicine. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in 2003. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, during which time he was named Chief Resident. He has completed fellowship training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Harvard Medical School and fellowship training in Sleep Medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center. He is the Chair for Hospital Specialty Medicine at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s and is one of Milwaukee’s Top Doctors in Pulmonary/ Critical Care Medicine and Sleep Medicine. He is also a Village of Whitefish Bay Trustee and a member of the Whitefish Bay Public Library Board.

Sarah Chitharanjan Jacobs is diversity, equity and inclusion manager at UnityPoint Health-Meriter, where she manages DEI efforts for the organization’s 3,200 employees, about 13 percent of whom identify as people of color. Before joining Meriter in December of 2020, she worked in audience services, fundraising and membership for Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio for more than 10 years. She is also a strategic consultant for The Book Deal, a family-owned, mission-driven bookstore. A Stevens Point native of Indian and Polish heritage, she earned a degree in communication arts and Spanish from UW-Madison in 2006 and a certification as a Professional Co-Active Coach in 2018.

Part 5 coming tomorrow!