Wisconsin’s Most Influential Asian American Leaders for 2024, Part 4

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    This is the fourth of a five-part series. Part One is here, Part Two is here and Part Three is here.

    Sirinda Pairin

    Sirinda Pairin is an Engagement and Communications Manager at the Wisconsin School of Business. She has been with WSB for eight years. Her current role focuses on climate, culture, and belonging. A graduate of the UW-Madison School of Journalism, she is a founding member of the UW-Madison Multiracial Student Union.

    MGR Govindaranjan

    MGR Govindaranjan is a Madison alder, representing the UW campus area. He serves on the Common Council Executive Committee, the Downtown Coordinating Committee, the Joint Campus Area Committee, the Sustainable Madison Committee and Transportation Commission. He was elected as a student studying Legal Studies and Political Science at UW-Madison. He graduated last month and intends to pursue law school. He previously served as the Legislative Affairs Chair at the Associated Students of Madison, UW’s Student Government. 

    Dr. Sara Lam

    Dr. Sara Lam is vice president of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, where she leads efforts to strengthen NWTC as a culturally sustaining college where all students feel they belong, achieve success, and are empowered to take action for positive change, with specific attention to students from marginalized groups. Prior to joining the college, Dr. Lam has been an instrumental part of the DEI efforts of University of Minnesota Morris and its community, where she held various roles within teaching, research, and service since 2015. She is a co-founder of the Rural China Education Foundation, a published author, and holds national accolades for her work around educational equality. Dr. Lam earned a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Wisconsin-Madison, an Ed.M. in International Education Policy from Harvard University, and a B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota Morris.

    Tou Jim Lee

    Tou Jim Lee is director of marketing for the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, where he’s worked since 2017. He is also board president for Our Scholarship, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships for Southeast Asian American students in Wisconsin, and a member of the board of the Hlub Foundation. He earned a degree in marketing from UW-Milwaukee.

    Patrick Miles

    Patrick Miles is currently serving his second term as chair of the Dane County Board of Supervisors. Professionally, he is an Information Systems Specialist for Wisconsin’s Department of Administration, developing financial management systems. Previously, he was the owner and principal of a consulting business providing business systems analysis services for over 20 years. My professional career has focused primarily on the development and maintenance of billion-dollar public finance systems. He volunteers as board chair of the Design Coalition Institute (DCI), a nonprofit that promotes sustainable community development, affordable green housing, and environmental justice, and as Treasurer of the Madison-Obihiro (Japan) Sister City Board. He is an alum of the UW-Stevens Point.

    Dr. Yang Tao

    Dr. Yang Tao is director of traffic engineering for the City of Madison, where he supervises 140 employees to manage, operate, and maintain Madison’s pedestrian, bicycle and motor vehicle systems. He was named director in 2018 after working his way up after beginning as a traffic engineer in 2006. He’s earned several honors from the Institute of Transportation Engineers, including the Martin Bruening Award in 2007, the Young Professional Award in 2012, and the Transportation Professional of the Year for the Midwest District in 2018. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Tsinghua University in Beijing and a PhD in civil engineering with a minor in business from the UW-Madison.

    Christina Thor


    Christina Thor is Wisconsin state director of 9to5, a grassroots multiracial member-led organization working to advance economic justice through issue-based advocacy, grassroots organizing, and community education by directly engaging impacted women. She is an appointed member of the City of Green Bay Hmong Advisory Council and serves as chair for the Wisconsin Care Coalition. She earned a degree in journalism and public relations from UW-Oshkosh in 2015.

    Pasha Thao

    Pasha Thao is program manager for diverse alumni engagement at the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association, where she coordinates and supports a number of affinity groups for University of Wisconsin Alumni. She stepped into that newly-created role in 2020 to help revive the volunteer-run groups, which were active in the 1990s. Thao previously spent three and a half years as a program manager for Wisconsin Youth Company, staffing and coordinating after-school programs. A Verona native, she earned a degree in community and nonprofit management at the UW-Madison.

    Part Five coming tomorrow!