Our Global Tribal Leaders

Meet Your Global Tribal Leaders!

We are storytellers that are ambitious and make things (sh*t) happen. We believe we can do better – especially if everyone is willing to work together. Mostly, we rise up because of what’s happening around us.

Our leadership team was built on the vision that the bold Hmong woman turns words into courageous action and believes that when one rises, we all rise.  We are a dynamic, passionate group coming from diverse backgrounds and industries, and yet we can agree on a few basic ideals: Hmong women are awesome and we’re evolving. 

Through hard work, building relationships, willingness to learn, and grit, Hmong women can flourish. By engaging and empowering Hmong women economically, we can activate a tribe of current and future leaders and influencers with the power to change the world.

We hope you’ll join us on this exhilarating journey. Our time is now.

Carrie Agustin

St. Paul, MN, USA
About Carrie

Carrie Agustin is a current undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She is currently studying Entrepreneurial Management at the Carlson School of Management with hopes and ambition to create products and business models that will positively communities. She is currently volunteering at the University YMCA on campus to educate and empower young kids in the community to develop healthy habits through their Healthy Kids program. Between school and volunteering, she is an intern at the Metropolitan Council with their Enterprise Content Management team.

In her free time, Carrie enjoys cooking, reading, and finding creative ways to spend her time with friends and family. And this fall, she is looking forward to studying in South Korea and exploring the world outside of the States.

As a half Hmong/half Filipino, Carrie has been actively exploring her identity and is working towards experiences on campus that connect her to others from similar backgrounds.

Chong Lo

Redmond, WA, USA
About Chong

Chong has her Bachelor degree in Asian Studies with a concentration in China Studies from the California State University of Sacramento and an Associates degree in Social & Behavioral Science from Butte Community College.  

Chong is an  accomplished member of the Incident Management Assistant Team (IMAT) Planning Section in (Federal Emergency Management Agency) FEMA producing intelligence and analysis products for incident management, coordinating information sharing and communication across internal and external stakeholders during federally declared disasters, national security special events, and other activities of interest to the federal government as assigned.  Chong is competent in all aspects of the Planning Section including resource tracking, requesting additional personnel, supplies, services, and equipment. She coordinate situational efforts with State/ Tribal/ Territories counterparts for information sharing and ensures continuity of operations to complete and effective closeout and/or transition at the termination of activities.

Chong has 5 years of prior experience with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as Master of Coordination Center Officer where she is certified as an Advance SSI (Sensitive Security Information) Coordinator for all State of Washington airports. As a Certified Protect Critical Infrastructure Information (PCII) responder she gathers, analyze, and evaluates data from a variety of sources. She makes threat assessment and identify any interrelationships including those that relate to the affected modes of transportation. Chong assist in the coordination and distribution of communications and special operations events. 

Outside of work, she enjoys photography and outdoor activities as well as volleyball, tennis and basketball.  She loves to travel to new places, meet new people and create new memories with her love ones. She credits all her success to her undying support from her family in Sacramento, CA and her amazing boyfriend Yang Cha Vang.  Chong is young at heart and an adrenaline junkie who is always down to have some fun.  She encourages youths of today to spread their wings and chase their dreams.  To question and break the cultural norm and to get out of your comfort zone.  

Crystal Lee

Sacramento, California, USA
About Crystal
 After failing to walk the stage in high school, many doubted Crystal Lee could recover and move forward in her life. That was the moment she realized she had to take life into her own hands if she was ever going to become the person she wanted to be.

As a child, she followed her parents to their office, picking up phone calls and shuffling paperwork after school, on the weekends, then in the summers as a teenager. She was fascinated by the idea of working for yourself, as you were responsible for your own level of success; no one else was. That mindset propelled her to open her first real estate investing company, Aurora Sky Property Investments, LLC at the age of 23, where she bought, sold, and negotiated real estate. One year later, she would go on to manage and oversee multi-million dollar, five star, beachfront properties on the white sands of Oahu, Hawai’i, where she enjoyed living by the water.

Crystal believes self education is the key to her successes. Her dream is to pave ways for the ambitious; for the “pob laib” girls and for the people no one remembers to believe in. She currently mentors others on growth and has a course called “Getting Naked”, where she teaches her mentees how to engage in conversation with potential clients and hone their leadership skills.

Entrepreneurship fuels her flames and she has made a firm promise to herself to pass on the torch to those who need it – to light their flames and ignite their dreams.

Doua Kha

Wisconsin, USA
About Doua

Doua graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with her B.S. in Secondary English Education, and has worked with students from varying age group and diverse backgrounds.  While teaching Special Education at a project based learning charter high school, she supported students with individualized educational plans (IEP), collaborated with different teachers to implement students’ IEPs, and supported students in- and outside of the classroom emotionally to address mental health.

Doua identifies as a queer womyn of color, and was the advisor for the Gender Sexuality Alliance working alongside LGBT students in advocating for LGBT rights and inclusivity. She was also the advisor for the student-ran Black History Month Committee, which curated monthly long programming. Alongside teaching high schoolers, Doua worked as a third & fourth age grade teacher during the summer at an enrichment center, planning field trips and community-based activities to enhance students’ learning.

Currently, Doua is pursuing her Master degree in Curriculum & Instruction at UW-Madison with an emphasis on Multicultural Education, while also employed as the Supervisor for the Middle Childhood-Early Adolescent Content Field Cohort in the undergraduate Elementary Education Program. As the Supervisor, she oversees pre-service teachers, reviews their lesson plans, and observes them in their practicum settings in middle and elementary schools.  She also teaches a seminar on inclusive education for undergraduates.  Outside of work and education, Doua is the Outreach Coordinator for the Gates Millennium Scholar Association LGBTQ+ Network, utilizing social media as a platform to advocate for queer scholars of color throughout the nation. She has presented workshops throughout the midwest about issues affecting the queer Asian American community.

The skills she acquired while pursuing her degree and working with students in a project based learning environment (differentiating lesson plans, catering to all learning styles, practicing cultural relevancy, advising, enhancing educational experience, etc.) has expanded how she sees her role in working with students: to empower those in underserved communities to foster self-determination, sustainability, and equity.

Ka Thao

Ka Thao

California, USA
About Ka

Ka Thao is a first generation Hmong woman living in California bay area. She received her bachelor degree in integrative biology from University of California, Berkeley. She works in the health care sector to deliver excellent and affordable health care to undeserved communities.  She believes health care is not a privilege, but a human right. She channels her passion, skills and time in volunteering and supporting projects that yield healthy communities.

She is a competitive board game player and would take you up for any game of Settlers of Catan and Munchkins. She loves spending time outdoors hiking in the wilderness and travelling the world. She aspires to collaborate and create a global impact via the Hmong Women Take On The World Summit.

Lee Moua Simpson Preslandbyrne

Jacksonville, FL, USA
About Lee'

Lee is an ambitious global teacher, withholding a senior English teacher status in conducting lecture concepts to professional business leaders overseas. She holds an associate’s degree in visual communications and a bachelor’s in business administration, specializing in marketing.  As of January 2018, she has taught over 3,650 students worldwide, with 51 being repeat students.

Besides teaching students from all over the world, she works in various fields such as marketing, photojournalism, and fine art photography. She has always been passionate about telling stories through art and hopes to one day be exhibited at a global level.

She is also a supporter of saving lives as she held an officer position for the West Georgia chapter of the Anti-Genocide Coalition and took part in the Amnesty International organization with marketing the importance of human rights.

She aspires to helping young Hmong girls resist falling into the entrapment of pedophilia and sex trafficking. She has been inspired by Ethos, an organization who taught young Hmong women in Vietnam to build their own business through tourism; they even taught them English! She looks forward to teaching English and business to those less fortunate so they can live the dream too.

Mai Chia Yang

Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
About May

Mai Chia Yang (or May) graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with her bachelor degree in Sociology and an emphasize on Law and Criminology. Throughout her college years, she worked and volunteered with young Asian newcomers to the U.S and in the Twin Cities area. Those volunteer opportunities triggered a passion within her and so right out of college, she went abroad to pursue a global insight into the power of education. She decided to go teach and applied for a job in South Korea, but decided to stay in Thailand where she got her certification to teach English. She was there for 3 years and love the teaching experience.

When she returned to the United States, she was undecided about her career options and so obtained licenses as an agent for Life, Auto, and Home Insurance. She discovered that she wanted to grow her skill set so she got into Banking, Loans, and Accounting in hope that these sets of skills would help her to be her own boss someday.

Mai knows that the future is unpredictable. After she met her husband, they decided to settle down in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada where she is a stay-at-home mom to her cute prince and lovely family. She went through a lot of changes within the last two years of her life after marriage, but her curiosity about the life of other Hmong Women grew deeper as she took on different roles as a Hmong Woman herself.  So the social butterfly inside Mai cannot be contained because she likes to aspire and be inspired. She hopes to grow and learn new knowledge with HWTOTW.

Mai Dawb Pha

Minnesota, USA

About Mai Dawb
 Mai Dawb Pha has her B.S. degrees in Business Administration & Management Information Systems (MIS), both from Metropolitan State University (Saint Paul, Minnesota) and an Associate’s degree in Liberal Studies from North Hennepin Community College (Brooklyn Park, Minnesota).

Mai Dawb previously worked on the Susan Pha for Brooklyn Park City Council – West District campaign team in 2016, as a field member, digital historian/photographer, and secretary for fundraising. She has supported Saint Paul City Council member Dai Thao’s campaign & Marny Xiong for Saint Paul Public School Board’s campaign, was a committee board member for her Pha family’s 2016 Pha Noj Tshiab, and a nominee for youth coordinator for Pha Association Inc. Mai Dawb was a former committee member of the Minnesota Hmong American Day 2018 (HAD 2018), and is a current & active committee member or trainer for Minnesota’s 2018 Little Hmong International Princess & Prince (LHIPP). As a HWTOTW tribal leader, Mai Dawb represents both Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Outside of work Mai Dawb enjoys live shows/entertainment, reading, writing, makeup, board games, photography, dancing, karaoke, as well as, outdoor activities such as hiking and biking. Mai Dawb loves traveling to new states and/or anywhere with some sand and a beach and also hopes to explore other countries in the near future!

Mai Dawb is young at heart, full of life, and energetic, always wanting to have fun! She can also be funny with her dry humor and/or laugh at her own jokes, when no one’s laughing. Mai Dawb wishes to be a positive role model for the youths of today to help them find their identity, cope with mental health issues, and to never give up! As she says, “You are not alone, and only you can tell your story. Only you can speak for yourself.” She encourages youth to have a voice and share their stories, as silence can be deadly.

Mai Dawb credits her perseverance and resiliency to her mother, father, and family back home in Minnesota. Mai Dawb Pha currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with her fiancé. Wedding to come, Spring of 2018.

Maiyer Xiong

Vientiane, Laos
About Maiyer

Maiyer devoted her early years to education; in 2006, she graduated with a B.S. in Agriculture and started her career with a non-government organization. After graduation, she got married (as planned).  However, her marriage ended sooner than she had imagined.

Things didn’t work out; she and her husband were unable to understand each other because they had different goals and different ways of thinking. The stigma as a divorced Hmong woman had brought her to the lowest point of her life.  She experienced shame and self-doubt, and spent months in the temple to help her recover and find clarity in her life.

Her life turned around when she found a new purpose – to help her Hmong fellows to become self-sufficient through education. She recognized the barriers many Hmong students experience in Laos, and decided to take action.  She continued her education and obtained a Master’s Degree to become a University Lecturer, and a Master’s in Agriculture Development.

Maiyer is currently a teacher, and is constantly looking for ways to help the Hmong students. In 2015, she opened a community center to offer workshops on the weekend as an extra support services. She recently created a library (currently with about 100 books), and aims to expand the library and add a computer lab.

Maiyer is proud to be starting her family with someone who understands; her husband is a Chef and a Farmer who supports her journey as a Hmong woman in education trying to better her community in Laos.

Padee Khang

Eau Claire, WI, USA
About Padee

Padee is a graphic designer specializing in creative communications, brand and logo design. She received a BFA in Graphic Design at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and shortly after found work as a Communications Manager at a local church.  She applied her design skills to the various areas of church marketing, including front-end web development, print and digital design, and social media advertising. After three years at the church, she resigned from her position to further pursue her creative career. She is currently freelancing and pursuing a certificate in technical writing. Wish her luck!

Aside from her passion in the creative field, Padee is a devoted wife and mother of four and guardian to additional extended family. She takes the words from her mother, “mus ua nyab thiaj paub tab”, to heart because becoming a nyab really did change her. Her ambition and determination is derived from this experience and she only wishes that her children can grow up to become goal oriented, respectful, loving, happy and humble human beings.

Padee enjoys coffee, musicals, movies, food (especially seafood, ramen and kimchi), wine and time well spent with family. In her free time, she is involved with a local non-profit, HumanKIND (building community and celebrating diversity in the Eau Claire, WI area).

Pang Foua Xiong

St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
About Pang

Pang is a Hmong woman who wears many hats. She is a mother, daughter, sister, mentor, friend and entrepreneur/professional. She is the founder and owner of Bodhi Wellness And Beauty Spa and LashesByPang located in Saint Paul, MN.

Pang previously dedicated over a decade of time and service, holding and growing in several roles, in the health care field at a community clinic in part of the University of Minnesota Academic Health Care Centers. After 11 years in service, she chose to devote her life intentionally in raising her children; And strengthening and creating a positive community for her family, our community of women and our youth.

In her most recent venture, she is living the life of an entrepreneur as a beauty therapist- with a specialty in eyelash extensions and a connector in bringing together Wellness/Beauty Practitioners and Creative Artists to offer community sessions in her shop. She is active in her community involving herself and kids in community initiatives and conversations that builds a positive community. Her recent projects include: MAIV PAC (A Hmong Women Political Action Committee), Entrepreneurship Training Workshops and creating Community Conversations where it brings together local elected officials, community members and families together to have conversations on how to build and contribute to building a healthy and inclusive community.

She is also a keeper of the traditions and is currently an active artist working on projects in the Hmong community to preserve the culture and art of the community through her artist production company- Red Strings Artistry. She is currently working on a collection of Elder Stories and preserving Hmong language, Culture, and Practices.

Pang believes holistic wellness and practicing self-awareness, love and healing. She dedicates her time and energy to teach and guide others to become self conscious to their truths and be responsible to ones own actions and how it impacts the individual and others. She believes in sincerely giving back to the community by making herself available to share life experiences, knowledge and assisting others in connect and navigate resources. She believes that uplifting others in those ways would create a more harmonious, positive and powerful impact in the continuation of building a healthy community.

Pang currently resides in Saint Paul, MN with her husband, Dao Yang and six children (Quiben Yang 15, Cole Yang 11, Priya Yang 10, Mangku Yang 6, EllaRose Yang 5, and Ethan Yang (3months).

Panhia Lee

Providence, RI, USA
About Panhia

Panhia Lee is a Wisconsin native who graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with a BS in Photojournalism & Advertising. She has 8+ years of experience in communications, design and photography working for an array of industries, including higher education, public policy, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and medical technology.

She is a Communications & Design Coordinator for a non-profit organization that represents the 8 independent colleges and universities in the state of Rhode Island. She is also a freelance designer and photographer for multiple small businesses.

In the last few years, she has concentrated most of her design work on data visualization and strategic communications – helping clients understand and express research data through information graphics and connecting their audiences with a clear message through storytelling and design.

She currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island and enjoys exploring the diverse culture the Northeast has to offer. You can often find her trying out local eateries or browsing Pinterest for new recipes to cook. She also enjoys spending time with family and friends (especially when food or drinking is involved!).

Seng Her

Winder, Georgia, USA
About Seng

Seng Her has a degree in Art History from the University of Milwaukee Wisconsin. She worked as a program assistant for the Boys and Girls Club for 5 years, where she learned how to be a leader and team player.  After graduation, she worked at the Milwaukee Art Museum as a program coordinator for a year where her creativity blossomed. Right now she resides in Georgia with her husband and daughter. She is currently working for VIPKID,  an e-learning company that allows her the privilege to be a stay at home mom, while teaching English online to Chinese children.

Seng grew up in a very traditional family, which forced her to really find her own voice and confidence. She is constantly challenging views on tradition, racism, prejudice and societal roles. Seng decided to join Hmong Women Take on the World because she wanted to be an example for her daughter: to fight for what you believe in, to get involve with what you are passionate about, and to be your own superhero. She draws inspiration and passion from women who are badasses, like Frida Kahlo and Mulan (Disney and historical figure).

Seng believes that no one should ever stay comfortable for too long, so here she is taking on the world yet again, but now with the help of her sisters.

Val Vang

Chicago, IL
About Val

Val Vang is a busy mom, wife, and full time employee. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and a Master’s in Business Administration. She currently works for a retail giant as an Advantage Coordinator in the Marketing Department, specializing in small business relations and guest services.  Even though her main focus is in business, her work mission and passion in the past has been about cultural awareness.

As a previous Minnesota native, she worked as a cultural broker and acted as a community ambassador for the Twin Ports. She also spent a short time working for the desegregation office doing community workshops.  To galvanize the community to understand more about diversity, Val became a member of the Hmong Group of Duluth. There, she taught young girls cultural dances and was the MC for their local New Year celebration for two straight years. To further make her voice known in the community, she joined the Copeland Community Board and the Asian Pacific Board.  She was a guest lecturer at the University of Minnesota Duluth in the Human Diversity class, for a workshop at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, Woodland Academy, and other special cultural events around the city.

In her spare time, Val enjoys photography, writing novellas and blogs, and challenging herself with culinary delights. She loves spending time with her family, traveling, and working out. One of her secret goal is to start a blog and to write a book.  Her purpose with HWTOTW is to be an example to young girls, to help propel other Hmong women, and to help initiate a movement. She strongly believes that when women come together, they can become a powerhouse to do the impossible!

Xue Lee-Vang

Gentry, Arkansas, USA
About Xue

Xue Lee-Vang has resided in northwest Arkansas for the last 14 years with her family. She is a Career Coach for the University of Arkansas Walton College of Business’ (Fayetteville, AR) undergraduate and graduate students, and has over seven years of higher education experience. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management and Master of Science in Leadership and Ethics from John Brown University (Siloam Springs, AR).

She balances her busy schedule not only as an ambitious career-oriented Hmong woman but also as a wife to Nai Vang, and mom of four children: Leng Gao Kue-19, Sengsai Liong Kue-17, Eliana-Grace Tshavntuj Vang-3, and Taigen Kheejnxtuj Vang-18-month old. Her fun, exciting responsibilities extends to helping her parents who are poultry farmers, volunteering in non-profit organizations, and serving her church and community. She previously served as the Board Secretary for the Hmong Arkansas, Inc. and is actively involved with the Single Parents Scholarship Fund of Benton County.

Xue loves to challenge, inspire, and empower people, especially Hmong women, to develop themselves professionally to maximize their true potential. She has a strong desire to help people discover their dream careers and life’s purpose through holistic coaching. When she is not trying to be superwoman, she loves to watch movies, exercise, listen to music, and spend time with her friends and family.

Xue enjoys meeting people from all walks of life and highly values their life experiences because she, herself has had to overcome much adversity. She put herself through school as a single mom to accomplish her degrees all the while taking care of her two oldest sons, working full-time, and going to school full-time. Xue credits her successes to God, her parents, and her husband and children. Even then, it goes beyond that inner circle of solid foundation in which she is fortunate for the special friends and mentors who’ve cheered and supported her to get her to where she is today. This is the primary reason why Xue is uber passionate about being a servant-leader and giving back to the world and its people as much as possible.

Xue wants to make a difference and push herself out of her comfort zone which is why she aspires to be a transformational coach, speaker, and joined the Hmong Women Take Over the World Summit. She’s excited to meet and interact with her Hmoob viv ncaus as well as niams, pogs,tais, & phaujs from all over the world!

Pa Vue

Chico, California, USA
About Pa

Pa Vue is a writer, blogger and storyteller from Chico, California. She believes storytelling has the power to build courage, connection and community and strives to create spaces where women have the opportunity to share their personal stories. One of these spaces is her blog Cultivate & Refine where she shares her personal stories, features guest bloggers, and gives tips and strategies to help other women tell their stories.

After graduating with a degree in English and linguistics in 2008, Pa went to UC, Santa Barbara to study education. She has a Master of Arts in Education and has been working with high school and college students for the last seven years. She currently coordinates the Writing Center at California State University, Chico where she and her tutors provide writing support to hundreds of students.

Pa loves to travel, eat good food and watch movies with great storylines. She also writes novels and is working on her fourth novel, a story about a Hmong girl who has to rescue her mother’s soul. She lives with her husband, Alex, and their pup, a daring Havanese named Toby.