Since 1996, #APAWLI fellows have made a significant impact in their communities, within their professions, and across the country. Here's a glimpse into what some of these leaders have been doing since graduating from the APAWLI Program. 


Donna Fujimoto Cole (1996)

Donna founded Cole Chemical in Houston, TX in 1980 at the age of 27 and grew the company into an $84 million business. She is passionate about young girls and women and wants to change the messages and images of women that are common in movies and TV shows. Donna co-founded Pantheon of Women to help tell the stories of inspiring everyday women



Juslyn Manalo (2016):

Just a few months after vision mapping her path to becoming Mayor of Daly City, CA, during the final convening of the 2016 APAWLI Cohort, Juslyn Manalo was sworn in as the first Filipina Vice Mayor of Daly City, CA on December 12, 2016.


Meleana Meyer (1997):

Meleanna has garnered praise and awards for her work as a Native Hawaiian artist, filmmaker, and arts educator. Ms. Meyer is committed to social justice issues by helping those she works with find their voice through the visual arts. Meleanna is a published writer and illustrator whose commitment to underserved groups in her native Hawaiʻi is well recognized. A gifted teacher, she was recently awarded the Kumu Kukui award, 2014 for her excellence as a master teacher.


Dona L. Hanaike (1998):

Dona lives and works in Honolulu, Hawaii. Dona had worked in government for close to 20 years, but following the APAWLI Program, she recognized the need for change and found the courage to embark on a new journey.  She left government to run a small insurance business which she continues to lead today. Dona is owner and president of Ringler Associates Honolulu, a specialized insurance company that has developed a respected reputation among attorneys and insurance companies in Hawaii.


Vida Benavides (2000):

Vida is currently a principal at Dewey Square Group developing third party outreach strategies inclusive of multicultural constituencies and consumers, as well as advising national, state and local leaders on political, policy, communication, constituent outreach and public relations strategies. Vida also co-founded APIAVote, a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that encourages and promotes civic participation amongst Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the electoral and public policy processes. She fosters emerging talent through leadership development involvement and activities such as Asian Voices, Asian Votes, an AAPI Democratic Network, National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity, Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies and Small Business AAPAC.