Vice President, AARP and Former Chair, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
Since July 2013, Daphne Kwok has been Vice President of Multicultural Leadership for the Asian American & Pacific Islander Audience Strategy at AARP. Her work empowers Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to choose how they live as they age. She brings to AARP her experience as a “leader of leaders” through her community service in promoting and empowering the AAPI community.
Daphne Kwok was appointed in July 2010 by President Barack Obama to Chair his Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The Commission served as the “eyes and ears” of the community advising the President and the federal government about the issues impacting the AAPI community. As Chair, Ms. Kwok met with AAPI communities throughout the country listening to the needs of community members from AAPI medical students to emerging Bhutanese, Burmese, Mongolian communities. She connected the AAPI constituents with regional federal agency representatives through Town Halls and Forums, provided opportunities for federal agencies to learn about the diverse communities, and for the communities to learn about the programs and services of the agencies. Ms. Kwok concluded her term as chair in May 2014 but continued as a commissioner till February 2017.
Prior to returning to DC, Ms. Kwok was Executive Director of Asians & Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California giving a voice and a face to AAPIs with disabilities. She was also the Executive Director of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation in San Francisco preserving and restoring the Angel Island Immigration Station, the Ellis Island of the West.
In DC, Ms. Kwok focused on increasing political participation of the AAPI community and working with AAPI elected officials as Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.
For 11 years, she was the Executive Director of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), a non-profit, civil rights organization with more than 10,000 members. She coordinated programs and services for its chapters and affiliates across the country and monitored issues pertaining to the Asian American community, such as hate crimes, campaign finance reform, immigration reform, Census 2000, English-only, and affirmative action. During her OCA tenure, Ms. Kwok was the first elected Chair of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, a network of national APA organizations.
A 1984 graduate of Wesleyan University in East Asian Studies and Music, Ms. Kwok is the first Asian American to serve on its Board of Trustees, is a trustee emeritus and chaired the Wesleyan Alumni Association.
Ms. Kwok’s board service includes: Chair of APIAVote, a founding member of the Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund, a member of the Comcast-NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Advisory Council, Co-Chair of the Nielsen External Asian Pacific Advisory Council and board member of the Asian American Advertising Federation.