BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Thai-Hoa Le | President (Website)
Thai-Hoa’s parents came to Canada as foreign students in the 1960’s, during Quebec's own Révolution tranquille, which saw its society free itself from the grips of the clergy and conservatism. Born in Montreal and raised in a community united by the perennial belief that you are Vietnamese no matter where you are born, he spoke his mother-tongue, yet grew to become a proud Québécois. To this day, Thai-Hoa strives to embody the “best” of East and West. He holds a Bachelor of Laws (Université de Montréal) and a Master of Fine Arts (Actors Studio Drama School, New York). In his 30's, Thai-Hoa embarked on a journey back to his roots; along with other community members in Vancouver, he co-founded the Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Society (SEACHS). As an artist, Thai-Hoa finds most of his fulfillment in cultural and community service. His other interests include singing opera and meditation.
William Canero | Vice President
William is our VP and a Graduate student at the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning. He likes Vancouver arts and culture but loves Asian Canadian representation even more. His research interests are urban renewal, place making, and heritage planning.
AnnaNguyen | Senior Manager
Of Vietnamese heritage, Anna Nguyen spent the formative years of her childhood in various refugee camps in Hong Kong and the Philippines. She is an alumna of both Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the University of British Columbia (UBC), and she is currently pursuing a career in immigration law and public policy. Nguyen’s research interests include modern Asia, postcolonial studies, transnational histories, and intergenerational trauma. Her research is integral to her extensive community work. She has participated in numerous conferences for the Vietnamese diaspora and refugee community. Most notable was the facilitation of her workshop Dialogue as Critical Intervention at the 2019 Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations (UNAVSA) Conference. Although her journey to cultural cultivation and transformative arts began at SFU’s Vietnamese Student Association, her current mandate as an anti-racist educator at the Burnaby School District calls for the practice of anti-racist pedagogy and intercultural mindfulness. As a representative of SEACHS, Nguyen’s work in transformative arts and artist-supported approach has included coordinating and production management of multidisciplinary events such as Banyan, an Intercultural Ceremonial Performance, TaiwanFest: Riding the Waves with Vietnam, Vancouver’s VietFest, annual Lunar New Year performances in the Greater Vancouver area, in addition to film screenings and live theatrical performances.
Jessica Ly | Treasurer
Jessica's parents left Vietnam in their early 20s during the American evacuation of mid-April 1975 and found themselves at Camp Pendleton near San Diego, where they first learned of the fall of Saigon. After a few months in the camp, they decided to immigrate to Edmonton, Canada to embark on their new life with 2 toddlers. Jessica grew up there and received a BA in Economics (Minoring in math) from University of Alberta. Upon graduation, she began work in Vancouver as an accountant for a global chemical distribution company and completed her Certification as a general accountant. Jessica’s passion for technology then led her to earn a computer science education and become a software engineer. She is now a financial coach, helping her clients achieve their financial independence. Her involvement in arts and entertainment began when she started learning more about her culture and heritage as a high schooler. For the past 20 years, she has been active in the industry as a promoter, championing Vietnamese culture. Her interests include music, films and sharing Vietnamese talent with the world.
Nhat Anh Trinh | Secretary
While pursuing post-secondary studies in France and Canada, Nhat Anh put aside her cultural roots to assimilate the dominant cultures she entered. When she listened to the music of the Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Society, she found her tears for the first time. This led her to join SEACHS as a volunteer. Her background in Wellness Counseling (Rhodes Wellness College) informs Nhat Anh’s continued commitment to work within the Vietnamese community using an empathetic, person-centered approach. She believes that pride in one’s cultural identity sets each of us on a path of self-understanding and empowerment and this motivates her to engage with the younger population on the topic of identity.
Susan McKenzie | Member (Website)
Susan is of European settler heritage, born and raised on unceded ancestral territories of the Musqueam, Sḵwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil Waututh peoples. She is an experienced professional artistic director, choreographer, performer, rehearsal director and educator, who writes, dramaturges, designs promotional material, mentors and writes grants for the Vancouver dance company MascallDance. Susan’s family was formed through adoption. They volunteer for the Vietnam Education Society, a small Canadian charity that supports education and anti-trafficking initiatives, building schools in impoverished rural areas of Vietnam. Susan pours her love of Vietnamese culture and her gratitude to Vietnam for the gift of her daughter into her participation in SEACHS.
Sabrina Dang | Community Liaison
Sabrina is of Vietnamese and Chinese (Hong Kong) descent; she identifies strongest with her Vietnamese heritage, as her father passed away when she was sixteen, and she has been predominantly raised by her mother who came to Canada in 1976 as a refugee from the Vietnam War. Sabrina is currently in the Film Studies program at the University of British Columbia and was awarded the Mark Harris Memorial Scholarship for her performance and passion in Film Studies. Her ultimate career goal is to bring diversity and representation to the silver screen, while her personal challenge is to seek happiness and peace within herself and the tumultuous world we all live in. Sabrina strongly believes in the power of art, culture, and self expression in building and connecting communities.
Dennis D. Gupa
Dennis is a theatre director, a Vanier Scholar and currently writing his PhD dissertation in Applied Theatre at the University of Victoria. He obtained an MFA Theatre (Directing) from the University of British Columbia and an MA Theatre Arts at the University of the Philippines. His intercultural theatre works were exhibited in North America and Southeast Asia. Dennis is included in The CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Arts for his contribution to the theatrical heritage of the Philippines. In 2010, he received a scholarship from the Republic of Indonesia. The Asian Cultural Council awarded him the 2011 director-in-residence program in New York City. He is the recipient of the Performance Studies international’s Dwight Conquergood Award, the Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ Doctoral Award. Dennis is one of the Asia Society’s Philippines 21 Fellows for the Arts and Culture.
Kim Nhung Howard
Kim was recruited at the age of 11 by a dance college in Vietnam; she received a rigorous training that combined an academic education with intensive dance training in Russian classical ballet and folkloric dance practices. Upon graduation, she toured extensively with an ambassadorial dance troupe representing Vietnam to international audiences. Travelling to India, she studied the North Indian classical dance form Kathak. Her wide-ranging repertoire includes traditional T’ai dance, the traditional dance of Vietnam and folk dances of India and Eastern Europe, and her concerts have received high praise in many countries, including Sweden, Italy, Germany, Russia, Mongolia and the united States. Currently residing in the Greater Vancouver area, she teaches, performs and choreographs. In 2009 she co-founded SEACHS, and her choreography and expertise continue to guide the organization.