8th Annual CBA Conference – Sushi Making Class

Thank you to those who attended CBA’s very first sushimaking class with Chef . We hope you had a great time!


Please click here for the recipes from Chef Kaz. Also, you can visit our Facebook album for photos from the event.


If you buy Japanese ingredients or supplies, please consider purchasing them in SF Japantown. Our local merchants (such as Soko Hardware) would appreciate the business as we do need to support them to keep Japantown strong. There are also local Japanese markets such as Takahashi’s and Suruki (both in San Mateo) that are family owned, and Chef Kaz has also provided some recommendations in the link for the recipes.
“I was so inspired by Chef Kaz, when I got home on Sunday I realized I had cucumber, avocado and salmon in my fridge and quickly made some hand rolls for dinner for my kids (a Japanese household always has rice and nori at home).  It was so simple and easy (okay, I did skip the sushi rice and went with plain white rice), but I realized it’s so easy to incorporate what we learned on Sunday into our lives. “
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6th Annual CBA Conference


Karen Kang is a recognized brand strategist and the CEO and founder of BrandingPays LLC, a corporate and personal branding company ( that offers consulting, training and coaching. The author of BrandingPays™: The Five-Step System to Reinvent Your Personal Brand (January 2013), she has trained thousands of professionals on the unique BrandingPays™ System for personal branding. She was a partner with Regis McKenna Inc., the marketing firm that helped launch the Apple, Intel and Genentech brands. Karen, who has 20+ years of brand strategy experience, has consulted to more than 150 organizations in the US, Europe and Asia from Fortune 100 companies to non-profits and startups. Her broad experience has included such diverse clients as Ariba, AT&T, Axialent, Genentech, HP, iCharts, Synopsys, Maxtor (Seagate), NCR, Park Systems, UC Davis Health System, Webroot and VoyagePrive. Karen’s marketing and communications background gives her a 360-degree view of branding. A former newspaper journalist on both the East and West Coasts, she has held executive positions in marketing consulting, advertising and public relations firms. Karen is a frequent speaker at leading business schools and professional organizations. She has served on the boards of The Friends of the Palo Alto Library and the Women’s Technology Cluster (Astia). She has also donated her time to such worthy non-profit organizations as Girls for a Change, CORO, Asian Business League of San Francisco and Ascend. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she has a B.A. degree in English from Mills College and an M.S. degree in Journalism from Boston University.



Jana Katsuyama is an award-winning journalist who has been reporting with the KTVU Channel 2 News team since April 2007.  She was promoted to a full time staff reporter and fill-in anchor in January 2008.

She began her reporting career at KBJR in Duluth, Minnesota. From there, she moved to Dayton, Ohio where she worked as an Anchor/Reporter at WDTN-TV. Jana says working as a journalist is her dream job. “I enjoy learning about issues, investigating problems, and meeting people every day from so many backgrounds.”

Jana has been honored with two Emmy Awards, Associated Press awards in California and in Ohio for Best Broadcast Writing and Best Enterprise Reporting. She has also received recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists, and was part of the KTVU Ten O’Clock News team that won a National Edward R. Murrow Award.

She is an active member of the Asian American Journalists Association.

She graduated from Oberlin College with Honors, completing a double major in English Literature and East Asian Studies. She worked overseas in Japan on the Japanese government’s JET Program before pursuing her career in broadcast journalism.

Jana’s family roots are in the Bay Area and Central Valley. Jana’s other interests include jazz, classical music, dance, cooking, cycling, and tennis.


DENISE PECK, Former Cisco Executive, Advisor to Ascend & CARE After nearly 30 years, Denise recently retired from the corporate world to begin a new phase in her life, which includes nonprofit work and an entrepreneurial interest in the clean energy sector. She is currently an advisor to Ascend ( and to CARE ( Denise was most recently at Cisco Systems, the worldwide leader in networking and communications. During her 14 years at Cisco, Denise held a number of Vice President positions in marketing, operations, engineering services, and IT. She leveraged this broad functional experience while working in Cisco’s Shanghai, China office from 2008 to 2010 as head of business operations. At Cisco, Denise was a longtime executive sponsor and advocate of Cisco’s diversity initiatives, particularly on behalf of women leaders and Asian employee networks. Prior to Cisco, Denise held senior marketing management positions over 13 years at Sun Microsystems, spanning investor relations, software developer relations, and hardware and software marketing. Previously, she worked at Data Resources, Inc., an economic consulting firm. Denise has a BA degree in Economics from U.C. Berkeley, and an MBA from Stanford University. She was a past winner of the TWIN (Tribute to Women in Industry) award. She is married with two children in graduate school.


MARIA WEAVER, Vice President Strategic Accounts, Apollo Group Maria Weaver became Head of Strategic Accounts for Apollo Lightspeed, a new division of Apollo Group, in February 2013 to develop strategic relationships with leading companies in the IT Industry. Maria has held a number of positions at Apollo Group including the VP, of Technology Planning, Operations & Business Engagement for the Apollo Group Digital Marketing and Technology organizations and Head of Human Resources for the same organizations. During her tenure at Apollo she has been instrumental at organizational strategy, design, change management and leadership development. She also implemented a new technology governance model and drove significant operational and fiscal improvements within the organization. Prior to Apollo, Maria was a Sr. Business Leader at Visa Inc. At Visa, Maria held a number of Human Resources positions and also ran Visa’s Corporate Social Responsibility program. Maria began her career in professional services as a consultant for Andersen Consulting and PeopleSoft and also worked for a couple bay area startups. She is also a former dancer with the San Francisco Ballet, was the 1993 Northern California Cherry Blossom Queen, and now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. Maria received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

BONNIE WENTWORTH, Executive Coach and Leadership Strategist; President, Wentworth Consulting Group Bonnie Wentworth has a proven 25 year track record of catalyzing strategic change and producing results for individuals, teams and organizations. She has coached, taught and consulted to leaders of successful organizations including Kaiser Permanente, Stanford University, Charles Schwab, Gap, UCSF Medical Center, University of California at Berkeley, University of San Francisco Law School, Sutter Health, NetApp, and Genentech – as well as start-ups, and leading national non-profits, including KIPP, Rocketship Education and Kaufmann Foundation. Bonnie is frequently cited as a trusted advisor by her clients; her coaching style and broad experience fuels her success with senior leaders and deans in education, health care, technology, financial services, venture capital and legal. Bonnie founded Wentworth Consulting Group in 1998. WCG is WBE (Women’s Business Enterprise) certified. Prior to WCG, she led a nationwide team as a Director at Charles Schwab in San Francisco. Bonnie serves as adjunct staff at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business for several Organizational Behavior courses, including Paths to Power with Jeffrey Pfeffer. Additionally, Bonnie is adjunct faculty at the University of San Francisco’s School of Law.

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5th Annual CBA Conference

At the 5th Annual CBA Conference: “What Every Asian American Woman Should Know,” Jan Yanehiro was the keynote speaker, and she generously donated signed copies of her book “This is Not the Life I Ordered” to guests who attended the CBA conference. In addition, we had a panel of some pretty impressive women who shared interesting experiences as Asian American women, including: – Honorable Joni Hiramoto, Superior Court of Contra Costa County – Sawako Sonoyama, Program Officer at Global Philanthropy Forum & 2007 Northern California Cherry Blossom Queen – Akiko Yamamoto, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe Systems Inc.



Jan Yanehiro pioneered the magazine format on television as co-host of “Evening Magazine”, a nightly program in San Francisco that ran for 15 years on KPIX TV-CBS5.

Currently she is the Director of the School of MultiMedia Communications as the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. She has hosted 6 documentaries on the redress and relocation issues of Japanese Americans during World War II. Jan has won multiple awards including an Emmy and the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award.

She is the mother of six (three of her own and three step-children), holds seats on several boards including the Kristi Yamaguchi Always Dream Foundation and The Bank of Marin. Her latest book is titled, “This Is Not The Life I Order…50 Ways To Keep Your Head Above Water When Life Keeps Dragging You Down.”

A special thank you to Jan Yanehiro for generously donating copies of her book to CBA conference guests today.



Hon. Joni T. Hiramoto has been a judge of the Superior Court of Contra Costa County since 1998, working primarily in the criminal courts. From 2006 to the present, her assignment has included Drug Court, felony preliminary hearings and Domestic Violence Court. In 2007, she became the first judge to preside over the County’s new Behavioral Health Court. She currently sits in Juvenile Court. Prior to her appointment to the bench, she worked for the San Francisco law firm of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, now Bingham McCutchen (1987-1992). In 1992, she joined the San Francisco office of the Securities and Exchange Commission and became a Branch Chief in the Enforcement Division. In that position, she supervised investigations of insider trading and other forms of securities fraud.

As an Attorney, Judge Hiramoto served as President of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (1995). She also served on the Boards of the Asian Law Caucus, the San Francisco Women’s Lawyers’ Alliance and the Bar Association of San Francisco. Judge Hiramoto graduated from Harvard in 1983, with an A.B., magna cum laude, in East Asian Studies. She earned her J.D. from Boalt Hall at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1987. Judge Hiramoto has three sons ages 21, 18, and 15. She recommends a career on the bench for women who want to balance work and family, and believes in giving back to the community.


Sawako Sonoyama was born in Niigata, Japan and moved to California in the second grade. Growing up, she attended both American and Japanese schools. Her bi-cultural and bilingual upbringing shaped her interest in different cultures, leading her to a career in international development. She currently works at the Global Philanthropy Forum, where she manages programs on global development for a community of philanthropists and social investors.

Prior to joining the Global Philanthropy Forum, Sawako served as the Project Manager for Medic Mobile, a technology nonprofit that advances rural healthcare networks through mobile technology. She also traveled to Ethiopia where she developed and tested a multi-layer evaluation tool and system that measure the behavioral change of health care providers. Previously, she worked at the Institute of International Education where she organized professional training and exchange programs for the Japanese government. She received her Bachelor’s in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s in international development from Columbia University. Sawako has enjoyed volunteering for the Japanese and Japanese American community in various capacities. Growing up, she volunteered with her family in organizing a student exchange program between Tsukuba, Japan and Irvine, CA. She also volunteered as an interpreter and translator for Peace Boat, a Japanese NGO that promotes peace, human rights and sustainable development through organizing global education programs. She served the Northern California Japanese American community as the Cherry Blossom Queen in 2007 and is a member of the Cherry Blossom Alumnae Association.


Akiko Yamamoto was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to the Bay Area in her late 20’s. All of her and her husband’s families still live in Tokyo and Hiroshima. Inspired by her English teacher in middle school, she wanted to be able to use English in her profession, but she never thought she would live in the US. After graduating from Dokkyo University, majoring in English and Marketing, she spent 5 years working in a large film and TV post-production company in Japan as a production manager and assisted  producing documentary film, TV commercials, special effect projects, and a few projects with Hollywood. Currently, she is a senior product marketing manager at Adobe Systems, working with global customers, partners, press and Adobe field teams. Her passion is to bridge the gap between U.S. headquarters and regional offices around the world to achieve the same goals.

As a Shin-Issei, Akiko wants to pass on her Japanese heritage to her daughter as well as young Japanese Americans, find the right balance between two cultures, know more about the history of Japanese Americans, and contribute back to the community. In her spare time, Akiko enjoys cooking, baking, gardening, and spending time with her husband and daughter.