Joel Barrera - Seminar Founder; Chair
Joel Barrera is a member of Governor Charlie Baker’s leadership team. He currently serves as the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Cabinet Relations. Joel was the Founder of the Commonwealth Seminar serving as it’s E.D. until late 2015 where he left a ten year legacy of opening the doors of the State House to al whole generation of diverse leaders
Joel also served as Deputy Director for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council from 2008 until 2015. He was instrumental in all of the agency’s accomplishments during that time including MAPC’s strategic planning process, the agency’s expansion into new fields such as public health and clean energy, and the expansion of its technical assistance to cities & towns.
Joel also staffed the MetroMayor’s Coalition for many years and saw its development into a vital forum and strong advocate for the cities and towns in the urban core. In addition, Joel conceived of the plan to open miles of trails along MWRA aqueducts in Metro West for recreational use by the public, and he successfully advocated to make it happen.
His previous experience includes six years as the Director of the MA Senate Post Audit & Oversight Committee where he focused on making State Government more accountable and responsive.
After graduating from Princeton University and Oxford University (Worcester College), Joel worked as a community organizer along the Texas/Mexico border, working to bring public infrastructure to underserved areas.
Diego Huezo - Program Coordinator
Diego Huezo is the Seminar's Program Coordinator and Guest Lecturer. He is a graduate of the 2014 Spring Seminar Class.
Diego has worked on all three levels of government and has a deep understanding of government relations. He served as a Senate Aide for U.S. Senator Ed Markey focusing on immigration, homeland security, passport and transportation issues. He also worked for Governor Deval Patrick as a Constituent Services Aide where he fielded calls and correspondences on behalf of the Governor, while connecting constituents with state agencies and key resources. His city experience comes from working for Boston City Councilor At-Large Felix G. Arroyo doing similar constituent service work and community organizing. Diego also had a chance to work on the Boston 2024 bid to bring the Olympics to the city.
He is currently a Government Affairs Specialist at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), the regional planning agency serving the 101 cities and towns of Greater Boston. Diego works with internal departments, external stakeholders and municipal leaders to identify and advocate for MAPC's legislative/budget priorities of smart growth, regional collaboration, equity and resilience.
Lily Tang - Director of Outreach
Lily Tang is a rising Senior at UMass Amherst studying Political Science and Asian/ Asian American Studies. She founded UMass' first-ever Asian American Film Festival and brought to campus popular filmmakers and actors like Mike Bow and the WongFu Productions.
Throughout her time at UMass, she advocated for the Cultural Centers and worked to secure additional funding and staff for the centers. She strongly believes in the importance of culturally sensitive support programs for students of color. Under her leadership, the Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center increased its programming capacity and student engagement. Lily is passionate about advocating for the Asian American community and pushing for diverse political representation. A fun fact about her is that she studied abroad twice- in South Korea and Ireland.
Janice Quach - Special Projects Coordinator
A Junior at Bentley University Janice Quach is in her fifth year working with the Seminar. After joining the Seminar as a student, and then an intern, Janice's responsibilities have included researching a number of our new initiatives, creating graphics for the Seminar and advising on various projects. A graduate of Braintree High School, Janice has been a committed member of the AVOYCE and See-Town, programs run by the Asian Community Development Corporation. She enjoys traveling and spending quality time with friends.