Our Team

Leverett Wing - Executive Director

Leverett has been the Executive Director of the Seminar since 2015, and is a well-known leader and community mobilizer whose ability to organize on a broad scale, and break down barriers across communities, has led to a number of landmark accomplishments benefiting organizations & causes locally and nationally.

 

Before joining the Commonwealth Seminar, Leverett led the Community Services Division, at The Massachusetts' Department of Housing & Community Development. In that position, he oversaw a budget of over $200 million and staff of over 50 employees while working with cities, towns and non-profit organizations to offer programs, funding, and technical assistance to support the advancement towards self-sufficiency of households, and the revitalization of cities and towns throughout MA.

Leverett was also the Executive Director of the Washington D.C. headquartered Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote), the only non-partisan, national organization focusing on civic engagement in the Asian American community. Prior to that, Leverett helped spearhead an effort to create the Massachusetts Asian American Commission, a permanent entity in State government to represent Asian American interests in MA. Having been instrumental in its creation, Leverett was named the Commission's first permanent Executive Director.

 

An extremely active community leader, Leverett consistently plays leadership roles in conceiving and promoting innovative efforts, bringing the unique needs of various communities to the fore.

 

As a member of the Board of Overseers at Joslin Diabetes Center, an internationally known hospital and research center, Leverett helped found a first-of-its-kind, national project called the Asian American Diabetes Initiative (AADI) which seeks to improve the understanding and treatment of diabetes among Asian Americans.

 

He also sits on the Board of Overseers of WGBH-TV/Radio, Boston’s nationally known Public Broadcasting affiliate, where he helps with efforts to expand WGBH’s minority programming and improve outreach to under-serviced communities.

 

In addition, Leverett recently joined the Board of Trustees at Eastern Bank, the largest and oldest mutual bank in the United States.  Leverett also sits on the Board of Overseers of the nationally renowned Boston Children's Museum, and was a Trustee at Wheelock College in Boston, one of the nation's finest higher education institutions in preparing teachers, social workers, and child life professionals for service to children and families.

 

He also serves on the Board of Directors of Boston’s Higher Ground in Roxbury, MA which aims to better direct resources and services - including child care, social services, and youth leadership development - to some of Boston’s most challenged neighborhoods.

 

In 2016, Leverett was recognized by Get Konnected as one of their GK 100: Honoring One Hundred of the Most Influential People of Color, in Boston. He was also a recent recipient of the prestigious "Good Guy Award" from the MA Women's Political Caucus, only the second Asian American to ever receive the award.

Leverett was also honored in 2014 by the Asian Community Development Corporation which offered its "Inspiration Award" to him for his work empowering & educating the community regarding political engagement. Color Magazine also presented Leverett with its “2014 Publisher’s Award” for his work breaking down barriers and building collaborative efforts within communities of color in Massachusetts.

Leverett has been featured in numerous local and national publications, been heard on National Public Radio's “All Things Considered” and has appeared on multiple occasions on Boston’s ABC, NBC and PBS network affiliates.

A graduate of Tufts University (B.A.), Leverett is also an alumnus of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government (MPA-2). A longtime Boston Celtics season ticket holder, Leverett enjoys watching, and partaking in, any sporting activity he can. He lives in Boston with his family.

Joel Barrera - Seminar Founder; Chair, Board of Advisors

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

Renato Castelo is the Seminar’s Program Administrator and a Guest Lecturer Seminar. He is also the Government Affairs Specialist at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council - a role he has enjoyed since December 2016. As part of MAPC’s Government Affairs office, Diego works with internal departments to identify and advocate MAPC’s legislative and budget priorities through each legislative session. Diego also partners with outside coalitions and allies to promote MAPC’s vision of regional collaboration and smart growth.

 

Diego has worked on all three levels of government and has a deep understanding of government relations. He served as a Senate Aide for US Senator Ed Markey focusing on immigration, homeland security, passport and transportation issues. Prior to that he worked on the Boston 2024 Olympic bid campaign as a Community Engagement Team member and then as a Senior Project Manager. Diego Huezo 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. After graduating from Boston University, Diego worked for Boston City Councilor At-Large Felix G. Arroyo doing similar constituent service work and community organizing.

 

Diego earned his Bachelor of Arts from Boston University in International Relations. While at BU, Diego studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador and Paris, France.

Lily Tang - Outreach Coordinator

Lily Tang is a Junior at UMass Amherst studying Political Science and Asian American Studies. She is the Program Coordinator at the Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center and work to create impactful events for the UMass community. Last year, she spearheaded a 3 day Asian American Film Festival and brought to campus Wongfu Productions, a famous YouTube group. She is passionate about civic engagement and community organizing. Fun facts about her is that she studied abroad in South Korea this summer and had the opportunity to visit the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea. .

Janice Quach - Special Projects Coordinator

A sophomore 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.

Commonwealth Seminar website created by Lily Tang and Leverett Wing

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