Leverett Wing - Executive Director
Leverett has been the Executive Director of the Commonwealth 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 $250 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. Leverett also founded and co-chaired the AADI's signature fundraising event "A Taste of Ginger" for its first five years, returning in 2019 to co-chair its Fifteenth Anniversary celebration
In addition, Leverett sits on 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 as well as on the sits on the Board of Overseers for both Boston Harbor Now and WGBH-TV/Radio, Boston’s nationally known Public Broadcasting affiliate where he helped found the station's annual Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration in 2006.
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 the One Hundred of the Most Influential People of Color, in Boston. He was also a recent recipient of the prestigious "Good Guy Award" (video) from the MA Women's Political Caucus, only the second Asian American to ever receive the award.
Leverett was also honored 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 “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 NBC, PBS and ABC network (video) 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
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 Senior at UMass Amherst studying Political Science and Global 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.
Lleyton Wing - Media and Messaging Intern
Entering his Senior year at the Boston Latin School, Lleyton Wing has been interning with the Seminar since late 2017, and his work as our Media and Messaging Intern can be seen in the Seminar's photos, videos and promotional materials. Since the onset of COVID-19, Lleyton has shifted his focus to our on-line work, including responsibility for our "virtual" classes and events. His handiwork can be seen in our Tribute to the Women of the Seminar video as well as our recent fundraising event "In the Room & At The Table" where Lleyton was responsible for the unique, interactive "Party Room" for our guests. Lleyton also operates his own photography and videography business, and donates his services to a number of organizations, causes and candidates/officials