Chavi Khanna Koneru
Executive Director,

Chavi Khanna Koneru is co-founder and current Executive Director of North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT). Koneru moved to North Carolina in 1989 and has spent the majority of her life living in the state, including attending college and law school locally at the University of North Carolina. This has allowed her to gain a deep, personal understanding of what it means to be AAPI in the South. Additionally, her legal background in voting rights law has given her the opportunity to interpret and enforce laws impacting the AAPI community, including during her time in the Voting Section at the U.S. Department of Justice, where she focused on language access for AAPI voters.

Danica Lee
Youth Engagement Director,

Danica grew up in rural North Carolina and is energized by the ever-increasing activism in Asian American communities across the state. At Appalachian State University she studied Anthropology and Biology; focusing on the intersection of environment and society and the disproportionate effects of climate change on communities of color. Her interest in NCAAT grew from her time in community organizing and student of color advocacy spaces. She is dedicated to engaging with communities across North Carolina for social equity, youth empowerment, and access to culturally competent education. In her free time, she likes to make and eat spicy noodle dishes.

Ricky Leung
Communications and Outreach Director,

Ricky is co-founder and current Communications and Outreach Director at NCAAT. Ricky grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, and studied journalism and mass communication at UNC Chapel Hill, concentrating in visual communication and design. He began his career in DC at National Geographic and at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, where he became more involved with AAPI grassroots organizers. Ricky returned to North Carolina in 2010 in hopes of bringing that AAPI experience to his home state and worked at NC Policy Watch, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center, before joining NCAAT fulltime. In his free time he snuggles with his puppy Charlie.

Olivia Zalecki
Campus Organizer,

Olivia grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and attended North Carolina State University where she double majored in Political Science and Foreign Languages and Literature with a concentration in Mandarin. Olivia’s passion for advocacy started when she had the opportunity to work with various AAPI organizations including the Triangle Asian American Student Conference and OCA National-Asian Pacific American Advocates. Doing so gave her insight into the collective power of community. In her free time, Olivia loves trying all the amazing restaurants the Triangle area has to offer!

Shaina Nanavati
Community Organizer,

Shaina Nanavati joined NCAAT in July 2019 as a way to explore her cultural identity within community. She moved to North Carolina in 2015 to get her Master of Environmental Management at Duke University, where she organized voter registration drives prior to the 2016 election. With a background in energy policy and economics, she is passionate about addressing the climate crisis which will continue to impact poor communities of color around the globe and right here in North Carolina. She believes that long lasting change comes from engaging with communities who are directly impacted by systems of oppression. To wind down, Shaina enjoys gardening, writing poetry, and meditating.

Dan Tews
Data Coordinator,

As Data Coordinator at NCAAT, Dan helps to create and manage data systems, engages with staff in community outreach and voter registration efforts, and provides consultation drawing on his experience in grassroots field work. He has worked for over a decade as an activist for social justice and environmental causes, with a special passion for working with those who are disenfranchised and historically underrepresented politically. He studied English Literature at The College of New Jersey. He lives in Raleigh with his rescue dog, Percy.