Beyond Invisibility: Centering Asian American Families in Systems and Policy Change

In our second episode of #AscendTogether, Anne Mosle was joined by Meera Mani from The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Michael Niyompong from the Mental Health Center of Denver, and Rumeli Banik from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Inc. In recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Anne and our special guests highlighted innovations and insights from AAPI leaders who are at the forefront of transforming systems and policy in community, health, and philanthropy. They also explored approaches for ensuring that the lived experiences of all children and families are represented in the broader agenda for advancing equity and economic mobility.


Date: Thursday, May 27, 2021
Time: 1:00 - 2:00pm ET
Location: Virtual

Host: Ascend at the Aspen Institute



Rumeli Banik

Senior Program Officer for Child Well-Being

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation


Rumeli Banik is the senior program officer for child well-being. Her work involves promoting positive child and family outcomes and preventing child abuse and neglect through supporting evidence-based prevention strategies that build on the strengths and assets of children, families and communities.

Prior to her role at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, she was a co-principal investigator of a study about the role of Latina mothers’ parenting experiences on early childhood development and childcare choices at Fordham University. Her prior research examined how differences in the experiences of the transition to parenthood influence adjustment to parenthood in first-time mothers from high and low socioeconomic backgrounds. She has also developed a workshop about parenting skills and child development for caregivers of young children at Mt. Sinai Medical Center. Earlier in her career, she designed and implemented evidence-based parenting program content for culturally and socioeconomically diverse families with children between birth and age five as a community-based child development specialist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She currently teaches research design at Columbia University and has previously taught at Fordham University, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Pace University.

Banik earned a doctorate degree in applied developmental psychology from Fordham University, and a master’s degree in child development and a bachelor’s degree in child development and biomedical engineering from Tufts University.

Meera Mani

Director, Children, Families, and Communities Program

David & Lucile Packard Foundation


Meera Mani is director of the Children, Families, and Communities (CFC) Program. She joined the Foundation in February 2009 as program officer, and in 2010 assumed responsibility for leading the preschool, after-school and summer enrichment subprogram in CFC. Prior to joining the Foundation, Meera served as the president of The Clayton Foundation in Denver, Colorado. Under her direction, the foundation focused on operating high-quality programs for children from birth to five-years-old and providing education and professional development opportunities for the early childhood education workforce. Her leadership was instrumental in developing initiatives, organizations and government programs focused on building a comprehensive system of high-quality early care and education in Colorado. Between 1999-2001, Meera also co-founded and led Qualistar Early Learning, a statewide initiative dedicated to improving children’s early learning experiences through the implementation of a quality rating and improvement system.

As a leader Meera is known for bringing together diverse perspectives and building consensus to co-create solutions for complex social challenges. As a manager she has assembled high functioning teams, created inclusive organizational culture, and worked collaboratively with Trustees, staff, and external stakeholders to achieve success.

Meera has a master’s degree in child development from M.S. University in India and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration from Boston University. She is an alum of the Ascend Fellows Program of the Aspen Institute and fellow of the Institute of Educational Leadership. She has served on many boards including The Children’s Institute of Oregon, Colorado Education Initiative, and the Educare of Silicon Valley.

Anne Mosle

Vice President & Executive Director

The Aspen Institute’s Forum on Women and Girls and the Ascend program


Anne Mosle serves as a vice president of the Aspen Institute, executive director of Ascend at the Aspen Institute and as co-chair of the Aspen Institute Forum on Women and Girls. As a leader in building pathways to opportunity for children and families with low incomes, her expertise is in the sweet spot of policy, practice, and philanthropy, and she has been a catalytic force in the two-generation approach and leadership strategies for child and family well-being and prosperity. Prior to Aspen, Mosle was a vice president and officer of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where she led Family Economic Security, Civic and Philanthropic Engagement, and Impact Investing teams investing $150M annually and was president of the Washington Area Women’s Foundation. She serves on the board of American Public Human Services Association, Institute for Women’s Policy Research Institute as well as a trusted advisor to numerous community, public, private, and philanthropic efforts focused on creating intergenerational economic mobility. Mosle has been recognized with the national Jerry Friedman Human Services Leadership Award, Washingtonian of the Year, but most importantly by parents and families with low-incomes and of color as an unwavering champion and supporter of both their and their children’s success and potential.

Michael Niyompong

Vice President, Strategic Community Partnerships

Mental Health Center of Denver


As Vice President of Strategic Community Partnerships, Michael is responsible for establishing and facilitating new cross-sector partnerships that comprehensively and creatively meet the mental health and related well-being needs of the community.

Prior to joining the Mental Health Center of Denver, Michael was COO at Clayton Early Learning, Colorado’s leading catalyst in providing access to early care and education.

Michael was also Vice President at Rebound Solutions, a socially conscious firm specializing in strategy, change management and turn-around solutions and was Vice President of Technology and Facilities at Mile High United Way. Michael has also worked at iGivefirst, Hitachi Consulting, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and National Semiconductor.

Michael earned his BS in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder and his MBA in finance and MS in operations management from the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver.


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Self-Evident: Asian American Stories

The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) Launch Event “Claiming Power: The Future of Asian Americans”

Statement on Anti-Asian Violence

The right people.
The Right Time.
The Right Conversation.