Board of Directors

Board of Directors

The board is elected by chapter members. Board members meet regularly to plan upcoming activities, programs and fundraisers as well as discuss issues relevant to the chapter and our members. For information about the next board meeting, contact aajasanfrancisco@gmail.com. Board meeting minutes are available to chapter members upon request.

2020 Board

Lauren Kawana, President

Lauren Kawana is an independent documentary film producer, shooter and editor. She is currently producing a feature documentary called Stripped for Parts: American Journalism at the Crossroads, directed by Rick Goldsmith, which tells the story of newspaper men and women fighting to preserve and reinvent local journalism. Lauren received her master’s degree in documentary film at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Before moving to California from her hometown of Honolulu, she was managing editor for Pacific Edge and Las Vegas Bound magazines and served as the AAJA Hawaii chapter president for one year. This is her fifth year serving on the board of the AAJA-SF Bay Area chapter.

Manjula Varghese, Vice President

Manjula Varghese is a documentary filmmaker video journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle. She received her masters in New Media at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Before moving to the Bay Area she ran her own boutique production company based in SLC, Utah where she and her team produced documentary films focusing on underrepresented communities. Her work has taken her all over the world from Egypt to Bolivia, and has also been published in The San Francisco Chronicle, KQED, Blavity, The New York Times, NYT-Op Docs, PBS, America Reframed, and Amazon. Her work has garnered her three Emmys and a Telly Award. This is her third year serving as Vice President on the local Asian American Journalist Association – Bay Area chapter. Manjula is looking forward to spending time with the AAJASF community in the exciting year ahead.  


Paayal Zaveri, Vice President

Paayal Zaveri is a Senior Tech Reporter at Business Insider, where she covers technology with a focus on enterprise technology and the cloud. Prior to joining Business Insider, she was a field producer at CNBC’s SF Bureau covering technology. She is an alum of the University of California, Berkeley – Graduate School of Journalism and the University of California, Davis. She is on the board of both the Asian American Journalists Association – SF Bay Area chapter and the Society of Professional Journalists – Northern California Chapter. She’s a proud SF Bay Area native. 

Brian Nguyen, Secretary

Brian Nguyen is the associate managing editor at The Tylt. He was previously a photographer and photo editor at the Chicago Tribune. Brian is also a mentor at AAJA Voices.

Sinduja Rangarajan, Treasurer

Sinduja Rangarajan is the Senior Data Journalist at Mother Jones. She previously worked at Reveal at the Center for Investigative Reporting, where her series on the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley led to many tech giants publicly releasing their data. Her work has won several awards, including the National Edward Murrow Award in 2019. She wrangles and analyzes datasets to tell stories and finds innovative ways to report on issues by collaborating with academics. She started her journalism career as a Google News Lab Fellow in 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Mumbai and a master’s from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. 

Jaeah Lee, At-Large Board Member

Jaeah Lee is an independent journalist who has written for The California Sunday Magazine, Topic, Vice News, and others. She was previously a staff reporter at Mother Jones, where she covered policing after Ferguson. She is the 2019 recipient of the Debra E. Bernhardt Labor Journalism Prize, and a 2018 recipient of the American Mosaic Journalism Prize for excellence in longform, narrative, or deep reporting on underrepresented groups in the 

American landscape. Her story, “After the Shooting,” won the 2018 PEN America Los Angeles Literary Award in Journalism. She serves on the board of the Asian American Journalists Association’s Bay Area chapter, where she helped launch its live storytelling series, Hella Asian. She lives in San Francisco with her partner and their dog, Lucky.

Cecilia Lei, At-Large Board Member

Cecilia Lei is a freelance multimedia journalist who has produced and reported stories across platforms, including longform features, audio and online video. She has covered stories on criminal justice, immigration and race and most recently produced an investigative multimedia feature about the lowest paid prison labor in California. Previously, Cecilia led audience engagement and digital content strategy at KQED. She was an AAJA Voices 2018 fellow and graduated from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2019. Her reporting has appeared on NPR, KQED and the East Bay Express. 

Anahita Mukherji, At-Large Board Member

Anahita Mukherji is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work currently focuses on gender and the South Asian diaspora in Silicon Valley. Her work has been published in both American and international publications such as Quartz, Univision, The New Indian Express and thewire.in. She has also written on the use of journalism to depolarize society, for Spaceship Media, an organization backed by Knight Foundation. Before moving to the Bay Area, she was an assistant editor at The Times of India, the world’s largest English language daily, where her work on environmental degradation and inequality in the Indian education system has won her awards and fellowships. She was part of the first delegation of Indian journalists to visit Pakistan on a peace mission after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. She holds a Master’s degree in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She has reported from numerous countries including China, India, Australia, Pakistan and the UK. 

Kristen Hwang, student representative

Kristen Hwang is a graduate student at UC Berkeley pursuing a dual degree in journalism and public health. She is currently a freelance reporter covering health and the environment and works as a graduate student researcher at the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Previously, she worked as an education reporter at The Desert Sun, covering K-12 and higher education. In 2017 she received a regional and national Edward R. Murrow for a documentary on Proposition 47 prison reform in California.

Thomas Manglona, student representative

Thomas Manglona is an undergraduate senior at UC Berkeley with experience in print and broadcast journalism. He is a proud native Chamorro from the Micronesian island of Rota in the Mariana Island region. Just this past summer, he worked as a TV reporter for KUAM News in Guam and anchored their morning and weekend news. 

Jocelyn Tabancay, student representative

Jocelyn Tabancay is a Filipino-American video and radio producer. In 2014 she launched her video production company Films Beyond Borders specializing in documentary work. She is currently directing the documentary Wanted on the Other Side about U.S. veterans who have been deported to their ‘home’ countries. She has taught digital media production at Oakland School for the Arts, BAYCAT, and Camp Reel Stories. Her work has been published by KALW, Oakland North, and El Tecolote. Jocelyn currently attends the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California Berkeley.

2019 Board

Julia Chan, AAJA-SF President and National Board Representative, Director of Audience, Mother Jones

Jaeah Lee, AAJA-SF Vice President, Writer

Manjula Varghese, AAJA-SF Vice President, Videographer, San Francisco Chronicle

Lauren Kawana, AAJA-SF Treasurer, Documentary Film Producer

Brian Nguyen, AAJA-SF Secretary, Special Projects Editor, The Tylt

Tim Wong, AAJA-SF At-Large Board Member, Product Design Manager, Facebook

Paayal Zaveri, AAJA-SF At-Large Board Member, Field Producer, CNBC