Board of Directors

San Francisco Bay Area Chapter leadership

The AAJA San Francisco Bay Area Chapter board is elected by its members. The board meets regularly to plan activities, programs and fundraisers as well as discuss issues relevant to the chapter and our members. For information about the next board meeting, contact Board meeting minutes are available to chapter members upon request. Meet the officers and board members for 2021:

CECILIA LEI, President

Cecilia Lei is an Oakland-based multimedia producer and reporter whose work includes coverage of race, immigration, criminal justice, as well as the Asian American community in the Bay Area.  Her audio, video and written stories have appeared on Vox Media, KQED, Bay Curious, NBC Bay Area, NPR and the East Bay Express. Cecilia currently co-hosts and produces San Francisco Chronicle’s Fifth and Mission daily news podcast. Before joining the Chronicle, she produced “Today, Explained,” Vox Media’s daily news podcast. Previously, she was a media executive who spearheaded campaigns and initiatives to support diversity in media representation. Cecilia has been a part of the AAJA-SF Board since 2018 as a student representative and an at-large board member. She was also a part of the AAJA Voices class in 2018. Cecilia is a Bay Area native and graduated from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Twitter: @CeeLei


Mariecar Mendoza is proud to serve on the board of her very first AAJA chapter, which she joined while a student in the Bay Area. She has since been an active member of AAJA, including as a Voices student in 2006 and later a Voices mentor and Executive Leadership Program graduate. She is now co-director of AAJA Features Forum, an affinity group that aims to provide programming, services and support for arts, entertainment and lifestyle journalists of color. Mariecar works at the San Francisco Chronicle as the senior arts and entertainment editor, where she manages daily coverage and audience engagement for Datebook and Prior to the Chronicle, Mariecar was a features digital editor for the Los Angeles News Group, helping cover major pop culture events, and arts and entertainment news in Southern California. While living in Los Angeles, she served as vice president of the AAJA-LA chapter and the chapter’s V3con steering committee co-director. Mariecar was born in Oakland and raised in San Jose. She earned her degree in journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Twitter: @SFMarMendoza


Kristen Hwang is a filmmaker and freelance journalist with a focus on data-driven reporting and public health. Her recent work includes coverage of AAPI maternal and infant health disparities in the East Bay, childhood lead exposure in Oakland, chronic health outcomes from wildfire smoke exposure and California’s rocky rollout of coronavirus testing. She is a recent graduate of UC Berkeley with a master’s from the Graduate School of Journalism and a master’s in public health. Kristen has been a proud AAJA member since her time as an undergraduate at Arizona State University and previously served as a student representative on the AAJA-SF board. Prior to moving to the Bay Area, Kristen worked as an education reporter in Palm Springs and has been published in the New York Times, CalMatters, the East Bay Times, USA Today and elsewhere.
Twitter: @khwangreports


Jocelyn Tabancay Duffy is a Filipino American video and radio producer. In 2014 she launched her video production company Films Beyond Borders specializing in documentary work. In 2021, she is directing the documentary “Wanted on the Other Side,” about U.S. veterans who have been deported to their “home” countries. Jocelyn has taught digital media production at Oakland School for the Arts, BAYCAT and Camp Reel Stories. Her work has been published by NBC, KALW, Oakland North and El Tecolote. Jocelyn is working toward her degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
Twitter: @JocelynReports

SARAH BELLE LIN, At-Large Board Member

Sarah Belle Lin joined AAJA in January 2020. A couple of months later when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she realized the gaps that AAJA and the SF Bay Area chapter filled — community, networking, resource-sharing, support in great times of need and a sense of pride and joy to be representing Asian American journalists as an At-Large Board Member. Sarah Belle is an early-career independent journalist and a lover of all things local news. For the past three years, she’s reported and photographed for several hyperlocal news outlets in the East Bay.  She is a passionate advocate for safety nets and support systems in newsrooms, especially for freelancers who experience challenges that come with the digital era, like online harassment and doxxing. As of late April 2021, Sarah Belle is based in New York City but is still keeping tabs on the Bay Area, where she was born and raised. She was educated in environmental studies and world literature at UC Santa Cruz and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

HARRY MOK, At-Large Board Member

Harry Mok has been an active member of AAJA throughout his career, dating back to receiving scholarships while in college from the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Area chapters. He has served on the national AAJA Media Watch Committee, been a mentor for the Voices project and is an Executive Leadership Program graduate. Harry is a freelancer who works part-time as a copy editor at the San Francisco Chronicle. He previously worked full-time at the Chronicle and has been a journalism lecturer at San Francisco State, an online producer for the Bay Area News Group and an editor at Newsday in New York. He was also editor in chief of Hyphen, a volunteer-run magazine covering Asian America. Harry grew up in the Sacramento area and has journalism degrees from San Jose State and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
Twitter: @HarryMok

SONIA PAUL, At-Large Board Member

Sonia Paul is a freelance journalist and audio producer based in Oakland. Her stories have aired and published widely in outlets that include NPR, 70 Million, Studio 360, WIRED, the Atlantic, Harper’s and the New York Times. She previously lived and reported in Japan and India, and has specialized on the politics of the South Asian diaspora. Her work has been recognized and supported by the Association of Independents in Radio, Religion News Association, Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and the International Women’s Media Foundation, among other organizations. A Bay Area native and the daughter of immigrants from India and the Philippines, Sonia is proud to serve on the AAJA-SF board.
Twitter: @sonipaul