Board of Directors / Staff

The idea of starting a 501(c)(4) organization was born around 2015, while Sam Yoon was executive director of the Council of Korean Americans (CKA) and John Lim was CKA’s board chair. In late 2017 KAA was legally formed. Its board of directors and general counsel were all members of CKA. Sam left CKA in early 2018 to become KAA’s executive director.

We knew 2018 would be a pivotal year for the Korean American community. Events in North Korea, upheavals in American politics and society, and the rapid growth of our community lent urgency to starting KAA. The need for Korean Americans in Action will only increase from where we are today.

John Lim, Board Chair

John Lim is co-founder and Managing Partner of LimNexus LLP, a leading minority-owned corporate boutique firm with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. As a corporate lawyer since 1982, John has represented a broad array of clients and handled numerous complicated and sophisticated transactions.

A 1982 graduate of University of California, Hastings College of the Law, John has been selected as a “Southern California Super Lawyer” several times. In addition to chairing KAA’s board, John serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles and the UC Hastings Foundation. He and his partners provide scholarships to diverse law students through the LimNexus Foundation.

Grounded in his firm conviction to further equal opportunity and equal access to justice, John actively supports groups and causes that serve the disadvantaged and marginalized.

Leezie Kim, Board Secretary

Leezie Kim recently returned to private practice in Phoenix, Arizona as an attorney after two and a half years living in Washington DC as a White House appointee as Deputy General Counsel at the Department of Homeland Security. Prior to her time in Washington, DC, Leezie served as the General Counsel to Governor Janet Napolitano in Arizona, where Leezie grew up and practiced law for a dozen years. Leezie is remains active in state and federal politics and most recently served on the transition team to the newly elected Phoenix Mayor.

Leezie graduated from the University of Virginia School of law in 1996, where she met her husband, Gary Restaino. He is the criminal chief of the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.

Paul Kim, Board Treasurer

Paul Kim is the Founder and Managing Partner of LaSalle Asset Management, a hedge fund focused on trading derivatives of agricultural commodities based in Chicago. Paul is also the Founder and CEO of Aventis Asset Management, a discretionary diversified commodity fund with offices in Chicago, New York and Shanghai. With his business success, Paul is committed to giving a significant portion of his companies’ profits to charity.

Paul has founded a movie and television production company as well as the Kim Family Foundation along with his three children. The foundation focuses on humanitarian aid and community development projects in North America, Asia and Africa.

As KAA’s board secretary Paul also serves as vice chair of the board of the Council of Korean Americans, the only member to sit on both boards. Paul graduated from Northwestern University with dual degrees in economics and biochemistry.

T. James Min, Board Member

T. James Min II is currently a Partner with the law firm of LimNexus LLP in their Washington DC office where he specializes in international trade law including customs, export control, economic sanctions, CFIUS, corporate internal investigations, free trade agreements, etc. He was formerly the Vice President and Chair of the International Trade Law Practice for the Deutsche Post DHL Group. Prior to DHL, James practiced international trade law in both the private and public sectors, including as a trade adviser to the Bush Administration and adviser to the governments of Russia, Ukraine, Arab League nations, as well as global institutions such as the UN and the World Trade Organization.

James has served on the boards of the Northern Kentucky International Trade Association, the International Air Cargo Association, and a US-based nonprofit organization operating in North Korea since 1997. He obtained his undergraduate, MA, and law degrees at The Johns Hopkins University and The American University. He is a member and legal advisor to the National Committee on North Korea. He is a member of the Federalist Society, National Republican Lawyers Association, the NRA, and other conservative organizations. James resides outside Cincinnati, Ohio.

Sam Yoon, Executive Director

Prior to taking on the role of Executive Director at KAA Sam was the founding ED of the Council of Korean Americans. Under his leadership CKA grew from sixteen to 190 members, a nearly $2 million budget, and four staff.

Sam’s prior experience includes a senior policy advisor role in the Obama Administration, executive director of a national community development association, and multiple nonprofits focused on low-income and affordable housing. Sam was the first Asian American to run for office in Boston’s history, and the first to be elected to office. He served on the Boston City Council as an at-large council member for four years, and ran for mayor in 2009.

Sam has degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School and Princeton University. He has been married since 1995 to Dr. Christina Yoon, a nonprofit development professional, and has two teenage children.

Jina Kang, Program Associate

Jina was born and raised in South Korea, and from an early age had a keen interest in law, political affairs, and diplomacy. She has studied and worked in government-related areas for many years with a particular focus on political, social, and economic affairs in East Asia and US-Korea relations. Jina has worked not only with foreign governments and in the private sectors in East Asia, but also for multilateral conferences and meetings.

Jina has degrees from Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University and the University of Texas at Austin.

Lisa Kang, Program Associate

Born in South Korea and raised in California, Lisa is a second-generation Korean American. She graduated with Honors from Chapman University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Strategic and Corporate Communication.

Prior to joining KAA, Lisa served as an Upperclassman Senator at Chapman University where she started a Korean language courses initiative and created an Asian American studies panel for a school-wide summit. She was an intern at the Korean American Coalition of Los Angeles and was selected as part of the 2018 CKA-KALCA Public Service Internship Program cohort. Lisa currently lives in Northern Virginia.