ABIRC Team

July 10, 2018

Blong Xiong, MBA, Executive Director

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Before ABIRC, Mr. Xiong served 2-terms as a Council Member for the City of Fresno, where he was the first elected Hmong Council Member in the State of California and the first Asian Council Member in the City of Fresno. Besides, he has served as a Public Defender Investigator for the County of Fresno, Deputy Director for The Fresno Center, formerly known as Fresno Center for New Americans (FCNA), a nonprofit organization that assists immigrants, refugees, and New Americans, and worked in his family’s small business. Mr. Xiong obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Marian College of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and later received a Master in Business Administration from National University. Throughout his professional career, Mr. Xiong has sat on State-wide commissions, the Asian Pacific Islander Commission and the California Volunteer Commission appointed by the late Governor Schwarzenegger. He is also very active in the local community on the issues of education, economic development, health, and equitable access to resources.

Dao Lor, Program Manager

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At the end of the Vietnam War, Lor’s family fled to Thailand and was placed in a refugee camp. There, Lor was born. Shortly after, His family eventually immigrated to the United States in 1993 and settled in Fresno, California. Growing up in a low-income and farming family, Lor had a total of four siblings – two brothers and two sisters, making him the middle child and middle son.

At first, Lor did not understand what he wanted to do in life. Lor graduated from Central High School in 2010; and enrolled at Fresno City College thinking about becoming a counselor and started studying Psychology to better understand human behavior. Soon after, he transferred over to California State University, Fresno and finished his degree in Psychology; yet, towards the last half of his undergraduate, he also studied how to apply psychology in the area of business and marketing.

Prior to ABIRC, Lor has had a wide range of work experience, from flipping burgers to mentoring young children; He has served as a club president and the operation manager for a security firm. Every now and then, Lor would also spend some weekend helping his mother at her farm picking vegetables or help at the farmers market.

Currently, Lor serves as the Program Manager in ABIRC and work alongside with the North Kings Groundwater Sustainable Agency to outreach to the Small South-East Asian Farmers within the Central Valley; to educate and bridge the gap in overcoming the culture and language barriers.

Overall, Lor enjoys having a conversation and learning new things with his colleagues and family. Often, he talks about solving problems and better his community.

Carmen T. Mendoza, MSPH, MS, Project Director

Carmen T. Mendoza received her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from California State University at Hayward, a Master of Science in Public Health degree from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Public Health, and a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology from the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine. Carmen has twice served as a Research Fellow for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Since 2001, Carmen has served as a consultant to numerous non-profit organizations and county health departments in the Central Valley. On occasion, she teaches research methods at Fresno State.

Before Carmen arrived in Fresno, she read extensively about a large number of Hmong refugees and their culture. Interestingly, there were many similarities with her own culture. Shortly after her arrival, she worked with Fresno Center for New Americans developing grant proposals that would launch their successful mental health program. She also worked to identify employment barriers the Hmong encountered in the first and second waves of resettlement. Her knowledge about other Southeast Asian populations and their concerns grew across the years as she worked with non-profit organizations in the Valley.

On a personal basis, Carmen enjoys running, bible studies, mentoring students, traveling, and spending time with her family and dogs.

Lily Paj Nstais Her, Office Assistant

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Lily Paj Ntsais Her serves as the Office Assistant at Asian Business Institute Resource Center. Born and raised in Fresno, California, she graduated from McLane High and is currently a full-time student at Fresno City College. Within her first year of college, Lily worked as a paraprofessional, tutoring children ages ranging from the 1st to the 6th grade. As a former tutor of the poverty area, she felt compelled and compassion to become a Pediatric Nurse. Lily wants to dedicate her life to helping and improving lives and disease outcomes. She has the passion giving back to others and making a difference in lives leaving a positive mark on someone’s life almost daily. Her goal is to set a successful role model example for the Hmong community and the future generation.