Dr. Martha Wong
Martha J. Wong, Ed. D.
Dr. Martha J. Wong, a native Houstonian, is a third generation Chinese American and the first Asian American elected to the Houston City Council. Her history making election occurred on December 4, 1993, when she captured 62 percent of the votes in a run-off for the District C seat. She was reelected two more times by overwhelming percentages. In 2002 Martha made history again by beating a 22 year incumbent to become the first Asian American woman to serve in the Texas House of Representatives. She became vice chair of two committees and served two terms in the House.
Martha has a long list of firsts: first Asian American School Principal in the State of Texas; first Asian-American recognized by the Houston Federation of Women’s Award for Excellence in Education; first Asian American in the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame; the first Asian American receiving the University of Houston’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Dr. Wong earned a Bachelor degree from the University of Texas and a masters and doctorate from the University of Houston, where she has also been recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus in the College of Education and the University of Houston Alumnus Association's Distinguished Alumnus.
Martha currently serves on the Boards / Advisory Boards of the South Central Region Arthritis Foundation, Texas Arthritis Foundation, Asian Pacific American Heritage Association, Asian Police Advisory Council, the University of Houston Alumni Association and the Greater Houston Pachyderm Club. Also Martha served as the Vice President of the Houston Chapter of the American Leadership Forum and the Houston Olympic 2012 Foundation and is currently serving on the Harris County Sheriff's Civil Service Commission.
Dr. Wong is a recognized leader in both the Asian American and the greater Houston Community. She was been recognized for community service and dedication by the Greater Houston Women’s Foundation, the Houston Lion’s Eye Bank, the National Conference of Christian and Jews, the Texas Asian Republican Caucus, the Young Women’s Christian Association, the Upper Kirby District, TREK, and the Texas Council of Women School Executives, the Chinese Community Center, the Variety Children’s Charity, Greater Houston OCA, The University of Texas at Austin's Community Leadership Circle, the National Chinese American Citizen's Alliance and the Asian Network Association.
Martha J. Wong is a unique woman who has truly exemplified the best of two cultures. She has made Houston and Texas a better place to live through her work with many civic organizations and service as a Houston City Council Member and Texas State Representative for District 134. In addition, her education profession has made Texas education better for students and educators. Martha has been a key player in bringing people together and providing leadership in untouched areas.
Kim Szeto, since 1999, has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Asian American Family Services (AAFS), a non-profit community-based mental health and social service agency providing bilingual and culturally competent counseling and support services to the ethnically and linguistically diverse Pan-Asian community. Under her leadership, the agency grew from a 3-room office to 8,100 sq ft facility with a budget of $1.3 million and a staff speaking more than 16 Asian languages/dialects. AAFS is the only agency of its kind in the Southwestern United States. Her prior professional experience includes serving in administrative positions in social service and community health centers in Texas and New York.
She has been an active community volunteer all of her adult life. Major areas of interest and concern for her are youth, education, health and social service issues, particularly how they impact the immigrant community. She is an advocate and a champion for providing better access to external resources for the underserved AAPI community. Less than three years after arriving in the U.S., her immigrant experience led her to form a “Youth Tutoring Youth” Center for other immigrant youth followed immediately by her joining VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). Kim helped established Chinese language schools in Los Angeles and Cleveland while continued to be involved with community and civic matters. She taught survival English. English as a Second Language (ESL), and Citizenship classes to children, adult and seniors. Since 1991, she has been conducting cross-cultural and cultural competency training for various institutions including many school districts, hospitals, universities and multi-national corporations. She was also an instructor at the Houston Police Academy.
Kim Szeto most recently served on the Board of Directors of Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults (CPS), Network of Behavioral Health Providers, Institute of Chinese Culture, and Houston Asian Community Crime Advisory Board (HPD). She was vice chair of the Advisory Council of Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County (MHMRA), and also served on the Board of Mental Health America of Greater Houston, OCA-Houston, and Greater Houston Healthy Marriage Coalition, among many others.
Of her numerous involvements, she is especially proud of the role she played as the president of the Youth Leadership Council and as the co-founder of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Association.
Kim was honored as the Outstanding Woman of Achievement by YWCA in 2003 and received the Unsung Hero Award from OCA-National in 2004, and the Leadership in Action Award from Youth Leadership Council in 2005.
Kim Szeto was born in China, raised in Hong Kong, and received her undergraduate degree in sociology from the University of Massachusetts-Boston. A graduate of Project Blueprint (Class VIII) and Leadership Houston (Class XX), Kim was accepted to be a fellow at the American Leadership Forum (Med Class 4). She reads and writes Chinese, and is fluent in Cantonese, Toisan, and Mandarin dialects.