“As a multi-racial Japanese Irish American woman raised in Los Angeles County, I grew up with an analysis of race, class, gender, and justice that came from the first-hand experiences of my family. I remember hearing murmurs at a very early age of my family’s time in “the camps” (when Japanese Americans were unjustly incarcerated by the U.S. government during World War II). The late 1990s and Welfare Reform were a turning point for me, when my eyes opened to the systemic nature of problems, and I committed to contributing to fundamental changes that would positively impact the lives of thousands and millions, not just a privileged few. Overall, my approach to organizing, coaching, and leadership development is rooted in U.S. and international traditions of community organizing, participatory democracy, and popular education.”
Mariko (Mari) Ryono is an activist committed to building a mass-based, multi-faceted movement for social change. Mari has dedicated over a decade of her life to community organizing and campaigns for progressive change. She has worked with such organizations as Cooperative Economics for Women in Boston, la Asociación Andar in Costa Rica, AGENDA/SCOPE in Los Angeles, and the Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV) California Coalition. From this work, Ms. Ryono brings substantial experience in community and immigrant organizing, policy and electoral campaigns, alliance and movement building, and organizational development.
Since 2005, Mari has maintained a consulting practice with a particular emphasis on organizational development including executive coaching, evaluation, and strategic planning. Past clients include Community Coalition, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance-Los Angeles, the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center, the Multi-ethnic Immigrant Workers Organizing Work (MIWON), the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, the Center for the Study of Genders and Sexualities at California State University Los Angeles, the Liberty Hill Foundation, and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy. The following are key principles that guide her coaching and consultation: respect, active listening and facilitation, honest assessments of internal and external conditions and leadership, concrete work projects and work plans, sustainability, positive feedback, and a peer coaching orientation recognizing that we all have things to share and learn.
Mari served as the Board Treasurer of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) and sat on the Liberty Hill Foundation Community Funding Board. She graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Sociology and Women’s Studies at Harvard. She was born and raised in Southern California where she currently resides with her family.