Meet the alumni on City & State’s AAPI Power 100 list

May 30, 2023
Pictured from left to right: Itha Cao (MID ’15), Kannu Sahni (MPPM ’13), and Marian Lien (MPPM '14)

Three GSPIA alumni were recognized this month on City & State’s Power of Diversity: AAPI 100 list for making impactful change in Pennsylvania: Itha Cao (MID ’15), Director of Digital Inclusion and Innovation at Neighborhood Allies Pittsburgh; Marian Lien (MPPM '14) board president at OCA Pittsburgh; and Kannu Sahni (MPPM ’13) VP of Community Affairs at Highmark Health.  

City & State Pennsylvania’s Power of Diversity: AAPI 100 identifies Asian American leaders from across the commonwealth, and how they are making a difference in politics, business, nonprofits, education and more. Read the full AAPI 100 for 2023 here. 

Itha Cao (MID ‘15) — Director of Digital Inclusion and Innovation, Neighborhood Allies 
When she’s not whipping up Chinese specialties with The Hungry Cao – a culinary business that fundraises for racial and social justice causes – Itha Cao expands internet access with Neighborhood Allies, where she is digital inclusion and innovation director. In that role, Cao launched digital inclusion centers in underserved Pittsburgh neighborhoods and steered a collaboration with the Greater Pittsburgh Digital Inclusion Alliance. The State College native previously worked for former Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and currently serves on the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, chairing its strategy subcommittee. 

Marian Lien (MPPM ‘14) — President, OCA (Organization of Chinese Americans) Pittsburgh 

Marian Lien is currently board president at OCA, a Pittsburgh-based organization representing the nation’s 12 million Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. Lien oversees programs ranging from political advocacy and voter mobilization to a medical and dental clinic, a scholarship fund for study in Asia and myriad Chinese cultural activities. She is also the director of education for inclusion and global awareness at St. Edmund’s Academy and served on then-Gov. Tom Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs. 

Kannu Sahni (MPPM ‘13) — Vice President of Community Affairs, Highmark Health 

Kannu Sahni brings a unique perspective to the community affairs he oversees at Pittsburgh-based Highmark Health. His adopted region now has 200 initiatives around health equity, behavioral health and chronic disease thanks to the community health needs assessment he masterminded for Highmark’s Allegheny Health Network. Sahni, who is earning a Ph.D. in public policy at Pitt, has served as vice chair of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian and Pacific American Affairs and as a founding member of the Steel City’s Welcoming Pittsburgh council.