About Us

PAVE NC (Pan-Asian Voices and Experiences of North Carolina) is a nonpartisan, volunteer-led initiative created to educate by sharing real stories and experiences of Asian American and Pacific Islanders in N.C. and provide a platform to connect AAPI communities so that they may collaborate with and support each other.

The Details

Each week in May, and periodically throughout the year, we feature North Carolina-based Asian Americans as part of this storytelling series to elevate our voices and tell a broad array of personal experiences. Among those we’ve introduced are a fascinating local couple who run their own dental practice together, a downtown restaurant owner with an innovative vision, a nanoscientist, nonprofit leaders, political activists, entrepreneurs, authors and other creatives, and even an MMA fighter. 

To ensure access, we are self-funding all content creation associated with each story and are donating it for free use. We encourage schools, nonprofits, businesses, places of worship, and organizations to share, leverage, and utilize this content as a means to build awareness and demonstrate commitment to the AAPI community. 

The “open source” content for each interviewee can include: an article featuring his/her/their personal story, professional photography, a summary video, interview segments, and a podcast version. For more information, go to the Stories section.

To volunteer as a future featured interviewee or as a creative, or become a sponsor, please scroll down and tell us more about your interest.

For questions, to share feedback or start a conversation, you can reach us at [email protected] or at @panasianvoices.

We’ve been reflecting on how the Asian population is the fastest-growing ethnicity in the USA, the Southeast region, and North Carolina. Yet, Asian Americans are often overlooked in the dialogue around racial identity and are plagued by model minority myth that perpetuates stereotypes and pits other minorities against Asian Americans. 

Then there were over 10,000 reported attacks on Asian Americans across the country during the pandemic, of which more than two-thirds were on women. Additionally, the pandemic and its cultural impacts have been particularly stressful for Asian business owners, who suffered the most significant losses overall across the country. 

Given this current landscape, we, as co-producers, along with a host of hugely talented collaborators and interviewees locally, feel compelled to pool our skills and resources as a 100% volunteer endeavor and focus on what we can contribute in an educational effort to facilitate awareness, understanding, and change. Collectively, we are proud to produce the Pan-Asian Voices and Experiences of NC (PAVE NC) initiative, which amplifies AAPI voices in NC. 

Our goals are twofold: 

  1. To help frame the narrative around the positives by sharing real stories through the lens of local Asian Americans and pave a path forward to conversation and connection, and 
  2. To create camaraderie and community among local Asian Americans, many of who can feel isolated with less population in which to immerse. 

We thank our collaborators, interviewees, and community friends for your generous support, encouragement, and engagement.

Our Team

Christie Soper
Co-Producer, PAVE NC

Christie is currently the co-founder of Maunaleo Ventures, Inc., a company dedicated to accelerating success for women, veterans, and other minority business owners in start-up or growth phases through strategic consulting and nontraditional access to funding. 

A veteran of Fortune 200, mid-sized, and start-up organizations, Christie is a versatile, entrepreneurial, and results-oriented executive with 25 years of leadership experience in strategy, sales and marketing, human resources, project and portfolio management, and digital business/technology. 

Christie holds an Elon University MBA, a Master’s Certificate in IT Project Management from The George Washington University, and a Diversity Management Certificate from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR). She is also certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and in Change Management by Prosci.

An avid advocate of her community, Christie has served on boards for Elon University’s Doherty Center for Entrepreneurship, the GreenHill Center for NC Art, Triad Local First, Children’s Home Society and the Greensboro Children’s Museum. She has also volunteered for numerous roles including as a panelist, co-founder, or planning committee member for girls’ leadership, women’s, and Asian American organizations.

When not planning unforgettable getaways around the world, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Dave, their four children, two grandsons and the furry master of their universe, Miles. 

Tina Firesheets
Co-Producer, PAVE NC

Tina started her career in journalism with her high school newspaper, then served as editors for the campus newspapers of both colleges she attended.

She was a journalist at the Greensboro News & Record for nearly 15 years, covering education, local government, community news and business. She most enjoyed her years as a feature writer for a national award-winning features section.

She was also the founding editor of 1808: Greensboro’s Magazine, published by the Greensboro News & Record. While she was its editor, the magazine received North Carolina Press Association and Society of Professional Journalists awards in the Best Niche publications categories.

Currently, she is an associate creative director at Pace Communications. A lover of writing and creativity, she’s happy to be a founding Co-Producer for PAVE NC

Patrick Miranda

Patrick Miranda

Graphic Artist

Where are you from?
I’m from Quezon City, Philippines. So always been a city kid, NC is still an adjustment, too much space!
When did you come to the US?
I was in my late teens, over 2 decades ago.
What inspires you artistically?
I can never tell. It’s just being open to what happens in life. Because I work in a creative field, life and art and work kind of just blend together.
For fun – What’s the most “Asian” thing that you do?
My wife says it’s that I eat rice almost every meal, so that.
Sayaka Matsuoka

Sayaka Matsuoka

Managing Editor, Triad City Beat & Freelance Journalist

Sayaka Matsuoka (she/her) is a journalist who grew up at the intersection of her Japanese heritage and the suburban south. She is the managing editor for Triad City Beat, a weekly newspaper covering the Triad in NC, and is also the Diversity Chair for the Association for Alternative Newsmedia, a national organization of more than 100 news media in North America.

Using her cultural background, she focuses on issues surrounding race and identity, immigrant food culture, activist art, and cultural exchange.



Media Production

Dave is a builder, fixer, and protector of digital things. He has worked for small businesses and Fortune 200 companies across multiple industries, including financial services, manufacturing, and defense.

Dave was born in the District of Columbia but considers the Districts of North Kohala and Hamakua his spirit home. So once from the District, always from a District. Dave does not do social media or answer the phone very much, so if you want to talk to him, you will probably need to go analog… dasswhyhard!

Kailyn (Kailee) Akers

Kailyn (Kailee) Akers

Art Director, Upstart

Kailee is based in Raleigh, NC, and works as an Art Director at Upstart. 

Though culturally American, she has acquired a strong fondness for Korean and Asian American culture through her college experiences and travels. 

If she is not doodling for her friends, she is usually walking around international grocery stores looking for recipe inspiration. She loves watching Bob’s Burgers and anything Marvel!

Volunteer: Be A Creative

Are you a "creative" professional?  We have a number of ways for you to get involved. Whether you can only spare a few hours, or you want to take on a project, we will help you find the right opportunity.

Tell your story

Want to share your personal AAPI story? We’re intrigued! Introduce yourself and why you would like to be featured.

Be a sponsor

Our stories are rich, but we aren’t. We’re donating 100% of our time and resources to bring you this amazing content, so help us out here.