top of page

Sandra's Story


Sandra's upbringing in the working class neighborhoods of the borough kindled her lifelong commitment to making a meaningful difference for the people of her hometown and country.

Growing up in the shadow of the Korean War, Sandra's parents immigrated from South Korea to build a community in Queens with their neighbors, fellow working families seeking greater opportunity in America. Sandra and her younger brother were raised by their grandmother who lived with Parkinson's Disease while their parents worked seven days a week to make ends meet; her father at a corner stationery store on Union St. in Flushing and her mother at a nail salon on the Upper East Side. They lived in apartments all over the borough, searching for a new home each time they were priced out of their home.

Sandra's first job was at 13, working to bridge language barriers for patients and doctors at Elmhurst Hospital. Throughout her childhood and adulthood, she has invested in local causes and organizations that reflect her commitment to empowering her neighbors and providing equal access to opportunity. She has canvassed neighborhoods in Queens with local community groups for equitable US Census representation, worked at poll sites during primary and general elections and taught English literacy and U.S. citizenship classes for first generation American adult students in Flushing and Detroit.

Complementing her work within her community she has served New York policy makers on issues of local, national and global relevance in Queens and Washington DC. A nationally recognized economic development professional, Sandra has led the development and implementation of innovative and inclusive economic development initiatives focused on job creation and economic growth in urban communities across the country. Her work includes creating programs to support small business owners sell to global markets and attracting international green technology companies to strengthen regional industry clusters. Sandra's recognition in her field includes an appointment to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee's State and Federal Working Group.

Sandra and her brother were educated in New York City's public schools. She is a graduate of Brooklyn Technical HS and is the first member of her family to attend college and earn a graduate degree. She received a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Fordham University and a Masters in International Affairs at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

She lives in Flushing, Queens with her family.

bottom of page