Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) on Dec. 13 announced that Michelle V. Enriquez has been named vice president of operations and Brandon Masashige Leong has been named vice president of development for the national nonprofit organization.

Michelle Enriquez and Brandon Masashige Leong

Both executives share a passion for GFBNEC’s mission of educating the public on the valor of Japanese American World War II veterans, having descended from Nisei veteran grandfathers.

As vice president of operations, Enriquez will focus on GFBNEC’s daily operations, strategizing and implementing financial and operational processes that will enable the organization to grow. Collectively, she has been immersed in business operations and nonprofit management for more than 12 years and has worked with organizations across the country developing programs, managing volunteers, and guiding partnerships.

Most recently, she worked with U.S. Special Forces Gold Star families to provide support services to bereaved children and young adults. An honors graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Enriquez lives in Torrance with her husband and two daughters.

As vice president of development, Leong will create and execute a comprehensive development plan for GFBNEC as it expands and raises its national profile. He joins GFBNEC from Keiro, where he was director of programs and strategic partnerships. Previously, he served as the program director for the East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center.

An Eagle Scout, Leong has been an active volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America for several years. He currently serves on the board of directors of Kizuna, a Little Tokyo-based organization focused on involving the next generation in the Japanese American community. A graduate of the University of La Verne, Leong lives in Hacienda Heights.

“The stories of Japanese American WWII veterans hold great value, teaching lessons of courage, integrity, patriotism and equality,” Enriquez said, noting that her maternal grandfather, Fred Ineo Kosaka, served with the Military Intelligence Service and later attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. “It is a privilege to join an organization that is driving change through education.”

Leong, whose grandfather Bob Tadashi Fujihiro also served during WWII, noted that working with GFBNEC is in part a tribute to Nisei veterans of all units and conflicts. “I am honored to have the opportunity to share the important legacy of our veterans,” Leong said. “Their heroism is such an important part of our community’s story.”

Dr. Mitchell T. Maki, GFBNEC’s president and chief executive officer, welcomed Enriquez and Leong as integral to the organization’s future plans. “Bringing both Michelle Enriquez and Brandon Leong onto our staff in leadership positions is an exciting move for GFBNEC. Michelle and Brandon are talented and experienced professionals who will help connect our story with new communities and generations across our nation.”

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