Jennifer Van der Heide is the Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at APIAHF. She is an accomplished senior executive manager having served as Chief of Staff for three Members of Congress and for the first Native American Cabinet Secretary, Deb Haaland. She has a demonstrated ability to lead diverse and innovative talent to accomplish a mission, to build coalitions for policy and electoral campaigns, and to develop and execute legislative and communications strategy.
She has nearly thirty years of federal, state and local legislative, legal, electoral and policy experience, in both the public and private sector, including twenty years in senior leadership positions. For two decades, Jennifer served the AANHPI community as Chief of Staff and Campaign Manager for former Rep. Mike Honda, as well as his CA State Assembly Legislative Director, and Santa Clara County Supervisor Women’s Health Aide. During his time in Congress, Jennifer managed the institutionalization of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus during Rep. Honda’s eight-year chairmanship, hiring professional staff and building out the caucus and its agenda. She was also instrumental in the development of the Congressional ‘Tri-Caucus’, building a lasting coalition between the Congressional Asian, Black and Hispanic Caucuses. As Chief Program Officer at the Faith and Politics Institute, Jennifer developed a historic pilgrimage focused on West Coast immigration and the Asian American and Pacific Islander experience.
Jennifer previously served as the DC Director and on-reservation attorney for the Hoopa Valley Tribe; Tribal Attorney for California Indian Legal Services, and in private litigation practice in CA. She has a B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University, and a Juris Doctorate from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, with a focus on public interest law. Prior to her legal career, Jennifer was a certified nursing assistant over an eight-year period. Jennifer is a Senior Stennis Congressional Staff Fellow, a senior Congressional European Parliamentary Initiative participant, a Women’s Executive Leadership Program Fellow, and serves on the advisory board of the AFRO-Inclusion Equity Development Initiative (AIED).