2011 Local Hero: Sandy Sakamoto

Sandy Sakamoto

"Community involvement has enriched my personal journey beyond mere words."

Sandy Sakamoto is a talented community organizer and a partner at the firm of Lim, Ruger & Kim, LLP. Her practice includes dealings in real estate, litigation, and business development. Ms. Sakamoto joined Lim Ruger as "Of Counsel" in 2008, after a brief retirement from nearly a thirty-two year career at AT&T.

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Sandy Sakamoto is a talented community organizer and a partner at the firm of Lim, Ruger & Kim, LLP. Her practice includes dealings in real estate, litigation, and business development. Ms. Sakamoto joined Lim Ruger as "Of Counsel" in 2008, after a brief retirement from nearly a thirty-two year career at AT&T.

After graduating from Loyola Law School, Ms. Sakamoto began a twenty-two year legal career with Pacific Bell (now known as AT&T) with a general practice that included commercial litigation, real estate transactions, network operations, and right-of-way law. Among her numerous career achievements, Ms. Sakamoto contributed to the establishment of a new wireless network in Los Angeles with the first 400 cell site licenses. She also established Pacific Bell's property licensing program for third party cell sites and helped to negotiate a naming rights deal with the San Francisco Giants for PacBell Park, which was later renamed AT&T Park. Ms. Sakamoto was the Assistant General Counsel in charge of AT&T's legal department in Los Angeles from 1997 until she retired at the end of 2006.

In addition to her career achievements, Ms. Sakamoto has been engaged with many community organizations that serve the Asian American communities of Los Angeles over the last twenty-five years. Currently, Ms.Sakamoto serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC), overseeing the transformation of the organization. She has served on the Board for over twenty years, serving as its chair since 2007.

Ms. Sakamoto also serves as the Vice Chair of the Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE), which is a community economic development organization. During her five-year tenure on its board, PACE has more than doubled its budget and added two new lines of business in microlending and a new energy efficiency business. PACE's Headstart educational program has also grown to serve over 1600 preschool children at over twenty-five learning centers. For over twenty years, Ms. Sakamoto has also served on the Board of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), and she served as the board's chair for eight of those years. She is currently a co-chair of the Executive Advisory Council.

Ms. Sakamoto participated as a Japanese American Leadership delegate in 2003, sponsored by Japan's Ministry of foreign Affairs and the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership. She continues to be engaged in many efforts to strengthen ties between Japan and the US through personal, "people-to-people" diplomacy. One week after the great Japan Earthquake struck in March of this year, JACCC organized a community gathering and interfaith service where, on behalf of the community and some 40 sponsors of the event, Ms. Sakamoto offered condolences to those who had lost loved ones and honored the lives of those lost in a ceremony of unity and reverence. Looking forward, Ms. Sakamoto will spearhead efforts to re-open the JACCC's eight-hundred person theater.

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