2015 Next Generation Awardee
Thomas Choi strives to help others with precision, poise, and passion. As a proud son of Illinois and of Korean immigrant parents, Tommy understands that anything is possible in America with hard work and family.
Tommy is the Governmental Affairs and Advocacy Officer at Chinese American Service League. He brings a decade of experience in community advocacy, public affairs, global engagement, government relations, and nonprofit management. Previously, he helped launch and managed the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Chinese Mutual Aid Association, the only AAPI SBDC in Illinois. During his career in state government as Public Affairs Manager for Illinois State Comptrollers Judy Baar Topinka and Leslie Geissler Munger, and Public Engagement Manager for Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, Tommy managed strategic external relations to constituents, nonprofit organizations, business groups, government entities, and global engagement with international partners. He also served as a community outreach advisor for former U.S. Congressman Robert Dold and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk.
For his public service, Tommy received the 2019 Outstanding Community Contribution Award by the Midwest Asian Health Association, 2017 Korean American of the Year by the Korean American Association of Chicago, 2016 Award of Recognition by the Asian American Law Enforcement Association, 2015 John Vietnam Nguyen Next Generation Award by the Chinese Mutual Aid Association, and was also honored by the Vietnamese Association of Illinois and the Village of Wheeling.
Tommy is also involved with building a global network through various Korean organizations, including Korean American Coalition of Chicago, World Overseas Korean Traders Association, and Overseas Korean Politicians Council. He was also nominated as an American Delegate for the 2013 U.S. Congress – Korean National Assembly Youth Exchange Program, and worked as a consultant for the Chicago branch office of the Korea Trade Investment-Promotion Agency (KOTRA).
Tommy earned his bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Political Science at the University of Miami. Personally, he is involved with the North Shore Edge Youth Wrestling Club and is a retired violinist.