Gonzales, an attorney–mentor at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, has known
Loo for years, and marvels at “the goodness
she has,” and says she is committed to helping
everyone, especially younger attorneys.
“She’s also a peacemaker,” says Gonzales,
“who makes sure everyone gets a hearing and
is satisfied with the process.”
“Lisa is so positive,” she adds. “And that’s
why I like being around her. She makes us
JoAnn Cruz describes Loo as “one of the
hardest-working women I’ve ever known.” A
longtime prosecutor, now retired, Cruz has
been a Loo friend for 25 years.
Immediately upon meeting her, Cruz says
she “felt a part of her warm and generous
nature.” She cites those as qualities that will
aid Loo as Bar President.
That warmth extended to a cooking cir-
cle composed of Asian American and other
women lawyers. For years, it met monthly
at members’ homes. When the call to make
tamales went out, Cruz says, Loo was al-
ways the first to say she’d be there, “And
I’ll bring the big pot!”
Cruz and others note that Loo has nev-
er sought the limelight, even as she assisted
in numerous organizations.
“She never tries to be at the forefront.
The fact that she is now at the forefront is
Attorney Marian Yim has worked along-
side Loo for years in the Arizona Asian
American Bar Association (AAABA). Both
were founding members, and Yim once
served as its president—though Loo never
has, insisting she can get more done from the
“Lisa is very collaborative and diplomat-
ic,” says Yim. “She is a good listener, very
open to others’ ideas.”
But observers should not underestimate
Loo’s resolve, says Yim.
“When the issue is important, she will
Attorney Bob Yen agrees, saying she is
“outspoken, strong-willed, and not afraid to
speak her mind. She will not back down from
what she sees is right.”
The issues for which Loo fought, even as
a young lawyer at what was then the Streich
Lang law firm, included the battle to create
an Arizona holiday honoring the Rev. Mar-
tin Luther King, Jr. Later, she publicly urged
state leaders to more seriously consider
diversity and inclusion in policy decisions,
and she was openly critical of an anti-immi-
grant law dubbed SB1070. In those fights,
her Queens take-charge attitude and up-
bringing by her single mom fostered her
commitment to justice and a better society.
Barry Wong, Executive Director of the
Governor’s Office of Equal Opportunity,
also has known Loo since the 1980s and the
earliest days of AAABA. He praises her commitment to diversity and inclusion, and says,
“Her radar is up to make sure the membership and leadership of organizations are reflective of the community.”
“Lisa will be an engaged president,” Wong
says. “A president for everybody.”
That vision and resolve are driving forces
in Loo’s life, friends say.
“I am happy to support Lisa as President,”
says Yim, “because she has supported so many
others for so many years.”
Colleen Jennings-Roggensack agrees.
“Lisa is not a limelight person, but has always been at the forefront of issues of humanity,” says Loo’s friend and Executive Director
for ASU Gammage.
She recalls Loo’s work on Victory Togeth-
er, the early-1990s MLK holiday effort. And
today Jennings-Roggensack chairs ASU’s an-
nual MLK celebration committee, on which
Loo sits as “an ardent member.”
As the Gammage ED, though, Jennings-
Roggensack also interacts with Loo as a uni-
versity lawyer. In all roles, she says, Loo “rolls
up her sleeves and gets engaged.” She also
“wants young people to succeed. She looks at
every opportunity to assist them.”
She calls Loo “a teacher” and reminds a
listener that Loo’s story is also the story of
how this country was built. She is struck by
the accomplishments of those like Loo who,
even as children, had to speak for their fam-
ily when their own parents could not speak
“We need even more people, like Lisa,
who have clear heads, but warm hearts.”
If there is a recurring theme in Lisa Loo’s
life, it is that one person’s actions can matter—because they so often have.
Despite an early life filled with adversity,
Loo dwells little on the obstacles and setbacks
her family faced. But she vividly recalls, as if
they were yesterday, the often small kindnesses that improved their lives, sometimes slightly but also profoundly.
For instance, she and her cousin Helen, both age 8, used to walk to school and
back every day. The trek was substantial,
and, importantly, it was just one block shy
of the one-mile radius that would have
provided the youngsters a safe and warm
school bus ride.
One day, to their surprise, the girls were
told to get on the bus for their ride home.
And it took the family months of bus rides
to learn what had happened: A neighbor
had seen the girls walking, grown concerned, and petitioned the school board to
extend the bus-stop boundary lines. That
had a tremendous impact on the girls’ lives,
and in the lives of others, as the lines have
“That one little act,” says Loo, “had an
impact on everybody in the neighborhood.
And that neighbor never took credit.”
Fifty years after the events occurred, Loo
remains astounded at the kindnesses of
strangers. She speaks with gratitude of the
second-grade teacher who learned of her fa-
ther’s death and would send bags of clothes
to the family—for years. Or the man who
stepped up to defend her brother, legally in
the country, against a misguided immigration
inquiry. And even of the neighbor who deliv-
ered them a box of Ritz crackers after every
shopping trip so the children wouldn’t be
hungry—though it got to the point where
she didn’t like them anymore, because they
reminded her of her father’s death.
“I look back and I think of all that generosity. It guides me in my own life today.”
She grows animated as she describes the
Lisa Loo will
remind you that
New Bar President Lisa Loo