Onchantho makes no secret of her humble beginnings. She is a child of Cambodian refugees who escaped the Khmer Rouge and settled in the housing project of Condon Gardens in Clearwater, Florida. Due to unfortunate circumstances, she and her siblings were removed from her parents’ care and placed in the foster system. One of her first recollections of Court was when she advocated on behalf of her siblings to have them all reunited under one roof. Rather than being broken by such adversity she embraced her experiences to fuel a passion for public service and child advocacy. Onchantho “aged out” of the foster system and went on to become the first in her family to attend college and graduate from the University of Florida.
Upon graduating from Stetson University College of Law, Onchantho earned the Thomas E. Penick Jr. Award for Community Service and the Victor O. Wehle Award for her trial advocacy skills. Her dedication to service flourished through pro bono work with children. She takes pride in her ability to pull from personal experience to challenge and motivate youths, and she seizes on the opportunity to work alongside others to bring wellness and stability to children’s lives. To that end she served on the Board of Directors for IMPOWER, Inc. which assists children, adolescents, adults, and families locally and statewide with Outpatient Mental Health Services, Substance Misuse Treatment, Telepsychiatry, Foster Care & Adoption Services, Prevention Programs, and Residential Programs (ages 13-24). Her professionalism and work ethic led her to becoming the first Vice President of Quality and Chief Legal Officer (“CLO”) of IMPOWER, Inc. As the CLO, she leads the organization to new levels where she works diligently to improve the lives of clients and families under the care of IMPOWER. Her own exposure to the dependency system sets her apart and allows her to identify with the struggles of the children entrusted to her care on a unique emotional level.
Outside of work, Onchantho is heavily involved in the legal and the Asian American Pacific Islander community. She is currently the president of the Greater Orlando Asian American Bar Association (“GOAABA”). GOAABA is a voluntary bar association consisting of attorneys, jurists, and law students to represent and advocate the interests of the Asian Pacific Islander American community of the Greater Orlando area. With the support of the Board, she has put public service and community outreach to the forefront, leading the following successful virtual programs: Virtual Coffee with the Courts, Breaking the Bamboo Barriers series, Voter Initiative, and Asian Fusion Nights – Cooking for a Cause. She is also the Scholarship Chair of the Orange County Bar Association Foundation and an active Board member of the National Association of Asian American Professionals. She continues to excel in her endeavors, which she credits such accomplishments to the support of her family & mentors.
But for all her accomplishments and accolades, her greatest pride and joy is to share with her husband the adventure of raising three multiracial daughters to become strong empowered women.