Gaochi Vang (she/her/hers) is serving as the Peer Specialist Program Manager for the Wisconsin Peer Specialist Employment Initiative (WIPSEI). She is a Hmong American daughter, sister, writer, and organizer. Understanding that she not only carries her story but her ancestors too, she became a Certified Peer Specialist in May of 2021 and a Wisconsin Certified Peer Specialist Trainer in August of 2021. Through this journey, she found grounding in the identities of her history and healing in her own story. This certification has also expanded her opportunities to share empowering spaces with those who, too, believe in collective healing and courageous love in community.
Before her path intersected with Access to Independence, Gaochi’s professional peer support journey began as a substitute peer companion at Iris Place – a peer-run mental health respite located in Appleton, WI. Shortly after, she took on Iris Place’s Assistant Director role and continues to take every part of her story into the next chapter of her life. Gaochi is a strong believer of compassionate intentionality where listening to understand and meeting people where they are is at the foundation to which her deep values of integrity, mutuality, collective determination, and community care rests on. In all that she does, she strives to walk in truth and curiosity.
Gaochi completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and she attained her Master of Science in Psychology with a specialization in Social Psychology from Walden University.