Page 1

DRAFT

25th Annual National Leadership Convention and Diversity Career Fair August 11–14, 2011

Seaport Hotel 200 Seaport Blvd Boston, MA 02210


Marketing Director Agnes Cho Creative Director George Su Creative Consultant Angela Cho Website Designer Alan Wong Online Technical Director Warren Chang Staff Writers Judi Rhee Alloway Shirley Chin Agnes Cho Tammy K. Dang John Fok Venora Hung Yelin Li Ashley Silverio Kitty So Yiu Man So Yuanheng (Sally) Wang Charles Wu Cyndy Yu-Robinson NAAAP 100 Committee Members Brad Baldia Hai Ly Burk Siprachanh Chanthaphaychith Shirley Chin Belinda Chiu Agnes Cho John Fok Ben Hum Joseph Kim Connie Sugahara Heang Kim Tan

Contact us at asianleaders@naaap.org Visit us at www.naaapasianleaders.org

www.naaap.org

Asian Leaders is published by the National Association of Asian American Professionals. © 2010 NAAAP. All rights reserved. Reproductions, except by written permission of NAAAP, is prohibited. Cover Design by Angela Cho. Photo by Sian Richards, Courtesy of The National Ballet of Canada.

1 Asian Leaders

Dear Readers:

etter from the editor

Editor-in-Chief Tammy K. Dang

San Francisco is the host city of the 24th Annual Convention for the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NA A AP). The San Francisco Bay Area is home to one of the largest Asian populations in North America. With its strategic location as a gateway to and from Asia, the Bay Area’s history is rich with the Asian American experience.

One place that poignantly conveys a special part of that history is Angel Island. This national historic landmark lies on the coast of the San Francisco Bay Area. During the early part of the 20th century, the island served as an immigration station—a gateway to the United States. An estimated one million Asian immigrants passed through Angel Island during its 30 years of operation. The predominantly Chinese immigrants detained on the island came in search of a better life. They came in search of the “Golden Mountains”—a reference to the 19th century California Gold Rush. On the walls of the Angel Island Immigration Station are poems carved in Chinese expressing loss, anger, hope and memory. One poem reads: This is a message to those who live here not to worry excessively. Instead, you must cast your idle worries to the flowing stream. Experiencing a little ordeal is not hardship. Napoleon was once a prisoner on an island. Another poem reads: Pacing back and forth, I leaned on the window sill and gazed. The revolving sun and moon waxed and waned, changing again and again. I think about my brothers a lot, but we cannot see one another. The deep, clear water casts reflections as waves toss in sympathy.

If these immigrants could see the heights that Asians have reached today, pride and happiness would fill their hearts. In this issue of Asian Leaders, we feature profiles of 10 outstanding Asian leaders selected for the NA A AP 100 Leadership Award. The program and magazine pays tribute to them for all that they have done and continue to do so to pave the way for future generations. Their stories are inspirational and advice valuable to all people who want to learn a little more about leadership, success and triumph over adversity. Join us in congratulating the 2010 NA A AP 100 winners! NA A AP is also a leadership development organization that provides a broad range of professional and educational services. “We Make Leaders!” is the vision. NA A AP’s mission is to: »» »» »» »»

Cultivate and empower leaders for professional excellence. Connect accomplished professionals for mutual success. Engage and participate with the community-at-large. Inspire leaders to make a meaningful difference in government, education, business and society.

In order to fulfill this mission, NA A AP provides a variety of programming on both a local and national level. This issue of Asian Leaders includes articles about the national programming that is available for members. Enjoy the magazine! Sincerely,

Tammy K. Dang Editor-in-Chief Director of the NAAAP 100 Program

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7

19

naaap 100 recipients John Cho: Redefining the Roles of the Asian American Male Actor | Page 6 Martha Choe: Leadership Success Through Learning | Page 7 Chan Hon Goh: Dancing to the Top and Bridging Cultures Along the Way | Page 8 Sonya Gong Jent: Southern Servant Leader Giving Back | Page 9 Doreen Woo Ho: Finding Success Through Transitions in Life and Career | Page 10

programs

Neil Horikoshi: Pioneering Spirit Navigating a Brilliant Journey | Page 11 Dr. Howard Koh: Service Through Public Health | Page 12 Dr. Qi Lu: Leading Through Inspiration | Page 13 Michelle Rhee: Creating Transformational Change by Challenging the Status Quo | Page 14

NAAAP San Francisco: The History

| Page 4

Asian Leaders: A Conversation with the Creators | Page 5 National Programming: Focused Leadership Training | Page 17-18

Verizon Scholarship Program: Supporting Future Leaders | Page 21-22 Women in NAAAP!: A Program in the Making | Page 19-20

Mable Yee: Fighting Battles and Breaking Barriers | Page 15

National Officers Edward Hwang, Chairman Brad Baldia, President Hector Javier, Chief Strategy Officer William Lai, Chief Administrative Officer Dwayne Sye, Chief Financial Officer Shan-Ming Chiu, Chief Information Officer Tommy Yip, Chief Operations Officer Yuanheng (Sally) Wang, Chief Program Officer Yun Wang/Jay Park, Chief Business Development Officer National Administration Cindy Liu, Assistant Treasurer Venora Hung, Director of Marketing Operations Cyndy Yu-Robinson, Director of Public Relations & Corporation Communications Shane Carlin, National Retreat Director Yiu Man So, Scholarship Program Manager Peter Phengvath, Director of Corporation Relations Tammy K. Dang, Director of the NAAAP 100 Program Hai Ly Burk, NAAAP 100 Program Manager Trung Aidan Nguyen/Kitty So, National Convention Director Tatawan Plengsirivat, Director of Marketing Strategy Bon-Jay Tseng, National Career Center Director Marcus Cheung, Senior Advisory Board Liasion Eugene Hsu, National Social Media Marketing Program Manager Judi Rhee Alloway, Director of Women in NAAAP (WIN!) Timmy Wong, Chapter Technology Director Tuan Ta, Director of Venture Development

Senior Advisors Kevin Bradley Sonya Gong Jent J.D. Hokoyama Hans Huang Bill Imada David Lum Angela E. Oh Vu H. Pham, Ph.D. Joanne Tabellija-Murphy Panney Wei, C.Ht. Mable F. Yee Chapters Atlanta, Boston, Chicago. Colorado, Houston, New York, North Carolina, Orange County, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto Ventures Charlotte, Cincinnati, Columbus, Connecticut, Minnesota, Nashville, Kansas City, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Vancouver, Washington, DC

naaapasianleaders.org 2


Marketing Director Agnes Cho Creative Director George Su Creative Consultant Angela Cho Website Designer Alan Wong Online Technical Director Warren Chang Staff Writers Judi Rhee Alloway Shirley Chin Agnes Cho Tammy K. Dang John Fok Venora Hung Yelin Li Ashley Silverio Kitty So Yiu Man So Yuanheng (Sally) Wang Charles Wu Cyndy Yu-Robinson NAAAP 100 Committee Members Brad Baldia Hai Ly Burk Siprachanh Chanthaphaychith Shirley Chin Belinda Chiu Agnes Cho John Fok Ben Hum Joseph Kim Connie Sugahara Heang Kim Tan

Contact us at asianleaders@naaap.org Visit us at www.naaapasianleaders.org

www.naaap.org

Asian Leaders is published by the National Association of Asian American Professionals. © 2010 NAAAP. All rights reserved. Reproductions, except by written permission of NAAAP, is prohibited. Cover Design by Angela Cho. Photo by Sian Richards, Courtesy of The National Ballet of Canada.

1 Asian Leaders

Dear Readers:

etter from the editor

Editor-in-Chief Tammy K. Dang

San Francisco is the host city of the 24th Annual Convention for the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NA A AP). The San Francisco Bay Area is home to one of the largest Asian populations in North America. With its strategic location as a gateway to and from Asia, the Bay Area’s history is rich with the Asian American experience.

One place that poignantly conveys a special part of that history is Angel Island. This national historic landmark lies on the coast of the San Francisco Bay Area. During the early part of the 20th century, the island served as an immigration station—a gateway to the United States. An estimated one million Asian immigrants passed through Angel Island during its 30 years of operation. The predominantly Chinese immigrants detained on the island came in search of a better life. They came in search of the “Golden Mountains”—a reference to the 19th century California Gold Rush. On the walls of the Angel Island Immigration Station are poems carved in Chinese expressing loss, anger, hope and memory. One poem reads: This is a message to those who live here not to worry excessively. Instead, you must cast your idle worries to the flowing stream. Experiencing a little ordeal is not hardship. Napoleon was once a prisoner on an island. Another poem reads: Pacing back and forth, I leaned on the window sill and gazed. The revolving sun and moon waxed and waned, changing again and again. I think about my brothers a lot, but we cannot see one another. The deep, clear water casts reflections as waves toss in sympathy.

If these immigrants could see the heights that Asians have reached today, pride and happiness would fill their hearts. In this issue of Asian Leaders, we feature profiles of 10 outstanding Asian leaders selected for the NA A AP 100 Leadership Award. The program and magazine pays tribute to them for all that they have done and continue to do so to pave the way for future generations. Their stories are inspirational and advice valuable to all people who want to learn a little more about leadership, success and triumph over adversity. Join us in congratulating the 2010 NA A AP 100 winners! NA A AP is also a leadership development organization that provides a broad range of professional and educational services. “We Make Leaders!” is the vision. NA A AP’s mission is to: »» »» »» »»

Cultivate and empower leaders for professional excellence. Connect accomplished professionals for mutual success. Engage and participate with the community-at-large. Inspire leaders to make a meaningful difference in government, education, business and society.

In order to fulfill this mission, NA A AP provides a variety of programming on both a local and national level. This issue of Asian Leaders includes articles about the national programming that is available for members. Enjoy the magazine! Sincerely,

Tammy K. Dang Editor-in-Chief Director of the NAAAP 100 Program

6

7

19

naaap 100 recipients John Cho: Redefining the Roles of the Asian American Male Actor | Page 6 Martha Choe: Leadership Success Through Learning | Page 7 Chan Hon Goh: Dancing to the Top and Bridging Cultures Along the Way | Page 8 Sonya Gong Jent: Southern Servant Leader Giving Back | Page 9 Doreen Woo Ho: Finding Success Through Transitions in Life and Career | Page 10

programs

Neil Horikoshi: Pioneering Spirit Navigating a Brilliant Journey | Page 11 Dr. Howard Koh: Service Through Public Health | Page 12 Dr. Qi Lu: Leading Through Inspiration | Page 13 Michelle Rhee: Creating Transformational Change by Challenging the Status Quo | Page 14

NAAAP San Francisco: The History

| Page 4

Asian Leaders: A Conversation with the Creators | Page 5 National Programming: Focused Leadership Training | Page 17-18

Verizon Scholarship Program: Supporting Future Leaders | Page 21-22 Women in NAAAP!: A Program in the Making | Page 19-20

Mable Yee: Fighting Battles and Breaking Barriers | Page 15

National Officers Edward Hwang, Chairman Brad Baldia, President Hector Javier, Chief Strategy Officer William Lai, Chief Administrative Officer Dwayne Sye, Chief Financial Officer Shan-Ming Chiu, Chief Information Officer Tommy Yip, Chief Operations Officer Yuanheng (Sally) Wang, Chief Program Officer Yun Wang/Jay Park, Chief Business Development Officer National Administration Cindy Liu, Assistant Treasurer Venora Hung, Director of Marketing Operations Cyndy Yu-Robinson, Director of Public Relations & Corporation Communications Shane Carlin, National Retreat Director Yiu Man So, Scholarship Program Manager Peter Phengvath, Director of Corporation Relations Tammy K. Dang, Director of the NAAAP 100 Program Hai Ly Burk, NAAAP 100 Program Manager Trung Aidan Nguyen/Kitty So, National Convention Director Tatawan Plengsirivat, Director of Marketing Strategy Bon-Jay Tseng, National Career Center Director Marcus Cheung, Senior Advisory Board Liasion Eugene Hsu, National Social Media Marketing Program Manager Judi Rhee Alloway, Director of Women in NAAAP (WIN!) Timmy Wong, Chapter Technology Director Tuan Ta, Director of Venture Development

Senior Advisors Kevin Bradley Sonya Gong Jent J.D. Hokoyama Hans Huang Bill Imada David Lum Angela E. Oh Vu H. Pham, Ph.D. Joanne Tabellija-Murphy Panney Wei, C.Ht. Mable F. Yee Chapters Atlanta, Boston, Chicago. Colorado, Houston, New York, North Carolina, Orange County, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto Ventures Charlotte, Cincinnati, Columbus, Connecticut, Minnesota, Nashville, Kansas City, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Vancouver, Washington, DC

naaapasianleaders.org 2


NAAAP San Francisco: The History

By JOHN FOK and kitty so

“ We Make Leaders!”

24 TH ANNUAL NAAAP CONVENTION & DIVERSITY CAREER FAIR presented by

August 2010

12 -15 NAAAP San Francisco Officers Derek Fung, President Tammy K. Dang, Vice President, National Alliance Philip Hui, Vice President, Corporate Alliance Judy Lao, Vice President, Community Alliance Minh Phan, Vice President, Programs Derek Choy, Vice President, Public Relations & Volunteer Services Lynn Fu, Director of Professional Programs Hank Wang, Treasurer Raymond Luk, Director of Technology George Su, Creative Director Andrew Chen, Director of Membership NAAAP—San Francisco Board of Directors Christopher Do, Chairman Derek Fung, President Presley Chan, Board Member John Fok, Board Member and National Representative Justin Hong, Board Member Wendy Kai Sung, Board Member NAAAP San Francisco PO Box 282876 San Francisco, CA 94128 www.naaapsf.org

3 Asian Leaders

NA A AP San Francisco became the official National Association of Asian American Professionals’ (NA A AP) Northern California representative in 1999, but its unofficial history is much longer. NA A AP San Francisco is based in the San Francisco Bay Area with a diverse population of 7 million plus and over 25 percent of its people born in foreign countries. The San Francisco area has the largest Chinese community in the world outside of China and is home to many highly regarded universities, including Stanford and the University of California—Berkeley. These demographics create an excellent environment for a successful NA A AP chapter. The San Francisco Bay Area is also home to thousands of Asian professionals and dozens of Asian professional organizations. These organizations include groups of professionals who have common ethnic backgrounds, careers, industries, charitable causes, missions, passions and geography. Some of these groups have histories reaching back many decades and sometimes even back into the 1800s. Many Asian professionals belong to more than one of these professional groups. The seeds for growing a NA A AP chapter in the Bay Area trace their roots back to the early 90s when a small group of Californians used to attend all the early NA A AP conventions in New York, Boston and Chicago. This colorful group known as the “California guys” became the early ambassadors to expand NA A AP into California. Their involvement, enthusiasm and advice eventually led to the recruitment of two existing Bay Area Asian young professional groups—Club Asean and M Society West. These two groups became NA A AP affiliates and were chosen for a few reasons. Their goals and vision closely aligned to NA A AP’s and they were already established with a solid membership base. It would have been difficult for NA A AP to start a brand new chapter competing with all the other existing Asian professional groups in the area for new members. Together, Club Asean and M Society West began spreading the NA A AP name and message throughout Northern California in 1996. In 1999, Club Asean changed its name to NA A AP San Francisco and became the official NA A AP representative for the Bay

Area. Since that time, NA A AP San Francisco has continued to grow and reach out to Asian professionals in the Bay Area. Spreading the mission and message of leadership and professional growth, NA A AP San Francisco has developed partnerships and strategic relationships with many groups and organizations and is well respected in the Asian professional community. NA A AP San Francisco is now known as the premiere pan-Asian and crossindustry membership based nonprofit for Asian professionals in the Bay Area. In 2004, NA A AP San Francisco hosted the first NA A AP National Convention in Northern California. With over 500 convention attendees, over 40 speakers and panelists, more than 30 corporate sponsors and upwards of 1,500 career fair attendees, NA A AP San Francisco helped set the standard for future NA A AP conventions. Over the years, NA A AP San Francisco has developed and presented programs for its members and partners such as the Leadership Series, MBA Roundtable, Women’s Leadership Forum, Better Communication Series, Entrepreneurship Series, Nonprofit Board Workshop, Education Outreach, Summer Networking Picnic as well as offering opportunities to get involved in the community through volunteering and mentoring. NA A AP San Francisco has successfully worked with several corporate affinity groups to help them develop leadership and professional development programs for their employees. The local NA A AP San Francisco team continues to look for new ways to create value and benefits for its members and strategic partners. NA A AP’s membership continues to grow and includes representatives from diverse industries including finance, biotech, health care, education, computers, software, government, nonprofit, gaming, fashion, entertainment, clean tech, social networking, real estate, travel, hospitality and more. NA A AP San Francisco looks forward to continue bringing Asian professionals and Asian professional groups together to develop leadership skills, share best practices, build beneficial alliances and create opportunities for serving the Asian community in the Bay Area. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, we welcome you to join us! naaapasianleaders.org 4


NAAAP San Francisco: The History

By JOHN FOK and kitty so

“ We Make Leaders!”

24 TH ANNUAL NAAAP CONVENTION & DIVERSITY CAREER FAIR presented by

August 2010

12 -15 NAAAP San Francisco Officers Derek Fung, President Tammy K. Dang, Vice President, National Alliance Philip Hui, Vice President, Corporate Alliance Judy Lao, Vice President, Community Alliance Minh Phan, Vice President, Programs Derek Choy, Vice President, Public Relations & Volunteer Services Lynn Fu, Director of Professional Programs Hank Wang, Treasurer Raymond Luk, Director of Technology George Su, Creative Director Andrew Chen, Director of Membership NAAAP—San Francisco Board of Directors Christopher Do, Chairman Derek Fung, President Presley Chan, Board Member John Fok, Board Member and National Representative Justin Hong, Board Member Wendy Kai Sung, Board Member NAAAP San Francisco PO Box 282876 San Francisco, CA 94128 www.naaapsf.org

3 Asian Leaders

NA A AP San Francisco became the official National Association of Asian American Professionals’ (NA A AP) Northern California representative in 1999, but its unofficial history is much longer. NA A AP San Francisco is based in the San Francisco Bay Area with a diverse population of 7 million plus and over 25 percent of its people born in foreign countries. The San Francisco area has the largest Chinese community in the world outside of China and is home to many highly regarded universities, including Stanford and the University of California—Berkeley. These demographics create an excellent environment for a successful NA A AP chapter. The San Francisco Bay Area is also home to thousands of Asian professionals and dozens of Asian professional organizations. These organizations include groups of professionals who have common ethnic backgrounds, careers, industries, charitable causes, missions, passions and geography. Some of these groups have histories reaching back many decades and sometimes even back into the 1800s. Many Asian professionals belong to more than one of these professional groups. The seeds for growing a NA A AP chapter in the Bay Area trace their roots back to the early 90s when a small group of Californians used to attend all the early NA A AP conventions in New York, Boston and Chicago. This colorful group known as the “California guys” became the early ambassadors to expand NA A AP into California. Their involvement, enthusiasm and advice eventually led to the recruitment of two existing Bay Area Asian young professional groups—Club Asean and M Society West. These two groups became NA A AP affiliates and were chosen for a few reasons. Their goals and vision closely aligned to NA A AP’s and they were already established with a solid membership base. It would have been difficult for NA A AP to start a brand new chapter competing with all the other existing Asian professional groups in the area for new members. Together, Club Asean and M Society West began spreading the NA A AP name and message throughout Northern California in 1996. In 1999, Club Asean changed its name to NA A AP San Francisco and became the official NA A AP representative for the Bay

Area. Since that time, NA A AP San Francisco has continued to grow and reach out to Asian professionals in the Bay Area. Spreading the mission and message of leadership and professional growth, NA A AP San Francisco has developed partnerships and strategic relationships with many groups and organizations and is well respected in the Asian professional community. NA A AP San Francisco is now known as the premiere pan-Asian and crossindustry membership based nonprofit for Asian professionals in the Bay Area. In 2004, NA A AP San Francisco hosted the first NA A AP National Convention in Northern California. With over 500 convention attendees, over 40 speakers and panelists, more than 30 corporate sponsors and upwards of 1,500 career fair attendees, NA A AP San Francisco helped set the standard for future NA A AP conventions. Over the years, NA A AP San Francisco has developed and presented programs for its members and partners such as the Leadership Series, MBA Roundtable, Women’s Leadership Forum, Better Communication Series, Entrepreneurship Series, Nonprofit Board Workshop, Education Outreach, Summer Networking Picnic as well as offering opportunities to get involved in the community through volunteering and mentoring. NA A AP San Francisco has successfully worked with several corporate affinity groups to help them develop leadership and professional development programs for their employees. The local NA A AP San Francisco team continues to look for new ways to create value and benefits for its members and strategic partners. NA A AP’s membership continues to grow and includes representatives from diverse industries including finance, biotech, health care, education, computers, software, government, nonprofit, gaming, fashion, entertainment, clean tech, social networking, real estate, travel, hospitality and more. NA A AP San Francisco looks forward to continue bringing Asian professionals and Asian professional groups together to develop leadership skills, share best practices, build beneficial alliances and create opportunities for serving the Asian community in the Bay Area. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, we welcome you to join us! naaapasianleaders.org 4


Asian Leaders:

John Cho:

A Conversation with the Creators

Redefining the Roles of the Asian American Male Actor

By AGNES CHO

Editor-in-Chief Tammy K. Dang, and Marketing Director Agnes Cho, of Asian Leaders share with their readers their vision for the magazine, thoughts on the launch of the Asian Leaders website and plans for the online magazine. Q: Tell me about Asian Leaders (AL) online. TD: Following the success of the first issue of Asian Leaders during the National Association of Asian American Professionals’ (NA A AP) 2009 convention in Denver, we plan on launching a website introducing Asian Leaders to the online community following NA A AP’s 2010 convention in San Francisco. The online magazine offers readers access to profiles of the NA A AP 100 recipients, NA A AP programming information and delivers on-going content that broadens our coverage of industry leaders and leadership in various communities. Q: Why bring the magazine online? AC: We are extremely excited about launching the website. Moving the magazine online is a good opportunity to expand the topics and people we cover to develop a magazine with greater depth and substance. Online allows the AL team to explore issues that might not normally be submitted for the print magazine due to limited space in the annual edition. We’ll also be able to deliver relevant and timely information to our readers on a continual basis. TD: I expect to begin publishing more articles online after the 2010 convention. We welcome participation from interested NA A AP members and are always looking for people who want to have an impact on leadership and join the AL team. We also are interested in hearing what our readers would like to see in the magazine. So, I invite anyone with interest in joining the AL team or sharing relevant topic ideas to send an email to asianleaders@naaap.org. Q: What is the mission of Asian Leaders? AC: The magazine’s mission is to celebrate, inspire and empower. AL’s content tells inspiring stories of leadership and celebrates Asian leadership to empower its readers to 5 Asian Leaders

become leaders in their own profession and community. The AL team’s goal is to bring awareness to the leadership qualities of all Asians regardless of their prominence. With this focus, we hope our readers will find the featured leaders relatable and their stories relevant. By successfully executing the magazine’s mission, the AL team enforces NA A AP’s mission: “We make leaders!” Q: How did the concept of a magazine as well as the magazine’s mission develop? TD: In 2008, the NA A AP national board tasked me to head up the NA A AP 100 for their annual convention. The NA A AP 100 is designed to honor Asians who are leaders in their profession and community. Agnes and I thought it would be beneficial to create a platform that would capture the purpose of the NA A AP 100 and use it as a vehicle to continue spotlighting the NA A AP 100 recipients throughout the year. We thought a magazine featuring the NA A AP 100 recipients would be a valuable accompaniment to the NA A AP 100. A magazine adds value to NA A AP members, the NA A AP organization and the Asian community in general. AC: We felt a magazine featuring the NA A AP 100 recipients would help to make the leaders more accessible to NA A AP members by connecting readers with leadership through their stories and personal experiences. We also wanted to use the magazine to bring awareness to Asian leadership beyond the NA A AP community. This idea, naturally, developed into a magazine that celebrates leadership to inspire and empower its readers to be leaders. Q: What can your readers take away from the magazine? AC: Our readers will have access to Asian role models and gain a greater awareness of Asians who are leaders in their professions and communities as well as positive events occurring in the Asian community. We want our readers to feel a connection to featured leaders through their stories, experiences and perspectives. We hope our readers will take from the profiles, a sense of pride and empowerment that will move them to action; to make a positive contribution by finding ways to be leaders in their own profession or community. Q: In your two years leading the magazine, what have you been most proud of?

TD: At AL, we believe that there needs to be more awareness of Asians who are doing good things in their community and professions, so I am proud to help bring to life a product that showcases the accomplishments of Asians. I hope this magazine also pays tribute to individuals who have succeeded in paving a path for today’s leaders as well as future ones. AC: I am most proud to have the opportunity to work with a group of people who believe strongly in the magazine’s mission and dedicate their time to making the magazine a success. Q: If you could look into the future, what would you hope to be the magazine’s greatest accomplishment? AC: If the magazine inspires even one reader to take the lead and make a difference in his or her personal or professional life, then the magazine will have achieved its greatest success. TD: I’d like to see that all people, regardless of their backgrounds, use inspirational stories such as the ones featured to help them through their own professional and personal challenges. Q: Who makes up the Asian Leaders team and what are their responsibilities? TD: AL is made up of people who are passionate about writing and developing leaders. Shirley Chin, Venora Hung, Ashley Silverio, Charles Wu, Cyndy Yu-Robinson and I wrote profiles about the NA A AP 100 winners. Judi Rhee Alloway, John Fok, Yelin Li, Yiu Man So and Yuanheng (Sally) Wang contributed articles about the ongoing work NA A AP provides for its members. George Su also helped create the look and design of the magazine. AC: This magazine would not be possible without the support and dedication of a strong team. This year we worked with a Creative Consultant, Angela Cho, to develop a brand logo and a magazine masthead that would capture the inspirational content of the magazine as well as give the magazine a strong visual identity. We are excited to showcase both designs on a cover she created for this year’s issue. I’ve also worked closely with an online consulting team consisting of Warren Chang and Alan Wong to create the magazine’s online presence. Alan has done a fantastic job of building on the logo to create the magazine’s online visual identity. Warren has successfully translated the print magazine into a website that is easily navigated and features the magazine content in ways that best exhibit what the magazine has to offer.

By CHARLES WU When the topic of Asian American actors comes up, what comes to mind? Kung Fu master? Wise old Sensei? Sex starved geek? If so, then you haven’t seen the work of actor John Cho. His roles have challenged the stereotypical Asian male ones with characters that are universally identifiable and simultaneously authentic to his heritage, but definitely not cartoonish. Mr. Cho’s characters are the cool ones that live in the real world. Mr. Cho was born in South Korea and came to the United States as a young child. He grew up in Los Angeles, California and attended college at the University of California at Berkeley studying English literature. It was during this time that he began acting in local productions, including an adaptation of Maxine Hong Kingston’s memoir The Woman Warrior that also toured the country. After college, Mr. Cho spent time teaching English in Southern California, but continued to pursue modeling and acting jobs. The Internet Movie Database’s (IMDb) filmography for Mr. Cho shows an extensive series of parts he has played, spanning both television and movies over nearly two decades. Mr. Cho first came to the wider public’s attention with the role of “John” in the movie American Pie, where he popularized a memorable raunchy slang term that broadened the view of Asian American male roles. Mr. Cho has played character roles in some of the most popular television shows and movies during the 2000s, including Charmed, Flash Forward, Ugly Betty, Better Luck Tomorrow, Solaris, Grey’s Anatomy and the 1999 Academy Award for Best Motion Picture of the Year, American Beauty. He also played the role of “Sulu” in J.J. Abrams’ remake of Star Trek. The character’s role was expanded in comparison to the original one. His roles show the breadth of his acting, including both comedic and dramatic parts. However, Mr. Cho is most famous for his title role as Harold Lee in the Harold and Kumar movies series. He plays an investment banker with a serious case of the munchies. The role is a breakthrough one in that Mr. Cho doesn’t play the stereotypical suburban “stoner” that would make the placement of an Asian American in the role appear out of place. While some have read Harold as representing the meek nerd stereotype, Mr. Cho saw Harold

as an everyman. “I really stand by the spirit of those movies,” he said. Looking at the challenges confronting the characters, you realize that the role is portrayed effectively as someone balancing the desire to be one of the guys while dealing with the expectations that are placed on him. Challenges that the audience can identify with include dealing with your parents, choosing the right career and avoiding the Doogie Howser syndrome—both literally and figuratively. (Mr. Howser was the boy genius who became a doctor at a young age while grappling with the challenges of growing into adulthood.) Harold and Kumar was so successful that it received one of the highest honors in Hollywood, with not just one, but two sequels. This speaks to the popularity of the characters that Mr. Cho and co-star Kal Penn have created. Mr. Cho is positive about the prospects for Asian American actors. The external challenges Asian American actors face includes a reluctance to take a risk on putting them in lead roles. The intra-community challenges he sees are the dearth of role models for these actors. He notes that the presence of Asian actors in the production of The Woman Warrior opened the possibility that acting was a viable career path. Mr. Cho believes that, contrary to what some young aspiring Asian actors think, they would receive support from their families. “I actually argue that I think Asian American youngsters would be surprised at how much support they might receive from their parents,” he said. “The pursuit of happiness is not as foreign to immigrants as one might think.” He also cautions that one should not feel obligated to portray only Asian roles, remarking, “I don’t think that anyone should live their life in service to any community.” He also believes that in order to get the range of available roles, Asian American actors need to speak up. “It seems that Asian Americans have had a history of not being super vocal about objecting to something,” he said. “The assumption is that if you don’t say anything, you are agreeing with the status quo.” That Mr. Cho has been able to act in roles that are not explicitly Asian reflects the consciousness of the current state of the entertainment business. In an interview on

the webzine Badmouth, Mr. Cho explains the responsibility of saying ‘no’ to stereotypical roles. “I always have tried to avoid doing a stereotypical role for my personal happiness,” he said. “I think it’s important to say ‘no’ to things that don’t feel right to you as an actor. The reason is that if you continue to take those roles, there is a consequence for everyone, for the community.” He later reiterated that stance more clearly by explaining to the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NA A AP) that, “I didn’t want to take any stereotypical roles ‘cause I thought it would do more harm than good even though my choices were limited. I guess I always thought about that.” That clarity of choice in what roles to accept is clear when one looks at Mr. Cho’s recent roles, especially on television where the parts could be played by any race. One such example is Demetri Noh in the television series Flash Forward. These roles, along with People Magazine’s selection of Mr. Cho as one of the “Sexiest Men Alive,” indicate a greater acceptance and acting possibilities for Asian Americans in the mainstream—a state that Cho has had an important part in establishing for future Asian Americans in the arts and culture. Mr. Cho’s upcoming work includes the third installment of A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas and another sequel to Star Trek. naaapasianleaders.org 6


Asian Leaders:

John Cho:

A Conversation with the Creators

Redefining the Roles of the Asian American Male Actor

By AGNES CHO

Editor-in-Chief Tammy K. Dang, and Marketing Director Agnes Cho, of Asian Leaders share with their readers their vision for the magazine, thoughts on the launch of the Asian Leaders website and plans for the online magazine. Q: Tell me about Asian Leaders (AL) online. TD: Following the success of the first issue of Asian Leaders during the National Association of Asian American Professionals’ (NA A AP) 2009 convention in Denver, we plan on launching a website introducing Asian Leaders to the online community following NA A AP’s 2010 convention in San Francisco. The online magazine offers readers access to profiles of the NA A AP 100 recipients, NA A AP programming information and delivers on-going content that broadens our coverage of industry leaders and leadership in various communities. Q: Why bring the magazine online? AC: We are extremely excited about launching the website. Moving the magazine online is a good opportunity to expand the topics and people we cover to develop a magazine with greater depth and substance. Online allows the AL team to explore issues that might not normally be submitted for the print magazine due to limited space in the annual edition. We’ll also be able to deliver relevant and timely information to our readers on a continual basis. TD: I expect to begin publishing more articles online after the 2010 convention. We welcome participation from interested NA A AP members and are always looking for people who want to have an impact on leadership and join the AL team. We also are interested in hearing what our readers would like to see in the magazine. So, I invite anyone with interest in joining the AL team or sharing relevant topic ideas to send an email to asianleaders@naaap.org. Q: What is the mission of Asian Leaders? AC: The magazine’s mission is to celebrate, inspire and empower. AL’s content tells inspiring stories of leadership and celebrates Asian leadership to empower its readers to 5 Asian Leaders

become leaders in their own profession and community. The AL team’s goal is to bring awareness to the leadership qualities of all Asians regardless of their prominence. With this focus, we hope our readers will find the featured leaders relatable and their stories relevant. By successfully executing the magazine’s mission, the AL team enforces NA A AP’s mission: “We make leaders!” Q: How did the concept of a magazine as well as the magazine’s mission develop? TD: In 2008, the NA A AP national board tasked me to head up the NA A AP 100 for their annual convention. The NA A AP 100 is designed to honor Asians who are leaders in their profession and community. Agnes and I thought it would be beneficial to create a platform that would capture the purpose of the NA A AP 100 and use it as a vehicle to continue spotlighting the NA A AP 100 recipients throughout the year. We thought a magazine featuring the NA A AP 100 recipients would be a valuable accompaniment to the NA A AP 100. A magazine adds value to NA A AP members, the NA A AP organization and the Asian community in general. AC: We felt a magazine featuring the NA A AP 100 recipients would help to make the leaders more accessible to NA A AP members by connecting readers with leadership through their stories and personal experiences. We also wanted to use the magazine to bring awareness to Asian leadership beyond the NA A AP community. This idea, naturally, developed into a magazine that celebrates leadership to inspire and empower its readers to be leaders. Q: What can your readers take away from the magazine? AC: Our readers will have access to Asian role models and gain a greater awareness of Asians who are leaders in their professions and communities as well as positive events occurring in the Asian community. We want our readers to feel a connection to featured leaders through their stories, experiences and perspectives. We hope our readers will take from the profiles, a sense of pride and empowerment that will move them to action; to make a positive contribution by finding ways to be leaders in their own profession or community. Q: In your two years leading the magazine, what have you been most proud of?

TD: At AL, we believe that there needs to be more awareness of Asians who are doing good things in their community and professions, so I am proud to help bring to life a product that showcases the accomplishments of Asians. I hope this magazine also pays tribute to individuals who have succeeded in paving a path for today’s leaders as well as future ones. AC: I am most proud to have the opportunity to work with a group of people who believe strongly in the magazine’s mission and dedicate their time to making the magazine a success. Q: If you could look into the future, what would you hope to be the magazine’s greatest accomplishment? AC: If the magazine inspires even one reader to take the lead and make a difference in his or her personal or professional life, then the magazine will have achieved its greatest success. TD: I’d like to see that all people, regardless of their backgrounds, use inspirational stories such as the ones featured to help them through their own professional and personal challenges. Q: Who makes up the Asian Leaders team and what are their responsibilities? TD: AL is made up of people who are passionate about writing and developing leaders. Shirley Chin, Venora Hung, Ashley Silverio, Charles Wu, Cyndy Yu-Robinson and I wrote profiles about the NA A AP 100 winners. Judi Rhee Alloway, John Fok, Yelin Li, Yiu Man So and Yuanheng (Sally) Wang contributed articles about the ongoing work NA A AP provides for its members. George Su also helped create the look and design of the magazine. AC: This magazine would not be possible without the support and dedication of a strong team. This year we worked with a Creative Consultant, Angela Cho, to develop a brand logo and a magazine masthead that would capture the inspirational content of the magazine as well as give the magazine a strong visual identity. We are excited to showcase both designs on a cover she created for this year’s issue. I’ve also worked closely with an online consulting team consisting of Warren Chang and Alan Wong to create the magazine’s online presence. Alan has done a fantastic job of building on the logo to create the magazine’s online visual identity. Warren has successfully translated the print magazine into a website that is easily navigated and features the magazine content in ways that best exhibit what the magazine has to offer.

By CHARLES WU When the topic of Asian American actors comes up, what comes to mind? Kung Fu master? Wise old Sensei? Sex starved geek? If so, then you haven’t seen the work of actor John Cho. His roles have challenged the stereotypical Asian male ones with characters that are universally identifiable and simultaneously authentic to his heritage, but definitely not cartoonish. Mr. Cho’s characters are the cool ones that live in the real world. Mr. Cho was born in South Korea and came to the United States as a young child. He grew up in Los Angeles, California and attended college at the University of California at Berkeley studying English literature. It was during this time that he began acting in local productions, including an adaptation of Maxine Hong Kingston’s memoir The Woman Warrior that also toured the country. After college, Mr. Cho spent time teaching English in Southern California, but continued to pursue modeling and acting jobs. The Internet Movie Database’s (IMDb) filmography for Mr. Cho shows an extensive series of parts he has played, spanning both television and movies over nearly two decades. Mr. Cho first came to the wider public’s attention with the role of “John” in the movie American Pie, where he popularized a memorable raunchy slang term that broadened the view of Asian American male roles. Mr. Cho has played character roles in some of the most popular television shows and movies during the 2000s, including Charmed, Flash Forward, Ugly Betty, Better Luck Tomorrow, Solaris, Grey’s Anatomy and the 1999 Academy Award for Best Motion Picture of the Year, American Beauty. He also played the role of “Sulu” in J.J. Abrams’ remake of Star Trek. The character’s role was expanded in comparison to the original one. His roles show the breadth of his acting, including both comedic and dramatic parts. However, Mr. Cho is most famous for his title role as Harold Lee in the Harold and Kumar movies series. He plays an investment banker with a serious case of the munchies. The role is a breakthrough one in that Mr. Cho doesn’t play the stereotypical suburban “stoner” that would make the placement of an Asian American in the role appear out of place. While some have read Harold as representing the meek nerd stereotype, Mr. Cho saw Harold

as an everyman. “I really stand by the spirit of those movies,” he said. Looking at the challenges confronting the characters, you realize that the role is portrayed effectively as someone balancing the desire to be one of the guys while dealing with the expectations that are placed on him. Challenges that the audience can identify with include dealing with your parents, choosing the right career and avoiding the Doogie Howser syndrome—both literally and figuratively. (Mr. Howser was the boy genius who became a doctor at a young age while grappling with the challenges of growing into adulthood.) Harold and Kumar was so successful that it received one of the highest honors in Hollywood, with not just one, but two sequels. This speaks to the popularity of the characters that Mr. Cho and co-star Kal Penn have created. Mr. Cho is positive about the prospects for Asian American actors. The external challenges Asian American actors face includes a reluctance to take a risk on putting them in lead roles. The intra-community challenges he sees are the dearth of role models for these actors. He notes that the presence of Asian actors in the production of The Woman Warrior opened the possibility that acting was a viable career path. Mr. Cho believes that, contrary to what some young aspiring Asian actors think, they would receive support from their families. “I actually argue that I think Asian American youngsters would be surprised at how much support they might receive from their parents,” he said. “The pursuit of happiness is not as foreign to immigrants as one might think.” He also cautions that one should not feel obligated to portray only Asian roles, remarking, “I don’t think that anyone should live their life in service to any community.” He also believes that in order to get the range of available roles, Asian American actors need to speak up. “It seems that Asian Americans have had a history of not being super vocal about objecting to something,” he said. “The assumption is that if you don’t say anything, you are agreeing with the status quo.” That Mr. Cho has been able to act in roles that are not explicitly Asian reflects the consciousness of the current state of the entertainment business. In an interview on

the webzine Badmouth, Mr. Cho explains the responsibility of saying ‘no’ to stereotypical roles. “I always have tried to avoid doing a stereotypical role for my personal happiness,” he said. “I think it’s important to say ‘no’ to things that don’t feel right to you as an actor. The reason is that if you continue to take those roles, there is a consequence for everyone, for the community.” He later reiterated that stance more clearly by explaining to the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NA A AP) that, “I didn’t want to take any stereotypical roles ‘cause I thought it would do more harm than good even though my choices were limited. I guess I always thought about that.” That clarity of choice in what roles to accept is clear when one looks at Mr. Cho’s recent roles, especially on television where the parts could be played by any race. One such example is Demetri Noh in the television series Flash Forward. These roles, along with People Magazine’s selection of Mr. Cho as one of the “Sexiest Men Alive,” indicate a greater acceptance and acting possibilities for Asian Americans in the mainstream—a state that Cho has had an important part in establishing for future Asian Americans in the arts and culture. Mr. Cho’s upcoming work includes the third installment of A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas and another sequel to Star Trek. naaapasianleaders.org 6


Chan Hon Goh: “If you are a great learner and possess people skills, then you will have the necessary tools to be successful in any industry.”

Martha Choe: Leadership Success Through Learning By Shirley Chin

7 Asian Leaders

Martha Choe is the current Chief Administrative Officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is no stranger to learning and the success it brings. She began her career as a high school teacher in Eugene, Oregon. The teaching position helped her create a solid foundation for the future positions she would hold. “If you are a great learner and possess people skills, then you will have the necessary tools to be successful in any industry,” she said. With her people skills and desire to be a lifelong learner, Ms. Choe has been able to transition into leadership roles in various industries. One of her jobs was serving as Vice President at the Bank of California Credit Administration for ten years. After seeking a desire for change from the bank, Ms. Choe embarked on a career in public service. She served two four-year terms on the Seattle City Council. During her tenure she oversaw important issues by working on the transportation, economic development and finance committees. She has also served as the Director of the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development. Ms. Choe has provided leadership for sustainable job growth throughout the state of Washington. Ms. Choe believes that there are many steps that need to be taken in order to be an effective leader. Those steps include having the courage to take risks and handling failure in a

positive manner. Cultivating and motivating your staff towards achieving a goal is another step. “Creating a vision and clearly articulating to a team to rally support and success is important,” she said. Through her work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ms. Choe has been able to foster a team environment that encourages cross collaboration to find effective solutions. This can vary from complex research studies to local education initiatives for children. “I was drawn to the mission that focuses on every person having an opportunity to live a healthy productive life and our underlying belief that all lives have equal value,” she commented. The foundation’s primary mission is to help people live healthy and productive lives. The work includes helping individuals in developing countries to improve health conditions and work towards self-sufficiency. In the United States, this involves helping individuals that have limited resources gain the assistance that they need. Martha received her bachelor’s degree in speech and ethnic studies from the University of Washington and master’s in business administration from Seattle University.

Dancing to the Top and Bridging Cultures Along the Way By ASHLEY SILVERIO

Chan Hon Goh is a classically trained Prima Ballerina who has performed with international ballet companies in Europe, Asia and North America. Besides her role as an artist, she is a community leader, entrepreneur, author and the Director of the Goh Ballet Academy. She has worked with the North American Association of Asian Professionals (NA A AP) in Toronto, Canada since 2003. Ms. Goh is renowned for her artistry and pioneering spirit both on and off stage. She was the first person of Chinese descent to be named Principal Dancer of the National Ballet of Canada. Over the span of her international career, she has performed with the Royal Danish Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Hong Kong Ballet, National Ballet of China, Queensland Ballet, Washington Ballet as well as the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, amongst others. For Ms. Goh, dance is second nature. Her parents were principal dancers with the National Ballet of China and founded Goh Ballet in Vancouver. “Once I started to dance, I had the full ability to speak with a new language and express my body through movement,” Ms. Goh said. Her finely tuned understanding of the communicative quality of dance stems, not only from her experience as a professional ballerina, but also as an individual who has used dance to bridge cultures. When she was eight years old, Ms. Goh emigrated with her family from Beijing, China to Vancouver, Canada. In those early years, which she recounts in her award winning autobiography Beyond the Dance: A Ballerina’s Life, she recalled living in a basement apartment with her parents, wearing hand-me-down clothes to school, learning English through

immersion and enduring bullying by classmates. “Having those [challenges] made me strive for accomplishment,” Ms. Goh said. “Even at eight years old, I vowed that this would never happen to me again so I had better make sure that I’m good at everything I do.” She fostered her passion for dance by training at her parents’ dance school, Goh Ballet, and then joining the National Ballet of Canada in 1988. She became the principal dancer in January of 1994. “As a professional, dance took on new light,” Ms. Goh said. “I took on various characters, learned to interpret artistry and put my life experiences into play.” She has earned accolades at international competitions, including the Genée International Ballet Company and Prix de Lausanne International Competition of Dance. Ms. Goh is also a successful entrepreneur. In 1996, she started a dance supply company called Principal by Chan Hon Goh with her husband Chun Che. Mr. Che is a dance teacher and choreographer. The company’s line of pointe shoes and dance slippers has been sold across Canada, the United States and Japan. The company supports dance competitions, festivals, nonprofit events and the Chan Hon Goh Scholarship Fund annually. In her current roles as entrepreneur and Director of Goh Ballet, she continues to break ground by forming partnerships in the corporate world and teaching younger generations about the value of dance and health. For her success across disciplines and borders, Ms. Goh is a pioneer. “Whether or not there is a perceived glass ceiling is irrelevant to career goals,” she said. “You must pursue your dreams full-heart-

“Whether or not there is a perceived glass ceiling is irrelevant to career goals.”

Photo by Sian Richards, Courtesy of The National Ballet of Canada.

edly, be realistic, take criticism as constructive, do not let people beat your confidence down and find a support group of people that will be covering your back.” Ms. Goh retired from dancing professionally in 2009. She now has more time to spend with her husband and 4-year-old son. She admits that finding the right work-life balance is vital. According to Ms. Goh, finding the time to be imaginative makes her more productive and allows her to grow certain things creatively. In May 2010, Ms. Goh was presented with the Mandarin Profile Award by Fairchild Television for her inspirational story to new immigrants. Ms. Goh finds energy and inspiration from people and continues to make efforts to reach out in innovative ways. She is active in the NA A AP community. In the past, she has served as a panelist at the 2003 NA A AP Convention in Toronto and NA A AP Toronto’s 2006 Workplace Diversity Symposium. naaapasianleaders.org 8


Chan Hon Goh: “If you are a great learner and possess people skills, then you will have the necessary tools to be successful in any industry.”

Martha Choe: Leadership Success Through Learning By Shirley Chin

7 Asian Leaders

Martha Choe is the current Chief Administrative Officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is no stranger to learning and the success it brings. She began her career as a high school teacher in Eugene, Oregon. The teaching position helped her create a solid foundation for the future positions she would hold. “If you are a great learner and possess people skills, then you will have the necessary tools to be successful in any industry,” she said. With her people skills and desire to be a lifelong learner, Ms. Choe has been able to transition into leadership roles in various industries. One of her jobs was serving as Vice President at the Bank of California Credit Administration for ten years. After seeking a desire for change from the bank, Ms. Choe embarked on a career in public service. She served two four-year terms on the Seattle City Council. During her tenure she oversaw important issues by working on the transportation, economic development and finance committees. She has also served as the Director of the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development. Ms. Choe has provided leadership for sustainable job growth throughout the state of Washington. Ms. Choe believes that there are many steps that need to be taken in order to be an effective leader. Those steps include having the courage to take risks and handling failure in a

positive manner. Cultivating and motivating your staff towards achieving a goal is another step. “Creating a vision and clearly articulating to a team to rally support and success is important,” she said. Through her work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ms. Choe has been able to foster a team environment that encourages cross collaboration to find effective solutions. This can vary from complex research studies to local education initiatives for children. “I was drawn to the mission that focuses on every person having an opportunity to live a healthy productive life and our underlying belief that all lives have equal value,” she commented. The foundation’s primary mission is to help people live healthy and productive lives. The work includes helping individuals in developing countries to improve health conditions and work towards self-sufficiency. In the United States, this involves helping individuals that have limited resources gain the assistance that they need. Martha received her bachelor’s degree in speech and ethnic studies from the University of Washington and master’s in business administration from Seattle University.

Dancing to the Top and Bridging Cultures Along the Way By ASHLEY SILVERIO

Chan Hon Goh is a classically trained Prima Ballerina who has performed with international ballet companies in Europe, Asia and North America. Besides her role as an artist, she is a community leader, entrepreneur, author and the Director of the Goh Ballet Academy. She has worked with the North American Association of Asian Professionals (NA A AP) in Toronto, Canada since 2003. Ms. Goh is renowned for her artistry and pioneering spirit both on and off stage. She was the first person of Chinese descent to be named Principal Dancer of the National Ballet of Canada. Over the span of her international career, she has performed with the Royal Danish Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Hong Kong Ballet, National Ballet of China, Queensland Ballet, Washington Ballet as well as the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, amongst others. For Ms. Goh, dance is second nature. Her parents were principal dancers with the National Ballet of China and founded Goh Ballet in Vancouver. “Once I started to dance, I had the full ability to speak with a new language and express my body through movement,” Ms. Goh said. Her finely tuned understanding of the communicative quality of dance stems, not only from her experience as a professional ballerina, but also as an individual who has used dance to bridge cultures. When she was eight years old, Ms. Goh emigrated with her family from Beijing, China to Vancouver, Canada. In those early years, which she recounts in her award winning autobiography Beyond the Dance: A Ballerina’s Life, she recalled living in a basement apartment with her parents, wearing hand-me-down clothes to school, learning English through

immersion and enduring bullying by classmates. “Having those [challenges] made me strive for accomplishment,” Ms. Goh said. “Even at eight years old, I vowed that this would never happen to me again so I had better make sure that I’m good at everything I do.” She fostered her passion for dance by training at her parents’ dance school, Goh Ballet, and then joining the National Ballet of Canada in 1988. She became the principal dancer in January of 1994. “As a professional, dance took on new light,” Ms. Goh said. “I took on various characters, learned to interpret artistry and put my life experiences into play.” She has earned accolades at international competitions, including the Genée International Ballet Company and Prix de Lausanne International Competition of Dance. Ms. Goh is also a successful entrepreneur. In 1996, she started a dance supply company called Principal by Chan Hon Goh with her husband Chun Che. Mr. Che is a dance teacher and choreographer. The company’s line of pointe shoes and dance slippers has been sold across Canada, the United States and Japan. The company supports dance competitions, festivals, nonprofit events and the Chan Hon Goh Scholarship Fund annually. In her current roles as entrepreneur and Director of Goh Ballet, she continues to break ground by forming partnerships in the corporate world and teaching younger generations about the value of dance and health. For her success across disciplines and borders, Ms. Goh is a pioneer. “Whether or not there is a perceived glass ceiling is irrelevant to career goals,” she said. “You must pursue your dreams full-heart-

“Whether or not there is a perceived glass ceiling is irrelevant to career goals.”

Photo by Sian Richards, Courtesy of The National Ballet of Canada.

edly, be realistic, take criticism as constructive, do not let people beat your confidence down and find a support group of people that will be covering your back.” Ms. Goh retired from dancing professionally in 2009. She now has more time to spend with her husband and 4-year-old son. She admits that finding the right work-life balance is vital. According to Ms. Goh, finding the time to be imaginative makes her more productive and allows her to grow certain things creatively. In May 2010, Ms. Goh was presented with the Mandarin Profile Award by Fairchild Television for her inspirational story to new immigrants. Ms. Goh finds energy and inspiration from people and continues to make efforts to reach out in innovative ways. She is active in the NA A AP community. In the past, she has served as a panelist at the 2003 NA A AP Convention in Toronto and NA A AP Toronto’s 2006 Workplace Diversity Symposium. naaapasianleaders.org 8


Sonya Gong Jent:

Doreen Woo Ho:

Southern Servant Leader Giving Back

Finding Success Through Transitions in Life and Career

By CYNDY YU-ROBINSON

Ms. Gong Jent is Vice President of Operations at State Farm’s Multicultural Business Development Group, founding member of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) Central Illinois chapter, and a Senior Advisor to the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NA A AP). She has worked in the insurance industry since 1987, serving as an auto claims representative, registered lobbyist, public affairs manager representing two states, and vice president of operations in the southern zone where she oversaw field offices, human resources, learning and development, marketing as well as public affairs for a 4-state zone. Ms. Gong Jent is also the recipient of OCA’s Corporate Achievement Award and OCA’s National Community Service Award. She has been named as a recipient of the Who’s Who in Asian American Communities and a nominee of Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business Diversity Award. But perhaps the best way to get to know her is to experience her positive outlook, effervescent personality and to hear her Southern twang. According to Ms. Gong Jent, people would often tell her, “You don’t sound the way you look.” She says it’s a great icebreaker. She feels people should be proud of their heritage and leverage their strengths of speaking multiple languages and/or dialects. Ms. Gong Jent was raised by first and second generation Chinese American parents in

By ASHLEY SILVERIO

Mississippi. Her dad was a second generation Chinese born in Mississippi in 1920 and her mom emigrated from China in 1960. Her parents offered solid grounding. Dad pushed her to integrate and get her share of everything. Mom spoke no English, but taught Ms. Gong Jent Toison (a southern rural Chinese dialect) and gave her Asian values—respect for people with positions and titles, ambitious academic goals and high ethics. Mom also told her that it was okay to ask and get a “no,” but if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Ms. Gong Jent was a Vice President with State Farm when she got involved with the NA A AP Atlanta chapter. “They do tremendous work,” Ms. Gong Jent said. When she moved to Illinois, she continued her community work with NA A AP and returned as CoFounder to the OCA Central Illinois chapter. With NA A AP, she hopes to help others understand not only how to tap into their natural competencies, talents and nuances, but also to bring them to the surface to differentiate and distinguish themselves from others. As Ms. Gong Jent looks across the world, she sees a refreshing trend—more Asians in leadership. Unfortunately, she still senses some competition within the Asian umbrella about who gets to the top first. “That’s worth rethinking,” she said. “There aren’t enough Asians in leadership as it is.” Ms. Gong Jent was really touched by Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club and its focus on moth-

“You have to lead with your heart and your mind. Ask things that you are willing to do yourself.”

9 Asian Leaders

ers and daughters. She also related well with Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling by Jane Hyun about upward movement challenges for Asians. Ms. Gong Jent was an Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute Fellow and is delighted to see the growth of Women in NA A AP! (WIN!). She genuinely believes in “giving back” to her Asian community and does so through work in NA A AP, OCA and teaching fourth graders at church. When asked about her style of leadership, Ms. Gong Jent says she is “a servant leader.” She doesn’t ask her team to do things that she wouldn’t do herself. Working together on a team with her in the lead does not mean that Ms. Gong Jent is better or smarter than anyone on her team. “Leading is about creating a team willing to follow you,” she said. “You have to lead with your heart and your mind. Ask things that you are willing to do yourself.” When Ms. Gong Jent ran the State Farm’s 24-hour call center, she scheduled herself for third shift as well as the easier first and second shifts. “As an Asian female, I’ve demonstrated the ability to lead,” she said. “You know GOD has a sense of humor ‘cause he made me an Asian female and then placed me in Mississippi giving me my southern drawl!”

With a three-decade-long career in the financial services industry, Doreen Woo Ho embodies the spirit of leadership, service and business. She started her trans-Pacific career at Citibank in Taiwan in the 1970’s and worked as a war correspondent for the venerable Time magazine. At Wells Fargo, she served as President and oversaw a $101 billion portfolio for the Consumer Credit Group. She also headed up the Enterprise Marketing Group, which was responsible for global branding, advertising and marketing for the bank as well as its educational financial services and corporate trust services. By 2007, she was the highest ranking Asian American among the five largest banks in the United States and named one of the top 5 Most Powerful Women in Banking by US Banker magazine. Ms. Ho has witnessed changes across global business and the cultural landscape. “As Asian Americans, we still have opportunities to be ‘first’ in so many fields of science, arts, sports, business, government or public sectors,” she said. “The most important thing is to remember not to be the last. That means that you have to prepare for what’s coming and help people along the way.” She learned the importance of service from her family and has kept that commitment throughout her career. She is a founding board member of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) and has been honored by the San Francisco Business Times, the Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP) and the Chinese Historical Society of America for her professional achievements and commitment to increasing corporate diversity. She

has always served on community boards as part of her commitment to giving back, as well as using these opportunities to practice leadership. “I want to see the next generation of leaders emerge in this country,” she explained. She hopes that her legacy is helping to build the next generation of leaders. “My children are looking at careers that my generation would have never thought about,” she said. They are young professionals working in the business and entertainment industries. “The choices are better and wider, but having many choices is harder,” Ms. Ho added. “You have to figure out how to keep your skill sets current and transferable.” Ms. Ho has faced a number of transitions throughout her life and career. Although she was born in Australia, she grew up there as well as in Taiwan, Japan and the United States. She earned her undergraduate degree in history at Smith College and went for her master’s degree in East Asian studies at Columbia University. However, as a new graduate, she decided to move overseas. “Taiwan was developing rapidly in the 70’s, similar to China today, and developing strong business ties with the West,” Ms. Ho said. “And I realized that with my liberal arts background, the best thing I could market was my English skills.” She joined Citibank in Taipei, Taiwan and worked in public relations, writing a monthly economic letter for clients, helping local managers to improve their English memos, translating Chinese into English for the senior American management and other general public relations work for the bank.

“You must know yourself, know what you’re good at and know your passion...”

In 1972, Ms. Ho became a stringer for Time magazine and was stationed in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, which was being ravaged by war. Despite the challenges and dangers associated with the position (the journalist who previously occupied the post was deported by the government for censorship), Ms. Ho persevered in her new role. While communicating with the magazine staff through telex machines, she reported from the warfront and contributed radio spots for Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). Ms. Ho was faced with another decision in 1973 as the Vietnamese and Cambodian governments continued to destabilize. She could continue to work as a reporter for Time in its New York office or enter Citibank’s Corporate Management Training Program in San Francisco. Ms. Ho found that journalism was more about “watching other people make things happen” while banking allowed her to make a difference herself. She decided to join Citibank’s Corporate Banking Division and later filled roles in consumer lending, business banking and retail banking on regional and national levels from 1974–1998. In 1998, Ms. Ho joined Wells Fargo & Company as a member of the Wells Fargo Management Committee where she served in a variety of roles. Upon her retirement in 2008, she oversaw 8,000-plus employees— a tenfold increase from the 800 when she joined the company in 1998. Ms. Ho was named President of Community Banking for United Commercial Bank in January of 2009. Later that year, she became CEO and guided the company through a difficult time to receivership and merger with East West Bank. “The world has opened up to Asian Americans,” she said. “We can’t be stereotyped. You must know yourself, know what you’re good at and know your passion—and you have to be excited about what you’re doing.” naaapasianleaders.org 10


Sonya Gong Jent:

Doreen Woo Ho:

Southern Servant Leader Giving Back

Finding Success Through Transitions in Life and Career

By CYNDY YU-ROBINSON

Ms. Gong Jent is Vice President of Operations at State Farm’s Multicultural Business Development Group, founding member of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) Central Illinois chapter, and a Senior Advisor to the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NA A AP). She has worked in the insurance industry since 1987, serving as an auto claims representative, registered lobbyist, public affairs manager representing two states, and vice president of operations in the southern zone where she oversaw field offices, human resources, learning and development, marketing as well as public affairs for a 4-state zone. Ms. Gong Jent is also the recipient of OCA’s Corporate Achievement Award and OCA’s National Community Service Award. She has been named as a recipient of the Who’s Who in Asian American Communities and a nominee of Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business Diversity Award. But perhaps the best way to get to know her is to experience her positive outlook, effervescent personality and to hear her Southern twang. According to Ms. Gong Jent, people would often tell her, “You don’t sound the way you look.” She says it’s a great icebreaker. She feels people should be proud of their heritage and leverage their strengths of speaking multiple languages and/or dialects. Ms. Gong Jent was raised by first and second generation Chinese American parents in

By ASHLEY SILVERIO

Mississippi. Her dad was a second generation Chinese born in Mississippi in 1920 and her mom emigrated from China in 1960. Her parents offered solid grounding. Dad pushed her to integrate and get her share of everything. Mom spoke no English, but taught Ms. Gong Jent Toison (a southern rural Chinese dialect) and gave her Asian values—respect for people with positions and titles, ambitious academic goals and high ethics. Mom also told her that it was okay to ask and get a “no,” but if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Ms. Gong Jent was a Vice President with State Farm when she got involved with the NA A AP Atlanta chapter. “They do tremendous work,” Ms. Gong Jent said. When she moved to Illinois, she continued her community work with NA A AP and returned as CoFounder to the OCA Central Illinois chapter. With NA A AP, she hopes to help others understand not only how to tap into their natural competencies, talents and nuances, but also to bring them to the surface to differentiate and distinguish themselves from others. As Ms. Gong Jent looks across the world, she sees a refreshing trend—more Asians in leadership. Unfortunately, she still senses some competition within the Asian umbrella about who gets to the top first. “That’s worth rethinking,” she said. “There aren’t enough Asians in leadership as it is.” Ms. Gong Jent was really touched by Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club and its focus on moth-

“You have to lead with your heart and your mind. Ask things that you are willing to do yourself.”

9 Asian Leaders

ers and daughters. She also related well with Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling by Jane Hyun about upward movement challenges for Asians. Ms. Gong Jent was an Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute Fellow and is delighted to see the growth of Women in NA A AP! (WIN!). She genuinely believes in “giving back” to her Asian community and does so through work in NA A AP, OCA and teaching fourth graders at church. When asked about her style of leadership, Ms. Gong Jent says she is “a servant leader.” She doesn’t ask her team to do things that she wouldn’t do herself. Working together on a team with her in the lead does not mean that Ms. Gong Jent is better or smarter than anyone on her team. “Leading is about creating a team willing to follow you,” she said. “You have to lead with your heart and your mind. Ask things that you are willing to do yourself.” When Ms. Gong Jent ran the State Farm’s 24-hour call center, she scheduled herself for third shift as well as the easier first and second shifts. “As an Asian female, I’ve demonstrated the ability to lead,” she said. “You know GOD has a sense of humor ‘cause he made me an Asian female and then placed me in Mississippi giving me my southern drawl!”

With a three-decade-long career in the financial services industry, Doreen Woo Ho embodies the spirit of leadership, service and business. She started her trans-Pacific career at Citibank in Taiwan in the 1970’s and worked as a war correspondent for the venerable Time magazine. At Wells Fargo, she served as President and oversaw a $101 billion portfolio for the Consumer Credit Group. She also headed up the Enterprise Marketing Group, which was responsible for global branding, advertising and marketing for the bank as well as its educational financial services and corporate trust services. By 2007, she was the highest ranking Asian American among the five largest banks in the United States and named one of the top 5 Most Powerful Women in Banking by US Banker magazine. Ms. Ho has witnessed changes across global business and the cultural landscape. “As Asian Americans, we still have opportunities to be ‘first’ in so many fields of science, arts, sports, business, government or public sectors,” she said. “The most important thing is to remember not to be the last. That means that you have to prepare for what’s coming and help people along the way.” She learned the importance of service from her family and has kept that commitment throughout her career. She is a founding board member of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) and has been honored by the San Francisco Business Times, the Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP) and the Chinese Historical Society of America for her professional achievements and commitment to increasing corporate diversity. She

has always served on community boards as part of her commitment to giving back, as well as using these opportunities to practice leadership. “I want to see the next generation of leaders emerge in this country,” she explained. She hopes that her legacy is helping to build the next generation of leaders. “My children are looking at careers that my generation would have never thought about,” she said. They are young professionals working in the business and entertainment industries. “The choices are better and wider, but having many choices is harder,” Ms. Ho added. “You have to figure out how to keep your skill sets current and transferable.” Ms. Ho has faced a number of transitions throughout her life and career. Although she was born in Australia, she grew up there as well as in Taiwan, Japan and the United States. She earned her undergraduate degree in history at Smith College and went for her master’s degree in East Asian studies at Columbia University. However, as a new graduate, she decided to move overseas. “Taiwan was developing rapidly in the 70’s, similar to China today, and developing strong business ties with the West,” Ms. Ho said. “And I realized that with my liberal arts background, the best thing I could market was my English skills.” She joined Citibank in Taipei, Taiwan and worked in public relations, writing a monthly economic letter for clients, helping local managers to improve their English memos, translating Chinese into English for the senior American management and other general public relations work for the bank.

“You must know yourself, know what you’re good at and know your passion...”

In 1972, Ms. Ho became a stringer for Time magazine and was stationed in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, which was being ravaged by war. Despite the challenges and dangers associated with the position (the journalist who previously occupied the post was deported by the government for censorship), Ms. Ho persevered in her new role. While communicating with the magazine staff through telex machines, she reported from the warfront and contributed radio spots for Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). Ms. Ho was faced with another decision in 1973 as the Vietnamese and Cambodian governments continued to destabilize. She could continue to work as a reporter for Time in its New York office or enter Citibank’s Corporate Management Training Program in San Francisco. Ms. Ho found that journalism was more about “watching other people make things happen” while banking allowed her to make a difference herself. She decided to join Citibank’s Corporate Banking Division and later filled roles in consumer lending, business banking and retail banking on regional and national levels from 1974–1998. In 1998, Ms. Ho joined Wells Fargo & Company as a member of the Wells Fargo Management Committee where she served in a variety of roles. Upon her retirement in 2008, she oversaw 8,000-plus employees— a tenfold increase from the 800 when she joined the company in 1998. Ms. Ho was named President of Community Banking for United Commercial Bank in January of 2009. Later that year, she became CEO and guided the company through a difficult time to receivership and merger with East West Bank. “The world has opened up to Asian Americans,” she said. “We can’t be stereotyped. You must know yourself, know what you’re good at and know your passion—and you have to be excited about what you’re doing.” naaapasianleaders.org 10


Neil Horikoshi:

Pioneering Spirit Navigating a Brilliant Journey

Dr. Howard Koh:

Service Through Public Health By VENORA HUNG

By VENORA HUNG

“Historic and unprecedented”—words uttered by President Emeritus of Cal Poly Pomona, Bob Suzuki, in describing the Access and Success Higher Education Summit organized by Neil Horikoshi and his team at the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF). Since joining APIASF as its President and Executive Director in 2008, Mr. Horikoshi has worked to increase access to higher education for Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) students by providing college scholarships and raising awareness of the barriers they face. APIASF recently launched its first annual Higher Education Summit to bring together some of the country’s top APIA leaders, corporate representatives, educators and researchers to bring to light many of the issues regarding access to higher education for APIA students in order to develop key recommendations to address these challenges. “I am passionate about this topic because many people do not know that as a high school graduate in 1971, I was a scholarship student,” Mr. Horikoshi said. “I received a four-year scholarship to the University of Hawaii through the Fukunaga Scholarship Foundation,” he explained. “I understand first-hand the importance that a scholarship can have in shaping a young person’s life.” And indeed, the Fukunaga Scholarship Foundation has been able to achieve its purpose by igniting an education path that turned into a brilliant journey in both the private and public spheres for Mr. Horikoshi.

In 1978, Mr. Horikoshi was the first Asian American lawyer hired by International Business Machines (IBM). A fellow classmate was also the first Latino lawyer to be hired by the company. According to Mr. Horikoshi, many minorities were pursing career choices in legal aid or in the public defenders’ office, but IBM was always at the cutting edge of being the first. “We were recruited by Nick Katzenbach who was the general counsel at IBM,” he said. Mr. Horikoshi ended up spending his entire career at IBM. He worked in the legal department for 15 years before shifting gears and moving onto the business side of the operations. As Director of Global Business Development and Global Services, he led industry discussions on regulatory and procurement issues affecting the information technology industry, developed external relationships with key government agencies on behalf of IBM and participated in congressional and executive branch advocacy meetings. He also spoke frequently at trade association and federal government conferences on procurement issues. “I’ve seen many changes during my time there, including the ‘dark days’ when people thought IBM was going to fail,” Mr. Horikoshi said. IBM was innovative and able to change its business model from being product-based to service-based. The company also quickly changed its platform into one providing global services and business solutions. Mr. Horikoshi reminisced about how the organization also identified people within the organization who were deal-makers and able to implement the changes and broker the deals that were needed to move the company forward.

“I understand first-hand the importance that a scholarship can have in shaping a young person’s life.”

Background After achieving his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Hawaii, Mr. Horikoshi ventured to the mainland. There, he received a juris doctorate degree and masters in business administration degree from the University of Southern California. 11 Asian Leaders

Leadership Mr. Horikoshi credits his successful 30-year career at IBM with the thoughtful leaders his company was able to attract. “Leadership is not easy to define,” he said.

“At IBM, I was lucky to be able to receive advice and observe senior leaders in action.” Since leadership is dynamic, Mr. Horikoshi believes it is important to be a continual student of innovation. For him, this means studying and reading about those who have experienced breakthrough ideas in the workplace and readily implemented creative solutions. He recommends a number of ways the National Association of Asian American Professionals’ (NA A AP) members can stay relevant in today’s workforce. The first is to read leadership books, the second is to subscribe to business journals and analyze the case studies, and the last is to be an avid learner and become a subject matter expert on something that interests you. Mr. Horikoshi also recognizes the important role that NA A AP plays in providing networking opportunities, mentorship and leadership development to young APIA professionals. “Our students have voiced the important need for leadership training and professional development opportunities,” said Mr Horikoshi. “At APIASF, we have implemented new leadership development opportunities for scholars, but those activities will only get our students so far. After graduation, I am glad that there are organizations like NA A AP to help our students continue building the skills they need to become successful long-term and move to the highest levels of leadership in all of the various sectors.” Mr. Horikoshi also believes it is important to stay engaged with the community at large. He serves as chairman of the board of the Aplastic Anemia & MDS (Myelodysplastic Syndromes) International Foundation. He is an advisory council member for both the Asian American Justice Center and the Asian Pacific American Institute for the Congressional Studies as well as a member of the Board of Governors for the Go for Broke National Education Center. From being the first Asian American lawyer at IBM to leading the largest APIA scholarship fund in America, Mr. Horikoshi’s journey has been “historic and unprecedented” in many ways.

“I am most inspired by my family and those around me,” says Dr. Howard Koh, a man whose list of accomplishments runs almost longer than the sunlight on summer’s solstice. Nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009 as the 14th Assistant Secretary of Health for the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Dr. Koh says he is lucky to work every day with individuals dedicated to making America healthier and with an administration that is upholding public health as the nation’s priority. Background The journey of Dr. Koh has been largely shaped by the immigrant experience and his parents’ search for the American dream. Dr. Koh’s parents immigrated to the United States from Korea to raise him and his five siblings. While they were growing up, his parents emphasized the importance of hard work, education and public service. “Our parents emphasized the importance of us reaching our full potential and then giving back to our community,” explains Dr. Koh. “Those were critical themes.” Dr. Koh’s journey reflects the teachings of his parents. He graduated from Yale College and the Yale University School of Medicine. He completed postgraduate training at Boston City Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, serving as chief resident in both places. He has earned board certification in four medical fields: internal medicine, hematology, medical oncology and dermatology. He also has a master’s of public health degree from Boston University. Prior to his current role, Dr. Koh also served as the Harvey V. Fineberg Professor of the Practice of Public Health, Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Director of the Division of Public Health Practice at the Harvard School of Public Health. Leadership Dr. Koh has achieved his potential by blending his passion for public health and his compassion by serving the United States. He has also regularly lectured and written about

the attributes of leadership. In his career, he has found that one of the most important elements of leadership is the power of perseverance. “In public health, there are often setbacks along the way and you have to take the long view and a broad perspective,” says Dr. Koh. Dr. Koh has found that it is essential that one clearly identifies his or her passions. “Pinpoint your passions so that you can stand for something that is bigger than yourself,” says Dr. Koh. He tells young people to complement their passion with compassion. In this way, they will be able to leave a legacy by building a greater sense of community. Dr. Koh believes great leaders are also those effective in empowering others so that successes are shared. In this way, they will be able to leave a legacy by building a greater sense of community. Regarding the dynamic environment of today, Dr. Koh notes that leaders must not only be innovative, but also possess a willingness to step into the unknown. “Leaders may not know what the precise solutions are, but are willing to step into the fray and mobilize people to reach for something better,” he says. Dr. Koh also recognizes that Asian Americans may find it difficult to view themselves as potential leaders because there are so few Asian American role models. But a dedicated desire to make a difference can motivate people to venture outside their comfort zone. Leaders recognize human potential that others may not see. In that regard, Dr. Koh believes that people will value diversity when they see the benefits of having the expertise and insights of those from a wide array of backgrounds. “Constantly learning from others, from different viewpoints, helps us all grow and stretch,” says Koh. Awards and Recognitions Dr. Koh has earned numerous awards and honors for interdisciplinary accomplishments in medicine and public health, including the Distinguished Service Award from the

American Cancer Society, the Drs. Jack E. White/LaSalle D. Leffall Cancer Prevention Award from the American Association for Cancer Research and the Intercultural Cancer Council as well as the Dr. Harold P. Freeman Lectureship Award. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Former President Bill Clinton appointed Dr. Koh as a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board from 2000 to 2002. He is a past Chair of the Massachusetts Coalition for a Healthy Future, a group that pushed for the Commonwealth’s groundbreaking tobacco control initiative. Dr. Koh was named by the New England Division of the American Cancer Society as “one of the most influential persons in the fight against tobacco during the last 25 years.” In recognition of his national contributions to the field of early detection and prevention of melanoma, the Boston Red Sox designated him a Medical All Star in 2003, which included the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park. Dr. Koh and his wife, Dr. Claudia Arrigg are the proud parents of three children. naaapasianleaders.org 12


Neil Horikoshi:

Pioneering Spirit Navigating a Brilliant Journey

Dr. Howard Koh:

Service Through Public Health By VENORA HUNG

By VENORA HUNG

“Historic and unprecedented”—words uttered by President Emeritus of Cal Poly Pomona, Bob Suzuki, in describing the Access and Success Higher Education Summit organized by Neil Horikoshi and his team at the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF). Since joining APIASF as its President and Executive Director in 2008, Mr. Horikoshi has worked to increase access to higher education for Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) students by providing college scholarships and raising awareness of the barriers they face. APIASF recently launched its first annual Higher Education Summit to bring together some of the country’s top APIA leaders, corporate representatives, educators and researchers to bring to light many of the issues regarding access to higher education for APIA students in order to develop key recommendations to address these challenges. “I am passionate about this topic because many people do not know that as a high school graduate in 1971, I was a scholarship student,” Mr. Horikoshi said. “I received a four-year scholarship to the University of Hawaii through the Fukunaga Scholarship Foundation,” he explained. “I understand first-hand the importance that a scholarship can have in shaping a young person’s life.” And indeed, the Fukunaga Scholarship Foundation has been able to achieve its purpose by igniting an education path that turned into a brilliant journey in both the private and public spheres for Mr. Horikoshi.

In 1978, Mr. Horikoshi was the first Asian American lawyer hired by International Business Machines (IBM). A fellow classmate was also the first Latino lawyer to be hired by the company. According to Mr. Horikoshi, many minorities were pursing career choices in legal aid or in the public defenders’ office, but IBM was always at the cutting edge of being the first. “We were recruited by Nick Katzenbach who was the general counsel at IBM,” he said. Mr. Horikoshi ended up spending his entire career at IBM. He worked in the legal department for 15 years before shifting gears and moving onto the business side of the operations. As Director of Global Business Development and Global Services, he led industry discussions on regulatory and procurement issues affecting the information technology industry, developed external relationships with key government agencies on behalf of IBM and participated in congressional and executive branch advocacy meetings. He also spoke frequently at trade association and federal government conferences on procurement issues. “I’ve seen many changes during my time there, including the ‘dark days’ when people thought IBM was going to fail,” Mr. Horikoshi said. IBM was innovative and able to change its business model from being product-based to service-based. The company also quickly changed its platform into one providing global services and business solutions. Mr. Horikoshi reminisced about how the organization also identified people within the organization who were deal-makers and able to implement the changes and broker the deals that were needed to move the company forward.

“I understand first-hand the importance that a scholarship can have in shaping a young person’s life.”

Background After achieving his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Hawaii, Mr. Horikoshi ventured to the mainland. There, he received a juris doctorate degree and masters in business administration degree from the University of Southern California. 11 Asian Leaders

Leadership Mr. Horikoshi credits his successful 30-year career at IBM with the thoughtful leaders his company was able to attract. “Leadership is not easy to define,” he said.

“At IBM, I was lucky to be able to receive advice and observe senior leaders in action.” Since leadership is dynamic, Mr. Horikoshi believes it is important to be a continual student of innovation. For him, this means studying and reading about those who have experienced breakthrough ideas in the workplace and readily implemented creative solutions. He recommends a number of ways the National Association of Asian American Professionals’ (NA A AP) members can stay relevant in today’s workforce. The first is to read leadership books, the second is to subscribe to business journals and analyze the case studies, and the last is to be an avid learner and become a subject matter expert on something that interests you. Mr. Horikoshi also recognizes the important role that NA A AP plays in providing networking opportunities, mentorship and leadership development to young APIA professionals. “Our students have voiced the important need for leadership training and professional development opportunities,” said Mr Horikoshi. “At APIASF, we have implemented new leadership development opportunities for scholars, but those activities will only get our students so far. After graduation, I am glad that there are organizations like NA A AP to help our students continue building the skills they need to become successful long-term and move to the highest levels of leadership in all of the various sectors.” Mr. Horikoshi also believes it is important to stay engaged with the community at large. He serves as chairman of the board of the Aplastic Anemia & MDS (Myelodysplastic Syndromes) International Foundation. He is an advisory council member for both the Asian American Justice Center and the Asian Pacific American Institute for the Congressional Studies as well as a member of the Board of Governors for the Go for Broke National Education Center. From being the first Asian American lawyer at IBM to leading the largest APIA scholarship fund in America, Mr. Horikoshi’s journey has been “historic and unprecedented” in many ways.

“I am most inspired by my family and those around me,” says Dr. Howard Koh, a man whose list of accomplishments runs almost longer than the sunlight on summer’s solstice. Nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009 as the 14th Assistant Secretary of Health for the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Dr. Koh says he is lucky to work every day with individuals dedicated to making America healthier and with an administration that is upholding public health as the nation’s priority. Background The journey of Dr. Koh has been largely shaped by the immigrant experience and his parents’ search for the American dream. Dr. Koh’s parents immigrated to the United States from Korea to raise him and his five siblings. While they were growing up, his parents emphasized the importance of hard work, education and public service. “Our parents emphasized the importance of us reaching our full potential and then giving back to our community,” explains Dr. Koh. “Those were critical themes.” Dr. Koh’s journey reflects the teachings of his parents. He graduated from Yale College and the Yale University School of Medicine. He completed postgraduate training at Boston City Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, serving as chief resident in both places. He has earned board certification in four medical fields: internal medicine, hematology, medical oncology and dermatology. He also has a master’s of public health degree from Boston University. Prior to his current role, Dr. Koh also served as the Harvey V. Fineberg Professor of the Practice of Public Health, Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Director of the Division of Public Health Practice at the Harvard School of Public Health. Leadership Dr. Koh has achieved his potential by blending his passion for public health and his compassion by serving the United States. He has also regularly lectured and written about

the attributes of leadership. In his career, he has found that one of the most important elements of leadership is the power of perseverance. “In public health, there are often setbacks along the way and you have to take the long view and a broad perspective,” says Dr. Koh. Dr. Koh has found that it is essential that one clearly identifies his or her passions. “Pinpoint your passions so that you can stand for something that is bigger than yourself,” says Dr. Koh. He tells young people to complement their passion with compassion. In this way, they will be able to leave a legacy by building a greater sense of community. Dr. Koh believes great leaders are also those effective in empowering others so that successes are shared. In this way, they will be able to leave a legacy by building a greater sense of community. Regarding the dynamic environment of today, Dr. Koh notes that leaders must not only be innovative, but also possess a willingness to step into the unknown. “Leaders may not know what the precise solutions are, but are willing to step into the fray and mobilize people to reach for something better,” he says. Dr. Koh also recognizes that Asian Americans may find it difficult to view themselves as potential leaders because there are so few Asian American role models. But a dedicated desire to make a difference can motivate people to venture outside their comfort zone. Leaders recognize human potential that others may not see. In that regard, Dr. Koh believes that people will value diversity when they see the benefits of having the expertise and insights of those from a wide array of backgrounds. “Constantly learning from others, from different viewpoints, helps us all grow and stretch,” says Koh. Awards and Recognitions Dr. Koh has earned numerous awards and honors for interdisciplinary accomplishments in medicine and public health, including the Distinguished Service Award from the

American Cancer Society, the Drs. Jack E. White/LaSalle D. Leffall Cancer Prevention Award from the American Association for Cancer Research and the Intercultural Cancer Council as well as the Dr. Harold P. Freeman Lectureship Award. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Former President Bill Clinton appointed Dr. Koh as a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board from 2000 to 2002. He is a past Chair of the Massachusetts Coalition for a Healthy Future, a group that pushed for the Commonwealth’s groundbreaking tobacco control initiative. Dr. Koh was named by the New England Division of the American Cancer Society as “one of the most influential persons in the fight against tobacco during the last 25 years.” In recognition of his national contributions to the field of early detection and prevention of melanoma, the Boston Red Sox designated him a Medical All Star in 2003, which included the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park. Dr. Koh and his wife, Dr. Claudia Arrigg are the proud parents of three children. naaapasianleaders.org 12


Dr. Qi Lu:

Leading Through Inspiration By TAMMY K. DANG

Michelle Rhee:

Creating Transformational Change by Challenging the Status Quo By TAMMY K. DANG

Dr. Qi Lu once thought that he would go work for a radio factory after studying computer science. That plan didn’t work out the way he thought it would because today, he serves as President of Microsoft’s Online Services Division, leading the company’s search and online advertising efforts. Dr. Lu’s path to leading a division of one of America’s most storied companies reads like a Horatio Alger novel— with this one spanning two continents and a chance encounter with a Carnegie Mellon professor that would eventually lead him to Microsoft Corporation. During China’s Cultural Revolution, Dr. Lu’s parents sent him away from Shanghai to live with his grandfather in a tiny province in Jiangsu to escape persecution. He lived 5 hours away from them with no plumbing or electricity. “In retrospect, it was a blessing in disguise,” Dr. Lu said, regarding the circumstances in which he spent his youth. “It taught you to work hard to earn everything.” During difficult times, the government rationed food. Families in the village had to figure out a way to eat for three months out of the year. Village life also taught Dr. Lu about learning and cultural values. “Village life carries thousands of years of Confucianism,” he said. Usually, there was only one teacher in a village who had the respect of everyone. If the teacher came to your house to eat, you would treat him like a king. Dr. Lu grew up idolizing Ludwig van Beethoven, the German composer and pianist, who despite losing his hearing, continued to compose music. “He symbolizes spiritual adversity as life is about overcoming obstacles,” Dr. Lu said. When he was old enough, Dr. Lu passed an exam to attend college. Due to his physical limitations of being too small and light, he had a choice of

studying mathematics or computer science. With a mathematics degree, he was told he could become a middle school teacher. With a computer science degree, he was told he could work at a radio factory, which sounded much more interesting. His chance encounter came when he reluctantly attended the lecture of a computer science professor named Dr. Edmund Clark. By this time, Dr. Lu had earned a master’s of science in the computer science field from Fudan University. He asked some impressive questions, which prompted Dr. Clark to offer him a scholarship to earn his doctorate at Carnegie Mellon. Dr. Lu then worked as a research staff member at IBM’s Almaden Research Center and Carnegie Mellon. He also served as a faculty member at Fudan University. He then went on to spend 10 years as a Yahoo! senior executive and finally on to Microsoft. He also holds 20 U.S. patents. According to Dr. Lu, the Chinese tradition of being humble and respectful has been helpful in helping him get to where he is today. Other factors were also involved, but he points out one key element. “Chances favor the prepared mind,” he said. A prepared mind helps you see the right bus so that you can jump on it. In terms of leadership, a distinguishing factor between a great leader versus a good leader is the ability to inspire. Dr. Lu tries to inspire those who follow him. “When you have hope, you can move mountains,” he said. “When a leader inspires, people perform differently.” Dr. Lu feels blessed to work in the computer industry. “Computing is a general purpose enabler,” he said. “It makes anything better.”

“When you have hope, you can move mountains.”

13 Asian Leaders

As Chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public school system, Michelle Rhee’s singular vision has been to reform by challenging the status quo. Her passion for teacher quality and social justice for the underprivileged has fueled her energies to create transformational change in what once was one of the most dysfunctional and lowest performing school systems in America. From controversial teacher and administrative firings to tough negotiations with the teachers’ union along with trying to win over the community, Ms. Rhee has weathered storms that would have long driven many people away. Her frank manner and “take no prisoners” style of management has garnered national attention as well as fans and critics. So how and why did a Korean American woman who grew up in Toledo, Ohio end up taking on the top job in an urban school district with an 82 percent African American population? “I always liked working with kids,” Ms. Rhee said. After graduating from Cornell University, she taught second graders at Harlem Park Elementary School in Baltimore for a program called Teach for America. Teach for America is a nonprofit organization that recruits recent college graduates and professionals to teach in lowincome communities for two years. After 3 years of teaching, Ms. Rhee became obsessed with teacher quality. She felt that kids, especially ones from underprivileged backgrounds, could rise to amazing heights if the adults around them set high expectations. She cited the example of Anacostia High School, a place labeled as a “drop out factory.” She visited a classroom one morning where the teacher was solid, asking the kids questions, explaining things, and getting them to understand. After first period, she got up to leave and found three young men walking with her. “Where are you going?” she asked them. “We come for first period, but second period is not so great, so we’re rollin,’” one of them said.

According to Ms. Rhee, these kids were not your standard truants. They made a conscious and informed decision to wake up early and attend the class of a teacher who cared. “Kids will rise to the expectations we set for them,” she said. This idea of teacher quality was furthered cemented once Ms. Rhee completed a master’s degree in public policy with a special concentration in education at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. “When I finished, I decided I wanted to do something having to do with teacher impact,” she said. She started a nonprofit that would recruit and train teachers to serve in urban school districts called The New Teacher Project. She ran it for 10 years. In 2007, Mayor Adrian Fenty convinced Ms. Rhee to become chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public school system—a position she was reluctant to take on. She did not want the headaches of dealing with the obstacles and barriers of an urban school district. She also told the mayor that she would only give him problems with her blunt style. Ms. Rhee, however, changed her mind when Mr. Fenty wrestled control of the 55,000-student system away from the D.C. Council and promised to back her 100 percent. As mayor, Mr. Fenty felt that there was no greater cause than to fix the educational system. Ms. Rhee would need the backing as furor registered throughout the district when she tried to implement changes. These changes included schools closures, layoffs and tough budget decisions. The mayor never second guessed her. “He hired someone he believed in and gave me authority to do my job,” she said. According to Ms. Rhee, a great leader finds great people, gives them what they need to be successful and knocks down barriers

that could stand in the way. Ms. Rhee believes that having a thick skin is also what has helped her weather the stormy relationship she has had with parents, teachers and the school district. “You can go into public service jobs and not make waves, but if you want to go into a job where you really believe significant change can occur, you have to be okay with not being liked,” she said. Ms. Rhee didn’t take on the job as chancellor to be popular. “I think the adults have for far too long been willing to turn a blind eye so that we can all get along,” she added. “In the meantime, the children have been robbed of an education.” Ms. Rhee also believes that as an Asian woman, she violated everyone’s expectations in what they wanted in a school chief. “I don’t spare feelings,” she said, which went against the expectations of an Asian woman. She believes that the furor would not have registered so great if she were a 50-year-old white guy advocating change. Since Ms. Rhee’s arrival in 2007, glimmers of hope have surfaced. After a two-year time period, the Washington, D.C. school district has become the number one performing with regards to improvement. “Our Hispanic and black kids have had the highest growth rates in reading and math in the 4th to 8th grades,” Ms. Rhee said. Within two terms, she, along with Mr. Fenty, would like to turn the district into the highest performing one and close the achievement gaps. “A lot of our kids come to school with significant social circumstances,” she added, but she believes fixing problems in public education is the only way to fix poverty. Michelle Rhee wholeheartedly believes she can and will turn around the Washington, D.C. public school system.

“Kids will rise to the expectations we set for them.”

naaapasianleaders.org 14


Dr. Qi Lu:

Leading Through Inspiration By TAMMY K. DANG

Michelle Rhee:

Creating Transformational Change by Challenging the Status Quo By TAMMY K. DANG

Dr. Qi Lu once thought that he would go work for a radio factory after studying computer science. That plan didn’t work out the way he thought it would because today, he serves as President of Microsoft’s Online Services Division, leading the company’s search and online advertising efforts. Dr. Lu’s path to leading a division of one of America’s most storied companies reads like a Horatio Alger novel— with this one spanning two continents and a chance encounter with a Carnegie Mellon professor that would eventually lead him to Microsoft Corporation. During China’s Cultural Revolution, Dr. Lu’s parents sent him away from Shanghai to live with his grandfather in a tiny province in Jiangsu to escape persecution. He lived 5 hours away from them with no plumbing or electricity. “In retrospect, it was a blessing in disguise,” Dr. Lu said, regarding the circumstances in which he spent his youth. “It taught you to work hard to earn everything.” During difficult times, the government rationed food. Families in the village had to figure out a way to eat for three months out of the year. Village life also taught Dr. Lu about learning and cultural values. “Village life carries thousands of years of Confucianism,” he said. Usually, there was only one teacher in a village who had the respect of everyone. If the teacher came to your house to eat, you would treat him like a king. Dr. Lu grew up idolizing Ludwig van Beethoven, the German composer and pianist, who despite losing his hearing, continued to compose music. “He symbolizes spiritual adversity as life is about overcoming obstacles,” Dr. Lu said. When he was old enough, Dr. Lu passed an exam to attend college. Due to his physical limitations of being too small and light, he had a choice of

studying mathematics or computer science. With a mathematics degree, he was told he could become a middle school teacher. With a computer science degree, he was told he could work at a radio factory, which sounded much more interesting. His chance encounter came when he reluctantly attended the lecture of a computer science professor named Dr. Edmund Clark. By this time, Dr. Lu had earned a master’s of science in the computer science field from Fudan University. He asked some impressive questions, which prompted Dr. Clark to offer him a scholarship to earn his doctorate at Carnegie Mellon. Dr. Lu then worked as a research staff member at IBM’s Almaden Research Center and Carnegie Mellon. He also served as a faculty member at Fudan University. He then went on to spend 10 years as a Yahoo! senior executive and finally on to Microsoft. He also holds 20 U.S. patents. According to Dr. Lu, the Chinese tradition of being humble and respectful has been helpful in helping him get to where he is today. Other factors were also involved, but he points out one key element. “Chances favor the prepared mind,” he said. A prepared mind helps you see the right bus so that you can jump on it. In terms of leadership, a distinguishing factor between a great leader versus a good leader is the ability to inspire. Dr. Lu tries to inspire those who follow him. “When you have hope, you can move mountains,” he said. “When a leader inspires, people perform differently.” Dr. Lu feels blessed to work in the computer industry. “Computing is a general purpose enabler,” he said. “It makes anything better.”

“When you have hope, you can move mountains.”

13 Asian Leaders

As Chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public school system, Michelle Rhee’s singular vision has been to reform by challenging the status quo. Her passion for teacher quality and social justice for the underprivileged has fueled her energies to create transformational change in what once was one of the most dysfunctional and lowest performing school systems in America. From controversial teacher and administrative firings to tough negotiations with the teachers’ union along with trying to win over the community, Ms. Rhee has weathered storms that would have long driven many people away. Her frank manner and “take no prisoners” style of management has garnered national attention as well as fans and critics. So how and why did a Korean American woman who grew up in Toledo, Ohio end up taking on the top job in an urban school district with an 82 percent African American population? “I always liked working with kids,” Ms. Rhee said. After graduating from Cornell University, she taught second graders at Harlem Park Elementary School in Baltimore for a program called Teach for America. Teach for America is a nonprofit organization that recruits recent college graduates and professionals to teach in lowincome communities for two years. After 3 years of teaching, Ms. Rhee became obsessed with teacher quality. She felt that kids, especially ones from underprivileged backgrounds, could rise to amazing heights if the adults around them set high expectations. She cited the example of Anacostia High School, a place labeled as a “drop out factory.” She visited a classroom one morning where the teacher was solid, asking the kids questions, explaining things, and getting them to understand. After first period, she got up to leave and found three young men walking with her. “Where are you going?” she asked them. “We come for first period, but second period is not so great, so we’re rollin,’” one of them said.

According to Ms. Rhee, these kids were not your standard truants. They made a conscious and informed decision to wake up early and attend the class of a teacher who cared. “Kids will rise to the expectations we set for them,” she said. This idea of teacher quality was furthered cemented once Ms. Rhee completed a master’s degree in public policy with a special concentration in education at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. “When I finished, I decided I wanted to do something having to do with teacher impact,” she said. She started a nonprofit that would recruit and train teachers to serve in urban school districts called The New Teacher Project. She ran it for 10 years. In 2007, Mayor Adrian Fenty convinced Ms. Rhee to become chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public school system—a position she was reluctant to take on. She did not want the headaches of dealing with the obstacles and barriers of an urban school district. She also told the mayor that she would only give him problems with her blunt style. Ms. Rhee, however, changed her mind when Mr. Fenty wrestled control of the 55,000-student system away from the D.C. Council and promised to back her 100 percent. As mayor, Mr. Fenty felt that there was no greater cause than to fix the educational system. Ms. Rhee would need the backing as furor registered throughout the district when she tried to implement changes. These changes included schools closures, layoffs and tough budget decisions. The mayor never second guessed her. “He hired someone he believed in and gave me authority to do my job,” she said. According to Ms. Rhee, a great leader finds great people, gives them what they need to be successful and knocks down barriers

that could stand in the way. Ms. Rhee believes that having a thick skin is also what has helped her weather the stormy relationship she has had with parents, teachers and the school district. “You can go into public service jobs and not make waves, but if you want to go into a job where you really believe significant change can occur, you have to be okay with not being liked,” she said. Ms. Rhee didn’t take on the job as chancellor to be popular. “I think the adults have for far too long been willing to turn a blind eye so that we can all get along,” she added. “In the meantime, the children have been robbed of an education.” Ms. Rhee also believes that as an Asian woman, she violated everyone’s expectations in what they wanted in a school chief. “I don’t spare feelings,” she said, which went against the expectations of an Asian woman. She believes that the furor would not have registered so great if she were a 50-year-old white guy advocating change. Since Ms. Rhee’s arrival in 2007, glimmers of hope have surfaced. After a two-year time period, the Washington, D.C. school district has become the number one performing with regards to improvement. “Our Hispanic and black kids have had the highest growth rates in reading and math in the 4th to 8th grades,” Ms. Rhee said. Within two terms, she, along with Mr. Fenty, would like to turn the district into the highest performing one and close the achievement gaps. “A lot of our kids come to school with significant social circumstances,” she added, but she believes fixing problems in public education is the only way to fix poverty. Michelle Rhee wholeheartedly believes she can and will turn around the Washington, D.C. public school system.

“Kids will rise to the expectations we set for them.”

naaapasianleaders.org 14


Mable Yee:

Fighting Battles and Breaking Barriers By TAMMY K. DANG

Growing up in Berkeley, California, Mable Yee dreamed only of being a third grade teacher. Never could she have imagined her life to encompass being a technologist, social entrepreneur, filmmaker, activist, as well as Founder and CEO of several start-ups in the networking, internet and consumer marketing industries. So how did a woman whose only ambition was to become a third grade teacher end up with such a vast array of experiences? Well, in 1978, after teaching for a couple of years, Ms. Yee decided to change careers. She applied and interviewed for a position in sales at Xerox Corporation in Santa Clara, California. By then, affirmative action had gone into effect and corporations were looking for ways to diversify their workforce. “There really weren’t any Asians in sales in Fortune 500 corporations at that time,” Ms. Yee said. She went through the rigorous interview process, took an exam, and was told she would be hired. However, at the last minute, she was rejected. She was given a superficial reason stating that she hadn’t passed part of the test. Undaunted, Ms. Yee applied at the San Francisco office where she interviewed and got hired. According to Ms. Yee, the lesson here was not to give up. She had to keep trying to get what she wanted. “You have to learn to fight back,” she said. “You can’t accept what people tell you—in business or life.” The sales position at Xerox would serve as the beginning of a 27-year-run in the technology industry for Ms. Yee. Her career has even included launching and managing global brands for Fortune 1000 corporations such as Ashton-Tate and Network General. Incidentally, at a Xerox company meeting two years later, she ran into the man who originally interviewed her. She shook his hand and reminded him that she was the same woman he rejected because he said she didn’t pass a portion of the exam. He knew the true reason for the rejection was based on racial quotas. According to Ms. Yee, he turned “green” with embarrassment.

Ms. Yee learned to fight back very early in life. Berkeley was the epicenter of strikes and protests against issues such as the Vietnam War. “It was an important time where you learned to fight back,” Ms. Yee said. Berkeley was also a place with a lot of immigrant-based families. As a result, she met many different types of people. She also encountered racial epithets and was frequently challenged. “The stereotypes of Asians at that time were that we were passive, quiet and obedient,” she said.

English. Ms. Yee would tell them, “Why wouldn’t I speak good English? I was born and raised in Berkeley, California.” She would go into mid and upper management meetings with mostly white males. There would be a few black men, Latinos and women. “I was fighting the battle everyday breaking stereotypes,” Ms. Yee said. “I learned my biggest weapon was my ability to be articulate and be seen as a leader. The experience helped push me to a larger audience.” According to Ms. Yee, sometimes people would try to shove her aside. The lesson for Ms. Yee here was learning how to be smart, dealing with different people and being perceived as a leader. “A lot of Asians don’t understand the importance of being perceived as a leader,” she said. Part of this is due to cultural factors. Asians are convinced that having the best education, straight A’s and the best numbers are what get you ahead. Hard work is important, but it is not enough. “Asians wait to get recognition,” Ms. Yee said. “White people demand recognition.” Asians also generally do not want to bring attention upon themselves. “You need to be articulate and not afraid to speak out,” recommended Ms. Yee. From her business experience, Ms. Yee has been able to get money from venture capitalists, angel investors and corporations. “I had the ability to articulate a vision and mission, sell, execute and lead,” Ms. Yee said. “I wasn’t afraid to get rejected.” According to Ms. Yee, Asian women also face gender stereotypes. They have a tendency not to take high risk jobs like sales, marketing, executive or strategic positions. They end up in lower profile public relations or human resource positions rather than sales or sales management where you have to be aggressive and competitive. “Asian women are not setting themselves up for success. They need to project themselves as corporate executives and dream of achieving at the highest levels,” Ms. Yee said. “They’re not promoting themselves.” Ms. Yee believes that you have to be asser-

“I learned my biggest weapon was my ability to be articulate and be seen as a leader.”

15 Asian Leaders

One of the turning points in her adult life came when she wanted to leave Xerox after five years to work at a more technology driven company. This was before Xerox diversified its line of business into computers, software and networking products. Her boss wouldn’t allow her to quit and instead, offered her a promotion into the marketing department at the company’s headquarters in Rochester, New York. Ms. Yee took a risk and moved to the east coast to help with the national marketing efforts of Xerox. She didn’t know anyone. She traveled extensively throughout the country dealing with high level executives. She ventured into places not used to seeing Asian females. The experiences changed her view of the world. She learned how to be by herself. She also dealt with racial and gender stereotypes as corporations generally did not have many Asians in their workforce during that time. People would comment on how well she spoke

tive and let people know what you want in business. “Asians also aren’t taught to use broad based connections.” Oftentimes, they stay within the Asian culture when they should be out networking in mainstream America. You also need to accept failure as part of the journey through life. Failure and success are the same. “Failure is another lesson that strengthens you,” according to Ms. Yee. “It makes you a better person.” Asians often feel like they have to be perfect to succeed. They don’t want to fail and as a result, may be averse to taking risks. In life sometimes, you have to fail and “learn it the hard way.” “Asians, in particular, have to step up, take a more visible role, stick their necks out there, take a chance, be a leader or learn how to be a leader,” Ms. Yee said. Asians need to represent themselves and fight against the negative stereotypes. The people who inspire Ms. Yee the most are those who fight the battles to get what they want. “You have to be smart and figure things out,” Ms. Yee said. People always say ‘no’ or ‘you can’t be promoted.’ When Ms. Yee gets a ‘no’ response, it spurs her on to try regardless of whether she succeeds or fails. “It’s the opportunity that really drives me,” Ms. Yee added. Her energy comes from being involved with projects she is passionate about. For instance, trying to understand the cultural and social issues that have prevented many minority women from voting and leading led her to produce a documentary called Engage Her: Getting Minority Women to Lead and Vote. The film proved that lack of leadership in corporations played out in the polls. Thus, Engage Her, the nonprofit organization working to help multicultural girls and women develop leadership skills, was born. The girl who dreamed of being a third grade teacher decided to take an adventure through life and even had twins at age 51. “I’ve been able to live my life freely and not live up to the expectations of others,” Ms. Yee said.

naaapasianleaders.org 16


Mable Yee:

Fighting Battles and Breaking Barriers By TAMMY K. DANG

Growing up in Berkeley, California, Mable Yee dreamed only of being a third grade teacher. Never could she have imagined her life to encompass being a technologist, social entrepreneur, filmmaker, activist, as well as Founder and CEO of several start-ups in the networking, internet and consumer marketing industries. So how did a woman whose only ambition was to become a third grade teacher end up with such a vast array of experiences? Well, in 1978, after teaching for a couple of years, Ms. Yee decided to change careers. She applied and interviewed for a position in sales at Xerox Corporation in Santa Clara, California. By then, affirmative action had gone into effect and corporations were looking for ways to diversify their workforce. “There really weren’t any Asians in sales in Fortune 500 corporations at that time,” Ms. Yee said. She went through the rigorous interview process, took an exam, and was told she would be hired. However, at the last minute, she was rejected. She was given a superficial reason stating that she hadn’t passed part of the test. Undaunted, Ms. Yee applied at the San Francisco office where she interviewed and got hired. According to Ms. Yee, the lesson here was not to give up. She had to keep trying to get what she wanted. “You have to learn to fight back,” she said. “You can’t accept what people tell you—in business or life.” The sales position at Xerox would serve as the beginning of a 27-year-run in the technology industry for Ms. Yee. Her career has even included launching and managing global brands for Fortune 1000 corporations such as Ashton-Tate and Network General. Incidentally, at a Xerox company meeting two years later, she ran into the man who originally interviewed her. She shook his hand and reminded him that she was the same woman he rejected because he said she didn’t pass a portion of the exam. He knew the true reason for the rejection was based on racial quotas. According to Ms. Yee, he turned “green” with embarrassment.

Ms. Yee learned to fight back very early in life. Berkeley was the epicenter of strikes and protests against issues such as the Vietnam War. “It was an important time where you learned to fight back,” Ms. Yee said. Berkeley was also a place with a lot of immigrant-based families. As a result, she met many different types of people. She also encountered racial epithets and was frequently challenged. “The stereotypes of Asians at that time were that we were passive, quiet and obedient,” she said.

English. Ms. Yee would tell them, “Why wouldn’t I speak good English? I was born and raised in Berkeley, California.” She would go into mid and upper management meetings with mostly white males. There would be a few black men, Latinos and women. “I was fighting the battle everyday breaking stereotypes,” Ms. Yee said. “I learned my biggest weapon was my ability to be articulate and be seen as a leader. The experience helped push me to a larger audience.” According to Ms. Yee, sometimes people would try to shove her aside. The lesson for Ms. Yee here was learning how to be smart, dealing with different people and being perceived as a leader. “A lot of Asians don’t understand the importance of being perceived as a leader,” she said. Part of this is due to cultural factors. Asians are convinced that having the best education, straight A’s and the best numbers are what get you ahead. Hard work is important, but it is not enough. “Asians wait to get recognition,” Ms. Yee said. “White people demand recognition.” Asians also generally do not want to bring attention upon themselves. “You need to be articulate and not afraid to speak out,” recommended Ms. Yee. From her business experience, Ms. Yee has been able to get money from venture capitalists, angel investors and corporations. “I had the ability to articulate a vision and mission, sell, execute and lead,” Ms. Yee said. “I wasn’t afraid to get rejected.” According to Ms. Yee, Asian women also face gender stereotypes. They have a tendency not to take high risk jobs like sales, marketing, executive or strategic positions. They end up in lower profile public relations or human resource positions rather than sales or sales management where you have to be aggressive and competitive. “Asian women are not setting themselves up for success. They need to project themselves as corporate executives and dream of achieving at the highest levels,” Ms. Yee said. “They’re not promoting themselves.” Ms. Yee believes that you have to be asser-

“I learned my biggest weapon was my ability to be articulate and be seen as a leader.”

15 Asian Leaders

One of the turning points in her adult life came when she wanted to leave Xerox after five years to work at a more technology driven company. This was before Xerox diversified its line of business into computers, software and networking products. Her boss wouldn’t allow her to quit and instead, offered her a promotion into the marketing department at the company’s headquarters in Rochester, New York. Ms. Yee took a risk and moved to the east coast to help with the national marketing efforts of Xerox. She didn’t know anyone. She traveled extensively throughout the country dealing with high level executives. She ventured into places not used to seeing Asian females. The experiences changed her view of the world. She learned how to be by herself. She also dealt with racial and gender stereotypes as corporations generally did not have many Asians in their workforce during that time. People would comment on how well she spoke

tive and let people know what you want in business. “Asians also aren’t taught to use broad based connections.” Oftentimes, they stay within the Asian culture when they should be out networking in mainstream America. You also need to accept failure as part of the journey through life. Failure and success are the same. “Failure is another lesson that strengthens you,” according to Ms. Yee. “It makes you a better person.” Asians often feel like they have to be perfect to succeed. They don’t want to fail and as a result, may be averse to taking risks. In life sometimes, you have to fail and “learn it the hard way.” “Asians, in particular, have to step up, take a more visible role, stick their necks out there, take a chance, be a leader or learn how to be a leader,” Ms. Yee said. Asians need to represent themselves and fight against the negative stereotypes. The people who inspire Ms. Yee the most are those who fight the battles to get what they want. “You have to be smart and figure things out,” Ms. Yee said. People always say ‘no’ or ‘you can’t be promoted.’ When Ms. Yee gets a ‘no’ response, it spurs her on to try regardless of whether she succeeds or fails. “It’s the opportunity that really drives me,” Ms. Yee added. Her energy comes from being involved with projects she is passionate about. For instance, trying to understand the cultural and social issues that have prevented many minority women from voting and leading led her to produce a documentary called Engage Her: Getting Minority Women to Lead and Vote. The film proved that lack of leadership in corporations played out in the polls. Thus, Engage Her, the nonprofit organization working to help multicultural girls and women develop leadership skills, was born. The girl who dreamed of being a third grade teacher decided to take an adventure through life and even had twins at age 51. “I’ve been able to live my life freely and not live up to the expectations of others,” Ms. Yee said.

naaapasianleaders.org 16


National Programming: Focused Leadership Training By Yuanheng (Sally) Wang

National Vice President, Chief Program Officer Yuanheng (Sally) Wang shares her experiences and perspectives about the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) National Programming. Q: What does the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) National Programming team do? A: NA A AP’s programming team creates whole new avenues for our members to focus in on leadership training and professional development. We have a diverse and talented team, consisting of 5 directors—Judi Rhee Alloway, Shane Carlin, Sherman Kong, Yelin Li and Yiu Man So—as well as one program manager, Jessica Yang. The main work streams are national webinars, convention programming, national retreat, scholarship, and Women in NA A AP! (WIN!). I will also be launching and directing a new program in late 2010 called the National Certificate Program. Q: Wow, that’s a lot of responsibility. Which one is your proudest? A: Hmmm. That’s a tough question. We have done an amazing job and made tremendous progress on almost every front. For scholarship, run by Yelin and Yiu Man, this is a year of renewal and growth. Verizon Communications, the broadband and telecommunications company, has just confirmed its commitment to NA A AP for a second year and Solbridge University of South Korea is giving away three full-tuition B.A./M.B.A. scholarships to NA A AP members. Moreover, WIN! has taken off under Judi’s leadership. She has built a team of leaders and attracted independent sponsorships. One important launch in the last year has been the national webinar series. It uses the internet to deliver video presentations. Nonmembers are allowed to watch the series. I work very closely on the project with Sherman, who is simply a joy to work with. He is the moderator on the webinars and takes care of most of the logistics while I focus on soliciting speakers and selecting topics. We are basically the “Siamese twins” on the project.

17 Asian Leaders

Q: Why did you decide to create the national webinar series? A: Leadership is performance. You do not get a second chance at a crucial moment. The key to performance is preparation with hours of practice and skills ready for use. Leadership, more than almost any other skill, is learned by transferring experiences and wisdom from people who have been there. The Asian American community, because it is professionally and personally spread out, often does not have many opportunities for experienced leaders to connect with others who could benefit from its experiences. That is why NA A AP’s national programming team took the initiative to create the national webinar series—to provide free and open programming to NA A AP members on mastering the skills and capabilities that make or break projects and careers. Q: Does national programming have any guiding principles? A: My vision for NA A AP national programming consists of three prongs. The first is leadership development that works on cultivating your leadership potential and developing different leadership styles and tools. The second is skills building which focuses on improving the skill sets that are vital to professional success. This includes communication, writing and presentation. The third prong is innovation which inspires creativity by using new methods and technology as well as embracing entrepreneurship. These themes run across every part of NA A AP programming, including the leadership retreat and convention. It is the architecture of the 2010 San Francisco convention programming. Q: How do you know which speakers to bring? A: The goal is to have a diversity and balance of topics and speakers. For example, webinar speakers come from a wide variety of sources. Many are referred to us by local chapter leadership. Some are our senior advisors who are excellent presenters and some come from the pool of applicants who speak at our annual convention. This year’s inaugural webinar speaker was Brian McLaughlin, a core mem-

ber of NA A AP Tucson’s leadership team, who is incredibly compassionate and diverse. He kicked off our program by sharing his 25 years of leadership experience in the military, business, entertainment, nonprofit and sports industries. We also have a President’s Forum that provides chapter presidents with the opportunity as well as support to present a session in the series. This was Sherman’s idea. So far, we have had NA A AP Atlanta’s president Fabian De Rozario talking about Settling Your Goal in 2010 and Seattle’s president Gil Gido introducing us to a hip new social media tool called Ning. Ning hosts the online network of WIN!. Q: What kind of technology is necessary to view the webinars? Does it really work? A: It really does work because of the user-friendly technology and quality presentations. When you register online at GoToWebinar, which can be found at www. naaap.org or a marketing e-flyer, you are sent an email with a link to the webinar. It takes a few minutes to download the plug that allows you to watch the webinar. NA A AP has a committed team that has made these webinars go off many times without a technical hitch. This technology offers a gateway to a world of expertise to people such as Vanna Novak’s Speak to Persuade!™ When Being Informative is Not Enough, which helps people go from reciting the facts to telling the story that draws others in. Lockheed Martin Space System’s vice president of operations, S. K. Gupta, delivered an inspirational talk on Helping Asian Americans Move to the Corner Office, which illuminated the challenges and rewards of moving up to the highest executive levels. Another successful program was on Navigating Today’s Intergenerational Workforce, where Dr. Vu Pham, who is a senior advisor of NA A AP and the founder of Spectrum Knowledge, gave an in-depth explanation of the tensions and opportunities that come from mastering the intricacies of age diversity in the corporate world.

Q: Does the program create chances for networking beyond watching a webinar? A: Absolutely! It highlights a wealth of talented and highly successful professionals who are members or affiliates of NA A AP and whom members can meet by participating in NA A AP activities, both locally and nationally. For instance, Elizabeth Xu, who served as a senior advisor and a member of the San Francisco chapter, shared the secrets to advancement with a presentation on Ten Steps to a Successful Career. And her advice has worked because she’s risen to become a senior vice president in the technology sector. This is the kind of person you can meet as part of NA A AP. Each webinar is a mini-course in professional success and leadership development as well as an opportunity to make a powerful connection that could potentially open doors for your career.

Q: How can the national programming webinars help in one’s career? A: Really, this is only the start of more ambitious plans. Over the next year, I will be working on launching a NA A AP leadership certification program in which all active members can participate. There will be multiple levels based on the number of credit hours accrued through local and national professional development workshops, including the webinars, convention and from special programs such as WIN!. The inclusive nature of the certification is acknowledgement that leadership development is constant and learning is multimedia. Everyone’s learning curve is different. The certification program will keep you going and improve your level of performance.

Q: So briefly, what makes NAAAP programming tick? A: The programming team works hard both to provide more value for our existing members and attract new members into the organization. We show those who have only just found out about NA A AP that it can provide them with opportunities for networking, activities and enrichment that will make a difference in the pursuit of their career goals. It also gives successful members of the organization a chance to give back to the community and help others follow the trails they’ve blazed in their careers. We’ve been hard at work the last year and expect to make even more progress in the coming year.

Women in NAAAP! “Leadership Inspired by Women” “Empowering, supporting and engaging Asian women to succeed as professional and personal leaders as well as contributing to their communities and cultures.” WIN! is a special program created and developed to build competent and confident women leaders within NAAAP and within the Asian Pacific community. Our overall objectives include: 1. Equip Asian women with skills, confidence, and resources to effectively lead in a multicultural environment. 2. Connect Asian leaders to role models and create a mentoring network. 3. Empower Asian women and educate about challenging perceptions. 4. Engage with the community at large and represent Asian women across the world. 5. Inspire Asian women to a make meaningful difference in government, education, business and society. Join us @ http://winaaap.ning.com Judi.Rhee.Alloway@womeninnaaap.org

naaapasianleaders.org 18


National Programming: Focused Leadership Training By Yuanheng (Sally) Wang

National Vice President, Chief Program Officer Yuanheng (Sally) Wang shares her experiences and perspectives about the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) National Programming. Q: What does the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) National Programming team do? A: NA A AP’s programming team creates whole new avenues for our members to focus in on leadership training and professional development. We have a diverse and talented team, consisting of 5 directors—Judi Rhee Alloway, Shane Carlin, Sherman Kong, Yelin Li and Yiu Man So—as well as one program manager, Jessica Yang. The main work streams are national webinars, convention programming, national retreat, scholarship, and Women in NA A AP! (WIN!). I will also be launching and directing a new program in late 2010 called the National Certificate Program. Q: Wow, that’s a lot of responsibility. Which one is your proudest? A: Hmmm. That’s a tough question. We have done an amazing job and made tremendous progress on almost every front. For scholarship, run by Yelin and Yiu Man, this is a year of renewal and growth. Verizon Communications, the broadband and telecommunications company, has just confirmed its commitment to NA A AP for a second year and Solbridge University of South Korea is giving away three full-tuition B.A./M.B.A. scholarships to NA A AP members. Moreover, WIN! has taken off under Judi’s leadership. She has built a team of leaders and attracted independent sponsorships. One important launch in the last year has been the national webinar series. It uses the internet to deliver video presentations. Nonmembers are allowed to watch the series. I work very closely on the project with Sherman, who is simply a joy to work with. He is the moderator on the webinars and takes care of most of the logistics while I focus on soliciting speakers and selecting topics. We are basically the “Siamese twins” on the project.

17 Asian Leaders

Q: Why did you decide to create the national webinar series? A: Leadership is performance. You do not get a second chance at a crucial moment. The key to performance is preparation with hours of practice and skills ready for use. Leadership, more than almost any other skill, is learned by transferring experiences and wisdom from people who have been there. The Asian American community, because it is professionally and personally spread out, often does not have many opportunities for experienced leaders to connect with others who could benefit from its experiences. That is why NA A AP’s national programming team took the initiative to create the national webinar series—to provide free and open programming to NA A AP members on mastering the skills and capabilities that make or break projects and careers. Q: Does national programming have any guiding principles? A: My vision for NA A AP national programming consists of three prongs. The first is leadership development that works on cultivating your leadership potential and developing different leadership styles and tools. The second is skills building which focuses on improving the skill sets that are vital to professional success. This includes communication, writing and presentation. The third prong is innovation which inspires creativity by using new methods and technology as well as embracing entrepreneurship. These themes run across every part of NA A AP programming, including the leadership retreat and convention. It is the architecture of the 2010 San Francisco convention programming. Q: How do you know which speakers to bring? A: The goal is to have a diversity and balance of topics and speakers. For example, webinar speakers come from a wide variety of sources. Many are referred to us by local chapter leadership. Some are our senior advisors who are excellent presenters and some come from the pool of applicants who speak at our annual convention. This year’s inaugural webinar speaker was Brian McLaughlin, a core mem-

ber of NA A AP Tucson’s leadership team, who is incredibly compassionate and diverse. He kicked off our program by sharing his 25 years of leadership experience in the military, business, entertainment, nonprofit and sports industries. We also have a President’s Forum that provides chapter presidents with the opportunity as well as support to present a session in the series. This was Sherman’s idea. So far, we have had NA A AP Atlanta’s president Fabian De Rozario talking about Settling Your Goal in 2010 and Seattle’s president Gil Gido introducing us to a hip new social media tool called Ning. Ning hosts the online network of WIN!. Q: What kind of technology is necessary to view the webinars? Does it really work? A: It really does work because of the user-friendly technology and quality presentations. When you register online at GoToWebinar, which can be found at www. naaap.org or a marketing e-flyer, you are sent an email with a link to the webinar. It takes a few minutes to download the plug that allows you to watch the webinar. NA A AP has a committed team that has made these webinars go off many times without a technical hitch. This technology offers a gateway to a world of expertise to people such as Vanna Novak’s Speak to Persuade!™ When Being Informative is Not Enough, which helps people go from reciting the facts to telling the story that draws others in. Lockheed Martin Space System’s vice president of operations, S. K. Gupta, delivered an inspirational talk on Helping Asian Americans Move to the Corner Office, which illuminated the challenges and rewards of moving up to the highest executive levels. Another successful program was on Navigating Today’s Intergenerational Workforce, where Dr. Vu Pham, who is a senior advisor of NA A AP and the founder of Spectrum Knowledge, gave an in-depth explanation of the tensions and opportunities that come from mastering the intricacies of age diversity in the corporate world.

Q: Does the program create chances for networking beyond watching a webinar? A: Absolutely! It highlights a wealth of talented and highly successful professionals who are members or affiliates of NA A AP and whom members can meet by participating in NA A AP activities, both locally and nationally. For instance, Elizabeth Xu, who served as a senior advisor and a member of the San Francisco chapter, shared the secrets to advancement with a presentation on Ten Steps to a Successful Career. And her advice has worked because she’s risen to become a senior vice president in the technology sector. This is the kind of person you can meet as part of NA A AP. Each webinar is a mini-course in professional success and leadership development as well as an opportunity to make a powerful connection that could potentially open doors for your career.

Q: How can the national programming webinars help in one’s career? A: Really, this is only the start of more ambitious plans. Over the next year, I will be working on launching a NA A AP leadership certification program in which all active members can participate. There will be multiple levels based on the number of credit hours accrued through local and national professional development workshops, including the webinars, convention and from special programs such as WIN!. The inclusive nature of the certification is acknowledgement that leadership development is constant and learning is multimedia. Everyone’s learning curve is different. The certification program will keep you going and improve your level of performance.

Q: So briefly, what makes NAAAP programming tick? A: The programming team works hard both to provide more value for our existing members and attract new members into the organization. We show those who have only just found out about NA A AP that it can provide them with opportunities for networking, activities and enrichment that will make a difference in the pursuit of their career goals. It also gives successful members of the organization a chance to give back to the community and help others follow the trails they’ve blazed in their careers. We’ve been hard at work the last year and expect to make even more progress in the coming year.

Women in NAAAP! “Leadership Inspired by Women” “Empowering, supporting and engaging Asian women to succeed as professional and personal leaders as well as contributing to their communities and cultures.” WIN! is a special program created and developed to build competent and confident women leaders within NAAAP and within the Asian Pacific community. Our overall objectives include: 1. Equip Asian women with skills, confidence, and resources to effectively lead in a multicultural environment. 2. Connect Asian leaders to role models and create a mentoring network. 3. Empower Asian women and educate about challenging perceptions. 4. Engage with the community at large and represent Asian women across the world. 5. Inspire Asian women to a make meaningful difference in government, education, business and society. Join us @ http://winaaap.ning.com Judi.Rhee.Alloway@womeninnaaap.org

naaapasianleaders.org 18


Women in NAAAP!: A Program in the Making By JUDI RHEE ALLOWAY History of Women in NAAAP! Denver, Colorado, with a bustling Asian American population, hosted the 23rd annual National Association of Asian American Professionals (NA A AP) National Convention. As the fastest growing racial population in the state of Colorado, the number of Asian Americans rose by 27.3 percent from 2000 to 2006. Over 800 Asian professionals from North America arrived in sunny, temperate Denver on August 13th for a 3-day international conference to celebrate accomplishments, learn new skills and network with each other. On the morning of Saturday, August 15th, 2009, Senior Advisors Panny Wei of NA A AP Orange County, Sonya Gong Jent of NA A AP Chicago and I, as National Director, officially launched Women in NA A AP! (WIN!). It was created as a special program to address the specific challenges that Asian women face in the workplace and at home. WIN!’s Train-theTrainer session invited both male and female representatives from more than 10 chapters and ventures. Leaders from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Houston, New York, North Carolina, Orange County, San Francisco, Seattle and Toronto participated in the three hour training, which included writing a professional and personal plan. With our diverse voices from across North America, NA A AP members also discussed Leadership with a Local Flavor in our Best Practices Forum. Besides pioneering our program, WIN! also sponsored our first panel The Dragon and The Phoenix: Asian Issues in Personal Branding on Friday, August 14th. National Leadership Retreat 2010, Mohegan Sun After being dumped with 24 inches of snow, about 150 attendees scrambled to rearrange travel plans from the south and out west to attend the annual National Leadership Retreat in Connecticut. Our retreat, an invitation only for national officers, directors, chairs and other invited officers was held from February 5th to 7th this year. Annually, each chapter is allowed two leaders and each venture is allotted one representative to attend at a special rate. Additional members must pay a higher price for the privilege to attend. 19 Asian Leaders

For WIN!, the weather proved to be almost disastrous as both our presenters were stranded in California with local airport closures. On the way to the retreat, I designed an interactive presentation for the afternoon of February the 6th on Male and Female Styles of Communication. During the presentation, the room was split in half by the participants’ dominant communication style. Each group became a corporation with a task to accomplish. They had to create an Asian women’s leadership development company and include marketing buzz-words. In the end, both corporations merged to incorporate the ideas of both teams. The leader of the masculine communication style team won the Art of War Award and the feminine communication style team won the Path of Virtue: Tao Te Ching Award, acknowledging that both communication styles are needed in the workplace and at home. National Highlights in 2010 On April 5th, WIN!’s leadership officially transitioned to be run solely by the national director. As a result, I began international conference calls to redesign WIN!’s structure in order to fit the needs of both male and female members. Within a month, international WIN! leaders redefined our vision, overall objectives, and value statement. Our overall objectives include: 1. Equip Asian women with skills, confidence, and resources to effectively lead in a multicultural environment. 2. Connect Asian leaders to role models and create a mentoring network. 3. Empower Asian women and educate them about challenging perceptions. 4. Engage with the community at large and represent Asian women across the world. 5. Inspire Asian women to make a meaningful difference in government, education, business and society. On April 22nd, WIN! sponsored the first national webinar using Ning: Next Generation Social Media Platform. NA A AP Seattle President, Gil Gido examined the intersection of Asian buying power and technology. According to Analyst Peter Kim’s statement in a 2006 Forrester study, “Asian Americans are the wealthiest ethnic group—earning at least 10 percent more annually than any other group— and outdistance any other group in technology optimism.” Gil initiated WIN!’s Ning social media networking platform as one of our best

practices for chapters and ventures. Using the Ning social media platform, we discussed topics related to women in the workforce such as re-entry as well as community and family matters. We also shared networking tips, conversed about local and national NA A AP events, matched mentors and engaged in other relevant discussions. International Board Committee As we continued to redefine, redevelop and expand WIN!, we welcomed new additions to the leadership structure. After an intensive search, application and interview process for qualified candidates, we invited eight people to our International Board Committee on June 1st. They include the following people: Vice President of WIN! Administration: Natalie Victoria of Atlanta; Director of WIN! Social Media: Gil Gido of Seattle; Director of WIN!’s Website: Eric Kalinka of Seattle; Vice Presidents of WIN! Programs: Sarah Hawk of Atlanta and Parita Patel of Chicago and Vice Presidents of WIN! Strategy: Sheila Sun of NY and Natalie Fong Yee of Toronto. Besides approving our International Board Committee, WIN! shattered NA A AP records with 400 registrants for our June 10th international webinar Breaking the Asian Women Stereotype. Featuring actress Shelene Anatacio, this webinar was hosted by Parita Patel of General Electric’s Asian Pacific Islander Forum and WIN! Chicago.We discussed how to debunk the myths and mystique of Asian women by reinforcing our individual professional strengths. The Future of Women in NAAAP! As WIN! continues to develop new Asian leaders, both Asian men and non-Asians are invited to our leadership development program to learn about the opportunities and challenges that female Asian leaders face. On a national level, WIN! plans to discuss leadership development skills and careerrelated topics as part of our NA A AP national webinar series. We are also planning an Asian Women’s Leadership Certificate program as well as starting a WIN! book club, featuring Asian women authors and professional development subjects. This fall, we are coordinating our first regional Diversity Women’s Leadership Conference and silent auction in Atlanta, supporting local area women’s shelters, victims of domestic violence and Asian immigrant

populations. We are also planning WINNY! (Women in NA A AP Invests in You!) awards for pioneering women in NA A AP, Corporate Champions, executives who champion Asian women leadership and Employee Advocates, everyday leaders who support Asian women leadership. We are always looking for national partners dedicated to fasttracking and supporting highly qualified Asian women to executive management positions as well as promoting Asian women-owned businesses to collaborate with and sponsor WIN!’s international programming and charitable causes. Please contact me at judi.rhee.alloway@ womeninnaaap.org for partnership and sponsorship opportunities. We sincerely appreciate your continued support of future generations of Asian women’s leadership development! About WIN! Women in NAAAP (WIN!) is a program of the National Association of Asian American Professionals comprising of men and women who are passionate about Leadership Inspired by Women and educating everyone about the unique challenges of Asian women in leadership roles. NAAAP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership-based organization and is the largest and fastest growing Asian professional association with representation in over 25 cities across the United States and Canada. For more information about NAAAP and WIN!, go to www. naaap.org, www.womeninnaaap.org and www.winnaaap.ning.org

24th National Convention 2010 Palace Hotel, San Francisco WIN!’s Programming on Saturday, August 14th, 2010 Morning Session Panels Effective Communication Skills »» Mable Yee, Entrepreneur and Founder/CEO of Engageher.org Public Speaking »» Angela E. Oh, Layer, Executive Director of Western Justice Center Foundation, Clinton Appointee on Initiative on Race Luncheon Keynote Speaker »» Audrey Buehring, Advisor of Intergovernmental Affairs from the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Afternoon Session Panels Work/Life Balance »» Cara Lowe, Managing Partner of Stein & Lubin »» Dawn Taketa Riordan, Home Delivery & Digital Marketing of Peet’s Coffee »» Mali W., Analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) »» Diana Paek, Director of Human Resources at Macy’s Luminaries in Business and Journalism »» Maggie Mui, San Francisco Regional Vice President of Wells Fargo »» Sonya Gong Jent, Vice President of Operations at State Farm Insurance »» Jaime Borromeo, Executive Director of National Council of Asian American Business Association »» Moderators: Richard Lui, MSNBC Anchor and Panney Wei, KCA A 1050 AM Radio Host Community Reception Civic Engagement: Giving Back to the Community

Top left to right: Natalie Fong-Yee, Gil Gido, Eric Kalinka. Mid left to right: Sarah Hawk, Parita Patel, Sheila Sun. Bottom: Natalie Victoria.

Opening Keynote Speaker »» Adrienne Pon, Executive Director of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs Closing Keynote Speaker »» Daphne Kwok, Executive Director of Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities in California

naaapasianleaders.org 20


Women in NAAAP!: A Program in the Making By JUDI RHEE ALLOWAY History of Women in NAAAP! Denver, Colorado, with a bustling Asian American population, hosted the 23rd annual National Association of Asian American Professionals (NA A AP) National Convention. As the fastest growing racial population in the state of Colorado, the number of Asian Americans rose by 27.3 percent from 2000 to 2006. Over 800 Asian professionals from North America arrived in sunny, temperate Denver on August 13th for a 3-day international conference to celebrate accomplishments, learn new skills and network with each other. On the morning of Saturday, August 15th, 2009, Senior Advisors Panny Wei of NA A AP Orange County, Sonya Gong Jent of NA A AP Chicago and I, as National Director, officially launched Women in NA A AP! (WIN!). It was created as a special program to address the specific challenges that Asian women face in the workplace and at home. WIN!’s Train-theTrainer session invited both male and female representatives from more than 10 chapters and ventures. Leaders from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Houston, New York, North Carolina, Orange County, San Francisco, Seattle and Toronto participated in the three hour training, which included writing a professional and personal plan. With our diverse voices from across North America, NA A AP members also discussed Leadership with a Local Flavor in our Best Practices Forum. Besides pioneering our program, WIN! also sponsored our first panel The Dragon and The Phoenix: Asian Issues in Personal Branding on Friday, August 14th. National Leadership Retreat 2010, Mohegan Sun After being dumped with 24 inches of snow, about 150 attendees scrambled to rearrange travel plans from the south and out west to attend the annual National Leadership Retreat in Connecticut. Our retreat, an invitation only for national officers, directors, chairs and other invited officers was held from February 5th to 7th this year. Annually, each chapter is allowed two leaders and each venture is allotted one representative to attend at a special rate. Additional members must pay a higher price for the privilege to attend. 19 Asian Leaders

For WIN!, the weather proved to be almost disastrous as both our presenters were stranded in California with local airport closures. On the way to the retreat, I designed an interactive presentation for the afternoon of February the 6th on Male and Female Styles of Communication. During the presentation, the room was split in half by the participants’ dominant communication style. Each group became a corporation with a task to accomplish. They had to create an Asian women’s leadership development company and include marketing buzz-words. In the end, both corporations merged to incorporate the ideas of both teams. The leader of the masculine communication style team won the Art of War Award and the feminine communication style team won the Path of Virtue: Tao Te Ching Award, acknowledging that both communication styles are needed in the workplace and at home. National Highlights in 2010 On April 5th, WIN!’s leadership officially transitioned to be run solely by the national director. As a result, I began international conference calls to redesign WIN!’s structure in order to fit the needs of both male and female members. Within a month, international WIN! leaders redefined our vision, overall objectives, and value statement. Our overall objectives include: 1. Equip Asian women with skills, confidence, and resources to effectively lead in a multicultural environment. 2. Connect Asian leaders to role models and create a mentoring network. 3. Empower Asian women and educate them about challenging perceptions. 4. Engage with the community at large and represent Asian women across the world. 5. Inspire Asian women to make a meaningful difference in government, education, business and society. On April 22nd, WIN! sponsored the first national webinar using Ning: Next Generation Social Media Platform. NA A AP Seattle President, Gil Gido examined the intersection of Asian buying power and technology. According to Analyst Peter Kim’s statement in a 2006 Forrester study, “Asian Americans are the wealthiest ethnic group—earning at least 10 percent more annually than any other group— and outdistance any other group in technology optimism.” Gil initiated WIN!’s Ning social media networking platform as one of our best

practices for chapters and ventures. Using the Ning social media platform, we discussed topics related to women in the workforce such as re-entry as well as community and family matters. We also shared networking tips, conversed about local and national NA A AP events, matched mentors and engaged in other relevant discussions. International Board Committee As we continued to redefine, redevelop and expand WIN!, we welcomed new additions to the leadership structure. After an intensive search, application and interview process for qualified candidates, we invited eight people to our International Board Committee on June 1st. They include the following people: Vice President of WIN! Administration: Natalie Victoria of Atlanta; Director of WIN! Social Media: Gil Gido of Seattle; Director of WIN!’s Website: Eric Kalinka of Seattle; Vice Presidents of WIN! Programs: Sarah Hawk of Atlanta and Parita Patel of Chicago and Vice Presidents of WIN! Strategy: Sheila Sun of NY and Natalie Fong Yee of Toronto. Besides approving our International Board Committee, WIN! shattered NA A AP records with 400 registrants for our June 10th international webinar Breaking the Asian Women Stereotype. Featuring actress Shelene Anatacio, this webinar was hosted by Parita Patel of General Electric’s Asian Pacific Islander Forum and WIN! Chicago.We discussed how to debunk the myths and mystique of Asian women by reinforcing our individual professional strengths. The Future of Women in NAAAP! As WIN! continues to develop new Asian leaders, both Asian men and non-Asians are invited to our leadership development program to learn about the opportunities and challenges that female Asian leaders face. On a national level, WIN! plans to discuss leadership development skills and careerrelated topics as part of our NA A AP national webinar series. We are also planning an Asian Women’s Leadership Certificate program as well as starting a WIN! book club, featuring Asian women authors and professional development subjects. This fall, we are coordinating our first regional Diversity Women’s Leadership Conference and silent auction in Atlanta, supporting local area women’s shelters, victims of domestic violence and Asian immigrant

populations. We are also planning WINNY! (Women in NA A AP Invests in You!) awards for pioneering women in NA A AP, Corporate Champions, executives who champion Asian women leadership and Employee Advocates, everyday leaders who support Asian women leadership. We are always looking for national partners dedicated to fasttracking and supporting highly qualified Asian women to executive management positions as well as promoting Asian women-owned businesses to collaborate with and sponsor WIN!’s international programming and charitable causes. Please contact me at judi.rhee.alloway@ womeninnaaap.org for partnership and sponsorship opportunities. We sincerely appreciate your continued support of future generations of Asian women’s leadership development! About WIN! Women in NAAAP (WIN!) is a program of the National Association of Asian American Professionals comprising of men and women who are passionate about Leadership Inspired by Women and educating everyone about the unique challenges of Asian women in leadership roles. NAAAP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership-based organization and is the largest and fastest growing Asian professional association with representation in over 25 cities across the United States and Canada. For more information about NAAAP and WIN!, go to www. naaap.org, www.womeninnaaap.org and www.winnaaap.ning.org

24th National Convention 2010 Palace Hotel, San Francisco WIN!’s Programming on Saturday, August 14th, 2010 Morning Session Panels Effective Communication Skills »» Mable Yee, Entrepreneur and Founder/CEO of Engageher.org Public Speaking »» Angela E. Oh, Layer, Executive Director of Western Justice Center Foundation, Clinton Appointee on Initiative on Race Luncheon Keynote Speaker »» Audrey Buehring, Advisor of Intergovernmental Affairs from the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Afternoon Session Panels Work/Life Balance »» Cara Lowe, Managing Partner of Stein & Lubin »» Dawn Taketa Riordan, Home Delivery & Digital Marketing of Peet’s Coffee »» Mali W., Analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) »» Diana Paek, Director of Human Resources at Macy’s Luminaries in Business and Journalism »» Maggie Mui, San Francisco Regional Vice President of Wells Fargo »» Sonya Gong Jent, Vice President of Operations at State Farm Insurance »» Jaime Borromeo, Executive Director of National Council of Asian American Business Association »» Moderators: Richard Lui, MSNBC Anchor and Panney Wei, KCA A 1050 AM Radio Host Community Reception Civic Engagement: Giving Back to the Community

Top left to right: Natalie Fong-Yee, Gil Gido, Eric Kalinka. Mid left to right: Sarah Hawk, Parita Patel, Sheila Sun. Bottom: Natalie Victoria.

Opening Keynote Speaker »» Adrienne Pon, Executive Director of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs Closing Keynote Speaker »» Daphne Kwok, Executive Director of Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities in California

naaapasianleaders.org 20


NAAAP/Verizon Scholarship Program: Supporting Future Leaders By YIU MAN SO and YELIN LI

The National Association of Asian American Professionals (NA A AP) partnered with Verizon Communications to establish the NA A AP/Verizon Leadership Scholarship Program in 2009. The mission of the scholarship program is aimed at supporting students based on financial need, academic achievement and community service activities. NA A AP is proud to co-sponsor the scholarship program with Verizon, which recognizes the importance of helping students succeed through higher education. The scholarships are designed for Asian American students who are attending an accredited four-year educational institution. Each scholarship is a one-time award of $4,500. Verizon provided more than $27,000 in scholarships for the 2009 and 2010 academic years. A NA A AP national scholarship committee was formed to execute this mission. In 2009, over one hundred students applied for the program online and six were selected for the awards. The $4,500 cash awards were administrated at respective NA A AP localities. Additionally, NA A AP demonstrated its commitment to leadership development by offering full convention passes to each of the recipients to attend the 2009 NA A AP convention in Denver, Colorado (August 13th–16th) at the Hyatt Regency. Winners gained access to multiple leadership workshops and networked with professionals in their field of interest. NA A AP National provided all meals, hotel accommodations and a travel expense stipend for the winners. This year, four students were selected for the awards. NA A AP is looking to offer more scholarships in the future in conjunction with the Verizon Foundation as well as with other partners. Become a member today or sign up for our mailing list to receive notifications on future scholarships at www.naaap.org.

Dear Readers, It is an honor and privilege for me to support this scholarship program. I am impressed with the vast outreach of NAAAP to qualified Asian American students across the United States and Canada. I believe we all agree on the significance of education. As I have served as a judge for the California Science fair for many years, I feel the hunger and passion of the young generation towards science and technology. To position ourselves as an inspirational factor for the new generation, we should direct our efforts to train and raise students as future leaders by fostering their academic excellence. With the mission to cultivate and empower leaders, NAAAP is seeking community-minded students through our NAAAP/Verizon Scholarship program. We make leaders of the young generation! Sincerely,

2010 Scholarships Winners Chaettha Charumaneeroj New York Univeristy— PolyTech

Minhchau Dinh University of the Pacific

Erika Sanchez Seattle University

Cathy Lam University of Denver

2009 Scholarships Winners

Yiu Man So Co-Director, NAAAP/Verizon Scholarship Program

Boloroo Uuganbayar Yale University

Somchai Phasouk DePaul University

Hoang Nguyen Drexel University

Tony Kim University of Houston

Jenny Wang University of Washington

Jason Chow Cal Poly Pomona University

Verizon Communications Inc. is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s wireless network, serving nearly 93 million customers nationwide. For more information, visit www.verizon.com. 21 Asian Leaders

naaapasianleaders.org 22


NAAAP/Verizon Scholarship Program: Supporting Future Leaders By YIU MAN SO and YELIN LI

The National Association of Asian American Professionals (NA A AP) partnered with Verizon Communications to establish the NA A AP/Verizon Leadership Scholarship Program in 2009. The mission of the scholarship program is aimed at supporting students based on financial need, academic achievement and community service activities. NA A AP is proud to co-sponsor the scholarship program with Verizon, which recognizes the importance of helping students succeed through higher education. The scholarships are designed for Asian American students who are attending an accredited four-year educational institution. Each scholarship is a one-time award of $4,500. Verizon provided more than $27,000 in scholarships for the 2009 and 2010 academic years. A NA A AP national scholarship committee was formed to execute this mission. In 2009, over one hundred students applied for the program online and six were selected for the awards. The $4,500 cash awards were administrated at respective NA A AP localities. Additionally, NA A AP demonstrated its commitment to leadership development by offering full convention passes to each of the recipients to attend the 2009 NA A AP convention in Denver, Colorado (August 13th–16th) at the Hyatt Regency. Winners gained access to multiple leadership workshops and networked with professionals in their field of interest. NA A AP National provided all meals, hotel accommodations and a travel expense stipend for the winners. This year, four students were selected for the awards. NA A AP is looking to offer more scholarships in the future in conjunction with the Verizon Foundation as well as with other partners. Become a member today or sign up for our mailing list to receive notifications on future scholarships at www.naaap.org.

Dear Readers, It is an honor and privilege for me to support this scholarship program. I am impressed with the vast outreach of NAAAP to qualified Asian American students across the United States and Canada. I believe we all agree on the significance of education. As I have served as a judge for the California Science fair for many years, I feel the hunger and passion of the young generation towards science and technology. To position ourselves as an inspirational factor for the new generation, we should direct our efforts to train and raise students as future leaders by fostering their academic excellence. With the mission to cultivate and empower leaders, NAAAP is seeking community-minded students through our NAAAP/Verizon Scholarship program. We make leaders of the young generation! Sincerely,

2010 Scholarships Winners Chaettha Charumaneeroj New York Univeristy— PolyTech

Minhchau Dinh University of the Pacific

Erika Sanchez Seattle University

Cathy Lam University of Denver

2009 Scholarships Winners

Yiu Man So Co-Director, NAAAP/Verizon Scholarship Program

Boloroo Uuganbayar Yale University

Somchai Phasouk DePaul University

Hoang Nguyen Drexel University

Tony Kim University of Houston

Jenny Wang University of Washington

Jason Chow Cal Poly Pomona University

Verizon Communications Inc. is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s wireless network, serving nearly 93 million customers nationwide. For more information, visit www.verizon.com. 21 Asian Leaders

naaapasianleaders.org 22


DRAFT

25th Annual National Leadership Convention and Diversity Career Fair August 11–14, 2011

Seaport Hotel 200 Seaport Blvd Boston, MA 02210

Asian Leaders (Magazine)  

Issue 2 of the 2010 Asian Leaders magazine. Celebrate, Inspire, Empower. Part of the NAAAP 100 Top Asian Professionals for the 24th Annual C...