LEAP celebrated its 30th anniversary at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in Los Angeles on Thursday, July 26, 2012. Over 500 people attended this year’s gala, where JD Hokoyama, Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang, Maggie Mui, and Hui O Hana Pono were honored.
Prior to the gala, LEAP held two events, the LEAP Annual Contributor Special Event hosted by Prudential Financial and the VIP Reception hosted by Toyota Financial Services. The special event, Breaking Through: Advancing API Representation in Top Leadership Roles in the Fortune 500, consisted of a panel discussion with Willie Chiang (Executive Vice President of Operations, Occidental Petroleum), Ilene H. Lang (President and CEO, Catalyst), Glenn Llopis, (Founder and CEO, Center for Hispanic Leadership), and Deborah M. Soon (Senior Vice President, Strategy and Marketing, Catalyst). The VIP reception gave people an opportunity to mingle with the honorees and other leaders within the API community.
The gala program began with welcoming speeches from LEAP Board Chair, Margaret Ashida, LEAP President and CEO, Linda Akutagawa, and the LEAP 30th Anniversary Leadership Awards Gala Dinner Committee Chair, David Lin. David Ono (ABC7) was the emcee for the evening and the Choi Trio, made up of Alex (14), Kevin (11) and Katherine (11), performed the national anthem and provided classical dinner music for our guests.
As part of the program, Bryan Jung (Leadership In Action, 2003) took over the emcee duties in order to facilitate this year’s Bid for Empowerment. The Bid for Empowerment raised money for LEAP’s various community programs including the Executive Directors Leadership Program for nonprofit executive directors, the Emerging Leaders Program for nonprofit senior staff, and the Leadership In Action summer internship program. This year, LEAP entered each donor’s name into an opportunity drawing for two free roundtrip airline tickets from Southwest Airlines. Three alumni spoke about their experiences and the impact that LEAP had on them: Diep Vuong (Executive Director Leadership Program 2011), Nikki Modi (Emerging Leaders Program 2011) and Lance Kanamori (Leadership In Action, 2010). The bidding began at $1,000, but the Wells Fargo Foundation quickly stood up and pledged $5,000 after hearing the testimonials. The room was buzzing with energy and the bidding frenzy ultimately raised over $25,000 for the 2013 community programs.
During dinner, the room came to life as people mingled, networked, and offered their congratulations to the honorees. As the second half of the program began, everyone intently listened as each honoree was acknowledged for their accomplishment within the community and presented with their awards. The evening ended with Kim Delevett, from Southwest Airlines, drawing the winner of the Bid for Empowerment Opportunity Drawing. As fate would have it, the winner was a LEAP honoree, David Cooper from Hui O Hana Pono. In the spirit of the evening, he donated the tickets back to LEAP in hopes that we could use them for one of our community programs.
It was an amazing evening and we are looking forward the 2013 gala next July 25th!
Read Olivia Ouyang’s article about the Gala on AudreyMagazine.com
J.D. Hokoyama retired as the President and CEO and founding Board member of Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. in October 2011 after 30 years with LEAP. His decades long career includes serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia, teaching English at Daniel Murphy High School and at Loyola High School, working as the Principal of Maryknoll Elementary School, and opening the Office of Asian Pacific American Student Services (APASS) at the University of Southern California as the first director. He is now a consultant specializing in leadership training, coaching and mentoring, board governance and organizational development, diversity and inclusion, and the Asian & Pacific Islander community.
Nguyen Dinh Thang, PhD
Since arriving in the United States as a refugee from Vietnam in 1979, Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang has dedicated his life to rescue and relief efforts during and after emergencies and crises, as well as addressing crises on the open seas and in refugee camps. In response to Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Thang established a relief operation for Vietnamese and other Asian evacuees from the Gulf Coast. Under his leadership, Boat People SOS (BPSOS), a Vietnamese-American non-profit organization, became a part of Katrina Aid Today, a coalition of nine national disaster relief agencies. He also coordinated the expansion of BPSOS’ relief and recover operation across the country and several Asian countries. In 1995 he launched an advocacy campaign that resulted in the resettlement of over 18,000 former boat people from Vietnam to the US. He has also participated in After the Crisis, an initiative to develop a national model for mental health care for natural and human-made disaster victims.
Dr. Thang is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. He also holds an MS degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. He has received numerous commendations for his dedication to Vietnamese communities and rescue and relief efforts, including Community Service Award from National Congress of Vietnamese Americans in 2008 and Outstanding Citizen Achievement Award from OCA in 2010.
Hui O Hana Pono
Founded by David EK Cooper in 2003, Hui O Hana Pono (HOHP) is a nonprofit corporation incorporated in the State of Hawaii and certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a Native Hawaiian Organization (NHO) with a mission of improving the lives of Native Hawaiians by: Helping them to help themselves through education, leadership, job opportunities, environmental stewardship, cultural preservation, arts and community service; Creating economic opportunities for Native Hawaiian-owned businesses; Developing economic leadership opportunities for Native Hawaiians; and Promoting Native Hawaiian values as universal values. In line with this mission, HOHP has placed a great emphasis on creating economic opportunities for Native Hawaiians through employment.
Today, there are five companies in the HOHP ‘ohana’, including The Hana Group, Hana Industries, HBC Management Services, Haka Incorporated and Hana Technologies and Systems. Since 2005, HOHP has contributed to various organizations in support of Native Hawaiians, such as Pacific American Foundation, Kaumakapili Church, Bishop Museum, Lunalilo Home, Waianae Coast Healthcare, Helping Hands, and Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Art. They have also participated and contributed to various community organizations across the mainland. With employees in Hawaii, Guam and across the nation, HOHP has employed more than 150 Native Hawaiians, 75 Pacific Islanders and continues to provide opportunities for Native Hawaiians through employment and mentorship programs within their companies. The Executive leaders of HOHP and its companies are all Native Hawaiians.
David R. Barclay Alumni Leadership Award
In 2009, Maggie Y. Mui was honored with the 2009 National Asian Pacific American Corporate Achievement Award and was also named among the Bay Area’s Most Influential Women in Business. As the Senior Vice President and Regional Director of Diverse Segments at Wells Fargo, she is responsible for developing their market share in diverse segments in the San Francisco Region, primarily focusing on the prominent Asian community. In her previous position as Director of Specialized Solutions, she led small business, consumer credit and investment, acquisition, cross-sell, and retention initiatives for the San Francisco Bay Area region. A 22-year-veteran of Wells Fargo, Mui was most recently Regional President for the San Francisco market.
Throughout her tenure with Wells Fargo, she has established relationships with various Asian business organizations as well as key civic leaders. She will partner with Business Banking, Wealth Management, Wholesale Banking, International Banking and Mortgage Banking to acquire new customers and gain market share in the growing segment of the Asian community. Mui is also an active member in the community, serving on the Board of Directors at several establishments, including the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, SFMade, Asian Business League of San Francisco and Chinese Culture Foundation. In Wells Fargo, she has developed a number of community-oriented projects such as the launch of in-language advertising campaigns and development programs for Mandarin and Cantonese speaking small business owners.
Photo above: Members of Community Award Winner, Hui O Hana Pono and honoree JD Hokoyama