2014 LEAP Leadership Awards Dinner

Gala 2014 Group Pic

More than 350 guests joined Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP) on Thursday, July 24, 2014 to celebrate LEAP’s 32 years of “Growing Leaders” and to honor the leadership and accomplishments of individuals and organizations that exemplify LEAP’s mission to achieve full participation and equality for Asian and Pacific Islanders through leadership, empowerment, and policy. Guests were inspired by the honorees and enjoyed an entertaining evening with an auction, dinner, and much more. The gala program began with welcoming speeches from LEAP Board Chair, Thelma Kailiwai, and LEAP President and CEO, Linda Akutagawa. David Ono, co-anchor at ABC7, was the emcee for the evening.


“Tonight’s gala was a great success,” said LEAP Board Chair Thelma Kailiwai. “We honored true pillars and visionaries of our community and raised funds for LEAP.”


LIA Group
LEAP 2014 Leadership In Action interns with Awards Gala MC, David Ono from ABC7 Eyewitness News (left end) and Jason Yang from Nissan, the official sponsor of LIA (right end).


During dinner, the room came to life as people mingled, networked, and offered their congratulations to the honorees. Guests continued show their support of LEAP during LEAP’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 round-trip airline tickets from Southwest Airlines. Three alumni spoke about their experiences and the impact that LEAP had on them: Veronica Thao (Leadership in Action, 2012), Randon Aea (Emerging Leaders Program 2012) and Helen Ho (Executive Directors Leadership Program, 2013). The room was buzzing with energy and the bidding frenzy ultimately raised over $18,000 for the 2014 community programs.

It was an amazing evening and we look forward to the 2015 Gala next July 23rd!
Below is more information on the honorees.

Individual Awards

Irene Hirano Inouye (left) with June Berk (right)  

June Berk

Community Advocate

June Berk has been actively involved and volunteering in Little Tokyo since before WWII. Throughout her career, she was actively engaged in the community, often giving presentations about her experience and advocating for the Little Tokyo community. She previously worked as an Executive Assistant to: Irene Hirano, (Former CEO of the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), the Board of Directors for JANM, the KCET Community Outreach Board, and Barry Sanders, co-chair of the Rebuild LA Board. She also was the owner/operator of Satori, a boutique in Studio City and Little Tokyo.

Since her retirement, she continues to be a voice, mentor, and friend to the LIttle Tokyo community. Her most recent commitments include serving as the official representative for the Little Tokyo Senior Nutrition Center for the Little Tokyo Community Council (LTCC, Inc.), volunteering and providing tours at the Japanese American National Museum, volunteering and teaching classes at the Keiro Retirement Home, and serving as a Committee Member with the Japan America Society and US-Japan Council who hosted orphaned children of the Fukushima Tsunami and Earthquake in Los Angeles during the summer of 2013.

Based in Los Angeles, her family consists of her husband, Marty, five children, and nine grandchildren. Just as she learned the value of volunteering through watching her mother, she hopes her example will inspire her grandchildren to stay involved and serve the community throughout their lives.


Kim Strong, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion of Target (left) with Irene Chang Britt (right)

Irene Chang Britt

President, Pepperidge Farm
Sr. VP Global Baking & Snacking, Campbell Soup Company

Irene Chang Britt was appointed President, Pepperidge Farm and Senior Vice President-Global Baking and Snacking in 2012. She originally joined Campbell as Vice President and General Manager-Sauces and Beverages in 2005. In 2008, she was named President-North America Foodservice, leading the company’s traditional foodservice business as well as the retail perimeter business across the United States and Canada. In 2010, she became the Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, leading Campbell’s global strategy, and was responsible for Global Marketing Services and Global Consumer and Customer Insights. Previously, Irene spent eight years with Kraft Foods and 12 years at Kimberly-Clark.

Irene has served as a Director to the Board of Sunoco, Inc., serves on the Catalyst Board of Advisors, the Board of Directors of the American Baker’s Association, and on the Enactus U.S. Executive Advisory Board. She has sponsored the Campbell’s Multiple Sclerosis Society City to Shore fundraising bicycle ride and the Campbell’s “Driving for the Cure” golf tournament to benefit the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. She has twice served as Chairman of the N.J. Kraft Employee Fund and led two United Way campaigns as Co-Chair and Executive sponsor. Irene has been honored with several awards for her business and community accomplishments, including being named in 2011, a “Women of Distinction” by The Philadelphia Business Journal, and a Laureate in the New Jersey Business Hall of Fame.



Glen S. Fukushima (center) with the Toyota Team

Glen S. Fukushima

Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Glen S. Fukushima is Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, a prominent public policy think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. From 1990 to 2012, Mr. Fukushima was based in Tokyo as a senior executive with several major multinational corporations: Vice President, AT&T Japan Ltd.; President, Arthur D. Little Japan; President & CEO, Cadence Design Systems Japan; President & CEO, NCR Japan; and President & CEO, Airbus Japan.

Mr. Fukushima served two terms as President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, 1998-1999, and Vice President, 1993-1997. He has served on numerous corporate boards, nonprofit boards, and government advisory councils in the United States, Europe, and Japan including the Board of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, Japan Center for International Exchange, Japanese American National Museum, and Global Council of the Asia Society. Until June 2001, he served for eight years in the White House-appointed positions of Vice Chairman of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission and Vice Chairman of the U.S. panel of CULCON (Joint Committee on United States-Japan Cultural and Educational Interchange). He was Chairman of the Mori Art Museum Best Friends, a member of the Director’s Circle of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and a member of the Tokyo Committee of Human Rights Watch.

Mr. Fukushima has been honored with several awards including the “Excellence 2000” Award from the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce in 1999 and the “Person of the Year” Award from the National Japanese American Historical Society in 2008. 

Community Award 

Amanda Susskind receiving on the behalf of ADL (right) with LEAP Board Member Jim Lactaoen (left)

Anti-Defamation League - Pacific Southwest Region

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is one of the nation’s premier human relations and civil rights agencies and is dedicated to combating anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defending democratic ideals, and protecting civil rights for all.

Over the last century, ADL has gained prominence by authoring the hate crimes laws adopted in most states and federally, and by joining virtually every major civil rights case since Brown v. Board of Education. Since 9/11 and the creation of ADL’s Center on Extremism, ADL has become the leading non-governmental agency training law enforcement on extremism and hate groups. ADL’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE ® Institute provides training in schools to address and reverse bigotry, bullying, and cyber-hate. In our community, ADL has taken a leadership role in outreach to minority communities and on LGBT and immigrant rights.

In 2006, ADL’s Pacific Southwest Region founded the Asian Jewish Initiative as a partnership with Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, Japanese American National Museum, Korean American Coalition, Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics and Search to Involve Pilipino Americans. The Initiative brings together members of the business, civic, academic and interfaith communities to engage in a variety of innovative programs and activities that include political, social, religious and cultural components. The Initiative’s mission is: “to advance alliances and partnerships between Asian and Jewish communities in Los Angeles through constructive dialogue and exploration of common ground; to empower and enrich both communities; and to foster a positive environment for open and frank discussion about topics of mutual concern.”

David R. Barclay Alumni Leadership Award 

Dr. Loretta P. Adrian (second from the right) with Susan Jin Davis (left), the Barclay family, and Audrey Yamagata-Noji 

Dr. Loretta P. Adrian, Ph.D

President, Coastline Community College

Dr. Lori Adrian has been an educational leader for over twenty years and became the sixth president of Coastline Community College in 2010. She has promoted leadership development and led the college through financially challenging times in an atmosphere of inclusiveness, mutual respect, open and transparent communication. She is sharply focused on student success and the practice of a “students first” philosophy.

Prior to joining Coastline, she served as the vice president of student services at Skyline College in the Bay Area from 2005-2010. From November 1992-August 2005, Dr. Adrian worked as dean of student affairs, interim dean of student development and matriculation, and acting vice president of student services at San Diego Mesa College.

Dr. Adrian is active in local and national professional organizations. She is on the Board of Directors of the OC Workforce Investment Board, Coastline Foundation Board of Directors and chairs the Le-Jao Advisory Council. She is the President of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) National Asian Pacific Islander Council and serves on AACC’s Research/Technology/Emerging Trends Commission and Council of Affiliated Councils. She is also active on Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education, Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund and supports the leadership development of educators from diverse backgrounds as a mentor, speaker and leadership coach.


2014 Gala Sponsors


VIP Reception Sponsor

Toyota Financial Services


Special Event Sponsor



Executive Sponsor

The Coca-Cola Company
Comcast / NBCUniversal
Glen S. Fukushima
Kailiwai Family
Northrop Grumman Corporation


LEAP Annual Contributors

Diversity Inc.
Marsh & McLennan
United Parcel Service
General Motors
Hewlett-Packard Company
Southwest Airlines


Corporate Sponsor

Chubb Group of Insurance Companies
Irene Hirano Inouye
Occidental Petroleum Corporation
Pepperidge Farm
Wells Fargo


LEAP Friend

Anti-Defamation League
Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education
Margaret Ashida
June Aochi Berk
California Community Foundation
Go for Broke National Education Center
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley
Southern California Edison
Union Bank

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.