Summer Internship, Lifetime Relationships for 2014 LIA Intern Chan Naing

Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP) Leadership In Action Intern, Chan Naing, was placed at the Thai Community Development Center (ThaiCDC).  She worked closely with their Executive Director, Chanchanit (Chancee) Martorell, on the organization’s annual fundraiser, 20th Anniversary Gala.  She is a senior at the University of Florida, majoring in Anthropology.  At the Leadership In Action Graduation, Chan spoke candidly about her life changing experience at ThaiCDC and began tearing when she realized she could not attend the event she had worked hard to help plan.  However, upon receiving the below email from Chancee, LEAP and Southwest Airlines offered Chan an opportunity to come back to Los Angeles for the event.

Southwest Airlines has provided the Asian American community an invaluable service by aiding in the cultivation of new leaders for tomorrow through LEAP’s Leadership In Action (LIA) Program.  This is especially true with Chan Naing.  Chan was assigned to aid in the production and planning of the Thai Community Development Center's 20th Anniversary Gala: Rise of the Thai Americans.  Early on, Chan displayed an innate ability to take on assignments, assess the work needed and then go above and beyond what was asked of her.  During her LIA internship at ThaiCDC, she was an outstanding member of our family.  Her dedication and commitment not only accomplished her tasks but also facilitated the work of the gala committee as a whole and made our committee even more effective.

She may still be in college but the caliber of the work she performed matched that of her fellow gala committee members who included college professors, professional graphic designers, and people with years of resource development experience.  Chan took ownership for her work and that of fellow committee members.  She really cared and that kind of passion showed through in everything she did.  In fact, when we were sadly discussing her exit strategy, which came too fast, she expressed the desire and personal need to continue working on the gala remotely.  This is after her internship was over!  Very rarely do we see this level of commitment in someone at this young age who still has other goals and interests.  Chan truly cares about her work and based on her performance, it shows that she cares about fulfilling her commitment to the very end.

It is for this very reason that we would be truly grateful to Southwest Airlines in its generous consideration of donating her airfare to help Chan return to Los Angeles from Florida to see her project, the 20th Anniversary Gala: Rise of the Thai Americans, come to fruition on the occasion of the gala on September 18, 2014.  It was a very sad day to see Chan leave our family but it will be a happy day if we are able to share with Chan the fruits of our hard labor and vision for the milestone gala.  Chan understands community building.  It is with this understanding that created her steadfast commitment towards our vision.  She is now part of the Thai CDC family and it would be only right to have her back in Los Angeles to see what she helped build.

2014 LIA Interns: Maggie Quan (left), Chan Naing (middle), and Mayta Lor (right)
the ThaiCDC's 20th Anniversary Gala on Sept. 18th, 2014


Thanks to Southwest Airlines, Chan returned to Los Angeles and invited LEAP and fellow LIA interns to attend the 20th Anniversary Gala.  At the event, she continued to be a valuable part of the ThaiCDC family.  She was actively volunteering with the Silent Auction and open to help with anything that was needed.  She did not treat the opportunity as a vacation, but truly continued to show her dedication to the community and the organization that welcomed her to Los Angeles.


About Leadership In Action

Leadership in Action (LIA) is LEAP’s eight-week paid summer internship program designed to develop emerging young leaders by providing college students with practical leadership skills and the opportunity to work hands-on in the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community in Southern California. For more information, visit:

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  • LIA for the cool kids. Go LEAP :D