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2017 Year In Review



This group of organizations supported our efforts in 2017.



Number of people served in 2017 through leadership programs, workshops, and presentations.


Number of states represented among 2017 participants: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington.


Number of workshops provided in 2017.


Developing People and Empowering Communities


Increase in LEAP participants over time.


This year, LEAP provided 82 workshops and presentations to 3,221 participants. Of these, 57 workshops were delivered to 2,187 participants through community based organizations such as: Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement (Los Angeles, CA), Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (Los Angeles, CA), Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (Los Angeles, CA), and OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates National (Washington, DC).

LEAP also provided leadership training for mid-career corporate managers, senior staff of nonprofit organizations, higher education professionals, and college and high school students. These programs included:

  • LEAP Pathways: Leadership Development for Business (formerly Path to Professional Success), a three-day leadership development program designed to promote the professional development of API employees within corporations. LEAP delivered five programs to 111 participants. Each participant spent 28 hours in leadership training.

  • LEAP Exceed: The Executive Leadership Program (formerly the Asian and Pacific Islander Executive Leadership Program), a customized program designed for a corporation to prepare individuals for executive level leadership. 29 participants spent 48 hours in leadership training and 9 hours in executive coaching with certified coaches.

  • LEAP Advance: Leadership Development Program for Higher Education in partnership with Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education, is a leadership development program for API higher education administrative staff and faculty. The 31 participants in this program engaged in 33 hours of leadership training over four days.

  • LEAP Impact: Leadership Development for Nonprofit Staff (formerly the Emerging Leaders Program), a three-part, six-month program designed to develop API staff for leadership and management roles in nonprofit organizations. This program was sponsored by American Express Foundation, Coca-Cola Foundation, Southwest Airlines – The Official Airline of the Emerging Leaders Program, and the 2016 Bid for Empowerment Donors. 17 participants gained 79 hours of leadership development training and 6 hours of executive coaching.

  • LEAP Emerge: Summer Internship Program (formerly Leadership in Action), an eight-week paid summer internship program that provides college students with practical leadership skills and experience working in an API-serving nonprofit organization in Southern California. In 2017, this program was sponsored by Nissan, Southern California Edison, Southwest Airlines – The Official Airline of Leadership In Action, and the 2016 Bid for Empowerment Donors. The seven (7) LIA interns spent 99.5 hours over eight weeks in leadership training. Additionally, they worked on a group project. The LIA interns created a mixed media art website, sharing art pieces about their multifaceted Asian or Pacific Islander identities and what they’ve learned about their assigned nonprofit organizations. The project can be viewed at:

  • Career and Leadership Seminars, a combination of leadership development workshops and panel discussions for college-age audiences. LEAP delivered 5 workshops and panels to 136 participants in California, Michigan, and North Carolina. Sponsored by Nissan.

  • High School Leadership Initiative (HSLI), a series of workshops tailored to API high school students between the ages of 15-18 to increase self-awareness as well as think critically about leadership and cultural values. LEAP delivered 23 workshops to 1,068 high school students in California and Texas. In addition, LEAP ran five Train-the-Trainer workshops to 15 nonprofit staff and youth program facilitators. Sponsored by General Motors Foundation and Southern California Edison.


Informing Society

LEAP is one of four leading organizations (Catalyst, Inc., the Executive Leadership Council, and the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility) that make up the Alliance for Board Diversity. 

In February of 2017, the Alliance for Board Diversity, in collaboration with Deloitte, released its multi-year study on board representation of women and minorities. The report, Missing Pieces Report: The 2016 Board Diversity Census of Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards, provides powerful metrics on the slow change of diversity in the boardroom.


LEAP’s 35th Anniversary Celebration

LEAP's 35th Anniversary Celebration was held on July 20, 2017 at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center in Los Angeles, CA. The celebration raised approximately $505,000 and an additional $36,000 during the Bid for Empowerment, a live donation pledge. Over 500 guests attended the event, enjoying an evening that included a silent auction, dinner, and networking opportunities.  The celebration program began with welcoming speeches from LEAP Board Chair, Brad Cooper, and LEAP President and CEO, Linda Akutagawa. On this festive evening, LEAP honored the following leaders:


Individual Leadership Award Recipients

  • Fatima Bustos-Choy, PhD, Founder, Gaia Flow Consulting / Center Owner, Body & Brain Holistic Wellness

  • Kenneth Kasamatsu, Advisor to the CEO, E-Central Credit / The Pacific Bridge Companies / Founder, Pacific Commerce Bank

  • Geri Mannion, Program Director, U.S. Democracy and Special Opportunities Fund, Carnegie Corporation of New York

  • Paul Ong, PhD, Director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge, University of California, Los Angeles

David R. Barclay Alumni Leadership Award Recipients

  • Scott Chan, Program Director, Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement

  • Patricia A. Neilson, EdD, Director, Asian American Student Success Program, University of Massachusetts, Boston