Sue Ann Hong and Daphne Kwok participate at NAAAP DC Conference

CAPAW Supporters, Sponsors, APAWLI Fellows and Sisters,  

As I continue our work with the Center for Asian Pacific American Women, I am always curious on what’s on the minds of our young professionals and students today. I did get a glimpse of the answers during my connection with NAAAP DC Conference at the Washington Center on November 3, 2018. The theme was Ignite, which is about leadership and the spirit of unity. It was a call to action to connect together in the form of mentorship, sponsorship and passing the torch of knowledge. The make-up of the group consisted of men and women, a few high school students, college students, majority young professionals and more experienced professionals from all sectors. I found the audience to be inquisitive, hungry for information, showed a sincere desire to develop and make a difference in their schools, organizations and communities. 

As art of the conference, I was invited to lead a workshop to introduce CAPAW, its mission, purpose and share what whole person leadership was all about. I provided an exercise to help participants identify their work values, why it’s important and how to better understand those values and how that impacts the choices we make for our lives and career. There was also Q&A regarding leadership, development and questions about what it takes to get promoted and to be seen as a leader. Here are examples and comments I heard during the general sessions and workshops:

  • I want to be more influential, how do I do that?

  • I feel invisible. What do I need to do to be seen?

  • I do my job well but how do I move forward?

  • What do I do next in my career and how do I figure it out?

  • Mentor vs. Sponsor, what’s the difference?

  • Diversity and Inclusion efforts are primarily focused on African American students at my school. We don’t seem to focus on Asian Pacific Americans. How do I help change that?

Keynote speaker and APAWLI Fellow Daphne Kwok shared her journey about her career development. She also provided a glimpse of her upbringing and family life to share with the group on how she became involved with public service. Based on conversations with attendees afterwards, sharing her story was inspirational and got the audience thinking about possibilities in their own careers. Here’s a little more about Daphne, Vice-President of Multicultural Leadership for the AAPI Audience Strategy at AARP:

  • At AARP, Daphne has focused on preparing family members to care for their loved ones. Two documentaries have been produced to serve as a catalyst for staring the caregiving conversations. A “Prepare to Care” booklet has been adapted for the AAPI community and has been translated into Chinese as well.

  • She was appointed by President Barak Obama in 2010 to chair his Advisory Commission on AAPIs. The commission served as the “eyes and ears” of the community advising the President and the federal government about the issues impacting the AAPI community. As Chair, Daphne met with AAPI communities throughout the country, connecting them to regional federal agency representatives. This opened an opportunity for the agencies to learn about these communities and to acquaint them with their programs and services. She concluded her term as chair in May 2014 and continued as a commissioner until February 2017.

  • Previously, she was the Executive Director of AAPI with Disabilities of California. She was also the Executive Director of the Agnel Island Immigration Station Foundation in San Francisco. 

  • For 11 years, she was the Executive Director of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), a national membership based civil rights organization, where she addressed: hate crimes, campaign finance, immigration, Census 2000, English-only, and affirmative action.

  • First elected Chair of the National Council of APA, a network of national APA organizations.

  • Executive Director of Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies. 

Her honors include Chair of AAPI Vote, a member of the Comcast NBCUniversal going Diversity Advisory Council, Co-Chair of the Nielsen External Asian Pacific Advisory Council and board member of the Asian American Advertising Federation.

I appreciate NAAAP DC for inviting me to share in the learning experience and for me to share about CAPAW.

Warm Regards,

Sue Ann Hong


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