Alumni On The Move - June 2018

An Hoang

Portland Discovery, Class of 2014

I moved to Minnesota in 2016 for family reasons, after spending more than a decade in Portland. I brought with me great memories with family, friends and work. I started my new work as the Senior Project Engineer position at Phillips and Temro Industries. I was responsible for the Heavy Duty OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) engine heater design, focusing both on maintaining the North America customer base and winning new business with the European OEM. After almost 2 years, I was promoted as the first Project Manager in the company. I’m responsible for leading strategic projects, developing electric vehicle battery heating technologies, and establishing the production footprint in Asia. My new company has literally taken me around the world and I’m excited for the next journey to unfold.

I’m grateful for my learning with EDI. It has helped me greatly in discovering my strengths, in self-reflecting and finding clarity on what I want to achieve with my career. EDI helped me to become more courageous in fighting for what I want and paving my own path. Being the first Project Manager in my current company is an example of that.

The lessons I learned from EDI, and especially the tutoring from my late mentor, Alan Sugiyama, not only help me in my professional life but also my personal life.  I now make an effort to give back to my communities, whether it’s volunteering with my PMP chapter, my Vietnamese community, or just to be more of a big brother in my soccer team.

I miss my classmates at EDI. They were my great support and I follow their journey cheering for their success. I hope my story would play its small part in keeping the EDI community strong, just as how the EDI shared stories have been motivating me to be better person.


May Leong

Leadership Navigation, Class of 2011

I recently became Deputy Director of the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco and I’m thrilled to be part of an arts nonprofit whose mission is dedicated to elevating underserved communities and giving voice to equality through education and contemporary art.

In my current role, I focus on developing fundraising strategies that include Board engagement and support, while working closely with a senior leadership team to grow individual, corporate, and earned revenue funding. I’m also designing an impactful Donor cultivation and stewardship program to strengthen and leverage the CCC brand. Learning more about the arts has been gratifying and a long-term personal goal of mine, so working in this new field is an exciting new experience.

EDI has played a huge part in my success since graduating from the Navigation program. I have enjoyed keeping in touch with my classmates and in fact joined the Board of Spreeha Foundation (spreeha.org), a nonprofit founded by fellow EDI classmate, Tazin Shadid.

Spreeha provides healthcare, education, and career training for residents in the slums of Bangladesh and has served an exponential number of poor children and their families since its humble beginnings. Today it is one of the few nonprofits serving the displaced Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, by providing essential things like toilets, wells for clean water, and healthcare. The sheer scale of the crisis is mind-blowing. I’m so proud of the staff, volunteers, and donors who work so hard to help break the cycle of poverty and serve this population.

A few years ago, my family and I moved back to the San Francisco Bay area and said goodbye to our home of 14 years in Seattle. From 2013 – 2017 I served as Executive Director at Donaldina Cameron House, a faith-based nonprofit where I got to work with an amazing staff to provide social services and youth leadership programs in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

My EDI classmates will be happy to hear I finally finished my first novel, a Young Adult Fantasy adventure about a mom and her daughter who save our world, separately. Currently I’m sending out query letters to find an agent and publisher. I actually look forward to seeing how many rejections it takes to get a positive reply! JK Rowling received 12 rejections and Dr. Seuss received 27. So I’ll either beat these odds by getting more or less.

Throughout these years I’ve also consulted by providing workshop trainings for emerging leaders and nonprofit Boards in the area of fund development and leadership. The lessons I learned from EDI about emotional intelligence and authenticity are skills and tools that I savor and use each day.

I have enjoyed building my career in a way that aligns perfectly with my life’s mission of building community and global citizens, one local person at a time.  

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sailor by heart and I’m pleased to report that my husband and I are the proud owners of a 1986 41-foot Hans Christian sailboat, named Taiko. Whenever we have some free time we try to go sailing on the Bay.

If any EDI alumni are down in the SF Bay area please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m always open to connecting and helping to elevate and support the next generation of young and/or experienced leaders.

Alumni On The Move - May 2018

Katherine Tsai Martinez (2nd from left) with the Matt Griffin YMCA Board

Puget Sound Discovery, Class of 2017

Since graduating from the 2017 Leadership Discovery Program, I have been busy holding myself accountable on defining what my authentic best is and practicing it daily. One of the major takeaways from the program was, the longer I continued to create boundaries and limits on what I can and cannot do, I will never be the authentic leader that I want to be.

Being inspired to take chances, I successfully transitioned into a new finance role a few months before graduating from the Discovery Program. After being in Supplier Management at Boeing for two years, I accepted a role at Boeing Capital as a Treasury and Risk Analyst. I have never been one to not push myself to excel in the workplace but through EDI’s Leadership Discovery Program, I realized that I wanted to be a strong contributor at work, whom not only performs at their job functions but leads and inspires others as a diverse leader. In addition, I have become more active in Boeing’s Asian Professionals Association where I am currently the Co-Chair for their 2018 LEAD program. The LEAD program is an 8-month leadership program focused on developing diverse Boeing Professionals within the company.

The Discovery Program's community service project inspired me to be active again in the community. For our team project, we chose to support the Matt Griffin YMCA and held a fundraising event which generated more than $2,000 for their after-school programs. Seeing the impact of our fundraiser, I was compelled to join the Matt Griffin Board. 

I’m so appreciative of everything that I learned from EDI. I have made some great relationships from the program, it is so nice to have a genuine network. I am proud of where I am at both professionally and personally. Thanks to EDI, I can confidently say that I am a leader that graciously welcomes new challenges and refuses to create boundaries and limits on what I can and cannot do.


Jacob Esparza

Puget Sound Discovery, Class of 2015

I recently accepted an amazing opportunity at Facebook as a Program Manager.  I am working on a team called Business Integrity New Products where I am a central point leading cross-functional teams in identifying risks to new product launches.  My role is responsible for assessing risks, influencing policy creation, creating review processes, and facilitating the setup of KPIs to track success.  This role was a huge opportunity for me after I made the jump from aerospace into tech last year.

EDI has played a huge part in my successes since graduating. The EDI lessons that stuck with me were the importance of not only networking but using my network to help build my confidence to make big moves through being self-aware and to always push myself. The ability to continuously use the tools that EDI helped fill my toolbox with is a priceless gift that I am very thankful to have received.

I am extremely honored by this new adventure and am also excited to start using one of the other things that EDI taught me, which is giving back.  My husband and I are partnering with the rescue that we adopted one of our dogs from to throw a fundraising event to support their efforts in rescuing dogs, cats and horses from Mexico and finding them homes.  We are huge dog lovers and are looking forward to giving back to an organization that means a lot to us!

Alumni on the Move - April 2018

  Mellissa Nguon    Puget Sound Discovery, Class of 2016   

Mellissa Nguon

Puget Sound Discovery, Class of 2016 

I was recently promoted to Business Manager for the Boeing Global Services, Supply Chain Execution Commercial Fulfillment organization.  In my new role, I will be using my leadership and project management skills to support executive reviews, business requirements, special initiatives, and process improvements.  I also represent as one of the leaders for the Supply Chain LEAN Operational Excellence Team with a mission to help empower and enable my team members to be excellent by promoting a people-centered and customer-focused culture.

Additionally, I’ve stepped up to serve as the new Co-Chair of the Introduction to Boeing New Models and Derivatives Committee for the International Airlines Technical Pool (IATP). I'll have the opportunity to deliver presentations, meet with airline customers and leaders of the Aviation industry, and travel to different international destinations twice a year. 

Last but not least, I was recently elected to Chair the Boeing Global Services Diversity and Inclusion Council for the Renton site, to help strengthen the business and achieve world-class results by leveraging diverse perspectives to promote a culture of inclusion, engagement, and personal accountability as well as developing and empowering employees through education, values, and experiences and engagement with our Leaders. 

I’m grateful for these opportunities, but success does require on-going commitment, hard work, and patience.  For me, it’s been a continuous journey toward growth and development, and it’s especially important to celebrate small or big successes along the way, like recently obtaining my Project Management Professional (PMP) credential.  Currently, I’m an MBA candidate with Syracuse University and targeting to receive my MBA degree with a concentration in Data Analytics by June of 2019. 

I’m always working to improve on myself whether it is in my personal or professional life.  I’m also a community volunteer for NW Harvest and help organize and execute volunteer events at the Kent Warehouse to collect, sort, and package items to distribute to food banks across the Puget Sound.  As an EDI Alumni, I realized that completing the program produced many positive outcomes, such as giving me that extra boost to jumpstart my career and the confidence to succeed and be a mentally stronger, more authentic leader.  I enjoy what I do every day as I get to tap into my fullest potential and have the opportunity to travel domestically and internationally.  I believe that if you work hard enough and persistently pursue your goals, you will get to where you want to be in time.  Throughout my career with The Boeing Company, I have had a chance to see the world by supporting business trips in Montreal, Canada; Penang, Malaysia; Okinawa, Japan; Dublin, Ireland, and most recently, Riga, Latvia.  If you are interested in following me on my global adventures, you can add me on Instagram @globetrotter_melly.

**Photo Credit: Ainsley DS Photography**


  April Tomlinson  (in red) poses with fellow EDI Alums Tommy Sisa-at, Carmen Marttila, and Joann Miranda  Puget Sound Discovery, Class of 2017

April Tomlinson (in red) poses with fellow EDI Alums Tommy Sisa-at, Carmen Marttila, and Joann Miranda

Puget Sound Discovery, Class of 2017

EDI! The program helped me feel more comfortable stepping out of my comfort zone and asking for feedback. I consulted business partners and leaders in my organization and through those conversations, I decided to take a leap outside of retail banking after nearly 10 years. I applied and was hired as a Merchant Service Advisor for KeyBank.

In my new role, I partner with over 30 branches in south Puget Sound and work with local business owners to grow and succeed in their communities. This position challenges me in leadership, organization and networking but I am loving every moment of it.

I am thrilled to say that I’ve also recently accepted a role aside Carmen Marttila as the Vice President of our Hispanic Latino Keybank Impact Networking Group. EDI has helped renew my passion around community involvement and I look forward to sharing our activities and how we’ve partnered with organizations like El Centro de la Raza throughout the year to make a difference! EDI helped me to embrace my authentic best self and i’m leading with energy, enthusiasm and passion both in my daily work activities and in my community.

EDI helped me to grow so much that I decided to stay involved and join the Alumni Board as the Vice President. Partnering with the other alums and being able to sit in on the executive board retreat has already been a fantastic experience. I am excited to share EDI with the community and want to see them grow and succeed.

Welcome, Class of 2018!

March is always a busy time at the EDI office. Each week this month, we launched one of our programs and had the opportunity to get to know the amazing class of 2018! 

Each team comes up with their own team name and establishes the team culture that they want to embody and be known for throughout the year. Without further ado, we'd like to introduce to you this year's classes. 

VUCA MASTERS - Leadership navigation

VUCA Masters and EDI Staff - Dining at Bai Pai in North Seattle

The VUCA* Masters started off their EDI experience with a 3-day Kick-off event. First, they met with Executive Mentors, Wallace Greene (President and CEO of FINAO), Mitika Gupta (Co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Lyfboat.com and Founding Director of the Seattle Female Founders Alliance), and Marlene Yamashita (Director of Global Sales Contracts Boeing Commercial Airplanes at The Boeing Company) as they shared some of their most life-changing moments. 

Next, the VUCA Masters ran around in teams at the Talaris Conference Center attempting to "save the world" with our fabulous facilitator (and EDI Navigation alum), John Chen, and his company, Geoteaming. To round off the 3 days, the team had George Myers of the Effectiveness Institute WOW them with his energy and passion for effective communication through Behavior Styles. This team is dedicated, passionate, and ready to dive in!

*VUCA is a leadership acronym used to describe/reflect on the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of situations. The catchall phrase is, "Hey, it's crazy out there!"

 

Protos - Leadership Discovery, Portland

PROTOS does a team cheer before saying their goodbyes from the 2-day Kickoff.

Team PROTOS* started off their 2-day Kick-off event learning about what it means to be an Authentic Best Leader™. Our facilitator (and EDI alum from the inaugural class of 1994), Colleen Yamaguchi, lead them on a journey to begin self-discovery over the course of the 2 days. They dove head in to learn about perceptions, behaviors, and values. 

In true Portland fashion, we then took them to the new food pod in Beaverton, BG's Food Cartel. They were tasked with ordering a menu item that had meaning to them. We then gathered together and shared our stories of the food we chose. At the close of day 2, we had alumni panelists join us and give their wise words of wisdom to the class. We'd like to thank Jerome Torres (Applications Specialist at NW Natural), Claire Mak (Manager of Prototype Development at Daimler Trucks North America), and Gina Walker (CFO at TEC Equipment). This team is dynamic, inquisitive, and ready to learn!

*The PROTOS team established their name because in Greek it means "first" (almost like first place). 

 

Mi Gente - Hispanic Leadership Discovery

The Mi Gente team gathers together for a dancing energizer in Bellevue!

The Mi Gente* team kicks off as EDI's largest Hispanic Leadership Discovery class! Our facilitator, Marisa Rivera, leads the class through a 2-day workshop of, "Our Culture, Valuing Diversity & Leadership." At the end of day 1, the team was immersed into the community with their visit to El Centro de la Raza and given a tour by Executive Director, Estela Ortega. They concluded their day by opening up and sharing with each other a personal story around a cultural item that has significance to them. 

On day 2, they continued their learning with Marisa and then joined up with the AWA (Asian Leadership Discovery) team to discuss perceptions and what behaviors or values may attribute to those perceptions. We'd like to thank our alumni panel that joined the AWA & Mi Gente teams that shared their greatest insights. On the panel we had Cesar Amaral (Founder & Chief Believe Officer of MX360), Doreen Ramsuta (Senior Proposal Project Manager of Boeing Global Services at The Boeing Company), and Nigel Lo (CEO at Kin On and Retired Chief of Staff and Chief Strategist to the VP/GM of the Airborne Battle Management within Boeing Military Aircraft division in the Puget Sound area of The Boeing Company). This team is thoughtful, team-focused, and ready to lean in!

*Mi Gente means my people or loosely "my peeps." 

 

AWA - Asian Leadership Discovery, Puget Sound

The AWA team poses with Assunta Ng of the NW Asian Weekly before they're lead around the International District learning about the community and its' history.

The AWA* team started off their 2-day Kick-off event with high energy. We brought back our facilitator (and EDI alum) Colleen Yamaguchi to help the team with their self-discovery through her workshop on Authentic Best Leadership™. In the afternoon, AWA went into the International District and were lead on a tour of the community by Tomio Moriguchi (retired CEO of Uwajimaya and President of The North American Post) and Assunta Ng (Founder of the Seattle Chinese Post and NW Asian Weekly). To end the day, the team scattered around the International District to find some delicious food to come back and share pot-luck style. 

Day 2 they deepened their learning through Authentic Best Leadership™ and learned about perceptions, behaviors, and values with Colleen Yamaguchi.  The AWA and Mi Gente teams then came together for cultural sharing to discuss perceptions of their cultures and where those perceptions may come from through behaviors and values. They also engaged in the alumni panel (as mentioned above in the Mi Gente team section). This team is fly, engaged, and ready to jump right in!

*AWA is an acronym the class came up with for Asians With Attitude.

An Interview with EDI’s Co-Founders

download.jpg

2013 Q&A with co-founders, Ted Yamamura & Vanna Novak

How did you two meet?

T: I met Vanna at a meeting at which she was speaking on making effective presentations. I thought she would be a good person to collaborate with for EDI. Vanna wanted to give back to the Asian American community so we started discussing collaboration on EDI.

V: If I remember correctly, Ted saw me speak at a conference for the JACL. And actually, back then, I had no connection to our Asian community. It was because of Ted, that I agreed to get involved. I had no idea that it was going to be just the beginning of a long, but fulfilling journey. I owe a lot to Ted.

Why did the two of you want to create EDI?

T: EDI originally started as a special interest group under the Japanese American Chamber of Commerce. It was created to provide leadership training specifically for Japanese Americans, then it evolved to include all Asian Americans and now Hispanic Americans. Vanna agreed to be a co-founder to develop curriculum for leadership training. We wanted to also provide role models, mentors and create a network for career development.

V: Ted recognized that there was a big gap between the numbers of highly qualified, competent, Asians within American corporations vs. Asian Americans in the executive ranks, and felt the need to do something about it. It was really his grasp of the situation and his vision, that launched plans to build a program like EDI. I happened to have the background to design our initial curriculum so when Ted asked me if I’d help to get EDI off the ground, I said yes. And the rest, as they say, is history. But people should know that EDI was Ted’s vision.

What was your vision when it first started?

T: My vision was to elevate Asian Americans into leadership positions at corporations, government, and non-profit organizations. I wanted Asian Americans to have the same opportunities as Caucasians and to level the playing field for leadership positions. I also wanted to have role models, mentors, networks, in place to provide support and encouragement to Asian Americans striving for leadership positions.

V: I would say that that’s still our vision today and we now are working toward that same goal or vision with our Hispanic program. We still have a long, long way to go.

How has its actual progress been compared to that vision?

T: There have been many improvements and an increase in role models as leaders, yet there are still no top Asian American executives at companies like Boeing. The ultimate goal is to have more people of color in executive positions. I want them to have the same opportunities to excel and have a level playing field.

V: I think that my initial vision was very narrow. What I’ve learned through having had the chance to work directly with all of our program participants over the years is that “progress” can be defined in many ways. So while we’re still far behind in seeing a significant number of Asians or Hispanics in executive positions, what I do see is our participants gaining clarity about what it takes to move into the senior ranks and making clear decisions as to whether they’re willing to do what it takes to move up. Or sometimes I see them becoming leaders within the community at large. I think that’s progress. And when their managers begin to gain an awareness and appreciation for programs like EDI and as a result, they begin to send more of their employees to our programs, well, that’s progress too.

What was the biggest obstacle you felt you had to face during your path to establish EDI? How did you overcome it?

T: The main hindrance I would say is just the administrative details of orchestrating EDI as I was doing it on the side as a service while working at Boeing. The first class was in 1994. Eleven participants registered. It was advertised by word of mouth through the JACC. It was originally for Japanese Americans but we are expanding it to all people of color as we all have the same issues.

V: It was and is 2-fold for me. One of our biggest challenges, which continues to some extent, was convincing people that this was not just another leadership program. There are hundreds of different leadership programs offered to business professionals in our area. What makes EDI different, is that our programs are culturally tailored specifically for Asians and Hispanics. The other challenge we continue to face is one that almost every non-profit faces, and that is, finding and keeping volunteers actively and meaningfully engaged and involved. Just like they say, “It takes a village.”

What would you like to see happen with EDI in the future?

T: I would like to see EDI become a preeminent leadership organization in the future. I would like to see it create connections to top leaders, celebrate achievement in the community, and help all people of color reach leadership positions.

V: Ditto! And in my wildest of dreams, I would love to see EDI do the work that it does so well, that we begin to have a global impact. I would also like to see us expanding our offerings. So maybe we’d offer our programs in different formats. More than anything, I would love to see us develop programs for other groups of color who are underrepresented.

What do you feel is the biggest change in our participants after they leave the program?

T: I see that graduates have more confidence. They are generally more strategic in developing their careers. They give back more to the community and have stronger networking skills.

V: Honestly, I have witnessed profound changes in participants’ sense of themselves. For many, there is a huge leap in their level of confidence and a greater appreciation for their own potential and self-worth. I get to do the class at the front end of their EDI experience that deals with public speaking skills which can be so revealing in terms of one’s self esteem. So I get a pretty good sense of each participant’s confidence level coming into the program. Then I get to see them at graduation, and for some, the transformation in them can bring me to tears. They find the power within themselves that they’ve had all along and just wasn’t aware of. It becomes the tipping point at which they begin to take more risks and more responsibility to build stronger organizations and healthier, happier communities. It’s not magic. It’s a process that they work hard at throughout their EDI experience.

Alumni on the Move - February 2018

  Chihao Mac   Portland Discovery, Class of 2015

Chihao Mac

Portland Discovery, Class of 2015

I was recently promoted to Senior Engineer within the Advanced Engineering team at Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA). In this new role, I will be responsible for the development and implementation of various innovative designs for our trucks. Along with this promotion, I have also recently become the Chair for the Asian Resource Network (ARN), one of the many employee resource groups at DTNA. I will be utilizing the various tools that I have learned in EDI to help lead our core team for this year.

Since graduating from EDI in 2015, there have been many changes in my life both personally and professionally. On the personal side, I got married and bought my first home. On the professional side, I changed groups and have been a lot more active in ARN and in the community. One thing that stuck with me from EDI is a great leader gives back to the community. ARN helped me participate in EDI, so I believe in its cause and enjoy offering support.

There are so many tools you learn from going through EDI that will help you become a better leader and help you advance in your professional career. Here are some of them that have been keys to my success:

  • Communication, both verbally and non-verbally, is a very important skill to have. This will allow you to work effectively with others and understand each other. I have found this to be very important in my personal life as well.
  • Networking is a big deal. As you learn from EDI, it’s not who you know, but who knows you.
  • Self-awareness and the understanding of others' perceptions of me has been an eye-opener. I learned this early on at EDI and always think back to this topic. I try to stay aware of my behaviors and the impact it has on others.

 Lynda Racicot  Portland Discovery, Class of 2017

Lynda Racicot

Portland Discovery, Class of 2017

My new position is a Credit Risk Analyst at Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). I’m responsible for providing financial reviews and credit scores for customers and vendors in order to mitigate market and credit risk for BPA. This is a promotional opportunity, which has allowed me to learn about different aspects of BPA’s business. Previously I had worked in BPA’s Asset Accounting department for six (6) years and became a subject matter expert in that area. Through EDI, I realized that I was living in my comfort zone with my work in accounting and needed to push myself once again into the learning zone with a new role.

My dad ultimately inspired me to pursue a professional career in accounting and compliance. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and served as a special agent for the IRS for 20 years. He truly enjoyed his work and had great stories to tell. My favorite was one about a farmer who he investigated for submitting a fraudulent tax return for his pig, Waterhole Willie, as it was written on his tax forms! While I was working on my accounting degree, my dad and I would talk about everything I was learning and he would share his knowledge of the stock market and economy. Unfortunately, my dad passed away a few years ago, but I know he would’ve been excited to hear that I am now working in an area that we spent so much time talking about.

Goodbye, Vivian!

EDI alum, Jeff Tan, poses with the staff at 2017 Inclusion Fusion.

“Hello, EDI. Vivian speaking.”

Three years. I can’t believe time has flown by so quickly. It feels like yesterday when I walked into the EDI Office for my interview with Al and Marci.

In these past three years, I think I’ve been really lucky. I had not one, but two great bosses who have mentored and supported me. I have met and worked with many amazing people, including staff, Program Chairs, alums, board members, facilitators, and more. Though I’ve never “officially” graduated from EDI’s programs, I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to attend the class sessions, learning alongside and from participants.

I've known how it feels. I’ve struggled with speaking up at meetings. I didn't necessarily enjoy networking or working on team projects. I lacked confidence and second-guessed myself all the time. Though it was an accumulation of many factors, I came to EDI, asking myself, “What am I doing here?” Out of my comfort zone. Terrified of the unknown and averse to change.

Pha Mom, Marci Nakano, Al Sugiyama, Chan Lo, Colleen Yamaguchi, and Vanna Novak celebrated Vivian's college graduation. Vivian graduated from University of Washington, Class of 2016, majoring in Creative Writing & Communication.

Here I was, a junior in college who spent her time creating monthly newsletters for her friends, landing her first job and real work experience. I thought it was unbelievable that I would be paid to create newsletters among other things that I did as a hobby. But looking back, it wasn’t such a far-fetched idea. It didn’t come as a surprise for me or anyone who knows me that I decided to work for a non-profit organization.

Throughout high school and college, I volunteered with many non-profits. I was the lead volunteer for the summer youth program at the Chinese Information Service Center (CISC) for many years. Similar to EDI Program Chairs, I wanted to give back to the program that supported and nurtured me. I also helped coach soccer at my elementary school with Seattle Scores and worked as an office admin at International Community Health Services (ICHS). I was even a participating member of an academic club, which focused on community service.

People always ask me, “Why?” Why non-profit? Why volunteer? The answer is, “Why not?” Of my school friends, I might be the only one active in the community. But for me, there has always been a connection. With CISC, I saw myself in the children who participated in the program. I still remember the volunteers during my time, who made me feel valued and helped me.

If I'm capable and can do it, why not? Why not donate my time as a volunteer? Why not work for a non-profit? I always feel happy knowing, I'm helping someone in need. With EDI, I strongly believe in our mission and know as an organization, we are helping to develop the next generation of multi-cultural leaders like myself.

Three years. It hasn’t been that long. During my time with EDI, I've spent it telling our story and now that I’ve been asked to share my own thoughts, it’s highly uncomfortable. It’s probably cultural and most likely because I don’t enjoy talking about myself, but that’s what EDI is all about – getting out of your comfort zone. All the things I don't like and feel uncomfortable doing, is more reason for me to do it.

Now, I speak up at meetings, sharing my ideas and taking ownership of projects. For the past two years, I've been serving as a committee member for the Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration. After attending many community and social events, I always recognize a face and feel comfortable approaching people.

Change is scary, yet inevitable and necessary. I've enjoyed my comfort zone at EDI, but I believe it's time for new challenges and experiences. It's time for this sprout to grow further. So as I leave EDI, I'm packing up my toolbox. I'm ready to rotate my iceberg and seek new opportunities. I don't know what my next steps are, but I know EDI has paved the way. I'll always be grateful. Thank you, EDI.

This is goodbye, but it won't be the last you'll see of me. I guarantee. EDI is family and I know I'll always be welcomed.

“Hello, EDI. Vivian speaking." 

Marci's Column - January 2018

Save-the-Date_ EDI 25th Anniversary.png

This year, we celebrate 25 years of EDI!  Mark your calendars now for our 25th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, October 6, 2018. It will be an event you won’t want to miss.

You’ll see in this newsletter that 2018 is starting off with lots of changes for EDI. Our first major announcement is that we are moving our office from Bellevue into Seattle. Our lease ends this month and we spent the last year, exploring spaces and evaluating what options would be best for taking EDI in the direction we want. We decided on WeWork in South Lake Union. WeWork is a co-sharing space, located all around the world, and as a member, we become part of a broader network. A focus of ours has always been to build brand awareness and expand our reach of individuals and companies that know about EDI’s programs. Being in an environment that fosters creativity and networking, is something that we are looking forward to. We’d love the chance to show you the new space.  Stop by and say hello, especially all of our South Lake Union alums!!!

Our next announcement is Vivian Huang, our Marketing & Communications Coordinator, is leaving. Vivian was hired in October 2014 when she was a junior at the University of Washington. EDI has grown in so many ways because of her commitment, dedication and task-oriented mindset! Much of the social media posts, newsletter and website have been managed by Vivian and our online presence is stronger because of all that she has contributed. I want to keep her forever, but she is ready to take on a full-time position and share her talents with the rest of the world. Thank you, Vivian! We wish you the best of luck and we maybe we’ll see you as a Leadership Discovery participant in the near future.

With that being said, we are currently looking to fill a part-time Office Coordinator position.  We ask for your help in referring candidates to us.

And finally, thank you to everyone who has helped in our recruitment efforts. All of our programs will run this year.  We are 11 participants away from reaching our goal, so keep the applications coming, we’re so close!!  

We have more announcements to come in the next few months, stay tuned.

Alumni on the Move - January 2018

Nigel Lo recently stepped into the role of CEO at Kin On, a not-for-profit health and services provider for the Asian community.

  Nigel Lo   Discovery, Class of 1997

Nigel Lo

Discovery, Class of 1997

Challenge Yourself & Chase Your Dream

One of the benefits of retirement is to have the leisure of trying something new and to pursue the hobbies and work that I have always wanted to do. During my retirement, I enjoyed working on home improvement projects and playing the game of golf. I also loved teaching at the Renton library and the Chinese Information and Service Center. Believe it or not, I've also learned how to sing karaoke and perform with a live band. I was very happy to partake in all these activities, but in my heart, I always wanted to re-engage with the community in a more significant way. When the opportunity at Kin On was open, I jumped right in.

The CEO of Kin On is responsible for the overall financial and operational performance of the entire organization. Kin On has various business segments including the skilled-nursing facility, in-home care services, and Healthy Living programs. We are also building a new assisted living and adult family home apartments. There is a lot of growth opportunity to integrate these business segments seamlessly in the Kin On Continuum Care model. The challenges that I can foresee in a non-profit organization could be in the establishment and implementation of processes and procedures. A non-profit sometimes does not have the resources to develop and update processes and procedures as quickly and effectively as needed. There are state regulations to be met and complied with. So what is it that an engineer and project manager like me could do to take charge of this elder care enterprise?

Looking back, many leadership skills and philosophies that I learned throughout my career at The Boeing Company have prepared me for this role. The fundamental principles on managing a business regardless if it’s a profit or nonprofit organization are essentially the same. You must think strategically and have a strong vision.

During my preparation for the Kin On interview, I began to realize there are many similarities between working at Boeing and Kin On. Both jobs have profit and loss responsibility and strong management obligation. The leadership attributes requirements are very similar as well. The ability on charting the course, delivering results, setting high expectations, and inspiring the teams is imperative.

My time at EDI was also a rewarding professional development experience. Twenty years ago, my EDI community project was to work with Kin On. In other words, where I am at right now was because of EDI and I am very grateful for that. Through the EDI program, the leadership development learning in regards to understanding the Asian culture, its strength and challenges, and leveraging the experience is simply remarkable. It helped my career at Boeing and now I can fully utilize the leadership development at Kin On. I feel fortunate and honored to have this opportunity to lead the Kin On team.

Over the years, there are mentors and colleagues who have always stood by and supported me. They are great role models and inspiring individuals who I always learning from. I count on their honest feedback and advice. At the personal level, family and friends who understand my goals and aspiration, always encourage me to chase my dreams and offer good advice along the way. I treasure this network of mentors and supporters in my life.

Some final words:

Leadership skills are transferable. I am a living example of it. I encourage the future leaders focus on developing a set of leadership skills and gaining experiences that you can articulate when you progress in your current assignment or at your next big opportunity. These soft skills will differentiate you from another equally capable individual and open doors that you might not have thought of.

Find your passion. I have never thought that it would be possible to go from building airplanes to managing an elderly care enterprise. And here I am! When you can combine leadership skills and passion, you have a very good chance of achieving your dreams.

Think big! Stop worrying about level, rank, title, and money. Start focusing on personal and professional development. Believe in yourself and use your talents to do something that creates an impact in making the world better.

Joining Kin On as the new CEO is a wonderful opportunity to contribute and engage with the community in a meaningful way. My mother, sister, and uncle are all residing in different elderly care facilities. This opportunity cannot be more relevant to me than any other positions in my career. I am very excited to lead the teams and take Kin On to the next level and make a difference where it matters.


  Gerald Giacchi   Discovery, Class of 2016

Gerald Giacchi

Discovery, Class of 2016

My new position is Category Engineering Director for Young Athletes Footwear at Nike, Inc., managing the engineering and manufacturing strategic plan of the category and managing four engineers. I am planning to understand and master the position in the next 2-3 years.

EDI has been the trigger to build self confidence in reaching the new position. I had a chance the few months after my graduation to give a presentation about my learnings to footwear leadership; they were very impressed and felt confident to give me the new position.

The biggest challenge is the transition from managing projects to managing people, you need to develop totally different skills (EQ is the first that come to my mind). I don’t know yet about successes or failure because I am new to the position, but I will wait for the end of fiscal year to get feedback.

Definitively all the EDI training (guest speakers and EDI friends like Jeff Racicot) have inspired me. I also had few Nike mentors who inspired me. My dad is also a huge inspiration; he used to manage a factory.

My advice for others is to gain self-confidence (the most challenging person you have to deal with is…yourself!). Feel that you are ready for the next position and communicate to your managers. My main motivation is now the four engineers I manage; my goals is to have them reach their full potential and achieve their own goals.

Marci's Column - December 2017

tonyrobbins.jpg

This year started off with unfortunate events and many challenges. In January, we lost community activist and former EDI Executive Director, Alan Sugiyama. In February, when we closed our applications for 2017, we found ourselves with our lowest enrollment since the recession, having to put our Leadership Navigation program on hold. 

The strength of our EDI community helped us turn our challenges into opportunities. We know that in order to ensure EDI’s growth, we can no longer continue doing what we’ve always done. We must think outside the box, get creative, embrace change, and step out of what’s comfortable for us. These are all the elements of leadership that we emphasize to our participants in our programs and this is what we embraced and implemented at an organizational level this year. After all, we must practice what we preach!

As I look back on 2017, I’m amazed at how much we were able to accomplish! We took so many ideas that have sat on paper for a long time and brought them to life. Here are a few examples:

  • Creating our Alumni Ambassador Board in Puget Sound & Portland and launching our Network @ Nite events.
  • Elevating our fundraising efforts through GiveBig & Inclusion Fusion: With the help of the EDI Board and the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation we were able to get donations matched and raised more money than we ever have.
  • Getting more savvy on social media: more videos, more content and going live on Facebook!  If you haven’t tuned into Mind Hack Live, check it out here. You’ll find amazing live interviews from leaders around the Pacific Northwest.
  • New sponsors & partnerships: Delta Air Lines, Coca-Cola, Thrivent Financial, Zillow, Business & Professional Women (BPW) network and much more!

These are just a few highlights and we have exciting things on the horizon for 2018 that we can’t wait to share with you. This includes new offices, new program offerings, and new partnerships. We will unveil these in January/February next year, so keep an eye out for that.

Of course, the sustainability of EDI is centered on our core leadership programs. As of today we are 65% to our enrollment goal for 2018. We ask for your help in getting in applications by December 31st. We are confident that all of our programs will be up & running again next year. Thank you to everyone who has referred candidates. Keep them coming!

We are so grateful to all of YOU for your support. You stepped up in ways that we couldn’t even imagine and helped make this year a truly successful one. THANK YOU! We look forward to celebrating 25 years of EDI with you in 2018. Here’s to building a community of #DiverseGlobalLeaders.

Happy holidays!