Alumni on the Move

Alumni On The Move - December 2018

Jacob Gonzalez at a recent planning commission meeting.

Puget Sound Discovery, Class of 2018

Authenticity was a concept mentioned early and often throughout the EDI experience. Learning about who we are at our “Authentic Best” had a lasting impact on me as I started a new role just after graduating from the 2018 Leadership Discovery Program.

In September, I began my new role as Senior City Planner for the City of Pasco. Pasco is a mid-sized city that has been one of the state's fastest growing communities for over a decade. This new opportunity will allow me to work on various long-range plans but, I am most excited about the chance to work as a planner for the City I have known my whole life. The EDI program coincided with my job search, from dusting off my resume and searching for jobs to the interview and offer process. The timing was perfect. Engaging with my classmates as we learned from our facilitators helped me throughout the process of identifying specifically what I wanted from my next role, and why. The projects and plans I will be working on will allow me to use my analytical background combined with my passion for public involvement. Working with numbers is fun, however it is important to understand that these numbers represent real people in our community. I accepted the new opportunity with a humble appreciation for the responsibility it brings.

So, who am I at my authentic best? I am a compassionate and enthusiastic believer that our city and community members deserves equitable access to the things that some of the world's most livable cities and neighborhoods have. EDI taught me to channel my passion vocally with clear intent while remaining true to myself. I look forward to utilizing the skills I gained from EDI as our city plans for the future.


Mariam Abarientos

Leadership Navigation, Class of 2018

“If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill, be a scrub in the valley – but be the best little scrub by the side of the rill; be the bush if you can’t be a tree”.

I remember putting this poem up on my wall the very first time I walked into my place of work 22 years ago. At that time, I was young, starting out in my career and happy to be doing what I was doing. I landed a job as an Accounting Assistant for a general contractor in the Pacific Northwest, and I know I must earn my keep. That poem by Douglas Malloch was my guide. I knew I was young, full of potential, yet I understood that I had to start somewhere. At that stage in my life, I gave it my best, worked with excellence and put in 150% of whatever my present task was. I was the youngest employee in the company.

SEASONS

Fast forward 20 years later… I have gone through role changes in my career, and have been continuously promoted to increasing levels of responsibilities. I got promoted from Accounting Assistant to Staff Accountant, to Accounting Supervisor, then to Accounting Manager. I became the co-chair of the company’s Lean Committee. I grew up, got married, started a family. I am no longer that youth from years ago. I am still authentic, and only better. Outside of work, I serve the community as Board Director for both the Seattle University Albers School of Business and Economics and the International Community Health Services Clinic boards. In those leadership roles outside of work, I learned a great deal from other leaders – CEOs, CFOs, principals of the Seattle business community and learned best practices from other companies and industries which I can then apply to my professional role. It’s like landing a job in other corporate settings and learning best practices without having to leave my current work. In all these years, there is one common denominator. I have kept that poem, in the original stationery where I printed it 22 years ago, and it served as a reminder for me that at whatever stage I am in my career, I am giving my best and excelling in what I do.

Mariam Abarientos (top right) with the Lease Crutcher Lewis Seattle Accounting Team at the Washington State Fair.

Leadership Navigation, Class of 2018

A TRANSFORMATIVE JOURNEY

EDI came at a time when I was at the pinnacle of my career and ready for the next step. I have everything that I need, as well as the soft skills, but I needed that final push, that final formula. The EDI Leadership Navigation Program has filled that void and enabled me to take the next step forward and find my voice. The seven-month journey with my cohort and intense training with executives sharing their real-life key moments and leadership journey were invaluable. The seven months with the EDI Leadership Navigation program was very transformative, to say the least. It gave me the exposure to real-time, real-life executive perspective, insights and soft skills that not even an undergraduate degree will prepare me for. The topics discussed are things that are not necessarily taught in business schools, those are the things and knowledge that can only come from experience. I had several key takeaways, and if I have to drill it down to the top three, these are it:

1) Intent vs. Impact – EDI allowed me to become fully self-aware of my blind spots. I realized that even with good intent, my impact, or others’ perception of my actions, may come across differently. EDI helped me to see those blind spots and navigate through it so that my intent is reflective in my impact.

2) Polarity Management – this is about choosing between two good qualities, but conflicting ones. An example is being authentic and effective. As Colleen Yamaguchi shared, this is about finding the balance between the two areas and being intentional and self-aware so that you balance out the qualities without leaning in too much to one at the expense of the other.

3) Leading Change - at this capstone session, we were given the toolkit to successfully navigate through large-scale organizational change. Change is the only thing that will remain constant in any organization and in life in general. My ah-hah moment is the realization that leading others through organizational change will only be effective if you’ve done the background work to prepare the people for it. Without that key step, the highest level of performance won’t happen. If you’ve worked with the people through the process and brought them to the higher level, they can successfully navigate through anything that comes their way.

A wise person once told me: Don’t aim for perfection. Instead, aim for the relentless pursuit of better. Why not perfection? Because perfection is a destination. Once you reach it, what would be next? Instead, aim for the relentless pursuit of better. Why? Because it’s a journey, you always innovate, improve and grow, and continuously pursue to be the best of whatever you are.

SUCCESS AHEAD

“There’s big work to do and there’s lesser to do… and the task we must do is the near”

I was recently promoted to the role of Seattle Controller of Lease Crutcher Lewis, a regional leader in general construction in the Pacific and I am embarking on a new path in my leadership journey. I bring to this role my diversity of thought, first-hand experience, best practices from other organizations, and my collaborative leadership style. I see my current organization, already high-functioning and effective, and I can only see that it gets better from here! EDI has prepared me for this role, and I can’t wait to pour out the goodness and excellence that lies ahead. I still have that poem on my desk from 22 years ago, and I look forward to the positive impact that I bring which will benefit and contribute to the organization’s success. I wanted to end this by quoting the last lines of Malloch’s poem, “If you can’t be a sun, be a star. It isn’t by size that you win or fail, be the best of whatever you are!”

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 - 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.

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.

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.

Alumni on the Move - December 2017

Dennis Lam   Asian Discovery, Class of 2016

Dennis Lam

Asian Discovery, Class of 2016

A few weeks ago in mid-November, I left Boeing to join Zillow Group as a Pricing Analyst. In this new role, I use contemporary data analytics methods to develop revenue growth strategies in the New York City region, as well as future products such as 3D real estate listings.

Since I left EDI in Nov 2016, I have made an effort to develop meaningful business relationships by reaching out to friends who I have met throughout the years. Listening to what others have to say about my career goals and expectations helped me clarify where my next career move should be. Perhaps more so than a decade or two ago and perhaps to satisfy the increasing productivity expectation from customers, companies, especially new tech startups, make an effort to hire only those who they see as the “best fit” of their professional requirements and company culture. To me, reaching out and conversing with people from a very diverse background helps me understand my strength and weakness, and understand how and where I can be a best fit.

Academically, since 2014, I had been working part-time on my master degree in physics at the University of Washington, and finally completed the degree this past summer of 2017. Working on my physics thesis was probably the toughest long-term project that I’ve ever accomplished. It has been a life-changing experience that I will be forever be thankful for.

In early 2016, my master advisers, Prof. Jeff Wilkes and Prof. Shih-Chieh Hsu, pushed me to work on developing a machine learning code base for a UW particle physics team. It was a very steep learning curve for me. I had no prior experience in machine learning, so I had spent many evenings and weekends sitting alone at my desk, trying to understand the math behind contemporary machine learning algorithms and practicing coding in Linux and Python, while working full-time in Boeing. I went through countless failures battling with gigabytes of data and meeting my professors' expectations. Nevertheless, with great challenge comes great reward. The thesis project opened my eyes and exposed me to contemporary thinking in quantitative analytics, artificial intelligence, and new professional opportunities in big data. During winter break of 2017, I had a chance to visit CERN, the European epicenter for particle physics, and worked side-by-side with some of the brightest minds. I studied physics out of pure curiosity to understand how the natural world works, but it turns out that the skills I learned in physics help land my opportunity in Zillow today.

My Takeways:

  • Don’t be afraid of challenges...they’re good for you! So listen to your heart, and actively immerse yourself in the right kind of challenges that stretch you WAY out of your comfort zone.
  • Keep picking up new skills and be flexible...this is the only way to stay relevant in this fast moving world.
  • Don’t burn bridges and keep networking to leave a good impression…you never know who you’re going to come across again in life
  • Try to shoot for having multiple sources of recurring income, so that you can be more financially flexible down the road.
  • Think about what you can offer and find opportunities to give back to society whenever you can.
  • Volunteer to meet with and reach out to people who lead very different lives from yours, (e.g., host students/travelers in your house!) Life is all about experience and good companies value and utilize people who have diverse life exposures!

Last but not least, I’d like to thank my family, friends, Boeing, EDI, and UW for their continued support of my journey such far. I'm excited to move fast, think big, and tackle new challenges in my next phase of life in Zillow.


Aimi Shukri   Asian Discovery, Class of 2016

Aimi Shukri

Asian Discovery, Class of 2016

I recently accepted a position at Micronics, Inc. as a Manufacturing Engineer after six and a half years of working at Spacelabs Healthcare. In this new role, I will be overseeing manufacturing process qualification of Micronics product at the contract manufacturer, which is quite different from my previous role of performing those activities in our own factory. I look forward to working on a different type of medical device with Micronics, and exploring new possibilities with this company.

Shortly after graduating from EDI, I was looking into relocating to a different part of the world to support a contract manufacturer of my previous employer. However, after careful consideration,  I was unable to accept the relocation package. After deciding to stay, my previous employer went through a lot of organizational and management changes that allowed me to step up into a slightly different role. I took up project planning and tracking for a few critical projects that had high visibility from upper management. In addition, I was also guiding other colleagues on test system development and qualifications. After a few months in this role, I realized that in order for me to take my next leap, I had to leave my comfort zone at a place that I had been so familiar with.

It was a real challenge to juggle a full-time job, family, and finding new opportunities, but regardless, I continued my efforts. Eventually, I was contacted by a recruiter and within two days after the interview, I was offered a position at Micronics. I have to thank two individuals previously at Spacelabs. Firstly, Jan Heeg, who patiently coached me on project planning and tracking, making judgements, and how to communicate effectively to upper management. Secondly, Mike Brendel, who encouraged me to broaden my technical expertise and pursue leadership opportunities.

Attending EDI Leadership Discovery program motivated me to keep striving for growth in my career. In retrospect, I learned that no matter how challenging the situation is, being persistent and trusting my instincts were vital in making this career shift.

Alumni on the Move - November 2017

Maria Abad   Asian Discovery, Class of 2016

Maria Abad

Asian Discovery, Class of 2016

Maria Abad was promoted to IT Project Lead at The Boeing Company, a few months after completing EDI's Asian Discovery Leadership program, Class of 2016. Her current role in Supply Chain Logistics (SCL) at Boeing, includes managing cross-functional teams from different IT organizations and working with business partners and third-party providers to implement a software-as-a-service application across Boeing, starting with Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA). Successful onboarding of BCA production suppliers and IT integration with multiple Boeing procurement systems are her primary focus. As an IT Project Lead, many of her tasks also include business requirements gathering, project and schedule management, stakeholder and leadership communications, risks management and mitigation planning. Aside from that, she also serves on the board for two Boeing Resource Groups: Communications Chair for the Boeing Association of Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgender - Puget Sound Chapter, and Vice President for the Boeing Black Employee Association - North Puget Sound Chapter. This year, she was recently featured as a guest speaker on career development for a leadership program at Boeing and during pride month for the Everett Delivery Diversity Council. Needless to say, Maria has kept herself extremely busy at Boeing but enjoys having the fast-paced environment – she would not have it any other way.

When not working, Maria enjoys cooking and pushing herself at cross-fit and pilates during the week. She reserves the weekends for camping and discovering Washington, British Columbia, and Oregon.

Strong women leaders and athletes are Maria’s source of inspiration and motivation. Safra Katz, Oracle President, and Chrissie Willington, four-time World Ironman Champion are the top females she admires the most. Her personal mantra is “Keep Going,” which she developed during one of the EDI sessions. Since then, she has used and practiced her mantra to overcome obstacles that come her way.  


Reina Valdez   Asian Discovery, Class of 2016

Reina Valdez

Asian Discovery, Class of 2016

It’s been seven years since I've joined the Columbia Bank family. I was recently promoted to AVP of Treasury Management Commercial Care Supervisor. This is definitely a career progression and I will continue to work towards bigger goals!

I truly believe that a good employee understands vision of the business, produces efficient results, and within the process, creates a good rapport within the team. It sounds complicated. However, I think it’s as simple as being compassionate. If I care about what I do, the quality of work will be the result.

When I work with someone, I try to be humble and get to know the person so the work will turn into a fun and enjoyable experience. According to articles, there are key components to success. Looking back, I hit all of them. They only matter if you are compassionate and learn to apply them.

I’m not much of a risk taker because I fear for the worse. But little by little, I have taken steps. By knowing the boundaries of the risk, I have been slightly comfortable in going outside of my comfort zone.

My mentors have helped me to get where I am today. As a result of my own mentorship experience, one of my favorite aspects about the job is the ability to foster talent within my employees and helping them identify areas of improvement to activate their career growth and professional potential. I enjoy helping successful people become even more successful and learn from them. I am so grateful for my own mentors!

Alumni on the Move - October 2017

Barney Herrera   Navigation, Class of 2014

Barney Herrera

Navigation, Class of 2014

I've been working at Boeing, but recently took a position with the Seattle Credit Union as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships.

As VP of Strategic Partnerships, my mission is to identify organizations in the community that would make strong partners for Seattle Credit Union – partners like the City of Seattle, El Centro de la Raza, or any of the many other Select Employer Groups the Business Development team has worked hard to cultivate.

Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union, now known as Seattle Credit Union, has not only gone through a name change but also a shift in mission and vision. The credit union has focused on serving the unbanked and the underserved, which include immigrant communities. The opportunity to not only help the Seattle Credit Union meet its mission and vision but also create positive change in the lives of the people in need was too promising to pass up.  Although I didn’t need to move companies, this job allows me to combine my passion for community development and creative solutions to some very real problems.

My biggest success, thus far, is transitioning from an everyday job to a passion. I was always told that once you find a job loving what you do, you will never work another day in your life.  I honestly believe I have found that here and am ready to build something special. My biggest failure is not finding it sooner! Not to be too cliché, but certainly, believe that everything does happen for a reason and in its own time.

I look forward to getting to know the myriad community and business leaders here in Seattle in an effort to identify and secure new partnerships. I’m especially passionate about supporting our immigrant and refugee communities, as my parents are first-generation immigrants from the Philippines. I watched them overcome many challenges to provide me opportunities – opportunities Seattle Credit Union can help provide to many families. Personally, I am inspired every day by my wife and kids. They push me to be a better person, my wife supports me at every turn and my boys are a joy to be with when they aren't driving us nuts ;)

My advice for those starting out early in their career is to master the transferable skills needed to do your current job and then don’t get comfortable and seek the next challenge. I often see too many young people jump from job-to-job without learning a thing from their previous position. Not taking the time to master those skills that you can take with you, is really doing yourself a disservice. It means that you aren’t growing at a rate that is sustainable. When you claim certain experiences on your resume, future employers will have an expectation of your capabilities. Once you try to fake that, your “Personal Brand” and reputation will suffer and your chances of accelerating and moving up may diminish severely.  So before moving on to a new job, make sure you learn and take important skills from your position in order to add to your toolbox of skills.

Alumni on the Move - August 2017

On Leung   Asian Discovery, Class of 2014

On Leung

Asian Discovery, Class of 2014

On Leung has recently moved into a new role as a Product Manager in Event Marketing at Amazon.

Having been with Boeing for nearly six years, I wanted to challenge myself in a completely new way. I learned a lot during my time in the aerospace industry and wanted to apply my skills in the faster paced, more risky tech industry. My new position at Amazon is a product manager position with the Event Marketing team, which owns the technology used in running major events that Amazon hosts for its customers. The no-failure-allowed mentality in the high safety standards of aviation will be a great asset in my new role to ensure the technology used during these events will be both an enjoyable and memorable experience.

Following graduation from EDI, I was accepted into Boeing's Leader Excellence Acceleration Program (LEAP) - a highly selective and intensive three-year leadership development program that broadened my exposure to the vast number of products and services Boeing provides. In addition, I have completed my Project Management Professional (PMP) courses and will be sitting for the exam in the coming months. On a more fun note, I started an Ultimate Frisbee Team (Pegasus Ultimate) and was also able to summit Mt. St. Helens!

I have done quite a handful of networking over the years and have constantly learned and re learned to diversify my network for both inside-and-outside the company I am working for in all kinds of roles. I love to connect people, and the breadth of individuals who hold solutions to many of today's problems are simply waiting to be uncovered.

Leo Ahearn was a program manager at Boeing, who has been a mentor to me since the beginning of my career. We met in a leadership program I was taking where he was the instructor. As we started our mentorship, we identified many values we share, including our Christian faith, our servant leadership style, and strong desires of learning about team building. It has been a tremendous blessing to have Leo walk with me through five job changes and many development opportunities. The consistency of having a mentor with such relatability to my own values has been extremely insightful because I have learned from his mistakes and to take advantage of strategic opportunities to grow my career.

Recently, I've had many of conversations about moving jobs, different companies, and changing industries. I realized, sometimes, we can get caught up in the magnitude of considering a job change. I've always encouraged people who are thinking about a new role or advancement to go apply! You don't need to make a decision until an offer is in hand. Applying will force you to keep your resume up-to-date, understand the value of your skill set in the market, and help you stay sharp when networking and for interviews. It'll allow you to learn more about different company cultures, even ones you may choose to implement in your current position. Ultimately, you may decide to take or decline an offer when you have learned more about the role, team, and company. So if you are thinking about a new challenge, stop hesitating and go apply today!

Alumni on the Move - July 2017

Reina Valdez   Asian Discovery, Class of 2016

Reina Valdez

Asian Discovery, Class of 2016

Reina Valdez recently joined the Associate Board of the 253 Club, YWCA.

I am who I am today because of the people around me, who made an effort and cared about me. Whatever I do, I put 100% effort. In EDI, I learned the importance of giving back. I don't have a good method of how to give back most efficiently, but it doesn't matter, as long as I put 100% effort into anything that I do. I feel that community, work, and environment are what we build. We need to build them together to create the result we want to see. Through EDI’s community project, I experienced the process of planning and execution. As a team, we had an outstanding result!

I remember one of EDI's session was on risk-taking. For me, becoming a board member is a huge risk. I will be stepping out of my comfort zone, but I know it will be very rewarding. The EDI program was a nine-month journey, yet it still continues to influence me for the rest of my life.

With the opportunity I’m given as a board member, I’d love to see the organization make a difference in the community we serve. In order for us to become a strong community, we need to nurture the youth with open arms and provide them the skills to be impactful. At the end, these young leaders will continue to do the work we started.

253 Club is only two-years old, but I feel I’m lucky to see the growth as I grow along with the organization. The 253 Club engages rising leaders in building awareness of YWCA’s values and facilitating community involvement. YWCA's mission is to empower women and eliminate racism.

At EDI, I loved learning about behavior styles and have been applying what I've learned - I’m amazed by how effective it is. Recently, I was assigned a task to “execute” on a launch of a new department. Learning about behavior styles definitely helped in this process since I needed to work with so many people and departments who helped make it successful.

I’m blessed to have such a huge support system in my personal and professional life. Special thanks to my parents and my husband. I used to do things to make others happy, but now I try do things for myself. With that thought process, I expected others to appreciate me, provide me with feedback, etc. My husband made me realize that I need to start doing things for me because of how helping others made me feel.

I’m helping others because I feel great by doing so. To me, the more work I put in, the more results I see. If I can see the result, that’s better, but now I simply like the pleasure of making other people’s days, or making a positive difference. It’s really simple, but it took me years to understand this concept.