Nigel Lo

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 - February 2016

Nigel Lo   Discovery, Class of 1997

Nigel Lo

Discovery, Class of 1997

"It has been over fifteen years since I graduated from the EDI program. Many things have happened in my career of thirty years at Boeing. With my recent retirement, the second chapter of my life is complete. As I have more time to reflect what I've accomplished, several events have come to mind and they are really memorable. They set the course for a wonderful career and journey.

First, the opportunity to enroll in the EDI program surely has topped the list because it has offered me perspectives that are unmatched by any leadership development programs. It gave me a sense of identity of who I am (as an Asian American) and what I can do for my community.  I was fortunate to serve as President of Kin On some time ago. Kin On was my community project in the EDI program. Secondly, the creation of the 6 Steps Group Mentoring program was a significant accomplishment within Boeing. It gave me many opportunities to work with other Boeing team members on mentoring. Over a thousand employees have benefited over the course of the past ten years. I built 6 Steps utilizing the same concept of the EDI curriculum.

As one chapter has closed, a new one emerges. Recently, I have the opportunity to participate as a faculty member in the Bellevue community program called Youth Link University. It is a leadership development program for high and middle school leaders to learn business skills. The Youth Link University instructors teach business planning, finance, project management, legal, marketing, product development etc. The students apply their learning to a business project. The Youth Link University project was contributed by the EDI participants in 2014. What an awesome job by them!

As you can see, a common thread between these activities is EDI. Along with the wonderful people that I've met, EDI has profoundly changed my life. I hope someday you will find it to be true for the participants as well. The EDI program is indeed a godsend and a wonderful gift!!! Thank you."

Ellen Kinney   Discovery, Class of 2006

Ellen Kinney

Discovery, Class of 2006

Ellen Kinney recently joined EDI's Board of Directors. Reflecting on her decision, she says, "I believe strongly in the charter for EDI - in building leadership skills for current and emerging business leaders.  We all need a safe place to grow and share our experiences and EDI provides a place where managers can take stock of their career and accelerate on their current path or take on a new one.  Also, I feel strongly in giving back in whatever way possible.  Many people have helped me in my career along the way, and this is one way in which I would like to pay it forward."

In addition, Ellen also recently moved companies from Starbucks to Amazon. At Amazon, Ellen serves as the Director of Marketing, Student and Millennials. Looking back at her career, she says, "As I have progressed in my career, I have learned that "how" you do something is more important that "what you do". This includes how you build relationships, communicate with a clarity and passion and  setting high expectations of yourself and others. These are behaviors are not taught in school and are more stylistic. However, having a lot of self-awareness and a meaningful coach or friend to keep you in check is very helpful. I have also learned that closing your eyes and leaping is scary, but can be life changing.

When presented an opportunity to move to the UK to take a senior-level role at Barclays, I took the job with no practical plan in place. Only 10 weeks transpired between accepting an offer and landing in country and in that time,  I sold most of my belongings, rented out my house, pulled two kids out of school, and convinced my husband to transfer his job. If I had thought about it too much, I never would have done it. It turned out to be an amazing opportunity that has shaped my career ever since and has changed how my children think about the world.

For me, my parents were and continue to be the strongest influence on me. They instilled a notion that I could do anything I wanted and that they were no limits. As 1st generation immigrants to the US, they invested heavily in my education so that I would have more opportunity than they did.  My values are largely tied to an obligation to pay back their investment through my career aspirations, contributions to the community and through the messages I send to my own children. Although I grew up in a small town, my parents instilled a notion of leaving the nest as difficult it was for them to accept - so as a result, I have lived in many big cities: New York, Chicago, London, Sao Paolo and Beijing.  Many of these experiences shaped my understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures and socioeconomic challenges."

Ken Lanehome   Asian Discovery, Class of 2014

Ken Lanehome

Asian Discovery, Class of 2014

Ken Lanehome was promoted to Transmission Planning Reliability Standards Owner at Bonneville Power Administration. In this role, Ken is responsible for leading the reliability compliance program within BPA’s Transmission Planning organization. This includes serving as a project manager to ensure BPA follows federal regulations as well as providing expertise and guidance to BPA’s senior and executive management.

"The Leadership Discovery Program raised my confidence at work and taught me important skills in how to manage my career. Each session was important in teaching the traits of a leader and how to use that knowledge for personal growth.

EDI has made a big impact on my professional career. I find myself speaking up in meetings and sounding more confident. It was a great opportunity to improve my leadership ability, communication skills and meet a great group of new friends. I’ll always remember Geoteaming and cooking class from the two day Kick-Off. They were a lot of fun and helped the class get to know each other very quickly.

I also still keep in touch with my classmates and a majority of us makes sure to attend EDI happy hours. I’ve also met some fellow alumni at random Portland events and I'll be vacationing with one of them later this year!

A fun fact about me is that I’ve been an extra on Grimm a few times and have filmed some commercials. The amount of work and coordination that goes into professional filming is amazing. It can take 8 hours to film a 30 second scene."