Poe Wongpa

Marci's Column - July 2016

Left to Right : Marci Nakano, Brittany Ryerson, Poe Wongpa (Class of 2015), Tomo Nakano, Vivian Huang, & Kelly Verbicky (Class of 2016) enjoy tasty Thai food at Poe's restaurant in Auburn, Gor Gai Thai.

Left to Right: Marci Nakano, Brittany Ryerson, Poe Wongpa (Class of 2015), Tomo Nakano, Vivian Huang, & Kelly Verbicky (Class of 2016) enjoy tasty Thai food at Poe's restaurant in Auburn, Gor Gai Thai.

July is the time of year for EDI where everything intersects. We have our current programs starting to wind down; we are actively recruiting for our 2017 programs; we are in the midst of preparing for Inclusion Fusion; and starting to plan for graduation. Although it’s the busiest time of year for us, it’s also the most exciting.  

So much has happened since I last wrote in April, I wanted to highlight some of the significant things we have going on right now at EDI. 


INCLUSION FUSION – It’s just around the corner. This year’s event will be like no other as the alumni will be the focus throughout the evening. We’ll have alumni stations where alums will be sampling some of their own products and sharing with you their leadership stories.   There are several new twists that we will have that will incorporate our theme, “Let Your Leadership Fly” so you’ll have to attend to find out what they are! You don’t want to miss this.


In last month’s newsletter, we introduced you to Tomo, our new intern from Bellevue College.  He’s on a one year exchange program from Japan and is spending 10 weeks with us. Thank you to EDI Alum, Mark Watanabe, for referring Tomo to us. He’s eager to build his leadership skills and has been attending our program sessions. As someone new to EDI, he’s been providing us valuable feedback that we will use to improve the quality of our programs and the participant experience. 

I’d also like to congratulate our Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Vivian Huang, on her graduation from UW in June. Vivian has been with EDI since October 2014 working part-time. After a month long vacation to Europe, Vivian is now back and transitioning into a more full-time role.  We’re grateful she decided to stay on at EDI as she’s the hub of all the communication points for us.    


Be sure to watch this month’s Alumni on the Move video with Poe Wongpa. Our alums are constantly inspiring and amazing us with all they do in their careers and in the community.  Poe just opened his very own Thai restaurant, Gor Gai Thai, in Auburn. He made his dream a reality and we are so proud and excited for him. I admire his courage, ambition and energy. I’ve already been to his restaurant three times, plus he’s catered lunch for all our program sessions in the last month. It’s the best Thai food you’ll find in the area (and I’m not just saying that because he’s an alum).

For those alumni who want to stay connected and/or help out with EDI – here’s an opportunity for YOU!  We have a new initiative that’s in its beginning stages called the EDI Ambassador Board. This is a board of EDI alums that has been formed to help put strategies in place for alumni engagement, fundraising and recruitment. We have a core group of alums already enlisted and soon they will be reaching out to recruit more members.  If you are interested in being part of this initiative, please email me at marci@ediorg.org                       


We are recruiting for our 2017 programs and our goal is to have 90 participants enrolled before the end of the year. If you know of anyone that has interest in the program, please send them our way. If you want us to come to your company to do an information session or need us to meet with someone one on one, let us know.  

Hope to see all of you at Inclusion Fusion!  #DiverseGlobalLeaders

Alumni on the Move - September 2015

Poe Wongpa   Asian Discovery, Class of 2015

Poe Wongpa

Asian Discovery, Class of 2015

Poe Wongpa was recently promoted to Branch Manager at Key Bank’s Panther Lake location. When his branch manager left Key Bank in March, Poe was hesitant to apply for the position. Though he had four years of experience as a licensed personal banker at Key Bank, Poe’s desire was to enter the investment department as a personal financial advisor.

It wasn’t until Poe began his journey with EDI’s Asian Discovery Program, where he began to question his actions. “I didn’t think applying for the position until the very last minute. Literally last minute because I didn’t see myself as a leader or a professional role model to my peers.” During a session taught by J.D. Hokoyama, Poe had a revelation where he decided to take a risk and apply for the branch manager position. “From J.D., I learned that I shouldn’t be afraid to raise my hand and take the next step. Not only does your production has to speak out, you have to speak out too.”

With an opportunity to scout the competitors at his branch, Poe realized he had nothing to lose because he was the perfect fit. As a perk, he could still keep his investment licenses, but also gain opportunities to learn in a leadership role. So the next day, Poe applied, aced the interview, and acquired the position. During his interview, when asked why he applied, he confidently said, “I’ve been at this branch for the last four years and I know the clients and employees, which is why I’d be a great fit. Plus, I’ll have new opportunities in a leadership role.”

Patrick Bondoc   Asian Discovery, Class of 2015

Patrick Bondoc

Asian Discovery, Class of 2015

Patrick Bondoc was recently promoted to Supply Chain Specialist for Commercial Aviation Services (CAS) – Material Services, supporting Airline Fleet Retrofit at The Boeing Company. Nearing the end of his eight-month journey with EDI, Patrick reflects on his time, “EDI has played an essential role in facilitating introspection into my cultural tendencies and leadership style. Most significantly, I am thankful for the EDI experience, which has given me the confidence to lead in the future.”

Mark Martinez  Hispanic Discovery, Class of 2013

Mark Martinez

Hispanic Discovery, Class of 2013

Mark Martinez was elevated to the Board of Directors and appointed Treasurer of the local non-profit, Birthday Dreams.  Birthday Dreams provides birthday parties for children living in homeless shelters in Pierce, King, and Snohomish Counties.  The parties include gifts from the child’s wish list, goodie bags, and of course, cake.

"I had not thought of being on the board of a non-profit until I went through EDI.  The importance of sending the elevator back down is one of the biggest overall take-aways for me.  And every child should be able to be the center of attention in their birthday regardless of their living situation."

Mark would like to invite everyone to the annual Gala and fundraiser on October 10th at the Renton Pavilion Event Center.  This year's theme is 'Hollywood Nights' and tickets include dinner. There will be a live and silent auction, so have a drink and know your bid will go to support a child’s birthday party.