Program Chairs

Alumni on the Move - November 2016

Claire Mak   Asian Discovery, Class of 2013

Claire Mak

Asian Discovery, Class of 2013

Claire Mak was recently promoted to Manager of Prototype Development, Product Validation Engineering at Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA). She is currently the Vice-Chair of the Asian Resource Network, one of the many Employee Resource Groups at DTNA. She also hosts the monthly PMI Roundtable discussion at DTNA.

I am attributing my success to the “can-do” attitude my parents instilled in me. It wasn't until EDI that I discovered that my “ability to speak up in meetings”, “questioning status quo” and “don’t take no for an answer” attitude wasn't normal for Asians. My biggest A-HA moments from EDI are self-awareness and personal branding. I have been working on improving “my brand” since April 2013. The fact that I am aware of my strengths and weaknesses and able to articulate to the interview panels what I have done to improve myself has definitely set me apart from my competitors.

I have always known that I want to move into management. EDI has given me the tools, tips and tricks, and showed me the path to get there. Last year, when I was given a troubled project, I was able to use all the skills that EDI has taught me. I had to perform under intense pressure, effectively communicate to all levels of management, resolve conflicts , leverage my network, and frequently present to CEO levels. I am happy to say because of my EDI training, I came away with flying colors. Upper Management took notice of my abilities, and then it was a matter of time for the right job to become available for me to move into management.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the mentors that I have met through EDI, and to Marci for giving me the opportunity to be the Program Chair for the 2015 and 2016 Portland Asian Leadership Discovery Program. I am now a better leader, manager, mentor, mother, and friend because of EDI.


Nyle Miyamoto   Asian Discovery, Class of 2002

Nyle Miyamoto

Asian Discovery, Class of 2002

Congratulations to Nyle Miyamoto for receiving the 2016 Achievement in Leadership Excellence and Nobel Impact (ALENI) Award from NAAAP-Seattle! In his acceptance speech, he shared his formula for developing one's leadership potential where,'LP = ExRxR', where one's Leadership Potential is determined by one's Experience, Relationship Experience, and Reptuation. At the end of his speech, he asks the audience, "Are you pudwater or Fiji water?" What are you?

Featured: Program Chairs

Left to Right:  Andrea Cortes-Beltran, Vanna Novak (EDI Founder/Facilitator), Mark Kawabata, Melanie Tinsley, Ronald Woo, Claire Mak, and Nicole Ngonevolalath, pose for a picture after their "Train the Trainer" session in preparation for their respective programs.                              Not pictured:  Pha Mom, Jose Gomez, Ryan Truair, Cesar Amaral, and Colleen Yamaguchi.

Left to Right: Andrea Cortes-Beltran, Vanna Novak (EDI Founder/Facilitator), Mark Kawabata, Melanie Tinsley, Ronald Woo, Claire Mak, and Nicole Ngonevolalath, pose for a picture after their "Train the Trainer" session in preparation for their respective programs.                           

Not pictured: Pha Mom, Jose Gomez, Ryan Truair, Cesar Amaral, and Colleen Yamaguchi.

For EDI, the people who make running the programs possible, are the Program Chairs, past and presentThey are truly EDI's Champions! EDI's Program Chairs are past alumni, who volunteer their time back (for up to two years) to EDI simply because they love the programs so much.

 

     One of the returning Program Chairs, Mark Kawabata, says, "The best part about EDI is the energy and excitement that flows through the participants. There are many classes that address leadership in business, but to be a part of a program tailored to incorporate personal cultural values elevates it to a higher level." An added benefit for Mark is also working closely with EDI's Executive Director, Marci Nakano, to make sure the programs are running smoothly.


Q & A with the 2015 Program Chairs:


"Why did you become a Program Chair?"

 

Pha Mom:  I enjoy watching people grow throughout the year and it's great to know that I took part in that growth.

 

Nicole Ngonevolalath:  I want to work on my skill set and go through the program again as a refresher because if we don't use it, we lose it.

 

Ryan Truair: There was a need for someone to step into a leadership role, and I took it as an opportunity to apply and exercise what I learned as a program participant.

 

Claire Mak:  I want to give back to the EDI community, promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and help other Asians become better leaders. I also enjoy meeting new people, and there's no better way to network with other Asian professionals than being part of EDI.


"What do you enjoy most about being a Program Chair?"

 

Pha Mom:  I love meeting new people and learning their story!

 

Nicole Ngonevolalath:  Meeting and learning about the new participants, but also having the chance to get to know the trainers on a different level! And of course, the FOOD!

 

Claire Mak: I love sharing my experiences and lessons that I learned with the EDI class. Mentoring other Asian professionals makes me feel proud :)

 

Colleen Yamaguchi:  It's a fabulous opportunity to create an environment where people can learn, share and grow together, and to see that come alive.  In all the programs, each participant has a wealth of experience and perspective to contribute, so the peer dynamic is rich and a critical component of learning. Tapping into the wisdom of the group as new concepts and tools are introduced generates an upward synergy of insights and leader development that is exciting to see. I learn a lot too!


Advice for someone thinking about becoming a Program Chair:

 

Pha Mom:  If you want to grow, give back. Giving back is one of the best things you can do for yourself and others.

 

Nicole Ngonevolalath:   DO IT! It's an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and embrace the challenge.

 

Ryan Truair:  Go for it. You will not regret your decision.

 

Claire Mak:  There's nothing better than giving back to your community, learning new skills, re-living the EDI experience with new friends, and helping improve the EDI program!