NAAAP Convention: Creating New Connections, Part 1

I didn’t know NAAAP (National Association of Asian American Professionals) existed until Jhemon sent me an evite about the NAAAP Convention a few months ago. I knew he was involved in some sort of Asian American organization but I thought it was mostly physicians because he’s a doctor.

In any case, I signed up for the full event and I also ended up being a member. I think I was subconsciously looking for an Asian American professional organization to connect with. In addition to that, I had a discount registering to the convention for being a member. That was a BIG PLUS. LOL.

NAAAP

NAAAP

I attended the optional Leadership Institute which is a pre-convention session. Even though I signed up for the corporate track, I was secretly pleased that they merged the nonprofit track and the corporate track. It’s like you get a two-fers. But seriously, it’s nice to know how the nonprofit works. I always thought that if you’re a nonprofit, you shouldn’t make a profit on your projects but it doesn’t have to be that way. I just learned the term, “social enterprise.” They are social mission driven organizations which trade in goods or services for a social purpose. The profit that you gained, you put it back to your operations. Naomi Takeuchi of 1000 Cranes Business Building was the speaker during the morning session for the nonprofit track. She clearly explained to corporate people who doesn’t know anything about the nonprofit lingo how to “Build an Effective Board.”

During lunchtime, I chanced upon Billy Wing, Sales Executive of Clippers who is one of the volunteers/ organizers at the convention. We catched up on what’s going on at the convention and he introduced me to Belle Hsu, Marketing Director of Project By Project. Belle’s nonprofit organization is really interesting in a sense that their goal is to partner with another nonprofit organization and dedicate their services for a year.  Their last partner in Southern California was Visual Communications and the one in New York was Asian CineVision. They have an annual Food and Wine Tasting Benefits and features only the top local chef in the area.

In the afternoon, Jinsoo Terry, owner of Advanced Global Connections spoke about, “Managing a Global and Multicultural Worforce” in her fun presentation. That lady is a character. There’s something about her that you just instantly like. Maybe because she’s funny or because at 2pm, I was still listening to her and not dozing off (when I get bored). She really got my full attention. She stresses that what makes a person different doesn’t necessarily makes it a weakness. It could be a strength and it just depends on how you see it.

The Welcome Reception was hosted by Larissa Lam who was named one of the top independent artists by the Independent Artist Registry in 2006. During that time I met members and prospective members who are liking the idea of joing NAAAP. I particularly connected with Melanie and Ron Li who are married and are both a member of NAAAP Chicago. After the welcoming reception, Belle and I went to see the screening of “Ping Pong Playa” and sat with the sweet couple.

This movie was about a Streetwise swaggering Christopher “C-Dub” Wang, a suburban guy who waxes political on all things Asian American and clings to pro basketball pipe dreams. But when misfortune strikes his family, C-dub must overcome living at home, working a dead-end job and his worldly older brother, to run his Mom’s ping pong classes and defend the family’s athletic dynasty. This movie is opening in theatres this coming September 5. It’s strength is that it’s commercial enough without losing it’s identity. This movie has a great potential in the market if given the chance. I think the Asian American Community should support this movie. The movie is very funny, entertaining, and skillfully crafted by the production team. It has it’s touching moments which is very endearing because you could really relate to them. The child actors are just amazing.

During the next two days, I totally missed the morning sessions which was not a problem as I later found out because the NAAAP staff recorded the sessions. Awesome. I almost missed lunch last Friday but the organizers were so helpful that they made sure I was served lunch. This is a fact. A way to a member’s heart is through his/her stomach.

Asian American Women Leading in the Entertainment Industry

Asian American Women Leading in the Entertainment Industry

The next two seminars really speaks to my sensibilities as an artist. “Asian American Women Leading in the Entertainment Industry” features actor/director Elizabeth Sung; Cherry Sky Films director, Joan Huang; actor/producer of Sweet Violet Films, Emily Liu; producer, Jamie Lai; and LA18′s Kababayan LA, Janelle So. Sachi Koto of Sachi Koto Communications moderated the session. It was motivating to hear these women relates their professional experiences and positive attitude amidst their current struggles.

TheA_rtist with Janelle So

TheA_rtist with Janelle So

The last session  that I attended for that day was “How to Work with Media: A Guide for Businesses and Organizations.” Anny Hong moderated the session and the panelist were Bill Imada, IW Group; Marian Shima, Los Angeles Times; Leyna Nguyen, KCBS/KCAL. They advised on what’s the best way to get your events get coverage in the media among other things. Bill made a strong point about the reason why we don’t see enough Asian Americans on television to dispute stereotypical myths. It’s because of the general trait of Asian Americans tendency to keep to himself. He urged the Asian American audience to speak up. That’s why I started filamartists.com. We need to have more voice out there.

Nylon Pink

Nylon Pink

After my first session, I connected with Susie Willems-Geeroms from Wells Fargo and Roger Fong, an entrepreneur who was one of the NAAAP organizers when it was just starting out. It is interesting to note that Susie has been helping and really supportive to her boyfriend’s dream of becoming a filmmaker.

Room To Improv

Room To Improv

The NAAAP National Awards Gala Dinner celebrates the accomplishments of the NAAAP chapters & ventures. The best chapter went to the Atlanta Chapter and the best venture was Colorado. Congressman Mike Honda, House Representative of the 15th district of California was the keynote speaker. At the end of his session, he invited leaders to participate and getting involved in the public policy because it affects the Asian American Community. I think it’s still going on to that underlying theme of speaking up. After that, almost everybody headed towards the historic backlot of the Fox Studios after dinner where we had an entertaining nightcap. Room To Improv, Nylon Pink and Tina Kim performed that night. While Susie and I were waiting at the lobby before moving to the Fox Studios, we get to meet Ronald Sagudan, AAPI Veterans Liaison of the Center for Minority Veterans; Ed Joaquin, VP and General Manager of the Taste of Asia Festival; and Ramon Guevara, an Epidemiologist from the County of Los Angeles Public Health who revealed to me his passion for drawing comic characters.

Tina Kim

Tina Kim

The Saturday lunch “Showcase of the Stars” featured  diverse industry leaders as part of the panel. They were Al Gaylor from Cisco; Liz Kinniburgh from Sodexo; Melanie Gitaadji from McDonalds and Jessica Park from Aramark. That’s when I get to know the Boston Chapter. It’s kinda weird how it happened. I was almost running late again and when I get to the ballroom, I was just looking at any random table where I can sit down and have lunch. I consider Boston as my second home because we usually visit my hubby’s family twice a year in Boston. And I’m no sports fan but my hubby converted me to be a loyal Red Sox, Patriots & recently Celtics fan. I tease him about the Celtics, though. Ming Hui from Putnam Investments; Philip Hui from Spiracur; Samson Lee, president of Boston Chapter; and Aidan Trung Nguyen, Events co-chair was kind enough to let me sit with them.

to be continued…

http://www.naaap.org/

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About the Author

I’m a designer/artist/actress based in Los Angeles. I always wanted to connect with other artists for networking and collaboration. One of my goal is to help Filipino American artists become more visible to the general public.

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