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National conference confers Inspire Award on Aisha Yaqoob

October 2018
National conference confers Inspire Award on Aisha Yaqoob


(Left) Aisha Yaqoob, recipient of the NAAAP Inspire Award. 

The National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) held its annual National Leadership Convention and gala in Atlanta this year at the Hotel InterContinental Buckhead from August 23-25, 2018. With the theme “Arise to Lead,” the three days were filled with workshops, diversity career fairs, employee/resource groups networking, and an entertainment packed charity fundraising event.

NAAAP_Aisha Yaqoob at conv.jpg


The NAAAP Inspire Award was presented to Aisha Yaqoob of Atlanta, a passionate civil and immigrant rights advocate, and a Georgia House District 97 Democratic primary election winner. “I am extremely humbled to receive the NAAAP Inspire Award. I hope this award inspires the younger generation Asian Americans to look beyond the traditional path, to choosing a career path such as running for office,” she said with a beaming smile.

“NAAAP 100 Awards” were presented to four highly respected Asian American individuals: Frank Wu, law professor, author, former Chancellor and Dean at UC Hastings; Chaiwon Kim, CEO of the Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS); Ben Chestnut, CEO and Co-Founder of MailChimp; and Lani Wong, Chair of the National Association of Chinese Americans (NACA) – Atlanta.

The Leadership Convention started with a thoughtful Employee Resource Groups Summit with more than 200 attendees. Speakers from Bloomberg, Cisco, The Coca Cola Company, and Hallmark shared with powerful messages about telling your story, being your authentic self at work, and being an ally for other people.

On August 24, Convention sessions allowed participants to explore three tracks, and the Diversity Career Fair with 33 exhibitors welcomed both Convention participants and members of the public. The energy in the exhibit hall soared as job seekers and recruiters greeted one another.

The final day of the Convention had more panels including “What It Takes to Be in the C-Suite” and “Finding Success as an API Woman Leader.” The Gala honoring the five award winners was almost as exciting as a Crazy Rich Asians premier, minus the cars and lapdogs.

Seventy speakers and moderators, and more than thirty volunteers took part.

Ten things learned at the Convention:

-Tips from the C-Suite: Get feedback from someone not like you. Tips from the CIA: Find a mentor who doesn't look like you.

-Being an ally means using your voice to amplify other voices, using your position to lift others. Being an ally is not a competition or looking out only for yourself, but looking out for all of humanity.

-Everyone has a story. Organizations like NAAAP and movies like CRA provide Asian American and Asian Canadian spaces to share their stories authentically. More stories from the the LGBTQIA community will be heard through NAAAP's new initiative, NAAAP Pride.

-Employee Resource Groups and Business Resource Groups can strategically align their goals with needs of the business, while propelling individuals to greater visibility and impact. NAAAP's ERG program is launching a Virtual Training Program called "Advancing ERG Leadership."

-Author and businessman David Nour, who created Relationship Economics, showed how real time feedback improves innovations.

-Jane Hyun and Betty Lo, NAAAP National Board members, revisited the topic of Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling, the title of Jane's groundbreaking book published in 2006.

-Frank Wu, NAAAP 100 recipient, a Detroit native and legal scholar, is writing a new book about the murder of Vincent Chin, the watershed moment in Asian American history.

-At least two of NAAAP’s national presidents, Elizabeth Yang and Vincent Yee, are published authors.

-Buttermilk fried chicken and biscuits are must-haves when you're in Atlanta. Convention attendees were treated to Southern culinary delights and Asian cuisines at the InterContinental Hotel and beyond.

-Leadership Convention is where heroes and role models become your friends and family. Actual quote: "Two words to describe Leadership Convention: new friendships."


[The article above is a Website Bonus Feature, appearing only on the website for October 2018, not in the print/digital issues.]


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