Los Angeles Chapter ASCEND Conference Highlights
Members of the Asian American business, accounting and finance community gathered in Los Angeles to rethink how they will do business in the future.
This is their second annual event since the founding last year of the LA Chapter of ASCEND, a non-profit organization which has ten professional chapters, 16 student chapters and more than 4,500 members nationally.
On May 20, 2008, the Los Angeles Metro Chapter of Ascend, whose aim is to be the premier professional association for enhancing the presence and influence of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the finance, accounting and business related professions, celebrated their 2nd annual event commemorating the launch of this local chapter last year.
Renowned actor and producer Ming Lo, appearing in Hollywood hits like Million Dollar Baby and Jarhead, emceed the event for the more than 200 guests and VIP's of the Asian American business community.
Co-Keynote speaker, the honorable Carol Liu, California State Senator, gave an insightful interpretation of the recent election results where Californians voted against all but one of the proposed propositions on the ballot noting that "Californians have spoken. Yesterday's election was a wake up call to government. It needs to revamp the ways of doing things in the state. The taxpayers have said [California's government] needs to make due with what [they] currently have, just like Californians have to do everyday." She also noted that going forward, governments need to "return to their core functions" and shift programs from state to local governments, adding that California's "businesses need to lead us out" of these troubling economic times.
The events other Co-Keynote speaker, Marina Tse, Executive Board Member of the National Committee on Job Corps, U.S. Department of Labor, encouraged the audience to note that during difficult economic times, you should strive to properly "position yourself" to be ready to take advantage of the opportunities that will undoubtedly present themselves when the market recovers.
The event's executive panelists concurred with the overall positive sentiment of both Co-Keynote speakers regarding the opportunities presented by the distressed economy. The event's theme "Inspire, Innovate, Initiate" was a call to action to Asian American business professionals to rethink the manner in which they do business.
The Treasurer of Allianz Dresdner Asset Management, Vinh Nguyen, commented on the topic of Inspiration: "if an opportunity presents itself, jump in. Go ahead and do it and you'll succeed."
Giving words of encouragement, Henry Park, Managing Partner of Energy Power Partners, LLP noted that during difficult economic times "there [are] always two sides of the coin -- look for the positive side," adding that when others see trouble I see opportunity. During good or bad times, "innovation is the strategy for all seasons," remarked Raul A. Cruz, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of AECOM.
Raul Cruz said the "our Asian cultures equate taking initiative to showing off" but that is not the case. Speaking on how to Initiate during these troubling economic times, Donna Farrugia, Senior Regional Vice President of Robert Half noted "[See] the big picture and step up." "[During my professional career] my aspirations dictate my initiative," calling the audience to aspire to great things which will strengthen one's willingness to take more Initiative.
President of the LA Metro Chapter of Ascend, Peter Kao noted in his opening remarks "the old way of doing business with tolerance for inefficiency, lavish spending, and inability to evolve is out. The new way of doing business with forward thinking, cost-efficiency and value maximization will rewrite the history of future business strategy there is no turning back."
1 - Ascend LA Metro Board and 2nd Annual Event Committee Members
ABOUT ASCEND - Ascend is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization established in 2005. Within a short period since inception, Ascend has grown to 10 professional chapters, including Metro New York, San Francisco Bay Area, Houston, Midwest, North Texas, Greater Washington D.C., Greater Philadelphia, New England, Los Angeles Metro and Atlanta; 16 student chapters throughout the country, and over 4,500 members. Ascend is the premier professional association for enhancing the presence and influence of Asian American in the finance and accounting professions. The Los Angeles Metro chapter was formed in May 2008 and was the ninth Chapter of Ascend. More information about Ascend and the Los Angeles Metro chapter can be found at www.ascendleadership.org.