Summer 2017 Newsletter


Life’s a beach, we’re just playing in DC

Ascend GW’s Summer Rewind

Summer for Ascend GW started with a celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage on June 7th with insightful Ted-style talks by highly accomplished millennial entrepreneurs which was organized by our Professional Development committee. Following that in July, led by our Community Outreach committee, we began investing in the next generation by supporting the Delta Success program. As our fiscal year came to a close, amidst those events were a series of board meetings to come up with new ways to (1) provide value to our members, (2) build new partnerships, and (3) develop future Pan-Asian business leaders. Our leadership board of volunteers, many of whom were installed earlier this year, brought together their generational, cultural, professional, and personal diversity in preparation to take the chapter to the next level. We closed out FY17 in July with a renewed strategy for FY18, but we still have a ways to go as we work towards our mission and we can’t do it alone. As a valued member of the Ascend GW family, your feedback is extremely important to us. We invite you to take a short 60-second survey to help us increase the value of your membership.

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Committee Highlight

Professional Development – Ihita Kabir & Ameer Ali

An integral part of Ascend’s national mission, the professional development committee serves as the cornerstone of our annual programming addressing topics like market disruptions and career-changing innovation then connecting the organization’s members with industry leaders who have effectively navigated both of those areas.

The professional development committee artfully blends social activities with valuable resources that can be immediately applied to your day-to-day career. Their leadership brought together Dr. Calvin Sun, Founder/CEO of Monsoon Diaries, and Tim Hwang, Founder/CEO of FiscalNote, to celebrate this year’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month event as they shared their trials and tribulations of being young entrepreneurs.

So what are you waiting for? Join the PD committee!
Contact Ihita Kabir or Ameer Ali for more info.

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Event Spotlight

Ascend National Convention – Houston, TX

The Greater Washington chapter of Ascend descended on the 2017 National Convention at the Marriott Marquis Houston on August 19-21, 2017. This year’s convention theme was “Power Up” – a theme that was explored extensively throughout the event. Ascend’s National Convention is the largest gathering of Pan-Asian business professionals in North America with attendees from over 200 organizations and 60+ sponsoring organizations, and the Greater Washington chapter had hundreds in attendance.

This year’s convention featured some truly inspirational speakers from diverse fields ranging from Christine Ha, celebrity cook and author who talked about her vision loss to Soyeon Yi, South Korea’s first astronaut who recounted surviving a life-threatening accident in space. Joe Adams, Managing Partner and CEO of RSM US LLP, spoke about the power of being you and Shariq Yosufzai, Vice President of Global Diversity at Chevron Corporation, gave a passionate Awards Dinner speech about the dearth of Pan-Asians in leadership positions. Yash Semlani, the 11-year old entrepreneur, community leader, and Houston’s Inaugural Young Ambassador discussed his impressive achievements and non-profit work. This year, the convention featured a third edition of the hugely popular Ascend Talks, with trailblazing speakers including Duy-Loan Le, an engineer and the first woman and Asian elected as a Texas Instruments Senior Fellow, and a partnership with United Way Houston where convention attendees gave back to the Houston public schools.

“Our Convention is unique in not only its scale and impact but also in our programming and attendees. This is the only convention for Pan-Asians where CEOs and Corporate Board directors, who are part of Ascend Pinnacle, are cross-learning and networking with each other and those of other career levels. As a lifecycle organization, Ascend features programs for different career levels including Pinnacle, the Pan-Asian Corporate Board Initiative, Corporate Executive Initiative, Executive Insight Series, and sessions for millennials and students.” – Anna Mok, Ascend National Executive Vice President (pictured above – 3rd from right)

The Greater Washington Chapter celebrated another year of success by gathering on Friday evening of the convention at a nearby venue. Chapter board members were in attendance to answer questions and members spent more than three hours networking and reconnecting.

Mark your calendar! Next year’s Ascend National Convention will be held in San Francisco on August 25-28, 2018.

View Photos | View Video Recap

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Ascending to New Heights

Welcome to the family

Ascend GW is excited to announce our newest first-time sponsor, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). WMATA has a critical role in the capital region and provides local, regional, and national transportation that extends beyond traditional measures of mobility.

WMATA’s history dates back to 1976, with the operation of the first phase of Metrorail, and today serves a population of approximately 4 million within a 1500 square mile area. WMATA strives to retain top quality staff and hires a diverse workforce, one that reflects the world and the communities that they serve. They achieve this through providing a work life that fosters motivation along with job satisfaction, excellent benefits and professional development.

“WMATA is deeply committed to creating a diverse workforce and we are excited to collaborate with Ascend GW to seek diverse talents and expand career and development opportunities to our workforce.” – Alberto Marino, WMATA Senior Sourcing Officer

CELP v2.0

The 2nd cohort of the Corporate Executive Leadership Program is coming in October!

Ascend GW’s Corporate Executive Initiative VPs, Brian Kelly and Yoko Jolly, are excited by the many talented applicants who have applied for a seat to participate in the 2017 program. Applications came in from 10+ top tier companies reflecting growth and impact within the Pan-Asian community in the Greater Washington metro area after last year’s inaugural cohort and will soon be to introducing everyone to the newest cohort of senior leaders ready to take their career to the next level.

Brian and Yoko would like to thank the Ascend GW Executive Board, Board of Directors, and our CELP 2017 team for their efforts resulting in so many high-quality candidates across so many DC area employers with special recognition to Zach Heng for providing marketing guidance/support and to Wendy Chan for her leadership and collaboration with broadening the program’s reach across the metro area.

Last but not least, much appreciation goes to the CELP team members who donate their time and talents to make CELP 2017 possible: Linda Nguyen, Connie Weber, Heng Wei, Aimee Meher-Homji, Joan Chang, Wen Kelly, Sophie Ding, Jennifer Nielsen and Yoko Jolly (co-lead).

Keep an eye out for highlights and updates as we get closer to the program’s kick-off in October. We look forward to introducing the newest cohort!

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Don’t Miss Out!

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Sponsor Showcase & Appreciation

Ascend GW will be showing our appreciation to our existing sponsors and meeting potential partners on Tuesday, September 26th at an invite-only event in Reston, VA.  Our community partners and corporate sponsors will learn about the chapter’s upcoming events and new programs which include a focus on women and millennials as we share insights on diversity and inclusion initiatives and meet executive board members who work tirelessly towards Ascend’s mission.

For invitation details and sponsorship inquiries, please contact Hemant Shah, Wendy Chan, or Jeannette Chu.

“Inspiring Across Generations” (IAG)

The IAG leadership team is in full swing planning the 6th annual IAG conference – a full day of engaging and unique professional development opportunities for professionals at every level, from students to senior leaders, to learn from and network with leading industry experts and executives. This conference draws nearly 300 professionals from around the Mid-Atlantic region and you’ll definitely want to be one of them.

>> Check out last year’s conference here

>> Add it to your calendar

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Get Involved

Volunteer Opportunities

Our Hearts are with Houston
Our hearts go out to the members, friends and colleagues impacted by the recent events in Houston. Just last week they graciously hosted over 2,000 of us for the 2017 Ascend National Convention. Tragedies like these should bring communities together, so we hope that as a community, we can come together to help the people of Houston and all those affected by the destruction and devastation.

>> Click here to donate to the relief fund

Resume & Interview Clinic
The Student Affairs committee is seeking volunteers to help provide students the opportunity to brush up on their resumés and practice their interviewing skills before they begin applying to jobs during Fall recruitment season. In partnership with the Ascend UMD student chapter, topics like “Being Young and Asian in the Workplace” and “H1B: Job Searching in America and Abroad” will be discussed among other common challenges that Asian Americans may face starting their career.

>> Volunteer at

Brand New Mentorship Program
With 80+ already signed up, the Student Affairs committee invites you to become part of the first cohort of mentors for the 2017-2018 Mentorship Program. All professionals are invited to participate as mentors. It doesn’t matter if you’re a public or private sector professional or if your background is Finance, Consulting, Retail, Hospitality, or Other. Your next mentee could be a future CEO. So what are you waiting for?

>> Sign up today!

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Join the Club


Membership in Ascend has many benefits like unique opportunities to meet industry-leading executives, invaluable mentoring relationships, and local networking events that may lead to your next career adventure.

Join or Renew Today and see how Ascend can enhance your career!

Already a member? Great! We’d love for you to join one of our committees to strengthen the Pan-Asian professional community. We have plenty of great volunteer opportunities and would love to see you get involved!

Let us know what you’re passionate about!

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