Winter 2015/2016 Newsletter


Greetings from the Board

VPs of Community Outreach – Lisa Liu & Tony Wong

LisaLiu_Winter2015As we ring in the New Year, we’d like to express our appreciation for the support from the members of Greater Washington chapter by reviewing 2015. Oftentimes, we don’t fully comprehend what impact our individual contributions have on the community and with the holiday spirit still lingering in the air, the Ascend GWC Community Outreach committee would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of the great things that have happened and the differences that YOU have made.

This year our Committee’s goal was to drive a deeper connection with our community by establishing new community relationships, strengthening old community partnerships, and focusing on philanthropy. So, we kicked off 2015 excitedly with our first ever participation in the DC Dragon Boat races, teaming with the All Ivy DC team with the help of Boeing’s sponsorship. Through this event, we were able to meet some of the other Pan-Asian organizations in the area, foster a new alliance with a local organization, and introduce a new approach to enhancing Ascend’s presence in the Greater Washington region by giving the local organizations an opportunity to learn about Ascend. As a bonus on top of the great connections we made, our team even took Gold in the 250m race, a First Place in the 500m qualifying race, and a Bronze in the 500m Medals!TonyWong_Winter2015

Following the DC Dragon Boat race, we celebrated Spring by providing volunteers to the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (OAPIA) Ward 2’s Community Clean Ups where we beautified our community by planting flowers and plants, mulching trees, and cleaning up the pocket parks around DC. In the autumn, we initiated Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week with our first annual Hunger Games event, where we had over 30 volunteers sacrifice their Saturday to pack food for underprivileged Arlington residents. And in the winter, we leveraged our Annual Holiday Party as a fundraising platform for St. Jude’s Children Hospital. Read more about our Hunger Games and Annual Holiday Party for St. Jude’s and how we’ve touched more than 1,500 lives in the later sections. Thank you again, Ascend Family, for making this a fantastic year. We hope to do even bigger and better things next year! Lisa Liu and Tony Wong, Co-VP Ascend Community Outreach.
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Officer Zone

Q&A w/ Young Kim, Director, KPMG LLP

YoungKimYoung H. Kim is a Director in KPMG’s Federal Advisory Services Practice with 25 years of experience in professional services and information technology (IT) solutions in the healthcare industry. Young is a part of the Federal Healthcare team with responsibilities for HHS Headquarters and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Young is responsible for people development, client management, and practice growth.

Young has experience leading and coordinating federal advisory practice and engagements. He has served as account leader with responsibility for account development, business development, engagement planning, budgeting, execution, and delivery of initiatives and programs for KPMG and federal clients. Young is part of the leadership team for KPMG diversity initiative and is on the board of directors for Ascend Greater Washington Chapter.

What are the pros and cons of working for a Big 4 consultancy?

There are definitely more pros than cons, especially for professionals starting out in their careers. The Big 4 – KPMG, E&Y, PwC, and Deloitte as well as other large professional services firms like Accenture and BAH – provide a vast infrastructure and a wide variety of opportunities for each professional to build upon their academic foundations to be able to contribute and excel in the professional environment. From the variety of training to networking opportunities, the Big 4 will insist and make available the channels to further each individual. For a con, the scale of the organizations sometimes lead to individuals getting lost in the system and hence the professional getting disillusioned. That’s why having mentors and a supportive community, like Ascend, is helpful in augmenting what your firm may not provide.

What is the most important element of longevity and success in a professional services firm?

Patience. The Big 4 has many written and unwritten protocols. As fast paced and exciting as the engagements will be, the road to success in a Big 4 will primarily depend on one’s ability to execute and collaborate with others to always increase the size of the pie. This will typically manifest itself in always putting business and team’s success before individual accolades. So the individual professional may not think they are getting the credit or the promotion when viewed through a short term lens. The results and reward will be realized through consistent results through a longer period of time.

How do you incorporate Ascend into your short and long term career?

The community represented by Ascend is a microcosm of the professional services industry, we just happened to share some cultural heritage. Since our membership is made up of individuals from all levels of professional organizations, it provide a safe environment to ask questions and gauge the effectiveness of one’s career planning and choices. The likeminded personalities that may have “walk the walk” provides some models of how your career can grow or take wild turns in your lifetime. Additionally, all things lead to learning from and growing a network of people that you can call on.
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Past Zone

6th Annual AscendNAAMBA Inspiring Across Generations (IAG) Conference

CharlesIhitaIAGFor 2015, the Greater Washington Capital (GWC) Ascend Chapter teamed up with AscendNAAMBA to jointly host its respective annual conference at the DC Hilton on November 13-14. The collaboration was a resounding success with attendees from across the country experiencing distinctive DC-based programming offered by GWC Ascend. Over 500 attended the conference with 300 attendees from VA/DC/MD area.

This year’s IAG Conference highlights included five IAG Workshops delivered over two days, a Mentoring Breakfast with Opening Remarks from Senator Hirono, and local leadership Awards. Big thanks goes out to our speakers, mentors, planning committees, and sponsors for making an impactful and memorable conference.

Ascend GW IAG Awards

IAGawardsOn November 14, 2015, The Ascend GW Chapter presented three awards at the 6th National Ascend NAAMBA Conference, Inspiring Across Generations ( IA) with Career Exposition Benefits and Award Dinner; One award was given to a corporation, one to an experienced volunteer, and one to an up and coming volunteer.

The awards recognize exemplary contributions from corporate and individual who demonstrate commitment to diversity and inclusion for Pan Asian Business Professionals through diverse efforts such as recruitment and retention, teaching, research, multi-cultural programming, cultural competency, community outreach activities, or other similar initiatives.

The awardees included:

  • 2015 Corporate Impact IAG Award: Greater Washington Area Chapter of the Deloitte Asian Business Resource Group
  • 2015 Experienced Individual IAG Award : Tristan Nery, Senior Manager, Healthfirst
  • 2015 Upcoming Individual IAG Award: Clifford Andrew Kim, Senior Consultant, Deloitte Consulting & Hyun Park, Senior Associate, PWC

Ascend GW’s “Hunger Games”

 Did you know that 1 in 6 Americans live on incomes that put them at risk for hunger? That about 57,000 or 9% of all homeless persons are veterans? Or that a recent survey of 29 cities in the United States found 26% of homeless adults suffered from some form of mental illness? Even more startlingly, did you know that on any given night, there are over 600,000 homeless people braving the environment?

Did you know that over 33 million US residents are food insecure? Or that, even within our community, 4 in 10 Arlington residents in the $60,000 and under income group are experiencing food insecurity?

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is the week before Thanksgiving, the day when most of us can sit warm and comfortably in a home with decent food on our tables and be grateful for all these blessings and more. To kick off this week, Ascend GWC partnered with the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) and A Wider Circle to hold a non-perishable food and dignity-condition professional attire drive throughout November and to hold an Awareness event.

Our first annual Hunger Games event was held Saturday, November 7th; over 30 eager volunteers gave up their Saturdays to drop off their donations and participate in our awareness competitions. Because of their dedication, we packaged over 1,500 pounds of dry beans, which would feed approximately 1,500 families in the short span of less than three hours.

With our help, AFAC was able to continue offering healthy options to its neighbors in need and AWC received many brand, new professional attires, including fur coats, for the underprivileged. Learn more about these AFAC and AWC below:

  • Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC): AFAC is a community-based non-profit that provides supplemental groceries to Arlington neighbors in need. AFAC currently distributes groceries to nearly 2,200 families every week, and over 35% of the people they serve are children. AFAC is a community leader in providing and promoting dignified access to nutritious food for all Arlingtonians in need, dedicating the last 25 years to its simple but critical mission of obtaining and distributing groceries, directly and free of charge, to people living in Arlington who cannot afford to purchase enough food to meet their basic needs.
  • A Wider Circle (AWC): The mission of AWC is simple – to end poverty for one individual and one family after another. In 2001, Dr. Mark Bergel was working as a health professional, part-time faculty member at American University, and consultant when he volunteered to deliver food to impoverished residents in the Washington, D.C. area. As he went home-to-home distributing food, he met families living without a secure food supply, without beds on which to sleep, and without access to basic health and wellness information. He was startled by the depth of poverty, poor health, and general inequalities he witnessed in the region. With not much but a strong conviction that we could do better for those living in poverty – that we could end it – Dr. Bergel decided to drop everything else in his life and converted his living room into a nonprofit office. He founded A Wider Circle with the mission of helping children and adults lift themselves out of poverty. Using donated furniture and a handful of dedicated volunteers and health professionals, A Wider Circle furnished the homes of 774 children and adults and delivered 33 educational workshops at local shelters in its first year of service. With each passing year, the organization became a larger and larger part of the solution.

Holiday Party in support of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

HolidayParty2 Regardless of the religious affiliation, the holiday season usually inspires a giving spirit in all of us. The Community Outreach Committee decided to channel this spirit this year to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. We decided to hold a winter fundraiser, which included directing 100% of the proceeds from our annual Holiday Party, to St. Jude’s.

On December 10, 2015, the Ascend GW Chapter hosted its annual Holiday Party at Minh’s Restaurant in Arlington. Virginia. Minh’s Restaurant is a famous local Vietnamese Restaurant that serves authentic Vietnamese cuisine to local patrons.

At the Holiday Party, our members enjoyed a buffet dinner, including drinks, raffles, an ugly HolidayParty4sweater contest, and an opportunity to make some new friends. With more than 75 attendees, we celebrated our successes this year, including recognizing the six committee volunteers who have really made an impact with an award ceremony. At the Holiday Party alone, we raised more than $1400 so that the family members of St. Jude’s little patients can stop worrying about costs and focus on what really matters – helping their child live. Because of people like us, the price for patient families is $0. Each individual’s contribution meant that we gave that little bit more of hope to those suffering from cancer and other divesting illnesses; and that relief is one of the most previous gifts we can give this season.

Ascend GW Chapter Service Awards

The Ascend GW Chapter is pleased to thank our dedicated volunteers who have contributed so much to our chapter in 2015. Success would not be possible without our dedicated volunteers. This year, we recognized a high impact volunteers from each of our committees at the annual Holiday Party on December 10, 2015. The honorees were nominated by each of the committees and recognized with a glass plaque for the Committee High Impact Award. Additionally, the president also recognized Charles Chiang and Ihita Kabir for their excellent work on the planning committee organizing the Ascend IAG (Inspiring Across Generations at the AscendNAAMBA conference held in Washington, DC. Congratulations to the following volunteers were honored for each Committee as the “High Impact Contributors:

  • IAG Planning Chairs, Charles Chiang and Ihita Kabir
  • Professional Development: Alena Kangas
  • Community Outreach: Amber Huang
  • Marketing: Xiaolu ‘Lucy’ Zhao
  • Membership : Joi Chu
  • Student Affairs: Hyojoo Choi
  • IAG: Lucas Wang

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Future Zone


Ascend GW Lunar New Year Celebration

Ascend GW Chapter is planning an exciting celebration of the Year of Monkey. Please stay tuned on our social media outlets for more information on the event to be held in early February.


MOAPIA Lunar New Year Social



Ascend Greater Washington Chapter Student Affairs Events

Ascend GWC Student Affairs Co VPs Clifford Kim and HyoJoo Choi are planning several exciting open-house and informational events through the local universities. Please stay tuned on our social media channel for more information.
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Get Involved!

If you are interested in volunteering for the Ascend GW Chapter, send an email to or see the Volunteers page.