Winter 2018 Newsletter


It’s only cold if you’re standing still

Ascend GW’s Busy Winter Season

Instead of slowing down and staying inside these cold winter months, Ascend GW has been busy bringing people together, building relationships with DC’s Pan Asian community, and planning the 2018 calendar. Some highlights include the Community Outreach committee unmasked some ways to get involved with some of our valued partners at our annual holiday party, the Marketing committee led a joint effort with the multi-generational and multifaceted Pan Asian community to ring in the new year, and the Membership committee hosted a brand-new event to usher the Year of the Dog ascending us into fresh year of new partnerships and leadership opportunities.



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Leadership Spotlight

VP of Operations – Liz Benson

As the “glue” of the organization’s leadership, the VP of Operations manages all of the operational tasks necessary to ensure Ascend GW achieves it’s objectives. These responsibilities include facilitating working sessions to set strategic goals, coordinating with Treasurer to perform resource planning, enforcing policy and procedures to support maintenance and retention of volunteers, and monitoring organizational activities through key performance indicators to ensure alignment to the mission and strategic goals.

Liz Benson is a Manager in Deloitte’s Federal Strategy & Operations (S&O) Service Operations Practice and has more than eight years of project management experience. Most recently, she helped manage unique efforts to transform a federal organization into an online electronic-based process and align the organizational operational infrastructure. She is an experienced strategist in scalable customer experience standards and cognitive technology solutions. As a leader in the Washington, DC Pan Asian community, she is passionate about advancing Pan Asian professionals in the workplace and within diversity and inclusion inititivaties. An accomplished industry leader, Liz is a graduate of West Virginia University and holds 2 professional certifications – PMP and ITILv3.

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Season’s Highlights

Masquerade Holiday Party

Over 120 professionals, students, and community members gathered on December 14th for Ascend GW’s annual holiday party hosted at Bar Bao. This year’s masquerade theme involved selling masks for donations to support one of our newest community partners, DC APA Film. Judy Go Wong, Director of Operations for DC APA Film, provided information on their 18th Annual Film Festival as well as announce a casting call for upcoming film projects. Part of the evening’s program involved a networking bingo with 5 winners receiving gift cards from Amazon, Panera, and Starbucks. Special thanks to the board members in attendance who represented some of DC’s diversity and inclusion organizations – Kollaboration DC, TAP-DC, NOVAL, and ALPFA-DC. Everyone had a great time reconnecting with old friends, building new connections, and meeting with leaders from some of the area’s biggest companies. Ascend GW is excited to continue building relationships with DC’s Pan Asian community.

New Year Multi-APA Happy Hour

On January 11th, Ascend GW partnered with 20+ Pan Asian organizations from around the Greater Washington area for a New Year Happy Hour at Penn Social. With nearly 150 in attendance representing various industries, professions, career levels, and ethnicities. Some of our most valued community partners like DC APA Film, NAAAP-DC, TAP-DC, CAPAL, and APIAvote were present to strengthen relationships, establish new community relationships, and discuss ways to collaborate for future programming. Special thanks to Bara Hur who helped lead the effort on behalf of Ascend GW and has been an integral member of the chapter’s marketing team.



Ascend GW Graduates 2nd CELP Cohort

The Corporate Executive Initiative (CEI) reached another milestone on January 12th with its 2nd cohort successfully completing the Corporate Executive Leadership Program (CELP). This highly-competitive program, tailored for aspiring Pan Asian Executives, has now graduated two cohorts with 28 total alumni. The latest cohort included 18 participants representing nine of DC’s largest companies. Furthermore, we are excited to share that 4 participants from our first CELP cohort have been promoted which is a testament to the strength and value of the program. We look forward to the continued success of our CELP graduates and to the contributions they will make to their organizations, Ascend and their communities. Special thanks the CELP Planning Team – Linda Nguyen, Connie Weber, Heng Wei, Aimee Meher-Homji, Wen Kelly, Joan Chang, and Sophie Ding. All of the program’s success could not have been possible without our generous sponsors: Accenture, PwC, Deloitte, Freddie Mac, and EY. Lastly, thanks to the support and facilitation from Ascend National Executives, Wes Hom and Amy Shang, and to the Ascend GW CEI Executive Board for their tireless dedication and commitment to the CELP mission. Planning will soon begin for the 3rd Cohort so keep an eye out for communications on how you can get involved as a participant, sponsor, or planning team.

Consulting Boot Camp – 1/26/2018

Our passionate Student Affairs committee hosted over 50 students for its 3rd Annual Consulting Boot Camp from January 26th to February 3rd designed to provide students with a simulation of what it would be like to work for a consulting firm. Students from the University of Maryland, George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, George Mason University, American University, and Columbia University participated in a competition-style event involved 12 teams of 4 competing for a $1000 cash prize and a spotlight for some of the area’s most prestigious consulting firms like KPMG, Deloitte, PwC, EY, Accenture, and Booz Allen Hamilton. This year’s case study challenged students with was providing a creative and viable solution for retail giant, Target, to explore more e-commerce options while maintaining its local and regional growth goals. The students leveraged skills like data science, data visualization, financial analysis, deck writing, and more to provide fresh ideas and perspective addressing concerns by investors and stakeholders.

Special thanks to the 30+ professional volunteers from Deloitte, KPMG, Baker Tilly, PwC, Grant Thornton, Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Net Impact Strategies, and generous support from corporate sponsors Baker Tilly, Tableau, Deloitte, and KPMG.

Inaugural Lunar New Year Banquet – 2/10/2018

On February 10th, the Greater Washington Chapter hosted a sold-out, Lunar New Year Banquet in its inaugural year hosting over 170 professionals and students from around DC to usher the Year of the Dog. In partnership with the showcase sponsor, HSBC, proceeds supported local non-profit, Asian American Lead, as we highlighted a few of the chapter’s marquee events and flagship programs like the Corporate Executive Leadership Program and the annual Inspiring Across Generations conference. This event also showcased local talent like an opening Lion Dance by the Jow Ga Shaolin Institute and a martial arts demonstration by the O-mei Wushu Center. Special thanks to Wes Hom, Anna Wei, and Amy Shang for attending on behalf of Ascend National.


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Leaders Tapped to Inspire

Announcing the 2018 IAG Conference Co-chairs

Ascend GW is excited to introduce the newly appointed co-chairs for the 7th annual Inspiring Across Generations conference – Lisa Feldman and Steve Lu. This marquee event attracts nearly 300 professionals and students from around the mid-Atlantic region who aspire to achieve new heights in their career learning from trailblazers who have achieved incredible success in their chosen field. Planning for the 2018 conference is fully underway. If your company is interested in supporting as a sponsor or if you would like to join the planning team, send an email to

Lisa Feldman is a Director in KPMG LLP’s Risk Consulting practice. She has over 15 years of experience in the financial services sector with exposure to a variety of structured products. Lisa has been involved in numerous aspects of securitization transactions for a variety of asset classes. Lisa has substantial experience leading and coordinating advisory engagements. She has served as the project manager with responsibility for planning, budgeting, execution and delivery of securitization upfront transaction services and post settlement services. She is part of KPMG’s CLO team that delivers attestation services for closing date, effective date and payment dates. Her experience includes collateral verification, collateral analysis, payment verification, cash flow modeling and transaction management.

Steve Lu is a Senior Consultant in Deloitte’s Federal Technology Consulting practice as a Quality Assurance Lead with over 10 years of experience in the software quality assurance industry. For 5 years since joining Deloitte, his passion for diversity and inclusion (D&I) was evident early-on and has grown through various D&I programs within the firm. Most notably, he is a current Co-President of the Asian Business Resource Group (ABRG). His additional volunteerism includes serving has a 3-year mentor for the Deloitte mentoring program and supporting course development for Deloitte’s Leadership Essential Advancement Program (LEAP). Steve Cherry Blossom event and has been a mentor for the Deloitte mentoring program for the past 3 years.

If you’re interested in joining this year’s planning team, send an email to


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Community Corner

Upcoming events and volunteer opportunities

Auditor Invitational

Ascend, ALPFA, and NABA are teaming up with Capital One for a slam-dunk event on March 19. Wear your college colors or team t-shirt (yes, it’s casual attire) and come network with other DC Metro area Auditors.

When: March 19th @ 6pm
Where: Capital One HQ (1680 Capital One Drive, McLean VA)
RSVP Required: Eventbrite


DC APA Film Fundraiser

Did you attend this year’s Lunar New Year Parade hosted in DC’s Chinatown? If so, you may have seen DC APA Film promoting their 18th Annual Film Festival. DC APA Film members and supporters were donning bright red hoodies. Due to community interest, Judy Go Wong and her team have decided to sell them to help raise funds for the film festival coming up in May. Click Here to Purchase Yours Today!


SAPAAC in DC | “Today’s Bamboo Curtain”

Join the Stanford Asian Pacific American Alumni Club (SAPAAC) to meet, learn, and discuss the perspective of Buck Gee (BSEE/MSEE ’72) regarding pervasive barriers that exist in the workplace today for Asian and Pacific Island alumni. Buck is an executive advisor to Ascend and, in 2010, co-founded the Advanced Leadership Program for Asian American Executives which is an executive education program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

    • When: March 5th @ 6:30pm
    • Where: Stanford in Washington, Rockefeller Room (2661 Connecticut Ave NW)
    • Cost: $12 – Stanford Association Members // $17 – General Admission

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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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