Posted by: Competing In A Borderless World | November 3, 2011

Thank You to Everyone Who Attended the National Convention!

THANK YOU to everyone who attended the National Convention, to all the professional and student chapters, speakers, mentors, corporate partners, alliances, affiliates, supporters, national board, advisory board, the Hilton New York, AFFAIRS and the entire convention team and HQ.

We beat overwhelming odds and held the rescheduled event despite another century-level event, the Northeast snowstorm that dumped several inches of wet snow and slush and disrupted power to over 2 million customers in the northeast.

What should be the theme for next Convention in Chicago, July 28-31st?

Posted by: Competing In A Borderless World | November 3, 2011

Recap: Ascend 2011 Award Winners

Here’s a recap of the Ascend 2011 award winners from the recently concluded, record-attended national convention:

Ascend Affinity/ERG Leadership Award:
GE Asian Pacific American Forum (APAF)

Ascend Rising Stars:
Eric Hu, Manager, Pricewaterhouse Coopers
Meng Lily Shi, Finance Manager, Johnson & Johnson

Ascend High-Impact Leaders:
Greg Endo, Partner, Deloitte & Touche
Michelle Kim, Group Vice President, TimeWarner Cable

Ascend Inspirational Leaders:
Kuppuswamy Murali, Senior Human Resources Manager, GE Oil & Gas
Bruno Singh, Vice President, NBC Universal
Janet S. Wong, Partner, Grant Thornton

Deloitte’s Ascend Leadership Award:
Norman C.T. Liu, President & CEO, GE Capital Aviation

President’s PHD Award:
Larry Chang, Retired Vice President, HP

President’s Lifetime Achievement Award:
Washington SyCip, Founder, SGV

Posted by: Competing In A Borderless World | October 31, 2011

Taking Risks, Embracing Challenges – and Having the Courage to Cross New Borders

Keynote speaker, PwC’s Chief Diversity Officer Maria Castanon Moats, observed that self-promotion is rarely easy, but that it is essential for career growth – as is taking risks and embracing challenges, and having the courage to cross new borders.The journey is worth the risk – and opportunity does not always knock at the right time. Such as the timing of her dream opportunity, to become Chief Diversity Officer – which offered unique rewards, not just for her… but for many others as well.

Diversity is a topic that she cares deeply about; taking on this role would allow her to make a huge impact. And to learn a great deal. And to be promoted, reporting directly to the CEO.

But to take on this responsibility would require negotiating – first at home, with her decision to hire a nanny, travel more, and have a longer commute; and then with her boss, to be able to work from home on Fridays, so as a mom, she could watch her children grow. Her negotiations were successful – and she is now sharing her story, in the hope she can serve as a role model – one of the most compelling parts of being a leader.

The first step is to make those obstacles she first noted – the blind spots, the metaphorical borders, those invisible obstacles – and make them visible. Once they become visible, the journey toward overcoming them becomes a lot easier – sometimes with help, from mentors, from colleagues, and from organizations like Ascend.

Posted by: Competing In A Borderless World | October 30, 2011

Gala Awards Dinner Ready to Start!

The Sutton complex is rapidly filling up for tonight’s Gala Awards Dinner, you can feel the energy!

A great roster of speakers on the agenda – including John Liu, Comptroller of NYC; Jeff Chin, President of Ascend; Maria Castanon Moats, Partner and Chief Diversity Officer at PwC (introduced by Ascend’s Peter Gao), plus the awards presentation by Anna Mok, Ascend’s EVP, and Hee Lee, on Ascend’s National Board.

The emcees for tonight’s gala are Maureen Francisco and Kamesh Nagarajan.

It’s going to be an exciting evening!

Posted by: Competing In A Borderless World | October 30, 2011

Globalization and You: Becoming a Global Thinker

The globalization panel, the final session of the 2011 convention, started at 4:45 pm, with a packed house in the East ballroom on the third floor of the Hilton. The focus of this session, globalization, has been a consistent trend for the last two decades, as borders fast disappear and the world becomes a ‘global information village.’ The session address how this will affect Ascend members and help map how they can become truly global thinkers, and compete in this increasingly borderless world.

The moderator introduced the three speakers, all seasoned veterans of global industry. He explained “this panel is not about globalization, it’s about you!” Referring to the logo on an Ascend brochure, he explained “we chose this particular design” in part because there are “no lines or borders” and “in the middle is you.” He explained that “we are living in a global world, and can go in any direction.” He then introduced the “distinguished panelists,” starting with Bill Wong, Managing Director & Vice Chairman who serves as Managing Director of HSBC’s Global Banking for the Americas and who has been “a big champion of Ascend.” Next was Larry Chang, co-president at Ascend who in his 32 year career with HP held “multiple leadership roles” and who since 2008 has served on Ascend’s board. And, “last but not least” is a “new panelist, Buck Gee, who retired from Cisco on 2008, and who served as Vice President and General Manager of its Data Center, Switching & Security Technology Group (DCSSTG).

The panelists started with introductory remarks on their experiences with globalization.

Bill Wong noted he’s been in the financial service industry for over 30 years and said he found “with globalization” that he was increasingly “in Asia, Europe and traveling a lot in Latin America” where he “found vast differences in cultures and core competencies and needs. That is what brought me closer to the topic here today.”

Next up, Larry Chang noted he had been at HP for 32 years and in this time held “thirteen distinctive different jobs, in four different business units” and that he also has “participated in four functions” with 60 percent of his time in finance, and also spent time in IT; ran the supply chain for HP’s global PC business, and managed innovation to integrate Compaq with HP. On top of this, he added, “I touched four geographies,” including the U.S., Latin America, and Asia and as a consequence, “60 percent of my time was traveling to those regions” resulting in a “thick passport” and in addition, “my wife was really upset I was never home!”

Buck Gee was up next and noted he was a “surprise guest” and was “known to be trouble,” and shifted focus to the previous sessions (Men of Ascend, and Women of Ascend, where leadership was discussed.) He observed, “I am a true believer in strong leadership,” and he said that he “had problems with some comments at the close of the Men’s session,” and what he found to be excessive concern with being perceived as humble. He described someone who was “a smart hardworking team player” by stating, “I know where that person sits – he is not a leader. If you have to worry about being humble,” he found, it inhibited leadership confidence and assertion of influence. “Don’t worry about being humble enough – you are humble enough!” On the issue of Asian empowerment at the highest levels of corporate America, he commented, “Why hasn’t there been progress? Precisely because of this. That’s the problem.” He was intrigued to note that “in the woman’s session,” things were much better than in the men’s session. He noted a common expression many of the men seemed to agree with: “It is better to be liked than lead. To my value, it’s ‘if you do a good job of leading, you will be liked.’ If you have an opinion and worry you won’t be liked, that is the problem.” He noted that “in the woman’s session, one woman said when she became partner, she received feedback that she was too arrogant,” to which responded, “that was bull—!” While “in the men’s session they are arguing they don’t want to be perceived for being too arrogant.” Gee was struck by how the “two panels ended with two totally different results” and speculated that perhaps “the women have gone to enough women’s panels, so they know what the problem is. I say to the men, ‘man up!’ The women are way ahead of you.”

Gee was asked by the moderator what are other ways globalization impacts us at individual level? And he replied, “If you look at where the growth is, you’re going to see that the growth businesses are in Asia. If you have the opportunity when young to work there, you should do it.” He recalled how “at Cisco it was difficult to get people to move from Silicon Valley to China,” and agreed that “when you have families and houses, it’s really hard.” But if young, it’s much easier. So if you can “spend a couple of years in Asia and make a name for yourself, it’s a good thing.”

Larry Chang was next up, and he suggested working “for an Asian company looking to come to the U.S. And they’re coming to the U.S. Like LG and Samsung. They’re coming!” He believes there is a window of opportunity to go work for these companies, and noted he has a niece who has experienced globalization as an individual at many levels: she “just got her MBA, and she’s half Chinese, half Irish; her boyfriend is half Korean and half Caucasian, and he chose to work in Korea as his opening job – and has working with Samsung for about two years now, just out of business school.” New graduates like them, he observed, are now “looking to overseas, not even thinking of working here.”

Bill Wong followed Chang, noting that he agrees “everything Buck and Larry said,” and reiterated that for young people to “find opportunity to go to Asia or Latin America or Europe, basically the one thing you have to do is prepare yourself: you’re going into a different land, and will interact with different people, different cultures – you have to prepare yourself for that.”.

Wong recalled that within HSBC, “we provide a training program” that includes “a rigorous nine month program” and “throughout this time period there are six exams or hurdles you have to pass” and that you “must be proficient in three separate languages! If you want to participate in a global network, in a global workforce, in such a program or in any corporate company’s program, you must start to prepare in terms of language skills, global customs, things of that nature.”

Larry Chang followed suit, saying, “Let me talk a little bit about HP. We’re not as rigorous as HSBC in terms of passing tests or requirements but we do require two languages – English and the language of the country you are going to.” He recommended either Spanish or Chinese as “the two to choose” to prepare for the globalized world. He has found it to be “really hard to find people wanting to move” and recalls that many “candidates say they may not want to leave their friends, or miss Saturday football games,” so that “for those willing to move, the supply and demand is more in favor of the youth than the employee – there are opportunities everywhere!” He described the complex global geography of HP product development, noting that the U.S., Brazil and China are the “three places new ideas come from,” and then India is where things are sent to be tested. So something may be “designed here, then sent to India to test,” and then its marketing will be done “largely in the U.S.,” and then “must be customized for the geographic regions.” As for the supply chain, it “is everywhere” as there are “five factories around the world – the U.S., China, India, Brazil and Ireland.” Chang believes that overseas is where the opportunity lies: “That’s where the jobs are. If you have the interest, you have to raise your hand, and have another language – you have the opportunity!”

After the panelists concluded their remarks on globalization, a Q&A followed, after which attendees exited the ballroom for the Happy Hour Networking session at 6:00 pm, and then the much-anticipated Gala Awards Dinner at 7:00 pm back in the Sutton complex on floor two.

Posted by: Competing In A Borderless World | October 30, 2011

Women and Men of Ascend!

Next sessions start at 3:15pm: Men of Ascend (in Murray Hill Suite), and Women of Ascend (in Gramercy Suite). Both sessions welcome both sexes!

Posted by: Competing In A Borderless World | October 30, 2011

New Ascend Convention Photos Posted to Facebook!

Be sure to check out all the photos that we have now posted to Facebook to find yourself and your friends, and feel free to tag yourself! Click here.

Posted by: Competing In A Borderless World | October 30, 2011

Dragon Ladies, Paper Tigers, Model Minorities?

Dragon Ladies, Paper Tigers, Model Minorities?

A photo from the current “Dragon Ladies, Paper Tigers, Model Minorities?” session taking place in the Sussex complex/grand ballroom.

Posted by: Competing In A Borderless World | October 30, 2011

Karyn Twaronite and with members E&Y’s Pan-Asian Professional Network (PAPN)

Karyn Twaronite and a few members of the Ernst & Young’s Pan-Asian Professional Network (PAPN) after Karyn’s panel on “Aiming Across Borders” yesterday.

Karyn Twaronite and a few members of the Ernst & Young's Pan-Asian Professional Network (PAPN)

Posted by: Competing In A Borderless World | October 30, 2011

Dragon Ladies, Paper Tigers, Model Minorities?

The Sussex complex/grand ballroom is again nearly at full capacity for the first afternoon session: “Dragon Ladies, Paper Tigers, Model Minorities?”

Moderated by Janet Guyon, Managing Editor at FINS/Wall Street Journal, the session includes panelists Wes Hom, Ascend board member; Matthew Hodson of State Farm; Anita Sabatino of IBM; and Anthony Stephan of Deloitte.

They are discussing perceptions of Asians in corporate America and discussing the findings and implications of the recent Center for Work Life Policy study on Asians in America.

This diverse panel includes non-Asians who work closely with Asians, and who are sharing their perceptions from working with and managing their Asian colleagues.

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