Past Conferences

A Successful 3rd Annual NAAMBA Leadership Conference & Exposition

Leadership to New Heights!

September 8-10, 2011 - New York City

NAAMBA extends a heartfelt gratitude, appreciation and thanks to all the sponsors, speakers, attendees, volunteers, learning and alliance partners, and NAAMBA Leaders for making the 3rd Annual NAAMBA Leadership Conference & Exposition such a tremendous success! The conference with the theme of Leadership to New Heights was held in the heart of midtown Manhattan, September 8-10, 2011, and attracted approximately 2,500 total conference attendees from across the U.S.A. and Asia. The conference was attended by corporate and diversity executives, HR and working professionals, MBA students and alumni, community and business leaders who engaged in powerful professional development and leadership seminars, robust expert panel discussions and networking sessions.  The Annual conference is a 3-day event consisting of Conference Kick-Off, Leadership Conference & Gala Dinner and Career Exposition. 

Day 1: Conference Kick-Off – Thursday, September 8, 2011 – Princeton Club of New York

The conference commenced with the Conference Kick-Off held at the Princeton Club of New York, emceed by Sonia Moghe (Reporter, CBS Atlanta) and featured a number of engaging speakers. The Kick-Off keynote speaker was the NYC Comptroller, Honorable John C. Liu. Hailed as a “Trailblazer” and “Pioneer,” Mr. Liu’s historic elections as the first Asian American elected in New York City – both to legislative office in 2011 and citywide in 2009 – were marked as milestones for Asian Americans in New York and across the nation. Recognizing his service to the community, Mr. Liu received the Asian MBA Conference Community Leadership Award at the inaugural Asian MBA Leadership Conference in 2009. 

In his capacity as the Kick-Off keynote speaker, Mr. Liu welcomed conference attendees to New York, encouraging them to explore the great city of New York and take in all the things this great city has to offer! He spoke about his professional journey and the value of an organization such as NAAMBA in advancing and empowering Asian Americans. The Kick-Off also featured remarks by the NAAMBA President & Founder Jino Ahn and other Leaders of various NAAMBA Initiatives such as the National Employee Resource Group (ERG) Council, Women Leadership Council and NAAMBA Regionals. National ERG and Women Leadership Council Leaders delivered remarks on the mission of respective initiatives. Their remarks commenced the 2nd Annual Asian ERG Summit and the 1st Annual Women Leadership Summit which took place during the Leadership Conference on Friday, September 9, 2011. 

On Thursday afternoon, “The Medici Innovation Workshop” was offered for our sponsoring companies and the session was attended by representatives from some of our top sponsors.  Building on the concepts of the best-selling book The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson, through a mixture of story-telling, instruction, discussion and interactive exercises, the participants were invited to discover how they can create a culture of innovation at their organizations. 

Day 2: Leadership Conference – Friday, September 9, 2011 – Marriott Marquis Hotel

During the full day session of the Leadership Conference emceed by Ms. Moghe, attendees gathered to partake in the inaugural NAAMBA Mentoring Breakfast, General Sessions, Leadership Luncheon, Concurrent Seminars & Professional Development Workshops and the Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony.  

Mentoring Breakfast

The inaugural NAAMBA Mentoring Breakfast provided a unique opportunity for conference attendees to network with corporate, business and community leaders. Featuring over 20 mentors across industries from the U.S.A. and from Asia, the Mentoring Breakfast served as a platform for engaging interactions and networking between the mentors and the attendees. 

General Sessions

The morning General Session featured a session titled “Asian Voices” by the globally renowned CSW Associates Inc. team lead by Connie Wong (Founder & Managing Director).  In this case study, Ms. Wong tracked the challenges organizations faced with the diverse cultures and backgrounds of Asian professionals in their workplace as well as the stereotypes and unconscious bias that shape institutionalized reactions. The session highlighted many of the challenging issues identified through CSW’s global experience and research working with leading business organizations and MBA programs. 

The afternoon General Session titled “C-Suite Executive Roundtable – Journey to the Top,” moderated by Tariq Khan (Founder & CEO, Global Diversity Marketing, Inc.), featured high profile and high caliber speakers such as A. Salman Amin (Executive VP & CMO, PepsiCo), Alex S. Chi (Managing Director, Goldman Sachs & Co.) and Christopher K. Wong (VP, Marketing Transformation, Corporate Marketing & Communication Operations, IBM), who engaged  in a thought-provoking and inspirational discussion on their respective journeys to the top of corporate America, the obstacles they faced and the ways and means through which they overcame those obstacles. 

Leadership Luncheon

Farooq Kathwari (Chairman, President, CEO, Ethan Allen Interiors, Inc.) was our marquis speaker for the Leadership Luncheon on Friday. Mr. Kathwari, sharing his perspectives on the topic of the “Courage to Change” talked about a set of leadership principles (accessibility, customer focus, excellence and innovation, self-confidence, change, hard work, justice) which define his leadership style and which define his commitment to excellence.  Building on these principles, he offered take-away advice to young professionals in the audience who are looking for new opportunities and for seasoned professionals who are exploring career change. Under Mr. Kathwari's leadership, Ethan Allen has been transformed into a leading interior design company whose vertically integrated business model feeds its success. Recognizing his leadership and service to the community, Mr. Kathwari was presented with the NAAMBA Entrepreneurial Excellence Award at the Gala Dinner later that evening. 

Concurrent Seminars & Professional Development Sessions

A total of 12 concurrent seminars were offered on Friday which consisted of nine expert panel discussions and three workshops, all geared towards addressing diversity & inclusion issues, Global HR issues, sharing knowledge and best practices, providing career advancement advice and helping attendees build professional competencies and skills in broad ranging areas.  

The 2nd Annual Asian ERG Summit included panel discussion on “Asian ERG Value Proposition” and a“How-To” session on Developing & Sustaining ERGs.” The 1st Annual NAAMBA Women Leadership Summit featured a workshop titled “Thrive in Your Career-Bring Your Whole Self to Work” and a panel discussion on “Developing Multicultural Women Leaders.” Sessions on “Career Opportunities in Asia” offered attendees insights into the pros and cons of working in Asia, the types of skills that are in demand there, how and when to pursue opportunities abroad, and how to plan and execute such a transition. “Investment Opportunities in Asia” panel featured corporate, leaders, experts and government officials who spoke about the opportunities and benefits of investing in Asia, how to secure them and the challenges investors should be aware of before investing. A first for NAAMBA, a panel titled “STEM Needs Diversity” consisted of expert discussion on why STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) industries need diverse talent to prosper, what is being done to develop and prepare minority workforce for these industries and what the future holds for the growing fields of STEM. 

Earlier this year, NAAMBA partnered with Contact Singapore to organize the 1st ever NAAMBA Global MBA Case Competition. Top MBA schools from across North America and Asia entered the 1st round of the competition with four winning teams advancing to the 2nd and final round of presentations which took place during the Leadership Conference. 

The inaugural NAAMBA Regional Leaders’ Networking/Informational Session provided an opportunity for the attendees to engage with NAAMBA Regional Leaders and learn about leadership opportunities in existing and future NAAMBA Regionals. 

Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony

A perfect conclusion to the day’s events, the Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony commenced with a pre-Gala networking reception, offering guests one of numerous networking opportunities during the conference. Emceed by Sonia Moghe and Sree Sreenivasan (Dean, Student Affairs, Columbia Journalism School, Columbia University), the Gala opened with the first ever NAAMBA Fashion Show with the theme of The Look of Success, showcasing female and male  traditional and contemporary professional wear by designers Anni Kuan and Ninh Nguyen. The models came from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities and contributed to making the night truly unforgettable! The Fashion Show was a perfect start to a celebratory, prestigious Gala Dinner, recognizing Corporate Diversity Excellence and Pan-Asian Leaders in various NAAMBA Leadership Award categories and presented established and rising Pan-Asian entertainment performers. The winning team (Boston University School of Management) of the NAAMBA Global MBA Case Competition was announced and presented with an award at the Gala. Special Guest Speaker for the night was Patricia Harris, Global Chief Diversity Officer, McDonald’s Corporation & Vice President, McDonald’s U.S.A. The weekend of the conference also marked the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. RDML Ron J. MacLaren of the U.S. Navy paid tribute to the victims and heroes of that tragic day in a somber and heartfelt 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony. 

Day 3: Career Exposition – Saturday, September 10, 2011 – Marriott Marquis Hotel

The Career Exposition was held on the 3rd and final day of the conference. Over 90 companies exhibited at the Expo, giving attendees a unique opportunity to connect with them face to face and learn about the types of career opportunities available at each company.  The Career Coaching Center’s Resume Critiquing Sessions offered students and job seekers with an opportunity to meet with resume coaches and receive critical expert tips on improving one’s resume for optimal results. Career Coaching Workshops conducted by experienced trainers and practitioners were offered on topics such as “Penetrating the U.S. Corporate Market as an International Student” and other subjects ranging from innovative job search strategies to important tips for international students when it comes to obtaining employment in the U.S. 

Company Informational Sessions by Parker Hannifin, Nike Inc. and UnitedHealth Group (UHG) in addition to the Insurance Industry Networking Session hosted by MetLife, UnitedHealth Group (UHG) and Zurich, were geared towards informing the attendees about the opportunities, products and services for the Asian community offered by these companies. 

Conference pictures and videos will be available soon. For testimonials, click here
The 3rd Annual NAAMBA Leaderhsip Event was truly an event to remember!


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