Inaugural West Coast Diversity Leadership Forum

On December 6, 2016, Asia Society Northern California (ASNC) held the inaugural West Coast Diversity Leadership Forum (DLF) at Zendesk in San Francisco, CA.  DLF brought together more than 80 mid-level to high-level employees of companies such as Yelp, Dropbox, and Airbnb to discuss the challenges of and innovative solutions to critical corporate diversity issues. The 8th Annual DLF was held at Asia Society’s headquarters in New York, focusing on the topic Powering Asian Talent: Leveraging Intersections to Drive Marketplace Solutions.

The event commenced the night prior with a VIP dinner at Crystal Jade for the speakers and selected invitees.

Kicking off the inaugural West Coast DLF was N. Bruce Pickering, ASNC Executive Director followed by welcoming remarks from Tiffany Apczynski, Vice President of Public Policy and Social Impact at Zendesk. The event then transitioned to the first panel, a keynote dialogue moderated by Frank Wu of Committee of 100. Wu engaged S. Shariq Yosufzai of Chevron Corporation, Grace Lee of Latham Watkins, and Otto Lee, Former Mayor of the city of Sunnyvale in a thoughtful and dynamic discussion surrounding “Asian Leaders Driving Business and Politics.”

Following the keynote dialogue was a duo of presentations by David Reid of Asia Society and Vipul Sheth of Medtronic regarding the Asia Society Global Talent Initiatives 2016 Asian Pacific Americans Corporate Survey results. The conversations continued in the second panel titled “Leadership Skills: Developing the Next Gen Asian Leaders.” Moderated by Laurie Nash of Russell Reynolds, the panel was amusing and thoughtful thanks to the comments offered by Annabel Chang of Lyft, Steven Ma of Think Tank Learning, and Anna Mok of Deloitte.

After lunch, some participants attended the Executive Roundtable led by Buck Gee of Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Co-Chair of the West Coast DLF Advisory Council while other members attended “Closing the Gender Gap: Advancing Asian American Diverse Talent.” Moderator Linda Akutagawa of LEAP added some pep to the post-lunch panel with thoughtful remarks from Eugene Kelly of Colgate-Palmolive, Shie Lundberg of Google, and Carla McDonald of Wells Fargo.

The split sessions continued with a workshop upstairs led by Brian Reyes, ASNC Young Professionals Chair and participants could learn from Darlene Chiu Bryant of ChinaSF or Yingzhao Liu of LinkedIn on "Fast Track Your Career: Becoming a Very Influential Person." Downstairs, the general presentations continued with an enthusiastic presentation by Erby Foster of the Clorox Company, followed by a dynamic discussion with Michael Coyle of PG&E, Madhu Kochar of IBM, Denise Lee of Cisco, and Douglas Ma of Uber revolving around “Amplifying the Impact of Business Resource Groups: Making BRGs and ERGs Work.”

Sydnie Kohara, of Kohara Group and Co-Chair of the West Coast DLF Advisory Council, concluded the discussions in a one on one interview with Assemblymember Phil Ting, representing California's 19th District.

ASNC would like to thank the generosity of its sponsors: Zendesk, Wells Fargo, and Chevron; its partner Ascend; knowledge partner GlobalCon Group; and supporters LEAP and Committee of 100.

Videos for the rest of the panels coming soon!

Watch Syndie Kohara's complete interview with Assemblymember Phil Ting of the California 19th District (31 min., 28 sec.)



Representatives from LEAP, Google, Colgate-Palmolive, and Wells Fargo discuss issues facing Asian American women (1 hr., 3 min.)

Available below: complete footage of David Reid and Vipul Sheth's presentation about the Asia Society 2016 Asian Pacific Americans Corporate Survey (19 min.)

Stream video below and listen to experts from Clorox, IBM, PG&E, Cisco and Uber discuss the importance of ERGs and BRGs (1 hr., 19 min)

Learn from panelists representing Russell Reynolds & Associates, Lyft, Deloitte, and ThinkTank Learning about how to engage the next generation of leaders (1 hr., 1 min.)