Asian Women Empowered: Board BreakthroughVIEW EVENT DETAILS
Asian American women make up less than 1% of promotions into the C-Suite, according to McKinsey & Company’s "Asian American workers: Diverse outcomes and Hidden Challenges." In California specifically, AAPI women made up 7.8% of the population and only 3.3% of the board seats, as of March 21, 2021, according to California Partners Project's "Claim Your Seat: Women of Color on California's Public Company Boards."
Change can’t come soon enough. By working together, cultivating the right networks, and providing the right resources, we can change this story.
The event was an inspiring night of conversation and networking among those who are breaking through, aspire to break through and are ready to move the needle.
“Board Breakthrough” was made possible by The Asian Women Leadership in Philanthropy Fund (AWLPF) housed at the Asian Pacific Community Fund (APCF) – whose goals include adopting collaborative approaches to supporting the next generation of Asian American women to make a difference in all fields.
Featuring a Panel of Corporate Board Members:
Julia S. Gouw
Board Member, Pacific Life Insurance
Retired President and COO, East West Bank
Julia S. Gouw is the Chairwoman of Piermont Bank, a commercial bank in New York. She was the former President and Chief Operating Officer of East West Bank.
Gouw was ranked one of the “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking” five times by American Banker magazine and has received the Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Women Making a Difference” award two times in recognition of her achievements and philanthropic contributions.
Gouw was a board member of the Trusteeship, an International Women’s Forum affiliate organization that connects preeminent women in leadership positions across various professional fields.
Gouw currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Pacific Life and VIZIO (NYSE: VZIO). She was appointed as a Commissioner of Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) in September 2016. The OIAA provides overall direction for the management, operations, development and marketing of Ontario International Airport in Southern California.
Gouw is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She was the founding chair of Executive Advisory Board of the UCLA Women’s Health to promote women’s health both in research and medical treatments. She also endowed the UCLA Chair of Mood Disorders Research especially in women in memory of Dr. Lori Altshuler.Born and raised in Indonesia, Gouw came to the United States in 1978 where she earned her B.S. degree in accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Board Member, Hanmi Bank
Client Relations Partner, Rutan & Tucker LLP
Gloria Lee is the Client Relations Partner for Rutan & Tucker, LLP, one of the largest full-service law firms in California. Lee is the Chair of the Firm’s Business Development Committee and has been named a Super Lawyer annually since 2012. Lee is also the Co-Founder of Kwell Laboratories and a Venture Partner of Ethos Fund, a tech fund with a focus on investments in the U.S. and Southeast Asia.
Lee serves on the public company board of Hanmi Bank and several non-profit boards, including the Council of Korean Americans, LiNK and Olive Crest. She formerly served on the Board of the UC Berkeley Law Alumni Association and the Executive Board of Asian Americans Advancing Justice. She is also a past president of the Orange County Asian American Bar Association.
Lee earned her BA and MA concurrently in four years from Stanford University where she graduated with distinction and played for the three-time national champion badminton team. Lee is also a mother of two teenage boys.
Board Member, CarParts.com
Nanxi Liu is the Co-founder and Co-CEO of Blaze.tech, a fast-growing platform that enables teams to build custom software and apps without writing code. She's been named 30 Under 30 and Fortune's 10 Women Entrepreneurs to Watch.
While an undergrad at UC Berkeley, Liu co-founded Nanoly Bioscience, a venture-backed biotech company that develops polymers to eliminate refrigeration for vaccines and therapeutics. The company received the Top Research Award at the World Biomaterials Congress and Intel’s Top Social Innovation Award. In addition, Liu serves on the Board of Directors for Grupo Proeza, one of the largest private conglomerates in Mexico, and as a Partner at XFactor Ventures, which has invested in 90 women-founded startups. Passionate about community service, Liu serves on the Board of Directors for the National Foster Youth Institute, the Los Angeles Police Foundation, and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation. She has previously served as 1 of 5 voting members to the New Motor Vehicle Board of the California Department of Motor Vehicles and on the Board of Directors of Kindred Biosciences (NASDAQ: KIN, acquired in 2021) and CarLotz (NASDAQ: LOTZ, merged in 2022).
In 2018, Liu received UC Berkeley’s Sather Gate Young Volunteer of the Year Award for her role in helping raise $22 million for the university. As a producer of the Amazon TV series, The Bay, Liu received an Emmy Award. Liu is a concert pianist and has performed live on NBC and ABC. Liu graduated with a BS and BA from UC Berkeley.
Board Member, Ralph Lauren Corporation
Former President, Alibaba Pictures & SVP, Alibaba Group
Wei Zhang is a global senior executive with extensive experience across media and entertainment, technology, e-commerce and digital sectors. She is an innovative thinker with a deep passion for globalization and digital transformation, an accomplished leader with extensive expertise in the US and China, and a seasoned board member. Zhang brings an unique combination of P&L leadership, M&A, cross cultural perspective, corporate governance, and corporate social responsibility.
Zhang possesses extensive and diverse board experience across private, public, and social enterprises. She current serves on the Board of Ralph Lauren Corporation. Some of her former boards include Amblin Partners, Alibaba Pictures, Meituan Company; UCweb Company; and Lakala. Additional earlier board roles in the non-profit arena include Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission, The Jack Ma Foundation; and Aba Songpan Grameen Microcredit.
Zhang joined Alibaba in 2008 as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and spent the next six years in strategic investment and M&A, corporate strategy and social responsibility roles. Most recently, Zhang was President of Alibaba Pictures, leading global operations since its formation in 2014. Among many notable transactions and partnerships, Zhang helmed Alibaba Picture’s expansion in the US market and led Alibaba’s investment in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners and several feature films, including Academy Award Best Picture, Green Book, and the Mission Impossible franchise.
Zhang’s career in the global media and entertainment sector began in 2000 when she joined News Corporation in business development roles focused on the China market. She moved to NBCUniversal as Managing Director of CNBC China. As a result of the performance and expanded market profile of CNBC China, Zhang was recruited back to News Corporation to serve as Chief Operating Officer of Star China, the parent company’s China operation. Zhang began her professional career with GE in their widely respected Financial Management Program and joined Bain & Company as a Strategy Consultant in China following graduation with her MBA from Harvard Business School.
Zhang has been named Woman in Entertainment Power 100 by The Hollywood Reporter, Most Creative People by FAST Company, 100 People Transforming Business by Business Insider. She has also received Entertainment Game Changer Award by Asia Society and Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award by Seton Hill University.
And Panel of Advocates for Corporate Board Diversity:
Angela Gardner is the partner in charge of Heidrick & Struggles’ Los Angeles office and a member of the Consumer Markets Practice. Her executive search practice focuses on media, entertainment, and digital assignments for publicly-traded corporations, privately-held companies, and private equity firms.
Gardner has more than 25 years of experience leading business transformation through executive search and talent acquisition. She is also an expert in advising businesses on developing diverse talent strategies.
Gardner joined Heidrick & Struggles from Yahoo where she oversaw global executive recruiting. Prior to that, she was appointed EVP of the executive search team for a boutique recruiting firm that serviced the media and entertainment sector.
Earlier in her career, Gardner was a senior vice president at Fox Entertainment Group, establishing the first in-house talent function. At Fox, she applied the principles of executive search to talent acquisition and led a team that serviced an organization of approximately 9,000 employees. In addition, she spearheaded talent strategy for the acquisition of MySpace and the formation of Fox Interactive Media, Hulu.com, and a number of new cable channels.
Gardner began her career in London with boutique search firms before joining Heidrick & Struggles’ London office. She transferred to Los Angeles in 2000 to build the firm’s consumer and entertainment-related business in Southern California.
Jessica N. Grounds
CEO, Corporate Directors Forum
Jessica N. Grounds is an internationally recognized leadership expert and a visionary executive who has spurred movements of change across business and politics by developing the next generation of leaders.
Over her two-decade career, she has advised Fortune 500 executives, trained political candidates and governments worldwide, and conducted original research on leadership, all through the lens of gender diversity as a proven strategy for innovation and impact.
Grounds is the CEO of Corporate Directors Forum, which equips board directors, executives, and company decision-makers with training and tools designed to enhance their leadership effectiveness and corporate performance. She also serves on Nasdaq’s Center for Board Excellence Insights Council and recently served on UN Women’s We Empower G7 Programme.
Most recently, Grounds co-founded Mine The Gap, which partners with Fortune 500 companies, organizations, and government agencies to create more effective and inclusive workplaces. She also co-authored reports about the impact of SB 826, the first-in-the-nation legislation to require women board directors on publicly held companies headquartered in California, and served as an expert witness on related court cases.
Previously, she was the Executive Director of Running Start, an organization she co-founded that has trained thousands of young women to run for elected office. Grounds speaks regularly about the importance of advancing women and historically overlooked populations and the barriers to gender equity in leadership. She has trained women leaders from every region of the globe, including extensive work with women in Sub-saharan Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, and across Europe.
Grounds and her work have been profiled in Bloomberg, Fast Company, Roll Call, The Hill, NPR, ELLE, National Journal, Washington Post, San Diego Union Tribune, Politico, Marie Claire, and Forbes. She’s received awards including The New Guard: America’s 50 Most Influential Women by Marie Claire magazine, “40 Under 40” recipient by the American Association of Political Consultants, Outstanding Alumni Pepperdine University, and the 2022 Magis Award from Georgetown Business School.
Co-Chair, 50/50 Women on Boards Los Angeles
Jaime Lee is the CEO of the Jamison group of companies, a privately-held, family run commercial real estate enterprise with a market capitalization of over $3 billion that operates 13 million square feet of office, multifamily, and retail properties throughout Southern California and has delivered over 5,000 apartment units in the City of Los Angeles with a total pipeline of over 11,000 units, making it one of LA's most active apartment developers.
Lee is a seasoned civic and non-profit board member, currently serving as President of the Board of Harbor Commissioners at the Port of Los Angeles, a trustee of the University of Southern California (including on the executive, nominating & governance, and audit, compliance, risk & privacy committees), a board member of the LA 2028 Olympic Games (including on the executive, compensation, and conflicts committees), a commissioner and Vice Chair of the California Film Commission, along with many other local organizations. She previously served for four years as President of the Los Angeles City Employees Retirement System, the city's $22 billion employee pension fund.
Recognized for her contributions to civic and business life, Lee has been named one of the 500 most influential people in LA by the Los Angeles Business Journal every year since 2018. In 2022 she received a Los Angeles Times Influential Woman Award and the Los Angeles Parks Foundation's annual Rose Award. Her previous honors include Asia Society Southern California's Urban Visionary Award, the USC School of Architecture's Business Leadership Award, and the Asian American Architects and Engineers President's Award.
Both panels moderated by:
May Lee is an award-winning broadcast journalist who has been both a US based and international anchor, host, correspondent and producer, including being the first Korean American anchor for CNN. At the start of 2020, Lee's production company, Lotus Media House, launched “The May Lee Show”, a vodcast (video-podcast) focused on Asian and Asian American issues and stories. She just recently developed a brand-new show “Shoes Off Inside with MKT”, hosted by May Lee, Kelly Hu and Tamlyn Tomita.
Lee is a prominent voice in the effort to combat anti-Asian hate that exploded due to COVID-19. She has been working with various organizations, companies and media outlets to raise more awareness of AAPI history as well as issues related to girls and women, and ageism. In July 2021, she was named one of Forbes 50 Over 50 women leading the way in impact. Along with her media projects, Lee is also an adjunct professor at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. In 2021, she developed a new course, “Evolution of Asian Americans and the Media” to fill the huge educational void when it comes to Asian American history.
Lee’s previous professional roles include being the LA-based correspondent for international network CGTNAmerica. She covered news, politics, business and entertainment throughout Southern California and beyond. In 2007, May founded Lotus Media House in Singapore and produced original programs including the first iteration of “The May Lee Show”, the first pan-Asia talk show for women. Lee’s international experience as a broadcast journalist began in 1992 at Japan’s NHK network. From 1995 to 1999, Lee was with CNN as the Tokyo Correspondent and then the main anchor for CNN International in Hong Kong. In 2000, Lee joined the dynamic new women’s network, Oxygen Media, founded by Oprah Winfrey as one of its main talk show hosts. She headed back to Asia in 2004 to join CNBC Asia in Singapore as the primary anchor. Lee is a graduate of Mills College in Oakland, CA where she attained her BA in communications. Lee is the author of “MAY LEE, LIVE AND IN PERSON. IT ALL BEGINS WITH PASSION”, published by John Wiley & Sons and Random House Korea. Her latest book published by Cognella, Inc., “SO YOU WANT TO BE ON AIR? A GUIDE TO ANCHORING HOSTING AND VOICEOVERS”, is based on her wildly popular broadcasting workshops she developed at Annenberg.