Rep. Honda: AAGEN as a “Moving Force”
Arlington, Virginia–U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (D, CA) told Asian American Government Executives Network (AAGEN) leaders and members their organization can “become a moving force in this country and the world.” He stressed ethnicity should not be a barrier to attaining positions “in places of responsibility.”
Honda, who is also an Advisory Board member of the organization, made the remarks at the induction of the 2011-2012 AAGEN officers, led by Chair Tommy Hwang, and the Board of Directors. Other officers are Vice Chair James Meng; Tia Chu, treasurer, and Benedict Ong, secretary.
Congressman Honda said there are many Asian Pacific Americans who are executive material–“they just haven’t been tapped.” He added AAGEN should continue to encourage Asian Americans to have this mindset, and to make supervisors “have that expectation.”
“We’ve made progress in ten years, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Honda noted, adding, “You are not alone” in this quest. He mentioned the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and the Asian Pacific American Institute of Congressional Studies (APAICS), among other groups.
Board Director Bel Leong-Hong introduced the new leadership team. Sam Mok, former U.S. Department of Labor Chief Financial Officer and current AAGEN Advisory Board Member, presided over the oath-taking. The event, held March 31 at China Garden restaurant here, drew over a hundred members and guests.
Founded in 1993, AAGEN is a 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan organization. It is composed of the highest-ranking Asian American and Pacific Islander career and appointed executives, Foreign Service officers, legislative and judiciary members and military officers in government.
AAGEN aims “to promote, expand and support Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) leadership in government.” Vice Chair Meng discussed their goals, as stated by Chair Hwang, in a Power Point presentation. He said that within one or two years, AAGEN will be able to submit “a portfolio of resumes to each of the agencies.”
AAGEN will also step up its campaign to fill vacancies “with promising candidates,” as well as efforts to forge partnerships with major Asian American organizations. In his remarks, Chair Hwang talked about the new AAGEN website. He also thanked the other officers and committee chairs for insuring the success of the event.
Jeremy Wu focused on the June 9 leadership conference, with its theme, “Learn from the Best: Strategies for Innovative Leadership.” Venue is the Doubletree Hotel, Crystal City 300 Army Navy Drive Arlington, Virginia 22202. Huong Pham of the Board of Directors delivered the closing remarks.
Among those present at the induction were Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association; Dr. William Brown, AAFEA; Dr. Kin Wong and. Peter Nguyen of the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC); and Gloria Chan, APAICS president and CEO.