Asia Society New York Hosts the 16th Annual Global Talent Symposium

Featured & Cover Asia Society New York Hosts the 16th Annual Global Talent Symposium

Asia Society New York hosted the 16th annual Global Talent Symposium on March 15, 2024, bringing together leaders in the AAPI professional community to discuss how companies and individuals can prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion. Asia Society President and CEO Dr. Kyung-wha Kang provided opening remarks for the event, noting the need, during this period of intense societal division, for “workplaces and professional communities that enable the human potential to be fully unlocked.”

Bloomberg’s Scarlet Fu moderated the first panel, which featured Susan Reid, Managing Director and Global Head of Talent at Morgan Stanley; Jeanine Conley Daves, Office Managing Shareholder, Littler; and Joy Chen, CEO, Multicultural Leadership Institute. The four panelists discussed the state of diversity initiatives in the U.S. after a series of blows to decades of progress, including the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action last summer, conservative legal challenges to corporate diversity initiatives, and several high-profile dissolutions of DEI departments in higher ed and the corporate sector.

Joy Chen noted that members of the AAPI community are often excluded from DEI efforts because of the “model minority” trope. “Asians are very successful at getting education and great entry level jobs, but when it comes to getting promotions, they are often left behind. Just when it is time for Asians to reap the benefits of their work and soar, they plummet,” she said, emphasizing the need for DEI programs elevate members of the AAPI community in the corporate world.

MSNBC and NBC breaking news anchor Richard Lui moderated the second panel of the morning, interviewing Betty Ng, Founder and CEO, Inspiring Diversity LLC; Ingrid Giordano, Managing Director, Global Head of Early Career Talent Acquisition and Program Management, Citi; Christina Poon, General Manager, W New York; and Linda Yoon, Therapist and Founder of the Yellow Chair Collective.

Lui asked how the panelists navigate their careers as women of color. Like those on the first panel, Christina Poon emphasized the need for intersectional inclusivity in DEI. “Introducing the concept of belonging reduces the feeling that taking a space at the table means that someone is losing a seat. Instead, the idea of belonging opens up a space at the table for all,” she shared.

After the morning session, attendees gathered for the awards luncheon and a fireside chat with ABC’sJuju Chang and Jenny Kim Park, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Bank of America. The two discussed the importance of finding a mentor early in one’s career, especially for those who are often “the only ones” that look like them in the room.

Park shared about a time that she was called out by a mentor for sitting in the back of a room during a meeting and letting another colleague take credit for her idea. After the mentor said that she wouldn’t let that happen again, Park was so afraid of being called out that she advocated for herself at the next meeting. “Right now, if I see someone else who is the ‘only one’, my job is to give them a voice,” she said.

The winner of the 2024 Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Award, presented for work in support of AAPI employees in the corporate sector and greater community, was Bank of America. Marriott International was honored as the runner-up.

Lisa Leongof Chevron was awarded the Most Innovative AAPI Rising Star Award, which is presented to mid-career professionals who have made impactful and timely contributions to AAPI causes in either their workplaces or their communities. Leong was recognized for her mentorship, coaching, conference organizing, and other ways of bringing inclusion to Chevron as the Senior Program Integration Manager of Diversity and Inclusion.

The Most Inspiring AAPI Leader Award was presented to two late career professionals who have made impactful and timely contributions to AAPI causes in their workplaces or communities. The Community Award was given toLisa Gold,the Executive Director at Asian American Arts Alliance, who is known for her advocacy work on behalf of AAPI artists, including a recent campaign to foster Black and Asian solidarity. The Corporate Award was presented toAkiko Yamahara, Citi Global Wealth’s General Counsel and the Board Overseer for Temple University. Yamahara is a steering committee member of the Asian Heritage Network and has facilitated mentorship for Asian lawyers and law students throughout Citi’s global network.

“It’s an honor to be Asian,” gushed Lisa Gold as she addressed the audience.

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